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Richard Hill, P.E.


Mr. Hill has 32 years of technical experience working for owner/operators, technology suppliers, project consulting firms, and engineering organizations. Mr. Hill joined Riverside PEC in November 2020 and became a partner on January 2021. Since joining Riverside, Mr. Hill has spent the majority of his time on-site as an owner’s project manager. The owner had struggling with a water treatment project for five years and was running out of time on this regulatory driven project which was required to stay in business. In 11 months, Mr. Hill formed the owner’s project team, completed the design with an outside engineering company, developed a project schedule and budget, led the contractor selection process and completed the project ahead of the deadline.


Prior to joining Riverside, Mr. Hill started his career in 1990 with Exxon (now ExxonMobil) including positions in technical support, process design, energy usage and optimization, refinery economics and crude and residuum operations at the Baytown Refinery with some time spent in head-quarters support multiple refineries.

In 1998, Mr. Hill accepted a position with UOP LLC in Des Plaines, IL. He spent two years in process design and project management, completing basic engineering packages of hydroprocessing units including UOP’s first dewaxing unit. Following those successful designs, Mr. Hill transferred to the services group, managing several consulting engagements for refineries around the world. This work included leading a team of engineers installing refinery optimization and scheduling programs for over a dozen refineries.

In 2005, Mr. Hill joined a team of ten professionals to start up a Chicago office for Jacobs Consultancy (now Advisian). At Jacobs Consultancy, Mr. Hill was the technical lead and engagement manager for more than 30 techno-economic studies for the process industries including landmark studies assessing various upgrading technologies, calculating the trade-offs between energy and water use for SAGD facilities, and evaluating new carbon dioxide capture technologies including incorporating molten carbonate fuel cells in a SAGD central processing facility.  

After two years with Parsons, Mr. Hill joined a Midwest engineering firm in 2018 as the Manager of Engineering and led a multi-disciplined group of over 80 engineers and designers. Mr. Hill was promoted to Director and led the company’s venture into front end engineering services.

Mr. Hill has written and presented over a dozen technical papers for various industry journals and conferences.  He graduated with honors from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and received an MBA with a concentration of Finance from University of Houston-Clear Lake. He is a registered professional engineer (PE) in Illinois and Texas and is a certified project management profession (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI).

John Gieseman

Principal and Founder

Mr. Gieseman founded Riverside PEC in April of 2020 to provide superior technical assistance to our clients based on the skill, expertise and talent of our people. Since founding Riverside, Mr. Gieseman has led several due diligence assignments including renewable diesel investments. In early 2021 was chosen and continues to serve as interim Chief Operating Officer for a newly formed energy company operating a refinery, a pipeline and two terminals in Texas. During his tenure, Mr. Gieseman helped hire a new management team, evaluated the capabilities of the assets, supervised the technical staff of the refinery and worked to improve


operations including changing the crude mix and product slate. His leadership enabled the new company to complete a large regulatory project that had fallen behind schedule and plan and execute a major refinery-wide turnaround to improve the safety and reliability of the plant.

Mr. Gieseman started his career at Honeywell UOP’s Riverside pilot plant facility just outside of Chicago. It was there, like thousands of other recently-graduated chemical engineers that he learned process engineering including catalysis, reaction kinetics and the importance of steady state operations and material balances.

Mr. Gieseman spent ten years in engineering and technical service with UOP advising on dozens of startups and troubleshooting assignments throughout the world. He had long term project assignments in Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. He also had the opportunity to design process units that are operating today in Slovakia and the Ukraine. During this time, he troubleshot and managed capital projects at UOP’s commercial catalyst manufacturing facilities in the United States, England and the Netherlands. 

In 1999, Mr. Gieseman moved to Lummus Technology’s Bloomfield NJ office and started as a sales manager and helped put together the successful Chevron Lummus Global joint venture. Following this, he moved to Houston and formed the Lummus Refining Business Group where he licensed dozens of process units and oversaw Lummus’ research and development and production (engineering) groups in the refining area.

In 2008, Mr. Gieseman moved back home to Chicago and worked as a group manager at Jacobs Consultancy.  There, he executed and led many studies and projects related to improving the operations of process industry clients.  He also helped develop the business strategies for mid-size private firms. Mr. Gieseman led and assisted on a number of due diligence projects for varied clients throughout the world. Mr. Gieseman also spent eighteen months learning about the detailed engineering business working as the Director of Process Industries for a local engineering contractor.

Mr. Gieseman has written and presented over a dozen technical papers for various industry journals and conferences. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and received an MBA with concentrations in Finance, Marketing and International Business from Northwestern University.  

Lance Baird

Senior Advisor,

Biofuels and Process Technology Expert

Mr. Baird spent 37 years at Honeywell UOP LLC during which he contributed to nearly every active process technology in the UOP portfolio. Mr. Baird spent 15 years conducting commissioning, turnaround, startup, process optimization, troubleshooting and training assignments at dozens of refineries and petrochemical facilities worldwide. This included projects covering petroleum refining technologies such as crude and vacuum distillation, FCC, HF alkylation, mercaptan sweetening, reforming, light paraffin isomerization, catalytic condensation, hydrotreating, and hydrocracking, and petrochemical technologies such as Sorbex, paraffin

dehydrogenation, aromatics transalkylation, aromatics isomerization, aromatics extraction, and Detergent Alkylation (HF).

Mr. Baird returned to UOP’s headquarters in 1998 to work on the development of new process technology, catalysts, and adsorbents. He spent twenty years in research and development in various roles during which he filed over 120 invention disclosures, resulting in 21 patents granted and another 16 applications in progress. His contributions resulted in over $200 million in new product revenue to UOP.  

For a 4-year period during this time, Mr. Baird managed an operating staff of ~50 to run the 24x7 operations of over 60 pilot plants while commissioning 14 new units and improving many plants and operating procedures. As a certified 6 Sigma Black Belt, Mr. Baird also mentored 43 colleagues to achieve 42 Six Sigma Green Belt certifications and 1 Lean Master certification on 11 separate improvement projects.

Since 2010, he has had a particular focus on technology development for the production of renewable fuels from both biomass pyrolysis/hydrotreating and triglyceride hydrodeoxygenation/isomerization routes.

Mr. Baird was the technology leader for novel biomass conversion technologies, including accountability for biomass pyrolysis (Envergent RTP™), solids removal, metals removal, hydroprocessing, and FCC coprocessing at the lab scale, pilot scale, and commercial scale at UOP and 3rd party facilities. He was also the technology leader for the UOP Integrated Biorefinery project funded under the DOE program to demonstrate integrated technology for the conversion of biomass to finished transportation fuels. Mr. Baird guided the UOP renewable diesel process development team with troubleshooting, process operation, and analytical recommendations and reviewed the team progress at process development stage gates.

Since leaving UOP, Mr. Baird has consulted on several biodiesel and renewable diesel projects at various stages of development.

Mr. Baird graduated from Washington State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and is an Industrial Mentor for senior Chemical Engineering Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago.   

Tom Benson

Senior Advisor,

Turnarounds, Reliability and Maintenance

Mr. Benson spent 35 years at ExxonMobil (EM) as an expert in turnarounds and reliability and maintenance. He held various senior technical and leadership positions at nearly all of EM’s North American manufacturing sites including all of the refineries. In his last position with EM, Mr. Benson was the lead reliability and maintenance advisor for eight EM refineries with the directive to improve turnaround effectiveness and efficiency, eliminate unplanned downtimes, and maximize the profitability of facilities through increasing equipment reliability and performing better equipment maintenance.

Mr. Benson started his career as a mechanical engineer at Exxon’s Baytown refinery in 1985 and spent 10 years in a variety of roles comprised of technical support, operational leadership, refinery economics, and management and supervision. The broad experience gained at the Baytown refinery provided the foundation for Mr. Benson’s impactful career.

Following two years in headquarters, Mr. Benson was promoted in 1997 to Technical Services Department Head for the Baton Rouge Refinery. Following that role, Mr. Benson led the refinery’s maintenance department and began his progression as both a technical expert in equipment reliability, maintenance, and facility turnarounds and an effective manager of the people and processes that keep manufacturing facilities operating safely and reliably. 

In 2002, Mr. Benson assumed a position to develop, assess, improve and promulgate best practices across all EM refineries in planning and executing turnarounds; inspecting and scheduling equipment maintenance and improving facility uptime and profitability. In 2005 with an opportunity to put some of those best practices to the test, Mr. Benson was promoted to lead some of ExxonMobil’s largest refinery turnarounds integrated with large capital projects. In the span of five years, he was responsible for almost $700 MM of turnaround investment.

From 2011 through 2019, Mr. Benson led the maintenance, reliability and turnaround groups at two refineries, including Esso Canada (Imperial) Strathcona refinery where he had responsibility for all turnaround, maintenance and reliability decisions and the management of over 600 people. 

Mr. Benson graduated with honors from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and received an MBA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

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