Holiferm’s team

Meet the Team

At Holiferm we are driven by our common goal to accelerate the transition to a bio-based economy by bringing biosurfactants to market. Our team is diverse and multidisciplinary, with people from commercial, scientific and engineering backgrounds who are united in our commitment to exceed customer and collaborator expectations.

Ben Dolman

Chief Executive Officer

Ben Dolman is a co-inventor of Holiferm’s technology. As well as bringing his technical expertise in biosurfactant production, Ben has developed links throughout the industry, enabling a series of collaborative projects and won the BBSRC Early Career Researcher Innovator of the Year award 2018 for this work.

Richard Lock

Managing Director

Richard has grown an impressive chemical portfolio supporting multinational yearly revenue generation of £28.5 million, with proven organic growth, and growing EBITDA from 12% to 16%, between 2018-2019. Created the commercial business case to build a 36,000 tpa £3.5 million betaine plant and agreed supply contracts for 1000’s of tonnes.

Peter van Gelderen

Investor Director

Peter has supported a number of cleantech startup companies as a partner in ICOS capital and brings a wealth of strategic advice and network.

James Winterburn

Technical Director

James Winterburn is a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering and world-leading expert in biosurfactant production and integrated separation of bio-based products. James focuses on improving processes via a bioprocessing and biochemical engineering route, including the whole value chain from feedstock to the application of biosurfactants. As a co-inventor of Holiferm’s technology he won the BBSRC Early Career Innovator of the Year 2018 award.

Jason Whaley

Investor Director

Jason is a partner in Rhapsody Venture Partners with a strong strategic knowledge in fermentation and similar sectors. He is an experienced board member with experience of clear exit strategies.

Jonathan Tudor

Board Observer

Jonathan is part of the Clean Growth Fund. He has a broad based knowledge and experience of the energy transition and mobility and works closely with founders to help their businesses flourish and grow.

Richard Bullen

Process Engineer

Richard Bullen has worked for a number of design companies as an engineer or senior engineer, and now brings this experience to design Holiferm’s initial pilot and support our laboratory team with engineering challenges.

Vicky de Groof

Chief Technical Officer

Vicky joined us after completing her PhD. Her PhD was examining fermenting food waste to generate bio-based sustainable chemicals. She is currently using her expertise to help us refine our bio-surfactant production process.

Patrícia Domingues

Fermentation Scientist

Patricia has a PhD investigating biosurfactant production in anaerobic organisms, and now applies this knowledge to Holiferm's sophorolipid production process.

Mariane Gaio

People and Culture Manager

Mariane built and sold a successful travel agency, and now coordinates grant activities, travel, HR and administrative activities at Holiferm.

Magda Costa

Fermentation and Downstream Engineer

Magda joined us after her PhD at Ghent University, which involved optimising the performance of yeast during fermentation and tying the different stages of the process to subtle changes in the chemical and protein composition of the yeast cells and the surrounding broth. Now, she uses her expertise to help Holiferm make well-informed decisions on developing and refining fermentation processes. 

Paul Carr

Lab Support Team Lead

Paul has over 22 years laboratory experience in a wide range of fields, primarily working in technical roles within plant and fungal research in both academia and biotech, and is a published author in both fields. Paul has also managed a UKAS accredited testing laboratory. He is currently utilising the skills he has acquired during his career to help run fermentations and assist in the downstream processing of fermentations at the Greenheys laboratory. 

Lukas Froom

Laboratory Technician

Before coming to Holiferm, Lukas graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in Chemistry. He has also worked as a research assistant for a chemistry research project, and as an English teacher abroad, utilizing his exam-accredited Mandarin Chinese studies. Now, Lukas works in our R&D lab, making sure the analytics are running smoothly.  

Beth Foster

Financial Director

Beth arrived at Holiferm following an impressive track record of work in finance and company administration, with over 7 years of accounting and auditing experience. She has been in charge of managing a 22-company group’s finances and company strategy, and was instrumental in transforming a stagnating company into a profitable business. We welcome her expertise to help Holiferm maximize its efficiency and success as a company. 

Connor Makin

Downstream Processing Engineer

Connor joined Holiferm to drive the development and scale up of new and current downstream processes, providing chemical engineering insights to the development process. He will utilise his experience of delivering engineering solutions that contributed to sustainable EBIT improvement in the manufacturing industry, to contribute to the ongoing development of production capabilities at Holiferm. 

James Wilding

Pilot Plant Technician

In the years prior to joining Holiferm, James has worked at a variety of positions in different industries, including as a QC scientist for foodstuffs and biopharmaceuticals, as a GMP clean room production operator for the gene therapy industry, and as a microbiologist working with mammalian stem cells for his MRes degree. At Holiferm, James is helping in the transfer and upscaling of our fermentation processes to the pilot and commercial plants. 

Alice Robinson

Operations Director

Alice is a charted process engineer with over a decade of chemical manufacturing experience in positions spanning operations, projects, economics and executive areas. She brings her expertise to lead the Operations Team to deliver safe, sustainable and reliable manufacturing of Holiferm’s products.

Danail Milev

Scale up and manufacturing engineer

Danail comes to us from an extensive background of scaling up fermentation processes, such as scaling a process up to a 17000L bio-reactor. He is currently based in Daresbury helping to operate and fine-tune the pilot plant reactor, preparing for the next scale-up.

Dave Atherton

Technical Manager

Dave has joined us to help us ensure that our Sophorolipid product is well characterised and of the highest quality. He has had 15 years of experience as a QC scientist and 2 as a QA manager with a broad experience of different characterisation techniques and products.

Andrew Hardwick

Executive Assistant

Andrew comes to us as an experienced teacher who has trekked all over the world from the depths of the jungle in Borneo, to Vietnam and Malawi. He has been in a variety of teaching roles either teaching the art of teaching to improve education these developing countries or teaching English at international schools and English development centres. Currently he brings his formidable talents to helping us sharpen our presentations and streamline our internal and external communications.

Lawrence Clarke

Technical Sales Manager

Lawrence has an extensive 6 year background in formulating personal care products, including products containing rhamolipids a type of biosurfactant, working at both Unilever and Pennwhite Ltd.

Alastair Veitch

Analytical Scientist

Ali came to us after working for Ashland Inc for over 8 years on the characterisation of polymers and complex transient reaction mixtures. This work has made him a specialist in a broad suite of different characterisation techniques such as Gel permeation chromatography (GPC), Mass Spectrometry, and HPLC. At Holiferm, Ali utilises these skills to ensure our products are well-characterised and maintain their high quality as we develop and upscale our production methods. 

Sid Palmer

Supply Chain Manager

Sid spent 2.5 years in both warehouse and transport functions.  He was initially supporting the UK distribution of one of the UK's largest food retailers.  He then moved into the Frozen and International export section of the same companies goods to markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Ewa Fic

Plant Operator

Before joining Holiferm, Ewa worked in a variety of roles within the pharmaceutical industry, including lab support, clarification, purification and centrifugation. She hopes to use the skills she has gathered over many years in this new and exciting adventure.

John Faber

Plant Operator

Following 7 years pharmaceutical manufacturing experience; with 5 years in Biologics manufacture, John answered the call as a Plant operator working to drive standards in quality, safety and sustainability throughout the operations department.

Joana Pereira

Business Development Manager

Joana has a background in bioprocess engineering, with her PhD focusing on bioplastic production from waste at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. With a passion for entrepreneurship, she used her technical expertise to co-found a start-up project, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, on integrated aquaponic production of seafood and microalgae. She sees innovation and state-of-the-art biotechnology as essential tools to tackle the sustainability challenges that we face, so she joined Holiferm as a BDM to help drive change in the chemical industry.

Tom Lester

Team Growth Lead

Tom joined Holiferm in September 2022.

Amy Hallworth

Sales Account Manager

Amy joined Holiferm in July 2022

Lewis Wright

Assistant Accoutant

Lewis joined Holiferm in May 2022. Lewis has worked within Finance for the last 6 years starting as an Apprentice and has gained lots of experience and knowledge over this time. He will be bringing this to Holiferm to ensure the success of the organisation continues for years to come.

Tom Pallett

Team Growth Lead

Tom joined Holiferm in May 2022 having spent 4 years in hospitality management, where he gained valuable experience building successful team performance, culture, and personnel.

He will now use this experience to help lead Holiferm’s internal recruitment as the company continues to grow.

Serena Simonetti

Fermentation Scientist

Serena joined us after completing her PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, where she optimised the production of chemicals from the anaerobic fermentation of food waste. She has an academic background in industrial chemistry but has research experience with microbial processes to generate short chain fatty acids, biopolymers, and biogas. She is passionate about sustainability and is keen on bringing her enthusiasm and multidisciplinary skills to the team. What excites her about working in Holiferm is the ability to bring new ideas and to accept new challenges, while being supported by amazing people who genuinely want to make a difference in the biotech industry

Karl Davies

HSEQ Manager

Frances Spink

Lab Technician

Frances joined Holiferm in October 2022.

Andrea Jackson

QC/QA Scientist

Andrea joined Holiferm in October 2022.

Wayne Peers


Wayne joined Holiferm in October 2022.

Luke Anderson

QC/QA Scientist

Matthew Wharton


Matthew joined Holiferm in October 2022.

James Lovell


James joined Holiferm in October 2022.

Nick Davies


Nick joined Holiferm in November 2022.

Julian Basham

Process Development Engineer

Julian joined Holiferm in November 2022.

Jason Weston

Shift Operator

Jason joined Holiferm in November 2022.

Gary McConville

Production and Process Engineering Manager

Gary joined Holiferm in December 2022.

Lateef Okanlawon

Management Accountant

Lulu Amanda

Research Assistant

Amy Lunt