Christo Patsan

Christo is in his 30th year in the professional services field, the last 15 of which, he has been specialising in assisting clients develop and maintain sustainable improvements in safety performance. Specialising in the oil & gas and mining industries, these organisations include operators such as ExxonMobil, Woodside, Shell and QGC in the oil and gas industry and Xstrata, and Peabody in the mining industry and a number of their major contractors.He was a Founding Partner of EDN, a company which built a high reputation for delivering results to clients across the globe. From 6 Founding Partners, this company grew to an annual turnover of $20m and over 90 employees and associates operating offices in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Houston, and Aberdeen. This attracted a major UK based multinational to acquire EDN in 2009.Commencing his career with Ernst & Young in Australia, he later consulted to major organisations in aviation and steel manufacturing in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Bloc. In an alliance with the Australian Centre for Best Practice, Christo was involved in significant workplace change projects in the early 1990s in industries as varied as steel, mining, health care, local government and textiles.

Beyond his consulting work, Christo has also spoken at numerous conferences and has had aspects of his consulting work published, including:

  • Speaker and member of the Australian Government delegation and facilitator of workshops on safety at the APEC Minister’s Responsible for Mining Summit held in Perth as part of the APEC year in Australia in 2007. This involved delegations of ministers, bureaucrats, industry from most of the 23 member economies of APEC;
  • Safety Leadership in the International Mining Industry: A Case Study Analysis, 2010. A report prepared for the Department of Resources, Energy & Tourism on behalf the 15 members countries of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development & Climate;
  • Delivering a No Incidents: No-one Gets Hurt Culture in Major Shutdowns at the Karratha LNG Plant, Perth 2009, 5th Annual Shutdowns and Outages Conference;
  • Speaker and facilitator at the APPEA Coal Seam Gas Safety Forum, Brisbane 2011;
  • Speaker and facilitator of discussion panel at the APPEA National Oil & Gas Safety Conference, Perth 2006
  • Managing in High Activity Periods, Perth 2005, DrillSafe: Australia’s Drilling Industry Quarterly HSE Forum;
  • Turning Theory Into Reality: Embracing Effective Safety Leadership Across Your Drilling Operations, Kuala Lumpur 2005, Drilling Safety Management in Oil & Gas Conference;
  • Safety Leadership in Action, Sydney 2006, NSW Minerals Council OHS Conference
  • Innovation: Understanding the Leadership Behaviours required in Delivering Innovation, Sydney 2006, NSW Minerals Council OHS Conference
  • Best Practice in the Textiles Industry: Wax Converters Textiles, (2000) research paper of a case study conducted by the Employment Studies Centre of the University of Newcastle;

David Murray

With over 12 years’ experience in this field, David Murray is a highly sought after safety consultant and trainer. His work history has been developed with hands-on experience within heavy and hazardous industries (Oil, Gas, Mining, Construction), both on and offshore; within the North Sea, Caspian, Alaskan and Australian sectors, including roles such as offshore safety advisor, and HSE Manager.

David’s core capability is to apply theoretical training to the practical ‘real world’ application in onsite coaching and mentoring; systems analysis and implementation; and Behavioural Based Safety training – both in onshore and offshore environments.

Over the past 5 years with EDN, David has spent the majority of his time working directly with supervisors and crews at a number of Xstrata Coal underground mines – Ulan, United, Ravensworth Underground, West Wallsend and Tahmoor. In addition, has worked with Esso Australia, WorleyParsons, ENSCO and McDermotts. Prior to joining this team, David served clients including, Schlumberger, British Gas, Dubai Petroleum, BP, Marathon Oil, Canadian Natural Resources and AMEC.

He has an Advanced Diploma in OHS, is qualified in NEEBOSH and is accredited as a training provider in regard to Risk Assessment, Incident Investigation, Permit to Work, and Manual Handling training.

Bill Gissane

Bill has spent more than 30 years’ as a senior manager, engineer and consultant before joining EDN in 2001. His leadership experience in heavy industry is extensive and includes long-term appointments with BHP Steel, where he was involved in steel production and refractories, and management of timber panelling operations at CSR Timber Products. Over the years Bill has also served on a number of boards dealing with vocational education and training and labour hire.

Bill’s impressive work history includes stints as a technical specialist in steel processing, oversight of capital construction, leadership of large scale cost reduction and safety programs, and development of logistics, supply chain and planning areas.

He was made a partner in EDN in 2007 and managed the North American operations of the business out of the Houston office. He client work has principally revolved around working directly with supervisors and work crews in hazardous workplace environments – onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling and mining. Beyond North America, this has taken him to places such as remote and challenging work environments such Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

Clients he has served include ExxonMobil, BP, Greywolf, Rowan, Global Santa Fe, ENSCO and Woodside.

Bill holds a Bachelor of Metallurgy, Certificate in Total Quality Control, and Certificate in Material Requirements Planning.

George Vahlis

One of the founding partners of EDN, George Vahlis has led major change programs for organisations throughout the world. He has worked extensively with major multinational companies in all areas of organisational development, with particular emphasis on strategic planning, cultural change, behavioural safety and management and leadership development.

George’s business experience is wide-ranging and includes professional leadership in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in diverse cultures and industrial relations environments, and at all levels within an organisation, specifically at ground level.
Prior to helping establish EDN, George held senior positions with Australian Business Limited, the South Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the South Australian Employers Federation. He was also manager of personnel and industrial relations for the SA Department of Education.

He is a registered industrial relations advocate within the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

George has travelled extensively for EDN, working with crews on more than 200 drilling rigs, ships, production platforms and refining facilities in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. He has also managed change programs for many other heavy industries, including mining, steel and railways, as well as numerous manufacturers in areas such as motor vehicles, food and timber.

In the mining industry, George has been involved with other members of this team in behaviour based projects with various Xstrata Coal underground mines including Ulan, United, and West Wallsend collieries.

During the 1990s, George spent quite a deal of time in the Hunter region. He consulted to the BHP Newcastle Steelworks both in the restructuring and change at the Rod Mill and during the 2 year closure period of the front end steelworks from 1997 to 1999.

George Sioko

George Siokos was a founding Partner and Executive Chairman of EDN. He has been involved in organisational development consulting in Australia and internationally for over thirty years. He specialises in organisational change and development with a primary focus on the design and facilitation of strategic and business planning, management, leadership and team development, organisational needs analysis and the management of change.

 George was central to the development of EDN’s internationally renowned reputation for organisational change, principally in the oil and gas industry which focuses on effective and sustainable workplace cultures using safety as a cause for action. His services are sought after by international companies and he has addressed a number of international conferences in this field, including Society of Petroleum Engineers and International Association of Drilling Contractors conferences. He is currently a Distinguished Lecturer with the International Society of Petroleum Engineers.

 A selection of more recent clients George has served includes: KCA Deutag, Woodside, BP, ExxonMobil, Ensco International, Origin Energy and Santos.

  • Presented to the Xstrata Coal Leaders Program on, “Sustainable Coal – Breaking through the Barrier, Hunter Valley, NSW, October 2009
  • Presented a paper on “HSE Leadership Development Program – what REALLY works”, Nice 2008, Society of Petroleum Engineers International Conference on HSE in Oil & Gas Exploration and Production
  • Presented a paper on “Leadership and Culture: Turning Theory into Reality”, Abu-Dhabi 2006, Society of Petroleum Engineers Drilling Conference;
  • Presented a paper on “Improving Safety Leadership in Drilling and Completions Operations”, Calgary 2004 with John Karish BP America Inc, Society of Petroleum Engineers HSE Conference;
  • Presented on “Safety Leadership: The Next Step”, Adelaide 2003, DrillSafe: Australia’s Drilling Industry Quarterly HSE Forum.
  • Chair a Forum on behalf of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in “Getting to Zero”, in June 2010 in Park City, USA.
  • Presented a paper on “Managing Safety in Difficult Times: What You Cannot Measure is Difficult to Manage” at the SPE HSE Rio Conference, in April 2010
  • Chaired a Panel Session at the same conference in Rio on “Competency Assurance – Steps to improving HSE Bench-strength”
  • Panel Member at the same conference in Rio on “The impact of an HSE professional on an organization’s performance”