GFP International


Michael J Vallez,

Founder, Executive Chairman

Mr. Vallez is the Founder of GFP International with roots dating back to 2005 in Tanzania, Africa. He is also the Managing Director of an international Project Management, Advisory and Claims Consulting firm that serves clients worldwide.
Prior to starting work as a construction consultant and expert witness in 2017, Mr. Vallez had over 40 years of hands-on and leadership experience in executive management, project management, engineering / construction management, safety, cost and schedule control, team leadership and change management. He has served in site management, project management and executive management roles for both owners and contractors working on world-class oil and gas, power, commercial, industrial, and international mining projects. Based on his years of construction experience, Mr. Vallez has a proven ability to evaluate the work of owners, contractors, engineers, architects, and project construction teams to identify the root causes of project cost and schedule overruns and quantify their effects on project outcomes. He understands what can cause projects to run over budget, and the strategies to prevent this from occurring. He has been involved in leading top teams toward achieving cost, schedule, quality and safety goals. In all, he has provided leadership on several billion

dollars’ worth of projects in the chemical, heavy civil, mining, power, oil and gas, industrial, and commercial sectors, and has provided claims consulting on projects with a total combined value approaching $100 billion dollars.

Mr. Vallez specializes in the preparation and analysis of project execution plans, evaluation of cost and schedule overruns, safety incidents, project team performance issues, and technical and economic project feasibility. He provides expert witness testimony on the root causes of delays and cost overruns, cumulative impacts, forensic accounting, best practices for meeting schedule, budget, and operating results. He has written several books about construction management, safety, and effective project leadership and provides free downloads of these works from the Vallez International website:

Mr. Vallez earned a BS Degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and an MBA from the University of Utah.

Hilu Bura

CEO East Africa

Hilu Bura is the Founder and Chair of Bloom Group Africa, headquartered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Bloom Group Africa provides strategic guidance and consulting services to companies investing in the Energy sector, helping them navigate the industry’s complexities and maximize their social and economic impact. Passionate about making a positive social impact, Hilu is a purpose-driven professional dedicated to connecting, equipping, and empowering entrepreneurs and innovators. Her personal mission is to bridge the gap between businesses, investors, and the public sector, fostering collaborations that support people and the planet.  

Ms. Bura earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco in 2002, and an MBA from the Northampton Business School in 2013Having grown up in Liverpool, England, and after attending college in the U.S., Hilu brings a unique perspective shaped by cultural diversity and a drive to champion meaningful causes.

Before starting Bloom Group Africa, she was a Business Development & Local Content Consultant at BQ Contractors Limited, a globally awarded leading Oil and Gas Engineering Firm in Tanzania.  At Petroleum Importation Coordinator (PIC), she led the Supply & Logistics team where she managed bulk fuel imports for Oil Marketing Companies in Tanzania. Through the implementation of Stakeholders Forums, she fostered collaboration among key industry players, resulting in improved operational efficiencies and outcomes for the Petroleum Industry. At Oryx Oil, a major Oil Company in Tanzania with headquarters in Geneva, Hilu gained valuable experience in shipping and logistics operations, including supply and demand planning, customs compliance management, and contract negotiations.  

In addition to her professional pursuits, Hilu is also a long-time Rotarian, actively engaged in making a difference in the Dar es Salaam community. 

Nancy Halden

Grant Writer

Nancy Halden is a molecular biologist and owner of Getting to Granted, a grant writing service that works with non-profit organizations to help fund their projects by seeking grant funds from charitable foundations.  She has been successful in supporting the growth of several non-profit organizations by securing key strategic funding from foundations in multiple sectors.

Nancy earned dual BA degrees in English and Biology from Rice University in Houston Texas, and a MS degree in Molecular Biology/Genetics from the University of Utah.  

Board of Directors

Brian Singer

Board Member

Brian spent 2 years in Tanzania as a math teacher with the Peace Corps. Since that time, he has returned to East Africa more than twenty-five times while guiding charitable groups and starting Project Zawadi. He has a graduate degree in Social Change and Development and has spent more than 15 years assisting low-income entrepreneurs in the USA.

He has more than 20 years’ experience lending to small businesses while also running a non-profit organization and a small business. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Public Speaking, Fundraising, Economic Development, and Program Development. Strong finance professional with a Master of Arts in Social Change & Development from The Johns Hopkins University – Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Barbara Gentry

Board Member

Barbara Gentry is a retired schoolteacher and administrator.  She specialized in biological sciences with a strong interest in environmental studies.  She currently is on the board of the Gun Violence Prevention Center and the Global Faith Partners.  She is active in her local Presbyterian church and enjoys sports of many types. Barbara earned B.S. Degree from Utah State University in 1976, and a M.A from Western Governors University in 2009.  MEd from the University of Utah in 2011.

Marie Allen

Board Member

Marie Allen is a retired educator who currently serves her community of La Crosse, Wisconsin, by offering free tutoring and managing a scholarship at the local technical college.  Since visiting Tanzania in 2008, she has been an advocate for Global Faith Partners, helping to establish a partnership between her church in Wisconsin and one in Ifakara, Tanzania. For many years she has served on the World Fellowship Committee of Delta Kappa Gamma International, Wisconsin State Society.

Marie earned a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and an M.S. In Guidance and Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Paul Nelson

Board Member

Paul J Nelson is a Native American by birth and an active citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Mr. Nelson founded his original Security Agency in San Diego County in 1992 under the name Nelson Security. During the 1990’s Nelson Security grew to be the dominant provider of Security Patrol and Guard service in North San Diego County. Customers included the School Districts, Municipalities, Home Owners Associations, and Retailers.

In 1999 Mr. Nelson moved Utah and established the company headquarters in the Salt Lake City. The name of the company was changed to Quality Security shortly thereafter. Clients included national trucking firms, Hospitals and medical facilities, and airports. Between 1999 and 2001 Mr. Nelson established operations in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver. Having built this foundation by the time of the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001 Mr. Nelson took leadership by providing both government and private contract armed services at overland shipping (logistics) terminals as well as airports in eight Western States.

In 2003 Mr. Nelson facilitated the merger of the logistics and airport contracts portion of Quality Security with a national firm. The smaller portion of the business was retained with operations at resort facilities in Utah and personal protection contracts being the focus.

In 2013 a new company was organized as Bedrock Protection Agency with a dba of Bedrock Special Projects. In 2018 Bedrock was recognized as number 232 of the 500 fastest growing companies in America. Bedrock now provides protective services and private investigation with a network of agents in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Sibusiso Mpapane

Board Member

Mr. Sibusiso Mpapane, known as “Sibu”, has over 14 years of experience in construction, specialized welding applications and automation, pipelines and storage tank construction.

He started his career at Element Six (PTY) Ltd, as a metallurgical graduate in training, where he was involved in the research and development of synthetic diamond and tungsten carbide super material, focusing on failure investigation and analysis. He was at Element Six for two years.

 His welding career started when he joined Welding Alloys South Africa (PTY) Ltd, WASA (PTY) Ltd, in 2008. At WASA (PTY) LTD he was involved in the development, application and selling of hard facing and cladding products, as a technical sales representative. His core clients were mines, sugar mills and steel production industries, there he trained his clients and their welders on the correct application of hard facing and cladding.                                                          

In 2010 he started working for Lincoln Electric, a global welding equipment manufacturer, where he was trained further on welding applications and automation.  He was trained at Lincoln Electric (Poland) for gas metal arc welding, Lincoln Electric France for advanced submerged arc welding and cladding, Lincoln Electric USA for advance arc welding, automation, and pipe welding. He serviced and trained a number of Lincoln Electric clients in the Southern Africa Region, i.e., Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and east coast of South Africa including the mines, sugar mills and automotive industries.

As a welding superintendent, in 2013 Sibu moved to Steval Engineering, a company that was involved in heavy engineering fabrication, construction of fuel storage tanks, power generation construction, and mining plant construction.  He managed welding on several projects including some in Mozambique, DRC and South Africa.  One of his highlights at Steval Engineering was to lead the team that built the first and biggest two LPG spheres in the southern hemisphere, using an automatized flux core process and achieving a 0.5% failure rate, on 100% x-rays, in just 6 months.

In 2016 he started his own business called GODMK ENTERPRISE (PTY) LTD, which specializes in welding, fabrication, and construction.  The business has vast experience in tank fabrication, pipe welding, construction, structural steel fabrication and erection.  GODMK ENTERPRISE also specializes in labor hire of specialized welders and well experienced artisans, boilermakers, and pipe fitters.

Eng. Calvin Pepper,

Board Member

Cal Pepper is a Nuclear Engineer with over 40 years of industry and educational experience which he brings to the Board of GFP International.  He has over 30 publications in the fields of welding, quality, and inspection.  His educational experience began at Louisiana State University teaching NDE, to the University of Houston where he was Associate Professor of Construction Management, and Southeastern Louisiana University where he was an instructor of engineering materials and metallurgy, project management, and NDE.

He earned Life Memberships and numerous awards from the American Welding Society where he served as both a District Director and a Director-at-Large, and chairman of Q&C and Handbook Committees. He is currently employed by AWS as Product Manager, Certification.

Mr. Pepper has managed U.S. chemical and refinery projects throughout the country.  He also oversaw international chemical plant and refinery projects as project manager and site manager in South Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and South America where he gained valuable experience in international business and supply chain management.

While an employee of the U.S. Department of Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, he was able to put his Nuclear Engineering degrees to work helping to solve problems in radiological waste management, spent nuclear fuel management, decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and many other pressing issues.  During his tenure at DoE, he earned commendations for developing an environmental and waste management training program for high school students in the east Tennessee area, as well as a Tennessee Professional Engineering Award for excellence in facility design of the ORNL non-radiological waste treatment facility.

Curt Stegerwald,

Board Member

Curt Stegerwald is a construction project manager with thirty years’ experience in industrial construction. He has led and been a member of teams that build or remodel production facilities in the fields of semiconductor, chemical, and Research and Development. He has managed teams through all phases of construction beginning with Programming, Conceptual and Detailed Design to Estimating, Procurement, Construction, Safety, through Close Out. His teams have executed production tool install and infrastructure development in these factories. The project size has ranged from five million to two hundred million USD.

Curt’s projects have taken him state side to Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Virginia, and New York. He has also remodeled and fit up factories in Japan and Singapore which gave him the opportunity to compare and contrast how construction projects are run in those cultures versus the US. He enjoys working with teams to streamline the execution of each part of the construction project resulting in higher efficiency, shorter schedules, and lower cost.

Curt received his Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Massachusetts and his MBA from Walden University. He also has his certification as a Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute.


Dr. Noel Mbonde

Senior Advisor

Dr. Noel Mbonde holds a PhD degree (senior Lecturer) and he is now the Director of Technical and Vocational Education and Training. He once held a position of Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Research and Consultancy (August, 2016- April, 2018), Director of Undergraduate Studies at Mbeya University of Science and Technology (May 2014-December, 2015); Acting Principal, College of Science and Technical Education (December,2015 –August 2016); Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Research and Consultancy of the Mbeya University of Science and Technology (December, 2013 to 1st April, 2014); Deputy Principal Academic Research and Consultancy of  the Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology (July 1st,2009 to 30th November,2014) and College Registrar of the Mbeya Technical College (January 1st 2000 to 15th January, 2005). He is an experienced Mechanical Engineer, specialized in Welding and heat treatment with more than 23 years. He first worked as a Mechanical Technician with Twiga Cement in Dar es Salaam for one year. After graduating in 1993 (MSc. Engineering in Russia) he joined Mbeya Technical College as an Instructor.

He has been in the teaching Profession for more than 23 years at Mbeya Technical College and then Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology, and later at Mbeya University of Science and Technology, engaging himself in research, training and consultancy services. During his teaching profession, he has been in Management position for the past 15 years.

He has published more than 17 papers and reports. He has also written several academic policies of the then Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology and Mbeya University of Science and Technology and attended a number of policy-making workshops and Seminars. He is a registered engineer with the International Institute of Welding Engineers (IIW) and Engineers Registration Board (ERB). He is a Member of the Institute of Engineers Tanzania (IET). He speaks, reads and writes in Kiswahili, English and Russian languages.

Dr. Mbonde is self-motivated, enthusiastic, dynamic and hard-working person allows interaction with people across different cultures, working diversely in order to contribute his skills and knowledge as well as gaining new skills to meet organization’s vision and mission. His long goal career is to be an expert in the field of engineering and Management in general.

Pastor Michael Killagane

Past Board Member

Michael Killagane is a highly regarded has an extensive background in human resource and general management for leading domestic and international organizations operating in Tanzania.  He has worked with government, private organizations as well as NGO’s including a Christian NGO.  As a self-driven, self-motivated, talented, intelligent, innovative, loyal, trustworthy, and hardworking, Michael can contribute to the fullest in accomplishing organizational objectives.  He has a passion for business that provides an opportunity to grow in faith-based service to others, and work as part of a team with people of diverse backgrounds to accomplish strategic objectives.  He is a passionate networker and driven by the desire to make a difference and have an impact by the work he does.

Mr. Killagane earned a Bachelor of Public Administration in 2003 from Mzumba University in Morogoro, Tanzania; a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Dodoma in 2010; and a Master of Divinity, (MDiv) from Ministerial Global University in 2021.

Ryan T. Eubank

Senior Advisor, Welding Training, Equipment and Facilities Planner

Ryan T. Eubank is widely recognized as a top leader in the field of welding instruction.  He is a Certified Associate Welding Inspector with more than 26 years’ experience in the welding field.  Ryan began his career at Lincoln Electric in 1996 and attended the Lincoln Electric Welding School in 1999. At Lincoln Electric, he served as the lead instructor, training worldwide students who came to his classes in Ohio to learn the latest welding technologies.  He is a longtime member of the American Welding Society (AWS). He is an experienced welder and has worked in the capacity of Welding Instructor for the past 22 years.  He has consulted on the design and development of over 20 welding school facilities nationwide.

Ryan is a licensed teacher in the state of Ohio in the areas of Industrial Maintenance and Welding.  He is a Skills USA advisor and has had students place first in the national competition for the past two years and placed in the top 5 for the past 16 and qualify for the national welding competition for the past 18 years.

Ryan has also qualified students to compete for the world welding trials and in 2022 has a student that has been selected to represent the United States in the event in October.  In 2018 he was the AWS national educator of the year. In 2022 was the state of Ohio adjunct college teacher of the year.

Ryan consults with nationally recognized organizations as a Subject Matter Expert including but not limited to: Texas A & M; Boy Scouts of America; Lakeland Community College; Cincinnati State University; Experimental Aircraft Association; John Deere; Pennsylvania Institute of Technology; U-Link; Boilermaker’s Union; Electrical Union; Carpenter’s Union; 4-H; US Army; US Air Force Academy; Tulsa Welding School.

Nick Price

Welding Faculty Lead, Davis Technical College Kaysville, Utah

Nick Price is the welding faculty lead at Davis Technical College, Utah. Over the last 15 years, he has grown the welding program and faculty at Davis Technical College to become one of the leading welding training centers in the U.S..  Nick is a certified welding inspector & AWS certified welding educator with endorsements in AWS D1.1 structural steel and Welder Performance Qualifier.  He is one of 4 Certified Welding Inspectors in the state of Utah with the Welder Performance Qualifier Endorsement.  Nick is proficient at teaching Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Flux Cored Arc Welding, and Gas Metal Arc Welding.

In the Welding Technology program that Nick leads, students receive hands-on welding and cutting instruction on a variety of ferrous metals. Instruction will include basic Oxy-Fuel Cutting (OFC), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), and other thermal and mechanical cutting processes. Students will also learn welding process-specific and welding shop safety practices, basic print reading, and the proper uses and applications of AWS welding symbols.

George G. Hlifka

Welding Engineer, Senior Welding Inspector and Welder

George G. Hlifka attended Lincoln Electric Welding School and began his career as a construction welder. It was there that he developed the passion for building things, specifically things requiring welding.  He is proficient with GTAW, GMAW, SMAW, FCAW and SAW processes.

The desire to learn all that he could about welding pushed him to continue his education to become a welding engineer and graduate from the Ohio State University with a BS in Welding Engineering. 

George also pursued additional training in vocational education, numerous Codes such as the ASME B&PV code, ASME power and process piping codes.  He is an AWS Senior Certified Welding Inspector with the ASME B31.1, B31.3 and AWS D1.5 endorsements.  George is a member of several AWS Certification and Qualification committees and has been an active member of AWS for 30 years.  He previously served on Lakeland Community Colleges welding advisory committee. 

George’s welding career has given him the opportunity to see how welding is managed outside the US, having worked in South Africa, Brazil, Dubai, South Korea, and Japan, where he received the George Westinghouse Signature project of the year award. He enjoys assisting others with their welding questions and is often reached out to and consulted with in the industry.

George recently retired from the Perry Nuclear Power Plant where he was a Consulting Engineer, responsible for the welding and repair/replacement programs.

Waylon Whitehead

Managing Director, sCurve Solutions

Mr. Whitehead has over twenty years of experience in Project Management, Risk Management, Construction, Fabrication, and Project Controls leadership on upstream, midstream, and downstream projects – both onshore and offshore. He has significant experience with both mid- and large-scale LNG processes across the full life cycle of projects. He has worked for Conoco Phillips, and Anadarko Petroleum on the Mozambique LNG Project, the largest LNG project on the African Continent at the time. 

Waylon is a graduate of the University of Houston where he received dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and government, and economics.  He also attended the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University where he received a certificate in global energy leadership, with the following areas of emphasis:

  • Energy Strategy Formulation

  • Execution & Change Management

  • Innovation & Managing Disruption

  • Leading Data-Driven Energy Corporations

  • Financial Decision Making

  • Decision Making Under Uncertainty

  • Global Leadership

Dina Snyder

Welding School Consultant

Dina Snyder is a Chemical Engineer-BChE, with a Certificate in Supply Chain Management & Logistics from Kaplan Institute in Singapore. She is also a Member of ASCM – APICS (Association for Supply Chain Management) and has been involved with the American Welding Society since 2016.

She has over 15 years of experience working in various industries including the Oil and Gas Sectors-Water Purification and Category Management roles. She was born and grew up in Indonesia and she has had the opportunity to also live and work in Singapore as well as USA. She also had the opportunity to observe how the welding industry in Indonesia has evolved and rapidly growing due to her involvement with welding related educational conferences. In 2016, she made the decision to collaborate and open a welding company whose primary focus was to advance the youth and start to work collaboratively with a local high school vocational program in her hometown, Bandung. Indonesia.

Her sole mission was to bridge the gap between vocational and technical education and industry’s needs, by providing vocational school students with both the AWS SENSE (Schools Excelling Through National Skills Standards Education) programs, which are welding standards and guidelines meant to assist schools in training welders for technical and practical welding skills and knowledge to excel in the welding industry, and preparing them for successful careers in welding upon graduation by focusing on hands – on training and industry-relevant skills, and committed to nurturing the next generation of skilled welders in Indonesia, and meeting the demands of the welding industry.

She continues to serve as the lead consultant for the company’s Vocational Education-Welding Curriculum- Bahasa/English and consults with organizations-schools-colleges for their QMS’s that desire to become either an AWS-ATF, Accredited Welder Testing Facility and/or set up an internal welder training facility and working with companies to fill contract foreign welding labor needs. She exhibits remarkable efficiency to collaborate with multi-cultural and functional departments and teams to determine the best vendors/suppliers and identify vulnerabilities and close operational gaps, including for skilled welding labor resources.

GFP International is currently seeking new board members to expand participation.


Michael Vallez, P.E., MBA
Founder and Executive Director, GFP International
5626 South Calann Drive
Holladay, Utah 84121 USA
Phone 801-502-0951