Rice Global E&C Forum
Rice Global E&C Forum

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Rice Global E&C Forum
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Rice University MS 318
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005
Email: globalforum@rice.edu

Speaker Bios

XX Annual Forum – Our Speakers’ Biographies

Mr. Tom Walters retired as president of ExxonMobil Production Company in 2016, after more than 38 years of service. Walters joined Exxon USA in 1978 in Los Angeles and held a variety of technical and managerial positions in production, operations, development and global services. In 1999, he was appointed vice president for Africa for ExxonMobil Development Company and in 2002, vice president, United States, for ExxonMobil Production Company. He was appointed president, ExxonMobil Global Services Company in 2005 prior to becoming executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company in 2007. He became president of ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing Company in 2009 and was appointed to his role as president of ExxonMobil Production Company in 2013. Walters was born in Hammond, Indiana, and is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in ocean engineering.

Mr. Jeff Sipes is the manager of Marketing and Business Development for Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals based in Houston, Texas. Jeff previously served as the General Manager of Bechtel’s Tank & Terminal business. He also managed Bechtel’s midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) opportunity, expanding the business into the non-traditional LNG market. Jeff has almost 30 years of global oil and gas expertise, serving in various engineering, project management, operations, business development and executive roles in the United States, South America, and Asia. He joined Bechtel in 2014 and was elected a principal vice president in 2015. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University and was elected to the Civil Engineering Academy at Texas Tech in 2010.

Mr. Manuel Junco joined Jacobs in June 2012 as the Vice President, Houston Operations before moving on to manage the Southern Region of Americas; most recently served as SVP & GM of Refining in the Americas. In his current role as Senior VP of Transformation, Strategy & Innovation, Manuel is responsible for implementing Project Certainty.  Project Certainty represents a significant investment in transforming the organization into an EPC focus utilizing the latest tools & software in the industry to reduce costs, and deliver predictable project results. He graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1975 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Prior to joining Jacobs, Manuel served as Senior VP of Downstream at Fluor, Principal VP at Bechtel and Senior VP for the US and Latin America at Worley Parsons.

Mr. Amish Sabharwal was appointed to AVEVA’s Executive Team with responsibility for the Americas in December 2016. Amish has been with the company for the past 7 years primarily responsible for growing our Owner Operator Business in North America. He has over 23 years of North American and International Processing Industry experience in the areas of Oil and Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals. Over the past 16 years, Amish has become a trusted advisor and business strategist to the complex processing industry in North America from an Owner, EPC and Supplier perspective. Prior to AVEVA, Amish was the Director of Sales for Honeywell Automation in Canada, Canadian Sales manager for Aspen Technologies, and an Operations Engineer with Japan Energy Corporation in Tokyo. Amish is a professional engineer and holds a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary.

As Vice President of Corporate Construction Operations for Wood Group, Jim Rammell provides comprehensive functional oversight of all construction management operations. Jim joined Wood Group in 2008 with more than 20 years of experience in all phases of the project life cycle. His expertise in project management, scheduling, design coordination, and procurement enables him to reliably complete difficult projects, on schedule and on tight budgets. He is also in charge of recommending department tools, systems, and procedures to improve project execution efficiency, as well as employee development, staffing, and project support. Jim earned a B.S. in building construction from Virginia Tech in 1984, and an M.S. in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1995. He is a registered professional engineer in Virginia and North Carolina, a general contractor, has co-chaired CII research teams, and has taught at the University of Houston.

Mr. Jim Claunch is currently Vice President of Operational Excellence for Development and Production USA/Mexico in Statoil.  He joined Statoil in 2009 as Vice President of Global Business Services in the Houston office and subsequently held VP of HR positions in Norway and in Houston. He has over 25 years of experience in the energy sector including 14 years of international experience serving in various financial and shared services roles. Prior to joining Statoil, Jim’s roles included: Managing Director of Growth Capital Partner’s Energy Group in the Merchant Bank’s Houston office; CFO and CIO of Power Well Services (PWS), a global oilfield services  company controlled by First Reserve.  PWS was put together via six acquisitions and later sold to Expro International Group PLC; Sr. Vice President of Shared Services and IT at Intercontinental Hotels Group; Vice President of Global Shared Services for Halliburton Energy Group, where he had global responsibility for accounting, communications, finance, HR, procurement, quality and IT functions;  Mr. Claunch is a CPA and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business administration from Hardin-Simmons University.

Ms. Chaitali Dave has over 19 years of experience in the Oil & Gas Industry with a passion for capital projects.  She has worked the last 15 years working within the EPC contracting world and joined Phillips 66 in 2012.  Chaitali started at Phillips 66 with responsibility for managing the relationship with Engineering, Procurement & Construction contractors and supporting capital projects and recently moved into a role to manage their strategic sourcing group.  In her new role she oversees development of sourcing strategies which continually improve and leverage the company’s buying power.  Chaitali received her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida and has held previous board position with the Houston Women’s Energy Network.  She currently lives in Houston and has a passion for mentoring young girls and promoting STEM careers through several volunteer activities in the local community.

Mr. Dick Westney founded Westney Consulting in 1978, after managing worldwide projects for Exxon. The firm’s mission then, as now, was to enable people and organizations to improve the outcomes of their engineering & construction projects. In 2015, Kennedy Consulting Research Advisory service, the leading authority on global consulting firms, awarded Westney Consulting Group its coveted Kennedy Vanguard rating, one of only 4 firms in the capital projects space to be so recognized. Dick’s personal consulting focus is on major project strategies, project assurance, risk management, and organizational effectiveness. He is the author or co-author of five books and many articles on project and risk management; and has served as visiting faculty for graduate and executive programs including Texas A&M, Rice, and Stanford Universities, the University of Texas, the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, and Moscow School of Management. A licensed professional engineer (PE) and certified project management professional (PMP), Dick was recently inducted into the National Academy of Construction (NAC). He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the City University of New York, and MS in Management Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an executive MBA from Harvard Business School.