Leadership Team

Alex Balkanski

President and CEO

Alex Balkanski is an industry leader with a demonstrated record of delivering ggrid-xth in revenue and profits in tandem with outstanding customer satisfaction. Prior to joining Picarro, Alex was a managing partner at Benchmark Capital and served on the board of directors at Picarro. Alex led C-Cube and DiviCom, two pioneering companies that drove the MPEG standard to dominance in consumer electronics and broadcasting. Alex founded C-Cube in 1988. In 1994, he took the company public, and in 1998 he orchestrated C-Cube's acquisition of DiviCom. Previously, he was a board member of Ambarella (AMBA), Decru (acquired by Network Appliance), Entrisphere (acquired by Ericsson), and Infinera (INFN). Alex holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from Harvard University, as well as a B.S. from Harvard College.


Andre Bals

Managing Director, EMEA

Andre is responsible for sales and business development in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa for our energy business. Prior to joining Picarro, Andre worked at Arthur Anderson Consulting in Geneva. He later founded Omnisens, a technology start-up active in asset integrity management of large energy infrastructures, including downstream pipeline leak detection, offshore umbilicals and power cable monitoring. He helped develop a trace gas technology which monitors environmental and semiconductor molecular contamination. Andre has held several executive positions at Picarro with experiences in corporate strategy, sales, marketing, operations and finance. Andre holds an M.A. in materials and engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne and University of California, Los Angeles.

Betsy Kais

Chief Financial Officer

Betsy has over 25 years of experience managing finance and accounting operations for technology companies. Prior to joining Picarro, she was Vice President of Finance at Talari Networks, a private producer of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN). She started her career in the audit practice at Price Waterhouse, and subsequently held management positions in finance at Hewlett Packard's printer and personal computer operations. She spent ten years as an independent consultant providing a wide range of finance and accounting services to technology clients, both venture backed and public companies. Betsy earned her B.S. in business administration with a concentration in accounting from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Dan Martinson

Vice President, Operations

Dan manages the operations team at Picarro. He has over twenty years of experience at companies including KLA-Tencor, Packeteer, LumaSense and various small capital equipment companies in a wide range of industries. Dan has held roles in engineering, supply chain, services and led operations departments. Dan received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. 

Jeff Braggin

Chief Quality Officer

Jeff brings extensive experience in advanced Quality Management Systems for global technology-based businesses. His knowledge includes specialty chemical manufacturing, electronics, semiconductor wafer fabrication equipment, photonics and lasers, telecommunications/data transmission, and alternative power generation. He was appointed to three terms as a Board Member of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners, receiving a U.S. Department of Commerce Certificate of Appreciation "For outstanding service to the Nation as a member of the 1996, 1997, 1998 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners." Jeff has a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University. He is also a graduate of Executive Management Programs at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.


Joel Avrunin

Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Science

Joel leads the worldwide instrumentation sales and marketing team, bringing a twenty year background in metrology, commercial leadership, and team building to Picarro. He loves working with his customers, and seeing the amazing science they are able to discover with Picarro instrumentation. Joel's experience includes over a decade in sales and management at Danaher/Fortive (through Tektronix subsidiary). He has a strong technical background, and before his commercial roles he worked as an analog/RF design engineer.  When not working, he enjoys running and hiking, and is always looking for new running routes when he’s traveling. Joel earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and his MBA in Organizational Leadership from Towson University. 

Yonggang He

Vice President, Systems and Hardware Engineering

Yonggang leads the product development team, as well as the systems and hardware engineering groups. He works closely with Picarro’s business units to define technology strategy, research and development priorities and execute the product development roadmap. Prior to joining Picarro, Yonggang held various senior engineering roles at NewFocus, Oclaro and LGR. Yonggang received his B.S., M.S. in physical chemistry and his Ph.D. in spectroscopy from Nanjing University and Oregon State University respectively. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar at California Technology Institute.

Yousef Yacoub

Yousef Yacoub

Vice President, Software Engineering

As VP of Software Engineering, Yousef is responsible for Picarro’s overall software architecture, including our core technology, web services, and data analytics. Mr. Yacoub is a veteran of Silicon Valley's software industry and has held leadership roles at Symantec, Deutsche Bank, Dell, Sun Microsystems, and Apple. He is particularly effective in leading global organizations to drive innovation, process improvements, and organizational transformation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Louisiana Tech University and was part of the Sun Microsystems Leadership Institute. He holds several U.S. patents. Yousef lives in the bay area and is married with four children.