James Lee Strait, III
James Lee Strait, III - CEO
As CEO and founder of US Bioplastics, Lee Strait is involved in all aspects of the company and has been active in the sustainable, degradable polymer industry since 2008. US Bioplastics, Inc. is the culmination of his vision to create sustainable-degradable commodity products and product packaging that can significantly reduce environmental contamination.
Strait began working with Dr. Miller in 2013 to commercialize Gatoresin®, a clear, bio-renewable, water-degradable plastic that mimics PET plastic, invented by Stephen A. Miller, Ph.D. He has built deep relationships with Dr. Miller, the University of Florida, its Innovation HUB, the Florida-Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, as well as with intellectual property experts, and key private-sector agricultural companies for raw materials and a uniquely dependable supply chain.
Previously, Strait launched an environmentally friendly bottled water company, which was distributed by Sysco. Nuvision Water, LLC bottled glacier water before it entered the Pacific Ocean, preventing the common practice of siphoning off ground water supplies to provide drinking water. This vision continued with his invention of a bottling line fabricated from a compounded plastarch bioplastic that offered significant environmental benefits. He took this bottling line from concept through development, patents filing, and open distribution channels with TricorBraun, a top 5 global distributor of plastic bottles. Mr. Strait completed work with this bottling technology business in the beginning of 2012. The bottling technology is being evaluated for acquisition by one of China’s largest food distribution companies.
With his background working with large product companies and knowledge of bioplastic products, Lee Strait has the expertise to lead US Bioplastics in launching Gatoresin®. This revolutionary, sustainable, water-degradable bioplastic is ready to show that responsible plastic can benefit the environment and be a viable, cost-efficient solution.
Strait received his BBA from Mercer University, Macon, Georgia. He resides in Winter Park, Florida and is a single father of his daughter, Brittney. Strait has been privileged to raise her since she was six years old and she will be going to college in 2015. As a Florida native, Strait has long roots in the state. His great grandfather, H. Clay Haynes was one of the original five founders of the City of Lakeland, Florida and was also the third Mayor.
Stephen A. Miller, Ph.D.
Stephen A. Miller, Ph.D. - CTO
Dr. Miller is Chief Technology Officer of US Bioplastics, the inventor of the company’s multiple patents and advises on technology for commercializing patents. He invented and patented Gatoresin®, a biorenewable clear polymer that offers superior heat tolerance and shortened water-degradation, compared to competitive plastics. An inventor and industry thought leader, Dr. Miller has earned an international reputation that has made him a much sought-after speaker from the Americas to Europe to Asia. He has published extensively and holds seven patents.
Dr. Miller is an Associate Professor of Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and his doctorate in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) before beginning his independent academic career.
Among his awards and honors, Dr. Miller received the 2011 Cade Prize for Innovation for inventing a water-degradable plastic that could be used for dry packaging applications, as well as a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2006. His research concentration is on biodegradable and sustainable polymers fabricated from biorenewable feedstocks, single-site catalysts for olefin polymerization, and theoretical polymer chemistry.
Dr. Miller is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Global Young Academy, the Triple Nine Society, the George and Josephine Butler Polymer Research Laboratory, and the Center for Macromolecular Science and Engineering. He lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife and two children.
Director of Operations
John Springer - Director of Operations
In his role as Director of Operations, John Springer’s responsibilities include heading up operations and distribution for US Bioplastics. His senior-level executive experience in planning, directing, and coordinating company operations ensures and improves the performance, productivity, efficiency, and profitability of operations through the development and implementation of effective methods and strategies, establishing and aligning short-term and long-term organizational objectives.
While assisting US Bioplastics, Springer is General Manager, Rental and Repair for MWI Corporation. Under his leadership, his division expanded its market coverage from South Florida to include all of North America, and he helped increase annual revenues from $200K to over $22M. He manages all aspects of operations including personnel, facilities, daily operations, fleet, and site safety. He was also Branch Manager at Sunbelt Rentals, where he was instrumental for a profitable turn-around for a failing office. Springer held positions in sales at Godwin Pumps and Manitowoc Southeastern where he significantly increased sales. Earlier, he helped Florida Juice, a family-owned company; succeed in the fresh-squeezed market, building its roster of accounts to include big names such as Disney, Marriott, Shoney’s, and Ritz Carlton. As an innovative thinker and problem-solver he will be a key player in the launch of Gatoresin®.
Springer received a BS from California Coast University. He lives in Pompano Beach, Florida with his wife and two children.
Dr. Alexander Pemba
Dr. Alexander Pemba - Technology Associate
Dr. Alexander Pemba is a Technology Associate at US Bioplastics. He is conducting post-doctoral research and optimization of bioplastic patents, working closely with Dr. Miller.
Born in Zimbabwe, Dr. Pemba’s thirst for learning took him to the U.S. where he began his undergraduate studies at Blinn Community College in Texas. At Blinn, he was drawn to chemistry and continued to pursue it when he transferred to Texas A&M University, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree. After graduating with honors from TAMU, he enrolled at the University of Florida as a graduate student. Under the tutelage of Professor Miller, he focused on the world of biorenewable polymers, with a special emphasis on polyacetals. Since completing his Ph.D. in 2013, Dr. Pemba has worked with Dr. Miller on how to utilize sugarcane bagasse for bioplastic commercialization.
James Mitchener, Ph.D.
Advisor on product packaging barrier enhancements
James Mitchener, Ph.D. - Advisor on product packaging barrier enhancements
Mitchener brings over 25 years of experience in executive roles with startup and multi-billion dollar public technology companies, including kaiaTech. He has had direct P&L and strategic responsibility for businesses ranging from $10M to over $400M in annual revenues and has played instrumental senior executive roles in the development of core technologies, strategies, and the execution of plans that resulted in the sale or acquisition of two companies, Sensys Instruments and Fusion, for over $380 million in cash and equity. He ran the dielectric, “barrier films” business group during his time at Novellus and has also held executive level positions with KLA-Tencor. He holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Halcon Research Fellow. He is an author on over 25 technical publications and holder of 6 US and worldwide patents in thin film process technology. Finally, James is one of the original founders of the M.I.T. Blackjack Club.
Mark A. Buese, Ph.D.
Patent Agent Advisor on patents
Mark A. Buese, Ph.D. - Patent Agent Advisor on patents
Mark Buese is an owner of a patented plant extraction system and is currently working on modifying the system for extraction of antioxidants from sugarcane bagasse. Buese will patent the down-line products of US Bioplastics, Inc. As he is the patent agent who patented Gatoresin® and also holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Florida, Buese offers a rare combination of the credentials essential for filing the intellectual property patents of US Bioplastics, Inc. while protecting the intellectual property of Professor Stephen A. Miller Ph.D. and the University of Florida.
Buese will oversee the overall strategy of the intellectual property and help to expand this product protection into all upcoming areas of the market, gaining another level of control to our market penetration. Buese’s Ph.D. studies and research in polymer chemistry included experience in academic, industrial, and government settings, from research through plant process development and support. He has been a practicing patent agent since September 2005, preparing and prosecuting patent applications through the USPTO and directing foreign prosecution through various patent offices including those of Europe, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Russia, and Australia.