Ryan Ellis made the right choice in the spring of 2007. Many of his classmates were heading to Wall Street or business school. He took a big risk and co-founded Volt Boats. Three years later, Ryan has become one of the foremost experts on applying hybrid human/electric power to small watercraft. Ryan’s passion for entrepreneurship, as well as his desire to do good while doing well, provided ample motivation for his commitment to Volt Boats. Ryan has worked in some capacity since he was eight years old. Always the innovator, Ryan has filed for several patents, including one for the first convertible high-heeled shoe in 2005. Developing such a sophisticated boat proved challenging and inspiring. He and his team have met that challenge, and are now excited to see their vision become a reality.
Founder, Board of Directors
Will Poole grew up around water and in canoes, and then in sailboats as soon as he was heavy enough to be a useful crew on his father’s 17’ racing Thistle. He got hooked on the combination of boating and technology in 2000 when he bought a Corsair F28 trimaran, made of lightweight fiberglass, carbon fiber, and aluminum, and capable of sailing over 25 knots in a decent breeze. When not helping Volt Boats build the most innovative personal watercraft afloat, he is an independent social-technologist, and is primarily focused on applying technology to education. He is co-chairman of NComputing, which by the end of 2010 will have shipped over 2.5 million virtual desktops, deployed largely in schools in emerging markets. He also serves on the Boards of Pengala (education software), KlearKase (mobile electronics accessories), and the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. Previously, he was a corporate vice president at Microsoft, where he co-led the Unlimited Potential group and ran various aspects of Windows, digital media, and other efforts. He was co-founder of eShop, an e-commerce startup which Microsoft acquired in 1996, and held positions in business and engineering in the early days of Sun Microsystems. He has a degree in Computer Science, with a focus on electrical engineering, from Brown University.
Founder, Board of Directors
Dick Brass is a technology investor, inventor, and veteran tech executive. After a career as a reporter and then editor at the New York Daily News, Dick entered the technology field in the late 1970s when he developed the first dictionary-based spelling checker and invented the electronic thesaurus. In 1987, he joined Oracle as a vice president, where he worked until he was recruited by Microsoft to lead the company’s e-book and then tablet PC and other mobile device efforts. He’s no stranger to boating, having owned and enjoyed “Pinniped,” a 46’ trawler, for many years.
Director of Electrical Engineering
Rainer is a German electrotechnical engineer. He began his career in 1989 developing electronics and software for industrial precision robotic equipment. He later entered the telecom industry, developing broadcast systems and designing automated solutions for telecom analysis and billing systems. This experience led to his position leading the US operations for both German and Japanese automation equipment manufacturers. In 2004 he started TESO, an Electrotechnical Engineering Service, which provides innovative technical solutions for a variety of industries.
Director of Manufacturing
Dave Vaillancourt has a zeal for both technology and water, and an innovator’s problem-solving bent toward successfully mixing the two. His longstanding enthusiasm for anything water-related began as a child with his passion for Unlimited Hydroplanes. Over the years, he has taken this passion and combined it with his entrepreneurial spirit to create successful products that address waterproofing issues, while continuing to go boating frequently with his family. In addition to his work with Volt Boats, he has developed and patented, under the Seal Shield brand, the first dishwasher-safe anti-microbial keyboard and mouse for use in hospitals and medical facilities worldwide. Working with manufacturers and companies in China and in the U.S., Dave has produced over 18 million units of products for his many corporate customers, who include: Microsoft, Costco, Nordstrom, Target, Kimberly Clarke, Best Buy, Coke, Miller Brewing, Absolut, Oberto, and Formula Boat.