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2019 Speakers

Meet the expert speakers who presented thought-provoking topics at MetCoke World Summit 2019.

  • Ashutosh Agarwal

    Director of Industry Strategy Uptake

    Ash serves as Director for the Manufacturing and Mining Practice at Uptake, a leading industrial-AI and enterprise software company. At Uptake, his team guides mining companies towards excellence across the value chain by leveraging data from various sources within operations.

    Over the past several years, Ash has advised dozens of Mining and Manufacturing CIOs and CTOs on the best practices in the Digital Transformation of their organizations, thanks to his extensive experience in operations, strategy, start-ups, and Digital technologies. Prior to Uptake, Ash was the co-founder and CEO of an AI start-up that leveraged data to improve productivity and reliability of operations.

    He also has more than 12 years of experience in the mining-metals industry in both operations and as an OEM supplier. He led Zinc mining and metals operations  for one of the largest metals companies to achieve the best in class production and recovery targets. In addition, he planned and executed several capital expansion projects to make the metals company the world’s largest integrated Zinc-Lead producers at the time. He also served a leading OEM for the resources industry, where he was responsible for the commercial growth of a $100M mineral processing equipment portfolio.

    Ash holds a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he mentored several start-ups on business planning, product-market fit, and public speaking. Ash can be found talking to CIOs, CTOs, and CEO’s of mining, metals and tech companies on his Podcast-Core Insights.

  • David Ailor

    President American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute (ACCCI)

    David Ailor has been with the Washington, D.C.-based American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute for more than 20 years. His tenure with ACCCI includes 16 years, from 1989 – 2005, as ACCCI’s first Director of Regulatory Affairs; and, four years, from 2015 to the present, as President of the Institute.

    As ACCCI President, Mr. Ailor, who reports to ACCCI’s Board of Directors, organizes and manages four off-site meetings of the Institute each year, including ACCCI’s Annual Meeting, a Business Meeting of the Board, and biannual meetings of ACCCI’s “Manufacturing, Environmental, and Safety and Health” (MESH) Committee. Additionally, he prepares and manages an annual budget for the Institute.

    Mr. Ailor also has many of the same responsibilities he had from 1989 – 2005, when he served as ACCCI Director of Regulatory Affairs. His overall responsibility in this area is monitoring and reporting to ACCCI’s membership on Federal agency actions on environmental and employee safety issues of potential concern to the membership. Related responsibilities include analyzing regulations/legislation; formulating policy positions; developing regulatory responses; and, working with the relevant regulatory agencies (EPA, OSHA) to ensure the reasonableness of the regulations being developed.

    Mr. Ailor’s previous professional experience in Washington, D.C. includes senior staff regulatory affairs positions with the Washington, D.C.-based National Oilseed Processors Association, for which he worked from 1989 - 2015. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., Mr. Ailor held environmental engineering positions with Frito-Lay, Inc. (Plano, TX), The Standard Oil Company of Ohio (Cleveland, OH); TRW, Inc. (Research Triangle Park, NC); and, the California Air Resources Board (Sacramento, CA).

    Mr. Ailor is a registered Professional Engineer and holds an M.S.C.E. degree from Purdue University and a B.S.C.E. degree from North Carolina State University.

  • Chuck Arnold

    Senior Vice President, Dry Cargo Ingram Barge

    Chuck Arnold has more than 10 years of experience in the finance sector.  

  • Dr. Neil J. Bristow

    Principal/Managing Consultant H&W Worldwide Consulting Pty Ltd, Australia

    Dr. Bristow has been actively involved in the steel and steelmaking raw materials industries for over 22 years. During this time, he has led numerous investigations in coal and iron ore technical and market research, minerals strategy development, and market planning for BHP’s coal business, and was Chief Analyst for BHP Billiton’s Carbon Steel Materials Group, leading the Market Intelligence Group in Singapore.

    His key expertise in steel, metallurgical coal, iron ore, and manganese ore and ferroalloys, coupled with strategic vision and long term analysis on future directions in emerging markets, saw him as an early proponent of the rebirth of the global steel industry, the rise of China and of coal’s growth story, together with a strong belief in China’s emergence as a major seaborne metallurgical coal importer. He has been a strong advocate for India’s growing coal demand.

    In April 2009, he formed H&W Worldwide Consulting, putting his strong market analysis and strategy skills to good use across bulk commodities, including iron ore and coal –for both coking and thermal.

    As an internationally recognized expert in areas of steel and steelmaking raw materials, long term trends and scenarios, he has written and presented numerous publications at highly respected international conferences and meetings.

    • Australia
  • Robert Burns

    Attorney Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

    Robert L. Burns, Jr. is a Shareholder with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Burns is a member of the firm's Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Section and focuses his practice on environmental law and its intersections with coal, oil and gas, and other natural resources, development and construction, lending and other commercial transactions, environmental compliance and remediation, and litigation.  As part of his energy practice, he has advised coal mining companies regarding their leasing programs, various transactions, as well as challenges to their environmental permits and leases under state laws and regulations and under the National Environmental Policy Act.  He regularly advises clients regarding environmental permitting and regulatory requirements, as well as environmental disputes.  He has also worked extensively with lenders to the oil and gas and coal industries, addressing real estate and environmental matters.  Mr. Burns earned a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering and a bachelor of arts in English from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1991.  He received a master of science in environmental engineering from Marshall University in 2000.  He received his Juris Doctor from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1994.  He is certified as an accredited professional under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard issued by the U.S. Green Building Council.

    Robert L. Burns, Jr., Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, 301 Grant Street, 20th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219; 412-562-1312;

  • Dr. Paul Butterworth, MBA CChem MRSC

    Research Manager, Steel Raw Materials and Steel Costs CRU Group

    Paul joined CRU in 2012 and has overall responsibility for CRU's analysis of the steel raw materials markets, including iron ore, metallurgical coal, metallurgical coke and ferroalloys.

    Paul is also responsible for steel cost services, which currently include a comprehensive suite of cost models covering iron ore mining, coal mining, steelmaking and ferroalloys operations worldwide.

    Paul has 29 years' experience in the steel industry, having worked for Tata Steel, Corus, British Steel and the International Iron and Steel Institute (now the WorldSteel Association) in a range of strategic, business development, planning and technical roles.

  • Nicholas Cron

    Vice President, Portfolio Optimization & Marketing XCoal Energy & Resources

    Nicholas Cron, Vice President of Portfolio Optimization and Marketing, joined Xcoal in October 2011.  Nick has spent his tenure at Xcoal focusing on sales and marketing of Xcoal’s products. In his current role, Nick works closely with the various Xcoal offices and marketing team to allocate Xcoal’s metallurgical and thermal coal products to the global market. Nick holds an undergraduate degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Rebekah Durham

    Director, Regional Economic Information Network Federal Reserve of Atlanta, New Orleans Branch

    Rebekah Durham is the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans Branch director of the research department’s regional economic information network. She is responsible for gathering and interpreting economic data and anecdotal information gathered from business and community leaders, and presenting findings to senior leadership; a process that ultimately contributes to monetary policymaking. She also contributes to original articles and data visualizations on labor markets, energy, and regional matters for the Bank’s external publications.

    Rebekah joined the New Orleans Branch in 2006 as a business analyst in a department responsible for overseeing currency services across the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s branches. She served in various regional and national leadership roles during her tenure. Prior to assuming her current role in 2017, she was an economic and policy specialist in the research department.

    Although raised in Texas, Rebekah considers herself a Louisianan. She has lived in “The Boot” since attending Louisiana State University, where she graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in economics and minors in Spanish and political science.

  • Hector Forster

    Senior Editor, Atlantic Steel Raw Materials and Global Metals Group Analysis S&P Global Platts, UK

    Joined Platts in 2008 and is currently Senior Editor, for steel raw materials and metals analysis globally, based in London. He led the launch of Platts Atlantic coking coal spot assessments in 2012, iron ore pellet premiums and covered steel products, ferrous scrap and coal markets. Prior, he was energy industry and markets reporter at Bloomberg News, covering oil and gas, utilities, commodity traders in Japan and Asia-Pacific, Russia from Tokyo. At Dealogic in London, provided research and analysis of project finance transactions in energy, infrastructure, and telecoms. Graduate of BA (Hons) in European Business Studies with Spanish, including Erasmus program in Spain, and in 2018 obtained the Certificate in International Trade and Finance CITF qualification.

  • Hugh Halford-Thompson

    Vice President of Business Development Minehub

    Coming Soon

  • Becky E. Hites

    President Steel-Insights, LLC

    Becky is a global steel industry professional who has served as an equity analyst, project finance and mergers and acquisitions investment banker, cost modeling expert, industry trend macro and micro consultant, expert witness and C-level strategic planning consultant.

    She was on the II All-American Research Team, Metals in 2001 and was on the team recognized by the Wall Street Journal for earnings accuracy for four consecutive years, 1993-1996. She’s a proven leader with deep financial, operation, trade and market relationships at the steel producer, trader, processor and user levels.

    She started her company Steel-Insights, LLC in 2012 which was profitable in its first full year of independent operation, generating a six figure top line with a 40% gross margin and has increased profitability every year since the firm’s formation, adding new clients in each of the past five years since forming the firm.

    She produces reports on the strength of the US and global economies, the global steel cycle, USA mill profitability and utilization, and specific product market micro analysis.

    Becky has an economics degree from the State University of West Georgia and an MBA from Georgia State University.

  • Luther Lu

    Analyst Luminus Management LLC

    Luther has been covering the coal industry since 2006 and was conducting independent consulting in China for 6 years prior to joining Luminus Management, an asset management firm with $3B under management.

  • Dr. Pekka Mäntylä

    Senior Technical Director Filtra Group Oy

    Pekka Mäntylä is a Doctor of Technology (Helsinki University of Technology, 1990) and has held several leading academic and industry positions. He has more than 40-years of experience in large industrial facilities (e.g. SSAB Raahe Steel Works, Wärtsilä Oy, etc.) as a research manager and quality control engineer. Mr. Mäntylä has also been involved in several European Commission funded projects having extensive experience in large R&D projects and innovation transfer.

  • Prakhar Mishra

    Chief (Coke Plants) Tata Steel

    Mr Prakhar Mishra completed his B.Tech in Metallurgy from IIT BHU in the year 1984. He joined Tubes Division of Tata Steel in 1984. He worked in various Tube Mills as Quality Assurance & Process Control Engineer for 7 years. Then he got transferred to the R&D and Scientific Services Division of Tata Steel and worked there for 4 years in the same function of quality assurance & process control in the finishing mills area. He worked for a short stint in training function and sinter plants and then went to Blast Furnaces, where he worked in operations of Blast Furnaces for 14 years. Mr Mishra then went on to work in the Coke Plants as Chief of all the coke plants of Jamshedpur (recovery ovens) & Haldia (non-recovery ovens). Currently, he is at Coke Plants since last 5 years. He has wide experience of operating Blast Furnaces and Coke Plants, use of various coals in stamp charge batteries recovery ovens as well as non-recovery ovens. Mr Mishra has published many papers in international and national journal of repute and has also delivered talks in various international and national seminars and symposiums.

  • Emily Mitchell

    Director, Regional Economic Information Network Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Nashville Branch

    Emily Mitchell is a director for the Regional Economic Information Network (REIN) in the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In this capacity, she supports the monetary policy process by gathering and synthesizing insights from Tennessee business and community leaders to provide real-time intelligence about regional economic conditions.

    Mitchell joined the Atlanta Fed’s community and economic development team in 2011, and most recently served as operations manager for the group. In that role, she managed the team’s reporting, budgeting, and staffing functions. Her system projects have included management of the Federal Reserve Banks’ Small Business Credit Survey.

    Mitchell has a master's degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Tech University. In Nashville, she is a part of the 2020 Class of Leadership Middle Tennessee and volunteers with several community organizations, including as a member of grant advisory review committees for the United Way of Metro Nashville and Metro Nashville Social Services

  • Guram Nemsadze

    Chairman of Supervisory Board GIR Refractories

    I am one of the founders of GIR, which today includes 4 refractory plants, its own research center, 2 open pit mining of its own raw materials and a machine-building plant. Today the company employs 2000 people and supplies of our materials are carried out worldwide. In 2003, having a master's degree in finance, I started working as a financial director of one of our future plants (KDZ), however, in the process, I realized that I was experiencing a shortage of technical knowledge and had completed numerous courses and attended lectures at the Kiev Technical University on refractory technology and metallurgy.

    From 2004 to 2019, I participated and was a speaker at numerous conferences and colloquiums on the technology of the use of refractory materials - Koksovnytstvo, Poland - 2005, 2006, 2007; INTEX Shanghai The "Shanghai Metallurgy Expo - 2008; Aachen Germany - 2018; EuroCoke summit 2019 in Amsterdam.

    Having an economic and technical education, it became obvious to me the need to create a group of companies that would be able to meet the new market requirements, for which it is necessary to have our own research center, which we successfully launched and it works under my supervision. ( GIR Engineering).  In the process of expanding our sales markets, we cooperate with large design institutes (GIPROKOKS Ukraine,KOKSOPROEKT Poland, Ukrainian Research Institute of Refractories named after Berezhnoy) and companies - general contractors in the construction of coke oven batteries, one such company is Concord Group ( since 2008 to 2015 I was their official advisor on refractories.

    Since 2011, we have received several patents for new refractory materials with an increased service life, and I participate in the development of dinas technology for coke-chemical batteries personally, and therefore I am one of the developers and owners of 2 patents. Factories of our company successfully delivered over 100 coke-oven batteries to such countries as Poland, Ukraine, Brazil, India, Russia, Finland, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and others. In 2015, we opened a representative office in the United States - Milwaukee, and today we are working to expand the supply of our products in the North American market.

  • Pasquale Daniele Cavaliere

    Professor University of Salento

    Pasquale Cavaliere is from the Department of Innovation Engineering of the University of Salento, (Italy). He received his PhD in 1999-2002 in Materials Engineering, at the University of Rome Europe

  • Dr. Joseph J. Poveromo

    President Raw Materials & Ironmaking Global Consulting

    Joseph J. Poveromo received his Ph.D. in 1974 at the Center for Process Metallurgy, State U. of New York/Buffalo after receiving a BS Chem. Eng. from Rensselaer Poly. He then joined Bethlehem Steel’s Homer Research Laboratories. In 1993 he established his consultancy, Raw Materials & Ironmaking Global Consulting.  From 1993 through 2008 his principal client was the Quebec Cartier Mining Company, for whom he served as Director Technology-International. Currently, he consults for steel, iron ore, other natural resource, technology provider, financial and consultancy companies on a global basis.  Dr. Poveromo is a Distinguished Member of AIST (Assoc. of Iron & Steel Technology); his awards include the T. L. Joseph Award for long-standing contributions to ironmaking technology.  He is also a Special Member of the IIMA (International Iron Metallics Association).

  • Pratik Swarup Dash

    Head (Coal & Coke Making Research Group), R&D Tata Steel Limited

    Dr. Pratik Swarup Dash completed his B.E. in Chemical Engg. from NIT, Rourkela. He completed his Master of Technology and PhD from IIT Kharagpur. He joined R&D, Tata Steel in Feb. 2001 and since then he is leading research activities in the area of coal beneficiation and coke making. He has received ‘Young Metallurgist of the Year Award’ from Ministry of Steel, Govt. of India in the year 2007 and ‘Tata Innovista Award’ under the category ‘Leading Edge - Proven Technology’ in the year 2012. Dr. Dash has published more than 50 papers in reputed, referred national and international journals which includes Fuel, Fuel Processing  Technology, Energy & Fuels, International Journal of Mineral Processing (IJMP), Powder Technology, Journal of Applied Pyrolysis, Diamond and related materials, ISIJ, Iron Making & Steel Making, Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review, International Journal of Coal Preparation & Utilization, and Chemical Product and Process Modeling etc. He has also filed more than 40 Indian patents and copyrights in his area of research out of which 14 have been granted. He has also presented more than 30 papers in various international and national seminars and symposiums.

  • Blair Priest

    Director Coal Marketing Norfolk Southern

    Blair Priest joined the Coal Business Group at Norfolk Southern in 2013, and has held various roles in both the planning and commercial sides of the business.  Currently, Blair holds the position of Director Coal Marketing for Export and Domestic Metallurgical Coal where she oversees all commercial relationships and strategy development for those markets.  Blair currently serves as the Vice President of the Hampton Roads Coal Association and is a member of the New York Coal Trade Association.  Blair holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

  • Jim Thompson

    Executive Director US Coal IHS Markit

    Jim Thompson, Executive Director for IHS Markit Coal and IHS Markit Coal Markets Expert, has analyzed and provided insight on coal markets for nearly three decades. He is lead commentator for the IHS Markit Coal & Energy daily newsletter and editor of US Coal Review. Thompson’s major area of expertise is the North American coal markets, though he is conversant on worldwide market trends.

    Mr. Thompson’s expertise is both in thermal coal for electricity production and metallurgical coal for use in the steelmaking process. He is widely quoted in by major financial newspapers and speaks at multiple industry-related conferences. Thompson has performed coal market consultations both for coal producers and consumers as well as for financial analysts and investors. Thompson’s views on the coal markets are widely read throughout the world. Thompson came to IHS Markit as a part of its acquisition of Energy Publishing, of which he was a co-founder and President.

    Mr. Thompson was educated at Dallas Baptist University

  • Ted Todoschuk

    Principal Researcher ArcelorMittal Dofasco

     Expertise on iron ore pellet, iron ore pellet reduction, coal and cokemaking expertise. Microscopic specialty for iron ore pellets, coal, coke and other raw materials in the primary process for coal, coke and ironmaking. Specialties: Ironmaking raw materials (iron ore pellets, coal and coke). Cokemaking (coal, cokemaking, cokemaking process, coke product, coal and coke quality)

  • Jim Truman

    Director - Global Metallurgical Coal Markets Wood Mackenzie, USA

    Jim Truman is the Director - Global Metallurgical Coal Markets with Wood Mackenzie. He is a geologist by training, having attended West Virginia University and the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining Wood Mackenzie, he worked for a number of major coal companies and has specialized in the evaluation of the Central Appalachian coal industry. He now focuses on trends in global metallurgical coal trade.

  • Cees van de Mortel

    Chief Commercial Officer T. Parker Host

    Cees van de Mortel was born in the Netherlands and graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and master’s in business administration from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.

    Before joining Host, Cees spent 12 years with Kinder Morgan Terminals, most recently as commercial director, where he was responsible for the commercial activities for marine terminals in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, for sales and marketing of all coal and fertilizer movements nationwide, and for intermodal and packaging operations. Prior to Kinder Morgan, he was employed with the Dutch transportation and terminal company Vopak. There, he oversaw operations at the Elizabeth River Terminals and Marine Port Terminals, Inc., handling general cargo and dry-bulk commodities.

    In the fall of 2012, Cees joined Host in Norfolk as chief operating officer, overseeing all aspects of the firm’s ship agency and brokerage operations. In 2016, he moved to the role of chief commercial officer. Cees’ background in operations, commercial development, and management makes him uniquely suited to provide skilled and diversified services to Host clients.

    He is currently serving as a director of the Virginia Maritime Association and regularly speaks at industry events and conferences.