Jan Haak, general manager, First Mode Australia.

SEATTLE, September 14, 2020 –  First Mode, a design, engineering, and technology development firm, today announced that it has opened a subsidiary office in Perth, Australia, a recognized global hub for the resources industry. Resources make up nearly 60 percent of the Australian export market.

“Opening a First Mode office in Perth is a natural extension of our work underway to meet the growing global demand for sustainability, including renewable energy use and transformation within the mining and energy industry,” said Chris Voorhees, First Mode president and co-founder. “A local presence allows us to work closely with our heavy industry clients focused on a cleaner future, and to build a team to support the technologies and services that will transform the industry.”

The company also announced the appointment of Jan Haak as general manager of First Mode Australia. Haak was previously at Amazon Web Services and has held a number of technical roles working with heavy industry customers, focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Haak earned a computer science degree from the University of Western Australia.

“As a proven and enthusiastic technology team builder, Jan is the ideal leader for growing our presence in Australia and advancing our long-range growth plans,” said Voorhees. “Jan’s background developing growth strategy for global heavy industry customers while at Amazon Web Services, combined with his deep industry network throughout the country, make him uniquely suited to this new role.”

“First Mode is on a mission to support the mining and energy industry’s shift toward sustainability and eventually zero-emissions,” said Haak. “I am truly excited to bring First Mode’s unique skill set to benefit Australian customers. With First Mode here, Perth is poised to become a hotbed for transforming mining into a cleaner industry.”


Haak will hire a number of local engineers and technology specialists to focus on First Mode’s work with the natural resources sector, as well as assist with complex, mission-critical systems for use in space. First Mode supports several NASA missions including Mars 2020 and its Perseverance rover. The company also continues to hire engineering staff in Seattle.

First Mode is developing an over 2-megawatt hybrid battery/hydrogen fuel cell powerplant to replace the diesel generator that currently powers each of global mining company Anglo American’s 300 metric-ton capacity haul trucks. Mobilization of this utility-scale, clean power generation method will result in one of the world’s largest zero-emission vehicles.

First Mode recently landed among Fast Company’s top 25 Best Workplaces for Innovators and is actively recruiting experienced and junior engineers across several disciplines. Candidates should visit FirstMode.com/join and direct their resumes to careers@firstmode.com.

Founded in 2018, First Mode offers a unique approach to address some of the biggest challenges and ambitions, on and off the planet. From developing NASA mobile space projects for use on Mars and the Moon, to helping solve sustainability issues in heavy industry, First Mode thrives on building the barely possible.


First Mode is revolutionizing the design, engineering, and development of technology for industries on and off the planet. Find us on LinkedIn @FirstMode and Twitter @FirstModeHQ.

Colleen Rubart
+1 (415) 283-7100

Want to work with us? We’re hiring! First Mode draws on the exceptional talent and creativity of its multidisciplinary team to solve the toughest problems on and off the planet. Check out our open positions in Seattle and Perth.