Venture-Backed CalStar Products Gets a New CEO

Six-year-old CalStar Products, a Caledonia, Wis., company that makes low-energy, low-CO2 masonry products, has brought aboard Joel Rood as its CEO. Prior to joining CalStar, Rood was GM for CertainTeed Canada. CalStar is funded by the venture firms Nth Power, Westly Group, Foundation Capital, and EnerTech Capital.


Joel Rood, a 15-year veteran of the building products and materials industry, has joined CalStar Products as its CEO. Rood’s broad experience in the construction products business includes senior executive P&L responsibility with industry leaders in product categories including gypsum wallboard, insulation and fiber-cement. CalStar Products develops and manufactures sustainable, affordable masonry products that dramatically reduce the energy and carbon footprint of the built environment, supporting U.S. energy independence, mitigating climate change and creating new jobs.

Prior to joining CalStar, Rood was General Manager for CertainTeed Canada. Earlier, he was the General Manager of the Southern U.S. Division at James Hardie Corporation.

“We’re thrilled to have Joel joining us,” said CalStar Products Chairman Paul Holland. “Joel’s executive skills, strong core values and record of managing growth and innovation across the building products industry make him the perfect fit to lead CalStar as we scale-up the business.”

On earlier assignments with Hilti and Schlumberger in the U.S. and internationally, Rood developed and executed strategic plans leading to consistent growth and performance improvement. Rood’s focus on innovation will be invaluable to CalStar as the company continues to expand into additional categories of sustainable building products.

CalStar is backed by cleantech investment leaders Foundation Capital, EnerTech Capital, Nth Power and The Westly Group. Under Rood, the company will relocate its headquarters and R&D activity from California to its manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.

“CalStar represents an exciting opportunity to meet the growing need for building products that are both sustainable and affordable. The company’s low-energy, low-CO2 masonry products are incredibly exciting, and are just the start. I see us bringing many other exciting products to market in the coming years,” said Rood. “I’m delighted to join such a capable team to develop a new category of building products company, serving the growing green building market with innovative, unique, sustainable products.”

Rood holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, a master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas, and a master’s degree in Business from Stanford University.


CalStar Products, Inc. develops and manufactures sustainable building products that allow customers to dramatically reduce the energy and carbon footprint of their projects and incorporate significant recycled materials, without compromising building performance or budgets. Founded in Silicon Valley with a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, CalStar’s mission encompasses national priorities of supporting energy independence, mitigating climate change, preserving natural resources, recycling industrial by-products, and creating green jobs.


  • Tom Pounds has been removed as CEO of Calstar.

    Mismanagement and gross incompetence have resulted in substandard products, very poor market performance, and failed revenue development. Calstar’s fly ash bricks and pavers have been dogged by safety and performance issues and have failed spectacularly in a number of field trials and residential and commercial projects.

    Rood has been brought in as a last resort to consolidate the company, shake up management and R&D and salvage what remains.

  • Calstar is in the process of shutting down.

    The VCs put in over $30 million into Calstar Products, and they are consolidating to reduce the burn rate while they look for buyers – in the hope they can recoup something and reduce their losses.

    More top management losses – the R&D Director – Kyle Douglas left in December.

    Mismanagement and lousy products brought it down – they could never deliver anything that lived up to the fantastic claims they made about performance and safety – and as you can imagine, news of toxicity, product failures, botched projects and product liability spread quickly in the industry.

    Pity is that there are good fly ash products (made by other companies) out there. But Calstar, by making lousy, substandard products, has given fly ash a bad name and tarnished the reputation of the industry.

  • The comments above have no basis in fact or reality.

    Followers of Calstar may recognize the author, “bkwaas,” as the anonymous blogger who has posted misleading and misguided comments about the company for the past four years. These collective comments and speculations show near-perfect consistency in being factually incorrect or proving so over time. The above are more of the same.

    The company is currently carrying out an orderly transition in executive leadership as we have successfully done before. As readers of PEhub are aware, such transitions are a normal and expected part of building a company, as is the relocation of our headquarters to be close to production and customers. Products are performing well in hundreds of projects across the eastern U.S., and there are no product liability issues.

    Joel Rood’s industry experience and scale-up expertise will help build on the market momentum, sales infrastructure, and new products introduced during 2011 to deliver strong growth in 2012 and beyond.

    Tom Pounds is still with CalStar, and will remain available to advise company leadership and support strategic initiatives going forward.

  • Karen Righthand of Calstar claims that my claims are false.
    Here are some indisputable facts.
    Karen, please do disprove them.

    1) Tom Pounds has been removed as CEO. The “Senior Advisor” post is a typical saving face gesture and attempt to portray an “orderly transition”.
    2) Calstar’s Headquarters in California has been shuttered.
    3) The Director of R&D, Kyle Douglas left Calstar in December.
    4) The VP of R&D, Amitabh Kumar left at the beginning of 2012.
    5) The Calstar factory is running at a fraction of its capacity.
    6) Calstar has not made any profit to date – its revenues are far below its burn rate.

    These are hardly indicative of a healthy, successful company.

    And, some more facts:

    1) Calstar is no longer producing bricks.
    2) Several installations of Calstar’s bricks and pavers have failed and had to be removed, and replaced with clay and concrete products at the customers request.
    3) Calstar stopped producing bricks because of bond strength, color loss, efflorescence and shrinkage issues, and of course liability concerns.
    4) Calstar’s pavers carry an unheard of (low) 10 year warranty – again, because of durability and liability issues. For comparison, concrete and clay pavers carry 25, 50 and lifetime warranties.
    5) Calstar has approached major DIY retail chains, and has been rebuffed – its bricks and pavers did not meet specifications and failed testing.

    Karen – please do respond – I will be very interested to see how you try spin these facts.

    And I will be more than happy to supply more facts.

  • Karen Righthand – perhaps you can explain the startling differences in your sustainability claims.

    Your website claims 6.4 Million BTUs saved for each ton of fly ash used in the case of your bricks.

    But your pavers only save 0.46 million BTUs per ton of fly ash.

    Why is there such an enormous difference?

    And meanwhile, elsewhere, the claims come in at 5 million BTUs ber ton of fly ash.

    Why the wildly different figures?

  • Karen, here are examples of your own sustainability claims – taken directly from Calstar Product’s website.

    Latest Brick Example
    Milwaukee Scholars School
    Energy saved: 255 million BTU
    CO2 avoided: 20 tons
    Landfill avoided: 40 tons

    Latest Paver Project
    Main Street Plaza
    Energy saved: 4 million BTU
    CO2 avoided: 3 tons
    Landfill avoided: 8.5 tons

    So, in the case of your pavers 1 ton of landfill avoided (ie. fly ash) equals 0.47 million BTUs avoided. But miraculously, in the case of bricks, the figure is over ten-fold higher – 6.4 million BTUs per ton of landfill avoided.

    Care to explain this?

    “Inventive Marketing”?

    Or botched reports, like your safety document that claimed the non-existent elements “Va” and “Mb”?

  • Karen Righthand has parted ways with Calstar.

    And Tom Pounds, who was previously removed as CEO, is no longer “Senior Advisor”.

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