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About Rock Rebar Inc.

Building a Better Future

We intend to create awareness and provide education around our state of the art Basalt products, and aspire to be the leaders in this revolutionary shift the concrete reinforcement industry is making towards FRP's. We are focused on making RockRebar® the standard alternative to black steel rebar. Our reinforcements are certified to be stronger, lighter and longer lasting (not to mention environmentally friendly); it is now our goal to develop awareness of this incredible technology. RockRebar® can save American taxpayers the enormous costs associated with this country’s ongoing and future skyrocketing maintenance (look at the reports for our roads, bridges and tunnels). We continue to use our resources to help mandate (municipal and governmental) that our products be considered on upcoming road and bridge projects where corrosion resistant materials are required.

The Industry

We live in a steel reinforced concrete world. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, floods and rising sea levels all contribute to the cracking of concrete infrastructure. It is believed that Basalt products (relating to the reinforcement of concrete) are the best and most economical solution as an alternative to corrosive, rusty, steel; while also adding logistical and job-site values. The result of which makes our product RockRebar®, a state of the art performance/cost alternative. Black steel rebar for the reinforcement of concrete accounts for 19% to 21% of all steel production worldwide. According to the National Bureau of Statistics 199.98 million tons of black steel rebar was placed in concrete construction throughout 2017. In 2017 the United States Infrastructure report card was released.

The United States of America was awarded a D+, the same failing grade awarded to us back in the 2013 report card. The nation’s association of Civil Engineers quoted that “The nation’s roads, dams, airports, water and electrical systems need $4.6 trillion of work” that same year. On Tuesday January 9th, 2018 a group of United States Senators met with administration officials to discuss drafting legislation to spend $1 trillion on improving the country’s infrastructure, a goal that was made a big priority in the 2016 elections. We believe we have generated a product that is on the cusp of the “next industrial revolution.”

Don Smith

Chief Director of Technology/Founder

At 66 Don has amassed over 50 years’ experience managing Startups, to scale up, to commercialization. RockRebar® was spun out of technical discoveries made by Don Smith, a native to Texas, while rigging, racing and winning both national and World Offshore Power Boat Championships.

Professional boat building is a complicated and highly faceted business. Racing boats aside, it was largely from managing his company Smith Boats, where he produced from scratch, private, commercial, and military powerboats of his own design. This has afforded Don so much invaluable experience with machines, plastics, resins and structural materials such as fiberglass, Kevlar®, carbon fiber and ultimately continuous basalt fiber. Coupled with an earlier hands-on career in concrete construction, the experiences together have caused Don Smith to conclude that volcanic basalt rock converted into a glass-state structural fiber, will prevail over all others on a performance/cost basis for reinforcement of cement materials for infrastructure. RockRebar® will now bring to reinforced concrete the lowest carbon footprint of any non-rusting alternative to black steel rebar. Don formed the group Researching Alternative Ways (RAW®), originally as a company central to innovation. RAW's mission was to align technology with a public purpose, and with that purpose in mind RockRebar® was born. Today the right conditions and decisions will not emerge without strong input from technologists themselves.


Much of Don’s success came by way of approaching technical problems from a different angle, something which ultimately created this companies mission ,and its brand with registered trademark RAW® Researching Alternative Ways.

Matthew DeFrancesco

Chief Operating Officer

Matthew DeFrancesco grew up in North Branford, Connecticut, playing hockey amongst other sports. After graduating from Notre Dame High School in 2013, he immediately began a career in the construction field, working on and eventually managing large construction projects for a sub-contracting company now known as Landmark Interiors. While working for Landmark the group mainly worked for a publicly traded, real estate/development group known as Avalon Bay. He started as a laborer, working his way up to supervisor and eventually project manager, working mostly on new ground up construction projects.


Matthew eventually left Landmark to become a founding partner in a startup, fast-casual, restaurant chain concept. While there Matthew acted as the Chief Operating Officer while searching for someone to fill the position permanently. Matthew was a key team member in raising over $1.5 million dollars for the venture, and oversaw the $1.3 million-dollar buildout process, while working with different PR firms and Branding agencies to help bring the investment groups vision to life. While doing this he received a college degree in Business Management. Matthew successfully opened the first restaurant in the summer of 2016 and remained in Connecticut to manage the store for the first year of operation. After the successful launch and year 1 of the restaurant Matthew moved to West Palm Beach to pursue an opportunity to work for a first-time developer on the largest new development project in the City. He was employed as a Project Director with the Banyan Cay Development Team and handled a large portion of the project’s development scope, working side by side with the developer himself and the company’s President. Matthew is a strong leader with an eye for the big picture, always focused on what's next. After electing to use RockRebar® in place of steel for Jack Nicklaus’ signature golf clubhouse and working with Basalt first hand, Matthew saw an opportunity and realized that this was the future of the concrete industry.

Elina Jenkins

Design Director

Elina Jenkins is currently a Design Director for Yellow Turtle Design LLC, Rock Rebar Inc. and all registered RAW® Companies. She was born in Riga, Latvia, and moved to the USA in 1994, and is fluent in Latvian, Latvian sign language, English and Russian. In her free time she loves to garden and use basalt products for support (plants just love basalt). Elina, mother of two, loved to paint murals for her children’s rooms when they were younger, but as the kids grew, she grew with them and into a different type of design. Elina specializes in all of the computer aided design work for the creation of 3-D models and shop drawings for all RockRebar® products, as well as for the presentations and graphics for the companies. Elina holds a Bachelor of Science (Yacht and Marine design) from The Art Institute as well as SolidWorks Associates certification and has over 10 years under her belt.


Elina joined RAW® in 2008 and loves how far the company has come and developed RockRebar® and all other basalt based products -The future of composites. 

Dragan Simovic


Dragan grew up in Serbia, Yugoslavia. At University of Belgrade he acquired his BS. Degree in Organic Chemistry, and subsequent MS. Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies (Electrochemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry). At the University of Belgrade, he worked for 11 years as a researcher and was teaching Organic chemistry courses. At the same time, his native country of Yugoslavia was falling apart in a prolonged civil war, so he initiated a private business production of chemicals necessary to supply the market in need (economic sanctions lasted for almost a decade). In this time his business developed production and provided many essential chemicals, including more than 50 high purity organic and inorganic chemicals. Working as a researcher at the University, he successfully led several industrial projects concerned mainly with manufacturing valuable chemical products from food processing waste (polluting) products and deficient goods (previously imported). Examples are; Lactose (milk sugar) from waste stream of cheese production (whey); Tartaric acid from “wine tartar stone” waste material; Alcohol from waste stream of starch (wheat starch processing); Biodiesel fuel production from soybean, sunflower and waste cooking oil; Gluconic acid production from glucose and sucrose; Cymiazol hydrochloride (veterinary medicine active substance) total synthesis for market; Selenium enriched yeast (animal feed supplement) industrial fermentation product.

Dragan has immigrated to the US with his family in 2003, pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry at Florida International University. He graduated in 2008 and started working as a pharmaceutical scientist in Miami, Florida. In 2010, his interests have shifted towards chemistry of industrial polymers and adhesives, and he joined the team of scientists in Adhesive Technology Corp. He was leading the R&D team in this company until 2015, when he moved to become technical director of Green Biofuels, South Miami manufacturer of bio-renewable fuel. Pursuing ecologically friendly technologies in manufacturing fuels and industrial materials, lead to renewal of his private business founded decades ago in Belgrade, Serbia. Current focus of development and marketing is on composite materials and epoxy polymers made from bio-renewable sources (such as soybean or cashew nutshell oil). Major discoveries of functional epoxy curing agents, made from these common bio-commodities, have been patented with several patents being in preparation stage.

Meet the Team