Founded in 2012, Polar Performance Materials has developed a novel technology to produce ultra-high purity HPA cost effectively. Polar’s patented HPA process technology has consistently demonstrated excellent product quality and performance. The company moved into pilot production in 2018 and has since been working with customers in the sapphire, battery, semiconductor, and technical ceramics markets.
In late 2020, Ara Partners invested in Polar to commercialize the company’s HPA products and build its first production facility in Oakville, Ontario Canada. Ara Partners is a private equity firm specializing in industrial decarbonization investments, seeking to build businesses that provide significant decarbonization impact.
Hap Hewes, CEO
Hap Hewes joined Polar Performance Materials as CEO in June 2022 bringing over 25 years of leadership experience in the specialty materials industry. Polar Performance Materials is Hap’s fifth early-stage company involved in high growth markets and technologies for materials, ceramic products, and equipment. He has significant HPA market experience, specifically in downstream uses of HPA to grow sapphire for use in LED, aerospace and defense, semiconductor processing, medical, and optical end markets.
Before joining Polar, Hap was President and CEO at Pallidus Inc., a high-growth specialty materials company utilizing disruptive and proprietary technology to grow ultra-high quality silicon carbide crystals. He previously held senior management roles focusing on strategy, sales and business development, operations, and customer relationships at Rubicon Technology, Saint Gobain, ARC Energy, and Saphikon. Mr. Hewes has an MBA degree from the University of Michigan and a BS in biology from Cornell University.
Sean Doherty, CFO
Sean Doherty oversees the Finance and Administration for Polar Performance Materials. Sean brings over 25 years of financial leadership across a wide variety of industries. Most recently, Sean has led the finance teams in both large and small organizations, as well as private and public companies. He spent 13 years with Navtech inc., being promoted from Director of Finance/Corporate controller to CFO, as well as playing a key role in its acquisition by European industrial leader Airbus, where the company merged with existing Airbus divisions to become Navblue, and led the financial integration into Airbus. He has experience in strategic planning, accounting, treasury, and M&A, as both a purchaser and a seller. He is a designated Canadian CPA.
Michael Ciarroni, COO
Michael Ciarroni is the Chief Operating Officer of Polar Performance Materials, where he leads the company’s end-to-end operations and manufacturing. With over 13 years of experience in advanced operations, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge to this role.
Most recently, Michael served as the Vice President of Operations for Airboss of America, where he played a key role in the growth of the company’s Rubber Solutions Business. He worked to improve operational efficiency, streamline processes, and successfully implemented lean methodology across the organization. Prior to joining Airboss, Michael held various transformative leadership roles at companies including Magna International, American Iron and Metal, and Royal Building Products.
Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from McMaster University and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He is a dedicated and results-driven professional with a passion for operational excellence.
Kyle Turner, SVP of Sales & Marketing
Kyle Turner joined Polar Performance Materials as the SVP of Sales & Marketing in September 2023. Kyle brings over 30 years of Sales Director, account management, and engineering experience from the semiconductor industry.
Before joining Polar, he held positions at Micron Technology and Cabot Microelectronics (now Entegris) and Henkel Corporation supporting the semiconductor industry. He has extensive experience in sales and process engineering of chemicals and filtration.
Board of Directors
Scott Nichol, Founder and Chairman
After graduation from McMaster University, Scott Nichol started a secondary aluminum smelter to recycle scrap aluminum. Scott then joined Cymat where he developed and scaled up a new process for manufacturing aluminum foam, and was a member of the management team that took the company public on the TSX. Scott then founded 6N Silicon which developed a new process for purifying silicon for use in Solar Cells. 6N Silicon was sold to Calisolar in 2010. Scott then was the COO for Jaco, a Chinese solar company, before starting Polar in 2013.
Tuan Tran, Board Member
Tuan Tran is a Managing Director at Ara, is a members of the Firm’s investment committee, and is involved with all aspects of the firm’s investment process. He has over 20 years of experience in private equity, investment banking and equity research.
Prior to joining Ara, Tuan was a Partner and a member of the Investment Committee at Intervale Capital (“Intervale”), a $1.3 billion firm he helped build over 15 years. As a Founding Member of Intervale, he led numerous M&A assignments, equity issuances, and debt financings. He was instrumental in developing the firm’s strategies around environmental services, industrial services, energy technology, growth equity and combination investing. While at Intervale, he also spearheaded recruiting, firm building, fundraising and implementation of portfolio management best practices. Across three funds, he served on the Board of Directors for over 15 portfolio companies.
He started his professional career in Lehman Brothers’ Investment Banking Division, with assignments in New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Tuan earned a BA with honors from Harvard University. In his spare time, he volunteers for “Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly” and serves as a Mentor for the Harvard Alumni Association.
Chris Trachier, Board Member
Chris Trachier is a Vice President at Ara and is involved with all aspects of the firm’s investment process. He became a director of Polar Performance Materials on February 28, 2023.
Prior to joining Ara as a Senior Associate in 2021, Chris served as an Associate at Pelican Energy Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in energy services and manufacturing companies, where he was responsible for investment evaluation, due diligence, execution and monitoring. Prior to joining Pelican, he was an Analyst in the Oil & Gas Investment Banking group at Moelis & Company.
Chris holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas.