Our Team

Ron Smith
Executive Counselor & Senior Program Manager

Ron Smith is a proven executive with extensive experience in operations management, strategic planning, and international management. His work targeted on emerging and frontier markets where he assist his clients in reducing the risks often associated with fast growing, but volatile, markets. Ron additionally specializes in offering advisory services include primary market research, strategic partnership and relationship development, project management, infrastructure development, and financing.

Ron has a proven track record in leading, managing and producing in both private and public sector working with military, government agencies including State, Justice and Defense Departments, Foreign Governments, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO).

His vast portfolio has included directing emergency operations (CONUS/OCONUS) for natural and manmade disasters supporting the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), FEMA, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), USAID to include Haiti relief operations, UN Sub-Saharan operations, and Hurricanes (including Sandy, Irene, and Isaac). He has extensive experience in Sub-Saharan Africa to include: Liberia, Sudan (Darfur), South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia; the Arabian Peninsula; and Afghanistan.

Additional to his role with TFRC Group he serves as an Executive Vice President & Managing Partner at Frontier Markets Partners (FMP). FMP focuses on advising governments in fast-growing markets and developing countries who seek program management and project leadership services to support economic development and stabilization.

Ron is a retired United States Naval Officer who retired in 1999 after a 21-year career, which included holding command, and highlights included serving as Director of the Logistics Readiness Center for Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet (CINCLantFlt).

He is an honored academic whose vast credentials included attending Penn State University (B.A.- History), the University of North Carolina (MSA-Public Administration), the University of Nevada Las Vegas (M.A.- Applied and Professional Ethics), the US Naval War College (Command & Staff) and the US Joint Forces Staff College (Joint Logistics).

JK Chaney
Managing Director

JK Chaney is a seasoned consultant with over 10 years experience in his respective disciplines. His body of work focuses on providing operational, security, risk assessment and project management support to both small and large-scale projects and offers tailored strategies for international development opportunities across Africa and the Middle East. He has extensive international field experience including recent projects in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, and Cameroon.

He routinely serves in an advisory capacity to individual, corporate and governmental leaders in the United States and abroad assisting in risk aversion, crisis mitigation, and development strategies. This expert advice and resulting operational solutions allow his clients to achieve their objects despite the emerging threats ever present in the world today.

Mr. Chaney is a graduate of the University of South Carolina holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. His graduate level program was completed at Georgetown University in the field of Public Policy. Additionally, he holds several security certifications from the private firm Academi.

James Bond
Senior Legal Consultant

James is a proven and successful executive manager and general counsel, who has a long history of successful international legal advisement over a lifelong career of working with global multinational clientele. A Dedicated problem solver with outstanding relationship building and negotiating skills in the course of engaging external and internal clients to ensure business development and contract performance and compliance.

A retired Naval Officer, Mr. Bond is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri (B.S.-Criminal Justice Administration) and the United States Naval War College (MA-National Security Studies). He holds a J.D. from University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and achieved his LLM from Georgetown University in the field of International and Comparative Law.


• CEO and Consultant, providing business formation, business
development and operations advice to members of the Saudi royal family
• Chief Operating Officer, Overseas Lease Group, specializing in financing equipment for commercial and government projects, especially in developing countries
• Vice President, International Business Operations, DynCorp International, ensuring contract performance and host nation law compliance for the LOGCAP IV contract with an annual revenue of $1.5 billion and 19,000 employees in Afghanistan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman & India
• Senior Corporation Counsel, DynCorp International, responsible for foreign law, employment, litigation and outside counsel management for a global company present on six continents
• Directorate of Legal Research, Executive Level appointment to Law Library of Congress managing foreign attorneys conducting foreign, comparative and international law research for the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court and federal executive agencies
• General Counsel for major U.S. and multinational naval commands in Asia and Europe
• U.S. ambassador to Turkish Ministry of Defense for the USS SARATOGA-TCG MAUVENET missile strike; sole U.S. attorney to the Turkish Court of Inquiry; senior U.S. attorney to NATO commission investigation
• U.S. Navy JAG Corps Officer, specialized in international and operational law; highest security clearance held Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI).

Damian Wingate
Director of Finance

Damian Wingate is a finance and project management professional who advises clients on a wide array of international and domestic issues. Mr. Wingate has extensive experience on large-scale Public-Private Partnerships in both Africa and Asia where he managed detailed financial modeling and monitoring processes, as well as creditworthiness assessments and deal structuring, in order to evaluate sound investment opportunities with well-understood and controlled risks.

Prior to joining The TFRC Group, Mr. Wingate managed due diligence and financial litigation engagements for Warner Construction Consultants and Navigant Consulting. Additionally, he has experience developing and implementing investment strategies at Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Wingate is a Project Management Professional (PMP®) and a graduate of The University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics. He also holds a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Finance from The University of Tampa.

Brian Frank
Director of Field Operations & Senior Project Manager

Brian Frank is an exceptional and highly motivated project manager and field engineer with 10 years of progressive skills and vast international experience in a wide array of adverse operating environments. Over his career he has demonstrated a proven ability to combine problem-solving, critical thinking, and business acumen with project management and leadership qualities to support a diverse range of challenging projects while working cooperatively with colleagues from a multitude of cultures and nationalities.

In addition to his project management and engineering experience he has worked across the globe managing logistics, establishing new market infrastructure and procurement.

Mr. Frank is a graduate of Drexel Univeristy (MS- Cum Laude) where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He holds additional security related certifications from the International Security Academy (Israel).

Martin Cooney
Technical Director & Senior Project Manager

Martin Cooney is international construction and logistical contractor with over 20 years of experience working across the African Continent.

Specialties Include-
Project Management
Concrete Installation & Batch Plant Operation
Civil Works
International Logistics
Export- Import
Business Development
Heavy Equipment Operation & Maintenance
Sawmill Operations

Recent Key Projects-

Structural rehabilitation of the Central Bank of Liberia- The project required the removal and replacement of all incompetent concrete and steel reinforcement throughout the entire 12 story building. The works where carried out over a period of 9 months 3000 sections of old concrete and steel where removed and replaced both on the interior and exterior of the building. The most intricate part of the renovation was supporting the entire 12 floors of the building with heavy I Beams in order to remove a damaged 32mm steel column bar that had been damaged by artillery fire and replace the steel and 1/3 of the surrounding concrete.

New Liberty Gold Mine Project- Served as Senior. Civil Supervisor Duties included: Overseeing the setup, lay out and construction of the various structures on the site. Supervised construction of the stockpile tunnel, gold room, as well as cut and fill earthworks necessary for the structures. Was responsible for the daily reports on manpower all consumable material on site and 3 week look ahead scheduling of the upcoming works. Supervised the removal of all old existing log bridges, re-routing of watercourses construction of by-pass roads and construction of 4 (four) 100 ton concrete bridge leading into the mine site.

Arcelor Mitrol Power Station- Work included the moving of heavy equipment via road throughout Liberia. Including the sliding into position 13 CAT CM 32 generators for the Arcelor Mitrol Power Station in Buchanan, Movement of 10 pcs. Of Heavy (+50 ton) machinery on the quayside at the Port of Buchanan

Construction of a Ebola Treatment for the American Refugee Committee- Provided support services and construction of facility built in response to the West African Ebola Outbreak.

Bond Wells
Proposal Director & Contract Manager

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Gary Ellison
Senior Consultant - Media Production

Gary Ellison is a media professional with over 10 years experience developing, producing and editing high quality media content. A distinguished creative mind consistently demonstrates his ability to utilize a combination of strong interpersonal, organizational, and technical skills to achieve the full potential of any target goal, and ensure that it is completed in a professional and timely manner.

Over a career at Discovery Communications, he was repeatedly honored for his ability to multitask in multiple disciplines and quickly adapt to the requirements of the fast paced global media environment. In addition to producing and editing content for the several of Discovery’s Networks he also managed and developed social media content for all Emerging Networks (Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Destination America) across all available avenues. Gary is credited with created several original video series for Investigation Discovery’s social platforms including ”Oh My Crime! (trending crime news) and “ID unsolved” (unsolved mysteries).

In addition to his production and editing roles, he served as a technical and advisory asset to Discovery’s press and digital media teams due to a possession of a strong encoding background and a vast knowledge and expertise in multiple editing platforms (such as Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects).

Mr. Ellison is a graduate of the United Kingdom’s Edge Hill University (BA- Film & Television Production).

Alex Karpowich
Project Coordinator & Digital Director

Alex Karpowich is a project coordination professional who has experience helping small businesses organize their business development and proposal writing processes. Mr. Karpowich received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in sociology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Before joining TFRC Group, Mr. Karpowich worked at Zero Point Frontiers, an aerospace engineering company in Huntsville, AL, as a junior software developer. His software development experience includes theoretical launch vehicle trajectory and sizing simulators, website development, Excel scripting, Python scripting, and web scraping. During his employment at Zero Point Frontiers, Mr. Karpowich's abilities as a technical writer were utilized to submit a multitude of proposals including NIAC and SIBR programs aimed at small businesses, as well as long term high-profile NASA led programs.