About us

Synesus offers decades of experience in operational and performance management, business process modeling, process troubleshooting/design, business start-ups, new product development and commercialization.


Synesus was founded by Jim Burkhead a manufacturing professional with over 25 years of experience in commercialization of new technologies and products, development of consortia/joint ventures, team development and coaching, technical sales, industrial engineering and design, project management and operations management. Mr. Burkhead has served as Plant Manager for several Greenfield industrial projects from concept to start-up, hiring the workforce, developing and running the business.

Over his career, Mr. Burkhead has worked in various managerial and superintendent roles for Heliae Technology Holdings, Inc., Buckman Laboratories, Inc., Bowater Incorporated and Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation. Mr. Burkhead received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a Minor in Economics from the University of Maine. He received his Master of Science degree in Pulp and Paper Science with a Minor in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.




Our Services

Putting our experience to work for you




See what our clients are saying


  • In the capacity of Advisor to Heliae since October 2008, it has been my privilege to witness Jim Burkhead’s masterfully build a highly successful, new technology company from concept to reality. Jim through complex negotiations secured the necessary agreements with Arizona State University researchers to commercialize algae derived products. Beginning with only 2 other employees in an austere environment, Jim designed and implemented all aspects of the company from administrative functions to production personnel to engineering expertise and highly qualified researchers. I have observed Jim’s motivation of employees, advisors and contractors to the end of inspiring their motivation and dedication to outcomes. Jim clearly demonstrated his engineering acumen in devising an efficient production process, equipage and use of data to continually refine Heliae’s operations. I without reservation, attribute Heliae’s success to date to Jim’s leadership, expertise and vision.

    - R. Thomas Browning, Brigadier General, USAF (ret), Advisor to Heliae -
  • Jim has a friendly and open personality which allows him to gain the confidence of diverse working team members.  His style creates an environment where team members contribute to and accelerate development of projects.  He understands the priority of project development and quickly comes to terms with feasibility via business and engineering models. In addition, Jim’s operations experience  gives him the tools to gather all pertinent information from key owners so that initiatives are grounded with potential value and costs.  He leads the team to careful, vetted preliminary information and is aggressive to determine the simplest, most flexible continuous system before proceeding.  Jim constructs data gathering experiments to test the validity of ideas and concepts while driving accurate use of data and experimental design, ultimately for the development of Intellectual Property collection and protection.  He effectively leads teams to accurate data analysis from reliable gathering methods.  He effectively uses experts in technology for reliable development and commercialization. 

    - Don Jurgensen, Advisor to Heliae and Former Technical Director of Innovation, Mars North America -
  • I have had the pleasure of working with Jim multiple times throughout his career in different capacities. Jim is a true leader and great at getting a team motivated and aligned to solve the problems at hand. Very quickly, Jim is able to sort through the important vs. unimportant information and focus a team to produce results. Jim is results driven. He is direct, fair and open-minded. If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with Jim, I would suggest you seize the opportunity, not only are you assured results, the process will be enjoyable as well.

    - Mark Fosshage, President, World Water Works, Inc. -


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Our Location

184 S. Willett
Memphis, TN