Our Team

Paul balmert

Paul Balmert is a fire-tested leader with real-world experience in industry and author of the best-selling “Alive and Well at the End of the Day: A Supervisor’s Guide to Managing Safety in Operations” published by John Wiley and Sons. He is well known for his thought-provoking, practical and useful ideas that have made a significant difference sending people home alive and well at the end of the day in the functions he managed and in his client’s organizations under his tutelage.

Paul is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and his career in chemical manufacturing spans 30 years.

In 2000, Paul formed Balmert Consulting, a consulting practice that is principally focused on improving operations execution, including improving the management effectiveness in leading and managing safety performance. His clients include manufacturing and operations functions around the globe. In the last fourteen years, he’s taught safety leadership practices to an audience of operations supervisors, managers and senior leaders totaling more than 50,000.

V. scott pignolet

V. Scott Pignolet has an extensive history of successfully developing, selling, managing, and delivering technology based services and products to the petroleum, petrochemical, chemical, pulp and paper, mining, and utilities industries.

He retired from DuPont after a twenty-six year career. He joined Paul Balmert in 2000 and now is active as a consultant, coach, and speaker. He has studied the skills that improve sales force efficiency, those that make a leader effective and the safety execution skills of line managers. He also focuses on articulation and the thought process that result in clear, crisp, results-oriented talks and presentations: what makes a message concise, compelling, and convincing. Scott and Paul are co-authors and instructors of Balmert Consulting’s “Influencing Skills for EHS Professionals” .

Scott leads the business development initiative for Balmert Consulting. He develops client relationships and identifies client needs to improve operational execution. On occasion he steps into the classroom as an instructor.

He is a graduate of Cleveland State University and holds a BS in Civil Engineering. He is Chairman Emeritus and a long time Board member of Village Learning and Achievement Center a non-profit organization that provides services to adults with disabilities.  He serves as Chairman of the Governance Committee.

Gary Wigginton

Gary Wigginton retired from the DuPont Company after a 33-year career in manufacturing, sales, and marketing. His assignments took him to a variety of locations including Wilmington, Delaware; Coral Gables, Florida; Paris, France and Houston, Texas.

Gary has worked with various Houston area industry and community organizations. In 1999 he served as Chairman of the Board of the East Harris County Manufacturers Association and led the chemical industry rollout of the EPA-required Risk Management Program. He was also active in the LaPorte-Bayshore Chamber of Commerce where he served as Chairman of the Board.

Gary has a keen interest in safety and process improvement. He takes a practical, no nonsense approach to business and is a strong believer in teams and the power of collaboration in achieving breakthrough performance. Gary grew up in Missouri- the “Show Me” state, which probably accounts for his mantra “show me the data” when tackling problem solutions. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla.

Pete Robison

Pete Robison joined Balmert Consulting in 2010 after a 29-year petroleum company career.  He has taught Managing Safety Performance, Managing Risk and What Went Wrong for many clients in the US as well as Canada, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and South Africa.  He especially enjoys teaching to Front Line Leaders and working one on one with leaders to help develop and improve their leadership skills.

While he was with Texaco and Shell he served in a number of technical, managerial and staff positions in biofuels, analytical and environmental chemistry and fuel quality. At each organization he was keenly involved in business improvement, technology and environment, health and safety. He brings a broad range of skills including technical knowledge, customer responsiveness, and coaching and mentoring of technical staff.

Pete received an AB in Chemistry from Cornell University, his MBA in Executive management from Rennselaer Polytechnic University, and a PhD in Biochemistry from Syracuse University.

In his last position at Shell Pete implemented a database system for tracking fuel quality incidents in the businesses that is currently saving the company about $1-2 MM per year in reduced incidents. He also championed efforts to bring in Root Cause Analysis investigation procedures to Shell businesses for fuels quality incidents. He was known throughout the company as an RCA expert for fuel quality incident investigations.

Luis Batiz

Luis Batiz is a Magna Cum Laude Chemical Engineering graduate from the University of Puerto Rico and earned a degree in Nuclear Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology.  Luis has thirty-five years experience in operations, marketing and corporate management, domestically and internationally.

Luis’ longstanding commitment to safety is best demonstrated by his sustained record of superior personnel safety performance, and his achievement of world class recognition awards from industry groups such as the TCC, NPRA, and the Texas Chemical Council.  Luis played a key role in the development of Union Carbide’s 100% Compliance Program and a founding member of the process safety program for the ethylene business.

He was born in Puerto Rico and is fluent in English and Spanish.

Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson joined Balmert Consulting following a forty-year career with International Paper Company.   Bill grew up in Anaconda, Montana, a small mining and copper-smelting town.   He received a BA in Mathematics from Carroll College in Helena, Montana and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University in New York City in 1974.

Bill finished his career as Director of Operations in the corporate Supply Chain Center of Excellence.  This role included development and leadership of the Lean & Six Sigma organization for corporate Supply Chain.  This role enabled Bill to use his experience and expertise in process management as a trainer and mentor to Green Belt and Black Belt candidates.  His strong work ethic and accountability for business and safety results in five manufacturing facilities and various staff assignments provides a unique appreciation for leadership skills, especially in the area of safety.

In addition to his role as a Balmert Consulting teacher, Bill serves on the Board of Directors for a charitable foundation dedicated to providing financial support to eligible International Paper employees.   He has also served in a leadership role for youth hockey and the United Way.

Van Long

Van Long joined Balmert Consulting following more than forty years in the Chemicals, Petrochemicals and Mining industries. Van grew up in North Florida and received an AS from Lake City Community College (currently Florida Gateway College) in 1970 and his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1973. He is a registered Professional Engineer and completed Executive Education programs at the University of Michigan School of Business in manufacturing and business.

During his career he has worked for Union Carbide Corporation, Rhone Poulenc and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. Assignments with these companies have included Project Engineering, Maintenance, Operations, General Plant Management, Senior Consultant for Process Safety and Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the Center for Process Safety.

In addition to his consulting role, Van currently serves on the Foundation Board for Florida Gateway College.

Nancy Sauer

Nancy Sauer joined Balmert Consulting following a twenty-year career with AECOM, an international architectural and consulting firm. She earned her MBA from the University of Cincinnati, and an MSEC in Environmental Engineering from University of Akron.

As a Program Manager in the AECOM Environmental Business Line, Nancy’s environmental responsibilities involved major industrial clients engaged in the oil and gas and chemical industry. She managed field operations, where she was responsible for project teams engaged in monitoring, testing, remediation, wastewater treatment, as well as the execution of environmental projects at a variety of client sites across the Northeastern US.

Nancy is a licensed Professional Engineer, a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, and a Certified Waste Treatment Plant Operator for Constructed Treatment Wetland Systems. She is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certified Professional.

Bruce Garthwaite

Bruce started his oilfield career as a commercial diver in the Gulf of Mexico with Halliburton subsidiary Taylor Diving, based out of New Orleans.  He rose into the project management ranks, to plan and execute underwater construction, inspection, maintenance and repair projects in the offshore oilfields.  It’s safe to say that the industry’s HSE practices have improved substantially over the past 38 years.  Bruce moved into marketing and strategic planning roles with Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root (now KBR) in Houston.  After a total of 14 years with Halliburton, Bruce accepted a marketing management position at Oceaneering in Houston.  After 4 years in a corporate position, Bruce went back to his operations roots, becoming the Operations Manager for Oceaneering’s subsea products and services group.  He led a team of managers, who in turn led a team of professionals and front-line supervisors with more than 200 employees.  Many of those employees worked offshore or in manufacturing environments with their fair share of industrial hazards.  It was in this position that Bruce found himself in a Managing Safety Performance class taught by Paul Balmert.  Bruce would shortly thereafter become the first recipient of Balmert Consulting’s Safety Leadership Award in 2002. 

Bruce went on to hold many leadership roles at Oceaneering.  Leading improvement of the company’s safety performance was an important part of his job over a 23-year career.  In recognition of his effort’s, Bruce received the Chairman’s award for HSE leadership in 2010.  Bruce joined the consulting ranks at Endeavor Management in 2020.  He continues to practice his passion for HSE performance improvement through his work with Balmert Consulting and their clients.

Bruce graduated with honors from Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and Business Administration.  He was certified as a commercial diver at the Commercial Diving Institute in Queens, NY, graduating top of his class.  Bruce is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development (PMD) in Cambridge (Boston), MA

Elena Bryzgalova

Elena Bryzgalova joined Balmert Consulting after 21-plus years working for International Paper.  During that time she served in a wide range of leadership roles including managing positions in sourcing and safety areas, such as Maintenance purchasing manager, HS and Risk Management Director at Svetogorsk mill in Russia and EMEA contractor safety manager.

In 2018, Elena completed her course of instruction and became an internal certified instructor for our Managing Safety Performance workshop for IP sites, and she has been the lead instructor at the Svetogorsk Mill in Russia. Elena also became lead instructor for International Paper’s EMEA certified teachers and has done training at numerous other International Paper locations.

Elena ’s combination of practical operating experience, technical knowledge of the safety and health function, good communication skills and passion for sending everyone home, alive and well at the end of the day have made her a highly engaging and very effective classroom teacher.

Elena holds a master’s degree in Languages from The University of Joensuu in Finland as well as certifications in International Business and Safety fields.

Edward Aronson

Edward Aronson holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior from McGill University in Montréal Canada, with a specialty in leadership. In addition to his work with Balmert Consulting he teaches MBA and BCom courses in leadership at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management. He has also designed and delivers seminars on Effective Leadership at the McGill International Executive Institute.

Edward is a sought after specialist in his area of leadership and brings a wealth of experience to his role as consultant with Balmert Consulting. He spent more than 30 years in direct leadership positions in industry that include Gillette Canada Inc., Gillette International Division, the furniture industry, and as owner and operator of a furniture manufacturing company for 15 years.

His international business experience includes living abroad and extensive travel to Eastern and Western Europe, Middle East, and the Far East. This allowed him to gain an understanding of the cultural and market differences between North America and other areas of the globe, particularly with respect to leadership, marketing, and business practices. Edward’s ability with six languages has greatly facilitated his foreign work activities. He is a resident of Montréal and fluency includes French, German, Italian, Spanish, Croatian and English.

Edward is well recognized for his articles that have been published in various academic journals and he has presented at academic conferences in North America and abroad.


Gary Rivenes joins Balmert Consulting bringing more than twenty five years experience in the mining industry. Starting out as a Mining Engineer, Gary found his way into management positions that included serving as General Manager at several Rio Tinto and Cloud Peak mines in the Far West.  Gary has held the positions of Vice President of Operations, Executive  Vice Pesident, and Chief Operating Officer.

But Gary’s first management role was that of a front line leader, supervising a seventy person crew of production, maintenance and plant technicians, where he was responsible for both production – and safety. As a long time leader at Cloud Peak Energy, Gary was one key reason why they were consistently the safest coal mining company in the industry.

Gary brings a wealth of practical leadership experience, the ability to connect with people working at every level of the organization – shop floor to boardroom – and a passion for safety.

Bill McEwen

Bill McEwen joined Balmert Consulting after a forty-four career in the fertilizer manufacturing business that started with Imperial Oil and finished with twenty-seven years at Agrium. Bill grew up in Edmonton Canada, and graduated from Alberta College.

A few months into his career, Bill was transferred to operations, where over the course of his manufacturing and management career, worked in both operations and distribution facilities. Bill served as the Phosphoric Business Unit Coordinator and the Canadian Terminals Manager. As Director, Distribution Network, he was responsible for the safe and reliable operation of the company’s owned, leased and contract operated North American distribution pipelines and distribution facilities. He also managed the Solutions Manufacturing Facilities and for Marketing and Distribution capital planning and execution.  Bill also spent a year leading the organizational redesign at one of Agrium’s major facilities.

Bill consistently improved safety performance his record includes no serious recordable injuries or fatalities during tenure. He championed lean and Six Sigma continuous improvement resulting in cost management while improving reliability. Bill is known as a dynamic leader committed to high performing teams and people. Over his career he delivered continuous performance improvements in EHS&S, PSM, Reliability, Costs, Organizational Capability and People Development.


Newton Scavone brings forty years of experience in the paper industry to Balmert Consulting. Working for International Paper, he’s served in a broad array of functions and roles, starting as a process engineer in the Pulp and Paper area. As a supervisor and manager, Newton was responsible for process control, SPC, implementation of Management Quality System. Later in his career, Newton was responsible for Lean Six Sigma implementation. He also worked as Marketing and Customer Communication Manager, and, as Human Resource Manager and Director, where he was responsible for recruitment, training and development.

Newton also worked as a Safety Manager and later, as Environmental Policy Manager.  In 2017 Newton became the first certified Balmert Consulting Managing Safety Performance teacher in South America.

Erick Reyna

Erick Reyna joined Balmert after 34 years in the oil industry culminating with executive roles with two large companies.  He has a wide range of experience supporting and leading field operations around the globe, as engineering, field supervisor, superintendent, manager, and finally as Vice President.  He has improved or helped lead the improvement of the safety and operational performance of every organization that he has become involved with.  Erick has a passion for developing front line supervisors into strong leaders in Safety and Operations.  His belief has always been that front-line leaders, with the proper support, are the key to both performing at a high level, and the most important part of creating a safe environment on any worksite.  He has also helped executives to understand how to strengthen their messages and relationships to front line leaders, with positive results.

During his career he was part of global teams to create process systems for safety, operations, and talent management within ConocoPhillips, led a step change in both the safety culture and resulting metrics in Taqa North, and, in partnership with other leaders, helped to change in Safety culture in Western Canadian drilling and completion operations during his tenure there. 

Erick graduated with a BS from the Florida Institute of Technology. 


Over the first thirty years of his career, Brent worked for three Fortune 500 companies: Union Carbide, PepsiCo and Becton Dickinson. There, he gained a reputation for helping businesses and   business leaders success through better talent, effective leadership and fairness. He’s worked in a variety of management and staff roles with organizations across the globe where he’s practiced the leadership tools he now teaches and he’s particularly skilled at finding ways to connect with individuals from all cultures. 

Brent earned a BS in Industrial Psychology from Northern Arizona and a MA in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota.  He is Hogan Assessment Certified and recognized as an Aresty Scholar at Wharton where he studied organization change, strategy and effective execution of organizational strategy. Brent is Six Sigma Greenbelt certified.

David Balmert

David graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Economics and Accounting. He spent the first decade of his career in the banking industry, where he worked in Corporate Trust for JPMorgan Chase and Bank of New York Mellon. David specialized in structured finance transactions. As Relationship Manager, David was responsible for client relations with some of the bank’s largest Investment Management clients.

As President of Balmert Consulting, David oversees day-to-day operations.