Who We Are

Catalyze’s core team brings decades of experience and 5,000MW of renewable energy development with a combination of electric power, finance, software, analytics and entrepreneurship.

Joel Serface

CEO & CO-FOUNDER

Joel Serface

CEO & CO-FOUNDER

Joel is recognized as one of the early leaders in the clean technology community having created or funded more than 20 companies, non-profits, and policy organizations over his career. He also founded and serves as Managing Director of Brightman Energy, an ERCOT-focused project development firm that has innovated a lean acquisition and development strategy in building its initial 1,100 MW renewable energy portfolio. Joel served as the first Entrepreneur in Residence at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and previously headed renewable energy efforts at the ATI Clean Energy Incubator, Eastman Ventures, and Sierra Ventures. He founded what has become the most sophisticated and extensive smart grid experiment in Pecan Street Project (now Pecan Street Inc.) and supported the creation of the first solar powered microgrid in Haiti. He received his B.S. In Chemical and Environmental Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Steve Atherton

CTO & CO-FOUNDER

Steve Atherton

CTO & CO-FOUNDER

Steve is a senior software executive specializing in building world class software engineering and technical sales and support teams from early stage start-ups and beyond. He has been a leader in the San Francisco Bay area solar-energy technology community for nearly a decade. Previously, he was the CTO and VP of Software Engineering at Sungevity, a leading residential solar development company where he led the Software Engineering team in designing, building and implementation of their national and international software backbone for residential solar design, account management, regulatory compliance, and finance. Prior to Sungevity, he was the VP of Software Engineering at Sunrun, the leader in residential solar sales, design and installation. He has a proven track record in building highly scalable software platforms across many industries using cutting edge technologies and brings more than 25 years of experience in high-end software development, database engineering and analytics, and building Engineering teams. Originally from England, Steve studied computer science at Guildford University.

James Geshwiler

COO & CO-FOUNDER

James Geshwiler

COO & CO-FOUNDER

James brings twenty-five years of entrepreneurial, technology, finance, and energy expertise to renewable energy analytics. Previously, James spent 17 years exclusively building software companies as Managing Director of Converge Venture Partners, a Boston-based seed investment fund, and its predecessor, CommonAngels, an angel group comprised of leaders in the technology community. He previously worked at Cambridge Energy Research Associates and for US Department of Energy, at the latter managing a team of 30 senior scientists and engineers at the US National Laboratories. Prior to that role, James was the Environment, Science & Technology Officer at the US Department of State’s Office of Russian Affairs, handling a wide range of bilateral and multi-lateral programs, including climate change, non-proliferation, satellite launches, and the International Space Station Agreement. James earned his MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, a Master’s Degree from UCLA in political science, and a bachelor’s degree with highest honors from University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Liberal Arts Honors Program.

Rob Masinter

Chief Commercial Officer

Rob Masinter

Chief Commercial Officer

Rob is a versatile executive with extensive experience in development, finance, construction, operations, and product management in the energy and technology industries.

As Chief Operating Officer of AES Distributed Energy (DE), he built and scaled engineering, procurement, construction and asset management teams and processes to increase annual solar project execution capacity from 15MW to 150MW. Rob led the technical and operational development of DE’s solar + storage solution for two utility scale projects in HI. Additionally he was the GM for AES’ US battery energy storage operations providing 62MW of frequency regulation capacity to the PJM wholesale market. Prior to AES,
Rob led product management, marketing and field applications engineering for Advanced Energy’s solar inverter business unit. Prior to Advanced Energy, Rob co-founded OpTerra Energy Services which was backed by Oaktree Capital and eventually sold to ENGIE in 2016.

Rob earned his MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College, an MS in Earth Science from Stanford University and a BA in Geology from Middlebury College.

Chris Caffyn

Director of Development

Chris Caffyn

Director of Development

Chris has over fifteen year’s renewable energy field project development and executive experience in the renewables industry nationally and internationally. Chris’ wider career for over 26 years revolved around project creation, development and management in the energy intensive sectors of the manufacturing industry and then brought his experience from that competitive sector to the renewables market.
Chris has been in ownership of 4 companies, founded the Indonesia Division of UPC Renewables in Jakarta, Indonesia as the VP of Development and led the Development Team that has brought the first 75MW, $140 million commercial-scale wind farm development in Sidrap Indonesia to completion. UPC had to create the first mover opportunity through government and national utility lobbying in a challenging business environment, for a “Wind Program” in the National Plan and then lead the wind industry with the first utility scale wind project in that country.
Previously, Chris was a Development Manager with First Wind and Community Energy Inc. In the US he prospected and then led the development, land acquisition and permitting of over 1,500MW of greenfield wind and solar projects. Prior to his renewables experience Chris founded and owned businesses that processed waste to energy and supplied large industrial capital equipment projects to the metal working industry.