Our Team


Mariana Van der Walt, Director 

Mariana is the Centre Director at Wintec’s Centre of Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CeTRI), the Research and Development Director for Wintec, and a member of the SODA Inc. investment panel. With over 25 years working in research and development in the public sector, Mariana is experienced in the development and leadership of diverse teams, technology development and implementation, and solving business problems through innovative solutions. Mariana has overseen high-budget projects in national security and commercial sectors, and is experienced in corporate and national governance environments.  She holds a Masters in Technology Management and a postgraduate qualification in governance and leadership.



Henk Roodt, COO

Henk has over 25 years of experience in modeling and simulation (M&S) of complex systems. He established and managed the laboratory for simulation-based acquisition at the CSIR in South Africa and was responsible for a large portfolio of military technology projects from 2005 – 2010.  His current focus is on understanding the diversification of small farm operations to make them more sustainable and to lessen the impact on the environment. Henk holds a PhD in Engineering Science from the Department of Process Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa as well as a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of the Free State in South Africa .


Gert Hattingh, CTO

Gert leads the team that manages the design and implementation of our work. From the design of sensors, the networks that link them, the deployments for trials and pilots and the data that needs to be visualised, Gert manages all the technical aspects of a project.  Before working at Wintec, Gert  worked for ten years as a reactor physicist at a nuclear power station, before moving on to a defence research company providing decision support for the South African defence force.



Debbie Care, Farming consultant

Debbie focuses on making the invisible visible in our biological world.   She has worked in the areas of carbon and nutrient efficiency in farming, bio-pharmaceutical productions in roots and environmental remediation techniques.  She is passionate about seeing science better communicated to the end user and taking on a role in the dairy industry in “translating” research and knowledge into tools and articles for farmers and rural professionals.  On top of working with Wintec Innovate she is also a research manager of the Agritec centre, a centre embedded on a modern dairy farm, working within a multidisciplinary team to develop applied science solutions in the agricultural and environmental space for industry.   Debbie holds a PhD in root physiology using imaging techniques and technologies to study plants and their root systems and  an MSc in plant physiology.



Lotta Bryant, Social Innovation Manager

Lotta comes from a background of tertiary education management and has a passion for projects that allow education to change a community for good.  She works on social innovation projects the areas of youth, elderly, rural communities and remote health with our ASEAN and Scandinavian partners.  Her roles in NZ have included roles as Director of Management Research Centre at the University of Waikato, National Marketing Manager for Te Wananga o Aotearoa and Director of Planning and Business Development at Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec). After this she had two years at Export NZ Waikato where she represented exporters in the Waikato and interacted with our international trade offices. Lotta has also run her own consulting business.  Lotta holds a Bachelor of Management Studies (1st class honours) and a Diploma in Social Services, Sweden



Pierson Rathinaraj, Research Team Manager

Pierson worked as a teacher and lecturer in a reputed institution in India for nearly seven years.  He then moved to South Korea to do doctoral study in Organic Chemistry.  After graduation, Pierson did his postdoctoral research in biomedical engineering for two years in South Korea and a year and half in Auckland University of Technology before joining the Wintec team.  With his academic and research experience, Pierson holds unique integrated research in bio-nanotechnology for extensive preparation and characterization of both gold nanoparticle and grapheme oxide in cancer cell targeting and drug delivery.  Pierson has developed skills in bio -sensing materials conjugated nanoparticles for protein detection and holds vast experience in handling international exchange students, undertaking major/ minor industrial projects and handling analytical tools for biomedical research with innovative academic publications.



Emily Allison, Technical Projects Co-coordinator

Emily works with our in-house Projet 6000MP Stereolithography 3D Printer and is a key team member regarding prototyping work for our clients.  Emily has completed the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical) (Level 6) and is currently working towards her Bachelor in Engineering Technology (Mechanical).