Robert (Bob) Valdes, P.E., S.E.


Bob Valdes founded Valdes Engineering Company in 1992 with a mission to build a professional engineering firm based on the principles of integrity and quality. His unwavering commitment to these values is the foundation upon which the company has always operated.

Bob has been the president since the company's inception and provides the overall leadership and strategic oversight to ensure efficiency, quality, unmatched service and cost-effective management of resources.

Recently Bob has taken on the role of Vice President of Business Development. As such, he will lead the BD team in their new and current business endeavors. If you are a prospective client and in need of engineering help, please reach out to Bob.

Raised in the City of Chicago, Bob earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979 and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1986. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, North Dakota and Wisconsin and is a licensed Structural Engineer in Illinois.

Bob became well versed in every facet of the business while working his way up the ladder as an employee at some of the world's leading engineering and construction firms. Since founding Valdes Engineering Company, he has put that experience to work and personally ensures that every project meets his high standards and that every document that leaves the company earns the right to carry his name.

Brandon Bell, P.E.

Vice President of Operations

Brandon Bell serves as the Vice President of Operations for Valdes Engineering Company. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Mathematics from Purdue University as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University. In addition, Brandon is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois and has over 12 years of professional experience.

Brandon focuses a majority of his efforts on the continual development of operating principles and technical excellence. These principles include, but are not limited to, project management, program management, standard operating procedures, staff development, and technical competencies for both field and home office applications. His team members work in tandem with each other to continue to deliver excellent services to our clients.

Brandon’s background includes working as a Project Manager and Project Engineer performing EPC projects, field and home office engineering support, operational and technical studies, start-up and commissioning experience, specifications, commercial negotiations and procurement within the Power and Utility sector. He is a Contributing Editor to POWER Magazine and has written over 18 technical publications and presentations. Brandon also sits as a Program Committee Member for POWER-GEN International on the Emissions Control Track.

Steve Becht

Vice President of Business Development

Steve Becht serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Valdes Engineering Company. Steve graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He has over 20 years of experience in business operations, project management, project controls and engineering within the Oil & Gas industry.

Steve is responsible for ensuring that quality products are delivered to the client on-time and within budget. He is also well-versed in developing and maintaining relationships which foster growth between the client and Valdes.

Steve’s background includes working on-site for both BP-Whiting and CITGO-Lemont in various roles including Project Controls Superintendent, Project Manager and Project Engineer.  

Jesse Smith, P.E. 

Manager of Engineering

Jesse has nearly 15 years of Mechanical Engineering and managerial experience in the Oil & Gas, Chemical and Power industries. He has a multi-faceted background in mechanical / design engineering, safety, equipment installation management and project troubleshooting. Jesse takes pride in his ability to develop solutions for complex projects while also optimizing his resources.  

Jesse has his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Missouri-Rolla in Rolla, Missouri and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Indiana. 

Kraig Whalen, CSP, CET

Director of Safety

Our Director of Safety, Kraig Whalen, is a Certified Safety Professional with over 20 years of experience in safety while working in the engineering and construction industries.  Kraig is passionate about keeping our employees safe on the job and about the company's extensive and rigidly enforced safety program. Safety training begins on the first day of employment and as part of the company culture becomes second nature to all employees.  Education is the key to maintaining a safe work environment at all job sites as well as in our engineering offices and Kraig is well respected for his passion to keep us safe at work and at home.

Kraig has his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.  He is qualified to provide confined space, LOTO, respirator, hazard awareness and overseer training. He has also served as a member of the safety committee for numerous Fortune 500 clients of Valdes Engineering Company. 

Kraig’s extensive experience at major refineries and industrial facilities has helped to keep our recordable injury at ZERO for the last four years.