As a sailing captain for the past several decades, Ari spent his childhood in Castine, Maine where his father studied yacht design at Maine Maritime Academy. He is an active charter boat sailor, entrepreneur, and technology industry product manager. Most recently he was Senior Product Manager of Mobile Apps for WHIM in NYC, where he led six teams (front-end, back-end, device APK, 3rd party developer services, home-grown platform apps, R&D) in developing their consumer home market IoT hardware/software devices. Before that, he was Head of Digital for Art Media Holdings, where he rebooted all of the web and mobile digital products for four of the world’s leading art magazines, leading to a successful acquisition by Penske Media. Prior to that, he built three startups in LA: one of the largest membership organizations in the entertainment industry focused on science and technology innovation, annually sponsored by Wired Magazine and hosting over 100 events including Elon Musk’s first presentations to Hollywood on SpaceX and Tesla in 2009; a game development lab for social issue-themed video games, kicked off with a $500K grant from the National Science Foundation; and a crowdsourcing platform for social issue activities and fundraising.
We are thankful to dozens of informal advisors assisting on all aspects of our business, but two advisors are particularly active in assisting us as we design and build our operations:
Lauren Vriens leads national strategy and business operations for Revel, a shared electric mobility startup that is transforming the way people move around cities. Previously, as General Manager, Vriens scaled Revel’s shared moped business by 10x in New York, building out the team, operational processes, KPIs, and organizational structure. Following a Fulbright Fellowship in the Middle East, Vriens has focused her career on the transition to sustainable electrification - from generation to transportation. In 2016, Vriens led the team that successfully negotiated the end of coal-fired power in Alberta, Canada, the first jurisdiction in the world to do so in partnership with private utility companies. In her free time, she advises early stage startups and is a NFTE volunteer.
Captain Norwood is teaching as an Assistant Professor in Marine Transportation at Maine Maritime Academy. She is teaching topics that include: Marine Systems, Electronic Navigation, Offshore Technology, and Safety Culture. Captain Norwood’s research area is in Autonomous Vessel Technology and Shore Control Center development, working in a collaboration with Sea Machines Robotics, US Maritime Administration, and SailPlan, Inc. Her career encompasses 15 years of experience both in maritime operations, seagoing and offshore, including dynamic positioning, shipyard experience, and new build start-up. She has served as Master and Offshore Installation Manager of both Dynamic Positioned Semi-submersible and Drillships. She has managed both the safety and regulatory aspects in her roles as Master/Offshore Installation Manager and as a Director of Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment ashore. In 2005, at the age of 31, she became the first female Master/Offshore Installation Manager for Global Marine taking command of the Dynamically Positioned Drillship GSF CR Luigs. She currently holds a USCG Unlimited Oceans Master License.