Charging Up: A chat with Catalina Oana Tudor, CIO of Noveon Magnetics

Plus, climatetech career moves at Voltus, RWE, Shoals, FirstLight, Kore Power, Kraken, Amazon Web Services and Arcadia.
By Maria Virginia Olano, Eric Wesoff

  • Link copied to clipboard
A smiling woman with shoulder length brown hair and a light skin tone in a V-neck sweater. Graphic overlay says CHARGING UP.

Canary Media’s Charging Up column chronicles gender diversity in the climatetech sector. Part 1 is a short Q&A with an industry role model about their career path. Part 2 features updates on career transitions. Please send feedback and tips to wesoff@​canarymedia.​com.

Catalina Oana Tudor: A magnetic tech leader

Catalina Oana Tudor is chief information officer and co-founder at Noveon Magnetics. This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity.

How did you end up on this career path?

My journey began in middle school, right in the heart of the digital revolution. The first computer I used was quite basic, but it was enough to ignite my lifelong passion for programming. I’m also naturally inclined toward logic and persistence, so coding became a gateway to a world of endless possibilities. At the University of Delaware, I explored data mining, machine learning and artificial intelligence. These areas, crucial for today’s digital transformation, led me to manufacturing.

At the University of Delaware, I also met my co-founder, who was passionate about making magnets. I did not know much about magnets at that point, but we realized that if we put our knowledge together in today’s digital world, we could leverage what we knew to revolutionize how magnets are produced. In 2014, we founded Noveon Magnetics. Our mission was to bring the manufacturing of rare earth magnets — crucial for high-tech, industrial, automotive, clean energy and military defense applications — back to the United States. We aimed to create a manufacturing process that is not only faster and more cost-effective but also utilizes environmentally friendly domestic resources.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When I was a child, my father, who is a poet, told me that the world is an expansive metropolis with boulevards of humanity and parks of commonality.” And in this metropolis, our superficial differences fade away against our shared core. So it’s a very optimistic view of the world, but one that has been a guiding light for me. This perspective has helped me broaden my horizons, enhancing my ability to communicate and connect with people from diverse backgrounds. It has equipped me with essential skills to assemble and lead diverse teams effectively.

What is a barrier you faced, and how did you overcome it? 

I have two children, ages 4 and 8. No one can truly prepare you for motherhood. It’s a unique experience for each person and doesn’t adhere to the predictable patterns and logic I’m accustomed to, especially in coding and planning. Balancing my children’s needs with the demands of a tech career has sometimes made me feel like I might be falling behind professionally.

However, motherhood has also been a tremendous source of learning and growth. It has taught me skills that aren’t easily quantifiable, such as adaptability, empathy and thriving amid chaos. These skills have significantly enriched my approach to technology and leadership.

What do you think are some interesting, overlooked career opportunities in climatetech? 

There are two aspects of my work at Noveon that excite me daily. First, our work mirrors academic research’s thoroughness, whether in software development, manufacturing process refinement, equipment automation or new technology development. Second, we’re pioneering groundbreaking work that challenges traditional boundaries in our field. We have a fantastic team dedicated to impactful work, and we’re growing rapidly and hiring. We’re always on the lookout for people who are passionate about revolutionizing our industry with technology.

What is your superpower? 

My solutions-focused mindset and relentless optimism. Maybe it’s the programmer in me that believes anything is possible and there’s a solution for everything. I apply this philosophy in both my personal and professional life, so rather than dwelling on difficult or unfair or seemingly impossible situations, I usually devote my energy to seeking out solutions. This attitude enables me to face life’s adversities with hope and determination, and it not only propels me through challenges but often inspires those around me to do the same.

Career moves

Dana Guernsey has been promoted to CEO at virtual power plant operator Voltus.

Tasha A. McCarter has been promoted to vice president of cleantech strategic growth at energy giant RWE. Charging Up interviewed McCarter last year; she told us that a third-grade science experiment, which involved a hand generator, a lightbulb and wires, set her on a course to becoming an engineer.

Pamela MacDougall, previously with the Environmental Defense Fund, is now head of energy regulation and AWS EMEA public policy at Amazon Web Services.

Aleysha Newton has been promoted to VP of marketing at Kore Power, a builder of cells, batteries and energy storage products.

Jennifer Daloisio is now senior VP of corporate operations at FirstLight, an energy storage provider and clean power producer and developer whose portfolio includes over 1,650 megawatts of operating renewable energy and energy storage technologies. Daloisio previously served CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

Sara Jo Walker is now senior director of communications at renewable energy hardware supplier Shoals Technologies Group. Walker joins Shoals from Comcast, where she served for over 12 years in roles in communications, public relations and government affairs.

After eight years at community solar and energy data access company Arcadia, Kate Henningsen is stepping down to take on a new, as-yet-unannounced CEO opportunity in the energy transition effort.

Emma Rodvien is now manager of U.S. regulatory affairs and market development at Kraken, part of Octopus Energy Group. Rodvien was previously with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

Check it out

Canary Media recently took a deep dive into clean hydrogen with our special series, The Dawn of the Clean Hydrogen Economy. Julian Spector reported from the Gulf Coast about the region’s nascent clean hydrogen industry, Jeff St. John explored hydrogen’s demand problem, Alison Takemura tackled the best and worst uses for the fuel, and Dan McCarthy and Maria Virginia Olano produced a data visualization tracing clean hydrogen capacity around the world and how it’s growing. Be sure to check out these and other articles, plus some videos!

Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.

Eric Wesoff is the editorial director at Canary Media.