Steve is the founder of Lontra and inventor of the Blade Compressor technology.
A career entrepreneur, Steve has assembled a highly experienced team and secured the backing of key investors and industry bodies in bringing his original vision to the market.
Steve’s background is in technical project management, delivering IT projects for blue chip companies, and he has been developing new technologies for over 20 years.
Steve has a passion for automotives and has raced and tested cars professionally.
Peter Watson sadly passed away in July 2015 and will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him.
Peter Watson OBE brings many years experience of engineering, both in industry and with links to academia. He was formerly Chairman and Chief Executive of AEA Technology plc, where he was responsible for a turnover of £400 million and led the licensing of the lithium ion battery technology that underpins the mobile economy.
Previously he was the British Rail Engineering Director, responsible for an engineering staff of 40,000.
Prior to that he was the Head of Product Development at GKN and was the chairman of two of the largest manufacturing divisions: GKN Axles supplying to a wide range of automotive companies including Jaguar; and Powder Metallurgy supplying sintered metal components to the automotive and aerospace industries with a turnover of approximately £300M.
He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, and a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (USA). He has been a member of DTI advisory committees and has an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Waterloo. He was a Visiting Professor at Imperial College for many years.
Peter also has extensive City experience, being involved in one of Britain’s most successful MBO’s as Chairman of Porterbrook, and in an IPO as Chief Executive of AEA Technology.
Following degrees in Physics and then in Accountancy & Law, Neil started his career as a Chartered Accountant with Mann Judd Gordon. He then spent two years in Hamburg with Price Waterhouse before joining Smith Kline as an internal auditor. After a further two years he moved into manufacturing with Norton Company (later Saint Gobain) where he held a number of senior finance roles across Europe before moving in 1991 to APV Plc as Group Corporate Controller. There, he was promoted to President of the Homogeniser Division running the global business from the USA. In 1996 he joined United Texon Plc, an Apax investment, where he led a demerger and sale in 1997. In 2003 he joined Deloro Stellite as CFO and has lead two sale processes in 2006 and again in 2012 when the business was sold for €330 million. Neil continues to invest in small start-up businesses as well as managing his asset portfolio.
Dr David Price CBE
David is a former Chief Executive of a FTSE-250 company with a broad experience within the Electronics, Chemical, Defence, Marine, & Nuclear industries. He was also a non-executive director of AZ Electronics Plc until its successful sale to Merck Gmbh in July 2014. He is currently Chairman of several high-technology, early stage companies, including Symetrica Ltd, RTL Materials Ltd, Optitune Plc and Telesoft Ltd. He is the treasurer of the University of Southampton and a non-executive director of the University Hospital of Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. He has a degree in electronic engineering, a PhD from University College London and, in 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for his services to science and engineering by Cranfield University. David was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to industry.
Colin Billiet is the CEO of Nano-porous Solutions, a supplier of innovative filter technology to the compressor industry.
As former CEO of Dominick Hunter Group, Colin led first the IPO and then the sale of the firm in a deal that valued the company at a P/E ratio of 32. He was with the company for 34 years, where he was Managing Director of the Industrial Division before becoming the Group Chief Executive in 1997, until 2006. During this period, sales and profits more than tripled.
He was a key member of an MBO team in 1990, which successfully floated onto the London Stock Market in 1994. He oversaw the successful sale of this business which, under his leadership, had reached annual sales of £200m.The Industrial Division under his leadership became the clear world leader in Compressed Air Treatment.
He has been a member of the British Compressed Air Society for some 40 years and was President in 1988-90.
The Process Filtration Division was built from scratch to be capable of competing very profitably with the world leaders in a market with high barriers to entry. It produced high annual growth rates with world class manufacturing, products and technologies; serving the Pharmaceutical, Health Care, Electronics, and Medical and Food & Beverage markets.
87% of all group sales were outside of the UK, many through group sales companies. Continuous organic growth was achieved with a stream of new product introductions representing 30% of annual sales. He also carried out several successful strategic acquisitions in Europe and North America.
He joined Lontra, as a non executive Director, in 2006.
In September of the same year, he was approached to lead a technology spin out from the University of Bath to commercialise novel nano-porous Absorption Media Tube (AMT) technology. In July, 2007, he formed a new business, nano-porous solutions limited, to commercialise AMT technology. The introduction of new innovative (patents and patents pending) products has accelerated and manufacture increased. In October 2013, he arranged a strategic sale of the business to IMI plc.
With a background as a design engineer, Colin has numerous patents and technical publications to his name.
John Spruell is the former CEO of high tech specialist material engineers Deloro Stellite Group, which he led following an MBO. Prior to that, he was Divisional Managing Director of GKN’s Powder Metallurgy Division. A graduate mechanical engineer, he has a lifetime of expertise in the management of manufacturing processes in the UK and overseas, and has founded and managed international joint ventures and relationships throughout the world.
Deloro Stellites’s business involved providing sophisticated bespoke solutions to demands for high performance materials and components. This required very advanced materials technology and also an extremely high level of manufacturing capability to produce low volume precisions parts. Growth came from expoliting this unique technology worldwide and Deloro sole into five continents and manufactured in nine locations in Europe, North America, and Asia. After growing organically and through acquisition, the Company was sold on for 5 times its original purchasing price.
Since retiring, John has acted as a business angel investor in a number of early stage companies, contributing both investment and management expertise,. He is also working with a number of VCs on acquisitions in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.
Rick Stasyshan is President at RWS Marketing LLC, Granger Indiana. A graduate of Rutgers University (BA in Business Administration, 1973), he spent his career in the capital goods industry being employed by Ingersoll Rand (1975-1979), Atlas Copco (1979-1987) and the last 24 years (1987-2011) by Sullair Corporation (a division of Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies subsidiary). All these firms manufacture and market compressed air related products. During the last 20 years (1980-2011) at Sullair, Rick was an officer of the company and Vice President and General Manager of the various divisions before assuming the final role as VP/GM of Sullair America’s in 2009.
Over his career he worked in expanding sales and marketing roles, strategic and business planning and general management. As a General Manager, he also lead Sullair’s manufacturing operations in the USA. Rick was active with UTC’s lean manufacturing program – ACE. He attended UTC Executive Program in 2001 at the Dardin School of Business (University of Virginia). Retiring in March 2011, Rick started RWS Marketing LLC and has clients in the USA and Europe. His firm is headquartered in Granger IN, a South Bend Indiana suburb. He is a technical consultant to the Compressed Air and Gas Institute – an industry focused trade association supporting the compressor industry and its members include all the major global compressor companies.
Simon has SME management experience and a background in public affairs, working with government technology agencies such as PPARC and NERC, and commercial projects for Atlas Venture.