Management & Science Team
Keith H. Cole - CEO and founder of Water Lens
Keith is responsible for the overall management and growth of the company. Keith has grown, turned around, and started companies across different industries. During the recent Great Recession and Offshore Drilling Moratorium, he led the turnaround efforts for Delcor USA, Inc., an offshore fabricator of subsea production modules and topside buildings for the deep water oil and gas industry.
Keith earned his Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. He also obtained his law degree from Southern Methodist University in 1993 and was a member of the International Lawyer Law Review.
Keith is very active in the Alumni Association for the University of Texas, where he is a former President of the Houston Alumni Chapter and a current member of the Texas Exes Council in Austin, Texas. Keith also serves on the Government Relations Advisory Council for the UT Health Science Center at Houston (now UTHealth).
Justin Dragna - PhD, Chief Scientific Officer
Justin joined the Water Lens product development team in July 2012 after finishing his post-doctorial research work under Water Lens technology platform pioneer, Dr. Eric Anslyn. The majority of Justin's research focused on the detection of chirality using supramolecular chemistry. He is also worked on predicting thermodynamic parameters using pattern recognition techniques. In 2011, Justin founded Kymyk Technologies to commercialize techniques for rapidly screening enantiomeric excess. He led the company to win the Idea to Product USA Competition and to the finals of the Idea to Product International Competition in Stockholm Sweden in 2011.
He became interested in supramolecular chemistry after working with deep-cavity cavitands under the supervision of Professor Bruce Gibb at the University of New Orleans. Justin has a Doctorate in Chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.Sc. Chemistry, with aMinor in Mathematics, from The University of New Orleans.
Adam Garland - PhD
Adam joined the Water Lens product development team in July 2014 after finishing his PhD in Organic Chemistry under Dr. Eric Anslyn at the University of Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Florida in 2009. He handles research and development as well as software development at Water Lens.
Tyler West - Associate Chemist
Tyler joined the Water Lens product development team in May 2013 after finishing his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas. Tyler has worked in multiple fields of chemistry, from total synthesis to advanced spectroscopy and materials for solar energy. His skills and interests have largely been focused around analysis by traditional methods and modern instrumentation, from small organic molecules in natural product synthesis and food chemistry, and polymer materials and inorganics for solar energy
Collin Strickland - Director of Business Development
Collin joined the Water Lens team in a business development and customer relations role in June 2014. He spent the preceding ten years in the oil and gas industry, serving in many roles while acquiring a large network of contacts across the industry and the country. Collin studied Business Administration at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas
Advisors and Consultants
Eric Anslyn, PhD, Scientific Advisor - Dr. Anslyn is the pioneer of supramolecular analytical chemistry; the technology and principles behind the Water Lens technology. Eric is the Distinguished Teaching Professor for Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds the Norman Hackerman Professorship in Chemistry.
His research encompasses physical organic and bioorganic chemistry and the development of synthetic receptors for sensing and catalysis applications. Dr. Anslyn received his PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1987. He served as a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University and joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in 1989. He was named a Sloan Scholar, Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, Searle Scholar, and a Presidential Young Investigator and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994. In 1997 he was named Full Professor, and in 2004 he was awarded the Norman Hackerman Professorship in Chemistry. He is also a 2005 Cope Scholar Awardee.
John Ely, Advisor, Investor and Chemist - John Ely is widely regarded as the world’s authority on hydraulic fracturing. John firmly believes that our technology will change the industry and quickly saw its benefits. He is an advisor and also the first investor.
In May 1991, John with three partners founded Ely and Associates, Inc. This company is dedicated to providing a blend of practical and technical expertise on well completion, stimulation fluids and equipment, and reservoir analysis. John holds several patents and has numerous publications, including a book titled "Stimulation Treatment Handbook/ An Engineer's Guide to Quality Control." He is also a contributing author to the S.P.E. monograph on hydraulic fracturing, writing the chapter on hydraulic fracturing fluids and fracture fluid selection. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, The Society of Petroleum Engineers, and is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemistry.
James A. Holcombe, PhD, Scientific Advisor & UT Chemistry Professor - Professor Holcombe received his Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado College and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Since that time, he has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Texas at Austin except for 1984-85 when he served as Program Director for Chemical Analysis at the National Science Foundation. He has served as the Department Chairman as well as President for the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and Program Chair and organizer of the 1991 joint meeting of the national FACSS meeting and the regional Northern California ACS meeting. He is on the editorial board for a number of journals, has served on organizing and advisory committees for a number of national and international analytical chemistry meetings and is the past Editor-in-Chief of Applied Spectroscopy.
Professor Holcombe is an analytical chemist and has published extensively in the area of trace metal analysis and preconcentration techniques for trace metals. He has expertise in atomic spectroscopy, ultratrace analysis, metal chelation (preconcentration) and computer simulation of analytical systems. He has also published in the area of FRET detection using immobilized peptides; Monte Carlo simulations and the use of algae for trace metal remediation. He has authored or co-authored over 150 publications in refereed journals, contributed several chapters to books on various aspects of atomic spectroscopy and analytical chemistry and has presented invited talks across the globe. He plays racquetball for exercise, sails catamarans for fun and plays golf for frustration.
Mark Nibbelink, Advisor, Investor and Geologist - Mark is not only an accomplished geologist, but a co-founder of DrillingInfo. Because Mark understood the tremendous value brought by our technology and the data it can provide, he became an advisor and investor as well.
As Director of University Outreach at Drilling Info, he is responsible for quality control and data integrity. Before Drilling Info, he had an outstanding career as a Prospect Geologist at Gulf Oil and then carrying forward as an independent Geologist. He worked for 14 years as an Independent Oil and Gas Prospect Generator, Exploration Consultant and Wellsite Geologist utilizing his extensive experience in the Texas Gulf Coast and East Texas regions and in the Denver-Julesberg and Mississippi Salt Basins. From 1991 to 1992, he gained extensive horizontal well experience with Yahola Operating Company and Coffman & Temple in the Pearsall Trend Austin Chalk horizontal play. From 1980 to 1985, he served as Consultant of Kugler-Newberry, a client-oriented consulting service with an emphasis on interpreting 2-D seismic data for selection of wellsites exploiting fractured Austin Chalk reservoirs, where he picked over 100 locations with a success ratio of 95%.
Ron Melnyk, Business Development Advisor - Ron Melnyk is the Vice President Business Development and Projects at Dover Corporation. He has a proven track record in operations management of complex organizations domestically and internationally with over 30 years of expirience in the energy and oil and gas sector. Melnyk has previously co-founded Consonus, a technology services company, and worked for Occidental of Mukhaizna, Occidental of Elk Hills, Schlumberger and Dowell of Canada. Previously he has independantly provided oil and gas engineering and IT technology consulting services. Melnyk negotiated and managed over fifteen unique business alliances in technology services, oil and gas and logistics industries. Partnerships included companies ranging in size from small privately held entities to Fortune 50 companies. Melnik is an honor student in Mechanical Engineering Technology, University of Waterloo and ICS, Montreal, Quebec.
Brian P. Fenske, Legal Advisor - Brian Fenske has a broad-based corporate and securities practice including extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and other public and private offerings of equity and debt securities and venture capital financings. He serves as outside general counsel for a wide variety of companies. His practice also includes the representation of public companies on a broad range of issues pertaining to federal and state securities laws and corporate governance, as well as the representation of public and private companies in connection with the negotiation and structuring of joint venture, strategic partnering, software and technology licensing and other general business agreements. His practice includes representation of clients in a broad range of industries including energy, technology, software, telecom, alternative energy, consumer products, retail, healthcare and others.
Fenske has been involved in over 200 M&A transactions. He has also been involved in more than 50 public and private offerings of equity and debt securities, including IPOs, representing companies, investment bankers and venture capitalists. Brian routinely teaches seminars and classes on security laws and mergers and acquisitions.
Fenske earned his B.B.A., magna cum laude, Accounting, from the University of Houston in 1989 and a J.D., with honors, from The University of Texas School of Law in 1994.
Denise Patrick, Marketing Advisor - Denise Patrick, Managing Director of Energy Markets Access, has provided marketing and consulting services to over 2,500 firms since 1987. An expert in buyer behavior and behavioral economics with an emphasis in the oil and gas sector, Denise works with clients to develop the right strategies to bring their products and services to the international market.
Clients have included: INTSOK, Denham Capital, Energy Ventures, Cublity, Halliburton, alliburtonHaOTM Consulting, Detechtion, TD International, Shell Chemical, Houston Technology Center, Merrick Systems, and many entrepreneurial clients, including several Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalists and winners.
Jack Warkenthein, Sales Advisor - Warkenthein is the CEO and founder of NextStep Solutions (NSS), sales specialists headquartered in Houston, TX with 34+ year career reflecting continual advancement, a depth of valuable and diversified leadership experience, and consistent achievements in driving innovative sales organizations that produce dynamic business results. For the past five years, Warkenthein was a radio personality, hosting a daily, live business talk show, “Where Wall Street Meets Main Street”, heard during morning drive-time, across the State of Texas, on the BizRadio Network—and on the internet around the world.
After graduating from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1978, Warkenthein began a decade-long career with IBM. Upon being awarded the highest IBM sales award—The Eagle—his professional speaking career was inadvertently launched, when he traveled across the country, sharing his sales techniques with other IBM professionals. Warkenthein is the author of the best selling book, “Life’s A Sales Call: How To Succeed In The World’s Oldest Profession” and he now travels the world, speaking before thousands of people, delivering presentations in areas of Sales, Marketing, Service and Leadership.
Newton F. Hamlin, Advisor - Newt Hamlin is Chairman of the Board for Texas Multicore Technologies. In the past 35 years Newt has founded, or served as CEO or a director of companies in the software, hardware, marketing consulting, financial services, medical research, third party logistics and food products industries. He is an active angel investor, has been involved in raising more than $140 million in growth capital, and has led M&A activities for 17 companies. His value proposition includes strong leadership and management, a clear understanding of sales and marketing, recruiting access to accomplished executives in every corporate function, access to capital resources, and a network of global and local leaders and advisors from every industry.
In addition to working with TMT, Newt is currently launching other startup companies based on unique university-developed engineering IP, and is engaged in providing management, governance, fund raising and M&A services to private and public companies.
On top of his entrepreneurial accomplishments, Newt in 2003 co-founded Westlake Securities, one of the region's leading boutique investment banks.
Newt began his corporate career with Aluminum Company of America, working his way up to a senior management position at the company's Cleveland (OH) Works, its primary aerospace manufacturing facility. After a stint with Whirlpool Corporation he began a successful career as an entrepreneur, founding his first company in 1971. Newt pursued graduate study in communications and business at Northwestern and University of Texas at Austin. Prior to his graduate studies Newt received a BA degree from Mississippi State University, where he was an honor student and active in many academic and leadership organizations. He has been a lifelong supporter of higher education initiatives, and an advisor and board member at many universities. He also has been an active supporter of community, healthcare, charitable and arts initiatives for three decades.