Members of the Open Water team pose for a photo in front of their live demo at the OCEANS '16 conference in Monterey, California at the end of the 3-day event.

Members of the Open Water team in front of their live demo at the OCEANS ’16 conference in Monterey, California. September 22nd, 2016.

Open Water Power is a strong and growing team of talented and experienced people from a range of disciplines. We are a US Department of Defense prime contractor, and count some much larger prime contractors as our partners. We have multiple patents pending and the backing of MIT’s Technology Licensing Office, and are supported by an excellent team of business leaders and legal advisors.


TomBioTom Milnes (CEO) Tom is CEO and co-founder of Open Water. Tom was previously CTO and co-founder of consumer scanning company Viztu Technologies, which democratized high-tech 3D-scanning technologies. Tom sold Viztu to 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) in 2012. Prior to Viztu, Tom worked with his future PhD advisor Doug Hart at dental scanning start-up Brontes Technologies, which was acquired by 3M (NYSE: MMM) for $95M in 2006. Tom holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell, a Masters in Applied Mathematics from Harvard, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.
IanBioPhotoIan Salmon McKay (CSO) Ian is the Chief Science Officer and co-founder of Open Water. Ian’s past work covers a range of energy-related topics, with a focus on interfacial processes in primary batteries. Since 2011, he has focused on the incredible potential of aluminum metal as an anode material for energy storage and conversion. Ian is the first inventor on most of the patent applications in Open Water’s IP portfolio. He holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and is a Hertz Fellow and PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at Stanford.
Bryan McGowan (CFO) Bryan is an experienced engineer and technology manager with a background in advanced materials and related technologies. He most recently managed finance and business development for FINsix, an MIT-founded power electronics company. While there, he drove the strategy and marketing behind the successful commercialization of a variety of consumer electronics products. He holds a BS in Materials Science & Engineering and an MBA, both from Cornell.


David Porter (Director of Engineering) David has a background in both project management and technical engineering. His past experience includes operations & management consulting at Stroud Consulting, and design/race engineering on the Nissan Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) racing team. David serves as lead program manager for OWP while also contributing to engineering development and fundamental research. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell.
Branko Zugic (Principal Engineer – Electrochemistry) Prior to joining Open Water Branko was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University, where he studied the catalytic properties of nano-structured gold-based alloys and lead a collaborative team of researchers from laboratories and institutes across the country. He has extensive experience in the development of nanomaterials for clean energy applications. Branko holds a BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and a PhD from Tufts University, both in Chemical Engineering.
Jason Kovacs (Principal Engineer – Process Chemistry) Before joining Open Water Jason was a member of the Hammond Lab at MIT where he developed nanostructured composite ultrathin films for reverse osmosis membranes. While a graduate student he worked on a series of targeted month-long research and modeling projects with industry sponsors including Novartis and Morgan Stanley. His research expertise is in polymers, nanocomposites, membrane separations, and thin film assembly. Jason holds a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT.
Dustin Alinger (Senior Electrical Engineer) Dustin is a hardware engineer with experience at startups spanning multiple industries. Most recently he was at WiTricity, an MIT spinout that is commercializing a highly efficient form of wireless power transfer, where he worked in the R&D department on advanced projects. Prior to that he was lead hardware designer for the RINGS project, a technology demonstrator experiment that launched to the International Space Station in 2013. Dustin holds BS and MS degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.
Soufien “Sof” Taamallah (Senior Research Engineer) Sof is a Mechanical Engineer with extensive experience solving aerothermal fluids problems. Using both experimental and numerical (CFD) tools, he loves addressing energy and environmental issues. Prior to joining Openwater Power, Sof worked at GE’s Global Research Center as a combustion test and CFD engineer. ​Before that, he was a research assistant in the Reacting Gas Dynamics Laboratory at MIT​ pursuing his doctoral studies​. Sof served in the French Naval Aviation, holds a BS in mechanical engineering (with a minor in Economics) from Ecole Polytechnique (France), a MS in Energy Engineering and Science from Ecole ​d​es Mines de Paris and a PhD in mechanical engineering and computation from MIT.
Erik Herold (Mechanical Engineer) Erik is an experienced mechanical engineer with a strong background in mechanical design, specifically in remote power generation and fluidic systems. His experience includes microfluidic chemical sensor design at ECI Biotech; thin film material characterization at the Boston University Nano Heat Transfer Lab; industrial materials processing/manufacturing systems design at TevTech LLC; and design of small gas turbines for remote power generation at Dynamo Micropower, where he was the lead mechanical engineer. Erik has pending patents on gas turbine mechanical design and system architecture. Erik holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University.

Legal and Financial Advisory

Jack Steele (Corporate Attorney) Jack is a partner at Pierce Atwood in the firm’s Business Group, where he focuses on corporate formation, financing, operation and acquisition. Jack is Open Water’s primary corporate counsel, advising the management team on all aspects of the business’s operation, governance, corporate structure, and contracting. Prior to joining Pierce Atwood, Jack was a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP and McDermott, Will & Emery LLP. Jack holds a BA in Political Science from Amherst College and a JD from New York University (NYU) School of Law.
Rob Blasi (Patent Attorney) Rob is a member of Danielson Legal and was previously a partner at Goodwin Procter. Rob helps manage Open Water’s substantial and growing IP portfolio and supports the management team with portfolio development strategy, planning, and execution. He is involved in writing & filing new applications, prosecuting ongoing applications, and contractual IP matters. While Rob was at Goodwin, Rob and CEO Tom Milnes worked together on Tom’s last company, Viztu Technologies, where Rob was a lead attorney on the company’s acquisition with a focus on IP matters. Rob holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, a Master’s in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and a JD from Harvard Law School.
Todd Coleman (Corporate Finance Advisor) Todd has 26 years of M&A and corporate finance advisory experience. He joins Open Water to advise on transaction options and to support the executive team in responding to and managing a growing amount of in-bound interest. He has advised on dozens of transactions previously, representing several billion dollars in value. His experience includes working with fellow Open Water advisor Larry Lukis to take Larry’s company Proto Labs, Inc. public in 2012. Todd has experience in a wide array of sectors including energy, semiconductors, consumer products, and industrial technology & growth. Over the course of his career Todd has worked for investment banks Piper Jaffray & Co., Jefferies & Co., and Robertson Stephens.

Advisory Board

Jeff Smith (Advisor and Strategic Partner) Jeff is president of Riptide Autonomous Solutions, one of Open Water’s strategic partners. He was formerly the COO of Bluefin Robotics, where he captured over $100M in sales by identifying and leading key development programs in the US government. In 2010 Jeff chaired a broad industry team to study the supporting technology areas for UMVs in preparation for a planned UUV Master Plan update. Over the past several years he has served as a subject matter expert in numerous war games and study panels focused on the future of undersea warfare.
Larry Lukis (Advisor and Investor) Larry founded Proto Labs, Inc. in 1999, was CTO from 2001-2013, and continues as Chairman. Proto Labs is a technology-enabled global manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts utilizing injection molding, CNC machining and 3D printing. The company went public in 2012 (NYSE: PRLB) and enjoys a $1.5B market cap. A serial entrepreneur, Larry previously co-founded LasterMaster Ltd., and as CTO oversaw the development of a series of products generating over $100 million in annual revenue. The company was ultimately acquired by HP. Larry invests in “cool” technologies and runs his own business incubator in Minnesota called Digi Labs.
VADM (ret) Mike Connor (Advisor) Mike is CEO and founder of ThayerMahan Inc.. Prior to ThayerMahan, Mike was Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) in the US Navy holding the rank of Vice Admiral. His prior commands included the USS Seawolf (SSN 21), Submarine Squadron 8, Submarine Group 7 Task Force 54/74, and NATO’s Allied Submarine forces. Mike holds a B.A. in Physics from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in National Security Studies from the United States Naval War College.
Mike Kutzleb (Advisor) Mike is president and founder of Phoenix International, a marine services company that performs complex manned and unmanned underwater operations worldwide. Phoenix supports the US Navy’s Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) with undersea operations and diving services, and maintains the U.S. Navy’s Domestic and International Submarine Rescue Program assets in rescue ready status 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
David Kelly (Advisor) David is currently CTO of InnovaSea, where he is responsible for setting InnovaSea’s technical strategy and for leading research and development efforts to create advanced open-ocean aquaculture farming systems. David is an experienced executive in the marine robotics, automation, and autonomy space. Prior to InnovaSea he served as president and CEO of Bluefin Robotics where he was responsible for the strategic direction and operational execution of the business.
David Shlansky (Advisor) David is founder and managing partner of Shlansky Law Group. David has extensive experience in corporate joint ventures, technology transfer, intellectual property licensing, business real estate and other aspects of corporate law, including employment and regulatory compliance. David is especially experienced at representing entrepreneurial clients from business inception and startup through successive rounds of financing and growth. David holds a BA from Columbia University and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Open Water News and Media Coverage

May 22nd, 2017: Open Water is acquired by L3 Technologies.
April 2017: Open Water is featured in The Science Coalition’s Sparking Economic Growth report (PDF), on their website, and in a podcast interview with CEO Tom Milnes.
March 2017: Open Water is featured in an article in The Economist.
March 2017: Open Water’s technology is highlighted in an article in Marine Technology News.
July 2016: Open Water is awarded a Phase 1 SBIR for ocean-floor power generation.
April 2016: Open Water is awarded an R&D prime contract for man-portable UUV power systems.
September 2015: Open Water and its technology are featured in an article in NDIA Magazine, available both online (September) and in print (October).
June 2015: Open Water and its technology are featured in an article in Seapower Magazine Online.
June 2015: Open Water and its technology are featured in an article on Rigzone.
June 2015: CEO Tom Milnes is quoted in an article in The Guardian about the drawbacks of lithium-ion batteries.
June 2015: CEO Tom Milnes demonstrates Open Water’s technology to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and sits on a panel with her to discuss how the US government can better support start-up companies. Coverage by The Boston Globe.
May 2015: Open Water is featured in Greentown Labs’ Member Spotlight.
April 2014: CEO Tom Milnes presents Open Water’s technology to Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk. Coverage by Greentown Labs.
January 2014: CSO Ian McKay and CEO Tom Milnes are interviewed by Scott Kirsner of The Boston Globe shortly after spinning Open Water out of MIT.
May 2013: While spinning Open Water out of MIT, CEO Tom Milnes was asked by MIT President L. Rafael Reif & MIT Professor Fiona Murray to be a representative of entrepreneurship at MIT to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Tom, President Reif, Professor Murray and seven other members of the MIT entrepreneurship community speak with Prime Minister Cameron at MIT’s Media Lab during the Prime Minister’s trip to MIT.