The Team

The Team

Chief Executive Officer

Evan A Thomas, PhD, PE, MPH is the CEO of SweetSense Inc. Evan is also the Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities and holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a tenured Associate Professor in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department.

Evan has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, is a registered Professional Engineer, and has a Masters in Public Health from the Oregon Health and Science University.

Evan’s technical background is in water and air testing and treatment applied in developing communities through to operational spacecraft. Previously, Evan worked as a civil servant at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for six years. At NASA, Evan was a principal investigator and project manager in the Life Support and Habitability Systems Branch working on flight hardware for the Space Shuttle, the Space Station, and concepts for Moon and Mars spacecraft.

Chief Business Officer

Matt Tolbirt has worked for 12 years to commercialize high impact environmental technologies around the world. Most previously he led the growth of BioFiltro USA’s wastewater treatment solution in the Ag sector in California, Oregon, and Washington. Previously he worked within PG&E to bridge the gap between the cleantech community and the utility industry to catalyze innovation and accelerate paths to market for early stage companies.

His started his career commercializing renewable energy technology from the University of California system. He holds two Master’s of Science in Management and Global Entrepreneurship from Babson College and Emlyon Business School, respectively.

Chief Scientist

Jason Neff, PhD is the Chief Scientist of SweetSense Inc. Jason is also the director of the Sustainability Innovation Lab at Colorado and a Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Jason was on the Earth Surfaces Processes Team as a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow at the US Geological Survey in Denver. Jason has also worked at Colorado State University and was a visiting scientist at the Max Plank Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany.

Jason has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and is the author of over one hundred scientific publications as well as an introductory Environmental Science textbook.  Jason’s technical training is in the cycling of carbon, water, and nutrients through terrestrial and aquatic systems and he has carried out soil carbon and nutrient cycling research in South America, Africa, Asia, and across the United States.  In the past few years, Jason has focused most of his work on improving land planning and management in agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa and working on developing new mobile, modeling, and remote sensing technologies to understand and respond to the challenges of climate change and land degradation in agriculture. 

Business Development

Lydia is leading SweetSense’s Business Development efforts under our Chief Business Officer. Her passion for preserving natural resources and sustainability has supported her work in Clean Water legislation, community organizing, parks preservation, and building business for companies in the Agtech industry. She has a BS in Natural Resource Management from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and has worked in management for six years.

Christian Muragijimana earned his BSc in Environmental Health Sciences from University of Rwanda in 2014. Christian is a full time field technician for SweetSense Inc. Christian was born in Rwanda- Kigali, where he has worked in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for the last three years.

Program Manager

Styvers Kathuni has worked for ten years in design and management of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities in East Africa. He previously worked at Caritas Embu, Save the Children and Catholic Relief Services – in Kenya and South Sudan, where he held various positions – Technical Supervisor, WASH Engineer, Project/Program Manager and Technical Advisor. Previously, has been seconded to the Ministry of Roads and later the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in Kenya to support European Commission and IFAD funded projects. Styvers earned his BSc in Water and Environmental Engineering from Egerton University and is completing his Masters studies in Water Supply and Sanitation at Kenyatta University. He holds a Diploma in Information and Technology. Styvers is a registered Graduate Engineer and Professional Engineering Technologists in Kenya.

Marie Claire Nikuze coordinates field based implementations, surveys and process evaluations for SweetSense Inc. and our wholly owned subsidiary, Amazi Yego Ltd. in Rwanda. Marie Claire previously worked for DelAgua Health, UNICEF, World Vision and Water Aid, and is an expert in community and household scale health intervention technologies. Marie Claire has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Science from the Kigali Health Institute. 

Design Engineer

Danny specializes in designing, building, and analyzing data from sensors. Danny holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, and is a former Fulbright Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow. Daniel’s Ph.D. work focused on monitoring cookstove adoption and using machine learning to allow non-technical users to process large data sets. Previously, Danny has worked in the aerospace industry designing landing gear for Boeing and Airbus, and he has served as Chief Technology Officer of Persistent Efficiency, an internet of things company focused on simpler monitoring of electricity usage.

Field Staff

Pie Nkubito is responsible for interfacing with SweetSense customers in Rwanda, including providing trainings, evaluations and technology deployments with our wholly owned subsidiary, Amazi Yego Ltd. Pie previously worked as a program coordinator for DelAgua Health and a translator for Laterite Ltd. Pie holds a Bachelor of Science in the Option of Food Science and Technology from the College of Science and Technology in Kigali.

Mechanical Engineer

Taylor started his career in Development Engineering as an undergraduate research assistant in the SWEETLab. He obtained his BS in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on design for manufacture and rapid prototyping, culminating in a capstone project that brought him to unplanned settlements in Kenya to install novel occupancy and operations monitoring systems in a network of latrines. He then worked with the SWEET Lab to obtain his MSME, with thesis research focused on the design and manufacture of a prototype remote bacteria sensor. In his position as a staff engineer at SweetSense, he uses rapid prototyping techniques to get products from concept to prototype to the field.

Data Scientist

Jeremy is a statistician with significant experience in time series data modeling for water and energy applications. Jeremy has experience with large data sets and has previously worked on applications ranging from medical research to whole building modeling. Jeremy has previously presented at the Joint Statistical Meeting about improving short-term forecasts of building power demand, work he did while at UC Berkeley.

Electrical Engineer

Skot graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and his focus is on solving interesting problems with embedded system design. Skot has worked on a wide range of professional and research projects from distribution powerline monitoring for the California Energy Commission to mesh networks for underground coal mine safety.


CEO and Executive leader in Startup and NYSE technology based firms. Significant international experience with Cloud based content, Remote sensing and Global Enterprise sectors. Founded and grew 2 market leading companies for 10 years each- successful exits. Customers and partners ranged from Supermajor Energy, Google, SLB,DigitalGlobe,Airbus, Microsoft and IHSE.Emphasis on Fortune 500 and industry leading customers.


Ron is a highly decorated Fighter Pilot, Test Pilot, Explorer, Entrepreneur and Humanitarian who believes that appropriately designed /targeted social enterprise can solve many of the problems facing our world. Ron traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet over 178 days in space and 27 hours of EVA during four spacewalks. His last position in the US Government was with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) where Ron led an effort called Unity Node to develop a universal, open source, collaborative platform to enable humanitarian organizations around the world to work together toward their common goals.