Management Team

Nate Hayes

Nathan T. Hayes
Chairman, Founder and CEO

Nathan Hayes is an entrepreneur, mathematician, and software developer who has been instrumental to the development of modal interval arithmetic and served six years as a committee member of the IEEE 1788 Standard for Interval Arithmetic.

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 served six years as a 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 management executive 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

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

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 is an expert in the application of FPGAs for use in co-emulation and hardware acceleration. He received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Minnesota State University Mankato.

Barbara Stinnett

Barbara Stinnett

Ms. Stinnett brings a unique blend of global leadership experience spanning executive positions in Fortune 50 companies, including HP, Sybase, Oracle, and Cisco. She has also restructured, pivoted, and grown two midcap software firms through profitable, successful exits, in both public and private equity structures.

She is able to identify customer business needs and communicate offerings in a specific industry’s language. She has a proven track record consistently bringing growth and profitability to each assignment and a deep network of global C level contacts across customers, partners, distributors, and service providers.

Ms. Stinnett is CEO of Timmaron Group, LLC, a global technologies investment and services organization she founded in 2008 based on her experience working in Silicon Valley. She has strong investment experience and has raised three early stage funds that service women-led companies and the technology industry. With over 30 years of executive-level experience, she serves on technology boards and nonprofits that are close to her passion: AidMatrix, Children’s Hospital and Clinics, and SMILE Network.

Dennis McFadden

Dennis McFadden

Mr. McFadden is an entrepreneurial-minded executive. During his career he has combined the expertise and insight gained through working in large multinationals with the practicality and hands-on focus required in an emerging growth company.

He has more than 35 years of executive level experience. He has been Treasurer of two multinational companies; St. Jude Medical and Cray Research. He has also served on the Board of or been a C-Level (CEO/COO/CFO) executive of numerous start-up medical device and technology companies.

Mr. McFadden has broad financial, corporate finance, corporate development and operating experience. During his career, he has secured more than $1 billion in public and private debt and equity financing for his companies. He has been active in corporate and business development functions in buy-side and sell-side M&A transactions, technology in-licensing, strategic partnering, and distribution channel development and management.

He currently sits on the Board of two privately-held companies. Mr. McFadden has also served on the Advisory Board of the Norris Institute Advisory Board, a venture capital arm of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota and actively supports numerous entrepreneurial initiatives at St. Thomas.

He holds a BA in Finance and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

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, a vibrant community of data and analytics professionals that he has helped grow to more than 14,000.