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September 30

Pre-Event Network Mixer

- Sponsored by WIN
6pm - 9pm
2 drink tickets and heavy appetizers included with admission at
Olive or Twist
140 6th St Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 255-0525

October 1

Continental Breakfast

- Sponsored by Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and PCIC

Beverages throughout the day sponsored by FBC Chemical Corp and Univar Solutions

CSX – Dean Piacente, VP Sales & Marketing

- Rail Based Logistics Solutions for the Chemicals Industry
8:30 AM - 9:10 AM

Virgo – Flemming B. Bjoernslev, Operating Partner:

- Perspectives from a Chemicals Executive:  Value of a Growth Capital Partner.
9:20 AM - 10:00 AM

Deloitte – Duane Dickson, Vice Chairman & US Oil, Gas & Chemicals Sector Leader

- Rethinking Talent to Shape the Chemicals Industry
10:10 AM - 10:50 AM

IHS – Nick Vafiadis, Vice President, Plastics:

- Ethylene / Polyethylene Outlook and Sustainability Trends
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Lunch with Keynote Speaker:
Shell – Hilary Mercer, Vice President:

- Dessert sponsored by WTS
11:45 AM - 1:40 PM

Panel Discussion:
Supply Management– A Path Forward in the Chemical Industry
Lanxess – Jim Raines, VP Procurement & Logistics
A.T. Kearney – Oliver Zeranski, Partner

- Moderated by Jim Baehr of Sourcing Strategies Group
1:50 PM - 2:40 PM

Thomas – Tony Uphoff, CEO:

- Trends in Chemical Sourcing
2:55 PM - 3:40 PM

WTS – Tom Stanczyk, Zero Waste Strategist:

- Sustainability in the Chemicals Industry
3:50 PM - 4:20 PM

Networking Reception:

- Sponsored by CEC and Ergon

Hilary Mercer

Keynote Speaker
Hilary Mercer

Vice President Pennsylvania Chemicals

Hilary Mercer was appointed as Vice President Pennsylvania Chemicals on August 1, 2017.

Hilary was previously responsible for the Shell worldwide portfolio of integrated Gas Projects spanning Onshore and Floating LNG, Regassification and other gas related projects. She served as Executive Director for Shell’s Prelude project in, Geoje Island, South Korea and was instrumental in leading the project to successful sail-away.

Hilary joined Shell in the UK as a Maintenance Engineer at Stanlow refinery in 1987. In 1994, she moved to the Netherlands where she worked in concept engineering developing small scale LNG offerings. In 1997, she was appointed Lead Mechanical Engineer for Construction in Oman, after which she worked for Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd., first as the Commercial Manager for the project and later as Construction Manager and Project Director. She was appointed Technical Director for Iraq South Gas Venture in 2009, supported the utility project within Pearl GTL in 2010, and served as LNG Project Director at Arrow Energy where she grew the company from start-up to a competent operating and development organization.

Hilary has a degree in Engineering Science from Oxford University, is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and is actively engaged in the promotion of engineering as a profession both within and outside Shell including encouraging greater female participation in the industry.

Hilary is married to Ian Rogers a Shell civil engineer and describes her outside interests as mountaineering, ski mountaineering and horse riding in truly remote locations around the globe.

Bill Flanagan

Master of Ceremonies
Bill Flanagan

Chief Corporate Relations Officer,
Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Bill Flanagan serves as Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliated regional development organizations: The Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh LLC, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Bill guides the development of regional and organizational messaging strategy and supervises Investor Relations activities, including membership development and programming, as well as fundraising.

An experienced broadcast journalist, Bill has told the story of the transformation of the economy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for more than 30-years. He serves as host and producer of “Our Region’s Business,” a weekly business public affairs program on WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, PA, the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel (PCNC), and YouTube.

As President of The Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership in 2009, Bill helped to organize the public/private partnership of organizations from across southwestern Pennsylvania that came together to welcome the world for the Pittsburgh Summit. As Executive Director of Pittsburgh 250, the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the naming of Pittsburgh in 2008, Bill supervised a multi-year, 14-county initiative.

Bill came to work in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1982 as a reporter for KDKA-TV. He served as the station’s Money Editor for 13 years and has written about personal finance for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and KDKA-AM.

Bill serves on the boards of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

A graduate of Northwestern University (B.S. Speech), Bill holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a native of Dover, Delaware.

Dean Piacente

Dean Piacente

VP Sales & Marketing

Dean Piacente is Vice President Industrial Products. In this capacity, he is responsible for driving growth across CSX’s chemicals, forest products, metals, and minerals businesses. Piacente has more than 30 years of experience at CSX across different customer segments. Prior to his recent appointment as the leader of the Industrial Products business in 2018, Piacente was Vice President, Intermodal, and was responsible for domestic and international intermodal business segments.

Piacente earned a bachelor’s science degree from Florida State University. He received a certificate in business excellence from Columbia Business School, in addition to participating in CSX’s Executive Leadership Forum with Harvard Business School.

Flemming B. Bjoernslev

Flemming B. Bjoernslev

Operating Partner

Flemming B. Bjoernslev is an accomplished business leader, who has 30 years of international experience working for the chemical industry in Europe, Latin America and the United States. In 1986 he moved to Germany, where he joined the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG. After his vocational training at Bayer AG, he embarked on an international career, where he worked in several positions of increasing importance within various business groups in Europe and Latin America. In 2005 Flemming joined the spin-off of the Bayer AG chemical activities forming the company Lanxess AG. In 2012 appointed President & CEO of Lanxess Corporation overlooking 15 sites with 1,700 employees & 2 Billion $ turnover in North America.

In 2015 Flemming retired from Lanxess Corp and decided to stay in the US to become an independent advisor to the chemical industry in North America.

Duane Dickson

Duane Dickson

Vice Chairman and US Oil, Gas & Chemicals Sector Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Duane Dickson is a Vice Chairman and principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Energy Resources & Industrials Industry group, as well as the US Oil, Gas & Chemicals Sector Leader and the Global Energy & Resources Consulting leader. Additionally, he is the former Global Chemicals & Specialty Materials Sector Leader for Deloitte Global. Duane served as a World Economic Forum’s (Forum) Project Advisor and the Forum’s Chemical Community Lead, Chemistry and Advanced Materials. He focuses on providing services in corporate and growth strategies; acquisitions, divestitures, and carve-outs; and general management, working primarily with chemicals, materials, industrial products, consumer packaged goods, medical devices, and safety equipment industries.

Duane has more than 38 years of business and consulting experience in senior leadership positions in major industrial and healthcare products companies.

Nick Vafiadis

Nick Vafiadis

Vice President, Plastics

Previously, as the business director for polyolefins, and service leader for IHS Markit’s Global Plastics & Polymers Report, his daily responsibilities encompassed analysis, consulting, and reporting on the global polyolefins market, as well as managing the operations associated with producing and developing the report. Concurrently, he contributed to single client projects and studies related to the polyolefins industry. In his earlier assignments, he was responsible for consulting duties associated with the chlor-alkali and vinyl product chain. He contributed to the Monomers Market Report, the Chlor-Alkali Market Report, and the Global Plastics & Polymers Market Report. He has been with IHS Markit and its predecessor CMAI since 2002. Before joining CMAI, he had spent twelve years with Vista Chemical Company (now Condea Vista Chemical Company), where he held assignments in marketing, product management, and sales management in both the vinyl and surfactant business areas. Mr. Vafiadis holds a Management BBA from The University of Texas at Austin, United States.

Jim Baehr

Panel Moderator
Jim Baehr

Supply Management Lead
Sourcing Strategies Group LLC

Sourcing Strategies Group LLC supports the Supply Management needs of clients, with a focus on assessments, strategies and coaching. He’s held senior positions with Bayer Corporation and Reed Elsevier and had an accomplished career in Sales.

While at Bayer he developed and delivered Strategic Sourcing & training courses.

In 2019 Jim launched Sourcing on Sunday – think pieces for sourcing professionals. He writes for Supply Chain Management Review, Inside Supply Management, My Purchasing Center™, the StrategicSourceror, and the Water & Finance Management Journal. He was a contributing author to the book Next Level Supply Management Excellence: Your Straight to the Bottom Line® Roadmap.

Jim is a Past President of ISM Pittsburgh and a member of the Board for the Joint Chemical Group of Pittsburgh.

Jim Raines

Jim Raines

VP Procurement & Logistics

Chemical Industry Procurement Executive with vast International experience encompassing Supply Chain, Procurement, Manufacturing, Engineering and HR disciplines. Content expert on Petrochemical Procurement of Olefins including Butadiene, Raffinates, Isobutylene and Isoprene.

Education/Degree: BS Chemical Engineering, West Virginia University

Wharton School Executive Negotiation Program Current Job title and responsibilities: VP Global Procurement and Logistics (GPL) North America, responsible for all central and site procurement and for all logistics procurement.

Oliver Zeranski

Oliver Zeranski

A.T. Kearney

Oliver is a Principal at A.T. Kearney and a member of the firm’s global Chemicals practice. He works with clients to improve performance and define and implement strategic objectives within their companies. His focus is serving clients in the Chemicals industry and in adjacent markets such as Consumer Products and Industrials. Recent client work of the practice covers a diverse set of topics ranging from due diligence support and M&A strategy, developing business unit strategy to large-scale transformation efforts. Oliver received an MBA from ebs European Business School and an MS-MIS degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Tony Uphoff

Tony Uphoff


Before joining Thomas in January of 2017, Tony served as CEO of, where he led the turnaround, build out and successful sale of the company in June of 2016. Prior to, Tony was CEO of UBM TechWeb, where he led the transformation of a declining print-centric business into a fast-growing digital media, live event and marketing services powerhouse. He also served as President of VNU Media’s Entertainment Group and Publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, building out and expanding the brands via digital media and live events. Uphoff was the founding CEO of Internet Media company Beliefnet and served as Publisher of InformationWeek in the mid-90s, growing the brand into the largest in the history of B2B media. Tony anchors the popular weekly Thomas Index video reports and has been named “Folio Forty C-Level Visionary” by Folio Magazine, “Top Media Innovator” by Mins B2B and is regularly named in the Top 100 business media execs by B2B Magazine. Uphoff serves as a Trustee of Linfield College, sits on the board of HIMSS Media and serves a mentor at Mucker Labs.

Tom Stanczyk

Tom Stanczyk

Zero Waste Strategist

Tom is an accomplished waste chemist, with over 40 years of experience. Mr. Stanczyk is recognized for his expertise in assisting manufacturers & users with the development and implementation of waste minimization plans. This expertise has effectively been used by numerous businesses, (GM, Procter & Gamble, Ford, Caterpillar).

Tom is currently working with WTS, Inc – Lewistown, NY, to deploy game changing solutions and sustainable technologies that enhance stakeholder sustainability. Tom is a zero waste strategist and sustainable material management specialist collaborating with chemical processing and consumer goods manufacturers on the direct reuse and re-purpose of discarded facility resources and chemicals. WTS is working with chemical manufacturers in powering a circular economy , in which by-products and materials are reclaimed and cycled to eliminate waste while reducing environmental impacts and conserving resources.

Tom is a graduate of Niagara University.