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Argus Petrochemical Summit 2017

2017 Speakers


Brad Crocker
Brad Crocker, President & Chief Executive Officer, Americas Styrenics

Brad Crocker is President and Chief Executive Officer of Americas Styrenics. He was appointed to this position in 2012.

Previously, Mr. Crocker served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Lawter, Inc. Before joining Lawter, Inc., Mr. Crocker held numerous assignments in the chemical industry at companies including Nalco Chemical Company, International Paper, and Momentive Specialty Chemicals.

In 1992, Mr. Crocker entered the pine chemical industry, joining Chemical Products Division of Union Camp Corporation, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and general management until 2003. Mr. Crocker joined Resolution Performance Products, the world's largest producer of epoxy, shortly after its divestment from Shell Chemicals. In 2006, Resolution Performance Products was one of many chemical holdings companies which combined to form Hexion Specialty Chemicals. Mr. Crocker led the divestiture of IAR of Harima Chemicals, which formed Lawter, Inc., a global leader in the supply of resins and additives to the graphic arts, adhesives, specialty coatings, and rubber industries.

Mr. Crocker holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Georgia. Following college, Mr. Crocker served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.
Eric Smith Tulane 100
Eric Smith,
Associate Director, Tulane Energy Institute.

Eric Smith is a Professor of Practice at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute. He works with various professors on interdisciplinary projects involving energy issues. He also works with Houston and New Orleans engineering firms and with various regional teams focused on economic development. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate energy courses.

He is a 1965 Chemical Engineering graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and earned an MBA, in 1967, from the A. B. Freeman School at Tulane University. In addition to twelve years of full time academic/advisory experience, he has thirty six years of operational experience, first, in the downstream petrochemical industry, and since 1984, in the offshore drilling and construction sectors.

He has served as a consultant to Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development as well as to Greater New Orleans, Inc. the regional economic development group. In addition, he is the Energy committee co-chairman of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. On occasion, he has also supported reverse trade missions involving energy options in Pakistan, South Africa and Ghana, all sponsored by US government agencies. Finally, he acts as Tulane’s media spokesman for energy issues.

He is author or co-author of reports dealing with LNG, changes in the offshore construction market, Louisiana’s competitiveness in industrial power generation, petroleum coke as a fuel in the domestic power generation market. And, most recently, a report that deals with the positive economic impact of the US shale initiative on the Louisiana economy.  
Almir Cotias
Almir Cotias, Strategy, Marketing and Planning Director, Base Petrochemicals, Braskem 

Almir Cotias is a Chemical Engineer with MBA in General Management and background in Manufacturing, Logistics, Marketing and Sales of Basic Petrochemicals in a multi-cultural environment.

Almir has been working with Braskem for more than 15 years and during this period he had the opportunity to manage the Aromatics and Solvent Business in Brazil, to work in Singapore to implement and develop Braskem’s commercial operations in Asia and more recently be based in USA to lead the Global Marketing and Sales for Petrochemicals.

Since 2014 he is back to Brazil as the Head of Planning in Braskem Petrochemicals B.U. in charge of Strategy and Marketing for all the Brazilian crackers.
Bruce Mann, Director - Freight Mobility, Port of Houston
Bruce Mann, Director, Freight Mobility, Port of Houston Authority

Bruce Mann is the Director - Freight Mobility for the Port of Houston Authority. He is responsible for maritime related freight transportation activities (including but not limited to rail, roadway, and barge transportation) and identifying and supporting freight transportation projects that improve access to Port of Houston facilities (public and private) in order to enable growth in commerce, increase transportation options and reduce transportation costs.

Mr. Mann is an accomplished transportation manager with over 18 years of experience in freight transportation for some of the world’s largest chemicals manufactures and trading companies as well as a Class I railroad. Mr. Mann’s most recent position prior to the Port of Houston was managing Trafigura's crude, coal and metals (ferrous and non-ferrous) groups moving materials in gondolas, box cars, tank cars, open top hopper cars, which equated to 55,000 railcar loads in 2013. Trafigura is one of the world’s largest companies generating revenue of nearly $130 billion/year.
Mr. Mann has managed fleets of up to 7,200 railcars and can speak in depth about crude by rail, plastics, chemicals and other commodities. He is also accomplished in freight contract negotiation, transportation equipment leasing, site logistics contractors and 3rd party logistics providers in the rail space.

Mr. Mann currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, as Treasurer of the North American Rail Shippers Association, he is also on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Association of Rail Shippers. He is also a member of the Houston Transportation Club, a member of the Houston Transportation Professionals Association, a dynamic public speaker and a recognized industry expert in the crude oil and plastics transportation fields and a leader in freight mobility.

Mr. Mann is also a United States Navy veteran and has lived in the Houston area since 2001. He holds an undergraduate degree from Jacksonville University in Florida and an MBA. 
Peter Kaestner, Vice President - Feedstocks, Polymer & Cracker Segment, Reliance
Peter Kaestner, Vice President - Feedstocks, Reliance Holding USA

Peter began his career with The Dow Chemical Company as an intern in 1981. After several assignments in manufacturing and commercial roles he left to join Westlake Chemical Co. in 2002. Peter was hired to head up the feedstock sourcing function at Westlake where he later ran the Olefins business. In 2010 Peter joined Westlake’s affiliated company, Titan PetChem in Malaysia where he ran their olefins business until Titan was sold to the Lotte Group of S. Korea. Peter has been with Reliance Holding USA, Inc. since 2012. Peter has vast experience with ethane thru his roles in Canada, the USGC and now exports to India.

Peter holds a Bachelors of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Physics and a Master of Business Administration degree.
Daniel Penovich
Dan Penovich, President, Mitsui Rail Capital

Dan Penovich is a 35 year veteran of the railcar leasing industry. He is president of Mitsui Rail Capital, LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between JA Mitsui Leasing, Ltd. and Mitsui and Co. Ltd. both located in Tokyo, Japan.

Dan’s previous work included 12 years at GATX Corporation where he led the North American Sales force and provided support for GATX’s international business development projects. Prior to GATX, he was employed by Union Tank Car for 15 years where he led commercial efforts in the Midwest region. He started his career in the rail car operating leasing business at North American Car Company.

In addition to his work experience Dan holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Logistics from Indiana University and a Masters of Business Administration from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Dan is an active member of the Chicago Traffic Club, New York Traffic Club, National Grain and Feed Association, North American Freight Car Association, Association of American Railroads and a number of other rail shipper organizations. He also has joined the Indiana University-Kelly School of Business Transportation Executive Board. The board’s goal is to promote careers in logistics and supply chain management to students at the Kelly School. Ultimately the board wants the University to establish a major in supply chain and logistics management.

Dan resides in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois with his wife Cindy and has two grown children, Mark and Laura.  
Chuck Venezia
Chuck Venezia,  Sr. Vice President, Petrochemicals, Argus

Chuck Venezia is Sr. Vice President, Petrochemicals and was a Principal of DeWitt & Company Inc., prior to merger with Argus Media, Inc. He has more than 20 years experience in the petrochemical industry.

He joined DeWitt in 2002 from CheMatch where he served as Executive Director, Latin America of the online trading platform for bulk petrochemicals. Before joining CheMatch, Mr. Venezia served as Area Manager, Latin America for Chevron Chemical Company. At Chevron, he managed the company’s polymer export sales and other chemical sales into Mexico and South America. Mr. Venezia holds an MBA and M.A. from Tulane University and a B.A. from Union College.
Paul Brisson, Vice President, C4 Olefins & Derivatives
Paul Brisson, Vice President – C4 Olefins & Derivatives, Argus

Paul is Vice President for C4 Olefins & Derivatives for Argus. Paul held various sales and business management positions with Diamond Shamrock Chemicals, OxyChem, Huntsman, Altivia, and TPC Group over a 37 year career in the industrial chemical industry. Beginning with OxyChem’s acquisition of Cain Chemicals in 1986, Paul moved into the olefins and aromatics side of the industry in major account management and development, specializing in North American contract butadiene sales.

Since joining DeWitt in 2007 Paul has been the C4 Business consultant, with emphasis on the global butadiene markets. Argus serves clients that produce, consume, and trade butadiene and butadiene derivatives around the world. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from The Ohio State University. 
Jimmy Levine, Vice President, Olefins - Ethylene
 Jimmy Levine, Vice President, Olefins - Ethylene, Argus

Jimmy has worked for some of the largest petrochemical companies in the US, and is an expert in all aspects of light olefins, from supply and demand to risk management.
Paige Morse
Paige Marie Morse, PhD, Vice President, Propylene and Derivatives, Argus

Paige Marie Morse has 25 years in experience in the chemical industry, and joined Argus in 2016. She is a strategic thinker with broad experience in business development and corporate planning in chemical and energy markets.

Paige began her career in R&D for Shell, then moved to business development positions at Shell, Dow, and Sunoco. These roles included development of new markets for intermediates and plastics, and strategic planning for chemical and refining businesses. Additionally, she has deep knowledge of chemical, refining and polymer catalysis and has several published papers and articles in the field.

She has worked on several M&A projects throughout her career, with a focus on acquisition targeting, market and technology assessment, and asset integration.

Paige has PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College in Ohio. Her professional education includes executive-level training in Leadership, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Financial Analysis.
Paco Rangel
Paco Rangel, Vice President, Aromatics, Argus

Paco has over 16 years of consulting experience in the energy and petrochemical industry. Areas of expertise include aromatics market consulting and price analysis, single client studies, manufacturing economic analysis, fuels supply chain and NGL pipeline management. Paco began his career at Accenture where he helped petrochemical clients in areas such as business process design, merger and acquisitions, and business process simulation.

Paco joined DeWitt & Company as an olefins analyst in 2001 and spent 10 years working on analysis for both olefins and aromatics markets and he became Manager of Economic Services in 2008. Paco rejoined Argus DeWitt in 2014 after spending three years working on fuel supply chain and NGL pipeline projects for Energy Consulting firm Opportune LLP. Single client work includes various topics in reforming, alkylation, pyrolysis gasoline, and economic competitiveness in both olefins and aromatics value chains.

Paco earned an Industrial Engineering degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University. 
Anu Agarwal, Business Development Manager, Argus
Anu Agarwal, Business Development Manager, Asia, Argus 

Anu Agarwal is Business Development Manager based in Singapore. She works closely with the petroleum product industry across Asia and the Mideast Gulf to develop the role of Argus in meeting the dynamic requirements of this huge market.

Anu has spent 10 years working for global petrochemical companies in strategy and business development as well as sales and marketing roles across Asia. She also spent six years reporting and analysing pricing trends in the chemical, refined products and biofuel markets as well as examining the underlying factors that influence global trade in these markets.

Anu shares a keen interest in new product development with a track record of developing pricing services for new and emerging markets.
Sarah Rae speaking at 2016 Argus DeWitt Summit
Sarah Rae, VP Olefins and Derivatives, Argus

Sarah has worked with Argus for the last three years as their olefins consultant focusing primarily on Europe and the Middle East.

For 17 years Sarah held senior strategic purchasing management positions in Ineos, Tessenderlo Chemie (LVM) and Rhodia, responsible for a wide range of materials including olefins, fertilizers and commodity raw materials. Prior to this Sarah had various management and project roles covering most aspects of the Chemical business including business management, sales, planning and logistics.

She graduated in Geology from Leicester University and started her career working for BP Oil.  
Steve Weber
Steve Weber, Vice President, Petrochemical Consulting, Argus

Steve Weber is Vice President of Petrochemical Consulting for Argus. Steve began his career with Fina in 1979 as a Process Engineer and had various other assignments in the 1980s in the Economics and Planning and Marine Transportation Groups for Fina in Dallas. In 1989, he moved to the Port Arthur refinery and later became Operations Manager at the site. Steve was named Plant Manager of the Fina/GE Joint Venture Styrene Plant (Cosmar) in 1995 and Refinery Manager at the Big Spring Texas refinery in 1998. In 2000, he returned to Louisiana to manage both the Styrene JV and the Total Petrochemicals Polystyrene Operation. Steve was named Senior Manager of Aromatics for Total in 2005, relocating to Houston.

Steve joined DeWitt & Company Inc. in 2011 after spending two years with Solomon Associates in the refining and petrochemical consulting area. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA. Steve is responsible for single client studies for refining and petrochemicals in the Americas. 

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