Our Team

Phillip Powers, President 

As LSC’s President, Phil coordinates internal functions and oversees external operations of LSC. To ensure efficient and effective response to varying client needs, he provides engineering leadership to each project team, facilitates employee career development, and ensures company progression.

Phil has worked in all facets of pipeline integrity, gas measurement, performance monitoring, capital projects, failure investigation, and DOT code compliance. He has facilitated development and implementation programs for over 5000 miles of in-line inspection, over 30,000 feet of in-service pipeline coating rehabilitation, and over 20 miles of line travel coating rehabilitation. Additionally, he generated a Stress Corrosion Cracking Soils Model. Phil has been active in the local NACE International chapter since 1990 and is a member of both ASME and the Duluth Engineer’s Club.

Phil obtained a BIE from the University of Minnesota Duluth and began working in the pipeline industry in 1984. He spent 12 years as a Regional Engineer with a major natural gas transmission pipeline before establishing LSC in 2002.

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David Paul Bearden Jr., Director of Operational Services

As Director of Operational Services, Paul progressively increases the level of operationally aligned services LSC provides in support of construction and maintenance of pipelines and related facilities. In promoting LSC’s vision for structuring the Operational Services Team to provide multidisciplinary services, he implements lateral thinking backed by extensive experience to lead the Operational Services Team in developing innovative solutions that mitigate operational shortfalls. This also aligns well with Paul’s integration of trenchless construction practices with engineering and design for LSC, as he coordinates the team to provide comprehensive services.

Prior to LSC, Paul was the Director of International Operations and the Director for Research, Development, and Quality for US Operations at Laney Directional Drilling. Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in designing and implementing new and innovative HDD installation techniques for many pipeline owners and at various locations around the world.

Paul obtained a BS in Management from Mississippi State University and has worked in the pipeline industry since 1993. In 2009, he was a recognized team member that received the American Council of Engineering Companies Missouri Grand Award in Energy Category for a World Record-Setting HDD Shore Approach.

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David Hokanson, Director of Integrated Engineering-Facilities

As Director of Integrated Engineering-Facilities, Dave leads a multi-disciplinary team that includes Civil, Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineers and design professionals, working together to develop solutions to complex client problems. He oversees recent engineering graduates and seasoned engineers as they collaborate to achieve client goals.  Dave’s team has a wealth of project experience in Energy, Industrial, Municipal, and Commercial sectors.

Dave’s project management experience ranges from pipeline route selection and constructability to engineering design and construction. Since joining LSC in 2005, he has managed the design phases of several major client projects and the hydro-testing programs for over 1,500 miles of large diameter pipe. He has several years of design experience in the fabrication of high pressure piping and boiler systems, as well as in manufacturing. Dave is an AWS Certified Welding Inspector and participates in ASME and NACE International.

Dave obtained a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota Duluth and an AAS in Mechanical Engineering and Design Technology from Alexandria Technical College, and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

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Christina Knetsch, Director of Human Resources

As Director of Human Resources, Christina leads the HR Team to hire the best talent for Lake Superior Consulting. Christina manages the team’s needs and expectations while retaining, expanding, and attracting new client talent.

Christina joined LSC after successful experiences teaching English in Japan and managing worldwide commercial shipping clients for World Trade Network (WTN), an international marine electronics supply company. At WTN, Christina identified new customers and opportunities to generate demand and grow revenue.

Christina obtained a BA in International Management from Hamline University and a MBA with a Business Leadership focus from the College of St. Scholastica.

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Joshua Schultz, Director of Integrated Engineering – Pipeline

As Director of Integrated Engineering-Pipeline, Josh leads our multi-disciplinary team of engineers, design and survey technicians, and specialists devoted to pipeline and construction engineering projects. His team focuses on providing high-quality service for LSC’s pipeline and construction engineering projects including: direct examinations coordination with contractors; anomaly analysis/remediation; integrity assessment recommendations; ensuring compliance in regard to project specifications, codes, and standards throughout construction; hydrostatic testing inspection; caliper tool runs coordination; and caliper tool run data analysis. Josh brings a thorough understanding of the industry and wide range of experience to our team. Since joining the LSC team in 2006, he has played a significant role as a Project Engineer in the construction of large diameter transmission pipelines.

Josh obtained a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2005 and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

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Ryan Swor, Director of Operations – Integrity Management

As Director of Operations for our Integrity Management team, Ryan calls upon his decade of experience with LSC to provide hands-on leadership and oversight to the team of engineers, technicians and designers helping clients ensure the long-term integrity of their assets.

Ryan’s experience includes ground bed design and installation, rectifier maintenance and repair, indirect electrical survey techniques (including Annual Survey, Close-Interval Survey, AC/DC Interference Testing, DCVG & ACVG Surveys, Coating Conductance Testing), general site inspection, coating application inspection, and specification writing and review. In 2010, Ryan was awarded the John Fitzgerald Award for excellence in the Purdue University Underground Corrosion Short Course.

Ryan obtained a BBA in Organizational Management from the University of Minnesota Duluth and has worked in the onshore submerged hazardous liquids and natural gas pipeline industry since 2006. He is a NACE-Certified Cathodic Protection Technologist and Level 1 Coating Inspector with expertise in corrosion mitigation. Ryan also holds certifications in OQ performance evaluations for NCCER, Veriforce, and the Midwest Energy Association.

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Gary Zunkel, Senior Director of Integrity Management

As Senior Director of Integrity Management, Gary leads our team of engineers, technicians, metallurgists, and environmental scientists who work on a variety of client Integrity Management projects.  His team’s expertise includes In-Service Pressure Testing, planning, design, and execution, as well as Direct Assessment, and Direct Examination.  The group also provides In-Line Inspection execution and management and IM program development.

The Integrity Management team also includes a large Corrosion Control group of NACE-Certified Technicians to ensure all testing, assessments, surveys, and inspections meet and exceed industry requirements. Capabilities of the Corrosion Control team include Annual Survey, Close-Interval Survey, AC/DC Interference Testing, DCVG & ACVG Surveys, Coating Conductance Testing, general site inspection, coating application inspection, and specification writing and review.

Since 1982, Gary has experience in all aspects of the pipeline industry including: exploration, production and pipeline. He managed and designed maintenance, modification, and upgrades of facilities and pipelines.

Gary obtained a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University, is a licensed Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering, and is an inventor of 22 US Patents.

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