Board of Directors

RPSEA is proud to have a distinguished and diverse Board of Directors, who are each renowned for their expertise, and when combined as our leadership team give RPSEA extraordinary guidance.

Board of Directors Chair

Mr. Paul Doucette, GE Oil & Gas*
Paul Doucette was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2013.

Paul Doucette is a Global Public Policy leader for GE’s O&G business. In this position, Paul is responsible for the development and execution of growth strategies with regard to monitoring, influencing, and responding to government policy and for establishing collaborative research relationships with governments, universities and customers.

Prior to joining GE in 2007, Paul’s career includes roles with Cornell Companies, Inc. as Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development; serving as Vice President of Ward Creative Communications; Director of Public and Government Affairs with Star Enterprise; and with Texaco in roles ranging from Sales to Director of Public and Government Affairs.

Paul served with the 2nd Bomb Wing, 2nd Air Force of the Strategic Air Command. He holds his Masters in Business Administration from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University. He is a graduate of the Advanced Executive Development Program of the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.

Paul is an avid long distance cyclist, logging thousands of miles each year. He enjoys spending time with his wife the 1991 National Teacher of the Year, Rae McKee and their five children and eight grandchildren.


Board of Directors

Dr. Ahmed Abou-Sayed, Advantek International Corporation
Ahmed Abou-Sayed was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Spring 2015.

Advantek International was founded in 1999 by Dr. Ahmed Abou-Sayed. He is a world renowned expert in hydraulic fracturing and its application for the recovery of unconventional resources (e.g., shale gas, tight formations, viscous oil and deepwater reservoir exploitation), as well as for the disposal by injection of associated oil field streams such as produced water, drill cuttings, CO2, and H2S. Dr. Abou-Sayed is the holder of 5 US patents and has authored over 100 technical papers and publications. He received Outstanding Achievement Awards from ARCO and BP in 1986 and 1993, respectively. He received the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) International Production and Operations Award in 2005 and the SPE Distinguished Member award in 2000. He is a past member of the SPE Board of Directors, serving as the Technical Director for Production and Operations from 2009-2012, and was previously a Member of the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) Board of Directors (2005-2011). He has been a Fellow of ARMA since 2009. Additionally, he was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer from 1992-1993 (“Advances in Hydraulic Fracturing Applications”), a United Nations Advisor from 1979-1983 (Technical Assistance Program for Unconventional Energy Recovery), and member of the U.S.-Japan NSF Exchange Protocol from 1982-1984 (Member of the Panel on Geothermal Energy).

Dr. Abou-Sayed holds a Bachelors of Science with Honors in Mechanical Engineering and Design from Cairo University, a Masters of Science in Solid Mechanics and a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Brown University.


Mr. John Allen, INTECSEA WorleyParsons
John Allen was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in 2009. Allen was involved in the original ‘roadmap’ discussions with the Department of Energy on Energy Policy leading to establishing the 999 program. He has been a member of RPSEA’s Strategic Advisory Committee and an Executive Board member. John became President of Allen Energy Consultants after retiring as an Executive with GE Energy Corporate. He is the WorleyParsons Board member for RPSEA.

Allen began his industry career with GEC of England PLC founding GEC Oil and Gas and managing the deepwater Production and underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) business. Acquired by ABB, John was the CEO of ABB Seatec and the VP of Technology and Engineering for Oil and Gas Inc. He also was the Director of the ABB Oil and Gas research center (Zurich/Houston). He became corporate VP for Strategic Business Development and then Manager of Global Accounts. Acquired by GE he moved from GE Oil and Gas Drilling and Production to GE Energy Corporate. John became President of Allen Energy Consultants after retiring as an Executive with GE Energy.

Allen is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Society of Underwater Technology. He has published over 100 papers and holds multiple patents. He is on the board of several organizations and is involved in and chairing several committees for API-ISO, SPE, DeepStar, OTC, and Sea Turtle Rescue.

Allen holds an Honors degree in Physics from Surrey University and an Associate degree in Oceanography from the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences. He also has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from London University and an Executive MBA from Bath University.
Dr. Richard Bajura, West Virginia University*
Richard Bajura has served as a RPSEA Board member for several years.

Bajura has served as the Director of the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy since 1994. He oversees programs of the NRCCE that average $10 million annually in awards in coal utilization, oil and gas extraction, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, and environmental impacts of coal and petroleum extraction and use and in drinking water and waste water services to small and rural communities. He established or led seven major interdisciplinary - inter-institutional research programs and multiple WVU campus-wide interdisciplinary programs addressing a wide range of energy applications from resource extraction to alternative fuels. His work in the area of coal utilization includes a focus on coal-to-liquids/coal-to-chemicals technology and geological storage of carbon dioxide. He established a research consortium for evaluating oil and natural gas resources in the Appalachian Region in cooperation with state geological surveys.

Bajura has served for 31 years at West Virginia University in various roles facilitating, leading, and managing energy and environment programs in research and technical outreach.

Bajura received his BS (1962) and Masters (1964) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and his PhD in Fluids Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1967.

He is a member of the National Coal Council, and the Coal Utilization Research Council, and a coordination team member for the US-China Clean Energy Research Center Advanced Coal Technology Consortium. He is a past vice-president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Basic Engineering Technical Group and previously served as Associate Provost for Research and the Research Integrity Officer for West Virginia University.

Mr. Herve Coutrix, Total E&P Research & Technology USA 
Herve Coutrix was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2013.

Coutrix is the President and CEO of Total E&P Research & Technology USA, LLC, in Houston, TX.

He has held this role since August 2013. His responsibilities include: Identifying, constructing and leading R&D activities in the US, in line with Total’s strategy, as well as fostering a spirit of innovation and lateral thinking in addressing E&P operational challenges. 

Prior positions with Total include: Geophysicist in the Seismic Processing Department; Pre-salt 2G Asset manager in Gabon; Offshore Asset manager in Netherlands; Geosciences manager in Argentina; Head of Structural and Sedimentology Interpretation department and Deputy Vice President of the Exploration Technologies Division.

He holds an engineer degree in geology from Ecole Nationnale Supérieure de Géologie (ENSG engineering school) and an engineer degree in geophysics from École Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs (ENSPM graduate engineering school). 


Christine Ehlig-Economides, The University of Houston

Bio coming soon.


Traci Gholson, Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America* 

Traci Gholson was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Spring 2015.

Gholson is the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for RPSEA in Sugar Land, TX since January 2014. She is responsible for all financial and accounting matters, and oversees maintenance of all accounting systems and functions, oversees preparation of monthly and annual financial statements, and coordinates audits and tax returns and all government cost submissions.

Prior to her appointment as RPSEA Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Gholson was the RPSEA subcontracts specialist since July 2012. Prior to coming to RPSEA, Gholson was Vice-President Finance for DMI Defense Systems, Inc. from 2008-2012. She has over 30 years of experience in accounting.

Gholson holds a BBA in Accounting from Southwest Texas State University.


Mr. Jeff Harvard, Harvard Petroleum Company, LLC*
Jeff Harvard was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2010.

Harvard is the President of Harvard Petroleum Company, LLC., in Roswell, NM. He has held this role for 11 years. Harvard is responsible for company growth through optimization of existing properties, identification of new drilling and production property acquisitions for reserve replacement.

Prior positions with Harvard Petroleum Company include: Drilling and Operations Engineer and Vice President.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.


Dr. Richard C. Haut, Houston Advanced Research Center*
Rich Haut was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Summer 2006.

Haut is the Program Director of Energy Production for Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) in The Woodlands, TX. Haut has held this role for 11 years. He is responsible for providing unbiased science to address environmental issues associated with oil and gas development, as the Director for the Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) Program as well as the Coastal Impacts Technology Program.

Before joining HARC, Haut was instrumental in establishing joint ventures and other joint industry programs, including the start-up of Enventure Global Technology where he was the Chief Operating Officer. He has over 35 years of industry technical and management experience.

He holds three degrees in engineering; a bachelor’s degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate from Old Dominion University.


Mr. Edward Johnston, Gas Technology Institute*
Eddie Johnston was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2012.

Johnston is the Vice President of Research Operations at Gas Technology Institute (GTI), in Des Plaines, IL.

He has held this role for one year. Johnston leads a staff of 180 researchers that focuses on applied R&D from downhole to the burner tip.

Prior to his current position, he was their Managing Director in the Infrastructure Sector.

Before joining GTI, Johnston worked for Atmos Energy Corporation for 15 years and Rowan Companies, in the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil industry for eight years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.


Mr. Fred Julander, Julander Energy
Fred Julander was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Spring 2013.

Julander is the President of Julander Energy Company, in Denver, CO.

He has held this role for 24 years. He is responsible for planning, coordinating and controlling the companies search for unconventional reserves.

Before joining Julander Energy Company, Julander worked as an Individual Independent for 19 years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from the University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver and a doctorate of law from the University of Iowa.


Mr. Vello Kuuskraa, Advanced Resources International, Inc.
Vello Kuuskraa was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2009.

Kuuskraa is the President of Advanced Resources International, Inc., in Arlington, VA.

He has held this role for 22 years. Kuuskraa and several other officers formed Advanced Resources International. His firm assists a select group of domestic and international clients, identifying the highly productive “core area” of emerging gas shale, coalbed methane and tight gas sand plays in the U.S. and worldwide. 

Before joining Advanced Resources International, Kuuskraa worked for ICF/Kaiser as the Head of Energy Consulting and Technical Services Business Unit for four years and Lewin Associates, Inc., as the Executive Vice President for 17 years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and economics from North Carolina State University. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and completed the Operations Research/Industrial Management program.


Bill Maddock, University of Houston
Bill Maddock is the Director of the newly formed Subsea Systems Institute. The Institute has been established as a Texas Center of Excellence, through collaboration between the University of Houston, Rice University and NASA.

Maddock has over 30 years of experience in the offshore and marine industry around the world with specialist expertise in Arctic offshore structures, marine terminals, standards development and arctic policy and strategy.

Maddock has been employed by BP America with responsibility for coordinating Arctic engineering and technology capability within the company and the development of arctic policy.

Previously, he was a specialist consultant to ExxonMobil Development Company supporting the company in the development of their arctic and cold regions projects around the world including exploration and development projects in the Beaufort Sea, Eastern Canada and the Russian Federation.

Between 2002 and 2008, Maddock managed the Houston office for Sandwell Engineers Corp. with responsibility for business in the energy, ports and marine and materials handling sectors.

He is currently an active country representative on ISO committee TC67/SC8 for the development of new standards for Arctic Operations.

Maddock is a registered Professional Engineer in BC, Canada. He received his bachelor’s degree from Pembroke College, Oxford and a master’s degree from the University of Calgary, Alberta.


Charles D. McConnell, Rice University
Charles D. McConnell is Executive Director of Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, a university-wide effort to address the diverse issues associated with energy and the environment. The Initiative is designed to partner with industry and external stakeholders to position Rice as an impartial broker that combines technology and policy to create a sustainable energy platform in resource utilization and environmental stewardship.

A 35-year veteran of the energy industry, McConnell joined Rice in August 2013 after serving two years as the Assistant Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. At DOE, McConnell was responsible for the strategic policy leadership, budgets, project management, and research and development of the department's coal, oil and gas, and advanced technologies programs, as well as for the operations and management of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the National Energy Technologies Laboratories.

Prior to joining DOE, McConnell served as Vice President of Carbon Management at Battelle Energy Technology in Columbus, Ohio and also spent 31 years with Praxair, Inc.
McConnell has held a number of board positions including chairmanships of the Gasification Technologies Council and the Clean Carbon Technology Foundation of Texas. McConnell holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University (1977) and an MBA in finance from Cleveland State University (1984).


Mr. Steven McKetta, Southwestern Energy Company*
Steven McKetta was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2013.

McKetta is a Chief Reservoir Engineer working with team members at Southwestern Energy to unlock the gas reserves of the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas and the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. He has held this role for six years.

Prior to his current role with Southwestern Energy, he worked for Mitchell Energy as part of a team exploring the potential of the Barnett Shale in the Ft. Worth Basin in Texas. He worked in this role for twenty years and helped develop this area into one of the largest gas producing areas in the country.

Before joining Southwestern Energy, McKetta served as a Project Advisor for Gas Research Institute for 15 years; a Research Engineer for Columbia Gas for five years and a Field Engineer at Halliburton for two years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Earth and Mineral Sciences from Pennsylvania State University.


Dr. Kishore Mohanty, The University of Texas at Austin
Kishore Mohanty was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Spring 2015. 

Dr. Kishore Mohanty is the H. B. Harkins Professor and the Director of the Center for Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. He received a BS from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and PhD from University of Minnesota, both in Chemical Engineering. He worked at ARCO Oil & Gas Company for 10 years from 1981-91. He was an associate professor and then a professor at University of Houston from 1991-2008 before joining UT in 2009. He has received many awards including the SPE IOR Pioneer Award in 2008 and SPE-AIME Lucas Gold Medal in 2013.
Dr. Fersheed Mody, Apache Exploration and Production Technology
Fersheed Mody was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Spring 2015.

Mody is the Manager of Global Research and Technology at Apache E&P in Houston, TX. He has over thirty years of diversified research, applied technology and project management experience in drilling and production.

Prior to his current position with Apache Corp. he worked for Shell International E&P and Halliburton. He has been very active in the Society of Petroleum Engineering, having served on committees, chaired workshops and been the invited key note Speaker at several international meetings. He was previously the Technical Editor of SPE Drilling and Completions. He has published over 60 technical papers and received 28 patents.

Mody holds a doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He has received a number of leadership awards from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He has served on the board or chaired several professional organizations including; Energy Forum, SPE Technical Committee on Drilling and Completions, Houston Chapter of American Association of Drilling Engineers, and The University of Oklahoma Industry Advisory Board.


Dr. Dag Nummedal, Colorado School of Mines
Dag Nummedal was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2009.

Nummedal is the Director of Colorado Energy Research Institute, at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

Nummedal has held this role for nine years. His responsibilities are fossil and renewable energy research, development, fund raising and coordination.

Prior to joining Colorado School of Mines, Nummedal held the following positions: Director of the Institute for Energy Research for University of Wyoming for four years; Manager of Geoscience Research for Unocal Corporation, in Sugar Land, TX for five years and Professor of Geology and Geophysics for Louisiana State University for 18 years.

He holds a doctorate degree in geology from the University of Illinois.

Dag Nummedal was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2009.

Nummedal is the Director of Colorado Energy Research Institute, at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

Nummedal has held this role for nine years. His responsibilities are fossil and renewable energy research, development, fund raising and coordination.

Prior to joining Colorado School of Mines, Nummedal held the following positions: Director of the Institute for Energy Research for University of Wyoming for four years; Manager of Geoscience Research for Unocal Corporation, in Sugar Land, TX for five years and Professor of Geology and Geophysics for Louisiana State University for 18 years.

He holds a doctorate degree in geology from the University of Illinois.

Mr. John O'Brien, CVX* 

Bio coming soon.



Dr. Van Romero, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology*
Van earned his bachelor’s in physics at New Mexico Tech in 1977 and then earned his master’s from Tech in 1979. He then earned his Ph.D. in 1991 from State University of New York.

In addition to being a professor and a published researcher, Dr. Romero advocates for New Mexico at the national level.

Having worked at Los Alamos, Sandia and New Mexico Tech, he is uniquely positioned as a spokesman and advocate for the development and promotion of technology and research in New Mexico.

Because of his lobbying acumen, he was named by Influence Magazine as one of the top six outsiders “that made an impact” in Washington D.C.

Over the past twenty years he has been responsible for landing over $500 million in sponsored programs for the University, which have benefited 15 departments on campus. His successes range from astronomy ($125 million for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory, which will be the world’s premier optical interferometry telescope) and seismology (he helped Tech land the nation’s only seismology instrument center) to Department of Homeland Security (he is a founding member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium) and the Department of Energy (he was part of the team that helped establish section 999 of the Energy Act of 2005)

In addition to his administrative duties, Van has always found the time to teach class and supervise students. Currently he teaches two freshmen classes: “Origins of the Universe” a social science class and “Introduction to Explosives” an engineering class. Student evaluations of his courses include comments such as “fascinating & at times inspiring” and “charismatic and very enthusiastic”.

He has also served on several boards, including the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, the New Mexico Consortium, New Mexico EPSCoR, the Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management and the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe. Recently, he has also led the State of New Mexico’s independent review of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant accident.



Mr. C. Michael Smith, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission*
Carl Michael Smith was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Spring 2009.

Smith is the Executive Director of Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission in Oklahoma City, OK.

He has held this role for five years. He is responsible for the head of government commission.

Before joining Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Smith worked for the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) for two years.

He holds a doctorate of law degree from the University of Oklahoma. 


Dr. Kalliat Valsaraj, Louisiana State University
Kalliat Valsaraj was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2013.

Valsaraj is the Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development for Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, LA.

Valsaraj has held this role for two years. He has serviced the university for 27 years, in helping improve the research and economic development activities at LSU.

Prior to his current role, he was Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Before joining LSU, Valsaraj worked for Vanderbilt University for three years.

He holds a doctorate degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt University and is a board certified environmental scientist.


Dr. John Warren, Jr., Petrobras America Inc.*
John Warren, Jr. was appointed as a RPSEA Board Member in Fall 2009.

Warren is the Legal Area Manager of Petrobras America Inc., in Houston, TX.

Warren has held this role for five years. His responsibilities are legal and corporate support.

Prior to his current role with Petrobras, he was their Corporate Secretary. Before joining Petrobras, Warren worked as Associate General Counsel for the University of Houston System, for nearly nine years.

He holds a doctorate of law degree from Stetson University College of Law.

Warren has numerous certifications, admissions, and honors.


Mr. Tom Williams, RPSEA*
Tom Williams became President of RPSEA August 1, 2016. He has served as Senior Advisor to the Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) Program, an organization he co-founded in 2005 while working as a Vice President of Technology at Noble Corporation. The EFD program is managed by HARC, Texas A&M and Tom’s company LEID, LLC.   He has been in the energy business for over 35 years as an operator and later in his career in the management and commercialization of new energy technologies. He held senior executive positions at the U.S. Departments of Energy and Department of Interior. He has continued to be involved in a variety of organizations and activities developing and applying technologies for the oil and gas industry and research though fostering cooperation between the government and private sector.   He has authored numerous energy publications, presentations and articles and has served on a number of energy organizations, associations, public and privately held corporations.  Tom is the chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission Energy, Environment, Research and Technology Committee and the IADC Drilling Engineering Association Board.
 *Serves on the Executive Committee


  • Mr. Paul Doucette, Chair
  • Dr. Daniel Lopez, Past Chair
  • Mr. Tom Williams, President
  • Dr. John Warren, Jr., Corporate Secretary (Ex-Officio)
  • Ms. Traci Gholson, Treasurer and CFO