About our Experts – Augustus’ “Board of Consulting Engineers”

updated by Jess Waldron 6/1/2016

Learn more about The Augustus Group’s “Board of Consulting Engineers” a team of experts with hundreds of years of collective experience in heavy and light industry engineering and consulting.  Click here to see our experience matrix:

Edwin A. Merrick  |  Gene Rak  |  Peter Hunt  |  Richard Jones  |  David Sanders​​​​ ​|  Scott Miller  |  Leslie Loushin |  Robert Blackstone |  Bob Castle |  Gene Silverman | Gopal Murti |  Frank Simpton | Jim Towers |  Jesse Meisterling |  Justin O’Neal |  Jyoti Das |  Marvin Mehler |  Scott Merrick |  Paul Rose ​​​Jyoti Das ​​​|  Rajen Barua​​​ 

Edwin A. Merrick,  Senior Consultant, The Augustus Group, LLC; Professional Engineer

Over 40 years experience in materials technology, mechanical integrity, and risk analysis. managed and conducted hundreds of failure analysis/incident investigations, fitness for service projects and risk/safety assessments. Experienced in hazard identification and probability/consequence analysis, particularly as it relates to crisis and asset integrity management for the petroleum and chemical industries (both upstream and downstream) and the power industry.  Wrote CMA’s MI Manual used to train over 300 CMA member companies in 1993.  Most interesting project has got to have been management of the Oman to India Gas Pipeline Project Risk Analysis for Aptech Engineering in 1996.  This pipeline was being laid two miles deep subsea, fascinating, four times deeper than anyone had gone at the time.  Following that managed the first full RBI implementation recorded at a Refinery in the US; BHP in Hawaii, developed Aptech Engineering’s RBI Software following that and has been responsible for implementation of MI/RBI projects on every continent in the world, using virtually every RBI software package available.

Specialties: RBI Technology Development and Program Implementation, Mechanical Integrity Program Consulting and Optimization, Equipment Experience in Nuclear Power Plants, Chemical Plants Refineries, and Pipelines.

Resume’ for Friends of Augustus

Gene Rak,  Senior Engineer, Materials and Corrosion Consulting

Experience includes supervision and management of plant inspection and metallurgy departments; including all aspects of refinery and chemical plant non-destructive testing, materials technology, mechanical integrity, failure analysis, corrosion engineering, incident investigation, and risk based inspection. Typical refinery units and plants responsible for work on: Catalytic cracking, hydro-crackers, powerformers, reformers, hydrotreating, Amine/DEA and MDEA treating, light ends, sulfur, alkylation (both sulfuric and HF), coker, atmospheric and vacuum units.  Also similar experience in chemical plants with typical units such as; chlorine, caustic, soda ash, vinyl chloride, sulfuric acid, TDI and glycol.  Has worked with the current team as head of the metallurgical and corrosion analysis work on every RBI project we have been engaged in.  There is no one better for solving practical corrosion issues.

Specialties: Metallurgy, Corrosion, and Inspection Consulting, Risk Assessment and Litigation services for Petrochemical and Refining.

GENE HAS RETIRED; but we have hope that the right project might coax him out again into the work place.

Peter Hunt, Senior Engineer, Consultant on Mechanical Integrity, Reliability, QA/QC

More than 40 years of experience in downstream oil and gas. Mechanical Engineer registered in the Province of Alberta.  Peter is a high quality manager skilled in implementing management systems and procedures particularly in the Risk Based Inspection and Mechanical Integrity areas.  Peter has implemented projects and programs with the majors for many years; sometimes in difficult situations; understands and can deal with the nuances of different cultures; having worked in South Africa, Canada, the Southern and Northern States in the US.  Peter is a no-nonsense guy and is intent on doing the right thing; having worked both capital projects and operating facilities.

Specialties:​ Project Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Technical Director, Engineering Manager, Quality Director (Major Projects) and Corporate Reliability Specialist. Has worked for Suncor, Sunoco, Shell and Petronas. Given a number of papers on Asset Integrity in Canada, Mexico and most recently Pakistan.

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Richard Jones, Senior Engineer, Mechanical Integrity/Materials and Corrosion Consultant

Over 45 years of experience in corrosion/materials engineering and research including 14 years in management positions. Experience includes laboratory and in-plant corrosion testing, failure analyses, materials selection, and equipment inspection and testing methods. Has worked for more than 20 years with personnel at all levels in chemical plants, and corporate OH&S, legal and insurance departments.  Attained Consultant’s Status at U.S. Steel’s Laboratory and was responsible for Aristech Chemical’s Process Safety Management and Engineering Programs.  Dick was a principal author in the CMA’s Mechanical Integrity Supplement to the Maintenance Excellence guide.  Dick is in the first instance a corrosion engineer that you can rely on; with no hesitance he will dig into any corrosion related problem and develop a solution that you can count on being based on first principals.

Specialties: Extensive knowledge of ASME and National Board Codes, API, ANSI B31.3, and NFPA standards as well as OSHA and EPA Rules on process safety.

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David Sanders, Senior Engineer, Inspection, NDE, and Corrosion Consulting

Experience includes supervision and project management overe implementation of plant inspection programs in the petroleum and refining industry.  Many of the projects focused on implementation of and improvements for the essential elements of conventional and risk based Mechanical Integrity/Inspection Programs. His role required attention to detail and emphasis on documentation, procedures, and quality control of the end product.  Strong background in regulatory requirements and ASME/API codes and standards.  During the last four years participated in technical implementation and provided on-site management for implementation of RBI/RBMI (risk based inspection/risk based mechanical integrity) programs.  Excellent personnel management skills with a keen eye for project budgeting, schedule and deliverable requirements; fluent in numerous computer-based programs.

Specialties:  Project Management, Inspection, Corrosion, and  Conventional/Risk Based Inspection services for Petrochemical and Refining Facilities.

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Scott Miller, Senior Engineer, NonDestructive Examination Consultant    

35 years of experience in Petrochemical operations including Nondestructive testing, welding, RBI applications, offshore construction and pipelines.  Scott worked with Aptech Engineering during his formative years on a multitude of fitness for service projects requiring accurate and conscientious application and use of non-destructive testing principals.  Scott has supported such efforts in the nuclear power, fossil power, and refining and chemical industries.  He subsequently managed Saudi Aramco’s NDE program for a number of years.   Holds four US and two European Patents issued.  We are proud to have Scott as a cornerstone of expertise to rely on with regard to NDE technology and its application and use in the modern industrial projects that Augustus is currently engaged in.

Spec​ialties: Advanced NDT including TOFD, phased array, guided wave UT, AE, microwave and MEIS. Applications of NDT to pipelines, refineries, storage facilities, power plants and subsea. Litigation experience as expert witness.

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Leslie Loushin, Senior Engineer, Materials Technology Consultant

Over 40 years of experience with a vast variety of materials technology solutions to industry, specializing in fitness for service.  Les sits on the right API committees to support his craft.  Les has been a pioneer in development of the practical application of stress analysis, fracture mechanics analysis, and failure analysis to resolution of pervasive problems facing the customers he is responsible for.  There is not a materials related problem that Les will not tackle for his customers, you can rely on the solutions less provides for you whether it is on a stainless steel stress corrosion cracking issue for under insulation cracking or recovery from a fire and root cause investigation.  Les provides a cornerstone for the training and workshops that Augustus provides.

Specialties:​ Materials Technology, Mechanical Integrity, Safe-Life Design Concepts, Failure Analysis, Corrosion Engineering, Asset Management, Reliability-Centered Maintenance, Marine Tanker Studies, Catastrophic Failure Investigations, Forensic Engineering, Risk-Based Inspection Programs, and Due-Diligence Studies.

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Robert Black​stone, Principal Engineer, Mechanical Engineering

Bob has over 40 years working actively within industry.  He has provided solid common sense based solutions to fitness for service problems since the inception of the technology.  Bob has led development of solutions to problems such as – lack of fusion discovered in over 7000 safety related welds in a nuclear power plant to the satisfaction of the nuclear regulatory council; to development of fracture mechanics solutions to problems in 17-4ph cast swing arms and most recently the development of fracture mechanics solutions for definition of the requirements for on-line inspections in-lieu of internal entry for purposes of inspection.

Specialties: Stress analysis on ships, offshore structures, pressure vessels, oil well equipment and aircraft using MSC/NASTRAN and ANSYS as well as hand calculations.  Fracture and fatigue analyses of ships, offshore structures, pressure vessels, oil well equipment and aircraft using both fracture mechanics and s/n curve based methods. Contact stress analysis of seals and bolted joints.

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Bob CastleSenior Consultant, Pipeline Spill Expert 

Over 40 years experience in the practical application of science and engineering to the resolution of environmental issues for government and industry. He has been a principal participant and/or manager of multidisciplinary projects.  Bob was signifcantly involved in the Prudoe Bay clean up effort.

Specialties:​ ​Environmental baseline, sensitivity, and impact analysis, risk assessments, permitting, hazardous material assessment and remediation, and emergency planning and response.

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Eugene B Silverman, Senior Consultant, Acoustics Expert

An industrial technologist with over 35 years of experience in the design and fabrication of smart sensors and robotic systems for aboveground storage tank inspections and facility piping and pipeline assessments.   Gene cut his teeth working for the U.S. Navy and was responsible for hightly classified acoustic monitoring systems in the fleet’s submarine service.  Most recently Gene is the inventor and designer of the InTank Robotic technology along with the state of the art eagle system for remote monitoring of corrosion in pipeline and other high consequence items.  The eagle system features real time app monitoring from your IPhone if desired of solar powered corrosion rates; vibration; humidity; and location parameters if desired.

Specialties:​ Equipment concept design, product development, manufacturing and deployment. Pioneered the application of a range of mechanical integrity assessment techniques for storage tanks, facility piping and pipeline management programs globally.

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Gopal Murti, Senior Consultant, The Augustus Group, LLC; Professional Engineer 

Over 44 years of international experience in oil & gas, refinery and petro-chemical and power industry. Critical review of mechanical design and trouble-shooting, materials engineering, mechanical integrity, and failure analysis. Managed and conducted numerous failure analysis and incident investigations. Well experienced in code interpretations and review of existing facilities to ensure compliance with the latest changes to codes and statutory requirements. Critical review of new plant designs and revamping projects to ensure compatibility with the existing designs to ensure minimal impact on equipment and spare parts inventory and operator training. Have more than 30 revisions to industry codes and standards with a view to rationalize the material selection, remove inferior materials and induce additional safety requirements. Regular contributor to ASME, API, ASTM, NACE and BSI.

Specialties: Expert in interpretation of industry Code and Standards to ensure the plants and facilities meet the real and intended statutory and code requirements with minimal expenditure. Have saved millions of $$$ by critical review of plant designs, third-party Insurance recommendations and removal of superfluous recommendations. Have spent 30 years in plant operational technical support and 14 years in EPC, a unique combination of looking into plant integrity issues from both sides of the table.

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Frank Simpton, Senior Engineer, Inspection Program Management and Asset Integrity Expert

Frank is a highly experienced professional with over 37 years in plant operations, plant inspections, mechanical integrity, project quality assurance, inspection planning, and project execution of field erection/construction work. He has various knowledge in materials engineering principles, fabrication techniques, testing procedures and quality improvement programs.  In addition, has assisted as a Compliance Manager in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada with skills of reviewing and auditing performance of work being performed for compliance to procedures and codes as well as quality. In addition, trained and certified technicians in accordance to company procedures in PMI, Hardness Testing, and Ferrite Testing.  Frank’s one of his most notable work was reorganization of the inspection unit at Texas City Refinery was necessary after a major explosion. Hired to reorganize unit; reviewed unit’ programs and workforce; established new programs that complied to codes and standards; implemented on-stream inspection program; identified relief valves and updated program; hired contract draftsmen to draw isometric drawings of piping systems; hired contact inspectors to survey all piping and equipment; identified problem areas. He accomplished the project by removing numerous citations from OSHA; a reliable inspection program confirming to industry’s standards was established.  Frank also possesses organizational and analytical skills; good people skills; highly motivated; thorough and precise in attention to details; able to complete tough and complex assignments on time and within budget.

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Jessee Meisterling, Senior Engineer, Expert in Flange and Bolting Integrity also Ultrasonic Extensometer & Bolt Loading

 

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Justin O’Neal, Chemical Engineer

Justin is the youngest of our engineers. Justin graduated from Texas A&M in 2003 with a B.S. in chemical engineering.  He then pursued his dreams and finished with his masters in Mechanical Engineering.  Justin has engineering experience doing Process, Applications, Controls, Facilities, and Materials.  After graduating from college he assembled and led a team of eight people for the development of prototype parts for successfully channeling the electrical flow of lighting-induced current through the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  Experienced in many software applications he implemented Hysys simulation software to design process to separate crude oil into its components.  He also revised and updated instrument index in Smart Plant Instrumentation (In-Tools).  Justin is currently working in Waller, TX assisting in determining pump specifications to meet technical requirements.   Justin is goal oriented and eager to work on any project given to him.  He is very knowledgeable, but also eager to learn more aspects of engineering to better build his career.

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Jyoti Das, Senior Process Engineer

Over 40 years experience in Process Engineering Design, Process Operations, Project Management, Process Safety Management, Modularization, HAZOP, HAZAN, Safety Audit and Risk Analysis In Upstream Oil and Gas Facilities both Onshore and Offshore, Oil Refineries, Cross country pipelines, Heavy Oil processing SAGD and Oil Sands. Well versed in Process Simulation Software, like Aspen HYSIS, Pipephase, Flarenet, and Fathom. Offering a unique set of knowledge and management skills, having worked in various multicultural environments with an in depth Engineering and operational knowledge of Upstream, Midstream and Downstream Hydrocarbon Facilities. Experience gained through having successfully completed projects through the project life cycle of concept, Feasibility Studies, Conceptual Design, FEED, Detail Design, Pre-commissioning, Start-up and Commissioning.

Managed and conducted several failure analysis/incident investigations, fitness for service projects and risk/safety assessments. Experienced in hazard identification and probability/consequence analysis, particularly as it relates to crisis and asset integrity management for the petroleum and chemical industries (both upstream and downstream).  Jyoti is a professional chemical engineer with licensures to include; APEGA, APEGBC, APEGS, TBPE.

Specialties: Process engineering design, Operations and Safety, Oil refineries, Project Management & Modularization, Conceptual studies, Engineering drawings, and Technical Writer.

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Marvin Mehler, Metallurgical and Corrosion Engineer

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Mark Koss, Mechanical Engineer

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Scott Merrick, Training Management

30+ years in education. Created and made sustainable the first public virtual school in Tennessee in 2010. Has created online learning content in Blackboard, WizIQ, and Adobe Connect,  has presented workshops and training sessions in all three. Having done so, is confident that any platform can be mastered. Offering perspectives informed by a teaching degree earned at Vanderbilt University and honed by his decades in the classroom, most importantly the ones taught online. A Core Leader at the International Society for Technology in Education and the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award in Education, both Bronze and Silver. Over a decade’s experience presenting educational-themed learning sessioins in person at ISTE Conferences and other venues. Adept at Web design, curriculum design, course design, and instruction at all age levels. Connect at http://about.me/scottmerrick.  scottmerrickdotnet--teaching and learning, working and playing–in the 21st century

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Dan Lebsack, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Over 30 years experience in all aspects of oilfield production, midstream and refining conducting inspections, suitability for service and predicting problem areas.  Conducted a number of incident investigations as well as failure analysis studies for using pipeline and pressure vessels codes in multiple jurisdictions globally.  Establish Integrity Management programs for producer companies and develop implementation plans to meet jurisdictional requirements.  PE in the state of Texas and P. Eng in Alberta Canada.  Develop management systems to meet both regulations and company requirements and implement in multiple locations and then audit results and provide feedback to leadership.

Specialities: Management system development for Mechanical Integrity, Safety and PSM programs,  Experience in Refineries, Chemical Plants Refineries, and Pipelines.

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Rajen (Raj) Barua, PE, Senior Consultant

Over forty years of professional engineering experience in a broad spectrum of oil and gas industries in the US and overseas locations: Oil and Gas Facilities, Oil Refineries, LNG Projects, Gas Compressor Stations, Pipelines, Oil Pumping Stations, Offshore Platforms and others. Experience includes working in Operating as well as EPC companies; Conversant with relevant API, ANSI, ASME, ASTM, NFPA, AWS, ISO, NACE, OSHA, EPA, CFR, DOT, PHMSA and other industry standards.

Education Licenses and Training: M.S., Petroleum Engineering, University of Houston, TX; B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Gauhati University, Assam; ASME Life Member and Registered PE.

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