Leadership Team: Engineers, Experts and Managers

Rashi Akki, Ph.D., Founder and CEO

Rashi launched Ag-Grid Energy LLC in 2016 with a vision for carbon negative production of renewable biofuels from cow manure and food waste that would simultaneously improve the viability and financial stability of American dairy farms. Previously, Rashi worked at the DuPont chemical company, where she held senior positions in central R&D, DuPont Titanium Technologies, Nonwovens and Industrial Biosciences. Rashi is a member of the American Biogas Council and Mid-Atlantic Biomass Energy Council. She earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University, M.S from University of Connecticut and Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Umesh Akki, COO, Ag-Grid Energy

Umesh Akki, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer

Umesh joined Ag-Grid Energy after two decades in the energy industry, including regulated utilities. He brings expertise in energy markets and operations, energy commodities trading and risk management. As COO, Umesh focuses on strategies for Ag-Grid’s next phase of growth. He came to Ag-Grid from UGI Corporation, where he was Director & Head of Risk Management. For the past six years, Umesh also has been a faculty member in Columbia University’s Enterprise Risk Management program. Umesh previously held leadership roles at Exelon, Constellation and PECO, and at investment banks including Bank of Montreal and RBS. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University, an M.S. from Auburn University, an M.B.A. from West Chester University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Abu Akki, Director Business Development

Abu joined Ag-Grid Energy after 2 years of manufacturing experience as a process improvement engineer at Eastman Chemical Company. In that position, he implemented large-scale changes, improved manufacturing processes and increased capacity. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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Kenneth Verhelle, Director Food Waste Strategy & Operations

Ken brings over three decades of experience in the solid waste industry, including expertise in logistics management for moving waste. Most recently, Ken was with Agri-Cycle Energy, which collects, de-packages and recycles organics through anaerobic digestion. Previously he managed special waste projects that included site remediation and managed recycling services for municipalities and hauling companies.

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headshot of Sherry Cotton

Sherry Cotton, Manager Food Waste Logistics

Sherry Cotton joined the Ag-Grid Energy team in 2023 after four years managing food waste logistics in Central New England for Casella Organics, a division of Casella Waste Management. At Casella, she worked with the companies that generated food waste, the haulers who trucked the waste to anaerobic digesters, and the digester owners. At Ag-Grid Energy, she works with partners in those same three categories to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of the process.

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