Who We Are
Personalized services and solutions
Valdes is a 200-person, multidisciplinary, engineering, architecture, and project management company with an expert focus on technical excellence. Every client project is assigned a dedicated team of professionals who provide personalized services and solutions. The Valdes success model consists of streamlined work processes, attention to detail, technical expertise, and an unyielding commitment to client satisfaction, safety and quality.
Valdes is guided by our purpose statement:
We are talented people who thrive and achieve extraordinary results for our customers.
Our core values reflect who we are, how we perform and what we aspire to:
Integrity Critical Thinking Excellence Teamwork Passion
Valdes proudly executes all work in the United States to maintain the utmost quality for our clients. We are a certified Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) and hold the following certifications:
- National Minority Supplier Development Council - MBE Certification
- Illinois Department of Central Management Services - BEP Certification
- City of Chicago - MBE Certification
- California Public Utilities Commission, The Supplier Clearinghouse - MBE Certification
Robert (Bob) Valdes, PE, SE
Bob founded Valdes in 1992 and he has guided the leadership team and provided strategic direction to ensure unmatched quality, services and efficiencies. Bob tirelessly promotes doing the work correctly and cost-effectively in a timely manner for Valdes clients. The message of not taking the easy path and always communicating with the client is one that Bob consistently advocates to the Valdes staff. We encourage you to visit Valdes and meet with Bob in person to truly understand what separates Valdes from the rest.
Senior Vice President of Operations
Brandon Bell, PE
Brandon has over 15 years of professional experience in the power industry. He is responsible for the continual development of operating principles and technical excellence at Valdes. These principles include: project management, program management, standard operating procedures, staff development, and technical competencies for both field and home office applications. Brandon's extensive 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.
Senior Vice President - Process Industries
Gary has over 40 years of experience in all phases of Project Management and Engineering in the Oil & Gas, Chemical, Petrochemical, and Industrial industries. He establishes and maintains long lasting client relationships, along with both informal and formal long-term alliances for the development and execution of projects. He has served as a VP, Sr. Project Director, and Sr. Project Manager responsible for the commercial and technical performances of contracts; ensuring project execution is in conformance with the clients requirements in terms of quality, cost and schedule. Gary has directly managed projects in excess of $150MM, as well as multiple project teams executing small projects to $80MM projects concurrently.
Vice President of Energy & Infrastructure
Jim Van Laar
Jim has over 35 years of proven leadership performing engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) projects in chemical, power, refining, and heavy industrial business sectors. He has a history of building and managing multi-million dollar international and regional work from large, greenfield mega-projects to maintenance and turn-around projects within operating facilities. His extensive experience includes business development, relationship management, managing multiple projects and programs, including multiple lump-sum engineering, procurement, construction (EPC); research and development; and project development. He has successfully led multi-company partnerships, creating cohesive teamwork to meet clients' expectations.
Steve Ejnik, PE, RA, LEED AP
Steve leads the Facilities division for Valdes and is focused on expanding Valdes’ presence in the public sector as well as the facilities business in general. Steve is responsible for daily activities associated with project execution, quality assurance, strategic business planning, administration and business development. He has over 30 years of experience working in the industrial and public sectors, managing teams of design professionals, and providing full service architecture and engineering services for new construction and renovation projects. Steve’s experience includes working with the Federal Government on National Laboratories, the General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers and the Army Contracting Command. He also has worked with a variety of Midwestern universities and colleges as well as pharmaceutical and manufacturing clients. Steve has extensive experience working with the State of Illinois Capital Development Board and municipal governments throughout the Chicagoland area. His project experience includes science and technology, clean rooms, office, production/manufacturing, central utility plants and utility distribution, and a variety of building upgrade/renovation projects.
Vice President of Power Delivery
Bob O'Hara, PE
Bob has over 25 years of power delivery experience working with electrical utility clients. He is responsible for project execution, staff development, business development, and client relationships for the Power Delivery group. He has extensive experience serving as a department manager, project manager, and project engineer for substation design projects, transmission line design projects, and transmission impact studies. Bob has served as the project manager for substation projects over $100 MM, including numerous gas-insulated substation (GIS) projects.
Director of Griffith Operations
Maureen Foster Vasselli
Maureen has over 20 years of experience in engineering, project management, construction oversight and supply chain in energy industries, including power, oil and gas, renewables, and government contract sectors, chemical, and industrial. She has a successful history in managing all phases of project planning, technical design, procurement, logistics and execution of engineering activities on both green-field sites and expansions/retrofits to existing power plants.
Director of Energy & Infrastructure
Tom Etchason, PE
Tom has over 30 years of Project Management and Project Engineering experience within the power and utilities industries. He has held various positions of increasing responsibilities, moving from technical engineering roles, to strategic and business development roles. His project management experience is specific to developing proposal strategy and responses, customer relationship management and new product/service offering development to cultivate new business and further meet clients’ needs.
Director of Plant Services
Darrel has over 35 years of professional experience as a hands-on project manager and inspector within the petroleum refining and chemicals industries. He has built excellent client relationships and excelled at team leadership during his years of inspection coordination and corrosion supervision in petroleum refinery operations. Darrel also has extensive knowledge and experience with maintenance, project construction, construction documentation, and turnarounds for small and large projects.
Director of Talent Acquisition & Development
Mary has over 15 years of experience in talent acquisition and people development within engineering and nonprofit organizations. The last 11 years of Mary’s career have specifically focused on engineering recruiting and development. While working at Valdes, she has helped to expand our footprint in the energy sector while also developing new teams in pharmaceuticals, surveying, power delivery and facilities. In addition to hiring and employee development, Mary helps to develop the culture, promote the mission and values, and implement talent management strategies.
Manager of External Affairs
Jillian brings her experience building relationships and reputations for organizations to Valdes. She has worked in corporate, government and non-profit spaces to help organizations gain more exposure and extend their reach. She is proud to share Valdes’ strong engineering, architecture, and project management services with its partners and potential clients, while also promoting its reputation as an experienced Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Jillian can use both English and Spanish interchangeably and has a depth of international experience. She looks forward to meeting you and identifying ways Valdes can support your business with its engineering, architecture, and project management solutions.
Manager of Engineering
Mariano Marinkovic, P.Eng.
Mariano has over 20 years of experience in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries. He has held roles in these industries supervising, staffing, planning, coordinating, and supporting departments and engineering work on major, comprehensive projects. He has extensive experience in control and safety system analysis and design, engineering analysis and design, equipment design and specifications, bid evaluations, feasibility studies, HAZOP analysis/reviews, PLC programming, project engineering, proposals and estimates, scope development and definition, specification and procedure writing, and start-up and commissioning. Mariano also holds certifications in Functional Safety Expert Training and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. As the Manager of Engineering, Mariano is responsible for the technical execution of projects and development of the engineering disciplines to continue to exceed our customers' expectations.
Business Development Manager
Max brings experience in developing lasting relationships with individuals, clients and corporations in the public and private sector to Valdes. At Valdes, Max is responsible for the development of new relationships and the continuous growth of existing relationships with our clients within the chemical and life science industries. His background in account management and consulting roles allow him to understand the unique requirements of our clients' needs and to partner with them to proactively develop technical solutions. As the Business Development Manager, Max works with our project managers, engineering disciplines and directly with our clients each day.
Director of Human Resources
Pam Bruggeman, JD, SHRM-CP
Pam oversees the support services teams at Valdes including Human Resources, Marketing, Safety, and Administrative Support. She is a double alumnus from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in English followed by her Juris Doctor with a concentration in Employment Law. Pam works with the entire staff on talent development, career progression, and making sure our internal teams have the resources necessary to achieve superior client and employee satisfaction. Pam believes in an integrated approach between all departments to ensure our employees, and ultimately our clients, receive top-notch support from Valdes.