Board of Directors

Robert Mao

Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer

Robert Y. L. Mao joined Energy Recovery’s Board of Directors in September 2010 and was elected as Chairman of the Board in June, 2019. He was appointed to the concurrent role as President and CEO in May 2020 after serving as Interim President and CEO from November 2019 through May 2020. He brings to Energy Recovery extensive experience helping and directing equipment manufacturers successfully expand into new product and geographic markets. His strong strategic and analytic skills can guide the diversification of Energy Recovery’s product line and its growth into new global markets.

Mr. Mao served as chief executive officer of 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq: COMS) from 2008 – 2010 and was on that company’s board of directors from 2007 to 2010. Mr. Mao successfully completed the sale of 3Com to Hewllet-Packard Company in April, 2010. He later served as the Chairman of HP China in 2013-2016. Prior to 3Com Corporation, Mr. Mao had served as greater China regional chief operating executive for respectively the Canadian multinational company, Norte Networks and for the French multinational company, Alcatel. Mr. Mao also held executive positions at the U.S. multinational ITT in Asia and the United States. He also held CEO positions at Asian private companies selling industrial products into global markets.

Mr. Mao has served on the board of directors of companies listed on the NASDAQ, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Taiwan Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. He has also served on boards of private companies. The companies whose board Mr. Mao has served on cover an extensive range of industries and global markets including telecommunication, networking and information equipment and device, semiconductors, automotive vehicles, software service, and other industrial products. Mr. Mao had also served as board member of international and national industry and trade associations.

Mr. Mao is a graduate of Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and a master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Pamela Tondreau

Lead Independent Director

Pamela Tondreau joined Energy Recovery’s Board of Directors in 2019.

Ms. Tondreau has over three decades of experience in the technology industry and private practice as a litigation and corporate attorney. In addition to her extensive experience navigating intellectual property, contract negotiation, and corporate governance matters, she brings a proven history of cultivating excellence in company culture, ensuring diversity and inclusion, and establishing programs to grow and retain corporate talent.

Ms. Tondreau currently serves as a consultant to Infineon Technologies AG, which purchased Cypress Semiconductor Corporation on April 16, 2020. She most recently served as Chief Legal Officer, Corporate Secretary and Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Cypress Semiconductor. Prior to joining Cypress in 2014, Ms. Tondreau spent 13 years at Hewlett-Packard Company in various roles, including Chief Intellectual Property Counsel and Deputy General Counsel to the CTO, HP Labs, HP Networking, IP Licensing, Strategic Initiatives, and Global Alliances. In addition, she supported the Chief Marketing Officer, the Chief Information Officer, and the EVP of Personal Systems, as well as serving as Corporate Secretary to the Technology Committee of the Board of Directors. Ms. Tondreau began her career as an associate at Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges.

Ms. Tondreau holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a JD from McGeorge School of Law.


Alexander Buehler


Alexander J. Buehler is the President & CEO of the Brock Group, a leading provider of soft-craft services to the petrochemical, oil & gas refining, power, pharmaceutical, and LNG industries. From 2017 to 2021, he served as Executive Vice President for Global Resources at Intertek, a global, publicly-traded company and major provider of assurance, testing, inspection, and certification services.

Previously, he served at Energy Maintenance Services (“EMS”), first as Chief Financial Officer and then as President & Chief Executive Officer, during which he steered the company through a market downturn in oil & gas, repositioned the business as a leading integrity maintenance company, and led the marketing and sale to First Reserve, a private equity company. Mr. Buehler also held executive-level positions at Insituform Technologies, Inc. (now Aegion Corporation), a leader in water infrastructure technology and services for municipalities and industry, including oil & gas. Mr. Buehler is experienced in general management, strategic planning, new product development, corporate development, operations management, manufacturing process optimization, sales management, and back-office administration. Mr. Buehler received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A. in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Joan Chow


Joan Chow joined Energy Recovery’s Board of Directors in 2021. Ms. Chow has extensive leadership experience in retail and marketing, consumer insights, and human resources matters, and has served as senior leader at some the world’s most recognizable companies.

Ms. Chow is the former the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at ConAgra Foods, now known as Conagra Brands – one of North America’s leading packaged food companies. Prior to that, Ms. Chow spent extensive time with Sears Holdings Corporation in various marketing roles and ultimately served as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the company. She has also held executive positions with Information Resources Inc., Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Inc. and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Ms. Chow currently serves as Chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Governance Committee at Welbilt, Inc. and is also a director at High Liner Foods and Spectrum Brands. She has previously served as a Director of The Manitowoc Company, RC2 Corporation, and Feeding America.

Ms. Chow holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. with Distinction from Cornell University.


Olav Fjell


A seasoned business leader with experience in the oil and gas industry, Olav Fjell was the chief executive officer of Statoil from 1999 to 2003 and of Hurtigruten from 2007 to 2012. He has also served as the CEO of Postbanken and Lindorff.

He has also been part of the senior management teams at Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk and DNB. Other directorships have included Chair of Nofima AS, Concedo ASA, Rapp Marine Group AS, Swix Sport AS, Bene Agere Norden AS  and Franzefoss AS. He was also the deputy chair of Lotos Exploration and Production Norge. He received a B. Sc. in Business Administration and Economics and an MS in Business from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH Norges Handelshøyskole).


Sherif Foda


Sherif Foda has over two decades of senior-level management experience in the oil and gas industry and is the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Energy Services Reunited.

Previously, he served as the Executive Officer and Group President of Production at Schlumberger as well as President of Schlumberger Europe and Africa. He has an extensive career managing different operations in the Middle East and Europe as well as corporate and HQ positions.  He began his career on the offshore fields in the Red Sea before transferring to Germany to manage several countries, including Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Hungary. In addition, Mr. Foda worked in the information technology and computer industries in Egypt. He serves on the board of trustees of Awty International School in Houston, and is a board member of Al Fanar Venture Philanthropy in London. Mr. Foda holds a BSc in Electronic Engineering from Ain Shams University, and a BAC in Science from College de la Salle, both in Cairo.


Arve Hanstveit


Arve Hanstveit has been a member of Energy Recovery’s Board of Directors and an investor in the company since August 1995. Mr. Hanstveit’s early investment in the company, his experience as an investment advisor and securities analyst, his understanding of global financial markets, the global desalination market, and his extensive knowledge ERI’s products make him a tremendous asset to the company’s board of directors.

From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Hanstveit also served as a member of the board at Kezzler AS Prive, a privately held Norwegian company that delivers secure track-and-trace solutions to the pharmaceutical and consumer goods industry. His 20 years of experience as a professional investor and analyst includes serving as a partner, vice president and secretary of the board at A&G Sundel Collins, Inc., a Scandinavian investment bank. Mr. Hanstveit also sits on the board of the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the New York Angels, an independent consortium of individual accredited angel investors that provides equity capital for early-stage companies in the New York City area.

Mr. Hanstveit holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Accounting from the Norwegian School of Management as well as a master’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Lisa Pollina


Lisa Pollina has served on Energy Recovery’s Board of Directors since September 2021. She is a business executive and Board member who has negotiated over $50 Billion in corporate development deals in financial services, business services and the technology sectors. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Munich RE for the Americas (FRA: MUV2) and provides private equity advisory for alternative asset manager Ares Management (NYSE: ARES). She is the past Vice Chairman for RBC Capital Markets (NYSE: RY), and the Global Financial Institutions Executive for Bank of America Securities (NYSE: BAC).

She has served other Boards as Audit Committee Chair, Risk Committee Chair, and Chair of the Finance & Capital Committee during her Board governance career which began in 2010. These include Independent Board and advisory roles for Northwestern Mutual (private), Two Harbors Investment Corp. (NYSE: TWO), DTCC (private industry group), and Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers (NYSE: RBA), among others.

A Board member of The Atlantic Council of the United States, she is involved with its transatlantic programs including those for alternative energy sources in the Global Energy Center and initiatives related to technology in the GeoEconomics Program. Named one of the “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” by American Banker, Ms. Pollina is an MBA graduate from the Yale School of Management and has taught strategy at Yale and corporate finance at the University of Chicago.