Greentown Labs Appoints Barbara Burger to its Board of Directors

Houston innovation leader will help maximize the incubator’s energy transition efforts

Somerville, Mass., and Houston, Texas, June 16, 2022 — Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, today announced that it has appointed Barbara J. Burger, Ph.D., former Vice President of Innovation and President of Chevron Technology Ventures, to its board of directors.

Dr. Burger has been a long-time, transformative supporter of Greentown Labs and the opening of its Houston incubator. While at Chevron—a Greentown Labs partner since 2013—she spearheaded the corporate’s partnership with Greentown, and Chevron became the first Founding Partner of Greentown Houston, which opened in 2021. Today, she continues to be an ally to Greentown’s community of entrepreneurs and hosts semi-annual Women of Greentown Houston dinners.

As an experienced corporate executive with demonstrated leadership in base business, innovation, venture investment, and the energy transition, Dr. Burger has played a pivotal role in advancing Houston’s energy innovation ecosystem throughout her career.

“Barbara Burger is a tireless advocate for the energy transition and the unique role that the City of Houston can play in it,” said Ryan Dings, Greentown Labs’ Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel. “Barbara is a key reason why our vision for Greentown Houston became reality. We are honored to welcome Barbara to the Board and look forward to benefiting from Barbara’s industry expertise and deep technical knowledge as Greentown continues to grow.”  

Dr. Burger has held management positions across international marketing, chemicals, technology marketing, lubricants, ventures, and innovation. While at Chevron—from which she recently “graduated” —she also held a wide range of civic and industrial leadership positions, including the governing board of the MIT Energy Initiative, the external advisory council for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Greentown Houston Advisory Board, the Rice University Corporate Innovation Advisory Board, Houston Exponential, the Activate Leadership Council, the Houston Symphony Society, and the Board of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative Climate Investment LLP.  

“I am honored and excited to join the Greentown Labs Board of Directors,” said Dr. Burger. “Combatting the effects of climate change requires bringing a wide range of innovative solutions to scale. There is work for incumbents and startups alike in this enormous challenge that WE all face. Greentown Labs plays an essential role in providing facilities, tools, programs, and an inclusive community to nurture and grow innovation that matters.”

Dr. Burger holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester, a doctoral degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and an academic honor MBA in finance from the University of California, Berkeley. She is an active alumnus of the University of Rochester, where she serves on the Board of Trustees and the university’s River Campus Libraries National Council. She established the Barbara J. Burger Endowed Scholarship in the Sciences and founded the Barbara J. Burger iZone, where students generate, refine, and communicate ideas for social, cultural, community, and economic impact. At Caltech, she supports graduate women in chemistry who aim to contribute through careers beyond academia and serves on the Strategic Advisory Board for the Resnick Sustainability Institute.  

Dr. Burger joins 11 existing board members:

  • Gilda A. Barabino, President of Olin College of Engineering
  • Alicia Barton, CEO of FirstLight Power (Board Chair)
  • Nisha Desai, Founder and CEO of Intention (Greentown Labs Community Board Member)
  • Katherine Hamilton, Chair of 38 North Solutions
  • Dawn James, Director of U.S. Sustainability Strategy and Environmental Science at Microsoft
  • Leah Ellis, Co-founder and CEO of Sublime Systems (Greentown Labs Community Board Member)
  • Matthew Nordan, Co-founder and Managing Director of Prime Impact Fund and General Partner at Azolla Ventures
  • Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs
  • Nidhi Thakar, Vice President of Policy and Regulatory at Form Energy
  • Kathleen Theoharides, Head of Offshore Development (East) at RWE Renewables
  • Mitch Tyson, Principal at Tyson Associates and Co-founder of the Northeast Clean Energy Council

“I am thrilled to welcome Barbara to our already outstanding Board of Directors at Greentown Labs,” said Barton. “She brings a wealth of private and nonprofit sector expertise to our growing organization, and Barbara’s deep expertise in helping climate technology startups accelerate their growth and deliver pioneering solutions to the world’s energy and climate problems will help further propel Greentown and its members forward.”


About Greentown Labs

Greentown Labs is a community of climate action pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With its headquarters in Somerville, Mass. and a recently opened incubator in Houston, TX, Greentown Labs is home to more than 200 startups and has supported more than 450 startups since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 8,400 jobs and have raised more than $2.2 billion in funding. For more information, please visit or Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Greentown Labs Media Contact:

Lara Cottingham
Chief of Staff, Greentown Labs