About Us

NW Innovation Works (NWIW) is a multi-national partnership committed to meeting a global need – a cleaner source for methanol production. We are constructing a clean-tech facility in Kalama, Washington, that will use natural gas instead of coal to produce methanol. In so doing, our environmentally responsible manufacturing facility will help reduce our global carbon footprint while we protect our local environment and create a new clean tech economy. NWIW is owned by Pan Pacific Energy Corp. (PPE), and is managed by a team with years of experience in project development, engineering, finance, and manufacturing, including:

Global Advisory Board


    Mr. Locke is the former Governor of Washington (1997-2005). Following his two terms as governor, he held the position of Secretary of Commerce from 2009-2011 and later U.S. Ambassador to China from 2011-2014.

    As Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Locke worked to implement President Obama’s agenda to turn around the economy and put people back to work. As the administration’s point person for achieving the President’s National Export Initiative, he presided over a 17 percent increase in exports of Made in America goods and services from 2009 to 2010, while exports to China saw a 32 percent increase.

    Mr. Locke has extensive experience working with China. As Secretary of Commerce, he co-chaired two sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade that resulted in important changes to Chinese trade policy. As Governor of Washington, he strengthened economic ties between China and Washington State, more than doubling the state's exports to China to over $5 billion per year. As a Partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, he co-chaired the firm’s China practice.

    Mr. Locke has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University.


    Professor Choon Fong Shih has been University Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) since 2013. Prior to his recent position, Professor Shih served as the Founding President of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) from 2008-2013. Before assuming the presidency at KAUST, he served as President of National University of Singapore for nine years. He has been widely acknowledged for creating the University's research-intensive focus with an entrepreneurial dimension, as well as for NUS' elevated global reputation. Drawing from his experiences abroad, Professor Shih institutionalized a performance- and market-based evaluation and compensation system for academics.

    Professor Shih was a key driver for the formation of the International Alliance of Research Universities, and led the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) for four years. He was the founding chair of the Governing Board of the APRU World Institute and served on national-level committees such as the Economic Review Committee, which crafted wide-ranging strategies for the re-making of Singapore.

    Professor Shih is among the highly cited researchers in the world for the category of engineering compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). In 2004, Professor Shih became the first Singaporean to be elected as a Foreign Associate to the United States National Academy of Engineering. He was awarded the French decoration "Chevalier" in the Order of the "Legion d'Honneur" in 2005. In 2006, Professor Shih was elected as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his work and research achievements. In 2007, Professor Shih received the inaugural Chief Executive Leadership Award for Asia Pacific presented by the Council for Advancement and Support for Education.

    Professor Shih serves on the judging panel of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and has advisory/consultant roles with Elsevier Materials Science Council, Peking University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, SUSTech, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Saudi Aramco, among others.


    Professor Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, where he directs the US-China Energy & Climate program and works on a wide range of issues including the future of the electric grid, renewables finance and CO2 utilization.

    Prior to joining Columbia, Professor Sandalow served in senior positions at the U.S. Department of Energy, including Under Secretary of Energy (acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs. Prior to serving at DOE, Professor Sandalow was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, as well as Energy & Climate Change Working Group Chair at the Clinton Global Initiative. He has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science and a Senior Director on the National Security Council staff.

    Professor Sandalow writes and speaks widely on energy and climate policy. His recent works include Solar Together (Center on Global Energy Policy, 2016), The History and Future of the Clean Energy Ministerial (Center on Global Energy Policy 2016), ICEF Solar and Storage Roadmap (2015, project chair) and Meeting China’s Shale Gas Goals (Center on Global Energy Policy, 2014, lead author). He was the editor of Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? (Brookings Press, 2009) and co-author of U.S.-China Cooperation on Climate Change (Brookings, 2009). He is the author of Freedom from Oil (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and dozens of articles and op-eds. Professor Sandalow has appeared on CNN, NPR, NBC, BBC, CCTV and many other broadcast outlets and served as a moderator at conferences including the World Future Energy Summit, ARPA-E Summit and Clean Energy Ministerial. He served as Honorary Chair of the Energy Storage Association’s 2015 Annual Conference.

    Professor Sandalow holds an appointment as Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Strategy & Policy at Tsinghua University. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum and chairs the ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project. Professor Sandalow is a member of the Board of Directors of ReNew Power and a Senior Advisor to Highview Power Storage, Tsing Capital and Fermata. He is a member of the Selection Committee of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, University of Michigan Energy Institute’s Advisory Board, the Electric Drive Transport Association’s “Hall of Fame” and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Yale College.



    CEO, NW Innovation Works, LLC
    Simon Zhang has over 20 years’ experience successfully managing complex energy and industrial projects and has managed NWIW’s operations for the last four years. Before joining the NWIW development team, Mr. Zhang held a number of leadership roles at BP including Solar Global Vice President, Strategic Alliances, Chief of Staff of BP Global Chemicals, and Deputy Chief Financial Officer of BP-Sinopec Retail JV in Zhejiang, China. Mr. Zhang received degrees in chemical engineering from Tsinghua University (BS), Purdue University (MS), the University of Wisconsin (PhD), an MBA from the University of Chicago, and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.


    Chief Development Officer, NW Innovation Works LLC
    Vee Godley is NWIW’s Northwest-based executive. He has more than 30 years of project development and project management experience. Most recently, Mr. Godley served as Senior Site Manager for Industrial Piping, Inc. He previously held leadership positions at Sanders Bros, Inc., a capital construction company serving industry from southern Virginia to Mississippi. He studied electrical engineering at Beaufort County Community College and physics at North Carolina State University.

    Chief Commercial Officer and General Counsel, NW Innovation Works LLC
    Kent Caputo serves as Chief Commercial Officer and General Counsel for NW Innovation Works and Pan Pacific Energy.  As Chief Commercial Officer and General Counsel, Kent is responsible for commercial opportunities and partnerships, legal and contractual issues, regulatory compliance and interaction, strategic business and financial relationships, policy interaction, and marketing communications strategy.  He oversees legal, regulatory, communications and external affairs resources, including internal and external management and staff, attorneys, consultants and issue experts.

    Kent's 25t year career includes service as a legislative attorney and Legal Counsel to the Governor in Washington State, private legal practice representing developers, tribes, energy/pipeline and internet service providers, manufacturers and high profile media subjects, and executive experience as a COO with business, financial, project development and operational oversight.

    Kent graduated as an Honors Scholar with a Bachelor of Science in Economics as well as a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.  He earned a Master of Laws from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


    Vice President of Technology, NW Innovation Works, LLC
    Mr. Eastland graduated from Imperial College in 1984 with a degree in chemical engineering and joined Davy Process Technology's London office, working in the Process Engineering department. Mr. Eastland worked as a Process Engineer in the petrochemical technology area before concentrating on methanol from the mid-1990s. He was part of the commissioning and start-up team for a methanol plant in Trinidad and was Commissioning Manager for a second plant. He then was the Lead Engineer for the BP Compact Reformer and Gas to Liquids demonstration plant in Alaska before becoming Technology Manager for Methanol at Johnson Matthey Davy in 1999. In 2008, Mr. Eastland moved into the role of Business Manager for Methanol and had a global responsibility for licensing Johnson Matthey Davy’s methanol technology.


    Vice President of Engineering, NW Innovation Works, LLC
    Ms. Luo has over 30 years of experience in technology development, engineering design, project management, plant operation, and Sino-foreign joint venture setup. She was the Project Engineering Team Leader for the BP Zhuhai PTA project and plant, and has served in various management roles in top Chinese engineering companies. She has a degree in chemical engineering from Tianjin University and is a Certified Senior Process Engineer.


    Vice President of Energy Resources, NW Innovation Works, LLC
    Mr. Riding has 34 years of experience in the energy industry covering a broad range of areas including resource acquisition, risk management, utility operations management, trading, and business development and marketing, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining NWIW, he held various roles in resource acquisition and management, trading, marketing and business development, and finance for Puget Sound Energy, The Energy Authority and The Williams Companies.


    Executive Vice-President and CFO
    Ms. Hemmingsen is a CPA with 25+ years of leadership experience in energy asset/portfolio management & related business and project development; BC Hydro, Brookfield, KPMG Partner–Global Head, Gas & LNG
    Education: Simon Fraser University, Harvard Business School, CPA

    Executive Vice-President, Engineering

    Mr. Scott has 30+ years of experience working in power and gas markets; CanWest Gas Supply, Westcoast Energy, EPCOR, Timberwest, Pristine Power.
    Education: Queen’s University, University of Alberta

    Executive Vice-President, Commercial
    Mr. Campbell has 35+ years in the energy business with the last 25 focused on power, project development, mergers and acquisitions; Westcoast Energy, co-founder Pristine Power, Clean Energy BC, First Nations Power Authority.
    Education: University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University.
  • Tony Hamer

    Tony Hamer has served the Global Chemical, Materials and Energy industries in high profile business leadership and functional roles during his career and his experience and success has make him a sought-after expert advisor today. His profile and passion for inspiring profitable, enterprise growth have included successful initiatives in new concept and business designs and developments, commercialization of products and processes, and the development of innovation to be a competitive strength within each company with which he has been associated.
    Tony has worked at ExxonMobil, Union Carbide/Dow, Olin, Arthur D. Little, Monitor Group and Sinclair and contributed new and growth-oriented ideas to each. The plastics packaging business, energy resources, alternative fuel vehicles are all areas which have benefitted from his views and thought leadership.
    Dr. Hamer has been published delivering industry perspectives for Chemical Week/IHS, Industrial Research Institute, at industrial company senior management retreats and last year received Purdue University's Distinguished Alumni award.
    He holds degrees from Purdue (Ph D); Reading, UK (BSc with Honours); Virginia, Darden, Ex. MBA.