The EFI Team

Deep in Industry Experience

Our passion for solving industry’s toughest challenges stems naturally from our team members’ individual and collective industry expertise gained through decades of first-hand experience working within diverse manufacturing environments.

EFI Group’s administrative and CAD design resources are located in its Baltimore office. We are also aligned with a number of engineering and subject matter experts (SME) and partner with other engineering firms to support client projects as needed.

As founder and  partner, Ken is the driving force behind EFI Group’s vision and mission to fill a critical gap within industry.

Specifically, to provide manufacturing enterprises with outside consultants who have worked on industry’s side of the equation and bring the deeper insight required to:

  •  See the client’s larger picture.
  • Understand what is at stake for the organization.
  • Accurately identify the issues.
  • Develop effective solutions without requiring the client to define the path.

Ken personally brings 30+ years of industrial engineering experience to the EFI team and has previously held positions at several well-respected professional engineering consultancies and firms, including a mid-Atlantic A&E consultancy; a manufacturer of high-pressure and solid decorative products with worldwide distribution, where he served 12 years as an engineering and maintenance manager; and a manufacturer of dredging and mining machinery.

Ken earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and his M.S. from the University of Maryland. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in MD.  

Connect with Ken on LinkedIn

A Manufacturing & Technology professional, Jim has 30+ years of relevant experience in manufacturing systems; including automation, packaging and filling.

Throughout his career, Jim has demonstrated the ability to solve problems with a rational toolset in order to achieve data driven solutions. Prior to joining EFI Group, Jim was Vice President of Engineering, Development & Sales at a manufacturer of performance packaging products where he helped develop and lead a customer-centric organization focused on solving customer problems related to product design, equipment design and selection, start up and troubleshooting. He also spent 10 years with a major material handling company, where he deepened his experience with overhead lifting, equipment and systems.

Jim earned his MBA from Mount Saint Mary’s University and his BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from University of Pittsburgh. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in PA, MD, IN and CA, and is also a court-recognized Expert Witness in Accident Reconstruction.

Connect with Jim on LinkedIn

Karl knows how to effectively drive projects from concept to implementation.

With 20+ years of manufacturing experience as a Process and Project Engineer, Karl has earned a stellar reputation for his excellent communication skills, ability to effectively work on the plant floor, hands-on problem solving and troubleshooting experience, as well as a keen attention to detail.

Karl’s industry experience is broad and includes special expertise in sugar manufacturing, alumina smelting, food processing and brick manufacturing. Additionally, he is extremely fluent in bulk material handling systems.

Prior to joining EFI Group, Karl held positions in high pressure laminate manufacturing; textile manufacturing and in food packaging.

Karl earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Scott LaichScott’s 20+ years of diverse industry experience has made him a much-valued asset to EFI Group and its clients.

At EFI Group, Scott has led multiple process and equipment improvement projects for firms in the aerospace, primary aluminum and paper industries. Prior to joining the firm, Scott managed the engineering and maintenance departments for a paper converting and printing company, and also held a variety of engineering positions at both large and small companies specializing in the building products, furniture and machine tool industries.

Scott earned his Masters of Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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Scott LucoWith more than twenty-five years of experience in inorganic and electrolytic chemical production, food additives, pharmaceutical excipients and wastewater treatment processes, Scott brings exceptional expertise to EFI Group.

However, his extensive process and operational leadership background is only one reason he’s such a good fit for our team.

Scott’s ability to see and assess the big picture, combined with his penchant for asking probing and challenging questions, are naturally aligned with EFI Group’s philosophy of approaching projects from an owner’s point of view and stimulating fresh thinking.

Prior to joining EFI Group, Scott spent 10 years at W.R. Grace & Co., where he most recently held the position of Quality and Materials Operations Manager. Before that, Scott worked at several other respected companies including Erachem-Comilog, Inc., Westinghouse Electronic Systems and Merck & Co., Inc.

Scott is the recipient of numerous awards for both his work and published papers, and is trained in Design for Six Sigma Manufacturability, Taguchi Methods and is a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn

Chris PolingChris is a cement industry specialist and seasoned project leader with a passion for ensuring our clients achieve the highest levels of safety, efficiency and profitability. His innovative problem solving ability has resulted in numerous processes and equipment that help manufacturers turn waste materials into profit, and he is working with EFI Group to commercialize several authored patents related to removing mercury from industrial gas streams and byproducts.

During his career, and among many other achievements, Chris developed six patents related to mercury removal and ash beneficiation, received the Blue Circle Cement North America Achievement Award and the International Concrete Repair Industry Award of Excellence and was 1st Runner-Up in the Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana’s Engineering Excellence Competition. He is also an author and international speaker on topics related to mercury capture and innovative grinding.

Prior to joining EFI Group, Chris held leadership positions at a number of high-profile companies including SCB International Materials where he served as Vice President of Mercury Capture Systems and Lafarge North America where he was Plant Manager at the Richmond BC and Sparrows Point locations.

Chris earned his BEng in Engineering Management & MS in Civil Engineering Construction Management from Stevens Institute of Technology and also completed the Ashridge Emerging Managers Program and the Duke Executive Development Program, INSEAD.

Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

Jared’s passion for identifying the often-hidden underlying issues within manufacturing environments and his ability to innovate efficient solutions that address the true core problem make him a valued member of EFI Group’s team. His experience in the power industry combined with his leadership abilities and a talent for bringing clarity during the execution of critical functions, allow him to assist our team of engineering consultants in optimizing our clients’ productivity and profitability.

Before joining EFI Group, Jared earned his reputation as an energy expert through a diverse set of roles and responsibilities for both Fortune 500 companies and privately owned power producers in the coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear power industries. Throughout his career, he has provided exceptional leadership and technical mastery as an engineer, project manager, shift supervisor, maintenance manager, operations manager and engineering manager.

Jared received his BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Pittsburgh, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University and he is currently pursuing his MBA at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Jared is a Professional Engineer in the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Kevin Jordahl Specializing in chemicals and food manufacturing, and with extensive experience in USDA, FDA and safety requirements, Kevin thrives in high-pressure environments where he can apply his hard-earned niche expertise to develop innovative ideas on behalf of EFI Group’s clients. Motivated to deliver the best, most practical solutions, Kevin lets common sense lead. As a result, he’s earned a reputation for listening deeply to client needs, gaining understanding directly from the plant floor and applying his creativity to deliver out-of-the box solutions without over-engineering. Additionally, Kevin is OSHA certified and has experience as a HAZMAT team member and incident commander, and as a confined space rescue team member. Kevin earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and is Chapter President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn

Kyle Chaires brings the curiosity, determination and fresh perspective required to bring innovative, forward-thinking manufacturing solutions to the table.

In fact, nothing inspires Kyle more than taking on the type of tough engineering problems that allow him to apply his love of math and his understanding of how things work in order to develop effective solutions for clients.

Prior to joining EFI Group, Kyle worked for Dixon Valve where he participated in all aspects of product development from conception and design to manufacturing.

Kyle earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware in Newark with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering and minors in Mathematics and Material Science. He also received his Certificate in Project Management from the University of Delaware in Wilmington.

Connect with Kyle on LinkedIn

A tenacious problem solver with expertise in chemical processes, as well as in plant, process and team safety, Patrick thrives on the challenge of identifying solutions within complex manufacturing environments in order to help EFI Group’s clients run efficiently and save lives.

As part of his career-long focus on increasing safety, reducing risk and identifying optimum solutions, Patrick excels in building and collaborating with cross-functional teams as a way to surface all relevant information, acquire diverse feedback, facilitate more productive ideation and, ultimately, achieve the best outcomes for manufacturers.

Patrick earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and has held leadership roles with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

He is also skilled in Lean, Six Sigma and 5S practices and, prior to joining EFI Group, developed and led courses on the capital project implementation process.

Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn

Tom’s commitment to bringing new approaches and developing creative yet practical solutions with safety and long-term viability in mind make him a valued member of EFI Group’s team. His experience enables him to assist our team of engineering consultants and our clients to maximize manufacturing processes in order to achieve optimum uptime and efficiency.

Before joining EFI Group, Tom worked in various engineering roles for Isola Group, a global manufacturer of raw materials for printed circuit boards where he gained vital experience in collaboration and project management.

Tom received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina and an AS in Mechanical Engineering from Trident Technical College.

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn

As a key person responsible for 3D modeling for equipment arrangements and fabrication drawings at EFI Group, nothing is more important to Phil than clarity.

Whether it’s creating plans and drawings to help our clients perfectly understand the solutions we’re proposing or making sure a fabricator can replicate our plans without any disparities, Phil is always working to reduce project risk through accuracy.

Phil’s ability to see the big picture and incorporate that larger knowledge into each design, as well as to offer new perspectives, make him an essential asset to our team and clients.

What he enjoys most about working for EFI Group is the opportunity to develop solutions for such a wide range of manufacturing challenges that require both his strategic and artistic talent.

Prior to joining EFI Group, Phil was an AutoCAD operator and field technician working on environmental protection solutions, manufactured custom-designed orthotics and medical braces for patients, physicians and NFL teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, and designed office spaces to align with corporate culture and comply with ergonomic, visual and economic specifications.

In addition to being an integral member of the EFI Group team, Phil is currently pursing a bachelor’s degree in physics to complement his existing skill set so that he can continue to increase the value he brings to the projects we undertake.

Connect with Phil on LinkedIn

Tom Ford
Growing up with a machinist father, as well as in a family full of artists, Tim considers mechanical design to have been embedded into his DNA from the start.

Today, he has 20+ year’s experience in multiple CAD programs and has created layouts, designs and accurate 3D models to meet OSHA standards for grain handling equipment and layouts for farm and brewing companies. He is also an expert in providing support and quality control for sheet metal cells, mark ups and corrections to drawings for custom HVAC units.

Above all, Tim enjoys collaborating with engineers to improve existing products. As Tim says, “It’s great to enjoy what I do for a living. Not everyone can say that, and I feel very fortunate to be part of a team as experienced and people-oriented as EFI Group.”

Tim earned his Associate’s degree in Specialized Technology from the York Technical Institute, specializing in Computer Aided Drafting and Design, and he graduated with academic honors.

After hours, Tim likes riding motorcycles, attending motorsports events of all kinds and even entering his car in shows (when he’s not busy tinkering with it). He also enjoys hiking, visiting new places and has a deep-seated passion for watching the Ravens beat the Steelers. Of course, the one activity that beats them all is spending time with his daughter. He especially loves taking her fishing.

Beth HessAs Office Manager, Beth’s role is to make certain that everything at EFI Group runs smoothly and efficiently so that our engineers can put 100% of their attention on addressing our clients’ needs.

In fact, nothing is more important to Beth than ensuring our clients have a consistently seamless and positive experience.

Whether she’s finding ways to build greater transparency and confidentiality into how we work with our clients or simply providing a fast response to a client’s question, everything Beth does is focused on delivering one thing: exceptional service.

Additionally, Beth is in charge of all of EFI Group’s administrative activities and is the guiding force behind streamlining our internal processes, including bringing new tools and technologies that enable us to continuously improve how we operate.

Quite simply, we rely on Beth to do far more than “run the office.” She is that vital problem solver that every team needs to be able to concentrate on their core competencies, knowing that any challenge that arises will be adeptly and quickly handled before it becomes a disruption.

We hired EFI Group to help us figure out a project and scope it, and I felt confident they would keep a keen eye on it. They had to deliver quickly and they did it well. They are especially good at project management when you don’t have the resources to do it internally. Reliability is the word I would use to describe EFI Group.
— Coatings Industry Professional
EFI Group is timely. We’ve had a lot of situations when we’ve been in a time crunch and they’ve responded very quickly. They are detail oriented and efficient. They’re a good group of people who also have a lot of strength in pre-engineering — the thought process to get to preliminary design and making sure we’ve investigated all the potential asks of a project to ensure we didn’t miss anything. They have great attention to detail up front which is very important to any project because having that detail-oriented deep dive into the pre-engineering phase sets the stage for the success of the rest of the project, making the process smoother and making it much easier to keep the project on schedule and on budget.
— Mike Quigley, Engineering & Maintenance Manager, Food Industry
I’ve worked with EFI Group for a while, so I know they have a good, knowledgeable staff. We know we’re going to get the results from them we expect. From my interactions with all the different EFI team members I’ve worked with, I know they have knowledge across many industries. Equally, I never have to follow up with EFI Group and, in some cases, they keep me on track.
— Ryan Fredsall, General Manager, Pacer Minerals LLC
We view EFI Group as a team that can dimensionalize our capability to execute projects. We can articulate what it is we want to do and they can take that input and run with it without much intervention from us. They’re able to move a project along independently and only engage us when it’s time to bring us up to speed or get more input to drive a project to conclusion. That’s one of the reasons I view them as an excellent contractor.
— Environmental Engineering Industry Professional
EFI Group has good engineers and good customer service. We know when we get an EFI engineer on a project, we’re going to a get a good job from them and it’s been a productive relationship for both of us — I genuinely like the people.
— Corporate Director, Project Management in Food & Flavors Industry
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