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Executive Leadership

Left to right: Alex Rodrigues, Brandon Moak, Richard Hawwa

Alex Rodrigues

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Alex co-founded Embark and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Upon closing of Embark’s SPAC merger with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp II, Alex will become the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company. 

Alex started building robots at age 11. As a middle schooler, he won a world robotics championship competing against high school teams. While studying at the University of Waterloo, Alex and co-founder Brandon Moak built Canada’s first self-driving vehicle, a golf cart named “Marvin” that was used to take guests on tours of the campus. Alex is a Thiel Fellowship recipient and was accepted into Silicon Valley’s premier startup incubator Y-Combinator, where he launched Embark. 

Brandon Moak

Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer 

Brandon co-founded Embark and currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. In his role, he leads engineering and R&D at Embark, and has overseen development of the Embark Driver software, the core of Embark’s commercialization effort. Brandon also led the design and development of the Embark Universal Interface. 

Moak is an experienced engineer and previously worked at and Clear Blue Technologies. 

Richard Hawwa

Chief Financial Officer

Richard serves as Chief Financial Officer and joined Embark with over fifteen years of investment banking experience, most recently serving as a Managing Director at Citigroup, leading coverage across the global mobility sector. Richard has worked closely with companies advising on strategic matters and assisting on capital raising transactions, including transactions for Li-Cycle, Lucid Motors and Ouster.

In addition, Richard has experience across the broader mobility ecosystem, having managed transactions for Adient, Allison Transmission, Aptiv, Dana Automotive, Goodyear Tire, Hyundai Motor Group, Lear Corporation, and Tesla.

Left to right: Simina Simion, Sid Venkatesan, Sam Abidi

Simina Simion

Chief People Officer

Simina serves as Chief People Officer, overseeing the People and Culture teams at Embark and managing HR and hiring functions.

Simina has over fifteen years of HR experience and has led HR and People teams for early- and late-stage companies across public and private sectors worldwide. Most recently, she worked for Quantcast, an AI-powered advertising platform; Perfect World Entertainment, which was acquired by video game developer Gearbox; and Tubular Labs as SVP of People for the video analytics and insights platform.

Simina graduated with a Master’s in human resources management from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania and held human resources positions in Europe before moving to the United States in 2011.

Sid Venkatesan

Chief Legal Officer

Sid serves as Chief Legal Officer, with nearly two decades of legal and business experience in the technology and industrial space. 

Before Embark, Sid served as General Counsel, Chief Operating Officer, and Corporate Secretary at Komline-Sanderson, a manufacturer of capital equipment and process solutions for industrial firms. Before Komline-Sanderson, he was Executive Counsel and Chief IP Counsel at GE Digital, where he led negotiations of commercial deals and M&A totaling hundreds of millions of dollars and oversaw General Electric’s Industrial Internet of Things IP strategy. Prior to GE, Sid was a Partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, resident in the firm’s Silicon Valley office with a broad IP litigation, transactional and counseling practice, representing major technology companies across a broad range of industries.

Sid holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from NYU School of Law, and a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University, concentrating in Automotive Engineering. He was also a software developer for several years.

Sam Abidi

Chief Commercial Officer

Sam serves as Embark’s Chief Commercial Officer and leads the Business Development team, which is responsible for formulating go-to-market strategy, establishing freight partnerships and working hand-in-hand with Embark’s fleet partners as they prepare to deploy and scale autonomous trucks across their networks.

Prior to Embark, Sam worked at Deloitte Consulting where he led the development of the autonomous trucking program. In this role, Sam worked with companies from across the freight ecosystem to define pilot programs, partnerships and commercialization strategies that would accelerate the adoption of autonomous trucking and smart logistics technologies. Before Deloitte, Sam led the go-to-market strategy for an early-stage computer vision company that served the defense sector and worked on the global strategy team at General Motors. Sam earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Mike Schmidt

Chief Operations and Fleet Officer

Mike serves as the Chief Operations & Fleet Officer at Embark. He was previously Embark’s Head of Technical Operations and brings over twenty years of experience in engineering and autonomous vehicles to the company. Before Embark, Mike served as Director of Technical Operations at Cruise and led engineering programs at GE. He co-founded Waylen’s Inc., where he successfully developed and launched two automotive camera products. He has authored or co-authored more than 15 patents on autonomous vehicle technology.

Mike holds a BS and MS from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He also founded and continues to run Intermodal Investments Inc, an intermodal trucking equipment company.