Meet our dedicated Staff and Board
Our Staff and Board members have many decades of combined background in geoscientific and engineering endeavors, with practical experience in nearly every realm of geology and related construction and technology industries. We have worked in mineral and energy exploration, mining geology, hazard mapping and abatement, geochemical and stratigraphic studies, field and structural geology, remote sensing and engineering applications. Together, we have worked in nearly every state of the union as well as a number of countries in Europe and South America. We share a passion to apply our skills for the betterment of mankind and our planet, as well as an ability to work in challenging situations. We welcome difficult problems that demand creative solutions.
Gregory R. Wessel, President, Treasurer, and Chair of the Board of Directors
Dr. Wessel holds degrees in Geology from Colorado School of Mines (PhD) and the University of Missouri-Rolla (BSc and MSc; now called the Missouri University of Science and Technology). He is also licensed in the State of Washington as an Engineering Geologist and currently sits on the State’s Geologist Licensing Board. Dr. Wessel has over 35 years of experience in metals and industrial minerals exploration, geologic hazard abatement and environmental restoration, geotechnical applications and mapping of geologic hazards, the development of agricultural minerals (sulfur and potash) in Texas, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia, and the recovery of magnesium salts (for metal production) in Russia. He has specialized in geologic mapping and structural evaluations, and has mapped large areas of the southwestern United States and the Altiplano of Bolivia, using aerial photography and extensive field work. Dr. Wessel has authored or co-authored over 20 articles and abstracts, including a number of maps available from the Washington Geological Survey, the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, and a widely used educational chart available from the Geological Society of America entitled The Geology of Plate Tectonics. Dr. Wessel also serves on the Mapping Advisory Committee for the Washington Geological Survey.
Margaret R. Wessel, Vice President and Secretary
Ms. Wessel holds degrees in geology from Southeast Missouri State University (BSc) and Southern Illinois University (MSc) and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. She currently serves as General Manager of Heights Water District on Vashon Island, Washington. Ms. Wessel’s geologic background is diverse and includes expertise in igneous petrology, oil exploration, and geotechnical issues. Her thirty years of professional experience includes positions with the Oklahoma Geological Survey and ARCO Oil and Gas Company, as well as stints in teaching and in providing scientific support to litigators in high-profile tobacco and asbestos cases. Ms. Wessel consults as a forensic geologist to several organizations, where her projects have included such diverse topics as environmental pollution claims, evaluating the potential for damage to structures from sinkhole formation, and studying the effects of construction vibrations on homes. Ms. Wessel is licensed as a geologist in both Washington and Florida.
Russell Harmon, Chair, Technical Advisory Council
Dr. Russell Harmon is a geochemist, now retired after a nearly 50-yr professional career in the geosciences. From 2011-17, Russell was Director of the International Research Office of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Prior to that, he served from 1993-2011 as Program Manager for Terrestrial Sciences at the Army Research Office. Russell also has worked in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory and Geochemistry Division at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, at the Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Center, in the UK Natural Environment Research Council and has held faculty positions at Michigan State University and Southern Methodist University. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and National Speleological Society, past Chair of the Geological Society of America Division of Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, & Volcanology and a former President of the International Association of GeoChemistry. His current research interests include riverine geochemistry and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. Russell holds a BA from the University of Texas, MS from the Pennsylvania State University, and PhD from McMaster University.
Board of Directors
John Bethel holds degrees in Geology (BS) and Forest Soils (MS) from the University of Washington, and he is a Licensed Engineering Geologist in the State of Washington. Recently retired from King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Mr. Bethel has 30 years of experience providing geomorphic and geotechnical input for flood control and river enhancement projects, conducting channel migration studies on King County’s rivers, and studying and mapping landslide hazards along a number of river corridors. Mr. Bethel has also provided geologic characterizations in support of watershed planning efforts, contributed to the development of county policy, ordinances, and rules (as they relate to geologic issues), and addressed geologic issues as part of the building permit review process, including through the Comprehensive Plan, the Surface Water Design Manual, and the Sensitive Areas Ordinance. Prior to his work for King County, Mr. Bethel was an engineering geologist for Earth Consultants in Bellevue, Washington, specializing in geotechnical site evaluations, slope stability, and construction-related issues. He was also a geologist/field assistant with the U. S. Geological Survey where he provided geohydrologic support for a drilling program in Island County, WA, and mapped glacial geology in the Cowlitz River valley. Mr. Bethel has also co-authored geologic maps with the Washington Geological Survey, assisting their efforts in eastern King County for several years.
Gabriela Perlingeiro Knesel
Dr. Knesel holds degrees in Geology from The University of Queensland (PhD) in Australia and University of São Paulo (BSc) in Brazil, as well as an MBA in Finance from Rome Business School in Italy. She has over 13 years of experience in earth sciences, particularly in the areas of geochemistry, geochronology and petrology, and has conducted fieldwork on four continents. Dr. Knesel works for the Lhoist Group, currently managing the overall mine plan of an 8.5 Mt mine in Texas, following posts within Lhoist’s Global R&D and North American Mining & Exploration teams. She represented Australia as part of the YES Network Leadership Team until she moved to Belgium in 2013, and was the lead organizer of the 2nd World YES Congress, held within the prestigious 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane in 2012 (with 6000+ attendees). She is a supporter and advocate for women in the mining and metals industry.
J. Erik Tilman
Mr. Tilman holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now called the Missouri University of Science and Technology). He has 30 years of experience with design and manufacturing in the electronics industry, including a long record with Hewlett Packard Corporation in Loveland, Colorado and Lake Stevens, Washington, and he recently retired from a position as a mechanical engineer for The Boeing Company where he designed components of commercial aircraft. Mr. Tilman is also on the Board of Directors of the Centennial Trail Coalition of Snohomish County, a non-profit organization that assists Snohomish County Parks by advocating for and promoting long distance recreation trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians.
Nathaniel G. Wessel
Mr. Wessel holds a BSc in Computer Science and a BSc in Psychology from Colorado State University. He is currently a Software Development Engineer with Amazon, where he implements predictive analytics and machine-learning algorithms in order to ensure long-term network reliability. In those moments when he is not working, he can be found backpacking, riding his dirt bike, or being tackled by his dogs. Mr. Wessel is well traveled and exceptionally versed in internet applications to marketing and development. He has also worked with a number of Colorado companies to maintain and upgrade their corporate computer systems, provided customer support for a variety of platforms and mobile devices, and worked with other scientists and engineers to develop new products for biological applications.