Proteum Energy
Blue Hydrogen | Carbon Sequestration | Low Emissions Fuel
Proteum Energy
Blue Hydrogen | Carbon Sequestration | Low Emissions Fuel

Thomas C. Niccoli

Director & Board Chairman

Mr. Niccoli, is a senior executive with over thirty years of leadership experience as a CEO and COO for both public and private companies. He was a founder/co-founder of six high tech startups and has facilitated taking two of those companies’ public. Mr. Niccoli left IBM’s General Systems Division after 6 years as a systems analyst and beginning in the early 80’s, built the largest Computerland franchise in the country taking it public in 1987. In the early 90’s Mr. Niccoli secured a USWeb franchise and worked with the franchisor to rollup Internet Service Providers (ISPs) around the country creating a $500M public enterprise by 1998. Beginning in 2001 thru 2012, Mr. Niccoli co-founded and helped raise money for 3 additional high-tech companies two of which were in the Location Based Services (LBS) market space.

Currently, and over the last eight years, Mr. Niccoli has been focused on the AGI/ZHRO technology opportunity which is now Proteum Energy. As it relates to that, Mr. Niccoli continues to be the manager of Pure Power Financial, LLC, Pure Power Financial II, LLC and Pure Power Financial II, LLC, Series A, each a creditor who provided multiple loans to the Debtor. Each of these loans were in default and as such, these lenders ended up with both secured and unsecured claims in the Bankruptcy. Mr. Niccoli is also the manager and a member of Michigan Sustainable Power, LLC and a member of Sustainable Power Solutions, LLC, each signed distributor agreements to distribute the ZHRO Solutions’ injector technology. Mr. Niccoli is the manager and a member of Oklahoma Pure Power, LLC and Michigan Pure Power, LLC, each of whom entered into distributor agreements with ZHRO Power, LLC to distribute their on-site power generation technology.

Mr. Niccoli has been a member of the local chapter of the Young President’s Organization (YPO) since 1984 and had been a member of the World President’s Organization (WPO). He continues to be an active member of the charitable arm of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Phoenix Thunderbirds, since 1987. Mr. Niccoli has served on several Boards and Advisory Committees for local organizations over the last several years. Mr. Niccoli has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics Engineering from Regis University in Denver, CO and had completed all coursework towards a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Computer Science from Arizona State University before accepting a position with IBM in 1974.



Michael Brown

Proteum Energy Director

Michael Brown is the co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Euronet Worldwide, a leading processor and innovator of secure electronic financial transactions. Mr. Brown actively participates in the day-to-day operations of Euronet through oversight of the Company’s business strategy, development and financial performance across all markets.

Euronet operates three segments which process more than $115 billion in annual payments volume through approximately four billion transactions delivering $2.5 billion in revenue annually. The EFT segment processes transactions for a network of approximately 47,000 ATMs directly and provides transactions and products for another 135,000 ATMs. Along with the ATMs, Euronet runs approximately 307,000 POS terminals in 54 countries worldwide. The epay segment provides electronic distribution of prepaid mobile airtime and other electronic products on a network of 700,000 POS terminals in 325,000 retailer locations across 51 countries. The money transfer segment provides cash-based and online global money transfer services for individuals and small-to-medium sized businesses through a network of 385,000 locations serving 160 countries. With headquarters in Leawood, Kansas, Euronet employees approximately 7,600 employees in more than 50 countries around the world.

Mr. Brown is an accomplished entrepreneur with 30 years of combined experience in the computer software and electronics payments business. In 1979, he founded and was CEO of Innovative Software which developed integrated business software, primarily for personal computers. In 1988, Innovative Software merged with Informix, a leading provider of advanced database software technology. During his time at Informix, he served as president and chief operating officer as well as president of the workstation products division. With his oversight, Informix revenues grew from $70 million to $170 million before his departure in 1990. In 1993, he was a founding investor of Visual Tools, a company that writes and markets component software for the Visual Basic and Visual C++ developer market. Visual Tools was acquired by Sybase Software in 1996. Mr. Brown received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1979, and a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1997.

Perry Fraley

Proteum Energy Director

Perry Fraley has 35 years’ experience in the aerospace aluminum business. Upon graduation from Harding University in 1981 he entered the marketplace as an inside sales representative for Pimalco in Chandler, AZ. He quickly showed his potential and within one year was promoted to outside sales where he was assigned an underutilized product in hope of market growth. Mr. Fraley changed the product market strategy resulting in product volume growth of over 10x making Pimalco an attractive acquisition target. In 1985, ALCOA, the industry’s leading producer of hard alloy aerospace aluminum products acquired Pimalco. In 1995 Mr. Fraley became a senior product manager managing ALCOA’s largest extrusion facility in Lafayette, IN where he once again took a struggling product and grew it, exceeding ALCOA’s expectations.

In 1997 Mr. Fraley and his family started ALEXCO, a company specializing in the production of aerospace aluminum extrusions. Mr. Fraley took responsibility for sales and business development and within months the company was established as a world leader in production and customer service. Under his leadership as president, the family-owned business grew and became an acquisition target for larger companies to widen their footprint in a technologically challenging industry. In January of 2011 the Fraley family sold ALEXCO to Kaiser Aluminum. Realizing the value of Mr. Fraley’s skill set, Kaiser retained him to manage the acquired facility and participate in Kaiser’s Aerospace strategy. As General Manager/Product Manager, Mr. Fraley successfully transitioned operations to a publicly-traded corporate structure in compliance with SEC reporting requirements, while maintaining a close-knit culture among the employees.

Mr. Fraley resigned from Kaiser Aerospace at the end of 2016. He is active in philanthropic activities and served as a board member for numerous non-profit organizations, including: Experience Arts School, American Hand Forge, Valley Christian High School, Christian Life Outreach, Birdie Media and Elevation Marketing.

John Horton

Proteum Energy Director

John Horton is a former senior financial executive at two leading technology and manufacturing companies, GE and Honeywell, where he served as CFO for Honeywell’s Aircraft Engines Division, GE’s Military Aircraft Engine Division and GE’s Industrial Gas Turbine Division.

Mr. Horton was the CFO for Omega Cabinetry, a private equity funded company which sold to Fortune Brands for $700MM. He was also the Managing Director for NY based private equity firm, Butler Capital, with $2B in committed capital. Mr. Horton was the founding Operating Partner of Intervale Capital, a private equity fund focused on energy services with $1.2B committed capital. He was an investor and member of the Board of Directors for numerous portfolio companies for sophisticated private equity firms including Clayton Dubilier & Rice, First Reserve, JP Morgan Chase, Babson Capital and Main Street Capital.

Mr. Horton is currently Chair of the Board of PCI Gases, a leading industrial gas equipment provider to Aerospace and Defense, Oil & Gas industries, and Commercial Oxygen for medical, water treatment, aquaculture, mining, and industry. He is the Chair Board of Managers at Smart Recycling, a leading organic waste management company serving the Southeast U.S. Mr. Horton serves on the Board of Directors of Innovus Power, a CA based energy technology provider. He is the former Chair of the Audit Committee and Board of Brand Energy and Infrastructure, a global leader in scaffolding, craft labor, forming & shoring primarily servicing the energy industry with over 30,000 employees. Mr. Horton is a former Chair of the Audit Committee and Board of Proserv Energy, a leading provider of components and services for offshore energy platforms.

Mr. Horton is a member of the Board of Trustees and Endowment Committee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL. Mr. Horton has no prior affiliation with Debtor or any of its creditors, with respect to Debtor or its affiliates.

S. Curtis Johnson

Proteum Energy Director

Curtis A graduate of Cornell University where he received his B.A in Economics, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he received his MBA, Mr. Johnson has served on the Board of Directors of Cargill, Inc. and the World Wildlife Fund.

He is involved in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. Most importantly, he was the co-founder of a private venture capital firm, Wind Point Partners in 1983. Wind Point Partners is now investing its 9th Fund after raising a cumulative $4.9 billion from a variety of significant institutional investors including Northwestern Mutual and the State of Wisconsin and State of Michigan Investment Boards. Wind Point has consistently performed in the top quartile performance ranking of all Private Equity funds.

As a fifth generation member of the S.C. Johnson family, Mr. Johnson has a held a variety of leadership positions within the family business. He has a passion for sustainable businesses with a focus on improving the environment. As Chairman of Diversey, Inc., a $4 billion global institutional cleaning business, he led the development and successful implementation of a variety of environmentally friendly cleaning solutions for food service companies, hospitals, building service contractors, and cleaning product distributors worldwide.

Mr. Johnson’s personal story includes overcoming addiction and helping others do the same. He has partnered with the former sheriff of the Kenosha County (Wisconsin) Correctional Facilities to develop and build a halfway house program called “Living Free House” that provides a continuity of support to recovering alcoholics and addicts leaving the correctional system.

An avid pilot and aeronautical adventurer. Mr. Johnson is an experienced diver as well as being rated in a variety of fixed wing, rotorcraft, glider and lighter than air aircraft. He is currently a world record holding skydiver. In 2000, along with his brother Fisk and Father Sam, he re-traced his Grandfather’s famous Carnauba Expedition from Racine, Wisconsin To Brazil and up the Amazon River in a 1934 replica Sikorsky S-38 Flying Boat that was used by his grandfather in his original expedition in 1934.

Peter Lacey, ICD.D

Proteum Energy Director

Mr. Lacey is the founder and Chairman of Cervus Equipment Corporation (TSX:CERV) a Canadian public company headquartered in Calgary, AB. Cervus is comprised of 63 equipment dealerships, representing John Deere agricultural equipment, Peterbilt Truck dealerships, and material handling dealerships. These dealerships are located across Western Canada and Ontario. Cervus also operates John Deere dealerships in Australia and New Zealand.

Annual sales exceeded $1.1 billion for Cervus in 2019.

Mr. Lacey has most recently served as Lead director for Entrec Corporation and Audit Committee Chairman for Memex Inc., two other Canadian public companies as well as director for several other private companies.

Mr. Lacey served on the Red Deer College Board of Governors for 7 years and as Chairman of the Board of Governors for 4 years. Mr. Lacey also served on the board of the Red Deer College Foundation, prior to his appointment to the Board of Governors, as well as the committee to fund the Library Information Commons at the College.

Mr. Lacey also served as a director and past president on the Board of Canada West Equipment Dealers Association, the trade association serving the farm equipment dealer industry in Western Canada and Mr. Lacey was recognized as “Dealer of the Year” for 2014.

Mr. Lacey recently received his ICD.D designation from the Rotman School of Business and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Peter is a long-term resident of the community of Red Deer and is or has been involved in a variety of community activities including Rotary Club, Ski Club, Public School Advisory Boards, Trade Associations and various City of Red Deer Boards and Committees. Mr. Lacey along with his wife, Kathy have been long term financial supporters and volunteers for the Red Deer Regional Hospital as well as Red Deer Public Schools. They are also active with A Better World organization that provides partnership solutions in a number of third world countries. Peter and Kathy have assisted in building a school and two medical clinics in Kenya, and are supporting a Women’s Empowerment group in Kenya providing loans for agricultural projects. Mr. Lacey is also chairman of the board of a commercial farm in Uganda.

Peter and Kathy have been married for thirty-six years and they have three adult children and four grandchildren.

Mr. Lacey is 64 years young and enjoys golfing, skiing, boating, reading, travel and assisting others with creating solutions to help themselves.

Brian Day O'Connor

Proteum Energy Director

Brian Day O’Connor is a successful Phoenix business leader, a real estate and venture capital investor, and the President and Designated Broker of O’Connor Commercial. A fifth generation Arizonan, Mr. O’Connor began his business career in commercial real estate as a project manager with The Koll Company in 1981. He became Senior Vice President in the Phoenix office of Grubb & Ellis in 1982. In 1993 he was an Associate Broker at Park West Realty. Since 1999 Mr. O’Connor has managed his own real estate and business investment and brokerage company, O’Connor Commercial. Mr. O’Connor has brokered over 3MM square feet of office lease transactions, more than 3MM square feet of commercial real estate investment sales, as well as thousands of acres of land for commercial development.

Mr. O’Connor has also been active in real estate development as a Partner in Park West Development and later with O’Connor Commercial. His development projects include residential land development, master planned communities throughout Arizona, Utah and Mexico and mobile home/RV park development.

In addition to his real estate investment, brokerage and development pursuits, Mr. O’Connor is a successful business operator and venture capital investor. Mr. O’Connor owns and operates numerous branded gas convenience operations in Arizona. He has also been an active investor in energy-related businesses, oil & gas, medical device manufacturing companies and the research and development of other patented technologies. Mr. O’Connor is the manager and/or investor in several ZHRO Solutions, LLC and ZHRO Power, LLC D territories and is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee.

Mr. O’Connor is active in non-profit community associations, including, the FBI Phoenix Citizens Academy Alumni Association, Arizona State Troopers Association, the Civics Initiative, and the O’Connor Institute. Mr. O’Connor was a Captain in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Posse for 19 years and is currently a Member of The United States Marshals Posse. Mr. O’Connor is a world-class mountaineer and adventurer, extreme mountain skier and expert-rated skydiver.

John Rosenfeld

Board Secretary

John D. Rosenfeld is a business and transactional attorney with twenty-seven years’ experience representing early stage and small cap companies and their investors, both as outside and inhouse counsel. Mr. Rosenfeld brings a unique background of legal, finance, investor relations and transition management expertise.

Mr. Rosenfeld began practicing law 1992 in Los Angeles as an associate with Cox, Castle & Nicholson representing national real estate developers and with Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker. In 1998 he became general counsel to B3 Architects/Berkus Design Studio, a leading residential architectural and planning firm with a heavy emphasis on sustainable development, where he collaborated with companies such as Visteon Corporation and Hydrogen Burner Technology to illustrate sustainable residential energy concepts and distributive power. From 2010 to 2016 Mr. Rosenfeld participated in the formation and capitalization of new businesses startups and real estate ventures. Since 2016, he has advised private companies regarding a broad range of corporate, finance and real estate matters in affiliation with Freeman Law and Venditti Law Group. Mr. Rosenfeld is a member of the board of directors of Titan Health Management Solutions, Inc., a revenue-cycle management company serving healthcare providers across the United States.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management/Finance from the University of Southern California in 1988 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 1992. Mr. Rosenfeld has served on a variety of community boards and associations including: California State Senator Calderon’s Construction Defect Task Force; Mayor’s Zoning Task Force (Santa Barbara, CA); Elder, Pinnacle Presbyterian Church; Phoenix Children’s Chorus volunteer; Chair of the Board, Quire of Voyces.

Mr. Rosenfeld is counsel to Pure Power Financial, II, LLC, a secured lender to ZHRO Power, LLC and Advanced Green Innovations, LLC. He is also a consultant to the Ad Hoc Committee of AGI/ZHRO stakeholders.

Robert D Saik, PAg, CAC

Proteum Energy Director

Robert Saik has forty years of experience as a Professional Agrologist, entrepreneur and an international consultant who’s worked with a wide variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates.

His latest book, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed the Future” is a pragmatic look at the five iterations of agriculture, culminating in an examination of how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer.

Robert, an outspoken champion of agriculture, is a Distinguished Agrologist, Professional Agriculture Consultant, a serial entrepreneur and has been hailed as an agriculture futurist with unparalleled insight into where the industry is headed.

He has leveraged these strengths to found over 15 companies in the areas of Farming, Agri-Retail, Distribution, Media and Ag Tech including The Agri-Trend/Agri-Data Group of Companies which was acquired by Trimble. He served as CEO of DOT Technology Corp (Autonomous Farming) through the acquisition of Dot by Raven Industries.

He’s also the founder and CEO of AGvisorPRO, a platform that “uberizes” knowledge and wisdom, enabling farmers to instantaneously connect with agriculture experts worldwide.

Through Saik Management Group Inc he facilitates the PowerFARM peer group for progressive farmers.

His first book, “The Agriculture Manifesto – Ten Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade” was a 2014 Best of Amazon Books and this TEDx Talk “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion People?” has been viewed over 150,000 times. Robert is a passionate keynote speaker and is executive producer of the Know Ideas Media a science based multi-media company addressing issues such as GMO’s and their use in food production.

He serves on several Boards including IntelinAir and Proteum Energy, is an advisor to Olds College, is a member of the A100 (Alberta Tech Entrepreneur Network), a student of Strategic Coach and Singularity University and a member of Abundance 360. As a partner in Perigro Venture Partners he participates in early stage technology investments.

He been recognized for agriculture leadership by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (Provincial Distinguished Agrologist of the Year) and in 2016 was awarded Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.


R. Kirk Sherr

Proteum Energy Director

R. Kirk Sherr is the President of Clearview Strategy Group, an international infrastructure and energy advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. He has 35 years of international experience in emerging and frontier markets worldwide. Since 2012 he has led Clearview Strategy Group, a consulting firm that provides energy project development, due diligence and advisory support in key international energy markets. Clients include some of the largest U.S. and European energy companies, private equity funds, utilities and Fortune 250 industrial companies.

Previously, he founded several energy service companies and led natural gas distribution companies and large midstream energy businesses in Latin America and the Middle East. He has in-depth energy, resource development and operational experience in diverse markets including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Iraq and Somalia. He has been the President of MetroGas (Mexico City) and Compania Mexicana de Gas (Monterrey) and a board member of large, multi-national natural gas distribution and pipeline companies in Brazil. Since 2015 he has also been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgetown Graduate School of Foreign Service, specializing in international energy, technology and geopolitical issues.

Prior to founding Clearview in 2012, Mr. Sherr was a principal at the Scowcroft Group in Washington, D.C. He began his career as a diplomat, serving 10 years in the U.S. State Department in challenging international assignments. He received his AB in economics, government and Spanish from Franklin and Marshall College, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Denver. He is a member of the Colorado Bar Association and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Laurence B. Tree II

Chief Executive Officer

Laurence B. Tree II (“Larry”) is a proven entrepreneur and strategic leader who has built international businesses and brands from initial funding through to successful business- to-business process and technologies development. Larry’s passion is building great teams of people working together with the skill and persistence to drill into initial business plans, collaborate to execute strategies and tactics focused on excellence.

Mr. Tree is President and CEO of Proteum Energy. He was previously President and board member of Laron, Incorporated, a 40 year leader in heavy industry service solutions focused on the power generation, mining, oil and gas, and heavy manufacturing, transportation and construction industries. In January 2020, Laron was successfully transitioned as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ohio Transmission Corporation, (Genstar $17B private equity owned).

Mr. Tree’s prior industry experience includes founding EMS, Inc., after five years as the western regional service director for Reliance / Exxon. EMS Inc. became one of the fastest growing companies in the US (#24 on the INC 500 ) and one of the largest independent equipment service companies for power generation, mining services and heavy industry in the southwest US. Mr. Tree was nominated Arizona Entrepreneur of the Year and successfully transitioned the company to become the primary US subsidiary of the largest independent electrical and mechanical service company in the world. Mr. Tree served on the international board of directors of this public UK company, which is now EMS Sulzer, a division of world leading Sulzer Turbo Services, based in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Mr. Tree also has a varied entrepreneurial and philanthropic background. At the request of Dr. Andrew Weil, the renowned integrative medicine physician and author, he co-founded and co-created the world’s leading integrative medicine web portal ( and product licensing company. Mr. Tree developed the initial business plan and secured funding, co-creating an international web and licensing business that is now exceeding $100 million in top line sales. The philanthropic goal of this business was fulfilled and millions of dollars of donations from the business have been raised, all focused on funding Dr. Weil’s non-profit, Weil Foundation. The Weil Foundation initially and significantly, contributed to the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University, which is now the very successful Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine (, a Center of Excellence within the University of Arizona.

Outside interests include YPO Gold Arizona – (Young President’s Organization), where he has held various leadership positions in both the Arizona Chapter of YPO and World Presidents Organization (WPO) International. He is a prior member of the Board of Trustees of Phoenix Country Day School, a leading K-12 private school in Arizona, and a lifetime member of the Brophy Dad’s Club, a leading Arizona Jesuit boys high school booster organization. Mr. Tree’s personal interests include hiking, fly fishing, travel and spending time with his wife Patti and their 5 grand children and two Labrador mix rescue dogs.

Trevin Vaughn

Proteum Energy Director

Trevin serves as the Managing Partner of Red Team Investments and the CEO of EnergyX. Mr. Vaughn provides strategic vision and operational alignment for both companies.

Red Team Investments is a private company focused on funding, guiding, and integrating early stage companies with unique technology specifically valuable to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The 4IR is revolutionizing every industry and is driven by technological advancements in AI, edge computing, blockchain, nano-tech, and robotics. Red Team’s focus and strategy center around the intersection of energy, technology, and data.

EnergyX is a modular data center company that provides solutions for the High-Performance Compute markets such as video processing, AI, and blockchain. EnergyX is unique because its modularity allows assets to be powered by distressed energy markets. This creates opportunities to reduce carbon emissions for oil and gas producers and enhance renewable energy projects’ economics. EnergyX is a bridge between a quickly growing compute market and a changing energy industry.

Mr. Vaughn began his career in the oil & gas industry working at both upstream and midstream companies. His experience includes marketing, operations, finance, accounting, and IT. Mr. Vaughn started Red Team over three years ago and invested in cryptocurrency processing servers which returned over 50%+ of the invested capital in the first month of operations. He draws from his diverse background to provide a comprehensive project perspective while facilitating detailed insights relative to engineering, operations, customers, and investors. His strategic approach and extensive network facilitate excellent deal flows combined with creative deal structures.

Trevin and his wife, Missy, have been married for 10 years and have five children. The family enjoys a variety of outdoor activities and is heavily involved in scouting through Trail Life and American Heritage Girls.