Todd J. Kenner
Chief Executive Officer
Bringing over 30 years of experience in the engineering and consulting industry to his role as CEO of RESPEC, Todd Kenner is anything but an ordinary corporate leader. He has propelled RESPEC to unprecedented levels, leading the way in market diversification, growth, and overall leadership transition, and doubling revenues and profits. His influence doesn’t end with the financials though; Todd’s visionary leadership allows RESPEC’s growth to continue with equal parts evolvement and sustainability through building client relationships, investing in employees’ professional growth, and advancing technical expertise to solve complex problems. Conscious of his responsibility within the local community, Todd also dedicates his time to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology University Advisory Board, Rapid City Economic Development Foundation, and the Community Health Center of the Black Hills Board.
Philip A. Welling
Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
Formerly a Vice President of Corporate Accounting and Finance in the healthcare consulting industry, Phil Welling is well-versed in building infrastructure to support rapid business expansion, which greatly serves RESPEC’s recent surge in growth. In addition to his valuable background in the Deltek financial platform, Phil has worked extensively in the professional services consulting and government contracting industries.
Jason D. Miller
Chief Information Officer
Jason Miller has more than 20 years of IT experience. During his brief tenure with Black Hills Federal Credit Union (BHFCU), Jason served as the IT Operations Manager. The credit union has more than 14 branch locations and serves most of South Dakota for half a million members. Before working with BHFCU, Jason partnered with Regional Health for over 20 years. The last role he served in for the 5,500-employee health system was as Director of Technology Services. He led a team focused on delivering IT infrastructure and technology solutions to all areas of the organization. In all of his capacities serving people through technology throughout his career, Jason has focused on bringing stakeholders together to build relationships and collaborate on solutions that serve the organization and drive businesses objectives.
Steve L. Steinheimer
Senior Vice President, Data & Technology Solutions
As Senior Vice President of Data &Technology Solutions, Steve Steinheimer has 35 years of business experience in leading an innovative software professional services company. Steve has helped clients in an array of industries with data management design, architecture, and implementation including data quality, master data management, and data governance. He has overseen enterprise data integrations across multiple sources as well as multi-vendor Big Data experience using Oracle, Informatica, Hortonworks, and the Hadoop ecosystem.
Jason T. Love
At RESPEC we partner with our clients to develop sustainable and integrated solutions in the Water, Environment, Energy, Mining, Technology, and Infrastructure markets. As a company-wide leader, and in many different roles, Jason focuses on connecting RESPEC’s high-end scientists, engineers, and technology specialists to best serve our clients and communities. Jason is interested in how technology, analytics, and modeling can be used as decision support systems to enhance our ability to be good stewards of our natural resources. This passion aligns well as President of RESPEC and implementing our Integrated Solution Partner strategy.
John S. L. Morgan
Senior Vice President
Twenty years after founding Morgan Worldwide Consultants, Inc., John Morgan joined RESPEC in 2014, and has since provided the company with his international industry experience in surface and underground mining. John’s experience is as geographically widespread as it is technically sound, having worked in over two dozen countries outside the United States, as well as in regions within the United States. An engaging and sincere leader, John invests in his employees by encouraging individual responsibility, while providing hands-on mentorship. In addition to solving complicated client problems with innovation and respect for the environment, he consistently seeks an evolutionary business environment to strengthen RESPEC’s movement towards the future.
Senior Vice President, Infrastructure
Matt Emerson is the former President of PDC Engineers and is a registered structural and civil engineer in the State of Alaska. Matt has spent most of his career designing structures for extreme conditions in Arctic and sub-arctic as well as managing large multi-discipline projects. Beginning his career as a carpenter and journeyman plumber, Matt’s construction background has brought a practical mindset to his work with a get it done attitude. As lead of RESPEC’s newest business unit, Infrastructure, Matt looks to integrate his team of experts with RESPEC’s other divisions to provide clients with the most comprehensive integrated solutions partner possible.
Co-President RESPEC Canadian Subsidiary
As Co-President and Board member of RESPEC Consulting Inc., Deb Shewfelt has helped create the company's high-performance culture that motivates, supports, and celebrates the success of every employee in their service to clients all over the world. As a Senior Geologist, Deb brings a diverse perspective to her work with 2 decades of career experience in research, natural-resource exploration, environmental assessments, and community engagement. She supports integrating and honoring Indigenous worldviews and identifies diversity and inclusion opportunities with each project and within the workplace. Deb is passionate about STEM educational outreach and enjoys leading multidisciplinary technical teams that weave creativity, passion, and know-how.
Co-President, RESPEC Canadian Subsidiary
Tabetha Stirrett’s professional experience has revolved around geoscience work in the potash, oil-and-gas, gold, and coal industries and has taken her to projects all over North America to South America, Europe, and southeast Asia. In 2009, Tabetha was part of an all-female team that bought North Rim Exploration. Together, these women sold the company to RESPEC in 2016. Tabetha became RESPEC’s business development lead for mining and energy opportunities in Canada and served as a senior geologist. In 2019, she became a Co-President of RESPEC, where she continues to grow the mining and energy group in Canada.
Chief People Officer
For more than 25 years, Regina Crowell has worked as a leader in Human Resources. She drives results for businesses by focusing on their most important aspect: their people. She knows that business success hinges on culture and people strategies to accelerate growth. At RESPEC, Regina applies her expertise in both talent and organization development and change and transformation leadership. She oversees all people services functions and aligns RESPEC’s people strategy with our goals. To advance the oversight and alignment, she provides workforce planning, offers executive talent strategies, and guides talent management. Regina also seeks to bolster RESPEC’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and to sustain our culture and change efforts, holistic employee-owner wellness, employee-owner engagement, and technical skill-building.
Kerry L. DeVries
As an expert who began his career with RESPEC over 30 years ago, Kerry DeVries’ professional know-how, positive approach, and collaboration with clients exemplify the very best RESPEC has to offer. His technical expertise and research in mining and geotechnical engineering have helped RESPEC become the preeminent force in the rock- and salt-mechanics field throughout the world. Kerry leads with a humble confidence and practical mentorship, as he provides oversight for a range of projects involving laboratory rock testing, rock characterization, numerical modeling, solution mining, and design of underground mines and caverns, all while maintaining an inspiring and positive attitude and a genuine concern for his employees.
Dr. Stephen Kan has over 20 years of international mining experience in project assessment and life-cycle development. His expertise includes project management, planning, development and execution; technical due diligence, valuation, and evaluation; cost estimation; financial analysis; synthetic fuel production and facility construction; and ultrafine coal dewatering and handling. Stephen has held senior leadership roles for leading global mining companies and has participated in a variety of projects around the world, including surface and underground mining of coal, limestone, base and precious metals, borate, and salt. Stephen’s international experience includes work in Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippines, South Africa, and the United States. In addition to earning his subsequent bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in mining engineering from nationally ranked universities, Stephen also earned an MBA in finance, accounting, and strategic management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Stephen is a registered professional engineer and certified project management professional.
Leo L. Van Sambeek
As the industry’s preeminent leader in rock- and salt-mechanics-related studies, mine-design support, and providing technical expert services to the underground mining and storage industries, Dr. Leo Van Sambeek has consulted with more than 20 of North America and Europe’s salt and potash mines in his over 40 years of experience in the field. Although a world-renowned master at engineering sciences, what makes him irreplaceable to RESPEC is the unconventional thinking that serves his technical mastery. Leo constantly seeks new ways to solve clients’ problems and dreams up unique, previously unsought solutions. His ingenuity and knack for quick thinking makes him a prime role model for the company’s younger engineers and the inspiration behind RESPEC for generations to come.
Rick R. Moser
Rick Moser has 30 years of experience in water-resource planning and design. He has successfully completed many projects, including channel restoration efforts, bridge scour countermeasures, flood control detention facilities, permanent water quality facilities, and highway drainage infrastructure. He has delivered these projects for numerous local and state government agencies. A versatile and approachable project manager and team manager, Rick has provided strong leadership for many internal and external teams. He brings clear direction and a positive attitude to every aspect of his leadership.
Russell A. Persyn
Senior Vice President, Water & Environment
Dr. Russell Persyn joined RESPEC in 2015, advanced to Vice President in 2018, and became a Senior Vice President in 2022. Before joining RESPEC, Russell served as the Watershed Engineering Manager at the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) where he managed 25 engineers and technical professionals who oversaw planning, modeling, engineering design, and construction projects. Russell has been instrumental in building a $1M net revenue business in Texas, which serves our clients from two offices in San Antonio and offices in Castroville, Austin, and Richardson.
Danny Rauchenstein brings over 20 years of experience as a mechanical and fire protection engineer with a significant focus on energy-related designs. He loves coming to work where he can collaborate with intelligent, creative people while creating unique, complex solutions for engineering challenges. Danny was born and raised in Alaska, which enables him to combine proven knowledge with day-to-day, real-life experience in cold climates. His unique resume took him as far as Antarctica to redesign the South Pole Station’s ventilation system. If he can find solutions for a place with temperatures as low as -100°F, elevations at 11,000 feet, and severe winds, he can design facilities anywhere.
Meagan L. Chaddick
Meagan Chaddick joined RESPEC through the 2017 acquisition of SSG Ltd., which is located in Richardson, Texas (Dallas area). At the time of the acquisition, Meagan was SSG’s President. Meagan has a bachelor of administration (BA) degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation. Meagan currently leads the sales and marketing activities for RESPEC’s Data & Technology Solutions (DTS), and she was instrumental in integrating SSG into our DTS business unit. In addition to her business development work in DTS, Meagan led the enterprise implementation of Salesforce, which is the first enterprise-wide, Client Relationship Management (CRM) system adopted within RESPEC outside of our financial management system. Meagan is also championing the elevation of a corporate-wide marketing organization.
Jay R. Nopola
Senior Vice President, Mining & Energy
Jay Nopola joined RESPEC in 2011. He has received undergraduate degrees in geological engineering and is currently finishing his doctorate degree in the same area of study. Since joining RESPEC, Jay has been the lead Technical Professional in RESPEC’s Hard Rock Mechanics group. Jay has been the driving force around two major Department of Energy research grants: the Deep Borehole project and the Thermal Fracturing project; both projects were multimillion-dollar awards. Jay has been relentless in the pursuit of developing new clients and expanding RESPEC’s business interests into hard rock.
Denise J. Brickley
Denise Brickley joined RESPEC’s Data & Technology Solutions (DTS) team in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, office in 2013, and brings more than 25 years of communications, quality, program, and operations management experience in multiple industries. With a strong background in IT software applications, she has been responsible for delivery management and direction of all DTS projects. Denise effectively listens to and communicates with clients and teams, while leading successful and profitable delivery on a breadth of technology-based programs.
Karen manages the utility group at RESPEC and remains involved in planning, design, and construction administration. Over the years, she has added site design work and expanded her capabilities as a well-rounded civil/environmental engineer. She has a solid, practical understanding of how technical drawings and specifications relate to the construction process in the field. Karen’s utility experience includes hydraulic modeling, fire flow capacity analysis, thermal modeling, alignment and profile development, and storm drains. Her site design experience includes parking lots, access, grading, and drainage. Karen enjoys working with a multidiscipline team, collaborating to resolve potential issues. She finds it especially rewarding to be involved from the planning stage, through the design and then construction. Karen was an employee of PDC Engineers, Inc., which RESPEC acquired in 2020.
Karla R. Lipp
With the majority of her over 30 years of professional experience at RESPEC, Karla Lipp has a special gift in creating and editing documents and organizing multiple projects. Her keen attention to detail and natural talent for organization ensures that RESPEC’s documents are completed accurately, consistently, and promptly. With her meticulous, detailed nature and education as a Certified Administrative Professional, Karla collaborates with RESPEC staff to maintain the highest standards for all documents and to ensure that RESPEC’s clients are more than satisfied with the documents they receive.
Lead Director, External
Walt Jones was the COO for Intermountain Rural Electric Association in Colorado and was employed by Stanley Consultants for 34 years and held the position of Senior Vice President. Walt has a BS degree in electrical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) and an MBA degree in business administration from St. Ambrose University. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and serves as a member of the Advisory Board at the SDSM&T and as Chair of the Investment Committee for the SDSM&T Foundation.
Jay VanOrden has more than 38 years of experience in the IT industry. He has served as a Chief Executive Officer for most of his career. Jay successfully built two IT companies and was named one of the top ten New Jersey CEOs by the Axial Growth 100 List. He is currently the CEO of Worldwide Services, a global IT services organization that provides a portfolio of IT services in over 100 countries. Jay is a strategic thinker and a well-organized individual. His executive leadership experience and broad background in sales, marketing, and operations, as well as financial administration, will be a real asset for RESPEC.
Stephen T. O’Rourke was elected to the RESPEC Board of Directors for a 3-year term by the ESOP Committee to replace Paul Fosdick, who retired after 14 years of service on the Board. Stephen is a geological engineer with over 30 years in the petroleum industry. Stephen retired from BHP Billiton as President of Global Exploration in 2011. BHP Billiton is a global energy company and amongst the world’s largest producers of major commodities. Presently, he serves as Managing Director of Heat Mining Company, which is a geothermal company located in Rapid City, SD.
Stephen was recommended to the ESOP Committee by the Board’s Nomination Committee; represented by Board members Walt Jones, Marv Truhe, and Jason Love, along with Julie Blackburn representing the ESOP Committee and Jim Geisler representing company management. The Nomination Committee unanimously recommended Stephen from nine, very qualified individuals.
Stephen’s background aligns with the company’s strategic interest in energy, specifically the petroleum and geothermal markets. His knowledge of the global marketplace, business management practices in technical fields, and business development and acquisition will greatly assist the company in expanding our services within the energy sector.
Brian G. Iverson joined the RESPEC Board in July 2020. He is currently Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer of Black Hills Corporation. He has worked at Black Hills Corporation since 2004 and has served as Senior Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs, Vice President and Treasurer, Vice President, Electric Regulatory Service, and Corporate Counsel during his career at Black Hills Corporation. Before joining Black Hills Corporation, Brian was employed in the banking industry and the private practice of law.
Brian is a Certified Public Accountant. He attended the University of South Dakota where he received a B.S.B.A. in accounting and an MBA. He also received a J.D. from the University of South Dakota, School of Law.
MEET OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
RESPEC has an elected, eight-member Board of Directors that consists of four external members and four internal members. The Board of Directors serve for 3-year term and are elected by the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) Committee.
View RESPEC's annual reports for more information on company growth and milestones, significant project achievements, community involvement, and yearly highlights.