William Santana Li, Chairman and CEO
William (“Bill”) Santana Li has served as our sole director and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) since April 2013. Mr. Li is an American entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience from working in the global automotive sector and founding and leading a number of startups. From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Li held multiple business and technical positions at Ford Motor Company across four continents.
His positions at Ford ranged from component, systems, and vehicle engineering with the Visteon, Mazda, and Lincoln brands; to business and product strategy on the United States youth market, India, and the emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and South America; as well as the financial turnaround of Ford of Europe. In addition, he was on the “Amazon” team, which established an all-new modular plant in Brazil. Subsequently, he served as Director of Mergers & Acquisitions.
After internally securing $250 million in financing, Mr. Li founded and served as COO of GreenLeaf LLC, a Ford Motor Company subsidiary that became the world’s second largest automotive recycler. Under his leadership, GreenLeaf grew to more than 600 employees, 20 locations worldwide, and annual sales of approximately $150 million. At the age of 28, Bill was the youngest senior executive at Ford Motor Company worldwide.
After successfully establishing GreenLeaf, Mr. Li was recruited by SoftBank Venture Capital to establish and serve as the President and CEO of the Model E Corporation, a newly established automobile manufacturer that focused on the “Subscribe and Drive” model in California. Mr. Li also founded Carbon Motors Corporation in 2003, and as its Chairman and CEO until February 2013, focused it on developing the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle.
Mr. Li earned a BSEE from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Stacy Dean Stephens, EVP and Chief Client Officer
Stacy Dean Stephens is our Chief Client Officer and co-founded the Company in April of 2013. Previously, he co-founded Carbon Motors Corporation with Mr. Li, where he led marketing operations, sales, product management, partnership marketing and Client service. At Carbon Motors, Mr. Stephens established the “Carbon Council,” a Client interface and users group consisting of over 3,000 law enforcement professionals across all 50 states and actively serving over 2,200 law enforcement agencies.
Prior to co-founding Carbon Motors Corporation, Mr. Stephens served as a police officer for the Coppell (Texas) Police Department from 2000 to 2002. In recognition of his accomplishments, Mr. Stephens was named one of Government Technology magazine’s “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” in 2011.
Mr. Stephens studied aerospace engineering at the University of Texas in Arlington. He subsequently earned a degree in criminal justice and graduated as valedictorian from Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (“IACP”) and also sits on the IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police SafeShield Project, which seeks to critically examine existing and developing technologies for the purpose of preventing and minimizing officer injuries and fatalities.
Mercedes Soria, EVP and Chief Intelligence Officer
Mercedes Soria is our Chief Intelligence Officer and has been with Knightscope since April 2013. Ms. Soria is a technology professional with over 15 years of experience in systems development, life cycle management, project leadership, software architecture and web applications development.
Ms. Soria led IT strategy development at Carbon Motors Corporation from 2011 until 2013. From 2002 to 2010, Ms. Soria was Channel Manager and Software Development Manager for internal operations at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where her team deployed software that was used daily across the firm’s thousands of employees. From 1998 to 2002, Ms. Soria worked as a software developer at Gibson Musical Instruments leading the effort to establish its online presence.
Ms. Soria obtained Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from Middle Tennessee State University with honors, as well as an Executive MBA from Emory University. She is also a certified Six Sigma green belt professional and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
Aaron J. Lehnhardt, EVP and Chief Design Officer
Aaron Lehnhardt has served as our Chief Design Officer since November 2015. Previously, from the Company’s inception in April 2013 until November 2015, Mr. Lehnhardt served as Chief Designer of the Company. From 2002 to April 2013, Mr. Lehnhardt was the co-owner of Lehnhardt Creative LLC where he worked on advanced propulsion vehicle design, personal electronics, product design, video game design, and concept development work.
From 2004 to 2011, Mr. Lehnhardt was Chief Designer at California Motors (“Calmotors”), where he led the design for various concepts for HyRider hybrid vehicles, the Calmotors 1000 horsepower hybrid super car, Terra Cruzer super off-road vehicle, multiple vehicles for the U.S. Military, and various other hybrid and electric vehicles. He was also the lead designer and partner of Ride Vehicles LLC, a sister company to Calmotors, which worked on a 3-wheeled, standup personal mobility vehicle.
Mallorie Burak, EVP and Chief Financial Officer
Mallorie Burak was appointed as EVP and Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) on October 5, 2020. Ms. Burak is an experienced financial executive, bringing over 25 years of expertise across a broad spectrum of industries ranging from early-stage start-ups to multi-national, public corporations.
Over the span of her career, Ms. Burak has negotiated and managed over $500 million of successful financing and M&A deals, having spent the last 13 years focused on turnarounds and special situations for both public and venture backed companies. Prior to joining Knightscope, she served as CFO at ThinFilm Electronics ASA, an innovative solid-state lithium battery start-up, from 2019 to 2020 and Alta Devices, Inc., a GaAs thin-film solar technology start-up, from 2016 to 2019 where she secured over $13 million and $56 million in funding, respectively. Prior to Alta Devices Ms. Burak served as CFO at FriendFinder Networks, Rainmaker Systems, FoodLink, and Southwall Technologies.
Ms. Burak has a proven track record of creating a high-performance culture with a strong focus on operational excellence and maximizing shareholder value, as evidenced by the successful acquisition of Southwall Technologies, after having repositioned, restructured, and grown the company. Ms. Burak has significant experience working with a variety of financing sources, both public and private, as well as significant experience leading and managing M&A related activities.
Ms. Burak holds a BSBA and MBA from San Jose State University.