Anand Gopalan is Velodyne Lidar’s Chief Executive Officer. He is a seasoned semiconductor executive with experience building and leading worldwide engineering organizations for the development of products in consumer, networking and enterprise domains. Anand has grown and managed organizations through deep and dynamic business model transitions, and successfully delivered on a wide array of high-speed mixed signal, optical and RF products.
Anand previously served as Velodyne’s Chief Technology Officer. He came to Velodyne from Rambus where he was the VP of Engineering responsible for all chip and IP development activities for the Memory and Interfaced Division. In that capacity, Anand was responsible for a global engineering team spread across multiple locations in North America and India that developed a variety of IP and products for Tier 1 ASIC and OEM customers. Prior to Rambus, Anand spearheaded worldwide analog/mixed signal design at MegaChips Corp.
Anand holds a BE degree in Electronics from Mumbai University as well as an MS degree and PhD from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Electrical Engineering and Microsystems Engineering.
As Chief Technology Officer, Matt Rekow leads Velodyne Lidar’s customer-focused advanced research and development team. The group designs state-of-the-art lidar solutions for cost optimization and high-performance, high-volume production to address a wide range of market needs. Since joining the company in 2015, Matt has had a significant impact on Velodyne’s engineering and solution success, including the development of breakthrough lidar products, such as the Alpha Prime™, Velarray™, Velabit™ and VelaDome™. Matt was previously a Senior Director of Optical Engineering at Velodyne.
With 29 years of experience in the development of macro and micro optical systems, semiconductor lasers and detectors, Matt has proven an effective engineering team and project leader, building and fostering a dynamic research team. Matt is an accomplished engineer whose work has contributed to numerous U.S. and European patents as well as successful commercial products and processes. He has written numerous technical articles for leading industry publications.
Mike Jellen, Chief Strategy Officer at Velodyne Lidar, is responsible for advancing Velodyne’s growth through mergers and acquisitions and corporate development initiatives. He previously served as Chief Commercial Officer. Mike is a seasoned industrial automation executive with extensive global growth and manufacturing experience.
Mike has over twenty years’ history in robotics software and automation business, which supports his drive for a deep understanding of autonomous vehicle customer requirements. With his attention to growth and rigorous business process improvement, Mike has accelerated Velodyne from a market-leading innovator with recognized customers worldwide to a sophisticated organization known for industry-leading business practices.
Mike earned a BSEE in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from Boston University, specializing in business and engineering executive leadership in the US, EU, China, Japan and Korea. Mike served most recently as Vice President of Adept Technology, a leader in robotics and vision technology. Prior to Adept, Mike worked for 10 years at Danaher Corporation in successive roles of increasing responsibility, including Vice President & General Manager, Vehicle Systems Business in Stockholm, Sweden. As GM, Mike oversaw a $100 million business with sales, marketing, R&D and operations in the US, EU and China. Earlier positions within Danaher included Vice President, Asia, Vice President, Strategic Accounts and Controls and General Manager, Technology Business.
Jim Barnhart serves as Chief Operating Officer at Velodyne Lidar, where he is responsible for leading global automated mass manufacturing operations that produce world-class lidar sensors. Jim is a results-delivering executive with a proven record in operations, general management, supply chain, services, manufacturing and engineering. Prior to joining Velodyne, Jim was Senior Vice President, Operations at Nanometrics Inc., a provider of advanced process control solutions. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, Global Operations at Cymer LLC. Jim’s industry experience also includes operational leadership roles at Applied Materials, Johnson & Johnson and AREVA. He was also an engineering division officer in the U.S. Navy. Jim holds an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Washington State University’s College of Engineering in Pullman.
Drew Hamer is Chief Financial Officer for Velodyne Lidar, where he works with the leadership team on financial strategy and leads the finance organization with forecasting, budgeting, and accounting. He is a seasoned finance executive with over 25 years of financial leadership experience at public and pre-public technology companies. Working at companies like ON24, Keynote Systems, KnowNow, Intraspect Software, Excite@Home and Sybase, Drew managed investor relations, implemented financial efficiencies, raised capital and oversaw the expansion of financial and business operations throughout the world, both organically and thru acquisitions.
Drew holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree from Binghamton University and a Master of Accounting degree from Florida International University. He is also a member of Financial Executives International, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In his spare time, Drew enjoys joining his wife in watching their two children participate in sports, and drinking a nice glass of wine.
Kathy McBeath is our Chief People Officer. She joined Velodyne Lidar in October 2020 and is responsible for leading our global HR organization. She is charged with aligning our valued people resources to our strategic priorities with a strong focus on leadership development, employee engagement and company culture. She is passionate about developing talent and helping employees at all levels reach their potential.
Kathy brings more than two decades of experience as a senior human resources executive in both high tech and medical device industries. She started her career at Hewlett Packard in Finance and later moved over to the HR side. She also spent time at Corsair Gaming, Intuitive Surgical and Nevro, in various HR leadership roles. Kathy holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from San Jose State University. In addition, she completed a Executive Leadership program through Stanford University. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, volunteering in her local community and keeping active by playing tennis, skiing, running and long walks with her husband, and two kids.
Sally Frykman is Chief Marketing Officer at Velodyne Lidar. A fearless leader and committed team player, Sally is responsible for strategizing, developing and delivering Velodyne’s global marketing and communications programs to successfully advance business objectives. Key priorities include overseeing the advancement of the Velodyne brand, extending thought leadership by leveraging Velodyne’s expertise in the autonomous vehicle industry and providing robust sales lead generation through effective digital marketing. Additionally, Sally manages public relations and business development efforts with the support of deep talent and expertise inside and outside the company.
Sally demonstrates leadership through extensive experiences building effective teams and delivering impactful programs across a broad spectrum of focus areas. She guides successful engagement with leaders around local and federal public policy and regulation in her industry. She has created and delivered innovative product and educational campaigns to diverse audiences including customers, analysts, investors, partners, and the public. In 2020, Sally led development and coordination of the critical communications strategy that supported Velodyne Lidar’s transition from a private to a public company.
Motivated by the shared achievements of her teams, Sally believes in a transparent, collaborative work culture. She encourages streamlining internal processes and open feedback to increase her teams’ successes. Sally’s goal of driving Velodyne’s mission to transform lives by advancing safe mobility and smart communities is the inspiration that guides the efforts of her and her teams.
Sally has invested the entirety of her career committed to advocacy and education; previous positions include public school administration, classroom teaching, and social work. She is passionate about making the world a safer, more inclusive, and universally accessible place for all. Sally holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State. Sally and her husband enjoy taking their 14-year-old dog, Potter, and baby girl, Alice, on hikes around the Bay Area.
Sinclair Vass currently serves as Chief Commercial Officer at Velodyne Lidar, where he is responsible for driving revenue growth across all the Velodyne markets and geographies. Sinclair Vass is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in telecommunications, consumer electronics, automotive and industrial laser markets.
Prior to joining Velodyne, Mr. Vass was President of the Laser Optics Business Unit at Focuslight Technologies Inc., a China based manufacturer of high-performance laser and optical beam steering solutions. Before his time at Focuslight, Mr. Vass served as Vice President of Sales, Product Management & Customer Service at Viavi Solutions. Throughout his career, Mr. Vass has also held increasingly senior leadership positions at JDS Uniphase, New Focus Inc, Lucent Microelectronics, Hewlett Packard, and Plessey Research Inc. Mr. Vass graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Physics from the University of Edinburgh and holds an MBA from the Open University.
Michael (Mike) Vella is General Counsel at Velodyne Lidar, where he advises the company on its diverse legal and regulatory matters. Mike is a California-licensed lawyer with over 25 years of experience.
Prior to joining Velodyne Lidar, Mike worked as a partner at two international law firms (Jones Day and Morrison & Foerster), including a decade spent in China, representing both international and Chinese companies. During that time, Mike successfully handled several high-profile cross-border disputes for some of the world’s top companies.
During his legal career, Mike advised tech startups and multinationals on legal issues involving business operations, IP challenges, litigation, and compliance matters. Mike is particularly experienced in handling IP disputes involving China, the US and Europe. Mike is also frequent writer and speaker on international IP disputes and global compliance challenges.
Mircea Gradu, PhD, is Senior Vice President of Product and Quality at Velodyne Lidar, responsible for the development and manufacturing of world-class products compliant with international quality standards and satisfying customer needs. Mircea brings over 25 years of experience in the automotive and commercial vehicle industry, which includes deep technical knowledge of design, development, manufacturing, safety and cybersecurity. He is building a strong validation organization, with continuous process improvements and an expansion of the quality team’s skill set for timely delivery of all quality objectives.
Mircea started his career at Daimler-Benz AG in Stuttgart, Germany and most recently led engineering and quality at Hyundai Motor America. At Hyundai, he led the development and implementation of product strategy to improve both the initial quality of Hyundai models and vehicle durability. Other past experience includes key executive roles at Chrysler Group and the Timken Company. Mircea has also been awarded 56 patents on mechatronic automotive systems, published over 40 technical papers and is the 2018 President of SAE International. He was named one of the 50 most influential automotive executives by Motor Trend in 2012 and received the SAE Ed Cole Award for Innovation in 2008.
Mircea holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart.
Dr. Nikhil Naikal is Vice President of Software Engineering at Velodyne Lidar, where his team is responsible for the development of software products. He joined the company through its acquisition of Mapper.ai, where he was the founding CEO. At Mapper.ai, Nikhil recruited a skilled team of scientists, engineers and designers inspired to build the next generation of high-precision machine maps that are crucial for the success of self-driving vehicles.
Nikhil developed his passion for self-driving technology while working with Carnegie Mellon University’s Tartan Racing team that won the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007. He honed his expertise in high precision navigation while working at Robert Bosch research and subsequently Flyby Media, which was acquired by Apple in 2015.
Nikhil holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley,and a master’s degree in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Laura is responsible for overseeing Velodyne’s North America sales and customer support efforts. She brings 15 years of experience in tech-related leadership and management with expert knowledge in lidar sensor solutions for autonomous mobility and people flow analysis. Her teams are focused on long-term strategic partner relationships and sales in emerging markets including robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, smart cities, and security. Prior to joining the Velodyne team, Laura held leadership positions in support of communication network infrastructure and wireless technologies.
As a business development and sales executive, Laura has consistently demonstrated the ability to develop and articulate a strategy for her teams. Her mission is to inspire others to collaborate, perform and execute against the strategy.
Michelle Esau is Vice President of Finance and Controller at Velodyne Lidar. She leads the accounting team to implement a set of controls to mitigate risk, enhance accurate financial statements, maintain an adequate accounting records system, and deliver high-quality financial reporting.
Michelle has over 15 years of financial leadership experience at both public and start-up high-tech companies. Before joining Velodyne, Michelle was a business unit controller at a division of Syngenta Group. Prior to Syngenta, Michelle held various roles in the finance and accounting field in medical device and semiconductor companies such as Novellus systems, which merged with Lam research in 2012.
Michelle holds a Bachelor's degree in business administration, concentration accounting from San Jose State University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in California. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys hiking with her husband and their two daughters.
Jon Barad is VP of Business Development at Velodyne Lidar where he leads efforts to engage and develop strong partnerships with companies in emerging autonomous markets, including robotics, drones, trucking, smart cities, security, and more.
In this role, he works closely with the ecosystem to help fuel its growth. To enable this mission, he established and leads the Company’s Automated with Velodyne partner program which is aimed at providing business development support, marketing assistance, and technical support to partner companies.
Jon worked previously in executive leadership roles at EDGE3 Technologies – a computer vision company, and Recommind where his work initiating and defining the partnership with OpenText ultimately led to its successful acquisition. Prior to that, Mr. Barad managed NVIDIA’s corporate venture investment program, and was a founding member of the GeForce Now and GRID cloud streaming business units.
Jon’s career started in Venture Capital at ITU Ventures, leading him to co-found OrganicID, which was subsequently acquired by Weyerhaeuser for its 3D printing technology.Jon holds a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School.