Executive Board



The Executive Board oversees Novim’s long-term strategy, senior staffing, and focus.


Michael Ditmore, Co-founder and Executive Director of Novim, began his business career with IBM as a systems engineer. After receiving an MBA from Stanford in 1970, he relocated to Germany as Director of European Operations for Canberra Industries. Following the sale of his division in 1972, he returned to California, joining a startup–ROLM Corporation, where he served as a regional manager for sales. The company was sold to IBM in 1984. Michael subsequently founded and sold 2 high technology medical device companies.

In 1995 he co-founded and served as Chairman and CEO of the Systems and Software Consortium, a non-profit association of 150 companies whose first project was the creation of the Pacific Technology Center in Goleta, the largest high tech incubator in southern California at the time.

Professional Associations – Michael currently serves on the Director’s Council of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB, and is a life member of the USAF Academy Association of Graduates, the Stanford Alumni Association and Stanford Associates. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Southern California; the Executive Board of Santa Barbara Partners in Education; and the Stanford Business School Alumni Association Board. He has served on advisory boards for the NASA Ames Incubator and Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Susan Hackwood, is Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Hackwood received a Ph.D. in Solid State Ionics in from DeMontfort University, UK. Before joining academia, she was Department Head of Device Robotics Technology Research at AT&T Bell Labs, where amongst other things, she invented and named the electrowetting effect, now used in many micro devices and continuing to be researched and utilized in an increasing number of applications. In 1984 she joined the University of California, Santa Barbara as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and was founder and Director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Robotic Systems in Microelectronics (CRSM).

In 1990, Dr. Hackwood became the founding Dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, and the first woman dean of a major research university in the US. She is a Fellow of the IEEE and the AAAS and holds honorary degrees from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (PhD) and DeMontfort University, UK (DSc).

Professional Associations – Susan is the past Chair of the AAAS Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy and was Chair of the Section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering. She has been the AAAS Engineering Delegate and a Member of the AAAS Committee on Nominations. She serves on the Board of Directors and consults on new product development for several technology companies. She co-founded and co- edited the Journal of Robotic Systems from 1984 to 2005.


Elwood “Woody” Howse , is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. He served in the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine force for seven years and returned to Stanford University Graduate School of Business to earn his MBA in 1970.

Woody co-founded Cable & Howse Ventures in Seattle, an early stage venture capital firm focused on technology and also participated in the founding of Cable, Howse and Ragen, investment banking and stock brokerage firm.

Professional Associations – Woody has served on the board of the National Venture Capital Association and is past President of the Stanford Business School Alumni Association. He currently serves on the boards of directors of beneSol Corporation, Capstone Therapeutics, Inc (CAPS), Formotus, Inc., and not-for-profit Junior Achievement of Washington state.


Jim Knight, Co-founder and Novim’s Executive Vice President, was also a co-founder in the start-up of Amber Engineering, Inc. in December of 1981. Over twelve years the company grew to 200 people and was acquired by Raytheon Company in 1992. He retired as Senior Vice President in 1994.

Jim and three other partners subsequently started Indigo Systems Corporation in March of 1996, which grew to 230 employees before being acquired by FLIR Systems in January 2004.

Professional Associations – Jim served for 5 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1993 and later in a supporting role with the Government Relations Committee.

Jim currently serves on the Director’s Council of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB, and is co- chair of the Government Relation Committee for the Goleta Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Board of Directors of UCSB’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Management, and currently serves on the steering committee for the South Coast Business and Technology Awards dinner sponsored by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.


Douglas Troxel graduated with a B.S. from Iowa State University with a major in Mathematics and minor in Physics in 1967. He founded SERENA Software in 1980 and still serves as a director on the board. 

Doug and his wife Deborah split their time between Kona Hawaii, Santa Barbara, Whidbey Island, Washington and San Francisco for SERENA functions. He continues to pursue life-long interests in physics, astronomy and politics.

Professional Associations – Doug serves as President of the family foundation, Change Happens, committed to helping highly motivated groups with pioneering programs and forward-thinking projects. He also serves on the Director’s Council of the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California Santa Barbara; and on the board of www.StandardAlcohol.com which is an Intellectual Property (IP) licensing company for the catalyzing of Natural Gas into Mixed Alcohols; and on the board of Caring Together In Hope which is a support group for those suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.


Harold H. Robinson, III, practiced law at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, San Francisco after graduating from UC’s Hastings Law School in 1965. 

In 1966 Harold co-founded Certified Plans, Inc. (CPI) which successfully marketed and administered IRS approved pension trusts. The concepts created by CPI eventually laid the foundation for Congress’s establishment of IRAs. After 7 years CPI was acquired by ADP, Inc.

Harold was a founding board member and early seed capital lender to California Energy Company, Inc. (CECI) and was its Chief Operating Officer during the 1980’s when the company went public and completed nine 25 MW geothermal fired power plants at the Naval Weapons Testing site in the California desert. CECI is now better known as Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Later Harold focused on private investments and consulting to early stage companies, including US Electricar, Inc., an early entry into the all-electric car business that raised $50 million. He was one of four co-founders of the North Bay Angels (NBA), an
investment group formed to provide seed capital for startup ventures in Sonoma County, which will celebrate 20 years of operation in June of 2018.

Harold retired from business in 2000 and became a ski instructor at Squaw Valley for
the next 10 years. In 2010 he and Barbara Boswell became life partners and reside in
Ketchum, Idaho.


Aristides Patrinos
Chief Scientist, Director of Research and Chair of the Science Advisory Board at Novim

Ari was previously Deputy Director, Research, NYU Center For Urban Science & Progress, Brooklyn, NY. Prior to that, he was President of Synthetic Genomics Inc., and Director of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, where he oversaw human and microbial genome research, structural biology, nuclear medicine and health effects and global climate change.

He is well known for his leading roles in the development of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.S. Human Genome Project. In addition, Ari helped create the Joint Genome Institute and developed and launched the Genomes to Life Program, a research program dedicated to developing technologies to use microbes for innovative solutions to energy and environmental challenges.

He received his undergraduate degree from the National Technical University of Athens, and Ph.D from Northwestern University.

Professional Associations – recipient of 3 Presidential Rank Awards and 2 Secretary of Energy Gold Awards. Ari is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Society and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Geophysical Union.