Or if you prefer, my CV, which has more specific details on patents and professional accomplishments.
In a nutshell, my passions are energy, the environment, and sustainability. I have worked on a wide variety of energy projects – both conventional and renewable – in several different countries. In my spare time I write about my passions primarily in an attempt to influence the discourse over our energy policy. A major interest of mine is to find ways to better utilize the waste biomass throughout the world that is currently burned or land-filled.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
Global Management Executive and published author with a track record of coaching internationally diverse, multidisciplinary teams to high performance levels. Experience includes assignments across the U.S. and in multiple European countries. Long record of resolving challenging technical issues and capturing major cost reductions through novel process improvements and optimal deployment of resources. Skilled at creating intellectual property, with five granted patents. An objective and creative thinker proficient across a broad range of energy-related and chemical technologies. Core expertise includes:
- Safety Culture Development/Deployment
- Technology Evaluation
- Resource Optimization/Succession Planning
- Cost Reduction and Profit Optimization
- Staff Training, Mentoring, and Development
- Process and Operational Improvement
- Intellectual Property Creation
Master of Science • Chemical Engineering • Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Bachelor of Science • Chemistry and Mathematics (dual major) • Texas A&M University
INVESTING DAILY, Falls Church, Virginia
Chief Investment Strategist - 2012 to present
This job is done in parallel with my job with Merica International. I write three investment newsletters for Investing Daily, contribute to a fourth, manage an investment portfolio, and make investment recommendations in the energy sector. In my first full year managing the investment portfolio, we achieved a 28 percent rate of return, in line with the year-to-date gain by the S&P 500 and well above the 22 percent advance for the Energy Select Sector SPDR.
- Write one free weekly newsletter on the energy industry
- Write one free weekly newsletter on master limited partnerships
- Write one biweekly subscription-only newsletter on energy investments
- Write semimonthly articles for Personal Finance
- Manage a model energy investment portfolio for investors
- Conduct monthly web chats with paid subscribers to the newsletter to answer investment questions
MERICA INTERNATIONAL (a private renewable energy company), Hawaii, USA
Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President - 2009 to present
Responsible for evaluating bioenergy technologies/companies for possible integration into the company portfolio. Duties include locating appropriate technologies and evaluating them on the basis of technical and economic merit. I also represent the company as an invited speaker to conferences and through interviews with the media.
TITAN WOOD (a division of Accsys Technologies PLC), Dallas, TX/Arnhem, Netherlands
Director of Projects, Engineering, & Development – 2008 to 2009
Global responsibility for engineering functions within the organization. Responsibilities include engineering support for a facility under development in China, a production facility in the Netherlands, and a global network of multidisciplinary scientists and engineers. Built an engineering team and then oversaw major process improvements in the Dutch facility that increased capacity, reduced energy usage, and decreased waste streams. Responsible for engineering teams in Dallas and in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
- Built a global engineering organization to support process development, improvements, and design and construction of new facilities.
- Oversaw process improvements that significantly reduced production costs.
- Adopted a highly proactive approach toward the career development of my team.
- Identified missing processes and procedures and drove those through implementation.
CONOCOPHILLIPS CORPORATION, Houston, TX 2002-2008
Engineering Team Leader (U.K.) – 2007 to 2008
Managed a large, international team of engineers in Aberdeen, U.K. Responsibilities included capital project development and execution of oil and natural gas projects in the North Sea. Strong focus on recruiting and developing young engineers, which resulted in the lowest attrition rate among the engineering teams. Focus on process safety resulted in the identification and elimination of several potentially major safety hazards.
- Emphasized a safety culture that resulted in more thorough safety reviews of projects.
- Identified and implemented capital reduction opportunities on projects through a more flexible approach to engineering solutions.
- Focus on career development resulted in a 0% attrition rate in the engineering group.
- Implemented a new system of process checks designed to identify design errors.
Optimization Engineer – 2004 to 2007
Worked within a refinery to optimize process operations. Duties included identifying crude oil varieties that were priced for the maximum financial return to the company. Refinery operating plans, scheduling, and planning were carried out in conjunction with the commercial team. Secondary duties included gasoline blending and turnaround planning.
- Implemented control plan for Six Sigma project on crude oil quality that resulted in a $2.5 MM/yr annual savings.
- Eliminated gasoline blending inefficiencies to capture > $1 million in annual savings.
- Served as a corporate-wide consultant on alternative energy initiatives and testified as an expert witness before the state legislature.
Senior Development Engineer – 2002 to 2004
Responsible for developing intellectual property related to the company’s gas-to-liquids technology development. Interfaced with technical groups and project team for scale-up from the lab to the successful piloting of the technology. Team leader for a project to economically convert ethane to ethylene via novel techniques.
- Worked with project team to conduct piloting experiments for plant design basis.
- Generated 20 invention records and received multiple patents.
- Invented a breakthrough process for ethane conversion to ethylene (U.S. Patent 7,074,977).
CELANESE CORPORATION, Dallas, TX 1995-2002
Six Sigma Black Belt – 2001 to 2002
Part of the initial Six Sigma implementation at Celanese. Led two Six Sigma projects, and mentored two Green Belts. Specialized in energy reduction projects.
- Completed Six Sigma training and executed two projects that resulted in energy savings of $1.8 MM/yr.
- Served as company-wide energy expert.
- Represented the company at university career fairs, recruiting and interviewing prospective employees.
Production Engineer (Germany) – 1999 to 2001
Served as production engineer in Oberhausen, Germany for butyraldehyde, butanol, and 2-ethyl hexanol units. Duties involved unit support and process development. Conceived of and led a project team to successful piloting of a novel butanol process that reduced production costs by $5.4 million/yr and reduced the capital requirements for future units. This work has resulted in receipt of multiple European and U.S. patents (U.S. Patent 7,087,795)
- Invented a novel process that slashed operating costs and capital requirements.
- Initiated and completed a new Internet process monitoring tool.
- Developed spreadsheets that resulted in a better accounting of energy and mass balances.
Senior Process Engineer – 1997 to 1999
Served as process engineer for butanol, propanol, and partial oxidation units. Sole process engineering representative on project teams for major expansions of the butanol and partial oxidation units. Drove a substantial redesign of the butanol unit that pushed Celanese into the position of worldwide low-cost butanol producer.
- Engineered distillation modifications that increased butanol capacity by 20% and reduced energy by 30% at a very low capital cost.
- Served as sole process engineering support on a $6 MM butanol expansion and $20 MM partial oxidation unit conversion from fuel oil to natural gas.
- Modified operating conditions to lower waste stream effluent by 75% while increasing the overall efficiency of propylene utilization by $9 MM/yr.
Development Engineer – 1995 to 1997
Provided technical support for plants engaged in butanol and propanol production. Used simulation software to develop a better understanding of our processes, and also to identify key improvement opportunities. Developed expertise as a company-wide resource on distillation.
- Eliminated a planned $5 MM capital expenditure via a novel process modification.
- Built Aspen Plus simulations of a butanol, propanol, partial oxidation unit, and synthesis gas purification train.
- Drove the successful engineering and installation of a butyraldehyde splitter unit.
EARLY POSITIONS – TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY: Teaching/Research Assistant (1991-95) CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY: Lab Technician (1986-91)
Author of a number of articles on energy and sustainability, including:
Biofuels in Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices. Vol. 1. published in 2014.
Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil published in 2012
The Potential of Algae and Jatropha as Biofuels Sources in Global Economic and Environmental Aspects of Biofuels published in 2012
The Global Energy Picture for The Economics of Alternative Energy Sources and Globalization published in 2011
Diesel Production Processes for Advances in Energy Research published in 2011
Bioenergy/Biofuels in Sustainable Development in the Forest Products Industry published in 2010
Renewable Diesel for Biofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems: Benefits and Risks published in 2008
I have appeared on 60 Minutes, The History Channel, and PBS to discuss the energy sector, and my articles on energy and sustainability have appeared in numerous media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, The Economist, and Forbes. I also appeared in the documentary film Critical Mass by director Mike Freedman.
Engaged in ad hoc technical consulting for a number of energy projects, including projects on biodiesel, ethanol (via cellulose, sugarcane, and corn), butanol, and a pair of biomass gasification facilities.
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