Syndem, LLC

Power systems are going through a paradigm change. Centralized large generating facilities are being replaced with numerous distributed, incompatible, non-synchronous and relatively small renewable or alternative power plants, plug-in EVs, and energy storage units. Moreover, the majority of loads are expected to actively regulate system stability as well. This paradigm change, widely known as the democratization of power systems, is comparable to the great historical event of personal computers replacing mainframes or republics replacing monarchies.  

Syndem LLC is a Chicago-based start-up pioneering the development of technologies that empower all power electronics-interfaced suppliers and loads to behave like virtual synchronous machines (VSM, also called cyber synchronous machines) so that they can seamlessly integrate with the grid to actively take part in the regulation of system frequency and voltage, in the same way as conventional synchronous machines do. This does not only allow generating facilities to meet the requirement of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to provide primary frequency response but also allow converter-fed loads to provide primary frequency response as well. This will reduce/defer the infrastructure investment on transmission and distribution networks, reduce the required reserve in power systems, release the communication infrastructure from low-level control and open up the prospect of achieving autonomous power systems.  The company develops enabling technologies for seamless integration of renewables, EVs, energy storage and flexible loads, which can be applied to various industrial sectors (e.g. wind, solar, EV, energy storage, motor drives, and IT equipment), home appliances (e.g. TV, fridge/freezers, washing machines, and air-conditioning) and educational kits. 

Our Mission
To harmonize power system players and realize synchronized and democratized (SYNDEM) smart grids worldwide, via operating power electronic converters on the supply side, inside the network and on the load side as virtual synchronous machines (VSM). 

Our Vision
To Make Power Systems Worldwide Stable, Reliable and Sustainable.

Our Philosophy
We believe in Simplicity: One for All and All for One.

  • One Goal: Sustainability
  • One Mechanism: Synchronization and Democratization (SYNDEM)
  • One Principle: Harmony
  • One Index for Actions: Minimum Usage of Resources

The Founder


Dr. Qing-Chang Zhong received the Ph.D. degree in control and power engineering from Imperial College London, London, U.K., in 2004 and the Ph.D. degree in control theory and engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, in 2000. He holds the Max McGraw Endowed Chair Professor in Energy and Power Engineering at the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA.

He is an Fellow of IEEE and IET, a Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE Power Electronics Society, IEEE Control Systems Society and IEEE Power and Energy Society. He sits on the Steering Committee of IEEE Smart Grid, representing IEEE Power Electronics Society.

Before moving to the USA, he was the Chair Professor in Control and Systems Engineering at The University of Sheffield, UK, where he built up a $5M+ lab dedicated to the control of energy and power systems and attracted the support of Rolls-Royce, National Instruments, Texas Instruments, Siemens, ALSTOM, Yokogawa, and other organizations.

He (co-)authored three research monographs: Control of Power Inverters in Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Integration (Wiley-IEEE Press, 2013), Robust Control of Time-Delay Systems (Springer-Verlag, 2006), Control of Integral Processes with Dead Time (Springer-Verlag, 2010), and a fourth, Power Electronics-enabled Autonomous Power Systems: Next Generation Smart Grids, is scheduled for publication by Wiley-IEEE Press. He proposed the architecture for the next-generation smart grids based on the synchronization mechanism of synchronous machines to unify the interface and interaction of power system players with the grid and achieve autonomous operation of power systems. His research focuses on power electronics, advanced control theory and the seamless integration of both to address fundamental challenges in energy and power systems. 

He serves/d as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, IEEE Access, and IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics.



David Baker

David E. Baker is President, Fremont St. Associates, Executive Director, America's Urban Campus, Managing Director, Smart Grid Cluster. Through his consulting firm, Mr. Baker oversees the operations of a consortium of over 20 of Chicago's universities and colleges, whose mission is to promote Chicago as a global destination for higher education. He also manages one of 11 U.S. Small Business Administration regional innovation clusters, focused on supporting start-ups in the grid modernization space.

Mr. Baker served as Vice President for External Affairs, Illinois Institute of Technology from 1995 to 2016.  He was responsible for the University’s governmental relations, marketing and communications, and trustee relations. He managed all university strategic plans from 1993 through 2009. He helped to create the Perspectives Charter Schools/IIT Math & Science Academy.

Since 2001 he worked to create the University Technology Park at IIT (UTP) of which he served as founding Executive Director from 2006 to 2016. UTP received the Emerging Technology Park of the Year Award in 2014, from the Association of University Research Parks. Mr. Baker received the 2016 Career Achievement Award from AURP for his leadership in the technology park field. He conducted workshops, seminars and consultancies on tech ecosystem development in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Croatia, Trinidad and China.

Prior to joining the University, Mr. Baker served as President of The Illinois Coalition, whose mission is to strengthen the Illinois economy through science and technology.  From 1980 to 1989, Mr. Baker served as the Executive Vice President of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business advocacy organization.  Mr. Baker served as the 2012-2013 President of the Association of University Research Parks. He served as Chair of the Heidelberg Club International of Chicago from 2008 to 2015. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. Mr. Baker holds an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and an A.B. in History with a minor in Economics from Stanford University. He is married, has two children and lives in Chicago.




Robert C.W. Owen

Robert Owen, Director of Essaimage Associates Ltd,  graduated from the University of Hertfordshire, UK (then called “The Hatfield Polytechnic”) in 1978, with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He became a Chartered Engineer and full member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET, formerly the IEE) in 1985.

His first employment was in the military electronics field, working for Raytheon. After a short period designing power supplies for London Transport, he joined the Technical Sales Department of Texas Instruments (TI)’s UK Semiconductor Division. Across the next 15 years, he held Sales and Marketing positions for Automotive, Consumer, Computer and Industrial markets. He built TI’s first pan-European support organization and in 1994 he accepted TI’s invitation to build a new programme – The European University Programme – and ran this for TI until 2011. Across this period he became known to more than 3,000 Lecturers and Researchers across the region. The model he built for this program became TI's template worldwide, and it now spans the globe. In Europe today there are 1,000+ TI-based DSP labs, used by circa 34,000 students every year, and he led the expansion of the programme to encompass Analog, RF, and Microcontroller technologies. He has personally visited more than 650 Universities around the world.
Robert now has two major clients:

  • RS Components, the world's largest distributor of electronics and maintenance products, through his development of "RS University" - a global programme that enables Lecturers to harness RS's design tools and component support.
  • Imagination Technologies, the IP company famous for its PowerVR GPUs and MIPS CPUs. He has established the "Imagination University Programme," which offers access to a current MIPS processor core for the teaching of Computer Architecture and SoC: System on Chip Design.

Robert is also actively involved in student recruitment and training for companies including Imagination, EnOcean, Caterva and Conrad. He has developed a one-year model for Internships that enables smaller and start-up companies to develop a pipeline of talent.


Phill Cartwright

Dr. Phill Cartwright is NED/Chairman at The Center for Modelling and Simulation, NED at The Manufacturing Technology Center, and the former CTO of The High Value Manufacturing Catapult UK. The Catapult combines the strengths of seven existing centers across key manufacturing processes, with over 140 million pounds of government investment and investment matched by private industry to revitalize the UK manufacturing industry. Before that, he was Director of Engineering Excellence Group, Laing O’Rourke, the renowned international engineering and construction company, responsible for the company’s Electrical Power, Control and Data Systems Research, Development and Delivery.

He has an impressive track record of senior roles in advanced engineering and manufacturing, including six years as Head of Electrical Power and Control Systems at Rolls-Royce. He has successfully managed PNL accounts >650m pounds and attracted government gearing for manufacturing, research and technology programmes >350m pounds. He has developed, captured and delivered significant and successful power systems, nuclear and/or aerospace projects in Europe, India, China, Uruguay and Brazil.

Phill combines a strong commercial engineering background, with sustainable supply chain development experience and a clear strategic vision.

He was the founding chair of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) Power Sector Executive and has previously been an active member and adviser to the UK Government’s Nuclear Industry Council. He is a Fellow of The IET, an active visiting Professor in Energy Systems at The University of Manchester and The University of Strathclyde, the author of numerous technical journal papers, co-author of two books and several patents in mathematical modelling, control and integration of energy systems.


Zhen(yu) Yu

Dr. Zhen(yu) Yu is currently Systems Engineering manager for the C2000 MCU business at Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI). Zhen joined TI in 1995 as an Applications Engineer on the Industrial and Automotive team in Automotive MCU, the team that evolved into today's C2000 MCU business overtime. Zhen contributed significantly to the definition, development and support of the first and later C2000 MCU products. Zhen is also instrumental to C2000's worldwide successes, especially the successes in China and Asia. He took an expat assignment in Shanghai from 2003 to 2006 and contributed significantly to C2000 business wins and strategy then and later. Zhen also contributed significantly to C2000's application technology development and strategy. He developed some of the earliest C2000 application reports, software and demos. He provided critical technical and business support to C2000's earliest and later customers. In his role as digital power systems team manager, digital power and motor control systems team manager and systems engineering manager for C2000, he led the development of a long list of reference designs and EVMs, and was critical in the formation and implementation of C2000's application strategy. Zhen was also C2000 Business Development Manager for China, Asia and worldwide and C2000 Worldwide End-Equipment marketing manager, contributing significantly to C2000's business development and EE successes.

Zhen was elected Member Group of Technical Staff (MGTS) and Senior Member Technical Staff (SMTS) in the early years at TI and is now Emeritus SMTS.

Zhen received his Doctor of Science Degree in Systems Science and Mathematics in 1995 from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Behang University in Beijing. Zhen worked at Beihang's Third Research Group as a Research Engineer from 1985 to 1989.


Jim MacInnes

Jim MacInnes is President & Co-owner of Crystal Mountain, a 1400-acre four-season resort and planned community located near Traverse City, Michigan. Crystal is also home to the Michigan Legacy Art Park, a 30-acre preserve that blends art with nature. Crystal Mountain was named the #1 Resort in the Midwest in 2005 by the readers of SKI magazine and it is an RCI Gold Crown rated resort. The resort’s golf school is also rated as a Top 25 golf school in the nation by the readers of Golf Magazine.

During his tenure at Crystal Mountain, Mr. MacInnes and his wife, Chris, have developed nearly $100 million of resort and recreational real estate projects. He was also involved in creating and managing Michigan Assurance Limited, a Bermuda-based captive insurance company that provided risk management and insurance services for a dozen hotels and resorts, including Crystal Mountain. His project development/engineering consulting company Renewable Power Solutions participated in the development of a $175 Million Mancelona Renewable Resources biomass plant to power 31,500 homes.

Prior to joining the resort, Mr. MacInnes was Director of Venture Management for Irvine, California based Ultrapower Incorporated where he was involved in investor relations and financing of renewable energy power generation projects developed, co-owned and operated by the Company. He also served as Project Development Manager and Lead Control Systems Engineer on commercial power plant projects.

He holds Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and MBA degrees from the University of California, Irvine and is licensed as a professional engineer, residential builder and real estate broker. Jim served as a vice chair of the IEEE USA Energy Policy Committee in 2014 and is currently vice chair of the West Michigan IEEE PES/PELS chapter. He is a Life Senior Member of IEEE and a member of both the IEEE PES and PELS societies. 

Mr. MacInnes is chairman of the board of Crystal Mountain and past chair of the Northwestern Michigan College Foundation. He was appointed by Governor Snyder as Chair of the Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board.  He is a board member of Fifth Third Bank – West Michigan and a past board member of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.  He is also a past board member of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, the Midwest Ski Areas Association, the National Ski Areas Association, the Traverse City Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Traverse City Area Industrial Fund. He was appointed by Governor Engler to serve on the Michigan Ski Area Safety Board and was appointed by Governor Granholm to serve on Great Lakes Offshore Wind Council. He and his wife, Chris, were recipients of the 1998 Governor’s Award for Arts and Culture, and the 2002 US Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Success Award for the state of Michigan. Mr. MacInnes was also named one of 16 Michigan Green Leaders by the Detroit Free Press in April, 2010.


Tony Lakin

Tony Lakin is a Non-Executive Director of Evince Technology, which develops revolutionary semiconductor devices at higher voltages with higher efficiency using synthetic diamond - a wide band gap material.

Tony started his career in 1970 as a Development Engineer for Marconi Space & Defence Systems (Stanmore). In 1971-1979, he led the Control & Instrumentation Group of Power Plant Division & Advanced Technology Division for NEI Clarke Chapman. In 1979-1998, he was the Managing Director of Micro Tech Ltd, part of the Nada Consulting Group. He became the Managing Director of the Nada Consulting Group in 1998 and led a Buy In Management Buy Out (BIMBO) of the Nada Consulting Group with venture capital help from Nat West Venture Capital and Gartmore. The Nada Consulting Group changed its name to I-Power Ltd in 2000, which was then purchased by Turbo Genset PLC in 2001 with him as the R & D Director. In 2002, I-Power acquired the IPR and service contracts from Rolls Royce Industrial Controls. In 2006 Turbo Genset changed the operating name to Turbo Power Systems Ltd (TPS) and changed it’s listing onto the AIM market. In 2010, TPS was acquired by the Brazilian engineering company VSE, a subsidiary of Vale Engineering, the major Brazilian mining company. In 2013, Mr Lakin retired as an executive director and gave up the R & D Director of TPS.

In nearly 5 decades of his career, Tony has been responsible for numerous projects, e.g., electric vehicle drives for Lansing Bagnell (UK), energy management systems for the Royal Navy heavy-weight Spearfish torpedo, fire control systems for several overseas main battle tanks, laser Control systems for Lumonics, PRC(USA), CGI(USA), GEC Marconi and Laser Ecosse, battery chargers and formation control equipment for Chloride, Hawker (France) and Oldham, data logging systems for IBM, electrophoresis power supply and centrifuge control equipment for Shandon, film lighting systems used in films including Shakespeare In Love, James Bond, Harry Potter and The Saint with an Oscar for technical innovation, motor drive systems for Robert Bosch (Germany), brushless DC motor drives for Euro fighter, one of the first DFIG wind turbine controllers, the first UK G59 approved PV grid-linked inverter systems, 400 kW grid-linked and standalone inverter systems used with gas turbine and reciprocating engines for Dtech (part of Detroit Edison Inc) and Milan Laboratory of CESI, Italy, hybrid vehicles for Lotus cars,2000HP shunter locomotive drive system for the NRE company in the USA, and four inverter drive systems for Boeing (Dreamliner) 787 aircraft.

Tony is the UK representative and UK expert on IEC Technical Committee TC82/WG6, specializing in grid linked inverter control. He is a representative on the BSI committees for Photovoltaic Energy Systems, GEL/82 and Electrical Energy Storage ESL/120, and was one of the experts originally involved in writing G77, the first low power generation grid connection standard, that subsequently became G83. Furthermore, Tony is a member of the UK G59 frequency response technical sub-group, looking at the potential future problems with grid frequency response and connection standards. He is an associate editor of  IET Renewable Power Generation.