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FRI Staff

At FRI we take pride in our staff.  A team environment is fostered through good communication and a collaborative approach to the planning and execution of projects. All staff members are encouraged to bring new ideas to the table and to look for ways to improve existing methods and practices.  FRI uses continuing education and training to constantly push staff members to expand their knowledge. Please feel free to contact any member of our staff.  We want you to get the most out of your FRI membership.

Technical Staff

Dr. Sergio Kapusta - President

(sergio.kapusta@fri.org)

Dr. Sergio Kapusta joined FRI in 2020. Sergio holds a BS degree from the University of Buenos Aires, and PhD and MBA degrees from Rice University. Before joining FRI he was the Executive Director of the Rice University Energy and Environment Initiative, and Professor at the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership. Sergio worked for more than 30 years in the oil industry with Shell Oil Company, retiring in 2015 as Chief Scientist and General Manager of Physics R&D. During his long career with Shell he worked in all segments of the oil industry, and in many international assignments. He has more than 70 publications in topics of oil production, refining, transportation and management. When not at work, Sergio enjoys long distance running, travel and music. He and wife Marta live in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Ken McCarley, Ph.D., P.E - Technical Director

 (ken.mccarley@fri.org)

Dr McCarley is a registered Professional Engineer in Oklahoma and holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, as well as a PhD in chemical engineering from Colorado School of Mines.  Ken came to FRI following global R&D experience at ConocoPhillips and Alstom Power, mainly in petroleum refining, carbon capture and gas treating.  Ken has led the development of process models, laboratory investigations and operation of large pilots using several chemical separation technologies; including distillation, extractive distillation, absorption, adsorption and membranes.  Ken joined FRI in 2014 and is part of the leadership team.  He is responsible for the planning and execution of the research activities of FRI.  He also works with Technical Committee to identify new areas of research.

Dr. Tony Cai, Ph.D.- Chief Scientist

(cai@fri.org)

Dr. Cai holds BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Tianjin University and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University (OSU).   He has over 35 years of experience in the areas of mass transfer and separations, processes equipment designs, fluid dynamic and structural analysis.  Tony joined FRI in 1996, and is a member of the leadership team. He is responsible for research & experimental planning and execution, model & computer program development, membership development and support, and joint researches with FRI collaborators.  He serves as a guest member of European Federation of Chemical Engineering Working Party on Fluid Separations, is a member of AIChE Admissions Committee.  He is on the editorial boards of several professional journals including Chemical Engineering Research and Design.  He is an adjunct professor at OSU and Tianjin University, a Fellow of AIChE, and recipient of the 2020 Gerhold Award from AIChE.

Dr. Sayeed Mohammad, Ph.D. - Research Engineer

(sayeed.mohammad@fri.org)

Dr. Sayeed Mohammad joined FRI as a Research Engineer in 2020.  He comes to FRI from Oklahoma State University where he worked as a Research Assistant Professor. Dr Mohammad has a strong background in thermodynamic measurement and his research at OSU has focused on high-pressure gas adsorption equilibria, equations-of-state model development, and thermophysical properties prediction. He graduated from OSU with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2009 and have conducted research work with Dr. Khaled Gasem and Dr. Robert Robinson. For the past four years, he has been a part of the OSU team collaborating with FRI on measurements of distillation efficiencies for highly viscous systems.

Mr. Erluick L. Gorrochotegui - Associate Research Engineer

(erluick@fri.org)

Erluick L. Gorrochotegui joined FRI as an Associate Research Engineer in 2020. Erluick comes with nine years of experience as an Applications and Design Engineer with Sulzer Chemtech.  His career path at Sulzer focused on the design and troubleshooting for chemicals and natural gas projects. Erluick also spent six years as a refinery process engineer for PDVSA. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Los Andes University (ULA), Merida, Venezuela, and a M.S. from IFP School, Rueil-Malmaison, France. Erluick has a strong background in the design and simulation of natural gas applications for both onshore and offshore facilities (stabilization, NGL separation, gas dehydration, gas sweetening, LNG, etc.) and he is experienced in plant turnarounds, process equipment inspections, and revamps. Outside of work, Erluick enjoys spending time with his wife Patricia and his son Leo, cooking dinners with friends and family and doing woodwork projects.

Mr. Jake Humphries- Operations Engineer

(jake.humphries@fri.org)

Mr. Jake Humphries joined FRI as the operations engineer in 2021.He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining FRI, Jake worked as a Design and Applications Engineer with Sulzer Chemtech. There he supported projects for the new construction, revamp, and troubleshooting of distillation facilities of all sizes across North and South America with a primary focus on natural gas and crude oil refining facilities. His responsibilities at FRI include being the central point of contact for unit operations, data reduction and Process Safety Management (PSM), as well as assisting in the planning and execution of research projects.

Mr. Dave Williams- Project & HSE Coordinator

(williams@fri.org)

Mr. Williams joined the FRI staff in 1999 as a Research Technician.  While in that role, he performed the majority of FRI’s instrumentation work.  In 2008, he was appointed to the position of Technician III.  In September of 2009, he was reassigned to the newly created Project & HSE Coordinator position.  His main functions include capital project management and safety programming.

 

Unit Staff

Chad Kindred - Working Foreman

(ckindred@fri.org)

Mr. Chad Kindred joined FRI in 2004. As the Working Foreman, he supervises the daily activities of the research technicians along with the maintenance, and operation of the distillation unit and  assists in the planning and set-up of the experimental projects. Mr. Kindred was previously the senior Technician leading the maintenance and operation of the experimental unit. In addition, he has contributed to the training and development of several of the technicians. When not at work, Chad is a certified EMT and a first responder with the Coyle Volunteer Fire Department.

Fred Smith- Special Assignments

(smith@fri.org)

Mr. Fred Smith joined the FRI staff in 1993.  Fred started working with FRI as a contractor from Oklahoma State University in 1991 and became an FRI Technician in 1993.  Fred has been a friend and mentor to many employees, including six Presidents and four Technical Directors, during his tenure with FRI. Mr. Smith semi retired from his duties as Working foreman to focus on special assignments to streamline equipment maintenance and improve our worksite.

Allen Bowers - Technician III

(allenb@fri.org)

Mr. Allen Bowers joined FRI in 2009.  He is one of the five core unit operators.  He has completed the FRI installation training program and, in just a few short years, has become the best installer in FRI's recent history.  Mr. Bower’s mechanical aptitude allows him to add valuable input in troubleshooting issues that arise at the unit.

Terry Thurber - Technician II

(safety@fri.org)

Mr. Terry Thurber joined FRI in 2004.  He is one of the five core unit operators and is the Safety Focal Point at the unit.  He sits on the operator training advisory board at Northern Oklahoma College.  His professional, outgoing personality makes him an ideal candidate to lead unit tours and safety programs. 

Joe Rains- Technician II

(Rains@fri.org)

Mr. Joe Rains joined FRI in 2009.  He is one of the five core unit operators.  He has completed the FRI instrumentation training program and recently attended radiation safety training.  He is the Radiation Safety Officer at the unit and handles all the radiation training and paperwork.  Mr. Rains’s positive attitude and out-going personality make him FRI’s resident Mr. Sunshine. 

Kenneth Grimes- Technician II

(KGrimes@fri.org)

Mr. Kenny Grimes joined FRI in 2010.  Mr. Grimes is primarily responsible for sampling during tests and is learning board operations.  He also assists with the water treatment duties at the unit.  Mr. Grimes is dependable and willing to help out wherever needed.

Chris McWilliams - Technician I

(chris.mcwilliams@fri.org)

Mr. Chris McWilliams joined FRI in 2015.  He brings with him 3 years of experience working on oil rigs.  Chris also is an experienced mechanic and has earned certificates for Airframe and Powerplant maintenance from the Spartan School of Aeronautics.  His knowledge of pump maintenance, safe work practices and hazard indentification makes him a valuable addition to the FRI team.  In his spare time he enjoys fishing, hunting and spending time with his family.

Joshua Shaw - Technician I

(j.shaw@fri.org)

Mr, Joshua Shaw joined FRI on November 25, 2019.  Joshua came to FRI with over 16 years of experience in drilling services.  He has a strong background in maintenance, instrument calibration and pipe fitting.   Joshua also has pride in his experience with safe work practices and providing a safe work environment for his team. 

Administrative Staff

Jeanifer Randall- Corporate Administration Director

(randall@fri.org)

Mrs. Jeanifer Randall joined FRI in 2000.  She is the Corporate Secretary and leads the administrative functions for FRI.  This includes accounting, human resources, employee benefits, management of the financial reserves, corporate governance, and all administrative support.  Mrs. Randall is a member of the Leadership Team and always brings well balanced views to their discussions.  Her positive relationships with all of the staff make her invaluable in ensuring that all view points on issues are understood.

Joella Redden-Financial and Administrative Associate

(joella@fri.org)

Mrs. Joella Redden joined FRI in 2008. She holds a BA in English with a minor in Accounting. She is working towards completing the required number of accounting courses in order to take the Certified Public Accountant exam. She handles accounts payable/receivable, payroll preparation, annual audit review, and other accounting functions.  Mrs. Redden assists with general DRP installation and activation questions.  Her eagerness to take on new duties and learn new things is important as the administration group’s duties evolve.

Leah Brown - Meeting Planner

(brown@fri.org)

Mrs. Leah Brown joined FRI in 2004.  Mrs. Brown handles all the aspects of planning the FRI meetings and is the on-site coordinator at the meetings.  She assists with the accounting functions and is an Officer of the Corporation, Assistant Secretary.  She is responsible for the content of the meeting section of the FRI website.  Mrs. Brown brings a wealth of experience to the administration group.  Her input and willingness to assist others is a valuable component of the administration group.

Kinnera Vennavelli - Technical Associate

(kinnera@fri.org)

Mrs. Kinnera Vennavelli joined FRI in 2016. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering from JNTU, India. She handles the Technical Meeting preparations, website management, DRP installation and activation, reports and evaluating the updates and improvements to the FRI Database. Mrs. Vennavelli is also the safety coordinator from the administration group. Her unique skill set is a valuable addition to the admin team.