Jerad Stack, Chief Executive Officer
One of the original founders of the company, Jerad contributed to the original technology development that would become Firehole's product core. As CEO of Firehole Composites, Jerad Stack now manages the company, formulates and executes long-term strategies, and sets the tone for the company's values, ethics and culture. He works globally to develop strategic partnerships that further the mission of Firehole Composites.
Jerad Stack has experience in the management and delivery of simulation software that spans more than a decade. In that time, he has worked with applications ranging from military satellites, to commercial aircraft, to Formula One racecars. This experience in the industry has given him a vast understanding of the business and technology of modeling and simulation software.
Before he took the reins of Firehole Composites in 2007, Mr. Stack lead teams in the development of customized simulation software for Raytheon's Space Systems Division and Trilogy Inc. Mr. Stack's experience has helped Firehole Composites to better serve its list of worldwide clients, which range from Red Bull Racing to NASA.
In 2009, he was named in Wyoming's prestigious "40 Under Forty" honors, recognizing the state's premier business and community leaders. Additionally, Mr. Stack has been awarded the Trilogy Customer Success award, Raytheon's Technical Honors designation, the 2006 Raytheon Program Employee of the Year award and the National Reconnaissance Office's Gold Coin award for outstanding work on national satellite systems.
Mr. Stack attended the University of Wyoming where he earned both a M.S. and B.S. in mechanical engineering.
Emmett Nelson, Chief Technology Officer
As Firehole's CTO, Emmett Nelson supervises the research, development and production of the company's software products and manages the relationships with Firehole largest customers. He works closely with companies such as Boeing, ATK and Spirit AeroSystems, developing methods and products to address their specific composite design challenges. Emmett is an expert in finite element analysis, multi-scale simulation, and failure and damage modeling, with years of experience analyzing composite structures.
From his early days with Firehole, Emmett has been instrumental in the development Helius:MCT™ - the company's flagship composites simulation package. From 2005 through 2008, Mr. Nelson also served as Firehole's President and is responsible for acquiring the investments that have led to the company's rapid growth.
Mr. Nelson has authored and co-authored over 20 technical publications and conference papers relating to the analysis of composite materials and structures. In 2009, he was the Composites Section Chair for the NAFEMS World Congress and currently serves on the NAFEMS Composites Working Group. He was the co-chair for the Composites Failure Modeling section of the 2008 AIAA/SDM conference and is currently serving on the CMH-17 Residual Strength Analysis Methods Team. In 2009, he was honored with a B.E.S.T recognition by Composites Manufacturing magazine as an established leader in the composites field.
Prior to his work for Firehole, Mr. Nelson worked as a structural analyst for ATK Thiokol Propulsion. His firsthand experience as an analyst gives him a valuable perspective for developing accurate, practical software solutions designed to help engineers achieve success with composite materials.
Mr. Nelson earned a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University.
Dr. Don Robbins, Chief Engineer
Dr. Robbins is the guidepost for technical innovation at Firehole. He is a key contributor to all innovations, and his technical competence is unparalleled. Dr. Robbins has helped the company with developing and executing technical strategies, winning and delivering on numerous programs and interacting with technical leaders in both industry and academia. He works closely with government and industry leaders developing next generation composite simulation technologies.
Don is an expert in computational mechanics, and has more than 20 years of experience in developing finite element methodology and codes for the analysis of composites.
Prior to joining Firehole Composites in 2006, Dr. Robbins was a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland. Prior to that, Dr. Robbins worked for Michelin Americas R&D Corp. where he developed complex nonlinear finite element methodologies for simulating the thermo-mechanical response of tires.
Dr. Robbins has been the author or co-author of over 25 journal publications and invited chapters in books. His work has been well received by the research community, with three of his journal papers having been cited in excess of 100 times each. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and an M.S. and B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Auburn University.
Jason Gies, Vice President of Business Development
Jason Gies is Firehole Technology's Composites' Vice President of Business Development. Jason is responsible for developing and maintaining technical sales relationships for commercial software, engineering consulting and software services. He routinely interacts with mechanical and aerospace engineers, designers, analysts, managers, and executives.
Mr. Gies contributes to full life-cycle development of commercial software products by utilizing his expertise in sales, support, marketing, technical functionality, quality review, deployment and troubleshooting. This unique skill set is instrumental in translating customer needs into solutions that ensure Firehole’s products and services best enable customer success with composite materials.
Mr. Gies brings a diverse background of building sales through customer relationships and quality engineering. Prior to joining the Firehole team, he was Quality Assurance Manager for a leading ASME nuclear fabricator where he was in charge of customer relationships with companies such as Alstom Power, General Atomics, Taiwan Power Company, Lincoln Electric, Miller, and Fluor. Through this work, Jason built a keen appreciation for product quality (holding numerous quality certifications) and building strong relationships with both private enterprises and government entities.
Prior to his work in the nuclear industry, Mr. Gies spent more than 6 years with IDES, Inc., focusing on sales, product development, and quality assurance for companies such as John Deere, Carpenter Technologies, and General Electric. He also has experience with the Wyoming Composite Materials Research Group (CMRG).
Jason has professional associations with SAMPE, the Society for Advanced Materials and Process Engineering, and is a voting Director for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. He also participates with AIAA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics from the University of Wyoming.
Dr. Mike Kmetz, Board of Directors Chairman
For over 25 years, Dr. Mike Kmetz had been the President of IDES Inc. — an engineering software company focused on delivering the highest quality plastic materials informational services to clients around the world. He has built a reputation for his strong work ethic, focus on results and exceptional ability to forge and maintain major client relationships.
Dr. Kmetz has significant experience in the engineering software industry, starting IDES—a spinoff company from a research project for IBM conducted by the University of Wyoming-- in 1986. Since then, Dr. Kmetz has remained focused on fostering a healthy sustainable enterprise that serves a growing core of loyal customers.
In June of 2012, IDES was acquired by UL (ww.ul.com). Kmetz is now the Managing Director of UL IDES, headquartered in Laramie. He oversees a staff of twenty in Laramie, Wyoming, and a sales office in Europe.
Since becoming Firehole's Board Chairman in 2002, Dr. Kmetz has been able to use his experience and knowledge of the industry, to advise Firehole Composites, playing a part in the company's growth, and success over the past decade.