Darrell J. Burns | Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Darrell brings to NOVO more than three decades of project finance and development, strategic planning, and general management experience. Darrell is Founder and CEO of Savient Financial, an investment company that finances and develops commercial real estate in industries such as biofuels, hydrogen, biotech, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, and telecommunications. Working with private equity firms, commercial lenders, and other financiers, Savient has completed projects worth over $6 billion since inception. Previously, Darrell served as President & CEO of StoneHill Capital, where he was responsible for loan origination, loss mitigation, mergers & acquisitions, and strategic alliances.

Darrell holds an MBA in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and is in the process of completing his Ph.D in Global Leadership and Change. He holds a BA in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance and Economics, from California State University, Fullerton, and an Associates Degree in Real Estate & Real Estate Accounting from Irvine Valley College. Darrell was awarded the Congressional Medal of Distinction in 2007 for developing an economic forecast.

William Cook | Director, Operations

William brings to NOVO a decade of experience in hydrogen fuel cell and energy infrastructure development, and a track record of nearly 25 years as a field service technician in the electrical and mechanical fields. A U.S. Navy Veteran, William is a technical services manager who has led large-scale, complex projects in stationary and mobile fuel cell applications and hydrogen station development. His areas of expertise include project planning, safety planning and development, maintenance program upgrades to meet high reliability standards, commissioning, operations, and technician training.

William serves as Engineering Project Manager, Hydrogen for Plug Power. Previously, he has worked in various managerial roles for United Hydrogen, Hydrogenics, Cavotec, and ClearEdge Power.

George C. Papaioannou | Director, Finance & Strategy

George brings to NOVO over 25 years of financial and business strategy experience. As a Wall Street research analyst, first with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and later with Thomas Weisel Partners, George played a central role in securities offerings worth a total of over $3 billion. As a strategy consultant with IBM Global Services, he developed and executed growth strategies for Fortune 500 companies. In 2006, George founded Venstrat, LLC, a consultancy specializing in business valuation, mergers & acquisitions, and value optimization strategy.

George holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He has completed the Principles of Business Valuation program of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA). George is a member of the CFA Society Los Angeles. George holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in History from Cornell University.

Ruben Gutierrez | Director, Development

Ruben brings to NOVO 45 years of leadership experience in the construction industry. As both a manager and consultant, Ruben has directed large and multifaceted projects for a broad range of industrial, military, commercial, and residential developments. His expertise spans structural, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical disciplines. Clients have included Golden State Foods, Silicon General, GKN (formerly Pilkington Aerospace), Raytheon Technologies, Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas), California National Guard, and Beverly Hills Police Department and SWAT Division. Ruben holds General Contractor A and B Licenses.

Ruben J. Gutierrez | Director, Construction

Ruben J. brings to NOVO 12 years of project management experience in the Construction Industry. During his career, Ruben has managed projects across various sectors including: Commercial, Industrial and Residential. Notable Projects managed include: Government - DCFS Compton and City of San Bernardino Historical Site; Commercial Retail - Walmart and various projects. Ruben holds multiple degrees in Business Administration, including BS in Management from California State University, Long Beach.

Therese M. Fisher | Director, Engineering

Therese brings to NOVO more than two decades of project engineering experience, with a focus on emerging clean fuel technologies and implementation of energy efficiency and demand response programs. Her areas of expertise include program planning and design, project/program management, and program implementation. Therese’s track record as a detail-oriented and organized problem-solver, manager, and team builder help ensure timely achievement of NOVO’s development and profitability objectives. Therese is a Senior Project Manager with D+R International. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University.

Shana Loflin | Director, Real Estate

Shana brings to NOVO two decades of leadership experience in commercial and residential real estate, acquisition, and financing, as well as business operations. Shana serves as Vice President of Operations for Savient Financial, Inc., an investment company that finances and develops commercial real estate and land acquisitions. She was a managing partner for Unlimited Financial Solutions, where she implemented loan origination, multistate real estate acquisitions, finance, and emerging markets evaluation. Previously, Shana held positions as Joint Venture Lending Consultant, Lending Manager, and Assistant Vice President of Operations Correspondent Lending, for two of the top 10 U.S. banks. Within the banking community, Shana managed multiple global market vendors, new system application and rollout, along with multiple departmental teams.

Shana holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Redlands and BS in Business Management from Paul Quinn College. Additionally, Shana holds a California Real Estate and Mortgage Broker and is a graduate of the Urban Land Institute commercial real estate academy fellowship.