Biographies

*These were the biographies from the 2024 Leading Reliability Conference. We will update this page with 2025 biographies shortly.

robertpburke_300x300_acf_cropped

Admiral Robert P. Burke

Senior Vice President, Center for Human Capital Innovation

Linkedin

Robert (Bob) Burke, a retired four-star admiral, culminated his service wearing three simultaneous mantles as Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Africa, and Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, a NATO combined-service command.

He has held distinguished posts as the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and as the Chief of Naval Personnel. He was a career submarine officer, with assignments in both nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile submarines. As Senior Vice President, Bob brings a wealth of talent and experience to every facet of CHCI’s portfolio.

During his 40-plus years in the Navy, he led joint, combined, multinational, and interagency organizations, across all aspects of defense, both at sea and ashore, as well as significant experience in personnel policy and management. During his tenure as the Chief of Naval Personnel, Bob led monumental personnel system transformation efforts, modernizing Navy’s recruiting, training and education, personnel policy, and delivery of HR services to Sailors.

He has received many awards and honors throughout his career. While in command of the USS HAMPTON (SSN 767), an attack submarine, Bob had the unique distinction of being recognized with both the Jack Darby Award for Leadership and the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership.

Bob earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Western Michigan University and an M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida.

ali-slayton-headshot_300x300_acf_cropped

Ali Slayton

Reliability Leader, 3V Sigma USA

Linkedin

I began my career working in mechanical integrity, where I inspected tanks, vessels, and piping. However, I soon realized that my true passion was in reliability. I am deeply interested in failure analysis, reliability culture, and maintenance work processes. Throughout my career, I have held various positions such as reliability engineer, production manager, maintenance and reliability manager, and process engineer. Currently, I am working through the exciting challenge of building a reliable culture at 3V Sigma USA.

When I’m not working, I enjoy powerlifting, watching Battle Bots, eating new foods, and reading books.

Andre-Jooste-scaled_300x300_acf_cropped

Andre Jooste

Ultrasound Specialist, Ultra-Tek

Linkedin

Andre is an ISO level 2 Ultrasound Technician and certified trainer, with 7 years of Ultrasound experience and 40 years of experience working in industrial and mining environments. His customer base includes power stations, various mines, papermills, a nuclear powerplant, food production facilities, steel and lead smelters, etc. He has a wealth of experience with bearings that operate under slow speeds, variable speeds, and variable directions, particularly in the harsh environments of Australian and PNG mine sites, where temperatures often exceed 114 Fahrenheit. As a consultant, he excels in leveraging ultrasound technology to navigate challenges, drawing upon his industry expertise to find explanations when outcomes differ from the expected. Andre is deeply passionate about the transformative potential of ultrasound technology within industrial environments, particularly its capacity to unravel complex challenges. As a trainer, he enjoys sharing his knowledge of ultrasound applications with those open to expanding their understanding.

blair_300x300_acf_cropped

Blair Fraser

Vice President of Global Development, UE Systems

Linkedin

Blair Fraser is a technology evangelist with a natural curiosity to think differently and challenge current thinking. He is VP of Global Business Development for UE Systems and the co-founder and advisor to many companies in the technology space. Blair is a passionate reliability and operational excellence professional with over 20 years of experience in designing, commissioning, maintaining and improving manufacturing equipment and processes for the manufacturing industry. A Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) and Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP), Blair has dedicated his career to combining sound reliability principles and processes with the latest technology to improve asset performance and uptime for customers across the globe.

Bob Kazar 4 UE Sys

Bob Kazar

Maintenance and Reliability Professional, RTK Asset Management

Linkedin

Bob Kazar is the son of a master plumber and in spending many years working with his father he has learned the value of measuring twice and cutting once. Currently Bob has 30+ years as a maintenance and reliability professional.  In his career he has worked in both Food and Manufacturing sectors in multiple roles; an Electrician, Maintenance Manager, Project Manager, and Corporate Director of Reliability.  A great deal of his experience has been in computerized maintenance management systems including Oracle and SAP PM.  Bob’s experience had a focus on Asset Management and MRO inventory projects including multiple ERP deployments with Owens Corning and the Wonderful company. 

Bob joined the SMRP Association (Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals) and volunteered to serve on the board of directors and several committees over the past 20 years. He was on the Board for 5 years and was the Chairman in 2016.

bob-kempe-headshot_300x300_acf_cropped

Bob Kempe

Facilities Bureau Correctional Administrator, Utah Department of Corrections

Bob Kempe is a seasoned professional with a rich and diverse career that spans multiple industries.  With a BSBA and an Associate’s degree in Design Engineering, he exemplifies a unique blend of business administration and technical expertise.

In 2007, Bob embarked on his journey in the Department of Corrections, demonstrating remarkable adaptability and leadership throughout various crucial roles.  Starting as a Correctional Officer, he progressed through positions such as HVAC/Controls Technician, Facilities Coordinator II, and Facilities Coordinator III, ultimately reaching the pinnacle of his career as a Correctional Administrator II.

Before his impactful tenure in corrections, Bob made significant contributions to the Water & Power industry.  He efficiently led the project management department as a project manager, showcasing organizational and managerial prowess.  His experience as a controls engineer in diverse engineering firms added a valuable technical dimension to his skill set.

Bob’s commitment to service extends to the military, where he served both in the Army and the Army National Guard, solidifying his values of discipline and dedication.

A pivotal moment in Bob’s career unfolded in the summer of 2017 when he faced a significant challenge in the female prison under his purview.  Cooling system issues drew attention from Senator Orrin Hatch’s office, propelling Bob into the spotlight.  Despite the recent assumption of the Correctional Administrator II role, he took charge alongside the maintenance staff, demonstrating proactive problem-solving.

Amid initial uncertainties and attributions of the problem to the building’s age, Bob’s innovative approach led him to explore alternative solutions.  This quest led him to discover Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), a methodology he believed was crucial for overcoming their challenges.

Bob’s groundbreaking thinking shone through when he encountered resistance to change within the Facilities Bureau Director.  Despite initial skepticism and budget constraints, his persistence and leadership paved the way for the successful implementation of RCM.  Under his guidance, the team embraced cutting-edge maintenance approaches, incorporating Thermography, Vibration, and Ultrasound technologies.  Their success became a statewide initiative, influencing correctional facilities across the region.

Bob Kempe’s story is one of resilience, leadership, and innovation.  It showcases his ability to navigate challenges and drive positive change in diverse and demanding environments.  His unwavering commitment to excellence and continuous improvement sets a standard in the challenging landscape of correctional facility maintenance.

brandon lewis

Brandon Lewis

Reliability Engineer, McKee Foods Corporation

Linkedin

Brandon Lewis currently works for McKee Foods Corporation as a Reliability Engineer at their facility in Collegedale, TN. He began his career in 2018 in the corporate engineering department and eventually became a Reliability Engineer at the plant where he currently works. He holds a BS in Engineering from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is currently the project manager in charge of deploying the new maintenance excellence program McKee Foods Corporation.

Brian-Headshot

Brian Hronchek

Reliability Engineer, Eruditio

Linkedin

Brian’s Purdue Aerospace Engineering & U.S Marine Core background provides a distinctive experience and a unique perspective to Training, Process Reliability, and Change Leadership.  Brian has diverse experience serving as Maintenance Manager, Reliability Engineer, and Planning Manager.  During that time, Brian co-led the development of a reliability program which resulted in drastic improvements in Overall Equipment Effectiveness.  After his time in Industry 4.0 Space, Brian now serves as Principal Trainer and Consultant at Eruditio. Brian loves helping others see the Reliability Lightbulb turn on and is excited to help others have as much success in the Industry as possible.

christroutt_300x300_acf_cropped

Chris Troutt

Manager Reliability Services, Cogent

Linkedin

Chris Troutt is currently the Manager of Reliability Services at Cogent, a leading company specializing in fluid pumping and water processing/treatment, based in Riverside, MO. Previously, Chris held positions at Acoem as a Technical Trainer, and as a Site Reliability Engineer at Curium Pharmaceuticals in St. Louis, MO. With over 18 years of experience as a Reliability Leader, Chris has honed his expertise in developing and optimizing maintenance programs across various industries including pharmaceuticals, mining and minerals, steel, cement, and power generation. He is skilled in implementing proactive, precision, and predictive maintenance methodologies to ensure operational efficiency and reliability.

Aebischer-Headshot_300x300_acf_cropped

David Aebischer

Senior Data Analyst, Cintel Inc.

Linkedin

Mr. Aebischer has focused his entire Army Civilian and Army Contractor career on improving Army weapon system sustainment outcomes and developing new diagnostic technologies for combat equipment applications. He has used his own technical expertise and technology management acumen to imbue technology insertion, sustainment support, and sustainment training projects with a blend of theoretical and experiential knowledge and to lead change in Army weapon system support strategies. As a thought leader in applied Operations Research (OR), he has introduced game-changing new technologies and innovative techniques for meeting the challenges of sustaining complex weapon systems in combat environments.

Mr. Aebischer is an expert on causality and Bayesian Networks (BN) and on the cognitive task analysis (CTA) and Knowledge Engineering (KE) processes required to develop Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) models from combinations of data and expert knowledge. He is also trained and certified as a Level III Vibration Analyst and trained and certified as a Motion Amplification Analyst.

eddie-hudson-headshot-523x668-1_300x300_acf_cropped

Eddie Hudson

Maintenance Superintendent, Cooper Power Station

Linkedin

As a young boy, I wanted to work at Cooper Power Plant that was located 3 miles from my house. My dream became a reality when I was hired in 1998. Throughout my career, I have held positions such as Machinist, Welder, Mechanic, Foreman, Supervisor, Planner, and currently Maintenance Superintendent. I have a Bachelor in Business Management along with a two-year technical degree in Industrial Maintenance Technology. I enjoy boating, camping, and traveling with my family.

ehren-mackedanz-headshot-523x668-1_300x300_acf_cropped

Ehren Mackedanz

Regional Asset Reliability Manager, Bunge/Michael Foods

Linkedin

Staples Technical College: Machine Tool Technologies: toolmaker: specializing in injection molds.

MSU: Bozeman; Industrial and Management Engineering

Mobius Institute: VCAT II pursuing Cat III

UE Systems: Cat II UE.

ICML: MLA I, COA I

IR: Cat I

MA: Cat I

Raised in the Midwest dairy farming, turned technical after high school. Toolmaker repairing and building custom injection molds, built a construction company on the side which went full time for quite a few years. For family, I closed it up and came back to Industrial life. Picking back up the PdM technologies and program management has been a fun adventure and cannot wait to see what the next year will bring. The food industry has not been very well represented by the numbers, so this is my way of giving back to our community.

Headshot - Florian Buder

Florian Buder

VP of Technical Sales and Engineering, Acoem USA

Linkedin

Florian Buder holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Munich, Germany and an MBA from John Molson School of Business (Concordia University), Montreal. He has 14 years of experience in the industrial maintenance and reliability world.

Florian Buder specialized in Reliability Centered Maintenance. Following his work terms in Germany and Australia and completing his thesis at BMW during his graduate studies, Florian Buder joined PRUFTECHNIK AG located in Munich, Germany, as a Service- and Application Engineer in 2005. He conducted customer training, installations, commissioning and executed field machinery services related to PRUFTECHNIK’s products and technology worldwide. In 2008, he was appointed Condition Monitoring Division Manager of PT’s operation in Montreal, Canada where his mandate was to train the sales team, coordinate customer activities and promote the Condition Monitoring product line of PT in Canada.

In 2010, he was appointed Managing Director of the Canadian operation of PT and in 2015 CEO for all North American operations. In 2022 Florian joined the Senior Leadership team at ACOEM as VP of Technical Sales and Engineering. His key mandate is to structure and organize ACOEM in America and improve channel management while driving profits throughout the country.

Florian Buder has a background in competitive sports with soccer and tennis being areas in which he has excelled. He enjoys a lot of other sports such as skiing, bike riding, playing golf and loves spending time with his family and friends.

JWos-Headshot_300x300_acf_cropped

Jason Wos

Senior Mechanical Engineer, Constellium

Linkedin

Jason is currently the Senior Mechanical Engineer for Element 13 with Constellium at their Muscle Shoals, AL facility. He manages projects, upgrades, and helps with day-to-day activities. Jason has over 25 years of experience in Maintenance and Reliability working in automotive, steel, food processing, and chemical processing to name a few. As a veteran of the Army, he also brings his leadership experiences into play. He enjoys kayaking and playing board games.

jeff hay

Dr. Jeff Hay

CEO, RDI Technologies

Linkedin

Jeff is the CEO of RDI Technologies. He thrives on creating innovative products that disrupt industries and help customers see things in a whole new way. He believes that cameras are the sensor of the future.

Jeff’s background is in Applied Optical Physics. Before founding RDI, Jeff held a Research Scientist position at the University of Louisville where he developed and patented a method to measure motion remotely with the use of a video camera. His roles focused on data acquisition, signal processing, software development, and data analysis. In addition to these technical roles, Jeff was responsible for overseeing the commercialization aspect of the grants he was involved in.

Since starting RDI, he has created and patented multiple methods for using camera technology to measure and visualize motion that is integral to RDI’s products. In addition to research, Jeff also manages the development team at RDI and oversees all product development. He is also actively involved in customer demos, training, and site implementation because he believes that customer feedback and success drive better products.

Jeff has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Louisville.

jenhartz_300x300_acf_cropped

Jen Hartz

Maintenance Reliability Supervisor, Michael Foods

Linkedin

I have spent the last 14 years working in management and maintenance roles at different facilities. The focus was always on preventative maintenance and trying to put out fires as they came up. I shifted gears and gained a huge interest in predictive technologies and a proactive maintenance approach. My passion for that landed me at Michael Foods two years ago where I oversee the Reliability program, our parts room and maintenance planning at our Gaylord facility. Since then, I have been working on improving our maintenance processes and helping to educate along the way. As a member of SMRP, I am currently working on my CMRP certification. I am also VCAT I certified.

When I’m not working, I enjoy hunting, fishing, and camping with my family.

John Waldron

John Waldron

Product Manager, Acoem

Linkedin

Graduated from Temple University with a dual degree in mechanical engineering and German language. Spent the last 10+ years working in the reliability space. Spent time in field-service, technical support, territory management, application management, and product management. Much of that time was spent in the different facets of delivering comprehensive vibration monitoring programs to sites. CAT IV vibration certification.

John-Lazar-headshot_300x300_acf_cropped

John Lazar

Maintenance & Engineering, E. & J. Gallo Winery

Linkedin
  • Director – Maintenance & Engineering: E. & J. Gallo Winery, Industrial Engineer
  • 25 years in various roles, engineering, manufacturing, and last 7 years in maintenance
  • Various Manufacturing Industries: Automotive Glass, Electronics / Systems, Beverage
milan

Milan Heninger

Industry Leader

Linkedin

Milan is a renewable power industry professional with experience ranging from greenfield design through plant operations across numerous technologies and disciplines, including mechanical design, construction & commissioning, failure analysis, and various asset management disciplines. His current work focuses on developing strong systems to drive positive organizational behaviors, and studying how the balance of People, Business Process, and Product Performance is manifested in organizations, and what we can do to manage imbalances when they occur. Milan and his wife Marjanae live in Reno, Nevada where they enjoy the mountains, sports and the outdoors with their two children, Soraya and Marek.

rafnerell_300x300_acf_cropped

Rafael Nerell

Leading Optimization of Asset Performance, Reliability, and Maintainability, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Linkedin

Over 8 years of experience in reliability maintenance engineering, work planning, asset management, supply chain and facility infrastructure. Excellent track record working alongside stakeholders in the implementation of value-added processes and efficient asset management functions. Experience working with cross-functional teams to increase sustainability, establish reliability engineering processes, and provide equitable solutions for stakeholders and government partners.

shelleypennyheadshot_300x300_acf_cropped

Shelley Penny

Reliability Specialist, Tampa Electric

Linkedin

As a Bachelor of Science graduate from The University of Tampa, Shelley began her career in the phosphate industry. After five years of industrial plant experience, she went to work for Tampa Electric Company as a Process Chemistry Specialist in power production facilities, earned a Master of Business Administration and became Supervisor of Water Production and Cycle Chemistry.

A passion for process improvement and desire to better understand reliability led her to join a newly formed Asset Management department as a Reliability Specialist. It was then she realized the true value of an organized, methodical approach to reliability. She pursued the RMIC and CMRP certification and was recently promoted to Program Manager for fleet wide Asset Management. Today, Shelley is using 17 years of power plant experience, coupled with reliability implementation training, to develop a standardized asset management program across the company.

Outside of work, Shelley is active in competitive dog agility and dabbles in fly fishing.

shon_300x300_acf_cropped

Shon Isenhour

Owner, Eruditio

Linkedin

Shon Isenhour is an engineering graduate of North Carolina State University and has become an expert in the implementation of holistic reliability solutions using tools such as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) as well as Six Sigma and Lean to drive significant bottom line results.

Shon specializes in Adult Education, Business Process Management, Strategic Planning, Organizational Change Management, Leadership, Asset Management, and Reliability Engineering and has led improvement initiatives for industries such as pharmaceuticals, metals, petrochemical, paper, and power generation, among others. Shon has spoken on these topics at numerous professional conferences in the United States as well as Europe, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Shon is a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP), Certified Asset Management Assessor (CAMA) and has been certified by Prosci and Colorado State University as a Change Management Professional.

Shon currently writes and manages one of the most visited industry-specific blogs, www.ReliabilityNow.com. This valued resource, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from manufacturing, leadership, reliability, and education, is viewed by over 4,000 visitors every month.

When away from the asset management world, Shon lives reliability as a helicopter and airplane pilot and an avid fisherman. Nobody likes to be stranded in the air or on the water.

Headshot - Stan Riddle

Stan Riddle

Technical Training Supervisor, Acoem

Linkedin

Stan Riddle joined VibrAlign, Inc. (now Acoem USA) in 2008. He has over 35 years experience in aligning industrial machinery. Stan received his AAS Degree in Machinist Technology from Surry Community College in Dobson, NC, and also holds a diploma in Industrial Systems Technology from Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC, where he was also an instructor in the program.

Stan began his maintenance career working as a machinist and millwright for companies such as Weyerhaeuser, R.J. Reynolds, and Tyco Electronics. He also has over 25 years experience in Predictive Technologies, such as vibration analysis, thermography, oil analysis, and ultrasonic inspection. He is a certified Level III Vibration Analyst with the Vibration Institute, and is a Past Chairman and Board Member of the Piedmont Chapter.

Stan and his wife live in Yadkinville, NC.

tommy-qualls_300x300_acf_cropped

Tommy Qualls

Sr. Plant Maintenance Superintendent, McKee Foods Corporation

Linkedin

Tommy Qualls currently works for McKee Foods Corporation as a Sr. Plant Maintenance Superintendent at their facility in Collegedale, TN. He began his career in 2006 in the corporate engineering department and eventually became a Reliability Engineer at the plant where he currently works. He has been a CMRP since 2017. He holds a BS in Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is currently in charge of deploying the new maintenance excellence program in his part of the plant at McKee Foods Corporation and has been the team sponsor for the development of their precision and predictive programs.

trent-scaled_300x300_acf_cropped

Trent McJunkin

Facilities & Maintenance Manager, Oshkosh Defense

Linkedin

A South Carolina native, Trent McJunkin has been in the trades since high school, where he began taking a welding class at his local high school career center. After enrolling in Tri-County Technical College, Trent found his interest for industrial maintenance while studying Industrial Electronics Technology. Working in the OEM automotive manufacturing sector for over a decade has helped him find more opportunities for growth and helped him develop his passion for excellence within an organization. Trent’s goal is to drive maintenance excellence by making people development the top priority. The greatest reward for him is when he sees his team members experience growth and success.

Leading Reliability Conference Testimonials

“A must-attend event for anyone looking to start or improve their maintenance and reliability!”

“I really enjoyed the 2021 Leading Reliability Live and In-person Conference. The speakers each led great discussions and also took time during the day to answer any questions and give out their contact information as a continued resource. There is great value in the contacts made during this conference and the opportunity to talk with our peers about the opportunities and successes we are seeing in our facilities. The venue was excellent and the conference organizers took great care of us. Thank you.”

“This was my first reliability conference, and it was a great experience. I not only enjoyed presenting, but also attending the other workshops. I learned a lot from really established professionals and hope to make improvements at my site with the useful information. I also was able to network with others and answer questions, as well as, get a few of mine answered. Overall this was an excellent conference that was extremely helpful and well put together.”

“What a great week of interacting with a huge variety of professionals that were all focused on reliability! The location, food, and sessions were all outstanding but the atmosphere while enjoying these is what will bring me back next year! Great job guys!”

“This was a wonderful experience. Some of the roadblocks I have while building the PdM program have been removed thanks to this conference. The networking and broad spectrum of speakers was a grand help.”

“The most important part of these types of conferences is the gathering with others who have a interest in implementing a Reliability culture within each of our facilities. This conference provided a lot of available tools and relationships to help improve and implement the reliability culture without our facilities.”

“The Leading Reliability Class was an amazing time! All industry members are experts in their field, and no matter your experience you will definitely take something away from it. No matter if you’re looking for the latest in greatest technology, or just looking to gain knowledge on Reliability Leadership this seminar has it all. Big thank you to everyone who made this visit a pleasure and I look forward to attending again in the future!”

“I got the most from the preconference session with eruditio. I was able to come back and implement some of the strategies immediately.”

“This was my first time attending the reliability conference, so I really wasn’t too sure what to expect. It was a very informative and educational conference. It was a great opportunity to network with folks from within my company as well as build relationships with folks outside of my company.”

“I don’t get the opportunity to meet many other vibration analysts outside of our company, so it was awesome to discuss similarities and differences with them. I loved the atmosphere and networking opportunities.”