Silevo brings together a strong team of innovators, disciplined semiconductor and solar factory operations talent, business executives, inventors and scientists with proven track records ramping products and revenues from the ground floor into billion dollar product lines and enterprises.
Dr. Zheng Xu
Dr. Zheng Xu is co-founder, president and CEO of Silevo. As one of the leading physical vapor deposition (PVD) scientists in the world, Dr. Xu is focused on making solar electricity more affordable through improved solar cell conversion efficiency and highly automated volume production technology at Silevo. His expertise in device physics and PVD for Transparent Conductive Oxides (TCOs) are core to Silevo’s groundbreaking Triex solar cell technology.
Dr. Xu has a rich history in the semiconductor industry. As a founding father and executive sponsor of the Endura Copper Barrier Seed PVD system, he helped semiconductor Integrated Circuit (IC) and Memory companies transition to copper-based interconnects in the late 1990s. This transition enabled rapid performance increases and cost reductions, and was influential in enabling the Internet and microelectronics age.
Dr. Xu spearheaded these developments during his 15-year tenure as corporate vice president and general manager of CPI products business group at Applied Materials, Inc. Under his leadership, the CPI business group significantly improved product differentiation, market momentum and business performance, and achieved more than $1.2B revenue with 73% market share in the metal thin film market and more than 55% gross margin.
Dr. Xu spearheaded the development, market penetration and manufacturing cost reduction of leading-edge thin film products, for instance, PVD, atomic layer deposition (ALD) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) at Applied Materials. Dr. Xu also initiated new product development in Xi’an, China, and developed the first 300mm semiconductor equipment in that country.
Dr. Xu earned a Ph.D. in materials science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Dr. Xu also holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Osaka University in Japan. He received his B.S. in semiconductor physics and devices from Zhejiang University in China. He holds 74 U.S. patents and has 13 pending U.S. patents.
Dr. Jianming Fu
Dr. Jianming Fu is a co-founder of Silevo, executive vice president and chief technology officer. He is responsible for developing Silevo’s industry leading Triex cell and module technology. Dr. Fu is also a leading Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) scientist and innovator with extensive experience in product development.
Dr. Fu spent his early career driving PVD magnetron development, which is now embedded in nearly every semiconductor fabrication facility in the world. His in-depth knowledge and experience with magnetrons and PVD concepts is critical to Silevo’s unique technology, along with leveraging off-the-shelf proven production tools to enable new hardware modifications for solar innovation. At Silevo, he established device process capabilities, equipment, facilities and an experienced team of scientists to develop solar cells using tunneling junction with efficiencies over 20%.
Prior to his role at Silevo, Dr. Fu was heavily involved in product development in the PVD division at Applied Materials, Inc., where he served as general manager and managing director, as well as senior director of core PVD technology, a key R&D group focusing on new product and technology development for the division. Dr. Fu oversaw teams in China, India and the United States, and led the division to annual revenue of more than $400M with over 80% market share. In his 13 years at Applied Materials, he also launched multiple products as executive and inventor, including EnCoRe Ta/Cu, SIP Ti/TiN, Cu, ALPS Al, and successfully developed products for transition from 8” to 12” wafers. He is also one of the innovators who helped semiconductor IC & Memory companies transition to copper-based interconnects.
In addition, he revolutionized PVD deposition by inventing self-ionized plasma (SIP) deposition technology, a process which ionizes up to 80% of metal atoms. SIP was quickly accepted in the market in 1997, with more than 100 SIP Al chambers shipped in the first year to DRAM makers such as Samsung and Micron, with derivative SIP products developed for Al, TiN, Cu and TaN. Today, SIP is used in virtually every leading semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world.
Dr. Fu earned his Ph.D. in applied physics from Pennsylvania State University, his M.S. in semiconductor materials from the Institute of Semiconductors at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and a B.S. in physics from Wuhan University. He holds 63 U.S. patents.
Christopher Beitel is executive vice president of global operations and planning at Silevo, and is responsible for sales and marketing, product operations, supply chain, and operational planning to enable industry leading solar system installation cost and performance with the company. Mr. Beitel brings his extensive experience in business commercialization to Silevo, having grown multiple products at Applied Materials, Inc. into billion dollar product lines.
Prior to this position, Mr. Beitel was managing director and general manager for the thin film solar business at Applied Materials, where he was responsible for a billion dollar product line in the renewable energy and solar PV sector. Mr. Beitel’s role in the solar thin film division included development, commercialization, business development, product marketing and support for a highly automated and advanced turn-key PV manufacturing line. Drawing from this experience, Mr. Beitel brings to Silevo a deep understanding of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) equipment, which enables thin film passivation layers, a critical step and material for Silevo.
Mr. Beitel also held various positions within Applied Materials’ semiconductor product sector primarily focused on thin film metallization for both front-end and back-end integrated circuit development. Under Mr. Beitel’s product leadership, the Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) portfolio of equipment garnered more than 80% market share and delivered some of the highest contributed profits to the company. He was an early product manager of the Endura Copper Barrier Seed system, which enabled Cu for the industry and, successfully transferred from 200mm (8inch) to 300mm (12inch) tool sets, which significantly helped boost performance and productivity.
Mr. Beitel holds an M.S. in science and technology commercialization from the Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at San Diego.
Dr. Tobby Wu
Dr. Tobby Wu is President of Silevo China . In this role, Dr. Wu is responsible for high volume manufacturing of the Silevo product line and factory management, as well as running the day-to-day operations of the company. Dr. Wu brings to Silevo his rich background and leadership experience in both solar cell and semiconductor factory management, having led highly automated facilities of vast size and complexity in previous positions.
Dr. Wu joined Silevo in 2013, following his position as vice president and general manager of the cell business unit at Hareon Solar Technology Co., Ltd. Prior to Hareon, Dr. Wu served as a general manager at Jing Ao Solar Co., Ltd. (JA Solar), an early recognized industry leader. Dr. Wu has also held senior technical positions at Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics Company, Ltd. (HHNEC) and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).
Dr. Wu earned a Ph.D. in materials science from the School of Materials Science & Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Jeff Osorio is the chief financial officer (CFO) at Silevo and is a seasoned financial executive with over 20 years of executive experience in operationally-oriented companies in Silicon Valley.
Mr. Osorio has significant experience in multiple parts of the solar value chain and served as CFO of multiple publicly traded companies. Prior to joining Silevo, Mr. Osorio was CFO at Skyline Solar, where he oversaw the closure of two funding rounds and acceptance of three Department Of Energy Loan Guarantee proposals. Before this role, he served as CFO at Solaicx, where he directed significant fundraising activities, ERP implementation and acceptance of a Department of Energy grant proposal. Mr. Osorio also previously served as corporate controller and interim CFO at Cypress Semiconductor, where he was involved in the spin-out of SunPower Corporation.
In 2002, Hispanic Business named Mr. Osorio as a member of the “Corporate Elite”, one of the top 500 Hispanic executives in the United States. In 2009, he and the Solaicx Finance Team received the inaugural “Future Office of the CFO Award” presented by Tatum LLC, recognizing outstanding achievements in evolving the Office of the CFO into a model of the future.
Mr. Osorio serves as an adjunct professor for the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, as well as a member of the University’s Accounting Advisory Board. Mr. Osorio has developed and delivered multiple finance-for-non-financial-management courses utilized by companies around the world, including Line of Sight©: Basic Business Principles for Every Employee, and has been recognized for his work on Scorecards and Executive Information Systems. Mr. Osorio holds an MBA and a bachelor of science in commerce with a concentration in accounting from Santa Clara University.
Aaron Thurlow is the Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Silevo and has over a decade of experience creating and establishing some of the most successful sales distribution channels in the solar industry. At Silevo, Thurlow oversees all sales and marketing activities worldwide and is responsible for identifying and creating sales channels for Silevo’s Triex solar cells and modules.
Thurlow has an accomplished background having previously worked for some of the top solar manufacturers in the industry as well as leading industry start-ups; Kyocera Solar, SunPower, National Semiconductor and Stion.
While at SunPower, Thurlow led efforts to establish the company’s dealer network, a greater than $1 billion sales channel with leading industry market share. He grew sales from zero to #1 in market share in the U.S. within his first 5 quarters.
At National Semiconductor, Thurlow was a business unit executive and oversaw the global sales and product launch efforts of the industry’s first DC Power Optimizer, SolarMagic. At National, Thurlow grew and led a worldwide solar sales and marketing organization that established distribution and sales channels on 4 continents.
Thurlow is invited to speak at numerous global industry conferences and has published several articles on photovoltaics. He was elected to and serves on the Board of Directors for the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) where is an executive committee member. Thurlow previously served on the Board of the national SEIA.
Thurlow received a master’s degree in energy and environmental policy from the University of Delaware, where he studied photovoltaics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Jiunn (Ben) Heng
Dr. Jiunn (Ben) Heng is the Vice President Product Engineering group at Silevo and is responsible for overseeing the continued development of the company’s tunneling junction cell architecture. He oversaw the successful transfer of Silevo’s technology from lab to pilot production to mass production. Prior to joining Silevo Ben held senior engineering positions at Intel where he worked on flash memory technology and developed integrated manufacturing processes to drive stringent device specifications. Dr. Heng graduated with a BE in electrical engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also completed his Ph.D in electrical engineering with a focus on device physics at Urbana-Champaign.