Meet the team
We have a diverse team with people from commercial, scientific, and engineering backgrounds.
We will facilitate the manufacture of holistically sustainable bio-products at a value point at which they are affordable to everyone therefore eliminate the need for petrochemicals.
Just as importantly, we will enhance the lives of our employees and external stakeholders by working collaboratively by always looking for mutual benefit and providing opportunities for growth and impact.
Meet the team
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.
Sales Account Manager
Before joining Holiferm, Amy gained 7 years’ experience as a Scientific Recruitment Consultant. She started recruiting for Holiferm when there were just 6 employees, and externally watched the exciting growth journey by over 600% in just 3 years!
With a huge passion for sustainability and innovation, in July 2022 she made the jump to join Holiferm as a Sales Account Manager; and is now responsible for managing Holiferm’s key account as well as driving sales of biosurfactants into a multitude of markets globally and accelerating the transition to a more sustainable future.
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.
Team Growth Lead
Tom joined Holiferm in October 2022, having spent the last 6 years as a scientific recruitment consultant. He was keen to make the jump to Holiferm due to their long term vision for sustainability, and was captivated by the passion and enthusiasm shown by the team.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Karl worked across various different manufacturing industries from food to petrochemical. He started in these industries on the operations side of things but attended night school to obtain his first health and safety qualification then transitioned into the HSEQ side of things, where he worked for 8 years. He has undertaken additional health safety environment courses and has 5 different qualification to date with the highest being degree level. The reason Karl joined Holiferm was because it was an exciting opportunity to join an up-and-coming company that has the potential to be huge and to make a positive impact in helping to drive the company’s success as it’s early stage.
Amy joined Holiferm in February 2023. She previously worked in the finance industry for the past 10 years and decided it was time for a change. She has a wide range of skills from purchasing, implementing processes, giving internal training to systems administration for finance systems. Amy joined Holiferm as it seems like an exciting time to join and a good company for opportunities. She is looking forward to seeing where Holiferm will go in the future!
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.
Laboratory Support 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.
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.
Patricia has a PhD investigating biosurfactant production in anaerobic organisms, and now applies this knowledge to Holiferm’s sophorolipid production process.
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.
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.
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.
James joined Holiferm in October 2022. He worked as a Chemical process operator at Lubrizol Chemicals (Mostyn) site where he gained knowledge in large scale centrifugal, batch & continuous processes, distillation, and tank farm operations. James was also the shift ERT leader and brings his experience of plant operations to our Wallasey facility.
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.
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.
Wayne joined Holiferm in October 2022.
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.
Jason joined Holiferm in October 2022. He worked as a chemical process operator at CF fertilisers for nearly 20 years where he gained extensive knowledge in safe systems of work, health and safety requirements and general chemical industry practices. After so many years in the chemical industry Jason was looking for a more sustainable, greener and environmentally friendly company to continue his career and bring his knowledge and experience to. Holiferm was the perfect fit for this and is helping him to continue his journey in the field of biosurfactant and fermentation technology.
Frances graduated from the University of Manchester in 2020 with a degree in Biomedical Science with Industrial Experience. After working for a couple of years Frances was keen to get back into the lab and Holiferm was a perfect match, offering a dynamic laboratory experience in a growing area of industry, led by core values that she identified with.
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.
Matthew joined Holiferm in October 2022.
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.
Luke joined Holiferm in December 2022, having previously worked as an Analytical Development Scientist in the pharmaceuticals industry. His background is mainly academic, graduating with a PhD from the University of Liverpool in 2021 after investigating the relationship between mechanical force and chemical reactivity within stressed molecules.
Luke was drawn to Holiferm due to their long-term vision for sustainability by reducing reliance on petrochemicals, and the genuine passion and enthusiasm that the team bring while working towards this goal. Looking forward, he is excited to employ the analytical techniques learnt during his career in the characterisation of our products at our new commercial plant at Ocean Park.
Gary joined Holiferm in October 2022.
Lulu joined Holiferm in February 2023. Lulu joined us after completing a Master’s in Biochemistry. Now, she is working in the R&D lab and hopes to use the skills she has acquired throughout her studies to run fermentations and support daily laboratory tasks at Holiferm.
Naomi has joined the Research and Development team after completing a Master’s in Plant Science and Biotechnology. She is helping to set up bioreactors and running fermentations in the Manchester laboratory. She is enthusiastic about Holiferm’s sustainability ethos and bringing environmentally friendly products to market.
Since graduating with a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Nottingham Daniel has worked in private and government Covid testing labs, where he started as a warehouse operative and left as a Senior Scientist where he managed teams of ~15 people. He’s excited to learn a lot here and to contribute his perspective and assistance to the R&D team. He joined Holiferm because he’s excited by the direction and momentum of the company, the fact we’ve got great people and do important work is just a bonus!
Engineering Project Manager
Liam joined Holiferm in May 2023.
Leadership, Directors & Board Observers
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.
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 maximise its efficiency and success as a company.
Peter van Gelderen
Peter has supported a number of cleantech startup companies as a partner in ICOS capital and brings a wealth of strategic advice and network..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chief Technical Officer
Vicky de Groof
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.
People and Culture Manager
Mariane built and sold a successful travel agency, and now coordinates grant activities, travel, HR and administrative activities at Holiferm.
Carolyn was previously CEO Allylix, which she took from a start-up business to being successfully acquisitioned by Evolva. She holds board positions in several biobased chemical start-up companies.
Charter & Goals
We will facilitate the manufacture of holistically sustainable bioproducts at a value point at which they are affordable to everyone therefore eliminate the need for petrochemicals. Just as importantly, we will enhance the lives of our employees and external stakeholders by working collaboratively by always looking for mutual benefit and providing opportunities for growth and impact.
To work together to create a World where better value and sustainable biochemicals eliminate the need for petrochemicals.
Ownership and trust
We win and lose as a team. We take ownership of what we do and share in the ownership and success of the business. We know everyone believes and counts on us to deliver, and trust that we will, knowing we are all committed to support each other.
We are ready to make major changes of direction and objectives in a single day. We change as soon as it makes sense to do so, and avoid putting further time after sunk time. We have the freedom to work when we wish and make ourselves available when we are needed.
The safety of both employees and third parties is of utmost importance, we look for inherently safe solutions and never compromise safety.
Growth and challenge
We seek out novel ideas and different ways of doing things, even when these challenge our preconceived notions and the orthodoxy, building a team with diversity of both ideas and backgrounds. -We actively look for opportunities every week to improve in our roles, as people and as a company, both inviting, acting on and giving feedback irrespective of job role and discomfort we may find doing so. We find opportunities to help each other learn, be that personal support, recommendations or training opportunities.
Proactiveness, innovation and efficiency
We find solutions to do things quicker and cheaper than others are prepared to do, finding creative ways and taking risks to make things work, as long as safety isn’t compromised we do as much as we can with as little as possible. Because of this, we have many failures, but we make them quickly, cheaply and once. We focus on delivering what our customers want, rather than what we think they want. We take the time to step back, observe, learn and ask why? We set audacious objectives and track our progress from both an internal and external perspective.
We value everyone’s ideas, time and personality, including our own. We engage with everyone’s ideas and ensure that ours are also expressed. If we will have something more important than a meeting or deadline we scheduled, we communicate this immediately and don’t expect others to wait for us.
There are no competitors, only collaborators we aren’t yet working with. We make win-win deals with collaborators, customers, suppliers and funders, finding creative opportunities for a win-win, and aim to work with collaborators who do the same. The opportunity is big enough for many players, and the challenge is big enough that no company has all the answers. We apply all of our values outside of the company as well as inside.
We aim to build an inherently sustainable company, ensuring both our everyday and major decisions lead to sustainability for the company, for the environment and the community. We believe a focus on all three aspects will lead to greater success in all 3 dimensions.
Kindness support and happiness
We support each other no matter who, where or when, and from a personal perspective as well as a professional one. We go out of our way to learn about each other as people as well as teammates, and endeavour to make a teammate smile each day. Our policies are a baseline, and we will take into account the needs and feelings of every individual when making decisions.
We commit 100% to achieve agreed goals and perspectives, even when they differ from what we might have set in the first place. We bring a genuine enthusiasm and excitement to everything that we do and extend this enthusiasm to the public and our collaborators.