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Our Board

BBE Board Group

Steven Bluhm

Dr. Steven Bluhm

Chairman of the Board

Biography

Experience

Steven is presently Chairman of the Board of the BBE Group of companies.  Apart from his role as Chairman, he is also a Specialist Technical Advisor for BBE with specific focus on specialist projects, technical workgroups and general oversight.  

Steven is one of the members who founded BBE in 1990.  He was the Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the BBE Group of companies which consists of BBE Consulting, BBE Consulting Australasia, BBE Consulting Canada, BBE Projects, BBE Energy, BBE VUMA Software and BBE Laboratory. The group of companies provides specialist services in the fields of mine refrigeration, mine ventilation, mine energy management, underground environmental engineering technology, consulting services and project execution

Before founding BBE, Steven held various leadership positions at the Chamber of Mines Research Organisation (COMRO) from 1976 to 1990:

  • Director (Environmental Engineering) until 1990
  • Chief of Division (Mine Cooling) until 1986
  • Head of Section (Heat Mechanics) until 1983

Steven is a mechanical engineer with over 44 years’ experience in the field of mine ventilation and mine environmental control.  This experience has been gained on deep-level gold and platinum mines within South Africa and on diamond, base metal and other mines throughout the world.  In addition to mine ventilation projects he has been involved in the design and development of specialised surface and underground air cooling and air filtration equipment; the design of mine refrigeration and air cooling systems; and the design and optimisation of water reticulation networks.  

Qualifications

1990 Ph.D University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Thesis: ‘Thermal performance of direct-contact water-air heat exchangers’.

1981 M.Sc University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Thesis: ‘Heat transfer characteristics of direct-contact cross-flow spray heat exchangers’.

1975 B.Sc (Hon) Mechanical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Professional Affiliations

Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) Professional Engineer (1990)

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa Fellow (1977)

President (1989)

Honorary Life Fellow (2006)

South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers Fellow (1976)

Wynand Marx

Mr. Wynand Marx

Chief Executive Officer

Biography

Experience

Wynand is presently CEO of the BBE Group of companies.  Apart from his role as CEO he also manages and contributes specialist technical input to a wide range of ventilation and cooling projects.  He also has a passion for ventilation simulation software and stays involved with technical development.

Wynand joined BBE in 2003 and served as Director from 2004.  He was Managing Director of BBE Consulting for 13 years before taking over the reins as CEO.  During his 17 years at BBE, he was part of the team that expanded BBE to its current form.  The BBE Group of companies consists of BBE Consulting, BBE Consulting Australasia, BBE Consulting Canada, BBE Projects, BBE Laboratory, VUMA Software Adco and BB Energy. The group of companies provides specialist services in the fields of mine refrigeration, mine ventilation, underground environmental engineering technology, mine energy management, consulting services and project execution.

Before joining BBE, Wynand held various leadership positions at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Mining Technology division from 1996 to 2003:

  • Programme Manager (Future Mine) until 2003
  • Programme Manager (Environmental Control) until 2002
  • Research Area Manager (Ventilation and Refrigeration) until 1998

Wynand is a mechanical engineer with over 28 years’ experience in the mining industry starting with Anglo Vaal Gold Mines in the 1990s, followed by the CSIR and then BBE.  His professional and practical experience in mine ventilation and refrigeration were gained at Mine Operations, Research and Development, and Consulting levels.  He has successfully completed numerous projects including concept, pre-feasibility, feasibility and EPCM work in ventilation, refrigeration and main fan station studies covering all commodities in several countries across the globe.  Wynand presented many courses to the international mining industry on ventilation and cooling design and planning, and simulation software tools and he authored and co-authored many papers in the field of mine ventilation and cooling.

Qualifications

1990 B.Eng Mechanical Engineering, North West University, South Africa

1992 M.Eng Computational Fluid Dynamics, North West University, South Africa

1993 Certificate in Mine Environmental Control- Chamber of Mines SA

1995 Radiation Protection Officer Certificate – Chamber of Mines SA

1998 Advanced Leadership Programme – CSIR

Professional Affiliations

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa Fellow (1994)

Honorary Treasurer (2010-2020)

Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Fellow (1994)

Johan Viljoen

Mr. Johan Viljoen

Chief Financial Officer

Biography

Experience

Johan is presently Chief Financial Officer of the BBE Group of companies.  He has been elected to the Board of Directors in January 2017.

Johan joined BBE in 2008 as General Manager and was responsible for introducing formal Financial Management systems in the company as well as establishing formal Payroll systems in the company. He was also involved in the formation of our two overseas subsidiaries and maintains a close involvement in the daily management of BBE Consulting Australasia. 

Before joining BBE Johan was employed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as Financial Manager of their Mining Technology Division between 1993 and 2003.  After that Johan headed up the CSIR Business Applications and System group responsible for financial systems for five years (Oracle, Peoplesoft ERP system).

Qualifications

1982 B.Com Accounting Science, University of Pretoria.

2002 Master of Business Administration (MBA), Graduate School of Management, University of Pretoria

Courses Completed 

Management of change in complex organisations – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cost of Quality – Groman Consulting

Leaders and Leadership – Groman Consulting

Tshego Sefolo

Mr. Tshego Sefolo

Non-Executive Director

Biography

Experience

Tshego is the founder and CEO of Agile Capital, a South African mid-market private equity investment firm with over R1,3 billion of invested capital in a range of industries. In just over a decade since its inception, the company is a respected black-owned and managed private equity fund with a demonstrable track record of investment and sustainable growth. 

Tshego is currently the Chairman and Director of Provest Holdings, Provantage Media Group, and Spilltech. In addition to serving on various board sub-committees of Agile’s portfolio of investments, he serves on the boards of a number of companies including Henkel SA, Innovation Group, Aquatico, BBE Group, Feedem and Averge Technologies.

Qualifications

Tshego holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree from the University of Natal and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He also holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) (2009) from the University of Witwatersrand

Professional Affiliations

South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

Richard E Gunderson

Mr. Richard Gundersen

Director

Biography

Experience

Richard is presently Managing Director of BBE Projects responsible for the company’s design and build projects, predominantly turnkey, ventilation, refrigeration and air cooling projects on mines across the African continent.

Richard joined BBE in 1999 as a senior engineer, bringing with him 20 years of refrigeration and ventilation experience from the consulting engineers’ division of a large mining house. After several years as a specialist engineer at BBE with a focus on systems energy efficiency and optimisation, Richard’s passion for project work took BBE through the EPCM world into complete turnkey project work, leading to the formation of BBE Projects in 2007, a business unit he has managed ever since. In addition to numerous installations in South African mines, BBE Projects’ footprint includes mines in Ghana, Tanzania, Mali and Zambia.

Before joining BBE Richard progressed his engineering career in the mines and the Consulting Engineers division of Gold Fields of South Africa from 1977 to 1998:

  • Assistant Consulting Mechanical & Electrical Engineer until 1998
  • Consulting Engineer (Ventilation) until 1993
  • Consulting Engineer (Refrigeration) until 1988
  • Section Engineer (Driefontein and Kloof Gold Mines) until 1982

Richard is a systems engineer (electrically educated and mechanically trained in the mining industry) whose responsibilities have included design and project engineering in the fields of refrigeration, mine ventilation and hoisting systems; from feasibility studies, through design and procurement, to commissioning.  His experience of more than 40 years spans gold, platinum, base metal and, to a lesser extent, coal mining.  In 1999 Richard was a significant contributor to the ventilation and refrigeration aspects of the Deepmine research project which is when he joined BBE.  He has presented and published papers on the benefits of hydro-power for deep hot mines; the hidden costs for operating diesel-powered machinery at depth; energy-efficient systems designs and has been the industry representative on several research advisory and regulatory committees.

Qualifications

1976  B.Sc.Eng.(Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Imperial College, London.

1979  Government Certificate of Competency for Mines (Electrical)

1988  Advanced Certificate in Mine Ventilation and Control

1992  Executive Development Programme, Wits Business School, Johannesburg

Professional Affiliations

Institution of Engineering & Technology (prev IEE), UK Member (1974)

South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering (SAIMech) Member (1983)

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa Fellow (1988)

President (1993/4)

Andrew Branch

Mr. Andrew Branch 

Director

Biography

Experience

Andrew is a director of BBE Projects. His responsibilities currently include project engineering and management, technical project support, commercial contract management, business development and tendering.

Andrew joined BBE in 2003 as a mechanical engineer, focussing on mine refrigeration and ventilation project implementation. In 2007, he was part of the team that established BBE Projects and developed BBE’s turnkey design-build capabilities. BBE Projects provides full-service engineering and construction of fan stations and air and water cooling systems to a wide variety of mining industry clients across the African continent and globally.   

Before joining BBE, Andrew held positions in industry with cooling tower manufacturers and thermal engineering contractors.

Andrew is a mechanical engineer with 20 years of experience in the field of mine cooling and ventilation infrastructure design and construction. As an engineer and later general manager of BBE Projects, he has accumulated experience in mechanical and piping engineering and design, contract and project management, and site commissioning work. Clients include most major mining houses across South Africa and Africa, Canada and Australia, and many different types of commodities. 

Andrew has authored and co-authored numerous national and international papers in the field of mining refrigeration and has presented refrigeration courses at several international conferences and symposiums.  Andrew was awarded the MVSSA J.P. Rees Award for Best Technical Paper in 2012. 

Qualifications

1999 B.Sc. Eng. (Mech.), University of the Witwatersrand

2013 M. Eng. (Project Management), University of Pretoria

Courses Completed 

2007 Management Development Program, UNISA School of Business Leadership

2003 Certificate in Advanced Project Management, Damelin College 

Professional Affiliations

Engineering Council of South Africa Pr. Eng. (2009)

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa Member (2003)

South African Institute of Mechanical Engineers Member (2008)

Ross Wilson

Mr. Ross Wilson

Director

Biography

Experience

Ross Wilson is a Director and Senior Engineer of the BBE Group.  Ross is an expert on mine refrigeration systems, main fan stations, deep mining, and mine planning. Ross has a strong academic background with in-depth practical experience.

Ross joined BBE in 1996 as a mechanical engineer where he has filled the roles of project manager, lead engineer, mechanical engineer, process and hydraulic engineer and has been responsible for the execution and project management, detailed design, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning as well as performance acceptance testing of a number of surface bulk air cooling installations for mine cooling across the globe.

He has over nineteen years’ experience in the field of refrigeration, mine ventilation, energy management and environmental control. This experience has been gained in industrial pollution control in local South African gold and platinum mines and internationally. His experience also includes aerodynamic design of critical areas in mine ventilation systems using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques.  Special interests in the energy field include; renewable solar energy alternatives for mine cooling and mine mineral process plants, energy recovery and power generation from waste process heat and water pressure recovery and exploiting the opportunities provided by the Eskom Demand Side Management (DMS) programme to improve the energy efficiency of mine ventilation and cooling systems. Experience in this area includes design and implementation of ice thermal storage systems to minimise power costs by shifting electrical load from peak power cost periods. 

Ross has authored numerous papers on this and other subjects and has received the Eskom manager’s award for the valuable contribution made to research on regenerative boiler air pre-heaters. 

Qualifications

1999 M.Sc. (Cum Laude) University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

1995 B.Sc. Eng. (Mech.), University of the Witwatersrand

Professional Affiliations

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVS) Member (1998)

South African National Energy Association [SANEA] Member (2011)

Ray Funnel

Mr. Ray Funnel

Director

Biography

Experience

Raymond is a Director of the Board of the BBE Group of companies. He is a Principal Engineer with BBE with specific focus on leading feasibility studies and the engineering of mine ventilation and refrigeration projects. Raymond is also responsible for the development of in-house technical systems and quality control systems, as part of BBE’s growth and globalisation plan. 

Raymond joined BBE in 1995 as a Mechanical Engineer to carry out mine heat load analysis and optimisation of mine cooling strategies. Between 1999 and 2000, he actively participated in a variety of deep-mine research projects and was responsible for the underground field trials. In 2002, he was appointed as Lead Engineer for a large mine cooling project in Brazil. In 2003, Raymond was appointed as Director of BBE and assigned the portfolio of South American mines. Subsequently, BBE has expanded into a group of companies consisting of BBE Consulting, BBE Consulting Australasia, BBE Consulting Canada, BBE Projects, BBE Energy, BBE VUMA Software and BBE Laboratory. The group of companies provides specialist services in the fields of mine refrigeration, mine ventilation, mine energy management, underground environmental engineering technology, consulting services and project execution.

Before joining BBE, Raymond held the following positions:

  • Production Manager, Trendmark Signs and Graphics (family business), 1993-1994
  • Research Assistant / Lecturer, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 1991-1992

Raymond is a mechanical engineer with over 25 years’ consulting experience in the mine ventilation and refrigeration industry, including the design and commissioning of primary fan stations, booster fan stations, bulk air coolers, refrigeration plants, underground pump and energy recovery stations, piping systems and ancillaries such as dust filtration and reverse osmosis desalination systems. His experience has been gained at some of the deepest and hottest mine sites globally, including deep-level gold, platinum and diamond mines within South Africa and on base metal, potash and other mines throughout the world.  Raymond has been the Lead Engineer on mine refrigeration projects in South Africa, Brazil, USA and Australia.  He has authored several papers on mine ventilation and cooling optimisation and presented at international conferences.

Qualifications

1991 M.Eng.(Mech) University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, with a distinction for the final year mechanical project. 

1987 B.Eng.(Mech) University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, with a distinction for the thesis titled: Prediction of Flow Patterns and Pressure Gradient in inclined Two-Phase Flow Systems.

Professional Affiliations

Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) Professional Engineer (1999)

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVS) Fellow (1996)

Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) Member (2013)

Bulumko Ndema

Mr. Bulumko Ndema

Non-executive Director

Biography

Experience

Bulumko currently serves as a non-executive board member of the BBE Group of Companies.

Bulumko currently a Senior Associate at Agile Capital. To date, Bulumko has displayed compelling expertise within the financial services industry and occupies various non-executive directorship seats within the engineering, technology and insurance industry.

Qualifications

2011 BCom Honours, Nelson Mandela University

Professional Affiliations

South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 2014

Frank von Glehn

Mr. Frank von Glehn

Alternate Director

Biography

Experience

Frank von Glehn is an Alternate Director of the BBE Group.  He is also a Specialist Technical Advisor with primary responsibilities including the planning, design and simulation of mine ventilation and cooling distribution systems, development of engineering computer software and the design of monitoring and control systems.  He has been a member of BBE teams undertaking life-of-mine planning for Resolution Copper since 2008.  Apart from his technical responsibilities, he is a designated mentor and guides students and young graduates through all processes to ensure that they are in a position to provide professional services to BBE clients.

Frank joined BBE shortly after the company was founded in 1990. He served as a Director for most of his time at BBE.  Frank has been responsible for the development of the mining industry-standard heat load and ventilation distribution prediction software VUMA3D-network. 

Before joining BBE previous positions held by Frank included:

  • Programme Manager and Head of Section at COMRO.  During this period his responsibilities included design, installation and running of computer data logging systems for controlled recirculation schemes, ice conveying systems and the monitoring of underground heat loads in stopes, fire engineering research, finite element and finite difference models for predicting heat flow into underground dams and into the face zone of advancing stopes.

Frank has over forty years’ professional experience in mine ventilation and underground mine environmental control concerning consulting, operation and research.  He has been responsible for the design of ventilation and refrigeration systems for many international mining and tunnelling operations.  Frank has authored some 35 papers in the field of underground environmental engineering, life-of-mine ventilation planning and mine Health and Safety and has presented papers at many international conferences.  Frank has presented mine ventilation/cooling planning courses at various levels, including senior engineering/management, in South Africa, USA and South America. He was also the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the 10th International Mine Ventilation Congress.

He is a member of the Examinations Committee and sets/moderates’ papers for the Chamber of Mines Certificate in Mine Environmental Control.

Qualifications

1988 M.Sc. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Thesis: ’A study of heat exchange in advancing stopes’.

1978 BSc (Hons), University of Natal, South Africa. Major: Physics. 

1977 BSc., University of Natal, South Africa.

1981 Elementary Certificate Mine Environmental Control Chamber of Mines

Professional Affiliations

Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVS) Fellow 1985.

President 1999/2000

Honorary Life Fellow 2015

South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) Fellow 2002.

Society of Mining Engineers (SME) Member 2013