Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board
Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board
Christopher Efird combines thirty years of entrepreneurship with extensive energy industry, financial community, and US public market experience across a wide variety of types and sizes of companies. He co-founded NEXT Renewable Fuels in 2016 and currently serves as the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive where he oversees all the company’s business and development activities.
A lifetime entrepreneur and investor, Mr. Efird has led or co-led the investment into twenty-nine growth stage businesses both in the US and internationally. Of these, eighteen became public in the United States including two each on the New York Stock Exchange and American Stock Exchange and seven on the NASDAQ. Previously, Mr. Efird co-founded and managed two related private equity funds that invested in companies operating across a wide variety of industries including energy, technology, and manufacturing.
A native of Houston, TX, Mr. Efird grew up in the traditional energy industry. He previously served as the chairman of a pipeline construction company and has funded the turn-around / restart of a biodiesel production facility as well as the feasibility and initial site design and development of a world-scale LPG export terminal. He has long term relationships across the energy economy and value chain which he is now actively leveraging to position NEXT as a leader in the provision of drop-in replacement clean fuels.
Mr. Efird is a graduate of the Advanced Management and Leadership program at Oxford University’s Saїd School of Business. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts degree from Sam Houston State University.
President & Director
President- NEXT Renewable Fuels
Eugene (Gene) Cotten brings 37 years of experience in project design, engineering and execution for the gas, oil and renewable energy industries. He has worked as a Senior Executive for several major energy companies, as well as performed third-party consulting in energy acquisition and technical due diligence. Over the last decade, he has performed scoping evaluations for over twenty Renewable Diesel projects, reviewing technology selection, site selection, project scope definition and project cost estimates. For the past three years, he has been working on the NEXT Renewable Fuels project overseeing all the technical aspects of process design and project execution.
Prior to NEXT, Gene was the Vice President of Project Development for International Alliance Group where he led the Project Development group executing project design reviews, project scope development, FEL1 project cost estimates and project due diligence engagements. He also served as Vice President of Refining for the Big West of California refinery and Vice President of Regional Refining and Plant Manager for both Valero Texas City and Houston refineries. Gene was responsible for overall facility operations and strategic development where he was instrumental in developing and executing several capital projects valued greater than $1.0B dollars.
Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Armstrong combines 33 years of commercial experience in the oil, gas, commodity trading, and renewable energy industries. A lifetime energy professional, Mr. Armstrong started his commercial career in 1989 with Lehman Brothers on the floor of The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) where he executed trades for a cross section of international oil companies, hedge funds, and major refiners.
In 1994 Mr. Armstrong embarked on a 17-year career to trade crude oil, natural gas, power, and refined products for such companies as BP, American Electric Power, and Constellation Energy Group.
In 2012 Mr. Armstrong assumed a role with Kinder Morgan’s Product Pipeline Group, where he successfully started the company’s transmix processing business, traded the corporate RINS portfolio, managed the butane blending partnership, and later acted as the business development manager for Kinder’s Plantation Pipeline and Crude Marketing Team.
Mr. Armstrong has long term relationships within the energy industry which he is now actively leveraging to position NEXT as a leader in the clean energy space.
Prior to joining NEXT, Mr. Armstrong was VP of Business Development with Energy Midstream LLC where he was responsible for identifying opportunities in processing for renewable feedstocks and asset purchases.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Kane combines thirty years of finance and operations experience across numerous industries in small and medium sized businesses. He has been with NEXT Renewable Fuels since 2019 and currently serves as the company’s Chief Financial Officer overseeing all the company’s accounting and financial reporting activities.
Mr. Kane started his career as an auditor at the Los Angeles office of Arthur Andersen & Co. Since leaving public accounting, Mr. Kane has served as a Chief Financial Officer in small and medium sized companies, raising equity and debt in numerous offerings in both private and public companies facilitating capital raises from start-ups to liquidation events.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Mr. Kane now lives with wife and two teenage sons in Las Vegas, Nevada where he has lived since 2016.
Mr. Kane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a certified public accountant.
Vice President of Administration & Finance
Vice President of Administration & Finance
Mr. Haiping Ni has over 20 years’ experiences in the financial industry and the oil & gas industry.
From 2017 to 2021, he was a managing director at WE Innovation Group, Inc which is focusing on the development, investments and marketing of global innovative technologies in Energy, Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and Healthcare.
He co-founded an upstream oil & gas exploration company in 2013 which invested and developed oil & gas assets in the United States. He raised more than 18MM USD for the company and worked as VP of finance.
Prior to that, he worked as a managing director for 7 years at Access America Investments, LLC (AAI) which is a private equity fund management company located in Houston. Haiping was responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence, deal structuring, valuation, negotiations, closing and portfolio company management.
Haiping worked for 7 years at Tianjin Economic & Technological Development Area (TEDA). He established TEDA Shanghai Office as the Vice Director of the Office and managed North America and Europe clients. At TEDA, Haiping provided consultation for foreign direct investment (FDI) investors and closed foreign direct investment deals valued at $120 million for 3 Fortune 500 companies.
Haiping has an MBA degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Rice University.
Natasha Parvey helps connect the citizens and business owners in Columbia County to the project. Raised on a farm in North Dakota, Natasha understands the importance of rural communities and the impact of living wage jobs. She is a natural connector and believes in a win/win business motto. Working in economic development and marketing for fifteen years, she loves to promote where she lives and share the importance of why one should shop local. She volunteers for all three chambers in Columbia County and is currently serving as the President of the Rainier Chamber of Commerce.
Director of Communications
Director of Communications
Michael Hinrichs brings nearly two decades of experience in corporate communications, external affairs, investor relations, and ESG program development. He has extensive experience in permitting multi-billion dollar energy projects, developing emerging brands, positioning companies or products for public launch, and managing crisis communications. Throughout the last decade, Hinrichs has built influential coalitions in the western United States, uniting unions, environmentalists, communities and business advocacy organizations. His multi-channel communications strategies and corporate initiatives have swayed decision- makers, elected officials, public influencers, investors and the media.
As a career public affairs specialist, Hinrichs has represented global players like Shell, Shell Hydrogen, General Motors EV, Sempra Utilities, Wartsila and Woodside Energy. In 2008, he co- founded the LA Sustainability Collaborative to advance research in smart growth policies. The non-profit realized success quickly and was absorbed into the world-renown UCLA Luskin Institute.
Member of the Board of Directors
Mr. Crist is a successful public company CEO as well as a noted Texas based entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the managing partner of Texas Ventures, as well as the CEO of Osperity, a leader in AI-driven computer vision for the industrial sector
Scott also currently serves as the chairman / CEO of Industrial Tech Acquisition II, Inc. (“ITAQ II”), a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (“SPAC”) he created to effect a merger or business combination. ITAQ II is Scott’s second SPAC following the successful IPO and merger of his first SPAC with ARBE Robotics (NASDAQ: ARBE) of Tel Aviv, Israel. Finally, Scott is chairman of the VA-Gov Housing fund, the nation’s largest lender for the Veteran Administration’s Homeless Shelter Program.
Previously, Scott founded and served as CEO of Telscape International, Inc. (NASDAQ), a telecommunications company focused on certain emerging markets around the world. Prior to that, he served as President and CEO of Matrix Telecom, which Inc. Magazine previously ranked 7th on its list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the US. Earlier in his career, Scott worked for Trammell Crow Group, IBM and Booz-Allen Hamilton. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from NC State University.
Scott is a recipient of the NASDAQ / Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Chief Strategic Officer & Director
Chief Strategic Officer & Director
Mr. Kim is focused on sustainable fuels and infrastructure development where he advocates for decarbonization of industry and transport sectors through advancement of synthetic fuel, renewable energy, electrification, and hydrogen ecosystems. Combining these industry efforts with regulatory and public policy development, he seeks to drive responsible energy transition.
Prior to NEXT, Daniel held key business development role with the Pilot Company, one of the largest travel center networks in North America, where he focused on the development of sustainable alternative energy platforms. Daniel was also the former Chief Financial Officer of World Energy, producer and distributor of sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel and biodiesel.
Daniel has been active in the global energy sector for 25+ years in operating companies and financial institutions which included ExxonMobil, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. He has leadership experience in private and public strategy development; operations management; technology implementation; and transaction experiences in M&A, joint ventures, restructuring and financing.
Daniel earned an MBA from Yale University and BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. He is also a First Movers Fellow with the Aspen Institute.
Ms. Ingargiola has over 20 years of US public market experience at the Executive or Director level with a specific focus in clean tech and energy.
Ms Ingargiola has served as CFO or Audit Chair of multiple public companies, both on NASDAQ and the NYSE. She currently serves as CFO of a NASDAQ bio tech firm. She is also Audit Chair and Director of several companies including, AgEagle (NYSE:UAVS) and Vision Marine (NASDAQ:VMAR). Previous to her current roles, in 2012 she was co-founder and CFO of MagneGas Corporation, a clean tech plasma arc waste to energy company listed on NASDAQ.
She has a strong background in finance, corporate governance, compliance and mergers and acquisitions. She has led multiple equity and debt financing transactions with various structures and sizes.
She holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Boston University Questrom School of Business and a Masters Degree from the University of South Florida.