Meet the Salamander Team

Salamander Team - Ben van den Brule
Ben van den Brule

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Ben van den Brule has more than 20 years of technical management experience with Royal Dutch Shell, with 15 years at the executive level where he gained experienced leading an organization of more than 400 employees with an annual budget over $500 million USD. Most recently, Ben was vice president of Shell’s unconventional technology, which included the heater development program and the in-situ field activities in Colorado, Canada, and Jordan. Previous roles during his tenure at Shell included vice president of novel technologies, vice president of hydrocarbon recovery, technology manager for SURE (Shell’s in-situ business unit), and head of Shell’s GameChanger program.

Prior to joining Shell, Ben spent six years as a professor of fluid mechanics at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, and 10 years conducting thermomechanics research and development with Phillips.

Ben holds a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a PhD in applied physics from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and he has served on the board of the Dutch Science Foundation. He has published more than 60 papers during his career and has two patents.

Salamander Team - John Karanikas
John Karanikas

Chief Technology Officer

Dr. John M. Karanikas has more than 25 years experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to serving as chief technology officer for Salamander Advanced Heater Solutions, John spent six years as chief scientist reservoir engineering at Royal Dutch Shell.

John started his career at the Shell Oil Bellaire Research Laboratory, where he focused his research efforts on the development of new thermal recovery methods for the extraction of difficult/unconventional hydrocarbons, such as oil shale and heavy oil. He played a leading role as reservoir engineer and technology adviser in all field tests and pilots conducted around the world to mature and commercialize advanced thermal recovery methods, and his current position offers the opportunity to accelerate the deployment of these novel recovery methods for a much broader range of assets.

John holds a PhD in physics from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of Houston. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Physical Society, and his technical contributions have resulted in 10 papers and more than 90 patents.

Salamander Team - Guy Harley
Guy Harley

VP Manufacturing and Deployment

As vice president of manufacturing and deployment, Guy Harley is responsible for the development, operation, and optimization of the manufacturing supply chain, as well as the assembly and deployment of heaters for all applications.

Guy has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of roles: manufacturing, research and development, quality assurance operations manager, site manager, project manager, contract manufacturing lead, and technical manager. Previously, he led the manufacturing development and field testing programs for Shell’s heater development program, which generated significant breakthroughs in heater performance. Before joining Shell, he worked with Strategystics Inc., HB Fuller Company, and Union Oil of California in various locations in the US and China.

Guy holds associate’s degrees in chemistry and biology from Paducah Community College in Kentucky; graduated cum laude from Murray State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business with a focus on operations; and earned an MBA from Murray State University. He is Lean Certified, and a Six Sigma leader and practitioner with Black Belt certification. He is listed as co-inventor on six patents and has six patents pending related to heater technology.

Mike Rainey

VP Deepwater

Broad based E&P professional with extensive project experience, known for leading teams and organizations to create solutions to successfully unlock marginal opportunities. Held leadership positions on 11 major to mega class projects (5 from Concept to First Production) across four countries and three continents.

Steven Engler

VP Global Business Development

Steven has over 20 years of experience in domestic and international sales of oilfield services and equipment, including positions as Business Development Engineer and Manager for Perma-Pipe, a global manufacturer of pre-insulated and heat traced piping systems; as Director of Investor Relations and International Sales Manager for TMK IPSCO –  one of the world’s largest steel pipe manufacturers; and as Director for Ven-Line, a leading Venezuelan coiled tubing & pressure pumping services company.

Steven’s academic background includes studies in Systems Engineering at Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela; Bachelor degrees in Economics and Marketing from the University of St. Thomas; and an MBA from Rice University in Houston, TX.

Dylan Harley

Electrical Engineer

Dylan is experienced in the design, construction, and testing of electrical power systems.  Prior to joining Salamander, Dylan worked on power systems for Naval nuclear aircraft carriers.  His experience covers all aspects from design to commissioning of medium voltage electrical power systems.

Dylan holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Amanda Khan

Sales Engineer

Amanda Khan has over 15 years of experience in the Oil & Gas Industry, both domestic and international. Her experience holding multiple engineering titles at FMC Technologies and most recently Sales Engineer at Emerson Automation Solutions gives her the capability to go from conception to installation to services of oil field equipment. Amanda doesn’t just sell; she provides solutions to solve problems.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Houston. She is very active in giving back to the community. Examples include Habitat for Humanity, Girls Engineering the Future (UH College of Engineering), & Women in STEM.

Luis Montilva

Sales Engineer

Luis has over 12 years of experience in technical sales of oilfield services and equipment, having worked for Weatherford International in areas ranging from Manufacturing, Production Chemicals Development and Applications to Artificial Lift Solutions. His experience includes prior posts in various countries and regions across the Americas such as Brazil, Argentina, Peru and most recently in the US Permian Basin.

Luis has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela.  He speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese, and he enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and exercising.

Karyn Patierno

Finance Manager

Karyn brings to Salamander Solutions over 25 years of experience as an accounting and finance professional in various industries, including telecommunications, publishing, and restaurants.  Before joining Salamander Solutions, she held positions as a Financial Reporting Analyst with AT&T and Pearson Education.  Her latest role was as an Accounting Manager with a New Jersey-based fast-food franchise consisting of Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Jersey Mike’s restaurants.

Karyn relocated to Houston from New Jersey in early 2021 and joined Salamander Solutions as Finance Manager.

Karyn holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ.

Ethan Cureton

Petroleum Engineer

Ethan has three years of exploration and production experience.  Before joining Salamander Solutions, he spent two years with Chevron’s Well Intervention team overseeing drilling and completions field operations in the Permian Basin.

He most recently worked as a petroleum engineer consultant for an independent operator focusing on acquisitions and divestitures of oil-producing properties in Texas, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

Ethan holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from West Virginia University. He spends his free time in the outdoors fishing, hiking, and boating.

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