Byron K. Varme, Executive Director

Byron K. Varme received a BA degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota and after graduation he served three years as a deck officer in the U.S. Navy on two carriers in the Pacific. Following his military service he received an MBA ­from Stanford Graduate Business School. Byron began his business career with Procter & Gamble of Canada Ltd., in brand management in Toronto. He left P & G to join a private oil and gas exploration company in New York City. Subsequently, he founded and was CEO of two publicly traded exploration companies specializing in overseas acquisition projects. During the sixteen years Mr. Varme lived in New York City, he also worked for two NYSE member firms and a family investment banking house.  Byron moved to Houston in 1980 and formed Trans-Oceanic Capital, a private financial services firm.  He has had a lifelong interest in international affairs and during his career has visited over eighty countries. Byron and his family reside in Houston and Galveston, Texas.

Sandra Sweatt Hull, Director

Sandy received her BA degree from Bard College and a BSBA is Finance from Denver University. She served for over ten years as Director of Major Gifts and Annual Programs at the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches which had a membership of over 3,000 individuals, 700 churches and 70 foundations. Sandy has been actively involved in community affairs in the Twin Cities, having previously served as President of the Minneapolis Jaycees, as a Board Member of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and many other civic organizations. Sandy is President of Sandy Hull & Associates, a full-service marketing and executive search firm, and recently became President of the Minneapolis Chapter of the League of Women Voters. Sandy and her family reside in Minneapolis, MN.

Thomas S. Walsh, PhD, Director and Secretary

Tom Walsh received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Boston College and a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He began his business career with Solvay Chemicals. During his twenty-seven-year career in the plastics industry Dr. Walsh has worked in research & development, product and technical service management, application, sales, marketing, market and business development, and trade association management.

Gerrit Wind, Director

Mr. Wind is a native of The Netherlands. He immigrated to Canada where he received his B.Sc. in geology from the University of Alberta and his M.Sc. in geology from the University of Calgary. Following graduation, he began his career with Pan American Oil Co., a subsidiary of AMOCO, Inc. During the next 31 years with the company, he was based in Chicago, London, Teheran and Houston and worked on oil and gas exploration projects in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Mr. Wind now lives in Houston and provides consulting services to clients for energy projects throughout the world.

John F. Cates, CAPT USN (SS) Ret.

John received his BS from the United States Naval Academy, graduating with honors. Graduating from Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Power Training and Submarine School; he served onboard The USS Skate SSN578 deploying to the North Pole, North Atlantic & Mediterranean during the Cold War. After leaving active duty he served as Commanding Officer of four Naval Reserve Units and retired from the Navy after duty at the Pentagon. He worked for over 30 years in the design and manufacturing of piping components for critical and severe services.  Recognized as an authority in his field; he worked and traveled widely throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Retiring in 2017, John now lives in Houston where he consults for his company and is active in church, civic and navy organizations.

Directors Emeritus

George T. Scott, Director

George received his BS in Chemical Engineering and BBA in Production Management from the University of Minnesota in and an MBA in Economics from the University of Houston. Following graduation, George served two years as an officer in the US Army Ordnance Corps. During his 39-year career he worked with Union Carbide, Gulf Oil and Chevron in Finance, Manufacturing and General Management. In his final eleven years he was Vice President and General Manager for Chevron’s Petrochemicals and Plastics Division. He resides in Houston and Colorado Springs.

Gordon B. Robinson, PhD, Director

Dr. Robinson received his BASc degree in Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and his PhD in the field of Chemistry and Molecular Biochemistry from Cornell University. After graduation he served as an officer in the Canadian Navy and was involved in the Canadian nuclear program. Upon leaving the service he joined Mobil Oil Corporation. He studied law & finance at the Baruch School in New York and Rice University in Houston Texas. After relocating to Houston, Dr. Robinson became involved in international ventures in project finance and related activities. Gordon now lives in Toronto, Canada where he is involved in civic activities in the medical field.