The BIC Team
President & CEO
Ben Wrightsman is a strategic industry executive with over 19 years of experience in high-tech manufacturing, electronics, advance battery, and product development companies.
Ben has held key positions with one of industry’s leading electronics contract manufacturers, large format lithium battery manufacturer, along with owning and advising several small business ventures/startups. Ben attended Purdue University at Indianapolis majoring in Electrical Engineering where he was co-captain of the Electric JAG (Indy) Car Team.
He is APICS-CPIM accredited, received Lushin (Sandler) President’s Sales Training, and is a dedicated Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt. He also serves on the advisory board for Indiana IoT Lab and Eclipse Energy.
Advanced Battery Manufacturing Team Manager
Ashley Gordon, manager of the Cell Fabrication Team, oversees project resources, timelines, and deliverables for current projects while working with potential customers on new opportunities. She received her M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech where she was involved with multiple fuel cell projects focusing on various chemistries, including ethanol fuel cells, PEM fuel cells, and direct borohydride fuel cells.
Ashley joined the Battery Innovation Center in August 2014 after spending a year in Australia working in the energy measurement and verification field at Out Performers, assisting large companies in decreasing their energy consumption by implementing more energy-efficient measures. As a member of the cell fabrication team, Ashley is experienced in all steps necessary to construct a lithium-ion battery, from mixing and coating slurry to fabricating and testing cells.
Dr. James Fleetwood
Training and Outreach Director
James Fleetwood is the Research Director for the BIC, overseeing and providing consultation for work at the BIC as well as for external partners, including the development and implementation of the BIC’s educational services. His primary focus is working with the cell fabrication team to develop novel electrode materials, evaluate ancillary cell components, and assemble them in coin, pouch, and 18650 cells, optimizing processing parameters with a focus on prototype performance evaluation, optimization, and scale-up to commercialization.
He received his doctorate in Materials Science & Engineering from Purdue University for his research under Sandia National Laboratories’ Executive Fellowship exploring plasma spray deposition, electrophoretic deposition, precursor synthesis, suspension rheology, and coating formation mechanisms within the context of electrolyte fabrication for solid oxide fuel cells.
Since joining the BIC in October 2014, Dr. Fleetwood has helped setup electrochemistry laboratories from coast to coast and been involved in research on most lithium-based energy storage chemistries.
Test and Evaluation Senior Engineer
Matt Mills has been a Test Engineer at the Battery Innovation Center since May 2014. He graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2003 with a BSEE. Matt has 4 years of experience in electronics manufacturing and 5 years of experience in radio equipment testing. Matt’s skill set includes test design, process documentation and reporting, failure analysis, and hardware design and layout.
Test and Evaluation Team Manager
Richard Newkirk is the Test and Evaluation Team Manager for the Battery Innovation Center. Richard received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, IUPUI. His testing background started in High School with an impressive STEM program that involved the development and testing of several alternative energy systems. He became known as “Dr. K. Boom”, due to the constant hydrogen explosion demonstrations he routinely performed for visitors and classmates.
After spending multiple years in the PCB and Power Generation industries, he joined the Battery Innovation Center in 2014. His core competencies include battery design, testing, and software development. Richard’s diverse background has allowed him to excel as not only a manager, but also an effective Engineer and Consultant.
Advanced Battery Manufacturing Senior Technician
Test and Evaluation Lab Technician
Advanced Battery Manufacturing Engineer
Advanced Battery Manufacturing Chemist
Evan Rugen has been a Battery Technician Intern for the BIC since July 2018, focusing on mixing and building the various cells and cell components manufactured at the BIC. His primary focus is working as a part the cell fabrication team to produce novel electrode materials, evaluate ancillary cell components, and assemble them in coin, pouch, and 18650 cells.
Evan received his MS in Materials Chemistry from Indiana University Bloomington for his research on the development of novel synthetic methods for producing metal oxide/nitride nanophotocatalysts designed for use in the alternative energy industry. His background also includes specialization in various materials characterization techniques and their corresponding data analysis requirements.
Heather Mischler is the Office Manager and Accounting Administrator for the Battery Innovation Center. Heather received an AAS in Accounting from Vincennes University in 2013 and a BA in Japanese Language & Culture from Eastern Michigan University in 2010. Since then, Heather has gained more than five years of practical accounting knowledge from bookkeeping to audits, cash management to financial statements, as well as accounts receivable and payable, to name a few.