About

Senior Management

Our Leadership

Piedmont Lithium has strong leadership with considerable market experience. Our leadership team’s successful mining ventures include a multi-decade track record of creating wealth for shareholders in mining ventures, experience in building top-tier management teams in the U.S. and the proven ability to fund exploration and development stage opportunities.

Mr. Keith D. Phillips

Mr. Keith D. Phillips

President & Chief Executive Officer
Appointed on July 6, 2017, Mr. Phillips has a career on Wall Street spanning 30 years during which he has worked on strategic and financing transactions representing over $100 billion in aggregate value. Mr. Phillips was most recently a Senior Advisor with merchant banker Maxit Capital, after leading the mining investment banking teams for Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, JPMorgan and Dahlman Rose. Mr. Phillips has worked with numerous mining companies, including many established global leaders, and has dedicated most of the past decade to advising exploration and development-stage companies in achieving their strategic objectives, with a particular focus on obtaining relevance in the United States capital markets. Mr. Phillips received his Master of Business Administration from The University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University in Canada.
Mr. Patrick H. Brindle

Mr. Patrick H. Brindle

Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer

Mr. Brindle has over 18 years of experience in the development of US and global mining operations, minerals processing plants and materials handling projects, and has expertise in all phases of project development from concept design, pre-feasibility and feasibility study, detailed design engineering, construction and commissioning, including EPC projects in North and South Carolina. He most recently worked as Vice President of Engineering for DRA Taggart in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has a BS in Environmental Science and a BS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Mr. David Klanecky

Mr. David Klanecky

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Klanecky has spent most of his career in senior operational, research & development, commercial, and strategic leadership roles. From 2013 to 2021, he served in increasingly senior management roles within Albemarle Corporation, the world’s leading lithium producer, including as VP Strategy and Corporate Development and most recently serving as Vice President – Lithium Operations – APAC/EU, with global responsibility for Albemarle’s manufacturing/operations, process technology and product management within the global lithium business. David also served as interim CEO of the MARBL joint venture between Albemarle and Mineral Resources Ltd, which includes the Kemerton and Wodgina assets in Australia.

Before joining Albemarle, David had an impressive twenty-year career with The Dow Chemical Company that spanned the globe including expat assignments in Spain, Switzerland, and China across a number of innovative industries. In his last role with Dow, David launched the Dow Energy Materials Business, focused on Lithium-Ion Battery Materials offerings to cell manufacturers and Auto OEMs, where he served as the Global Business Director for this business unit prior to joining Albemarle in 2013.

David has a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Nebraska and an Executive MBA from Arizona State/Thunderbird School of Global Management. He joined Piedmont in April 2021 and will be based in the Company’s Belmont, North Carolina headquarter.

Mr. Bruce Czachor

Mr. Bruce Czachor

Executive Vice President & Cheif Legal Officer

Mr. Czachor has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer and Secretary since August 2021. He joined the Company in December 2018 on a part-time basis as our Vice President and General Counsel, and served as legal consultant for most of 2020 before rejoining as our Vice President and General Counsel in December 2020. Mr. Czachor has over 34 years of experience in general corporate matters, corporate governance, capital markets, bank finance, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing agreements and commercial transactions, and was a partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Over his career, Mr. Czachor has represented a wide variety of businesses, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, and he has extensive experience in the mining, energy and cleantech industries. Mr. Czachor received a J.D. from New York Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University. He is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey and California.

Mr. Michael White

Mr. Michael White

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Mr. White serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and has extensive experience in leading global finance and accounting organizations, mergers and acquisitions including post-merger integrations, initial public offerings, internal controls, and information systems. Prior to joining Piedmont, Mr. White served as Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller of ChampionX Corporation (formerly Apergy Corporation), a manufacturing and services company in the oil and gas industry, from its spinoff and initial public offering in 2018 through a merger in 2020. Prior to ChampionX, Mr. White served as Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller of Aegion Corporation, a public company in the oil and gas and water industries, from 2014 through 2018. From 2001 through 2014, he served in various senior financial leadership positions for public and non-public companies in the manufacturing, chemicals, oil and gas, services and technology industries, including Chief Financial Officer of Baker Energy. Prior to 2001, he was a manager in the assurance practice with Ernst & Young. Mr. White earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from the University of Houston and is a certified public accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Mr. Austin Devaney

Mr. Austin Devaney

Vice President – Sales & Marketing

Mr. Devaney is a chemical engineer by training and has spent most of his career in senior commercial roles. From 2015 to 2019 he served in increasingly senior sales and marketing roles with Albemarle Corporation, the world’s #1 lithium producer, ultimately serving as Vice President Strategic Marketing and Customer Excellence. For Albemarle’s predecessor, Rockwood Lithium, Mr. Devaney served as Global Product Manager – Lithium Hydroxide, and National Sales Manager – Battery Products.

In his time at Albemarle and Rockwood, Mr. Devaney developed broad and deep relationships with many of the most important participants in the global electric vehicle supply chain. His technical background was particularly useful in navigating the product qualification processes that are required by global auto makers. This experience will be directly relevant as Piedmont completes its initial lithium hydroxide testwork programs in coming weeks and will have product samples to share with prospective customers for the first time.

Prior to his time in the lithium business, Mr. Devaney had senior marketing and operational roles with US chemical companies including Occidental Chemical Corporation, Kemira, and Fuchs Lubricants. After leaving Albemarle in 2019, he served as Director, Lithium & Battery Materials for IHS Markit. He earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University and his MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Mrs. Kris McVey

Mrs. Kris McVey

Vice President of Human Resources

Ms. McVey joins Piedmont from TC Transcontinental Packaging where she rose from Global Director of Human Resources to Vice President of Human Resources and U.S. Labor Relations. In her most recent role, she oversaw all human resources activities for TC’s largest consumer packaging segment, including cultural change management initiatives, and labor relations strategies in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to her time at TC Transcontinental, she had a 15-year career with Michelin with positions in both France and North America. She began her tenure at Michelin as Associate General Counsel, then progressed through the organization to become Director of Human Resources with the Aircraft Tire Division of Michelin North America where she developed policies and procedures for both the hourly and salaried population of the 500-employee operation. Ms. McVey began her career in private practice with the law firm Edwards Ballard where she represented a variety of private and public employers developing human resources policies and diversity programs, while providing extensive legal training to clients in all areas of human resources and employee relations.

Ms. McVey earned her Juris Doctor in Labor and Employment Law from the University of South Carolina School of Law, her Master of Human Resources from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, as well as her Bachelor of Arts (French) degree from the University of South Carolina. Over her career, Ms. McVey has served on the Board of several philanthropic and community organizations, including SAFE Homes/Rape Crisis, the United Way of Stanly County, and the Centralina Workforce Development Board.

Mr. Lamont Leatherman

Mr. Lamont Leatherman

Vice President & Chief Geologist

Lamont Leatherman is an exploration geologist with over 25 years of experience. Mr. Leatherman is the former project geologist for BHP Minerals and Noranda. He has extensive experience in numerous styles of mineralization including lithium bearing pegmatite systems.

Ms. Monique Parker

Ms. Monique Parker

Vice President – Health, Safety and Environment

Ms. Parker has over 15 years of Environmental, Health, and Safety experience in a wide range of industries spanning from chemical manufacturing, food processing, building materials, and textiles and most recently with Albemarle Corporation. She has spent time in all regions of the world supporting and auditing facilities in regards to safety and environmental regulatory requirements. She has experience collaborating with many agencies while permitting in multiple states dealing with Title 5, PSD, and major expansion projects. Monique is a Chemical Engineer from Tennessee Technological University who truly enjoys finding creative ways to keep people safe and the environment clean.

Mr. Brian Risinger

Mr. Brian Risinger

Vice President – Corporate Communications and Investor Relations

Mr. Risinger has joined Piedmont as Vice President – Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. Brian has over 20 years’ experience in similar roles, having served most recently as director of marketing, corporate communications, and investor relations for Sonoco Products Company, one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies. Mr. Risinger is a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at The University of South Carolina.

Mr. Jim Nottingham

Mr. Jim Nottingham

Senior Project Manager – Concentrate Operations

Mr. Nottingham has joined Piedmont as Senior Project Manager – Concentrate Operations. Jim brings extensive project management, construction, mine management and process plant operations management experience to Piedmont from his 30+ years’ operating in the mining industry. Mr. Nottingham received his BS in Mining and Mineral Engineering from West Virginia University.

Mr. David Buckley

Mr. David Buckley

Vice President – Chief Process Engineer

Mr. Buckley is a 25-year veteran of the lithium business, having worked most recently as Chief Process Engineer of Quebec-based Critical Elements Corporation after senior positions with FMC’s Lithium Division and Albemarle (former Rockwood Lithium). Mr. Buckley has extensive experience in lithium extraction from both hard rock resources and lithium bearing brines. He also brings experience in converting the extracted lithium into lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and other downstream lithium chemicals. He has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Mrs. Binh Meador

Mrs. Binh Meador

Senior Project Manager – Chemical Operations

Binh Meador is currently assigned as Senior Project Manager – Chemical Operations. In this role, she provides leadership and direction through all phases of the project development for the lithium hydroxide chemical facility. Binh has 20 years of project execution experience. Since starting her career Binh has held a variety of increasingly leadership roles as project manager, technical team lead, and department manager positions. Binh has experience building and leading high-performance teams to execute major projects for both greenfield and brownfield facilities. She has worked on domestic as well as international projects including multiple years expat assignments in the Caribbean and the Middle East. Binh is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Outside of work she enjoys cooking with her family and gardening during her free time.

Mr. John “Pratt” Ray

Mr. John “Pratt” Ray

Production Manager – Chemical Operations

Mr. Ray joined Piedmont in 2020 as Production Manager – Chemical Operations. Pratt has deep experience in the production of lithium hydroxide and carbonate, both from spodumene and brine sources, having spent almost 30 years in production and operating roles at Livent’s Bessemer City, North Carolina lithium chemical facility.

Ms. Malissa Gordon

Ms. Malissa Gordon

Manager – Community and Government Relations

Ms. Gordon joined Piedmont in 2020 as Manager – Community and Government Relations. Malissa most recently spent over 12 years with the Gaston County (North Carolina) Economic Development Commission. Ms. Gordon brings deep local roots to the Piedmont team with strong connections to community leaders, non-profit and business organizations. Ms. Gordon received her BS in Corporate Communications from Western Carolina University.