Tech Moves

Modumetal founder Christina Lomasney takes tech switch position at Pacific Northwest Nationwide Lab

Christina Lomasney. (PNNL Photo)

Christina Lomasney, the co-founder and former CEO of high-tech metal startup Modumetal, has joined The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a government-backed research center based in Eastern Washington.

As director of technology deployment and outreach, Lomasney will help take PNNL’s research out of the lab and into the real world, commercializing the intellectual property developed by world-leading scientists and engineers at the $1.2 billion organization.

PNNL aims to help the U.S. tackle some of the most challenging issues related sustainable energy, national energy, and scientific discovery.

“It’s just awesome,” Lomasney said of PNNL and its innovation prowess. “Like, holy mackerel. How often in life do you get to have this kind of impact?”

Lomasney certainly has the right experience for the role.

In 2007 she founded Modumetal, a Seattle startup that developed an innovative metal manufacturing process as a way to offer better performance at a cheaper price than conventional steel. As CEO she helped form key early partnerships with corporate partners such as Chevron and BP.

Lomasney also founded Isotron, which worked with government agencies on environmental remediation tech (Modumetal spun out of Isotron). She was also previously a project manager at Boeing.

The University of Washington-trained physicist and longtime entrepreneur left Modumetal last year after she was terminated by the board following a 13-year run.

During the pandemic she returned to the UW and finished her master’s degree in physics. Lomasney also spent some time consulting startups.

When the opportunity to join PNNL arose, she knew it was the right next step, particularly “as energy represents an existential threat to the human race.”

“This is an organization that’s going to change the grid as we know it,” Lomasney said.

PNNL was created more than five decades ago in part to help the nation reduce oil dependency, Lomasney noted. And now its focus is on building the technology and materials that will power the next generation of energy amid pressing global needs for new solutions.

Lomasney said she wants to help PNNL create more effective ways of engaging with industry, not only at the end of the tech transfer process but even earlier on — for example, using industry partners to figure out which technologies to prioritize.

(PNNL Photo)

PNNL was formed in 1965 and employs more than 5,000. It reported $1.24 billion in annual spending for the most recent financial year. Nearly 200 companies have PNNL roots. The organization is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

“To date, Christina has spent her career turning innovative technology into thriving new businesses. We want to tap that expertise and look for innovative pathways to bring our intellectual property — which spans nearly every U.S. market. — to industry,” Tony Peurrung, PNNL’s deputy director for science and technology, said in a statement.

Lomasney is now based in Richland, Wash., where PNNL is headquartered, but she still has a home in Seattle. In addition to her new role at PNNL she is also working with Washington State University on building an entrepreneurship program.

Lomasney also recently launched an innovation and industrialization workshop called JackWorks (previously known as LWorks) but is putting that project on hiatus for now.

Modumetal, meanwhile, continues to operate under new leadership. Lomasney previously said she would not have left the company, and that her termination was the board’s decision.

Lomasney, who is still a shareholder in the company, told GeekWire last week that she wants to see Modumetal succeed. “I hope the company is wildly successful,” she said.

The company raised $14 million in 2019 and a new SEC filing reveals that it recently pulled in additional funding. We’ve reached out to Modumetal for more information.

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