Neumann Systems Group has a new CEO, Todd Tiahrt, a former Kansas congressman who has close ties to the company.

Dave Neumann, owner of the company, is still the majority owner and president of the board of directors. However, he’ll no longer be in charge of daily operations. Those tasks will be handled by Tiahrt.

Tiahrt became familiar with NSG when his firm, Todd Tiahrt LLC, was hired as a consultant for the company. When Neumann decided to step down, he got the nod.

Tiahrt has been in the Springs for two days, learning more about the company he’s going to steer – and more about the politics surrounding the NeuStream product, a clean-coal scrubber that’s come under scrutiny by local leaders in recent months.

“I believe in this company,” Tiahrt said. “And I believe in this product. It’s going to be great for the economy. I call it ‘green coal-technology’ – and once it’s fully implemented, the emissions will be cleaner than natural gas.”

“We can prove this product works,” he said. “And once people realize what it does – it’s a jobs generator and will clean the air as well – then they’ll embrace it.”

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He isn’t daunted by the political landmine that NeuStream has become, Tiahrt said. But he plans to take time to get to know the political landscape in Colorado Springs.

And that rocky landscape means he has his work cut out for him, because Neumann’s detractors say they aren’t swayed by the change in leadership.

“He has a product that hasn’t been proven to work,” said Colorado Springs City Councilor Tim Leigh. “I stand my all my assertions. Utilities should never have gotten involved as a venture capitalist in a research and development project. It’s not Utilities business. They could bring in George Herbert Walker Bush III and it wouldn’t change the fact that we are breaking sacred principles.  They want to privatize their gain, if there is any; and socialize the loss by making ratepayers pay for it.”

Tiahrt, a native of South Dakota, earned a master’s degree in business administration from Missouri State University. He worked as a project manager for 14 years at Boeing, and served as a Kansas congressman from 1995 to 2011. During his 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tiahrt served on the Defense Appropriations Committee and House Select Intelligence Committee, and was founder and chairman of the House Economic Competitiveness Caucus. His record in Congress is conservative, and Tiahrt said he was a champion of business and job creation.

“I worked to get government out of the way of innovation,” he said. “And that’s what I’ll be doing here. I believe that once people understand that the Neumann products will be good for the city – it cleans up NOX and SOX, we’re working to clean up mercury and carbon dioxide. We even have a process to use fly ash to mine rare materials.”

Neumann said Tiahrt was a “leader, problem-solver and a strategic thinker of the highest order.”

“His addition to our leadership team will bolster our U.S. and international sales and marketing efforts immensely, and will move our Colorado-developed clean air technologies to the vanguard,” Neumann said in a message to the company’s employees. “NSG’s world-class technology, as reflected in our 2013 nomination for the Edison Awards, will continue to thrive under Todd’s leadership.”

Two other people were promoted at NSG. Dr. Jay Brasseur will move from chief technology officer to chief operations officer, and Dr. Eric Klein will move from vice president, chemical systems to chief technology officer.