David Hall
Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board
David Hall

As a serial inventor owning more than 30 patents, David Hall is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Velodyne Lidar. After competing as one of the original entrants in the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005, David Hall invented 3D lidar to give autonomous vehicles real-time 360-degree vision. Having transformed this breakthrough into a thriving company, which remains the unequivocal industry leader, David continues to serve as a visionary inventor whose technologies are enabling safe autonomous mobility. Possessing unmatched experience in the industry, David has far-reaching ideas with regards to the enduring central role of lidar in unleashing the life-changing potential of the autonomous revolution. David Hall is a pioneer in the self-driving industry, having invented real-time 3D lidar for autonomous vehicles. His business experience in relation to developing and producing self-driving technology is unsurpassed. David’s background as an innovator within this field grants him a unique perspective on its related challenges, solutions, and potential implications.

Anand Gopalan
Chief Executive Officer
Anand Gopalan

Anand Gopalan is Velodyne Lidar’s Chief Executive Officer. In this capacity he is responsible for developing ASIC technology that will power Velodyne’s next-generation lidar products.

Anand is a seasoned semiconductor executive with experience building and leading worldwide engineering organizations for the development of products in consumer, networking and enterprise domains. He 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 comes 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 Inc.

Anand holds a BE degree in Electronics from Mumbai University as well as MS and PhD from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Electrical engineering and Microsystems engineering.

Marta Thoma Hall
Chief Marketing Officer
Marta Thoma Hall

Marta Thoma Hall is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Velodyne Lidar. Marta was President of Velodyne Acoustics starting in 2008, when the lidar business was in its infancy and just beginning to sell into the 3D mapping market, including to Caterpillar and Google for navigation and autonomy. Marta helped build and manage the lidar business with CEO David Hall as the company grew, from 85 employees to hundreds of employees in multiple locations. Currently, Velodyne sensors have been installed in thousands of vehicles around the world, traveling millions of real-world miles. Velodyne is the industry standard for localization and environmental perception, providing the core technology for dozens of autonomous vehicle programs in over 10 countries.

Marta’s vision is to expand the use of high-quality, low-cost lidar in order to equip every car across the world with lidar sensors. A dramatic improvement in transportation can take place with lidar technology applied to Autonomy and ADAS systems., and there can be a significant reduction in transportation accidents and many pedestrian, bicycle, and car deaths can be prevented, saving lives and property. The Velodyne team is working to reduce the cost of the lidar so it will be affordable for every vehicle.

Before working at Velodyne Lidar, Marta managed an art and construction business, installing art installations for cities nationwide. She brings problem solving and creative thinking to Velodyne. In the business journals such as the Harvard Business Review, Strategy + Business, and Inc., reports conclude creatives like CMOs and CBDOs are needed for success, offering vision and strategy. Marta brings vision, creativity, strategy and passion to Velodyne.

Matt Rekow
Chief Technology Officer
Matt Rekow

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 Commercial Officer
Mike Jellen

Mike Jellen, Chief Commercial Officer at Velodyne Lidar, is responsible for overseeing all daily sales business operations. 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.

Rick Tewell
Chief Operating Officer
Rick Tewell

Rick Tewell is Chief Operating Officer at Velodyne Lidar, where he leads teams focused on developing the various automated manufacturing technologies used to produce world-class lidar sensors. These technologies range from automated test solutions and robotic material handling to fully robotic assembly stations.

Rick brings more than 30 years of embedded engineering and executive level engineering management experience to Velodyne. Over the last two decades, Rick has had a specific focus on automotive electronics as well as GPU/graphics pipeline technologies. He was one of the pioneers in early digital video, founding a company that developed the first IEEE-1394/Firewire software solution for Windows PCs, which allowed a wide range of digital video devices – digital cameras and camcorders – to be connected to PCs for photo and video editing.

In previous roles, Rick was Director of Engineering at Fujitsu Semiconductor, Engineering Manager for Tegra Automotive at NVIDIA, and responsible for worldwide software engineering for i.MX/Kinetis at Freescale/NXP, managing a large global team. Rick was most recently CTO at VeriSilicon, where he was responsible for worldwide ASIC system solutions.
 

Drew Hamer
Chief Financial Officer
Drew Hamer

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.

Michael Vella
General Counsel
Michael Vella

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.
 

Arun Vaidyanath
SVP of Engineering
Arun Vaidyanath

Arun Vaidyanath is Senior Vice President of Engineering at Velodyne Lidar, responsible for scaling the engineering organization and delivering high-quality, robust automotive-grade products to market. Arun brings to Velodyne 25 years experience in systems and semiconductors. He has driven strategy, built teams with proven execution in the delivery of advanced products for Tier-1 customers in high volume consumer and datacenter domains and is recognized for providing an exceptional customer experience.

Before joining Velodyne, Arun was the Vice President of Engineering at Rambus, responsible for the development and productization of high-speed interface PHY IP and chip products. Arun played a broad, multidisciplinary role at Rambus and contributed to the successful transition of the business from technology to products through building new capabilities, mergers and acquisitions, and scaling the business for continuous growth. Prior to Rambus, Arun worked at Tandem Computers, a leader in high-availability and high-reliability fault-tolerant systems, where he designed and led system-level signal integrity for processor and networking cards.

Arun holds a B. Tech degree in Electronics Engineering from Calicut University and an MS degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from The University of Arizona.

Mircea Gradu
SVP of Product and Quality
Mircea Gradu

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.
 

Nikhil Naikal
VP of Software Engineering
Nikhil Naikal

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.

Sheetal Patel
VP of Human Resources
Sheetal Patel

Sheetal Patel is VP of Human Resources, leading Velodyne Lidar’s entire HR function, including employee relations, compensation and benefits and recruiting teams, in both the US and internationally. Sheetal is an accomplished human resources professional, with over 15 years of HR experience in high tech.

Having successfully led the company through a period of rapid, ongoing growth, Sheetal’s passion is developing innovative programs that impact people, which in turn contributes to employee engagement and, therefore, increased revenue growth. She is also passionate about creating diverse and inclusive work environments.

She has a BSc from the renowned Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) in India and has also completed her HR Management studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
 

Sally Frykman
VP of Communications
Sally Frykman

Sally Frykman is Vice President of Communications, overseeing public relations, marketing, and communications efforts. Sally supports investor relations activities, leads engagement around policy and regulation, and executes innovative educational campaigns for a diverse range of audiences. Her goal is to create a deeper public understanding of autonomous technology and of Velodyne’s lidar technology as an essential component for safe autonomy.

Sally has spent the entirety of her career grounded in advocacy and education as a former educator and social worker. She is passionate about making the world a safer, more inclusive and universally accessible place for all. Sally joined the Velodyne team because she strongly believes in the company’s vision of advancing roadway safety, saving lives, and the myriad benefits realized due to the innovation of lidar technology. Sally holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State.

Laura Wrisley
VP of Sales
Laura Wrisley

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
VP of Finance and Controller
 Esau

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
VP of Business Development
Jon Barad

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.