Contributor Biographies

Winfried Boenigk

Winfried Boenigk

Head of R&D and Customer Service, Coal Tar Products, Rütgers Group

Winfried Boenigk, Director Innovation and Regulatory Affairs, has more than 30 years of experience in coal tar and petroleum products and has successfully developed technologies to manufacture tailor-made carbon and graphite products. His mission is working in cooperation with key customers to anticipating developing trends and preparing next generation products for traditional and emerging markets. His focus is to further improve the occupational, environmental, and technical performance of products and processes.

Mr. Boenigk serves as president of the Coal Chemicals Sector Group for the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), overseeing advocacy and regulatory compliance for European coal chemicals producers. He also chairs the Belgian non-profit organization REACH for Coal Chemicals (R4CC) along with more than 50 industrial partners from the steel, aluminium, graphite, and coal tar industries.

Among the topics about which he’s passionate, Mr. Boenigk focuses on how Rütgers can reduce environmental and occupational waste, improve the technical properties of their products and customize them for our clients, and find ways to reduce energy consumption and reduce waste in the supply chain. He seeks to find solutions by introducing advanced processing technologies, integrating the knowledge of suppliers and customers, and utilizing the support of a dedicated team of Rütgers specialists with diverse and valuable experience.

Christoph Boerner

Christoph Börner

Executive Vice President – Aromatic Chemicals, Rütgers Group

Christoph Börner, Managing Director of Aromatic Chemicals and the Rütgers trading business ChemTrade, has a wealth of experience in the coal tar and chemical intermediates industry. In his time with Rütgers he has significantly increased the profitability of Aromatic Chemicals and turned it from a cash negative into a positive and stable business. Before he assumed responsibility for these two key business lines he led the company-wide optimization Operational Excellence program which delivered between 20-30 m€ improvements in EBITDA and cash annually.

Mr. Börner is also responsible for the Rütgers Germany GmbH and is a member of the Board of the Rütgers Foundation.

Before joining Rütgers, Mr. Börner worked as a management consultant in global consulting companies including Accenture, and in various industries such as automotive, energy supply, chemicals, and oil and gas.

Les Edwards

Les Edwards

Chief Technology Officer, Rain CII Carbon

Les Edwards is the Chief Technology Officer for Rain CII Carbon. He has been with the organization since 1998 and is responsible for customer technical support, R&D activities, laboratory services, and quality management.

Mr. Edwards is a regular presenter at industry conferences and has authored or co-authored more than 20 technical papers since joining Rain CII. He is a key contributor in The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS), including past roles as program organizer of the Electrode Technology sessions. Prior to joining Rain CII, Mr. Edwards spent 11 years working in the aluminum industry for Comalco Aluminium in his native Australia.

He holds a BSc degree from the University of Western Australia and an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Mr. Edwards’ passion at Rain CII is to drive technological improvements in carbon use for aluminum smelting, and to continue expanding Rain CII’s influence as a global leader in carbon materials technology.

Ron M. Garbarino

Ron M. Garbarino

Chief Commercial Officer, Rain CII Carbon

Ron Garbarino, Chief Commercial Officer, oversees Rain CII’s sales, logistics, and production planning. He began his career with CII in 1989 as a process engineer, and over the years his depth of experience in our calcining business also includes oversight of raw materials, coke plant operations, labor relations, and safety.

He possesses extensive knowledge of green and calcined petroleum coke markets, specifically related to the use of CPC in the production of aluminum and titanium dioxide, and specialized knowledge in supply chain management as related to the production of CPC.

Mr. Garbarino is a graduate of the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology with a B.S. in Computer Science in 1989. He earned an M.B.A. from Tulane University’s Executive M.B.A. program in 1997.

Uwe Holland

Uwe Holland

Executive Vice President, BL Resins & Modifiers, Rütgers Group

In his role as Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Rütgers Group, Uwe Holland serves as Workers Director for all Rütgers German facilities.

Mr. Holland has nearly three decades of experience within the coal, coke, and coal chemistry industries. Over the last 10 years he has been significantly involved to globally grow the Rütgers resins business for customers within the adhesive, rubber, and coating industries. He is member of the Rütgers Chief Executive Committee and numerous associations such as commercial chambers and sector groups within the chemical industry.

He considers sustainability in its three dimensions – economic, social, and environmental – as the basis for a company’s success. Without a sustainable approach, today’s prosperity would not be reality and tomorrow’s achievements would be at risk. He believes that supporting this three dimensional concept of sustainability within the Rütgers group is one of his most rewarding tasks, and the basis for developing the company’s business.

Richard Kaufmann

Richard Kaufmann

Manager of Information Technology,
Rain CII Carbon

Richard Kaufmann joined Rain CII in June 2014. The Manager of Information Technology, he brings over 14 years of IT experience to the organization. Richard carries a diverse background ranging from big data analytics to information security. His focus within Rain is to drive innovative technology strategy and establish industry best practices surrounding the governance of Information Technology.

Mr. Kaufmann is passionate about technology’s role in aiding teams and organizations working closely together to achieve results. He believes that a problem well defined is a problem half solved and that collaboration and teamwork are the first steps to solving issues that arise.

Gerry Sweeney

Gerry Sweeney

President & CEO, Rain CII Carbon

Gerry Sweeney is President and Chief Executive Officer of Rain CII Carbon LLC, and also the President and CEO of Rain Global Services Inc. Mr. Sweeney has more than 25 years of experience with leaders in the industrial carbon industry. Over the last 15 years, Mr. Sweeney has been instrumental in the global expansion of CPC production, especially China, India, and Kuwait. He sits on the board of Rain Carbon USA, Rain CII Carbon, Rain Global Services Inc., and Rütgers N.V. He also serves on the boards of several charities and non-profit organizations.

Mr. Sweeney aspires to build the world’s most Resourceful, Reliable, and Responsible industrial organization. He leads Rain CII with the belief that leadership means more than being recognized for industry accomplishments and rankings; it means stepping forward and doing the right things for customers, suppliers, employees, the environment, and the communities in which we live and work.

He challenges Rain CII employees to take pride and initiative in developing innovative new processes, helping customers and suppliers solve problems, and working with partners to maximize efficiency and profitability; and also to maintain a daily awareness of the environment and the citizens of the communities in which Rain CII operates.

Mike Tillman

Mike Tillman

Chief Operations Officer, Rain CII Carbon

Mike Tillman has held the position of Chief Operations Officer for Rain CII Carbon since 2014.

Over many years in the organization, Mr. Tillman has seen the company from a wide range of perspectives. He began his career with CII in 1996 as a Staff Engineer. In 2003 he became the Louisiana Operations Manager, responsible for the operations of the Gramercy, Norco, and Chalmette facilities. He has held various other positions in the company including plant Manager, Staff Process Engineer, and Information Systems Coordinator.

Mr. Tillman has also served as a Plant Electrical Engineer for LaRoche Chemicals, where was responsible for instrument and electrical maintenance, as well as capital projects. He is a graduate of Southern University and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology.

Bob Tonti

Bob Tonti

Senior VP & Director of Business Development, Rain CII Carbon

Robert Tonti is senior vice president in charge of business development for Rain CII. During his career, he has held engineering positions in oil refining, aluminum smelting, and carbon processing, including positions with Shell Oil Company and Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical. Over his many years with the Rain CII organization, Mr. Tonti has been responsible for operations, supply chain management, and energy systems.

Mr. Tonti holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and an MBA from the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

He is an avid proponent of energy efficiency and energy conservation through good industrial practice. Within its industry, Rain CII is a leader in co-generation of electricity and steam from waste heat. His passion follows the company promise: to be Resourceful, Reliable, and Responsible in all that we do.

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