Who We Are
Personalized services and solutions
Valdes Engineering Company is a 200-person, multidisciplinary, engineering 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 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 has been the Project Manager for refinery projects of all sizes including some as large as $100MM in total installed cost. Since Bob founded Valdes Engineering Company in 1992, 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 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 client’s expectations.
Steve Ejnik, PE, RA, LEED AP
Steve leads the newly formed 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 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 & technology, clean rooms, office, production/manufacturing, central utility plants and utility distribution and a variety of building upgrade/renovation 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 - 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 Energy & Infrastructure
As our Director of Energy and Infrastructure, Jim is critical to supporting our growing client base in power generation, industrial and gas distribution markets. He has over 31 years of experience in various managerial roles that includes project development, scope definition, scheduling and budgeting for both utility and industrial generation projects. As a U.S. Navy veteran, Jim gained invaluable experience as a Boiler Technician in operation and maintenance of steam propulsion and generating systems. His engineering career includes a combination of working for engineering firms as a design engineer, Owner’s Engineer and project manager. Additionally, he worked for a non-regulated utility on the engineering staff and was responsible for all aspects of a 325 MW steam turbine generator and its associated systems. With this combined experience, Jim has a unique perspective that has positioned him to understand and help clients solve some of their more challenging problems. Jim also manages a team of project managers and project engineers that execute projects in the power, industrial and gas distribution market sectors.
Manager of External Affairs
Jillian brings her experience building relationships and reputations for organizations to Valdes Engineering Company. 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 project management and engineering 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 project management and engineering 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 customer’s expectations.
Business Development Manager
Max brings experience in developing lasting relationships with individuals, clients and corporations in the public and private sector. At Valdes Engineering Company, Max is responsible for the development of new relationships and the continuous growth of existing relationships of our clients that work within the chemical and life science industries. His background in account management and consulting roles allow him to understand the unique requirements of our client’s 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 Engineering Company.