Management Team

Frank R. Oakes

Frank R. Oakes

Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Oakes has more than 40 years of management experience in aquaculture including a decade as CEO of The Abalone Farm, Inc., during which he led that company through the R&D, capitalization and commercialization phases of development to become the first profitable and largest abalone producer in the U.S.. He is the inventor of the company's patented method for non-lethal extraction of hemolymph from the keyhole limpet. He was the Principal Investigator on the company's Phase I and II SBIR grants from the NIH's Center for Research Resources, NSF grant, and a California Technology Investment Partnership (CalTIP) grant from the Department of Commerce. He has consulted and lectured for the aquaculture industry around the world. Frank received his Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is a graduate of the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance (LARTA) University's management-training program.

Kathi Niffenegger, CPA

Kathi Niffenegger, CPA

Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary

Ms. Niffenegger has more than 30 years of experience in accounting and finance in a range of industries. She currently holds the positions of Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, having previously served as Stellar’s outside CPA since the Company’s founding in 1999 and Controller since 2012. Ms. Niffenegger was previously technical partner in the audit division of Glenn Burdette CPAs, obtained CFO experience at Martin Aviation, and began her CPA career at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG LLP). She held leadership roles for audits of manufacturing, aquaculture, pharmaceutical, and governmental grant clients, and developed specific expertise in cost accounting systems and internal controls. Ms. Niffenegger holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Gary Koppenjan

Gary Koppenjan

Senior Director of Investor Relations and Communications

Mr. Koppenjan has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing, and investor relations. Most recently, he led investor relations for a public life science company that was acquired by a large conglomerate. Previously, he held various marketing and communications positions at a global crop science company. During his career, Koppenjan has received multiple advertising and public relations awards for product introduction campaigns and stakeholder outreach. He is a past member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization's communications committee and the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Technical Advisory Committee. Koppenjan is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles.

Gregory T. Baxter, Ph.D.

Gregory T. Baxter, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President of Corporate Development

Dr. Baxter is a published author and holds over 20 patents on various aspects of molecular biology and biochemistry, and has served as an executive and scientist for several biotechnology corporations and foundations. Since 2001, he has been a Senior Scientist in the Department of Clinical Drug Development for CCS Associates, Inc. He also serves as Adjunct Associate Professor at Cornell University in the College of Chemical Engineering and on the Founders Board of Stanford University's StartX Med Program. Dr. Baxter's background spans both science and business arenas including Program Director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships; Founder and CSO of Hurel Corporation; Founder and CEO of Aegen Biosciences; and Research Scientists for Molecular Devices Corporation. Dr. Baxter received his PhD in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Connect with Us