Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Stephen Cotton has served as President of the Company since May 2, 2018. Mr. Cotton also served as Chief Commercial Officer of the Company from January 2015 to June 9, 2017. Previously, Mr. Cotton co-founded Canara, Inc. in December 2001 and served as its chief executive officer through the sale of the company to a private equity firm in June 2012, after which he served as founder and executive chairman until April 2014. Canara is a global provider of stationary battery systems with integrated monitoring systems and cloud-based monitoring services to many of the largest data center operators. From April 2014 to January 2015 and June 9, 2017 to April 2018, Mr. Cotton managed his private investments.
Chief Financial Officer
Merrill joined Aqua Metals in November 2018 from Klondex Mines Ltd., a Nevada based international mining company where he was Director of Finance/Accounting. Before its acquisition earlier this year by Hecla, Klondex was a $500 million dollar company traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Prior to joining Klondex, Merrill spent five years as Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Comstock Mining Inc., a publicly traded gold company in Nevada where he was instrumental in establishing financial modeling and analytics, driving efficiencies, and negotiating with vendors to conserve funds and manage liquidity. He worked directly with bankers, lenders, investment funds and major shareholders related to the company’s fund raising and capital management activities. Merrill also worked as a controller at Fronteer Gold Inc. and as an assistant controller at Newmont Mining Corp., where he developed strong financial planning, treasury and cash management experience in the mining sector. Merrill began his career at Deloitte & Touche LLP and spent six years working in broader financial accounting, reporting and internal controls while managing corporate financial activities.
Merrill holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Central Washington University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno and is a certified public accountant.
Vice President of Human Resources
Bradfield joins Aqua Metals from Klondex Gold & Silver Mining, where she spent two years as Director of Human Resources, directing all facets of Human Resources across the company’s four mines and three mills for well over a thousand employees. Bradfield also spent seven years with Reno start-up, HR Consultants working on the design and delivery of the entire spectrum of benefits and compensation for 700 employees, and six years at NV Energy, first as Managing Strategic Business Partner of Human Resources and then Manager, Employee and Labor Relations for over 5,000 employees. Prior to that Bradfield held the title of VP of HR for North American Operations at Firth Rixon-Viking, a manufacturing business acquired by Alcoa, where she led the implementation of their future state of HR Service delivery, including both strategic and tactical plans. Bradfield began her career as HR Manager at GD Resources, a smelting company that processes byproducts from the mining industry.
Vice President of Operations
Taecker joined Aqua Metals from Johnson Controls in January of 2017 and was promoted in late 2018 to Vice President of Operations for the company. He has 17 years of experience in manufacturing and operations leadership. Prior to relocating his family to the Tahoe-Reno area to join Aqua Metals, he spent 6 years in progressive leadership roles at the JCI Lead Acid Battery Recycling Center in Florence, South Carolina and was involved in early planning, construction, commissioning, scaling and leading operations of that facility. Taecker brings experience in starting up new operations, environmental regulation compliance, process development and operational excellence. Taecker is highly motivated about being a key part of the new processes that Aqua Metals uses to eliminate many of the safety and environmental hazards found at traditional smelters while making the purest lead in the world. Taecker has a Mechanical Engineering degree from South Dakota State University.
Feng Han, Ph.D.
Vice President of Licensing and Pricing
Feng Han, Ph.D. joined Aqua Metals in July 2019 from X-Cutag Therapeutics, Inc where he was Chief Business Officer driving global business strategy and licensing. Prior to that, Feng spent nearly 20 years working at DuPont leading R&D, new business development, market and opportunity assessment, license, valuations, and product delivery. Over the last 10+ years, as New Business Development and Licensing Leader, Feng has been focusing on developing a new technology licensing program and new business in the US and international regions including product definition, pricing strategy, engineering package, equipment supply, commercial and technical proposals. Feng negotiated and signed DuPont’s initial process licenses and biocatalyst supply agreements, representing hundreds of millions of dollars of capital investment across multiple licensees. Feng earned his Ph.D. from Washington State University, and has an MBA from University of Iowa. Feng also is a Certified Licensing Professional and Project Management Professional.