Jim Illich

Founder and CEO, FREESTONE INTERNATIONAL

CHAIRMAN, GNL QUEBEC

Jim Illich is a seasoned executive in developing and executing complex infrastructure projects. After working in the oil and gas industry for four years, Jim joined Bechtel Corporation in 1988 and served in a variety of roles including Thailand Country Manager, Corporate Manager of Human Resources and Project Director for major projects in Africa and Asia.  In the last 10 years of his career with Bechtel, he managed some of firm’s largest global businesses including LNG, Upstream Oil and Gas, and Downstream Refinery, Chemicals and Pipeline.

Jim was elected Senior Vice President and a Partner of privately held Bechtel in 2005 and retired from the company in 2012.  In 2013 he formed Freestone International, which is a vehicle for launching new business ideas in the areas of energy, environment, and education.  Passionate about education, Jim has been a guest lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business for the last 14 years and is a member of the Stanford University Advisory Board for the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences.  He is also involved in philanthropic activities involving STEM/K-12 education initiatives.

Jim earned a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley. He was born and raised in Montana, is married and has two children.

Bill Redmon, Ph.D

Executive vice president, FREESTONE INTERNATIONAL

CEO, KINTLA

Prior to joining Freestone, Bill was Principal Vice President and Manager of Talent and Development at Bechtel Corporation, a major Engineering and Construction company with more than 50,000 employees worldwide. At Bechtel, Bill was accountable for talent management and executive leadership programs. He worked with five global business units to develop strategies and processes for selecting, developing and managing talent at all levels. He also led Bechtel's programs for executive coaching, team building, learning and development, and performance management.

Prior to joining Bechtel, Bill consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies in the private and public sectors to help refine their strategies and develop supporting performance systems. He and his consulting teams worked with companies in manufacturing, retail, engineering, and service sectors to implement culture change and develop innovative approaches in leadership, customer relationship management, quality, and safety. 

Early in his career, Bill was a professor of industrial/organizational psychology where he directed graduate training and research in organization change, action research, and consulting. In this role, Bill developed and taught graduate courses in behavioral systems analysis, organizational change, and strategic planning. He also directed student research and field experience in private sector businesses. He is a licensed psychologist and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Vivek Bidwai

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, DEVELOPMENT

Vivek Bidwai is a versatile manager who has excelled in diverse business environments and driven complex projects across a wide range of industries and functions.

Before joining Freestone International, Vivek was CEO of Moogi, a technology company that monetized video assets. In addition to his executive role, Vivek also spearheaded new product development and managed a global team of designers, developers and content managers.

Additionally, during five years of management consulting experience at Booz Allen Hamilton, Navigant Consulting and independently, Vivek provided strategic guidance, change management and operational improvement services to myriad public and private sector clients spanning healthcare, media & telecommunications, IT, nonprofit, insurance, infrastructure & defense.

Vivek completed his MBA at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and was awarded the Jack Larson Scholarship and the Gloria W. Appel Award. He previously graduated cum laude in Political Economy from Georgetown University in 2004 as a George F. Baker Scholar. He is also involved in several educational and philanthropic initiatives, and co-founded nonprofit LearningGrant.org in 2011 to empower underserved communities by providing funding that supports educational opportunities.

Tony Le Verger

VICE PRESIDENT, DEVELOPMENT

Tony Le Verger is a global-minded manager with a broad range of experience in complex business environments across various different industries and company sizes.

Prior to joining Freestone, Tony was Director of Strategy and Chief of Staff at Verayo, a semiconductor company that developed authentication products based on the uniqueness of manufactured chips. Tony spearheaded software and hardware product development of a wearable mobile device authentication product and a SaaS authentication product. His role encompassed product management and marketing, business development and fundraising. Tony improved the margin of the cloud-based product by more than 70% and contributed in developing markets in Asia to achieve $3M of sales after one year.

During his management consulting experience at Weave and Accenture (Paris, France), Tony was involved in various projects in more than 25 countries. His experience ranged from operational & commercial improvements; supply chain management in industries such as international steel manufacturing and roofing products, and M&A due diligence and post-merger carve-outs in industries such as global retail and railroad transportation. His clients included global companies and mid-cap high-growth post-acquisition manufacturing companies.

Prior to his consulting experience, Tony worked as a market business analyst for Total in Brazil focusing on market research and investment assessments in LNG terminals, gas pipelines, local gas distributors and power-plants. During his time in Brazil, Tony was involved in developing the US-based non-profit foundation Two Brothers (Dois Irmãos) by providing French and Mathematics courses in slums in Rio de Janeiro for people between 5 and 20 years old.

In 2013, Tony completed his MBA at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and was awarded the Mayfield Fellowship. He previously graduated cum laude from Ecole Centrale Nantes in France and PUC-Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where he earned a MS in Mechanical Engineering and a MS in Industrial Engineering. Born and raised in France, Tony speaks French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, and German.

Wendy Barta

Human Resources Manager

Before joining the Freestone team, Wendy worked in significant project management and organizational change roles across a broad array of industries including engineering, construction, government, hospitality and health care. She has deep experience in performance management process management, software/systems implementation, leadership development, talent management, and employee engagement. Wendy has applied her skills in a range of organizations from start-ups to large corporations and understands the power of culture in creating successful people and businesses. 

Throughout her work life, Wendy has focused on influencing positive change in organizations at many levels. Early in her career, she completed an internship with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and spent time in Mali, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer to transfer knowledge to host country counterparts and individuals to address their most pressing cultural needs. More recently, she has continued her commitment to public service through volunteer roles on a foundation board for local public education. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the world with her husband and two young daughters.

Himanshu Patel

Senior vice president, Project Management

Himanshu has 30 years of experience with major EPC contractors in project management, business strategies, technology, process engineering, marketing & business development, structuring projects, contracts negotiations, proposals, planning/scheduling, cost estimating, plant operation, training, start-up and commissioning, mostly on natural gas liquefaction and LNG receiving terminals projects.  

Himanshu has led or supervised several LNG projects and pursuits. His extensive experience involves EPC, FEED, pre-FEED and feasibility studies on LNG projects based on Air Products, ConocoPhillips, and, other liquefaction processes.  His responsibilities have included ensuring design integrity, technical excellence, concept development and innovations, due diligence of new technologies and assessing technology risk, plant performance and guarantees.  He has international project experience in many countries such as Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Japan, UK, Algeria, S. Korea, Germany and India.  He has extensive knowledge of the LNG industry, technology, engineering, and has published several papers. He actively participates in trade shows and represents his company on LNG conference program committees and panels, conducts LNG training and coordinates technical paper efforts.  

Joe Laipple

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, KINTLA

Joe applies neurobehavioral principles to the design and delivery of individual and organization improvement programs. He works closely with client teams to assess current needs, customize Kintla’s tools and approach to fit their culture. Joe values creating sustained change by working collaboratively with HR, internal consultant teams, home office and field organizations to create “local” ownership.

Prior to joining Kintla, Joe worked as an engagement leader for programs to improve sales, strategy, productivity, quality and safety across a variety of industries including financial services, banking, pharmaceuticals, biotech, manufacturing, oil and gas, telecommunications, healthcare, and technology. He is a specialist in organizational development with 20 years of experience in facilitating major change initiatives across more than thirty midsize and large businesses within North America, Asia and Europe.

Joe is an experienced psychologist, master facilitator, trainer and coach and has designed and delivered many high-engagement learning and personal improvement programs.  He has work with leaders of all levels from front-line supervisors and individual contributors to senior executives and their teams. 

Joe is the author of numerous publications on productivity, performance improvement and organizational change including two books:

Rapid Change:  Immediate Action for the Impatient Leader (2012). Performance Management Press.

Precision Selling:  A Guide for Coaching Sales Professionals (2006). Performance Management Press.