The Team

We have a team of exceptionally talented people across five countries; in the USA, Switzerland, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands and Vietnam. Our team of scientists and engineers are among some of the best in the world and are connected with the most advanced research centres on the planet.

Thomas Leurent


About Thomas

Thomas is CEO of Akselos, and co-founded the company with fellow MIT-graduates David Knezevic and Phuong Huynh. The idea for commercializing predictive digital twins grew out of their research in the mechanical engineering lab at MIT. After holding senior positions at the US Department of Energy and in Risk Management for investment banks, Thomas led the team that won the largest Deshpande innovation grant at MIT in 2011 to launch Akselos.

Since establishing the company Thomas has led the recruitment of a world-class global team, driven a number of successful funding rounds and supported a number of market-leaders on their digital transformation journey with Akselos’ breakthrough engineering simulation technology.

Thomas is actively engaged in the global innovation ecosystem, as an angel investor in deep tech start-ups in the US and in Europe. With an extensive background in tech and risk management, he is a visionary innovator committed to applying breakthrough tech solutions to address business, operational and societal challenges.


Dr. David Knezevic

CTO and co-founder

About David

Dr. David Knezevic is Co-Founder and CTO of Akselos. In this role, he has led Akselos’ technology development in order to deliver advanced digital twin technologies for critical assets to a range of industries.

After completing his Ph.D. at Oxford, Dr. Knezevic joined Prof. A.T. Patera’s group at MIT, where he worked on the Reduced Basis method that is the foundation of Akselos’ technology. In parallel to founding Akselos, David was a Lecturer in the Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard University.

David has expertise in a range of areas related to computational engineering, including applied mathematics, computer science, software engineering and supercomputing. He has 16 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals and has presented his research at many technical conferences around the world.


Phuong Huynh

VP of Engineering / Head of Operations and Research and co-founder

About Phuong

Phuong is a Co-Founder of Akselos and Head of Operations and Research. Phuong is in charge of recruiting, managing and leading a team in Vietnam for software development and production. He and his team have successfully delivered projects to a number of companies in mining, power systems, upstream oil and gas and offshore wind.

Before working to launch Akselos in 2011, he was a post-doctoral associate in Prof. Anthony Patera’s group in MIT, working on the Reduced Basis method that is central to Akselos’ technology. During this period, Phuong and colleagues were awarded the Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) prize by Springer for their work on the Reduced Basis software.

Phuong has expertise in applied mathematics, computational simulation, and computer graphics. He has extensive software development experience on a variety of platforms. He has published 17 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and has presented his works at many international conferences around the world, some of which as an invited and keynote speaker.


John Bell

Senior VP

About John

John is responsible for driving global sales with a focus on growing Akselos’s client base in the oil and gas industry. John brings to the position a successful track record of more than 30 years including high-profile leadership positions and recognized sales achievements in the high-tech and oil and gas industries.


Andrew Young

VP of Project Engineering & Delivery

About Andrew

Andrew is a program manager with over 10 years experience of leading innovation and change projects for companies in an international energy context. He does x, y and z.


Mat Podskarbi

VP of Sales America

About Mat

Mat Podskarbi is our VP of America. Mat is responsible for growing Akselos business in North and South America. Mat has nearly 20 years of experience in industry with global leadership positions in engineering, operations, business development and sales. Mat has lived and worked in Poland, UK, US and France. He has successful track record of developing and introducing to market multiple advanced technology products and services both in corporate environment, working for Schlumberger, and in entrepreneurial, venture-backed start-ups.


Gennaro Pinto

Southern Europe Sales Manager

About Gennaro

Gennaro is our Southern Europe Sales Manager at Akselos. He is responsible for developing business in Southern Europe and Italy with a major focus in the O&G.

Pinto is an experienced Sales leader, with a track record of growing business through highly effective sales and services delivery. Having has individual success at Aspen Technology, Computervision, Honeywell and Olivetti exceeding regional sales targets as Sales Director and Country Manager of the region.

His extensive experience ranges from Energy, Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Automotive, Aerospace, Pharma.


Chris Smith

Northern Europe Sales Director

About Chris

Chris is responsible for developing the business in Northern Europe. He has worked in engineering simulation for over 25 years with a strong focus on sales and business development. He has a PhD from Newcastle University.


Frans Rijk

Global Account Director for Royal Dutch Shell

About Frans


Frans Rijk recently joined Akselos in the position of Global Account Director for Royal Dutch Shell. Frans is responsible for developing and driving global sales and is our first point of contact in all communication between Shell and Akselos. In his role, Frans works closely with Shell Ventures, who are an investor in Akselos. Frans brings to the position a successful track record of more than 25 years of global sales to some of the largest corporates, mostly in the O&G and Energy vertical.


Prior to joining Akselos, Frans held global sales positions at HP, EMC, Microsoft and ServiceNow, building strong partnerships with customers and channel & alliances partner communities. Frans has a track record of helping Shell create and deliver global business value for over 12 years


Dr. Sylvain Vallaghe

Core Technology Developer

About Sylvain

Sylvain works towards expanding the scope of applications of Akselos’ technology by developing new mathematical formulations and computational algorithms. He develops and implements some of the technological enablers that will satisfy, or even anticipate, new customer needs. He gained his Phd from Inira and worked as a post-doc researcher at MIT.


Dr. John Peterson

PhD, Core Technology Developer

About John


John is a computational scientist and developer of the core scientific technologies at Akselos. He was one of the original authors of the general purpose libMesh finite element library which forms the backbone of Akselos’ reduced-basis simulation capability, and is currently responsible for ensuring that Akselos’ software takes full advantage of the capabilities provided by this and other underlying computational frameworks. His other areas of expertise include: high performance computing, numerical methods development, and computational fluid dynamics.


John obtained his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. He then worked for two years as a Research Associate at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, consulting with computational scientists on parallel HPC application codes and administering some of the largest National Science Foundation funded supercomputers in the world. Following this he spent 8 years working for the US Department of Energy at Idaho National Laboratory where he was a member of the MOOSE multiphysics methods development group. John has over 20 years of experience developing finite element software in C++, and joined Akselos in 2019 as a core technology developer working on both the finite element analysis (FEA) and component-based reduced-basis (RB-FEA) aspects of the software.


Dr. Jonas Ballani

Core Technology Developer

About Jonas

Jonas is a scientific developer of key technologies at Akselos. He continuously improves the capabilities of Akselos’ core technology by developing cutting-edge numerical algorithms for high-performance computing. He obtained his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig.


Dr. Brian Sabbey

Principal Software Engineer

About Brian

Brian’s responsibilities include designing and developing user interfaces, 3D visualization tools and cloud-based infrastructure. He leads development of desktop and browser-based applications for assembling and visualizing large-scale, parametrized, component-based models. He also directs Akselos’ deployment of scalable simulation engine on Google Compute Engine. He holds a PhD in physics from the University of Washington in Seattle.


Alexandra Mauer

Sales Operation Specialist

About Alexandra

Alexandra’s main role is to optimize and implement sales processes, and maximize the sales workflow to allow the team to spend more time with customers. Her tasks also include analyzing performance metrics data and leverage it to improve productivity and efficiency.


Nicolas Scire

Operations and Finance

About Nicolas

Nicolas is is responsible for the finance function, assisting with risk management, Human Resources and contracting.


Meron Haileselasie

Product Marketing

About Meron

Meron is responsible for assisting the sales team, guaranteeing effective communication across all channels, interacting and collaborating with marketing agencies and external consultants. Her tasks also include coordinating and scheduling the release of content created by external stakeholders, assisting the project manager and external consultants on the development of business plan and hold regular meetings to report the progress of each project.


Benjamin Paccaud

GUI programmer

About Benjamin

Benjamin is in charge of the development and bug fixes in the Akselos GUI (Python and Pyside-Qt), development of a plugin architecture to allow partners to extend the GUI capabilities and setup of local queueing and batching system (SLURM).


Loi Nguyen

Senior Engineer

About Loi

Loi joined Akselos full time from August 2013 and now he is Application Engineer at Akselos. His primary role is creating high quality computational components and simulation models for Akselos’s customers.


Thuc Nguyen


About Thuc

Thuc Nguyen is a production engineer and programmer at Akselos. After joining Akselos in 2013, he has participated to many Akselos projects in making high quality CAD components, validation of simulation models, and development of production tools.


Tuyen Hoang

Senior Engineer

About Tuyen

Tuyen is a creative engineer with nearly two years of experience in performing the finite element analysis of solid structures, creating CAD models, programing, software design and software validation.


Trong Nuong

Application Engineer

About Trong

Trong works on performing FEA-RB structure simulation and solution validation, implementing automated tools and plugins to speed up the pre- and post-processing stages. In addition, he is also responsible for project management including reviewing data and building project timeline.


Lars Ulph

Sales Engineer

About Lars

Lars has first-hand experience in supporting the full product development cycle from the fruition of a concept through to research, design & analysis through simulation (Electronic & Mechanical CAD, FEA, CFD & Electromagnetics) and condition monitoring, all supported more recently by a background in data science concepts and their uses cases.


Prof. Anthony Patera

Advisory Board: Ford Professor of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT

About Anthony

Professor Patera has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a doctoral degree in Applied Mathematics also from MIT.  His interests are partial differential equations, variational techniques, computational methods, numerical analysis, model order reduction, real-time computation, data assimilation, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, acoustics, and continuum mechanics.

Professor Patera’s research has led in several cases to MIT technology licenses and subsequently commercial software: his earlier research on spectral element methods was commercialized by Nektonics, Inc., as the NEKTON code; his current research on reduced basis component methods is presently under commercialization by Akselos SA.

Professor Patera served for almost two decades as a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Materials Research Council and subsequently Defense Sciences Research Council. Professor Patera also served for almost a decade as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the SMAI journal Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Analysis (M2AN).


Jens Peter Riber

Advisory Board: Former director of engineering at Maersk Oil

About Jens

Jens Peter spent over 30 years with Maersk Oil in roles including technical director and director of engineering, and has joined the Akselos’ advisory board in 2017.

Jens Peter carries with him an incredible track record in the oil and gas industry as technical director with a background as a structural engineer, working on the design, construction and maintenance of large-scale offshore structures.


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