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MEET OUR TEAM

To ensure growth, governance, and sustainability as an organization, your leadership should have a passion for the work, real world experience to back it up, and a certain level of creativity that can give you the edge you need in this highly competitive market.

Please meet our Board Members and Executive Leadership team that makes it all happen.

 

BOARD MEMBERS

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Lance Childress

CEO, 

Board Member

Lance Childress acquired ASTAR, Inc. in 2010. During the first few years of operations, Childress was performing much of the field work himself and establishing a reputation of ASTAR excellence that both contractors and operators came to expect.

 

As ASTAR began to grow, Childress prided himself on cultivating a diverse and knowledgeable team of evaluators to build on that reputation and made strategic decisions regarding the placement of ASTAR’s future offices across the country.  He made it a priority to select management for these new offices that would both maintain the high standards ASTAR had become synonymous with and who would be vital in taking ASTAR to the next level. The leadership team that he put in place was the foundation for the rapid and extensive growth over the last decade. 

 

Childress holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Oklahoma.  He currently serves as CEO of ASTAR, Inc. and oversees the growth and development of new products, services, and locations to better meet our client’s needs.  With over 20 years of experience including roles in leadership, fieldwork, sales, training, OQ, safety and DOT regulations, his dedication to this company and industry is what separates ASTAR from any competitors.

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Tracy Messenger

President,

Board Member

Tracy Messenger joined the ASTAR, Inc. team in 2014 and now serves as President of ASTAR, inc.

 

Messenger carries over 30 years of experience in the fields of regulatory compliance, management, quality assurance, operations, and training. Messenger’s wealth of knowledge has been built from serving over 20 years in the United States Air Force as a Senior NCO. Messenger served from 1989-2009 in a range of positions including Senior Surveillance Inspector, Quality Assurance Inspector, and Safety Specialist, ensuring and enforcing DOD, DOT, OSHA, and EPA regulations.

 

In the years following, Messenger worked for almost 5 years with Veriforce operating as the Compliance Audit Manager. While at Veriforce, Messenger managed and performed Evaluator, OQ, and DOT drug and alcohol audits (49 CFR Parts 40 & 199). Messenger also provided OQ and drug and alcohol consulting to pipeline operators and contractors during this time.

 

Messenger is a graduate of the American Military University, holding an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies, as well as an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the Community College of the United States Air Force. Messenger is certified as an OQ Evaluator (Veriforce, ITS, NCCER, EWN, and MEA). Messenger has been with ASTAR, Inc. almost 8 years, focusing on general management of the company, as well as serving as a leader of the team in his position as President.

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Jason Avant

Chief Operations Officer, Board Member

Jason Avant joined the ASTAR, Inc. team in June of 2015 and now serves as the Chief Operations Officer.

 

Avant has a multitude of experience in management, training, inspection, production, and pipeline evaluation. Avant’s expertise comes from an extensive career in welding inspection and pipeline operations supervision.

 

Avant received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University.  Avant is a Certified Welding Inspector, certified API 1169 Pipeline Inspector, Evaluator and Proctor with Veriforce, MEA, ITS, EWN and NCCER, and has years of training in all plastic fusion types. In Avant’s current role, he manages client relations, ensures OQ compliance requirements, and oversees the general operations for the Eastern Region of ASTAR, Inc.

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Cristina Mora

Chief Administrative / Accounting Officer,

Board Member 

Cristina Mora has been with ASTAR, Inc. since its reemergence under Lance Childress’s management in early 2010.  Previously she had been working in the public sector at the Department of Human Services as a Public Information Specialist.  Mora was ready for a change though and agreed to embark on the journey of establishing ASTAR as the nation’s leader in operator qualification testing despite knowing little about the industry. 

 

She began at ASTAR as the account representative and quickly proved to be capable of much more.  Mora has been instrumental in establishing policies and procedures as ASTAR has continued to grow and change.  She has seen the company grow from three employees to now over 100 employees nationwide.  She currently serves as the company’s Chief Administrative/Accounting Officer where she oversees all financial functions in addition to all payroll and human resource responsibilities. 

 

Mora is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where she earned both a Bachelor of Science as well as a Master of Human Relations degree. 

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Cameron Speck

Senior Vice President, Operations

Board Member

Cameron Speck began his industry career as a field technician for a gas operator and has gained over a decade of experience in pipeline construction and maintenance, specializing in training, operator qualifications, safety, and industry regulations.  He also has experience in workforce management, leadership, and customer service. 

 

In his current capacity as Senior Vice President of Operations, Speck oversees the general operations of both the Central and Western Divisions of ASTAR, as well as ensuring compliance both internally and externally and continuing to maintain client relations.  He is committed to expanding ASTAR’s presence in California as well as throughout the Rocky Mountain states.  Although he now oversees a highly capable and knowledgeable team of evaluators, he still maintains his credentials as an evaluator and proctor for Veriforce, MEA, ITS, OQSG and NCCER, as well as being a Safeland/Safegulf instructor. 

 

His willingness to lead by example has made him an invaluable member of the team, especially during times of major transitional growth. Previously, Speck earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in management from Oklahoma Panhandle State University.  While there, he enjoyed playing for the university golf team, which catapulted him into a career field within the sport for a time.  Eventually Speck decided to make the transition back into the oil and gas industry and he accepted a position in early 2013 and since that time has been a vital member of the leadership team.  

 
 
 
 

Leadership Team

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Jeremy Greer

Senior Vice President,

Operations

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Joe Ciaramella

Director of Operations

Northeast Region - NGA

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Rick Hedrick

Vice President, Operations Midwest Region

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Juan Chavez

Director of Operations 

Southwest Region

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Jonathan Dzurino

Vice President, Operations

East Region

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Sam Messenger

Corporate Compliance Manager

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Dennis Kuhn

Vice President, 

Compliance

Dennis Kuhn is a highly skilled professional in Operator Qualification (OQ), auditing, PHMSA D&A regulations, quality assurance and training. Dennis has 32 years’ experience in the fields of regulatory compliance, training, management, operations and logistics. He has worked with numerous regulatory requirements from several governing agencies including: DOT, OSHA, DOE, DOD, EPA, State and International.

Currently he serves as the Vice President of Compliance for ASTAR Inc.  He oversees the compliance department and provides regulatory subject matter expertise and guidance to clients through the complexities of establishing and maintaining defensible compliance programs. Dennis has conducted and directed numerous Operator Qualification, Operations & Maintenance, D&A and Control Room Management consulting projects, as well as assisting over 200 Operators to keep ahead of evolving state and federal regulatory requirements.

He has authored and assessed written Operator OQ programs and provided onsite guidance and support to Operators during State and Federal Audits. He has developed and taught numerous industry related courses to include; Evaluator Training, Field OQ training, CFR training. 

 

He is also recognized as a subject matter expert in regards to DOT Drug and Alcohol and OQ programs across the United States. He is a reoccurring speaker and presenter at multiple Energy Associations nationwide.Dennis is currently a member of ASME B31q task committee, a member of the SGA and consults for the NGA on OQ.

Our commitment to serving in industry-based associations as advisors, committee members, and presenting speakers at oil & gas conferences nationwide is what sets us apart from the rest. Check out our Associations page for more detail.