Management Team

Nate Hayes

Nathan T. Hayes
Chairman, President and Founder

As one of the few in the world who knows well and can apply modal interval arithmetic to today’s technology, Mr. Hayes has founded two companies leveraging this arithmetic to significantly improve performances in machine learning and computer graphics.

  • At Modal Technology Corporation, he has developed ALiX, an artificial intelligence method based on modal interval arithmetic that guarantees to find the BEST machine training result in a single run.
  • At Sunfish Studio, LLC, as President and CTO, he invented the first ever modal interval rendering systems and methods. He is the inventor of patented applications of modal interval arithmetic in key areas of hardware design and software method to improve the speed and quality of computer graphics.

Mr. Hayes was an active member of the IEEE 1788 committee for the standardization of interval arithmetic, which became an international debate forum concerning the future of interval arithmetic. In 2015, the IEEE committee approved a standard which is compatible with modal interval arithmetic.

Prior to his modal interval arithmetic years, Mr. Hayes was a software manager and developer at CyberOptics Corporation, a high precision sensing technology manufacturer, for nearly a decade. Mr. Hayes has studied film production and animation at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and mathematics at the University of Minnesota.

Susan Kaplan

Susan Kaplan
EVP of Investor and Government Relations

Ms. Kaplan was Founder and President for Quality Management Solutions (QMS). She led and restructured organizations in healthcare, government, manufacturing, and service sectors to improve profitability with QMS clients’ executive management.

Ms. Kaplan has held key leadership roles at these top performance excellence organizations: Minnesota Quality Award and Florida Sterling Award. She was an integral part of the National Department of Rural Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (largest USA health philanthropy) think-tank for healthcare reform.

Ms. Kaplan received her BAS and MAS in education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is the author of “The Grant Writing Process.”

Brad Winter

Bradley J. Winter
Board of Directors, Vice President of Engineering

As an electrical engineer, entrepreneur, and inventor, Mr. Winter’s twenty plus years of experience in the semiconductor industry encompasses the development of ASIC and FPGA intellectual property in markets as diverse as medical electronics and aerospace systems.

Mr. Winter was a Senior Analog and Mixed-Signal Design Engineer at LSI Corporation, with a background in 3D art, computer animation, solid modeling, and multiphysics analysis. He is the founder of CoolSilicon®, LLC, a company providing the semiconductor industry with innovative in-silicon cooling solutions for single and stacked-die semiconductor devices.

Mr. Winter currently works as an expert in the application of FPGAs for use in co-emulation and hardware acceleration.

Joanne Wong

Joanne Wong, Eng., PMP
Vice President of Business Development

Ms. Wong is a professional engineer and entrepreneur with extensive experience in enterprise business development. She is a partner at REDDS Capital. She has worked with many global IT corporations (IBM, HP, SAP, and Cisco) as a manufacturing engineer, business development manager, solutions architect, and a director in strategic investments.

She has served on a number of boards including as a board member of the Government of Canada ICT sector council setting research and advising ICT policy for the country.

Ms. Wong is a graduate of McGill University in chemical engineering and a member of the Quebec Order of Engineers. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Justin Wylie

Justin Wylie
Board of Directors

Mr. Wylie brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning and marketing in the technology field, including more than a decade of consulting experience in the cyber security industry.

He is presently a consultant with 2 Peak Velocity and angel investor with Gopher Angels for Minnesota based startups.

For 10+ years, he was a sales leader with Optiv and Perpetuity Technology Solutions (cybersecurity companies), driving impressive sales results through the cultivation of client relationships and capturing new business opportunities.

Mr. Wylie has an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.

Pat Horan

Patrick K. Horan
Secretary of the Board

Mr. Horan is the company’s business attorney. Mr. Horan has been a lawyer licensed to practice in Minnesota since 1981.

He spent the first 19 years of his legal career with a mid-size Twin Cities law firm where he was a shareholder and the firm’s Treasurer. In 2000, he accepted an in-house position with a publicly traded software corporation where he held various positions in the legal department, most recently as Vice President of Business Affairs.

In 2005, Mr. Horan opened his own law firm where he concentrates his practice in business law and commercial litigation. He obtained his B.S. from Arizona State University, magna cum laude, and his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, cum laude.

Company Advisors

Manny Villafana

Dr. Manny Villafana, Ph. D., S.C.

Dr. Villafana is a serial entrepreneur who never stops dreaming for himself and for others. He was born in the Bronx, of Puerto Rican descent, and came to Minnesota in 1967 to become Medtronic’s first international sales administrator. From there Manny, also known as the “Cardiac Kahuna,” moved forward to design breakthrough technology in the cardiac realm and went on to found companies to implement these ideas.

In 1971, Dr. Villafana was the founder, chairman and CEO of Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc., now part of Boston Scientific. Through this company he changed cardiac history by introducing the lithium battery into pacemakers.

He then went on to found St. Jude Medical in 1976 and introduced the first bileaflet mechanical heart valve, which reduced the frequency of blood clots in patients. It still dominates the mechanical valve replacement market. In 2017, St. Jude Medical was acquired by Abbott for $25 billion.

Dr. Villafana has started several other successful companies, and is now developing his newest company, Medical 21, Inc.

Clint Jurgens

W. Clinton Jurgens

Mr. Jurgens brings a lifetime of experience in the high-technology industry as an engineer, entrepreneur, and angel investor. He was co-founder and CTO of NuSpeed, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2000.

That same year, El Dorado Ventures, a NuSpeed investor, named Mr. Jurgens one of their Entrepreneurs of the Year. He was vice president of High Performance Networking for Ancor Communications, which was later acquired by QLogic for $2.5 billion, leading the introduction of Fiber Channel into Japan and Europe. While at Ancor Communications he was on the Fiber Channel Association Board of Directors and vice president of the Fiber Channel Association.

Prior to joining Ancor in 1991, Mr. Jurgens held positions in engineering and was a business unit manager for Unisys Corporation. He was also the Director of Business Development for Lockheed Missiles and Space, in Austin, Texas. Mr. Jurgens is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

Graeme Thickins

Graeme Thickins

Mr. Thickins has extensive experience as a marketing consultant and advisor to emerging technology firms, including in software, life sciences, semiconductors, data/analytics, and AI. He launched his marketing business more than 30 years ago after management positions in marketing communications with widely acclaimed tech pioneers Control Data and Medtronic.

He’s been an advisor to more than 200 startups and other ventures that have collectively achieved billions of dollars in shareholder value, many achieving successful exits and IPOs. For his clients, he helps develop great, enduring brands, as well as positioning and marketing strategies to win in the marketplace. He also served as an interim marketing or content executive for some of his clients and has extensive credits as a published writer and technology analyst.

Since 2014, Mr. Thickins has been a board member of MinneAnalytics.org, a vibrant community of data and analytics professionals that he has helped grow to more than 14,000.