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2019 Division Board members

Joseph J. CramerJoseph J. Cramer

Chair

Joe Cramer is Director Emeritus, Technical Programming, for AIChE. He was appointed Director in 1994 and retired from full time employment in January 2012. Previously, he had nearly 25 years of experience with major engineering companies in a variety of technical management positions. Joe had extensive experience as an expert witness and managing others presenting expert testimony. He received his BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Chemical Engineering Practice from the MIT Practice School. Joe is a Fellow of AIChE and a licensed PE in Texas. In addition to his involvement in the Management Division, he also serves on the Licensing and Professional Development Committee, the Admissions Committee, Membership Committee, Research and New Technology Committee, Fellows Council of AIChE, and the ChE PE Exam Committee of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). He is a past chair of the Environmental Division and Admissions Committee. Joe is married and resides in western North Carolina near Asheville.


Austin S. LinAustin S. Lin

Vice Chair

Austin S. Lin is a Technical Program Manager at Google where he helps build datacenters. His projects focus on supplier manufacturing quality and infrastructure products ranging from heat exchangers to air handling and cooling equipment, including the construction of the data centers themselves. Prior to Google, Austin served for over 14 years at Procter & Gamble in the company’s Duracell batteries where he managed the supply chain factories for specialty batteries such as lithium iron disulfide, lithium coin and silver oxide products. He later served as the Operations Manager for P&G’s chemical perfumes business in New Jersey, where he helped run a 24/7 perfume plant that created fragrances for Tide, Gain, Old Spice, Febreze and other P&G brands. Austin holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, is an EIT in the State of Georgia, and is certified as a Quality Engineer (CQE) and Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) by ASQ. ASQ elected Austin as a Fellow of the Society in 2015. A past national board member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ), within AIChE Austin has served in leadership roles as the AIChE Northern California Section’s Secretary, Vice-Chair, and Chair. Nationally within AIChE, Austin served on AIChE’s Local Sections Committee as Secretary. He has been a speaker at AIChE Management Division sessions at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco in 2016 and at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh.


Babak RafieniaBabak Rafienia

Secretary

Babak Rafienia is a chemical engineer with experience in oil & gas separation and fractionation technologies. He is currently Senior Sales Engineer at AMACS Process Tower Internals focusing on troubleshooting, revamping, and retrofitting separation and distillation projects globally. He holds M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Lamar University and has held various engineering roles such as Field Engineer, Researcher, and Process Engineer in the oil & gas separation industry, and published several technical articles in this field. He has presented multiple technical seminars in his area of expertise for AIChE local sections and Young Professional (YP) groups. Babak is an executive committee member of the AICHE-South Texas Local Section (AIChE-STS) and a senior member of AIChE.


William S. WelkerWilliam S. Welker

Treasurer

Bill Welker has over 35 years of experience in Food Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, including several international assignments, at Nestlé Purina Europe, Brach’s Confections Asia Pacific, Frito-Lay, Inc., and Hunt-Wesson Foods. Bill served as Plant Engineer for Frito-Lay’s factories in Kirkwood NY and Chamblee GA, and Production Manager at the plant in San Jose, CA. During his time with Brach’s Confections, Bill served as VP of Engineering at their Chicago Facility, and then as VP of Operations for Asia Pacific, based in Singapore and Hong Kong, and was responsible for the construction of a chocolate manufacturing facility in China. Bill has served as VP of Product Supply of Ralston Purina’s international operations, where he was responsible for the construction of a Pet Food factory in Australia. He also served as Director of Nestlé Purina’s European Supply Chain. Most recently, he has been coordinating the implementation of large information systems projects for Nestlé’s operations in USA. Bill obtained both his B.S in Chemical Engineering and his MBA from Cornell University.


Fernando J. Aguirre

Past Chair

Fernando J. Aguirre is Senior Vice President, Contracts at Heat Transfer Research, Inc. (HTRI). He has held many positions during his 28+ years at HTRI, starting as Senior Research Engineer with responsibilities in research and software development in shellside flow and vibration, extended surfaces, and fired heaters. He then held positions as Director of Research, Director of Marketing and Technical Training, Vice President, Sales & Business Development, and most recently Senior Vice President, Global Sales. Prior to joining HTRI he was a research engineer at Bethlehem Steel Corporation and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Fernando received his undergraduate chemical engineering education from Universidad T. F. Santa Maria, Valparaiso, Chile, and his MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PA), USA. He is a Fellow of AIChE and a licensed PE in Texas. In addition to his involvement in the Management Division, he is Secretary of the Dallas Section and has served as Treasurer of the Dallas Section, Chair of the Student Chapters Committee, Director of the former Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion Division, and member of the Publications Committee.


Harold T. Conner, Jr.

Director (2017-2019)

Harold T. Conner, Jr. has five decades of DOE and NNSA experience. He has built an extensive record cost-effectively and safely managing and revitalizing facilities and infrastructure at SRS, Y-12, K-25, INEEL, and LLNL. He is extremely knowledgeable about DOE construction management regulations, site planning, environmental remediation, emergency management, and FIRP prioritization methodologies. He is the recipient of DOE Secretary and NNSA awards for outstanding facilities accomplishments. He is a strong champion of safety and continuous improvement and has achieved exemplary safety records. Harold is a Six Sigma champion and has led teams that have produced nearly $500 million in documented savings. He is known for worker involvement initiatives as part of the Integrated Safety Management System process. Harold received his BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama Huntsville.


Markus Scheller

Director (2017-2019)

Markus E. Scheller has worked for several companies including BASF, Ciba-Geigy for almost 30 years. After receiving his PhD in organic chemistry at the ETH in Zürich (1985), Markus started as research chemist at Syntex in Palo Alto California. In 1987 he moved to Switzerland working for Ciba-Geigy in Process Development. In 1989 he co-led a major international project creating fully automated chemical synthesis production facilities in Switzerland (Kaisten) and USA (McIntosh). Subsequently he joined the US team in McIntosh Alabama for 14 years, first as head for production Specialty Additives, then for Antioxidants. Markus was named Process Development head NAFTA in 1999, with facilities in Puebla, McIntosh,  Canada. In 2001 he was appointed to lead the Global Process / Technology department for the Additive division with activities in USA, India, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, etc. Then in 2008 Dr. Scheller was transferred to Switzerland and was nominated as Site Manager of the BASF production facility in Monthey. In 2016 he left BASF and is currently self-employed and functions as Operations Management advisor and Board member of smaller companies.


Brandon Harding

Director (2018-2020)

Brandon Harding has held several engineering and value chain optimization roles within the oil & gas and manufacturing industries. Brandon has been awarded multiple Business Leader & Chairman Awards for his success with implementing projects related to process improvement (business & technical) and capability. Brandon is also an advocate for Diversity & Disability Inclusion, and has been elected as a 2018 Rising Leaders Program Mentor through the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN). He has earned his Engineer in Training (EIT) certification and is a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB). He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a M.Eng. in Management Science from Lehigh University. 


Quinta Warren

Director (2018-2020)

Quinta Warren is a chemical engineer with experience in energy and sustainability. She is currently an AAAS Fellow at the US Department of Energy and was previously with ConocoPhillips for six years. She holds a PhD in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University. Quinta owns a consulting company called Engineering Research Consulting that focuses on issues related to energy, sustainability, and process design/optimization. She is part of a group that started the STEM-focused Dakar American University of Science and Technology in Senegal.


Mahdi Nouri

Director (2019-2021)

Mahdi Nouri is Director of Upstream and Midstream at Jacobs Consultancy. Mahdi’s responsibilities at Jacobs include developing and expanding the client base, supporting proposals and project execution, and facilitating the integration of the Upstream/Midstream Practice for cross-business opportunities throughout the company. Mahdi Nouri has solid gas treating and processing and cryogenic gas processing (NGL and LNG facilities) experience as a Gas Processing Subject Matter Expert, Director of Midstream Operations, Study Manager, Process Group Manager, Process Lead, Start-up Lead, and Process Engineer for consultancy, feasibility and conceptual study, economic analysis, optimization, troubleshooting, debottlenecking, operation support, and safety review management of midstream facilities. He has held key leadership roles in design of over two-dozen gas processing plants, five LNG facilities, four world-class cryogenic gas processing plants during commissioning and start-up, and over a dozen debottlenecking gas plants. Mahdi is Chair of the GPA Facility Design, Operation and Maintenance Committee since 2018, Director of AIChE F&PD (2017–2020), and was Secretary of AIChE Management Division in 2018. He is primary author for the Gas Treating and Processing: Practices in Design and Operation Book (CRC Press). Mahdi was also honored with the GPA Midstream Committee Volunteer of the Year in April 2018, the Outstanding Presentation Awards after presenting his papers at AIChE/2015 Spring Meeting in Austin, Texas and AIChE/2016 Spring Meeting in Houston, Texas.


Jack Dever

Director (2019-2021)

Jack Dever is Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President at the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center, Inc. (MATRIC). He is accountable for strategic planning, new business development, research strategy, intellectual property techno-economic-chemical-design-technology-improvement, customer partnerships and technical staff development. Jack has more than 35 years of experience in technical and organizational leadership in Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Chemical and now MATRIC. His career has included roles as R&D technologist, R&D leader, manufacturing production manager, improvement leader, director of technology development, and director of engineering. Jack received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and also has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from West Virginia University.


Kate Gawel

CTOC Liaison

Kate Gawel is Sr. Commercialization Project Lead, Beverages, at Campbell Soup Company. After receiving her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering with Honors in Food Science and a minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship from the Schyerer Honors College at Penn State, she began her career as a project engineer at a Kraft Foods plant. Over the past 8 years, Kate has held a number of roles in engineering, project management, and product R&D. She has been an active member of AIChE since joining the Penn State student chapter as a freshman and since graduation has held leadership roles in both the Young Professionals Committee and North Jersey Local Section. Kate was elected to the board of directors in the fall of 2016 and is currently serving a three-year term (2017-2019).