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Board & Partners

The key to GSI’s services is the caliber of its associates & their connection to the world’s top business, political, & academic leaders.

Politics & International Relations

Mark Deli Siljander
CEO, U.S Congress (R-MI), Ambassador

Mark Deli Siljander, a U.S. congressman, ambassador, and bestselling author, founded GSI in 1987. His life blends business prowess and 30 years in political power circles with life-shaping stories in over 145 countries. His private interactions with major political, business, and religious world leaders, especially in conflict hotspots around the world, defy the status quo of traditional business and diplomacy. Many of these stories are recounted in his award-winning book, A Deadly Misunderstanding. Frustration with ineffective politics led Mark to use his varied skill sets to engage in international business in more than 40 countries with projects from development and trade to strategic advice for leaders of nations. His pioneering a peace-making model has a 100% success rate in 7 real-world conflicts and netted the release of 50 prisoners.

Mark’s efforts led former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to publicly recognized his, “…efforts toward a more just, humane and peaceful world,” while he received the Mohandas K. Gandhi International Peace Award in 1996. His academic achievements include a Master’s Degree in Political Science and post-graduate work in International Business and Education. He has served on numerous boards and lectured in diverse and prestigious institutions including Oxford University, Edinburgh University, Khartoum University, and Wheaton College.

Chris Shays
U.S Congress (R-CT) ‒ Advisory

Christopher (Chris) Shays served for 21 years as a member of the United States House of Representatives for the 4th District of Connecticut. Congressman Shays served on the Government Reform,Financial Services, Budget, and Homeland Security committees and was the first congressman to enter Iraq after the war. Shays was the only Republican congressman from New England elected to the 110th United States Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.In 2009, Shays was appointed to co-chair the Commission on Wartime Contracting. The commission is an independent, bipartisan legislative commission established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Created in Section 841 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, this eight-member commission is mandated by Congress to study federal agency contracting for the reconstruction, logistical support of coalition forces,and the performance of security functions, in Iraq and Afghanistan. He co-chaired the government watchdog commission that identified and raised alarm over $60 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse in wartime contingency contracting and presented to Congress reforms to address this wasteful spending.

Richard Swett
U.S Congress (D-NH) &
Ambassador ‒ Advisory Board

Richard (Dick) Swett served as the U.S. Representative for New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district in 1990 and was nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Denmark by President Clinton in 1998. In Congress, he served as a member of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation; a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and a member of the Congressional Delegation for Relations with the European Parliament and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Congressman Swett co-authored the landmark Congressional Accountability Act, authored the Transportation for Livable Communities Act, and introduced bills to encourage energy conservation and use of renewable energy.In the private sector, Congressman Swett’s range of business experience encompasses architectural design, project management, corporate management, project development, and finance. He has been active in real estate design and development, alternate energy development, energy conservation, industrial development, and export promotion. For several years he has operated a consulting firm doing business in the United States and eastern and central Europe.He is also a contributing author to the book, A Nation Reconstructed: A Quest for the Cities That Can Be, and had numerous articles published as a Member of Congress. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture in 1979 from Yale University. He has been awarded the Presidential Citation by the American Institute of Architects, as well as numerous honorary degrees including an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Franklin Pierce College in Ringe, New Hampshire.

Joseph Papovich
International Trade ‒ Advisory

Mr. Papovich worked for 21 years at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President in a variety of capacities. Joe served several years as Assistant USTR for Services, Investment, and Intellectual Property and Deputy Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property. Prior to this, Joe served as Assistant USTR for Industry, Deputy Assistant USTR for Industry, Director of Steel Trade Policy, Senior Agriculture Trade Policy Advisor, Director of Middle Eastern Affairs, USTR’s Labor Liaison, and as one of the chief negotiators of the Uruguay Round Agreements that resulted in the establishment of the World Trade Organization.After retiring from USTR in 2003 through 2010, Mr. Papovich served as Senior VP International at the Recording Industry Association of America. His principle duty was helping RIAA member companies obtain better opportunities to sell their sound recordings and to protect their intellectual property rights in markets outside of the United States. In 2012-2013, he served as co-chair of the U.S.-China Intellectual Property Cooperation Dialogue, which was formed through the collaborative efforts of Renmin University of China School of Law and Intellectual Property and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Since 2013, Mr. Papovich has consulted with a variety of groups on international economic policy issues.

Business Management & Operations

Mark Daniel

As the co-founder and CEO of Ultrasound Inc., Mark Daniel spent four years building and managing a team of five medical doctors, three nurses, seven business advisers, and seven research and developers for device and patent research and the marketing of non-invasive cosmetic ultrasound, RF and laser systems. He then transitioned into marketing consulting for several 501c’s – most notably was Trac5, which focused on conflict resolution and crisis mitigation in Africa and the Middle East. Before transitioning to GSI, Mark was the Co-founder and Head of Operations for Air Hospitality, which became Charlotte’s largest 3rd part short term management company currently growing locally and throughout the U.S. Air Hospitality was bought out in a private sale in 2019. Mark served on Thrivent Financial’s donor board in Charlotte, NC in the midst of his business achievements, which granted over $200 million dollars in outreach funds as an organization. Mark earned a B.A in International Relations and Business at Harvard University and participated in the S.S.P at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The following year, Mark received a PGDip in Theology at the University of Oxford in England.

Ben Rawls
Executive Management ‒ Advisory

Ben Rawls has 40 years of highly visible experience encompassing overall corporate management and leadership of national professional services firms. He is currently a board member for Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc. (RFC) where he oversees a variety of strategic and financial aspects of the firm. Prior to joining RFC, Ben served in executive roles for several professional services firms including serving as:

• President and CEO of Versar, a publicly owned environmental engineering consulting firm

• CEO of Research Cottrell (now Air and Water Technologies, Inc.), a leading environmental treatment and services companies, where he progressed from Treasurer and Controller of one of the company’s small architect/engineering units to CEO of the entire corporation

• Chairman of the Board of Metcalf and Eddy, Inc., one of the world’s leading professional services firms delivering solutions to complex infrastructure problems

Yacoub Sidya
Business Development ‒ Advisory

Yacoub Sidya is the founder of MSS Security, which employs more than 1,500 people in Mauritania alone, with another 2,000 spread across Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Congo DRC and Burkina Faso, while clients include the United Nations, central banks, and several of the world’s largest mining companies with operations in West Africa. MSS Security takes on high-end clients such as Brinks, for example, where he started transporting circa $3 billion worth of gold every year, which has now hit a high of $6 billion for Brinks alone. Sidya also runs PPM Holding (Phoenix Precious Metals DMCC), a Dubai-based gold trading and mining company that owns 12 licenses in multiple African countries. He has personally invested $15 million in his flagship Mandiana gold mining project in Guinea which has been in full production since December 2018 and is currently producing circa 30kg per month. Today, the trading operations of PPM Holding trade more than $500 million worth of gold annually.

Johannes van Yperen
Operations Management ‒ Advisory

Hans has over 30 years of experience in new business start-up, development, and successful operations primarily in the areas of mining and agriculture in Africa. He currently serves as a Director of MEAH Global and successfully closed various energy, agriculture and water sector projects in Africa and mining in West Africa. Prior to his work with MEAH, Hans was a Director of Redemptive Resources, LTD and successfully guided the investments in the mineral business in Sierra Leone. He excelled in developing relationships with the local chiefs thus he was able to secure and successfully mine mineral rights to alluvial gold deposits in the Nimini Hills and the Gori Hills, along with a diamond deposit in Bakidu.While in the USA during the rainy season in Sierra Leone, Hans received his organic certification to grow organic vegetables in greenhouses. At the same time, he developed an indoor growing system utilizing a new LED grow light technology impervious to climate as a prototype that is scalable to help assist cities and emerging nations in providing healthy food to their people. Currently, He is able to grow 4,500 head of lettuce or other leafy green per annum in a 4-foot by 10-foot space. This unique system is highly scalable and projections are to grow 5,000 head of lettuce per day. Hans has extensive experience in Real Estate development as he has successfully completed numerous projects with dollar amounts exceeding $20,000,000.

Legal & Financial

Gary Waldron

Mr. Waldron completed his bachelor’s degree in corporate finance from Palm Beach Atlantic University. He serves as Chief Financial Officer to Bridges To Common Ground and Trac5, a set of nonprofit organizations dedicated to Semitic linguistic common ground research and peacemaking. Mr. Waldron has over 9 years of small business and investment management experience to include real estate, equities, options, and commodities. He has a breadth of business acumen ranging from nonprofit and small business management to technical investment analysis and market research.Mr. Waldron has managed highly complex international projects that involve Muslim/Christian conflict resolution, hostage releases, academic research, publications, and multi-sector project collaboration initiatives, primarily in the Middle-East and Africa. These efforts have required an emphasis on highly-sensitive communications with political, religious and business leaders, all of which have afforded Mr. Waldron a strength for writing, communication, and strategy. Mr. Waldron’s management experience ranges from all facets of “big picture” and day-to-day operations. Among other things, Mr. Waldron has multi-sector experience with precious metal asset management, insurance, annuities, and executive-level staff augmentation.

James Falvey
Legal, Commodities, FinTech ‒
Advisory Board

James Falvey is a Specialist in commodities, derivatives and FinTech/RegTech, including Dodd-Frank. He works with commodity exchanges, futures commission merchants/broker dealers, commodity trading advisors, commodity pool operators, swap dealers, CCPs, and investment advisers. Jim has worked with various regulators throughout the world, including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (US), the Securities & Exchange Commission (US), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (US), European Securities & Markets Authority (EU), the Financial Conduct Authority (UK), among others. Jim has served as General Counsel at the Intercontinental Exchange (“ICE”)(owners the New York Stock Exchange), EurexUS, RJ O’Brien and Green Key Technologies. He also previously was CAO for the U.S. Futures Exchange. Jim has as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Law Clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Richard Enslen and appointed member of the Technology Advisory Committee for the CFTC. Jim has taught commodity and derivatives courses at the Chicago Kent School of Law and a commodity market course at Penn State University. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA/Government; Georgetown University Law Center with a JD; and Northwestern/Kellogg School of Management with an MBA.

Edmund Bergan
Legal Council ‒ United States

Mr. Bergan’s professional career is in its fifth decade, consisting primarily of senior legal and management positions in the money management industry. After serving on the Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and later as Vice President and Associate General Counsel of the Securities Industry Association (SIA), Mr. Bergan joined Alliance Capital Management Corporation, soon to become the world’s largest non-bank institutional money manager, in 1981. For the final 16 years of his long Alliance career, Mr. Bergan was Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Legal Officer of the Alliance Fund Complex, then among the U.S.’s largest, and in that role acquired substantial developing Africa experience.Among other things, Mr. Bergan led the organization, initial public offering and ongoing operations of the Southern Africa Fund, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange-listed U.S. investment company that concentrated its investments in South Africa and five other Southern African nations. The Fund was the first Western investment vehicle brought into South Africa as apartheid ended. After Mr. Bergan retired from Alliance in 2003, his substantial legal and business experience, together with his management and leadership abilities, enabled him to succeed in leading a series of troubled funds and money managers out of business and legal/regulatory difficulties, in the course of which he acquired additional Gulf and North African transactional experience. Today, Mr. Bergan maintains an international corporate finance, investment management, and corporate governance consulting practice. He has been retained by GSI since 2017 with respect to the corporate finance and legal aspects of GSI’s work in and on behalf of Sudan.

Mohamed Abdeen
Legal Counsel ‒ International

Mohamed Abdeen’s started his legal practice immediately following his graduation from the University of Khartoum in 2002. His practice has been strengthened by the frequent employment of in house counsel for several major companies with a concentration in corporate law, civil and criminal litigation, intellectual property, food industry, international business transactions, and agribusiness and infrastructure projects.Mr. Abdeen started out as a transactional and dispute resolution lawyer, but he now specializes in advisory work and procurement strategies for projects, construction, engineering, and mining sectors. Mr. Abdeen has been working closely with several leading developers, mine owners, contractors and consultant engineers fro various purposes including assisting them with risk management strategies and bespoke training programs. He regularly advises on all the main standard forms of contract used in the construction industry and is currently dealing with cases involving FIDIC, NEC, EPC and EPCM contracts. Mr. Abdeen’s dispute resolution work includes mediation, adjudication, arbitration, and litigation. Mr. Abdeen is a member of the largest legal network in the world, Prae Legal. This network of alliances offers the clients a single-window service provider to deal with all kind of matters across the world under one umbrella.

Strategic Planning

Douglas Fike

Doug Fike spearheads a global network of organizations and change agents in the business, nonprofit, government, technology, and arts sectors. Specializing in executive coaching, founder transitions and organizational development, Doug has worked in dozens of countries on five continents. He consults widely with NGOs and small to midsize businesses; he enjoys helping organizations navigate tough transitions and operate according to their mission and values.Doug is known for conflict mediation and bridge-building work across cultural, religious, and generational divides. As a founding director of Bridges to Common Ground, he has worked in Muslim/Christian conflict zones, including peacemaking initiatives in the Central African Republic.Doug co-founded an early, groundbreaking coach training and certification organization and currently spearheads a pioneering virtual learning community. His master’s degree in Organizational Leadership is grounded in four decades founding and leading a range of enterprises. He has started an array of businesses and helped launch several faith communities and international networks. Doug is a seasoned mentor, and senior advisor and life coach to an array of national and international leaders.

Dr. Peter Blair
Economist & Physicist ‒ Advisory

Peter Blair is a faculty research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research and an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He serves as principal investigator of the Blair Economics Lab (BE-Lab), an economic research group based at Clemson University. His group’s research in applied micro-economic theory focuses on: supply-side issues in higher education, the effects of occupational licensing on labor market discrimination, and the link between residential segregation and educational outcomes.Blair received his Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School, his M.A. in theoretical physics from Harvard University, and his B.Sc. in physics and mathematics from Duke University. He is from the beautiful islands of the Bahamas.

Phil Sheldon
Strategic Management ‒ Advisory

Phil Sheldon is the Board Chairman of Survivors And Victims Empowered where he has been raising millions of dollars a year since 1996 to help prevent the criminal neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children and to help survivors of these childhood traumas in the recovery process. The organization’s goal is to join with other organizations in both the public and private sectors to stop the abuse of children and remedy the damage caused by this abuse.Mr. Sheldon is also an angel investor in several successful businesses, including Let’s Talk Interactive (LTI), Health Kiosks, Diener Consultants, and iGive, and a patent holder for various laster satellite communication technology. Mr. Sheldon graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 1983 with an AB in Political Science and has remained active in political and religious affairs ever since.

Hassan Wali
Hassan Wali ‒ Advisory

Hassan Wali is a French and Sudanese citizen who specializes in large-scale renewable energy projects with the Sudanese government. Mr. Wali is the owner of a large Sudanese land concession, has an alliance with GSI (U.S.A), and is a partner of GSI Mining (Sudan).Mr. Wali has a deep connection with many tribal leaders in Sudan and uses his sociological and linguistic studies from his time at Lyon2 University to help build relationships with tribes and villages across the country. Mr. Wali, alongside GSI, consults with the Sudanese on how we can build infrastructure, jobs, and sustainability in their communities through mining, processing, and refining projects.

Geography & Earth Sciences

Ryan Thompson
Oil & Gas Geologist ‒ Advisory Board

Ryan Thompson has 10 years of experience as a geologist exploring for new oil resources onshore in the U.S. Having worked 3 of the top 4 unconventional oil basins (Permian, Denver, & Williston) he is intimately familiar with a wide range of the latest technologies & techniques. He has put together multiple regional geologic studies as a team leader, identified key parameters for success, & oversaw initial drilling operations on several concepts. He started out working for large companies & now invests on his own.Since obtaining a Master of Geoscience degree from Colorado State University, he has continued to hone his expertise in structural geology. Several grants were awarded for his field research and the new insights obtained were published. He is well versed in topics such as faults, fractures, shear zones, & rock mechanics. He enjoys delving into new projects with enthusiasm, putting the puzzle pieces together, & presenting to potential investors.

Michael Floresch
Michael Floresch ‒ Advisory

Mr. Floersch has extensive knowledge in geology and metals with a BA in earth science from the University of Central Missouri and has over 34 years of experience in geology, chemistry and metallurgy. Mr. Floersch is a Qualified Professional (QP) Member of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America (MMSA) with special expertise in geology and metallurgy. MMSA is an exclusive society of mining experts whose membership role call reads like a “Who’s Who of Mining”.Michael began his career in mining in 1981 as an exploration geologist for Marquette Minerals and later with Grasslake Minerals and Mining in the Central Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. In 1986, when the metals industry took a downturn, he turned his career ambitions to his second love, the laboratory. Mr. Floersch worked as a bench chemist for the City of Kansas City Missouri’s Water Department and later at BioScience Laboratory and Y.E.S. Technologies until 1998 when he was hired by United States Antimony Corp (USAC) as chief chemist and metallurgist. In 2000, USAC created a subsidiary corporation, called Bear River Zeolite Co. (BRZ). Mr. Floersch was made a member of the board of directors and Secretary and Treasurer of BRZ. Mr. Floersch is one of the leading experts in the world in the antimony and natural zeolite industries. He continues to consult for BRZ and USAC. In 2004, he was recruited by Stillwater Mining Co. and joined Stillwater as a staff geologist for the company’s East Boulder Mine near McCleod, MT. Mr. Floersch was hired by US Precious Metals, Inc. to help develop their La Sabila Project in Michoacan, Mexico. In August of 2010, Mr. Floersch was recruited by American Analytical Services to be their Lab Manager at Kensington Mine near Juneau, AK. Mr. Floersch has been a private consultant in the mining industry since 2012.

Neal Teague
Exert Miner ‒ Advisory Board

Neal has worked in the mining business for over 30 years, including projects in North and South America, as well as Africa. He grew up in North Carolina, where his family had a Rock Shop for 45 years, and his love for the Gemstone and Mining Business just seem to fit as his walk in life. In the 1980s he moved to Dallas, Texas to raise a family, and became involved with Air Freight and Logistics, working for a US Customs Brokerage Firm. This would serve him well in the mining business as, getting equipment around the world, is not an easy task. Neal has served as President of several companies, including Applied Minerals Inc. and US American Stone and Minerals.He has managed several operations for Gold Mining in Mexico, Gold and Diamonds in Guyana, South America, Gold Mining and Crushed Stone in Arizona, Gemstones and Gold Mining in New Mexico, Gold Mining in Alaska, and Canada, and Gold and Diamond Mining in Sierra Leone, Africa, and now in Sudan, Africa. His duties have included, exploration, purchasing and shipping equipment to other countries, building roads, bridges, and infrastructure, into such places as the Amazon Jungle, Alaska, Mexico, and Africa, while maintaining airstrips, and managing employees up to 40 at a time in hostile conditions. He has extensive experience in Large and Small Scale Mining Operations and is always looking for new deposits of metals, minerals, and gemstones. The one thing that keeps me going, is being able to dig something up that no one has ever touched since it was formed.

Dr. Greg Gaston
Geographer ‒ Advisory Board

Dr. Greg Gaston has an undergraduate degree in Production Agriculture with a Minor in History from Wilmington College in Ohio. After a fairly short run as a High School teacher (4 years, first Vo-Ag, later Science)… his MS (89’) and PhD (93’) degrees are from Oregon State University as a Physical Geographer with technical skills in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He worked with disaster response in Bangladesh.Dr. Gaston served in post-doctoral research positions with the US EPA/NSF, the USGS and NASA and finally back at Oregon State as a researcher, instructor and computer system administrator. In 2002 he came to the University of North Alabama where he retired as a full professor of Geography in 2019. He has been with MS Industries as a consulting geoscientist since 2011. In 2013 he was a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In Tanzania he taught and worked with disaster response and modeling.His other research work includes sub-surface remote sensing and modeling of the subsurface. He has used Electrical Resistance Tomography on unmarked burial sites and published research on climate change and alpine glacial features. Evaluating patterns of severe weather across the US using the GIS, use of aerial drones in analysis of surface conditions, evaluating changes in agriculture based on climate change, assessing hurricane model accuracy, and developing field courses in evaluating landscapes are all active research interests. Google Scholar citation count is 454.