Our Team

Scott Schmidt

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Scott graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration of Finance. He has extensive start-up, operating, financial, and managerial experience, where he has earned a strong understanding of accounting, project management, logistics, marketing, and financial reporting. Scott began his career with the founding of Impulse One, a full-service CPG marketing company, where he oversaw the development of SOP's, sales and marketing campaigns, brand development, the development of an international supply chain, managed compliance with FDA, USDA, and the Department of Agriculture in all 50 states, oversaw one corporate acquisition, and managed growth to over $21,000,000 in revenues. In 2009, Scott purchased an underperforming 24 unit apartment building in Venice Beach, California, converted use, increased cash flow, and divested the property in 2014 for a 50% net gain, demonstrating his ability to recognize value opportunities. In 2014, Scott co-founded Venice Fixes, a bicycle distribution and e-commerce platform, where he served as Chief Operating Officer and oversaw sourcing and logistics. Venice Fixies turned a profit in year 1 and was divested, demonstrating his ability to exit. Scott Schmidt currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Schmidt 2001 FLP and manages equity and debt investments in the petrochemical, medical, real estate, and beverage industries.

Brian Schmidt

Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer

Brian graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Supply Chain Management. Over the past 5 years Brian has produced and managed artists and logistics for events including hosting over 100,000 people in a single weekend. He has organized international tours, planned live content entertaining hundreds of thousands, and managed complex artist relationships. He prides himself on consistently applying his environmentalist ethos and supply chain management expertise to ensuring that his events are socially conscious and environmentally sustainable. Brian currently serves as Artist Relations Manager for Electric Zoo Festival (90,000 attendees) and Imagine Music Festival and Artist Relations Manager (60,000 attendees). Brian also serves as Music Department Manager and Artist Relations Manager for Summit Series, an invite-only event series curated for industry leaders. Summit creates unique gatherings and events designed to catalyze entrepreneurship, creative achievement, and global change to create a more joyful world. Speakers and performers have included Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Kendrick Lamar, Reed Hastings, and Quentin Tarantino. Brian is working now to connect the Summit community and the artists that he has worked with throughout his career to direct attention to the potential of seaweed solving humanity's problems.

Brandon Scott Barney

Co-Founder and Director of Research & Communications

Brandon is an American broadcast journalist and serial entrepreneur with a social conscience. He is co-host of Southern California's longest running public radio program covering the digital revolution: KPFK 90.7 FM's Digital Village Radio. His segment, DigitalCulture.LA, co-produced and co-hosted with Brittney Gallagher, is on investigation into the history and future of science and technology and how computers and the internet are changing our society. Mr. Barney is a leading researcher on technological disruption and has advised government officials and corporate leaders from around the world on the impacts of emerging technologies. Brandon is committed to the advancement of the Southern California and specifically the innovation ecosystem known as Silicon Beach. Mr. Barney manages the Non-Profit, Intellectual Property, and Startup groups at the Barney Law Firm. He trains students of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds in after school and summer school programs throughout Southern California that provide Americans with real world experience on the front lines of technology working with the most innovative organizations to solve the biggest problems facing humanity. Brandon has made his home in the creative soul of Los Angeles: Venice Beach. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Venice Symphony Orchestra and the Open Temple and he volunteers at the Israel Levin Senior Center helping Los Angeles' most senior citizens live well. Brandon is working now to connect Silicon Beach to the new blue economy and the potential of seaweed to heal the sea, soil and air.

Rae Fuhrman

Vice President of Environmental Services

Rae is currently specializing in Coastal Marine Resource Management at the Bren School (UCSB). She serves as Vice President of Research and Environmental Management at Primary Ocean Producers, working with Scotty Schmidt, Brandon Barney and Brian Schmidt on the technology to market plan for Primary Ocean Producers & Catalina Sea Ranch’s Design of Macroalgae MacroSystems ARPA-E MARINER (Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources) cooperative research award. She received two NSF grants; one to study ethical decision making in foreign policy of Bluefin tuna, and the second to assess coral reef health.

Macrocystis Pyrifera

Giant Kelp

M. pyrifera is one of the fastest-growing organisms on Earth. They can grow at a rate of 60 cm (2 ft) a day to reach over 45 m (150 ft) long in one growing season.

Maria Smith

Controller and Director of Contracts on CSR's ARPA-E Award

Maria manages capital project planning, company budgets, and regulatory compliance. She has a degree in Business Administration and Computer Science as well as over 20 years of experience in Federal Government contracting, proposal and grant writing, budgeting, and compliance. Maria has managed contracts in excess of $1.5 billion in partnership with Bearing Point and KPMG and raised over $100 million in contract and grant funds. Maria is the primary administrative point of contact between the Catalina Sea Ranch and Primary Ocean Producers for the administration of the Catalina Sea Ranch's ARPA-E cooperative research award.

Dr. Robert Miller

Advisor

Bob is an Associate Research Biologist at the Marine Science Institute at UCSB focusing on the role of primary producers like seaweed in marine ecosystems. He is a researcher on two Phase I ARPA-E's MARINER program cooperative research awards: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's "Genome-wide Association Studies for Breeding Macrocystis pyrifera and Scalable Aquaculture Monitoring System (SAMS). Dr. Miller has been the co-P.I. on four NSF grants including “LTER: Land/Ocean Interactions and the Dynamics of Kelp Forest Ecosystems (SBC III)” and “Linking nearshore kelp forest dynamics to sandy beach ecosystems."

Brian Esposito

Strategic Advisor

Bob is an Associate Research Biologist at the Marine Science Institute at UCSB focusing on the role of primary producers like seaweed in marine ecosystems. He is a researcher on two Phase I ARPA-E's MARINER program cooperative research awards: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's "Genome-wide Association Studies for Breeding Macrocystis pyrifera and Scalable Aquaculture Monitoring System (SAMS). Dr. Miller has been the co-P.I. on four NSF grants including “LTER: Land/Ocean Interactions and the Dynamics of Kelp Forest Ecosystems (SBC III)” and “Linking nearshore kelp forest dynamics to sandy beach ecosystems."

Maximiliano López Frisbie

Advisor

Max is Professor of Aquaculture at UABC and CEO of Albiomar. Max has expertise in the cultivation and processing of Macrocystis and various aquacluture species.