Erik Vaaler is an experienced engineer and entrepreneur. He has over thirty years experience designing computer controlled manufacturing and testing equipment. Past employers/clients include Google, Apple, Intel, Applied Materials, Jabil Circuits, and Hewlett Packard. He was a co-founder and an Engineering VP at OptiSolar, a solar cell manufacturing company that was sold to First Solar for $400M in 2009. His engineering group was responsible for designing all of OptiSolar’s custom solar cell manufacturing equipment. He worked in business development at NovaSolar, where he was involved in negotiations on over $4B of solar farm contracts in the US, SE Asia, and North Africa. He also has experience in the design and financial modeling of high volume factories – $100M to $1B annual production – for the manufacture of solar cells, energy storage flywheels, and automated assembly robots. He has been at Free Form Fibers since September 2015, developing fiber manufacturing equipment and working on their high volume factory design.
Erik received his BSME from UC Berkeley, and his Masters and Sc.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.