Meet the SimGas family

The SimGas team in The Netherlands consists of a business development department and a product development department. Together with the operations, sales and marketing teams in East Africa, we deliver groundbreaking products for rural households.

We work from our office in The Hague to design products and make business plans, yet we spend just as much time in the mud, building, testing, and adjusting our systems until our customers are happy. Last but not least, we are good-doers, we are trusting, we are winners, we are trailblazers, and we have fun in just about everything we do.

Sanne Castro

CEO

Sanne cofounded SimGas in 2009. Inspiration for the company emerged from Sanne’s Master’s thesis research, which addressed the feasibility of large-scale biogas systems in Tanzania and Ghana. Sanne is an energy systems engineer focused on sustainable agriculture and energy systems. He manages business activities for SimGas in both the Netherlands and East Africa. Sanne is responsible for SimGas’s international growth and technology implementation.

What’s up with the hat?

You can tell by the hat that Sanne is a true entrepreneur: “If you want to get ahead, get a hat!” And so he did. But he will always take it off to the people he admires: his brother and co-founder, his team, his partners, his shareholders. Such a gentleman.

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Mirik Castro

President

Mirik cofounded SimGas in 2009. He is a systems engineer in policy analysis and management. Mirik is a serial entrepreneur, having established Holland Turnaround, John’s Phone and other companies in the Netherlands, and has previously worked at Boston Consulting Group and Stork NV. As CEO of SimGas East Africa, he manages a growing team of 100 employees, including admin, sales, production, and installation crew in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. Mirik lived for many years with his family in Tanzania.

What’s up with the flags?

Put the flags out! We are not just SimGas BV in The Netherlands; we are SimGas Tanzania, SimGas Kenya, and SimGas Rwanda too! Which country’s flag will he fly next?

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Jeroen Thoolen

CTO

Jeroen has a master degree Industrial Design Engineering from Delft University of Technology. He’s got extensive expertise in designing in plastics, design management, innovation consultancy, workshop facilitation and team leadership. Jeroen gets inspired by new product-service systems and accompanying new business models. Together with his R&D team he likes to disentangle complex problems and explore design solutions that contribute to a better society and a better company.

What’s up with the waste bin?

Jeroen is a problem solver pur sang. Where does he get the inspiration from? The answer: by not throwing away everything that has served its purpose. If you look closely, everything that has ever been created by humans or nature has something interesting about it; something that could potentially be that one missing piece of the puzzle. This colourful waste bin isn’t used to collect waste; it’s used to collect inspiration!

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Winnie Versol

Business Development Officer

Winnie is an engineer in Technical Innovation Sciences, focusing on the link between technology and society. Before joining SimGas, she gained three years of experience in renewable energy (solar) and market development in East-Africa. She loves adventure and believes that sustainable energy access is essential for a better world. Winnie joined SimGas in October 2011 and is responsible for subsidies, carbon finance and project management of the school sanitation project.

What’s up with the solar panel?

Winnie’s got solar panel powers: she loves to be in the sunlight, she absorbs the light to keep warm, she puts an incredible amount of energy in her work and even has some left to radiate positive energy onto the people around her.

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Oliver Kynaston

COO

Oliver is a physicist, gardener, researcher, brewer, patent holder, musician, hang glider pilot (we have yet to discover the things he couldn’t do). With the belief that developing products for the off-grid market in East Africa can teach the world how to live sustainably, Oliver moved to Tanzania in 2010 to start a business in renewable energy products for households. SimGas persuaded him in 2015 to lead our operations in Tanzania and Kenya. Under his wings, a team of more than 80 is making households in East Africa (including his own) happy with biogas.

What’s up with the speakers?

Oliver lives with his wife in a small house on a volcano and spends his evenings perfecting the sound of his speakers made from a tree grown next door. Life is too short for bad sound.

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Dorine Poelhekke

Business Developer

Dorine graduated at SimGas in February 2014 as Master student Strategic Product Design at the TU Delft. She has a strong, personal and professional interest in addressing the fundamental needs of people and their environment in developing and emerging markets from a strategic perspective. Dorine is tackling strategic and financial issues, supports business activities in East Africa and is leading a pilot in India.​

What’s up with the kite?

Dorine could not believe her luck when she stumbled upon a kite festival in India: the sky was filled with colourful kites vigorously held up in the air by millions of people standing on the roofs of their houses and flats. A nation so diverse, can be brought together by flying kites. What a way to have impact!

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Thomas van der Schoor

Senior Design Engineer

Thomas is an Industrial Design Engineer with more than 10 years of experience in product development. His content driven role includes the full development process, from analysis to concept generation to detailed materialisation.

What’s up with the bicycle helmet?

Thomas is a very responsible man, putting safety of product designs first. This may sound a bit dull, but don’t be mistaken; Thomas has the most creative brain on the team. When he is cycling 40 km/h, we’re very happy he’s wearing the helmet. We just can’t afford to lose creative intelligence.

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Lia Bardoel

Design Engineer

Lia is an Industrial Design Engineer. She finished her Industrial Design master at the Eindhoven University of Technology in 2013, where she gained a strong interest in product and service design for social entrepreneurship. Her experience on her graduation project on milk cooling for rural farmers in Ethiopia brought her to SimGas, where she is part of the R&D team.

What’s up with the milk churn?

Lia never used to like milk. Until the day that milk practically became part of her job description. Now she can’t live without it. What changed her taste for milk? Fresh, chilled milk, cooled on biogas. Obviously.

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Geert Koemans

Product Design Engineer

Geert is a Product Design Engineer with several years of concept development experience in complex large-scale industrial technology after finishing his studies at the TU Delft. With a scientific but pragmatic approach, a creative angle and a range of experiences abroad in both developed and developing countries, Geert is focused on creating, developing and optimising SimGas products.

What’s up with the globe?

Clever industrial design engineer meets easy-going globe trotter. No matter if he’s tackling technical challenges at his desk or abroad in the field, if it’s adventurous Geert will talk about it with gusto.

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Rutger Stapelkamp

Product Design Engineer

Rutger got his Product Development master’s degree in 2014 in the country known for chocolate and beer. After a busy year on the road, he finally chilled down to push our biogas milk chillers forward. He’s here for his hands-on problem solving now that the coolers move from laboratories to factories.

What’s up with the tools?

Rutger believes design engineers should leave their drawings and CAD models as soon as possible. By making it we learn about its challenges and possibilities. This way we can deliver better functionality and be sure products can actually be made.

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Paul van Giersbergen

Financial Manager

Paul is a seasoned financial manager who has led comprehensive financial operations throughout his career. He has directed all aspects of financial functions, spearheaded business process improvements, overseen information management, and led key systems projects. As financial manager Paul is responsible for the financial organisation of SimGas across the group.

What’s up with the clock?

The time is now! We’re growing so fast, it’s not easy to keep track. Thank goodness we’ve got Paul.

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Anuja Naiknavare

Business Developer

Anuja has a Master’s degree in Management of Technology from TU Delft. Before coming to the Netherlands, Anuja has previously worked with Accenture. Coming from India and having seen the challenges of the farmers in her country inspired her to make an impact! Her experience on her graduation project on Improved cooking solutions got her to SimGas, where she is part of the BD team.

What’s up with the plant?

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. Anuja believes the way to create an impact is by planting a seed that will grow itself into a beautiful plant. How to you grow this seed into a beautiful plant? By using manure made from biogas of course.

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Keen to get to know more about our business development or product development departments? Curious to talk to one of us? Get in touch. We are curious to meet new people.

Get in touch with Winnie.