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Meet the 2020 Houston Chapter Board of Directors


Richard Keeler 

Richard is currently a Technical Sales Manager for Kisuma Americas, Inc., a subsidiary of Kyowa Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. based in Kagawa, Japan.  He oversees industrial additive sales to the Polyolefins Industry in The Americas region.  Richard is new to the Thermoplastic Industry, but he has over 20 years of technical and sales experience in the CASE market (Coatings, caulks, Adhesives, composites, thermoset resins, inks, Sealants and Elastomers).  He began working with manufacturing companies in Research & Development, then progressing to Technical Service positions.  While working in the lab environment he managed group projects via a sound statistical approach using various Six Sigma tools, including Design of Experiments (DOE).  Then he transitioned to sales and business management roles working for manufacturers as well as chemical distribution companies.  He has worked for companies like Alpha Owens Corning Resins, Hexion Specialty Chemicals and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.

Richard is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps with two military specialties, Artillery and Amphibious Landing Support.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Master of Business Administration degree from Union University.  He also holds certificates in Patent Law and Six Sigma.  He holds professional licenses from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) and the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC).

Vice President

Stephen Naehr 

Stephen is a senior risk manager, quantitative analyst, and hedge fund manager with broad experience in energy trading and finance.  He is a founding partner of Vine Advisors, a financial advisory firm that specializes in commodity finance, risk management, and analytics.  Stephen previously co-founded Timoneer Energy, a natural gas trading fund that managed $100 million in assets.  Prior roles include Director of Risk and Analytics at Velite Capital Management, a $2B commodity fund, and VP of Quantitative Research at Citigroup Global Commodities.  In a former life, Stephen was a research scientist at Rice University, where he developed data assimilation models to understand plasma dynamics under the influence of the Earth’s magnetic field.  Stephen holds a PhD and MS in Physics from Rice University, and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Duke University.

Program Director

Swati Singh 

Swati is an analyst at ADI Analytics leading its North American downstream market advisory team. She focuses on downstream industry performance and profitability assessment and forecast. She tracks downstream capital spending, investment outlook, and industry projects by key players. Prior to ADI, she has interned with US African Bilateral Chamber of Commerce providing research on oil and gas investment opportunities in Gabon, Africa. Further, she has worked in Nepal as a research analyst for KU Syngas project, as a hydro-mechanical consultant for Puwa-Khola Hydropower project and as a mechanical engineer for Nepal Electricity Authority, providing extensive research and support services. Swati holds two master’s degrees from C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston and Norwegian University of Science and Technology in – MS Global Energy Management, and MS Planning and Operation of Energy Systems. Further, she holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

Program Director

Ben Gonzalez 

Ben is an energy industry professional with over 12 years of experience in industry analytics and economics. Most of his career has been centered on the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries, specifically the global distillate, fuel oil, petroleum coke, olefins, and polyolefins markets. Ben currently works at Phillips 66 as a market analysis specialist in the Procurement group. In his current role, Ben produces quarterly forecasts for executives and managers focused on all categories from chemicals and catalysts, to materials and equipment to labor and maintenance services. He is also in charge of the annual 5-year outlook for capital budgeting. Previously, Ben was an energy economist under the chief economist office focused on the refining and petrochemicals markets. Prior to joining Phillips 66, Ben worked as a petrochemicals analyst for S&P Global Platts, and as a senior analyst for Jacobs Consultancy. At Jacobs Consultancy, Ben covered the global petroleum coke and calcined petcoke markets. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Master’s in Education Management, and a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on International Business.

Corporate Relations Director and President Emeritus

Adam Burkin 

Adam is an experienced commercial strategy and analytics professional spanning multiple verticals including public finance, commodity and energy trading, data products, aviation, and retail electric power. He predominately focuses on market pricing strategy, data and software product development, analytics reporting, and commercial data visualizations. He has previously served educational non-profit organizations both as a director and a consultant. He holds a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in Economics, Government, and Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

Marketing Director

Jessie Waldheim 

Jessie Waldheim is an ICIS senior markets editor who has covered several US chemical markets, including phenol/acetone, olefins, benzene and styrene. Jessie has more than 15 years of experience in journalism and has been covering chemical markets and chemical news for ICIS since February 2014.

Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences

Jeanne Manalo LinkedIn

Jeanne M. Manalo successfully defended her dissertation to earn her Doctor of Philosophy degree in neuroscience from MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School. She founded the Association of Science Communication during her 4 years in graduate school. Prior to her Ph.D. journey, she studied at the University of St. Thomas – Houston, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and worked full-time as a lab manager at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also the current Education and Events Vice President of the Consulting Club at the Texas Medical Center, as well as an actively helping educate graduate fellows in Enventure. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling, illustrating, trying restaurants, and training for Muay Thai.

Industry Committee Members

Harshit Mahajan 

Harshit is a Research Analyst for Wood Mackenzie in Houston, TX. His research spans crude oil markets, midstream analysis, refinery operations/performance and refined products, with a specialization in the Americas region. He works on mostly cross-commodity projects, like EV's to analyse the dependencies among oil, gas and power. From his research, he delivers analysis for Wood Mackenzie’s publications on crude and refined product supply – demand balances, stocks forecasting, valuations and asset benchmarking for Americas.

Prior to Wood Mackenzie, Harshit worked with professor Robert Farrauto of Columbia University, developing three-way catalysts for novel applications in automobile and environmental industries.

Harshit holds a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering (minor in Financial Statistics) from Columbia University in the City of New York and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Panjab University, India.

Zachary Moore 

Zachary joined ICIS in 2016 and currently works as deputy managing editor for the Americas region. He covers North American markets for major commodity polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene as well as intermediate chemicals used in the production of polyurethane foams.

Prior to joining ICIS, Zachary covered commodity polymer markets in Asia and Turkey for ChemOrbis. He has a total of 12 years’ experience in the petrochemical and plastic markets as a markets reporter, researcher and analyst.

Zachary holds a BBA in economics from Georgia State University and an MA from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

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