Leadership & Partnerships


  • Paula Shirk (Founder and CEO)

    She is an experienced entrepreneur. Her innovative streak, marketing, and leadership skills are recognized in such publications as the New York Times, New York Magazine, Vogue, Runner’s World, Cosmopolitan, American Health, Working Woman, Elle, The New Yorker, New York Post, New York Daily News, Women’s Wear Daily, Crain’s and the Japanese magazine Nikkei Woman. The Christian Science Monitor called her a “Change Agent.” In 2021 she received the Ohio State University “Outstanding Service Award Presented by The Industry and Professional Advisory Group for the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. She has been awarded the B’nai B’rith Board of Governors’ Distinguished Achievement Award as “a woman of accomplishment and stature as an innovative business leader.” In recognition of her work in Cambodia, District Attorney Charles Hynes, who praised Paula’s “exceptional selflessness, dedication, and compassion,” chose Ms. Shirk as one of Brooklyn’s Extraordinary Women. Under Paula’s leadership, BB2C was awarded the prestigious Patents for Humanity award by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She is the mother of two sons, Eli and Rudi, who was born in Cambodia. She is the visionary behind BB2C.

  • Douglas Eads (Director)

    Worked as a financial specialist at Merrill Lynch for many years and, in his retirement, has become an active investor. Douglas has served on the Board of BB2C since its inception and has been actively involved and generous in time and financial support in the growth of our organization.

  • Candy Orlinsky (Director)

    She has previously been involved in start-ups and knows a steady hand is required. She has been a dedicated work colleague of the founder. Candy has provided support for BB2C since its inception. She used her networking skills to help us attain our much-needed foundation grant for operating expenses. She has provided unwavering support to us and, in our first year, donated a significant sum of money as a symbol of her dedication and belief in BB2C’s goals. She has also been a benefactor of other worthy organizations.

  • Mary Ide (Director)

    She is a partner at Harch Capital Management based in Boca Raton, Florida. Mary manages the firm’s New York office. Her expertise includes trading, sales, and the development of a long-term business strategy. Mary began her career at Shearson (now part of Citigroup) in 1980 and has held several sales and trading positions on Wall Street, including stints with Smith Barney and Alex Brown. Mary has contributed her expertise regarding business and fundraising to BB2C. She has been extremely generous with her time and talents. Mary holds a B.A. in Art History from Smith College, is married with two sons, and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • Todd Hyman (Director),

    After receiving his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Dayton, Mr. Hyman spent ten years at G.E. before traveling to Cambodia and working for BB2C. He spent two and a half years working on the original design to develop the Eli Seeder prototype. Early prototype testing meant walking in the mud of a rice paddy up to Todd’s knees. Nothing fazed him. His name appears on the original patent.

  • Eddie Ho (Director)

    He has an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia. Mr. Ho is a Kodak Certified Six Sigma Black Belt with over 15 years of corporate engineering, design, and project management experience, who advises us from ideation to manufacturing.

Advisory Board

  • Ian Berg, B.S., Engineering Mechanics, University of Illinois. Mr. Berg was part of the original design team.
  • Kenneth Long, Department of Bioengineering/College of Medicine University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Long was part of the original design team.
  • Timothe’ Husser, Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the National Superior School of Energy, Water and Environment, a part of the Grenoble Institute of Technology. Mr. Husser worked in Cambodia developing the Eli Seeder prototype.
  • Timothy Purvis, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. Purvis worked on improving the Eli Seeder and developing its auxiliary attachments.
  • Matthew de Kretser, BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria. Mr. de Kretser worked on improving the Eli Seeder and introduced 3D printing to the manufacturing process.
  • Dominic Scott MEng in Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of Sheffield. Mr. Scott played a key role in the development of the All Season Rice Seeder attachment and continues to advise on engineering issues.
  • Ibrahim FitzGibbon MEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham. Mr. FitzGibbon took on the task of converting the Eli into a seeder which could plant in the dry season. He is proud to have brought it to completion. The Eli successfully traverses wet and dry fields across Cambodia.

  • Pamela Patur, M.A., Columbia University. Ms. Patur is responsible for much of the writing, human resources issues, and strategic planning for BB2C.

  • Tania Boucand, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Ms. Boucand worked on the next BB2C innovation, the Eli Seeder capable of operating in the dry season. In addition, she was instrumental in adopting and improving the 3D printer technology for our manufacturing process.

  • Helen Shirk, Ms. Shirk spent much of her life farming in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Helen helped Paula Shirk, her daughter, and BB2C’s founder, determine the attainable goals of BB2C at its inception. Her Brethren heritage also provided an ethical compass for BB2C’s operation and business relationships. We continue to benefit from her wisdom.

Corporate Partnerships

We partner with corporations, universities, and non-governmental organizations, to help build the organization and assist in Research and Development.

Phillips 66 logo

Shell Oil and Phillips 66 helped fund the development of pump prototypes at the University of Illinois.

Brown Rudnick LLP logo

Brown Rudnick LLP logoBrown, Rudnick, LLP. Provided pro bono assistance to incorporate BB2C as a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status.

Tilleke & Gibbons International, Ltd. Probono In-Country Patent Attorneys

Covington & Burling LLP. Washington, DC. Patent Attorneys.

Eli Trademark Protection

With the assistance of our Covington Trademark Attorney, we utilize the international trademark registration system, which allows for global trademark protection for the ELI mark in all member states.

Patent Protection

  1. U.S., Singaporean, and Cambodian Patent applications for the wet season Eli Seeder were granted in 2018 with pro bono help from COVINGTON & BURLING LLP.
  2. U.S. patent application for the All-Season Eli Seeder was submitted on Oct. 28, 2019.
  3. A U.S. patent application for the Seed Metering Apparatus was submitted on January 28, 2021.
  4. A U.S. provisional patent for Single Operator Apparatus was submitted on Feb. 25, 2021.
  5. U.S. patent application for the one-chamber pump was allowed on May 10, 2016.

All applications were filed with pro bono assistance from COVINGTON & BURLING LLP. Covington is providing additional legal assistance:

  • Trademark Attorney
  • Corporate Attorneys
  • Contract and Distributions Agreement Attorneys
  • In-Country Corporate Attorneys
  • Political Consultant

University Partnerships

U.Illinois Mechanical Science & Engineering

Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business

Tilleke & Gibbons International, Ltd. Probono In-Country Patent Attorneys

College of Mechanical Engineering & Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is a top-ranked public college and one of the leading research universities in the USA.

Implementing Partners

CAVAC was the first to support BB2C’s groundbreaking solutions

CAVAC is supported by the Australian Government and managed by Cardno

The IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) is an $80 million organization that oversees science and technology relating to rice for South and Southeast Asia. We work with the scientists in the headquarters in the Philippines and with the IRRI local staff in-country.

Cardno Emerging Markets, an Australian Aid organization

In 2022 we are starting a new program in the prime rice-growing region of Cambodia, Battambang. Cardo collects data on the effectiveness of our technology. In Phnom Penh, we use their research center for testing our prototypes.