Kevin Dowling PhD
As CEO, Kevin is charting the overall course for Kaarta while also leading financing, recruiting, and legal & intellectual property efforts. He joined Kaarta in early 2016, bringing more than 20 years’ experience in both the development and successful commercialization of industry-first technologies. Kevin’s background spans the fields of robotics, semiconductors, lighting, wearable electronics and consumer products, having most recently served as VP of Engineering for 4moms, the popular developer of high-tech baby gear. Previously, he was VP of Research and Development for MC10, where he built the engineering organization from the ground up to realize market success in stretchable electronics, including a milestone partnership with Reebok. At Color Kinetics, the pioneer of intelligent LED lighting, he played a key leadership role in technology strategy and intellectual property, and helped position the company for its IPO and ensuing successful sale to Philips for nearly $800 million. Kevin is an inventor on more than 70 issued patents. He received his BS in Mathematics and MS and PhD degrees in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, where he spent two decades as a student, research engineer and scientist at the prestigious Field Robotics Center.
Ji Zhang, PhD
Co-founder & Chief Scientist
Ji is the chief architect behind the algorithms that are fundamental to Kaarta technology. He is an entrepreneur and acknowledged expert in advanced robotics, with special expertise in the areas of robot navigation, perception/localization, computer vision and range sensing. His work won the 2017 and 2016 Microsoft Indoor Localization Competitions and achieved the #1 and #2 rankings for the online KITTI Odometry Benchmark continually since 2014. Ji has an issued US utility patent and is an inventor on several pending patents, and author of numerous research papers published by Autonomous Robots, the Journal of Field Robotics, and IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, among others. He received his BS in Computer Engineering at Tsinghua, an MS in Computer Science from Texas A&M University, and a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Wade Sheen, PhD
Head of Sales and Business Development
Wade oversees Kaarta’s global growth strategy and execution, including market development, channel expansion, and product requirements. He is an experienced and versatile leader of technology companies, having served in key roles for more than 25 years across multiple sectors. His expertise lies in guiding early-stage companies through product development, manufacturing and supply chain development, channel strategy and sales growth. Prior to joining Kaarta, Wade was CEO of Cooledge Lighting, an LED lighting innovator that he led from inception to a fast growing and globally successful company. He was previously VP of Marketing & Business Development for AmberWave Systems, where he oversaw strategic business planning and market development, including closure of key licensing agreements within the semiconductor manufacturing industry. He has worked extensively in Asia, leading marketing and product development strategy in the region for Novellus Systems and SpeedFam-IPEC prior to its acquisition. Wade holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and a PhD in Materials Science from Pennsylvania State University.
Head of Marketing
Kathy leads Kaarta’s brand strategy, value creation, communications and marketing programs. She is a market maker with a 30-year track record that spans hardware and software, niche to mass appeal, consumer and business to business, and local to global across many industry sectors. Like her Kaarta teammates, Kathy thrives in early- to mid-stage companies that develop transformative technologies, and expertly builds go-to-market strategies, brands and teams to bring them to life. She served as Senior VP of Marketing for Fiksu, driving thought leadership and market expansion in the emergent mobile advertising technology space. She was previously VP of Marketing for Color Kinetics, the company largely credited for putting intelligent LED lighting on the map, thanks in part to the enviable brand she built from scratch. Kathy has additionally led brand and positioning strategy as a consultant for Testive, Ecovent, Ketra, Ecosense Lighting and Beekeeping.io, and managed marketing programs for well established companies including Apple, Psion and Quark. She holds a BS in Marketing/Advertising from Syracuse University.
Director of Engineering
Steve drives the engineering efforts at Kaarta, managing priorities and resources across key projects. A passionate robotics expert, he was previously VP of Engineering for Astrobotic, a startup developing robotic spacecraft for lunar transportation and exploration. In this role he led the development of the company’s lunar lander and managed its related partnership with NASA. He previously served as the company’s Director of Structures & Mechanisms and Director of Business Development, during which time he led the development and testing of spacecraft technologies while also managing proposal development to fund the company’s work. As a Robotics Engineering Contractor for ProtoInnovations, he was Principal Investigator for a US Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) effort and worked on mechanical design and testing of a NASA-funded robotic vehicle. Steve holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and MS in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also worked as a Research Engineer for nearly four years.
Director of Customer Engagement
Dave works with Kaarta customers to ensure that the company’s product development aligns with their needs and applications. His 40-year engineering career spans academic and commercial, private and public sector projects with budgets up to $25 million. He most recently served as Program Manager for Near Earth Autonomy, a robotics company focused on improving performance and safety for low-flying aircraft. He was previously Senior Engineering Manager for QinetiQ North America, the defense technology company, where he led a team of 18 engineers for the Unmanned Systems Group and worked cross functionally to ensure smooth transition of R&D projects through production and sales. Dave previously spent 14 years as a Program Manager at Carnegie Mellon University, leading technical task areas and managing work scopes and budgets ranging from $2-13 million for numerous programs. He holds a BSEE in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University.