Management and Board

Ken Johnsen
Ken Johnsen FAICD, MSAE
Managing Director

Ken has had an extensive career as a Chief Executive and executive director of several ASX listed companies that were involved in the commercialisation of innovative technologies in the transportation sector. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors having held board positions for over 20 years. He is also a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers

During a 30 year career with Orbital Corporation Ltd he held a number of senior positions including the Managing Director of the operating subsidiary that employed over 380 staff involved in highly technical research projects. He also served as the Chairman and President of Orbital Engine Company (USA) Inc at a time when Orbital successfully raised US$100 million with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Over the last eight years Ken was Managing Director of Advanced Braking Technology Ltd. Under Ken's management the Company was recapitalised, a complete Board restructure was implemented and the Company's revenue grew five fold over 8 years to over $8 million and a point of profitability.

Ken has a strong technical background having worked as an engineer in his early career during which time he had a number of patented inventions to his credit. This technical background supports Ken's strong expertise in the management of research and development projects.

Chris Heyring
Chris Heyring
Chairman - Inventor and Founder

Chris Heyring is a former University lecturer in 3D design and sculpture who was initially employed by the Inter University Council in London 1969 and then came to Australia with his family to take up the position of lecturer at the West Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) in 1975.

In 1982 Chris decided to leave academia and with his wife Anny formed their first successful company Tensile Structures Pty Ltd and they received 12 design and technology awards for their iconic tension structures such as the Leeuwin Estate winery music sound shell and the America's Cup Village, Argyle Mines recreational facility and many others. To this day some of the designs are still being produced and used.

In 1990 Chris formed Kinetic Pty Ltd and lodged patents relating to ground vehicular suspension systems. These patents provided the basis for over one hundred granted improvement patents many of which are still in force today. Approximately 40 secret prototype vehicles were flown or shipped to Western Australia for conversion by the Kinetic team of 16 engineers and technicians.

The Kinetic technology became internationally recognised after being part of the winning technology and teams show-cased in the World Rally and Dakar campaigns for three years running before being banned as it provided an unfair advantage and was not freely available to other competitors. Currently Kinetic systems are used by Toyota on several models of SUV, by Nissan on their new Nissan Patrol and also the hyper sports cars from McLaren.

Kinetic was profitably sold to the American company Tenneco Ltd. in 2000.

Chris went on to start Nauti-Craft Pty Ltd. in 2002 and has been instrumental in the successful building up of the Nauti-Craft team and IP portfolio. As an innovator and also as he is at retirement age, Chris is now more comfortable with R&D and IP development. Since the company is now entering a commercialisation phase he has confidently handed over the MD's role to Ken Johnsen who was a commercial mentor for Kinetic in the 1990s along with Nauti-Craft's other director Dr Richard Young who has been closely associated with Chris' successes in business for about 20 years. Chris remains on the Nauti-Craft Board as Chairman and a design and IP consultant. (Read More)

Laurie Walker
Laurie Walker BEng (Mech) PhD
Operations Manager

Laurie Walker is a technology and innovation specialist with over 20 years of experience within the field of R&D and commercial innovation. His undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering and his PhD in materials engineering, specialising in carbon fibre composites within the aerospace sector. From 2008-2014 he operated as an executive board member for Inovas Asset Integrity until it merged with Jetcut to form IAS Group.

Over his career he has been accountable for transitioning more than 30 R&D based technical projects to commercially viability across industries as diverse as aerospace, transport, oil/gas, subsea and mining. These technology transitions include the filing of 10 patent families, the founding of a new technology company in the field of sustaining capital, and the growth of 3 start-ups into commercially viable operations.

From a more nautical perspective, Laurie has extensive experience in the marine sector having started his career as a boatbuilder and having spent much of his life sailing and diving on the Western Australian coast.

Laurie’s role within Nauti-Craft is to manage the engineering operations and to utilise his specialist skills and experience to aid in the successful completion of Nauti-Craft’s commercial transition.

Mike Longman
Mike Longman BE Hons
Chief Engineer

Mike has worked as a Mechanical Engineer for the last 32 years after qualifying from UWA in 1982 with 1st class honors.

Previous experience includes management and technical engineering in base load power stations, engineering management/project management and design at Scitech Discovery Centre followed by various research and development positions. These include Kinetic Suspension Systems, Rio Tinto gravity gradiometre project at UWA and currently Nauti-craft. He has been involved with the development of all the Nauti-craft prototypes.

Mike’s experience particularly relates to prototype development from concept, modelling, design, manufacturing, testing, technical marketing through to production development.

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Neil Mendum BEng (Mech)
Business Development Manager

Neil Mendum has a strong project and engineering background across multiple industries including the aerospace and resources industries. Neil has a degree in Mechanical Engineering with over a decades experience in structural analysis in the defence and aerospace industries.

More recently Neil has worked in the resources industry as a Maintence Engineer, Project Engineer and Project Manager. As a Project and Study Manager Neil managed a portfolio of projects for key bluechip clients in the resources industry.

Neil has significant experience in managing internal and external stakeholders to achieve successful study and project outcomes.