CEO & Chairperson of the BoardAbout
CEO & Chairperson of the Board
Christopher Efird combines thirty years of entrepreneurship with extensive energy, financial, and US public market experience across a variety of types and sizes of companies. He co-founded NEXT Renewable Fuels in 2016 and currently serves as the company’s Chairperson and Chief Executive where he oversees all the company’s business and development activities.
Chris has led or co-led investment into twenty-nine growth stage businesses in the US and internationally. Of these, eighteen became public in the United States including two each on the New York Stock Exchange and American Stock Exchange, and seven on the NASDAQ. Previously, Chris co-founded and managed two related private equity funds that invested in companies operating across a wide variety of industries, including energy, technology, and manufacturing.
A native of Houston, TX, Chris grew up in the traditional energy industry. He previously served as the Chairperson of a pipeline construction company and has funded the turn-around / restart of a biodiesel production facility as well as the feasibility and initial site design and development of a world-scale LPG export terminal. He has long-term relationships across the energy economy and value chain which he is now actively leveraging to position NXTClean as a leader in the provision of drop-in replacement clean fuels.
Chris is a graduate of the Advanced Management and Leadership program at Oxford University’s SaÏd School of Business. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts degree from Sam Houston State University.
Gene Cotten brings 37 years of experience in project design, engineering and execution for the gas, oil and renewable energy industries. He has worked as a Senior Executive for several major energy companies, as well as performed third-party consulting in energy acquisition and technical due diligence. Over the last decade, he has performed scoping evaluations for more than twenty renewable diesel projects, reviewing technology selection, site selection, project scope definition and project cost estimates. For the past three years, Gene has been working on the NEXT Renewable Fuels project in Port Westward, overseeing all the technical aspects of process design and project execution.
Prior to NXTClean, Gene was the Vice President of Project Development for International Alliance Group, where he led the Project Development group executing project design reviews, project scope development, FEL1 project cost estimates and project due diligence engagements. He also served as Vice President of Refining for the Best West of California refinery and Vice President of Regional Refining and Plant Manager for both Valero Texas City and Houston refineries. Gene was responsible for overall facility operations and strategic development where he was instrumental in developing and executing several capital projects valued at more than $1 billion.
Chief Strategy and Sustainability OfficerAbout
Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer
Dan has been active in the global energy sector for 30 years in operating companies and financial institutions which included ExxonMobil, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. He has leadership experience in private and public strategy development; operations management; technology implementation; and transaction experiences in M&A, joint ventures, restructuring and financing. At NXTClean, Dan leads integrated sustainability and strategy efforts to drive corporate decision-making processes and drive environmental sustainability initiatives. He is responsible for the development and implementation of NXTClean’s corporate strategy, business development and partnerships.
Prior to NXTClean, Dan held key business development roles with the Pilot Company, one of the leading suppliers of fuel and the largest operator of travel centers in North America, where he focused on the development of sustainable alternative fuel, and technology platforms. Dan was also the former Chief Financial Officer of World Energy, producer and distributor of sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel, and biodiesel. Dan earned an MBA from Yale University and BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. He is also a First Movers Fellow with the Aspen Institute.
Chief Commercial OfficerAbout
Chief Commercial Officer
Bob Armstrong has more than 30 years of commercial experience in the oil, gas, commodity trading, and renewable energy industries. A career energy professional, Bob serves NXTClean by leveraging his long-term relationships within the energy industry which he is now actively leveraging to position NXTClean as a leader in the clean fuel space.
His career includes trading crude oil, natural gas, power, and refined products for such companies as BP, American Electric Power, and Constellation Energy Group. Prior to joining NXTClean, Bob spearheaded Kind Morgan’s Product Pipeline Group, where he successfully started the company’s transmix processing business, traded its corporate RINS portfolio, managed the butane blending partnership, and later acted as the business development manager for Kinder’s Plantation Pipeline and Crude Marketing Team. He also served as Vice President of Business Development with Energy Midstream LLC where he was responsible for identifying opportunities in processing for renewable feedstocks and asset purchases.
Chief Financial OfficerAbout
Chief Financial Officer
Chris has more than 30 years of energy financing and investment experience, with a focus on providing strategic advice and transaction execution leadership through private equity and C-suite roles, primarily for growth companies involved in energy transition and infrastructure-oriented businesses and development projects.
Prior to joining NXT, Chris was Co-Founder and CFO of Gemini Midstream, and later EVP of Strategy and Senior Advisor for Gemini’s successor Trace Midstream, a private equity backed energy infrastructure development company. Chris led the commercialization and financing of Gemini’s build-out of a greenfield natural gas transportation system in the Haynesville Shale capable of delivering over 2 Bcf/d of natural gas to downstream markets. Gemini’s Haynesville assets were sold to The Williams Companies in April 2022 for $950 million in cash plus a material non-operating equity interest in Williams’ Louisiana Energy Gateway greenfield pipeline.
Prior to Gemini, Chris was a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Strata Energy Investments, an independent private equity business focused on midstream and downstream energy infrastructure projects in North America. While at Strata, Chris led the investment in and subsequent monetization of an infrastructure development company that permitted a world-scale propane export terminal in North America, which included greenfield marine, pipeline, storage, and rail facilities.
From 2008 to 2015, Chris was a Managing Director at First Reserve, where he co-founded First Reserve’s Energy Infrastructure business. Among other senior management roles on the investment team, Chris originated First Reserve’s investment in Navigator Energy Services, a greenfield oil transportation system in the Permian Basin, which was ultimately sold to NuStar Energy for $1.475 billion in cash. During his leadership with First Reserve, the infrastructure team raised almost $4 billion of investor capital commitments, arranged multiple debt financings across the capital structure, and made over a dozen platform and follow-on investments in midstream, power generation and other energy-related infrastructure assets.
Prior to First Reserve, Chris served for 15 years in the Energy Investment Banking Group with Credit Suisse, rising to Managing Director and leading the midstream and power mergers and acquisitions practice in North America. There he advised corporate and private equity clients on over $50 billion of mergers and acquisitions and $25 billion of financing transactions across the energy sector.
Chris has a dual Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in Economics and Managerial Studies from Rice University.
David Kane has 30 years of finance and operations experience across numerous industries in small and medium sized businesses. He has been with NXTClean Fuels since 2019 and currently serves as the company’s Controller overseeing accounting and financial reporting activities.
Mr. Kane started his career as an auditor at the Los Angeles office of Arthur Andersen & Co. Since leaving public accounting, Mr. Kane has served as a Chief Financial Officer in small and medium-sized companies, raising equity and debt in numerous offerings in both private and public companies facilitating capital raises from start-ups to liquidation events.
Mr. Kane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a certified public accountant.
Vice President of Administration & FinanceAbout
Vice President of Administration & Finance
Haiping Ni has more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry focused on the oil and gas industry.
Prior to joining NXTClean, Haiping was a managing director at WE Innovation Group, Inc which focuses on the development, investment, and marketing of global innovative technologies in energy, Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and healthcare. He co-founded an upstream oil and gas exploration company in 2013 that invested and developed oil and gas assets in the United States. And he has also worked as managing director at Access America Investments, LLC focusing on deal sourcing, due diligence, deal structuring, valuation, negotiations, closing, and portfolio company management. Haiping worked for 7 years at Tanjin Economic & Technological Development Area (TEDA). He established TEDA Shanghai Office as the Vice Director of the Office and managed North America and Europe clients. At TEDA, Haiping provided consultation for foreign direct investment (FDI) investors and closed foreign direct investment deals valued at $120 million for three Fortune 500 companies.
Haiping has an MBA degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Rice University.
Director of CommunicationsAbout
Director of Communications
Michael Hinrichs has 20 years of experience in corporate communications, external affairs, media relations and issues management. His career has focused on permitting multi-billion dollar energy projects, developing emerging brands, positioning companies or products for public launch, and managing crisis communications. Michael joined NXTClean in 2021 to oversee corporate communications and external affairs.
As a career public affairs specialists, Hinrichs has represented global players like Shell, Shell Hydrogen, General Motors EV, Sempra Utilities, Wartsila and Woodside Energy. In 2008, he co-founded the LA Sustainability Collaborative to advance research in smart growth policies. The non-profit realized success quickly and was absorbed into the world-renown UCLA Luskin Institute.
About NXTClean Fuels
Working at NXTClean Fuels is part of a grander vision – creating a world where clean fuels are not an option, but the norm. We are constantly in pursuit of talented team members with diverse skillsets who share our vision, and we are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for team members from diverse backgrounds.
Thank you for your interest in working with NXTClean Fuels. There are no open positions at this time, but please check back periodically or sign up to our newsletter for updates.