Team

Vuyo Jack

Non-Executive Director

Innocent Dutiro

Non-Executive Director

David Sonnenberg

Managing & Technical Director

David is a Sustainability and Renewable Energy expert with more than 25 years’ global experience working towards the development of large-scale energy systems utilising BioMass as a primary input. His extensive experience conducting agronomic research, coupled with a strong Industrial Design background has positioned him as a global authority on BioMass as a primary energy feed-stock. While his agronomic focus is specific to energy crops that can thrive in arid or marginal and, he has worked with numerous BioMass-to-Energy processes, including the production of BioGas, BioSynGas, BioDiesel, Sustainable Aviation Fuel, BioHydrogen and BioCoal, all substituting for existing fossil energy supplies.

Since the late 1990's David has been deeply focused on the development of Biomass-to-Energy initiatives and has been instrumental through the utilization of his expertise in establishing numerous ground-breaking projects, some publicly listed. These include inter alia: D1 Oil (first listed BioMass-to-BioDiesel Company), Helius Energy (Recognized as the #1 BioMass-to-Energy Project in the UK), B2E (BioMass-to-Energy for the Mining Industry in the Philippines, and Clenergen (German based BioMass Research company operating in India).

His experience working in over 60 countries across Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Europe has provided him with a deep understanding on the opportunities and limitations of specific Biomass-to-Energy systems across a range of different socio-economic and geographical contexts. His keeninterest and understanding of the full potential for BioMass contributed to his role in producing the BioJet fuel used by Boeing in an early iconic long-haul renewable jet fuel test flight in 2008.

Prior to focusing fully on biomass to-energy solutions, David consulted extensively for the United Nations across many geographies and contributed to the processes that would lead to the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995.

His work in the fields of Renewable Energy and Sustainability has been recognised globally and include being awarded the Global Legacy Award for Rural Sustainable Development at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002.

Mark Kaplan

Chief Executive Officer

Mark was a co-founder, together with David, of Uhuru Energy in 2012. His diverse and expansive prior business experience and extensive business networks have enabled his contribution to the development path of Uhuru into a complex and rapidly emerging global renewable energy industry. In addition to his role as CEO Mark is engaging in international dialogue on the sustainability and mitigation of Climate Change for the African Continent.

Mark is a Chartered Accountant by background and has had more than 35 years of diverse international business experience in leadership roles across multiple industries, covering a wide spectrum of business activities and disciplines.

Specific industry experience includes Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Travel & Tourism, and Commercial & Trade Finance. Inter-Alia Mark was a co-founder of both Tourism Investment Corporation (Tourvest) and DNA Supply Chain Group.

Leadership in the Listed Company environment entailed significant involvement in corporate activities including multinational client engagements, mergers & acquisitions, optimization of international structuring, and managing regulatory, compliance, shareholder & public relations matters.

In addition to business leadership roles, Mark has had 15 years of Strategic Consulting, Advisory, Mentoring and Facilitation experience, through which he has supported a diverse spectrum of Business and Community Leaders to achieve their underlying personal and organisational imperatives.

This activity stream provides the engagement platform for pursuit of his passion for social impact and community development outside of his business engagements, supporting in a strategic advisory role to a variety of NPO and NGO initiatives.

Of significant value has been Mark’s engagement and cultivation of local and international leadership networks, notably facilitated by his active leadership roles he has played in YPO, a per-eminent global business leadership network.

Chester Kaplan

Environmental & Social Adaptation

Chester is a trained archaeologist and anthropologist who currently works as a project designer in the field of climate change adaptation. His journey began in 2011 as research archaeologist and heritage consultant with a keen interest on early arid zone adaptation, before turning his focus towards modern climate change adaptation and project design in 2016.

He currently works across a range of organisations where he provides support and advice on the development of large-scale climate change adaptation, mitigation and green energy projects, including for multilateral funding organisations (such as the GCF) and for private sector companies.

As an anthropologist He often oversees the development of environmental and social safeguard frameworks (ESS), but his experience extends to cover all non-technical design processes including the development of logical frameworks, theory of change, implementation and budget plans, stakeholder engagement, financing frameworks etc.

In his personal capacity he is interested in all aspects of adaptation, but has a particular fascination with the uptake of innovative behaviors and technologies and the complex interactions that result across the spectrum of human systems.

Phil Riekert

Project Research and Design

Phil is a Project Manager who joined Uhuru Energy in 2015 where he was brought on to help develop Gauteng’s first “BioMass for Energy Plantation”. His focus was on Cactus, Moringa and Vetiver for cultivation on arid and marginalized land.

Prior to joining Uhuru, Phil qualified as a Rangeland Manager and spent 10 years in the South African outdoors working in the fields of ecology and agronomy. It is through this experience that he gained a deep appreciation for nature and the environment and realized the importance of preserving humankind’s natural heritage.

His passion for securing the natural environment and his desire to combat climate change are part of what drew him to Uhuru, where he currently focuses his work on the design of Integrated Renewable Energy Solutions. His main areas of work for the company include project planning as well as research and development with a distinct emphasis on large scale BioHydrogen, BioCoal, and BioFlocculants.

Shane Harvey

Financial & Project Management

Shane is a Chartered Accountant with in excess of 30 years’ experience working in Financial and Operations Management in Multinational Trading Companies.

For many years as Managing Director of Sherwood International he was integrally involved in the execution of integrated procurement and logistics outsourced solutions to large-scale clients in the mining and manufacturing industries with Sub-Saharan African footprints.

After leaving Sherwood he consulted extensively for several large business enterprises active in the European and African Markets, engaging across their financial, procurement, logistics and project management divisions.

Shane joined Uhuru Energy in 2013 where he contributes his extensive experience in financial and project management. In addition to his financial skillset contribution, he has been integral to the development of the Uhuru project pipeline, where he has led the financial and business modelling of all projects, including planning, technical and agronomic feasibility stages through to project  implementation and operations.

Team