Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Our Leadership teams bring decades of experience in the automotive, electric vehicle, and

hydrogen fuel cell sectors, with experience working for major automotive companies including

Audi/VW, BMW, Nissan, Fiat, Lotus, Lamborghini, Lotus, Volvo, Bentley, and Maserati.

Board of Directors

Hank VENTER – Chairman and CEO

Erasmus Johannes (Hank) Venter is a highly successful International businessman and a natural leader who has over 50 years’ experience in Agri-business, mining minerals & metals (Iron Ore, Manganese Ore, and Coal) and International minerals trading Industry. Most recently, Hank is the CEO and Founder of BisonEV Retrofits Inc which specializes in retrofitting combustion engines to Electric Vehicle conversions. His experience spans across a number of continents and countries, ranging from South Africa, United States, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. His trading businesses created several companies, mineral rights and offices on 4 continents between 1999 and 2016.

A serial entrepreneur, Hank has been instrumental in putting together several multi-million dollar deals with equity investors. His vast experience includes developing & running start-ups, growth and turn around companies in agri-business, mining, manufacturing, engineering, and now in the EV technology and Hydrogen energy vehicle space. His career started at an early age when he worked hand in hand with his father to establish the second largest dairy farm in South Africa. Their farm hosted many field days and Hank later established the first Privately owned- Registered Artificial Insemination and Embryo Centre on the continent of Africa.

He went on to become the youngest member ever on the National Dairy Board, served on the Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal improvement advisory board in South Africa. He owned 25 farming-, property- transport- and vehicle finance- companies in South-Africa before he left South Africa in 1996 for the USA where he got involved as executive and CEO in several investor-owned companies like Georgia Granite LLC, GraniTop LLC and two public companies, MarblEdge Ltd and Romarco Minerals Ltd.

Hank studied Agriculture & Finance from the University of Orange Free State and he also holds an e-MBA from University of Pretoria and a Diploma in International Business Trading from Georgia Tech.  He is a qualified pilot, an avid PADI scuba diver, was Junior National SA 400m & 800m Champion runner and a Provincial tennis player. Hank is fluent in several languages and currently lives in Ashville, North-Carolina, USA.

He has a unique way of assembling world class teams and subject matter experts in the industry involved and create formidable teams to execute. He brings to any Domestic & International Organization a very unique and valuable expertise.

Dr. Izak van Heerden

Founder and Chairman of the Pretoria Urology Hospital, South-Africa.  The only dedicated Urology Facility in Africa. Dr Izak is an entrepreneur too and invested in various ventures covering Green Energy and green life changing products. He is a member of the South African Urological Association, British Urological Association, American Urological Association and Société Internationale d’Urologie (SA Representative) and lifetime school-friend and confidant of Venter.

Chuck Ebetino

Charles A. Ebetino, Jr. serves as Vice President and Secretary of ENCECo, Inc. which is a mining and energy related industry asset holding and consulting company. ENCECo’s asset holdings have been most recently attributable to Mr. Ebetino’s role in executing merger & acquisition strategies, restructurings and new start-up companies in the mining, energy and emerging industries, typically with minority member interests and board participation. He has recently been appointed as Executive Director and serves on the Board of BisonEV, Inc.

Mr. Ebetino has served in numerous engineering, operating, purchasing, marketing, administrative and executive management positions, initially with American Electric Power, Inc, then Peabody Energy Corporation and spin-off Patriot Coal Corporation, for which he was principally responsible, before devoting full time to ENCECo. Mr. Ebetino was Senior Vice President — Business and Resource Development for Peabody and also served as Senior Vice President — Market Development for Peabody’s sales and marketing subsidiaries from 2003 to 2006 with direct responsibility for COALTRADE, LLC. He joined Peabody in 2003 after more than 25 years with American Electric Power Company, Inc. (AEP) where he served in a number of management roles in the engineering, general services, fuel procurement, coal transportation and mining operations, rising to Senior Vice President of Fuel Supply and President & Chief Operating Officer of AEP’s eleven coal mining and coal-related subsidiaries from 1993 until 2002. In 2002, he formed ENCECo, Inc. and the Arlington Consulting Group, LLC, an energy industry consulting firm. 

Mr. Ebetino was a past board member of the National Mining Association, former Chairman of the NMA Environmental Committee, a former Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Edison Electric Institute’s Power Generation Subject Area Committee, a former Vice Chairman of the Inland Waterway Users Board, and a past board member and President of the Western Coal Transportation Association. Mr. Ebetino has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and also attended the New York University School of Business for graduate study in finance.

Fred Bills

Fred grew up in Minneapolis, MN. He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a BA in business and received post-graduate training in Systems Engineering from IBM. In the past 40 years he has been a part of starting and managing several profitable large companies, the most recent being Nelson Wood Shims 1995-2019, became the largest Wood Shim producer in the World, and Mid State Metal Works 2019-present. Will support BisonEV on many fronts and as strategic investor. Fred is active in several non-profits and has served on several boards.

Board of advisors

Ron Elmore

Martiens MuLder

BSc Eng. (met) (Pretoria), MDP (Unisa), SEP (Sanford), Pr Eng. (retired), Management and Technical Consultant in the areas of change management and productivity improvement programs.

FSAIMM, has had 43 years of experience in the metals and mining industry. He combines his vast operations and technical management experience with 16 years of direct involvement in change and re-engineering programs and productivity improvement initiatives and processes. In his previous capacities as the responsible business unit manager, Martiens was directly involved in inter alia the following successes:

As mine manager Mie, he was involved in the successful turnaround of the mine in the early 90’s.

As general manager of Sishen Iron Ore Mine he established the mine as one of the most successful iron ore mines in the world by implementing a major productivity improvement progSince his retirement in 2002, he became involved in consultation work  in his field as the owner of Goslar Consulting Services, where he concentrates on management and technical consultation and high level technical studies  and processes in the EV industries. He has been involved in numerous potential studies for junior mining companies, especially in the field of iron ore, and assisted Kumba Resources in a companywide change program as well as a feasibility study on the Thabazimbi banded iron ore project and the optimization of the Sishen SEP iron ore project. He is an independent non-executive director of Namakwa Diamonds Limited.

He is a keen golfer, green energy enthusiast and does astronomical telescope building as a hobby.

Mark Wise

Executive with Medical Device Manufacturer

36 years in Medical device sales, Distribution and manufacturing.

“I have witnessed decades of regained patient mobility due to the introduction of Orthopaedic implants. It has been gratifying to see in my career. 

The EV revolution much like the evolvement of Orthopaedic implants has the opportunity to change lives and create employment for generations of families.

I enjoy the challenge of pressing forward with a different approach while admiring the past much like a team of horses synchronized with a driver to complete a day’s chores.

John Possumato

John F. Possumato is a noted consultant, author and speaker in the automotive industry, and is the Founder and CEO of DriveItAway Inc., which provides a turn-key cloud platform/consumer app, enabling car dealers to offer new Mobility as a Service solutions, including subscription-to-purchase options. A serial automotive industry entrepreneur and a franchise dealership owner veteran, Possumato has over 30 years of car industry leadership experience. Possumato is regularly published in many trade magazines, and is a keynote speaker at automotive events, in the US and abroad. He is also an attorney, a graduate of the Law School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business, and is a member of the Bar of the State of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Manfred Scriba (CSIR – SA)

Dr Manfred Scriba has extensive experience in Mechatronics product development, electronics, electro-optics and materials development including nanotechnology, which he build up over the last 40 years working in research and product development. He has developed specialized products and materials for which he holds patents, and has an in-depth understanding of product development processes, value chain analysis and commercialization. This broad background makes him well suited to contribute to, and evaluate modern-day convergent technologies and suggest innovations to improve them.

In addition, Manfred has played a vital role in the establishment of big research platforms and linking them to international bodies. He was responsible for the established South African Nanotechnology Program worth more than R1.2 bil as well as the Nano-Micro Manufacturing program which aims to support printed electronics, sensor and diagnostics development.

Rick Leander

Strategic Business Innovator & C-Suite Executive. Business Performance & Transformation | Change Management & Operational Excellence

High-energy leader with 20+ years of expertise building high-performing teams and infrastructures that transform organizations through technology, sales & marketing innovation in products and service. Record of c-suite management with financial & operations acumen and entrepreneurial spirit that drives growth in startup, mature, and emerging markets through superior execution. Change agent with demonstrated expertise in empowering and motivating talent by embracing accountability, work ethic, and cultural sensitivity while metamorphosizing white board ideas into shared vision.

  • New Product Development: As CEO drove revenue for startup from $0 to $40M in less than 2 years by developing a robust product development process, strategic partnerships, and sales pipeline.
  • Business Operations Profitability & Growth: Increased profits by 187% and revenue by 21% over two years to $1.2B by restructuring 710-person bank product group and creating technical sales teams to support relationship managers.
  • Consumer Experience Expert: Sought after speaker at global conferences involving financial services, operations, marketing, sales, behavioral science, product management, culture development, technology and innovation.
  • Strategic Partnership Development: Proven track record of executing partnerships and strategic marketing relationships with global organizations to expand product base and increase market penetration.

Board & Regulatory Relationships:  Trusted advisor to boards, stakeholders, and executive teams of technology, healthcare, and payments companies in spearheading business strategy and directing P&L management and budgets.

 Earlier career experience: Senior Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer roles for BNY Mellon, Managing Director & COO roles for Bank of America as head of strategic technology with P&L responsibility in product and sales, technology, finance and H/R, and Senior Director roles for Citibank involving global banking business efforts in Europe, Asia, and New York.

B.B.A., Finance and Accounting ─ University of Texas, Austin, TX

Founding Board Member, Center for Smart Financial Choices • Board of Directors, Advanced Fraud Solutions

Board Advisor, Duet Health • Board Advisor, eProximiti • Board Member, Center for Creative Economy

Advisor, WinstonStarts • Dean’s Council, North Carolina School of The Arts • Former Chair, EDIBanx

Executive Management

Ian Thomson - Technical Consultant

Highly accomplished design and engineering management professional with 35 years of hands-on experience in design engineering, team management, manufacturing and project leadership in the International automotive industry. Highly skilled in taking products from concept to production. Proven ability to build and lead top-performing teams. Expert communicator capable of translating complex data and concepts into simplified terms. Extensive international experience working with different cultures. Expert knowledge in Asian pacific marketplace. Full Vehicle concept development, including body, chassis, interior and electrical/electronics.

Over 35 years of global product development in the Automotive industry. Created and Led Innovation Teams in USA, Europe and Asia. Projects include Opel Speedster, Aston Martin Vanquish, Tesla Roadster, Karma Revero GT, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio and many more. Expert in BEV and FCEV vehicle development.

  • Co-started TESLA representing Lotus and designed, adjusted and built the first 1,300+ TESLA Roadsters.
  • Retrofitted or built new over 1,200 busses with Grove Hydrogen Automotive LLC in Wuhan, China to Hydrogen.
  • Complete responsibility for vehicle, design and development for all models
  • Build and train team to prominent level of expertise via mentoring and hiring of new talent
  • Use experience and knowledge of low volume super luxury vehicles to build and develop The competence of the company.
  • Created and lead all innovations and new technologies for Grove Hydrogen Automotive .
  • Create and ensure department budget, tooling and ED&D investment meet targets
  • Full Feasibility of studio concept through to production on all products.

Education: BSc Mechanical Engineering, MSc Design, Manufacture and Management

Ian also currently serves as CTO at H2X a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Company (Asia).

Dr. Gerhard Human - President: Hydrogen

Industry expert in hydrogen production and storage with comprehensive knowledge of hydrogen trends, technologies and key industry players. Extensive experience in: PEM electrolyser cell development; PEM electrolyser testing; application of renewable energy technologies and integration with electrolysis; and green hydrogen supply chain activities. Further expertise in the design and modelling of renewable energy systems including hydrogen components and dispensing units.

Executive member of HYSA.

Ross Phillips - VP Finance

Senior executive with strategic and business development expertise.

Proven track record of effectively executing in dynamic and challenging environments and Public listed Companies. A successful history of integrating the financial, commercial, regulatory and technical aspects of large, capital intensive operations and projects. An established leader able to create strong, diverse teams across multiple international locations.

Inus Prinsloo - VP Costing analysis

Marthinus Jacobus Prinsloo

Qualifications: B Eng. (Industrial) degree; MBA degree

International Financial Modeling (Feasibility Studies) work for mainly Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro.

Worked past 20y in Corporate Finance department of Kumba Iron Ore.

Patti Gordon

Patti Gordon is a national award-winning business professional with extensive experience in instructional design, technical documentation, and business communications. Patti has worked as an instructional design consultant for over 20 years with Fortune 500 clients including AT&T, Home Depot, IBM, Cox Communications, and others.

In addition to instructional design and technical documentation, Patti has a strong entrepreneurial and technical background, hence an early investor in BisonEV and a champion of our Green efforts and CO₂ exhaust emissions control and total eliminations efforts. Prior to consulting, she was the seventh employee and served as Director of Operations Research for VistaScape Technology Corporation which was later sold to Siemens Building Technologies.

Patti is also an accomplished author and speaker. She has had the privilege of speaking to audiences in the United States, Europe, Central America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Mike Andrews - Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

Mike Andrews is a business executive with 47 years of experience in business and strategic planning for high growth start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies. Working with hundreds of clients in many industries, he has first-hand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Expert in PERT/critical path planning, he developed strategic step by step plans for Keller Williams Realty which helped them grow from 20 agents in one location to over 78 00 agents operating in 500+ locations across the United States and Canada.

Joe Uradnik - VP Legal

Joe Uradnik is a business /patent attorney specializing in intellectual property law.  He has represented clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to growing start-ups, and worked for some of the nation’s leading law firms before founding his own firm.

Joe has been involved with Bison for more than 4 years.  

Bob Lyford - VP Loss Control

Long term friend and Risk Manager for Bison and affiliates. Bob brings a high level of International and local Risk Manager, Insurance Consultanting and Independent Insurance Bonding Agent experience to BisonEV. Primarily for Commercial and Property Companies, Mineral Resources and Energy projects.

Bob will be instrumental in handling the warranty aspects for BisonEV and its retrofitted parts.

Fernando Mera - Chief Operations Officer (COO)

Fernando is a global business development senior executive with a unique blend of managerial, technical, commercial and cultural expertise.  He has over twenty-five years of established business relationships with international industry leaders. Fernando has proven performance in developing, promoting, selling, financing, implementing and operating multi-million-dollar international Projects. He is experienced in launching and operating international business units, strategic planning, multicultural negotiations, marketing & sales, risk assessment of business opportunities, launching e-Commerce initiatives, and establishing strategic alliances.

Fernando has a successful track record in developing, promoting, negotiating and implementing international business initiatives:

  • Africa – lived in South Africa for over a year where he led the engineering, implementation and operation of a major industrial project.
  • Europe – Promoted developed and implemented Industrial Projects in Russia, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Slovakia. Promoted business initiatives in Italy, UK, France and Germany.
  • Asia – negotiated and implemented multi-million-dollar Industrial projects in China, Indonesia and India. Promoted business initiatives in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand
  • Latin America – lived in Brazil for three years, developed and implemented industrial Projects in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
  • North America – developed and implemented Industrial projects in the U.S. and Canada.

Fernando led, developed and implemented multi-million-dollar projects by establishing strategic alliances through Consortiums and Joint Ventures with major contractors and suppliers in order to fast track projects, reduce costs and minimize risk. He facilitated project financing through Export/Import Banks and Commercial banks.

Fernando is a Partner of MIAS Minerals Holding and Chief Operating Officer of 8 Point Exports de Mexico S.A. de C.V. and BisonEV Inc.  He is the President of Trade Latin LLC, which provides valued products and consulting services in Latin America. He teaches International Business at the Institute of International Business – J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

Herman Marais - VP Operations and Technology Specialist

Herman is a Mechanical Engineering Manager from South Africa and has spent several years working with severe duty, class 8 trucks for the US market, innovating machine designs in class leading food processing plants as well as managing multi-million dollar pressure vessel orders, specifically in cryogenics, for clients in the Rocket and Aerospace industry such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

He is a PMI certified project manager and is currently completing his MBA at the University of Rochester – Simon Business School in the United States and an intern at BisonEV Inc.

Roger Hoyum - VP Project management

Roger heads a multidisciplinary consulting company in Grand Rapids and Minneapolis, MN.  With vast experience in industrial engineering, human resources, project planning and information technology, his JDI Contracts and JDInet business entities supply start-up technical services which provide a solid foundation particularly in large magnitude industrial start-up operations.  Proven consulting experts are utilized and focus trained in a number of EV automotive disciplines until they move in-house as managers and full time employees.

Roger heads up a multi-million Federal contract with the USA Military on several high-security military locations in 7 States now and worth many tens of millions Dollars every year.

Marius van Ettinger - VP Project Technical controls

Project Controls IT specialists

Marius has 15 years’ experience in Project Management in large Multi-National capital projects for various industries, including Mining, Oil and Gas, Energy, Rail, Infrastructure, Harbours and Hotels.

He has Project Control experience in South Africa, USA, and Dubai for large development projects and Energy saving infrastructure. He is an innovative and very creative leader of an International experienced consulting firm with many teams that supports project controls services, project management training and implementations of project controls systems and IT projects. Marius has a Honours BSc. Industrial Engineering – 2002