Donald P. DeWalch
Donald P. DeWalch Don is an entrepreneur with extensive experience covering ownership, managing, and operating entities in wholesale distribution, manufacturing, real-estate and oil and gas mineral ownership. Presently he is the principal of Thrust Drive LLC, an investment company that owns the patent rights for the Thrust Drive System for enhanced helicopter safety and reliability. He had years of experience as part owner and operator of a family owned company, Southern Electric Supply Co. (SESCO) which was one of the largest wholesale distributors of electrical equipment and supplies in the South. As President of SESCO, he negotiated a very favorable sale of the company, retaining ownership of all the warehouses. He is a co-founder of DeWalch Technologies Inc. a company with numerous patents, which has manufactured security products for the electrical utility industry for over thirty years. For many years, Don has operated Normandy Properties Inc. which is the family owned entity that develops and owns real estate. He was one of the founding directors of Black Stone Minerals Co. which has become the largest publicly traded mineral and royalty company in the United States (NYSE Symbol---BSM). Mr. DeWalch also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) which owns and operates the largest district energy plant in the United States and supplies chilled water and steam to the Texas Medical Center. Don is a lifelong Texan who received a BBA-route engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Sally have lived in Houston since their days together at UT and enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.
William Edmonds Chiles
As of July 31, 2014, Bill Chiles retired as President and CEO of Bristow Group Inc. (BRS – NYSE), a publicly traded and leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry with almost five hundred helicopters flying in 22 countries and 5,000 employees. Bristow grew from $500 million in revenue in 2004 to almost $2 billion by 2014. He served as Senior Advisor and CEO Emeritus through July 2016. In addition, he is a Co-Managing Partner of Pelican Energy Partners, a private equity firm specializing in investments in the energy service sector.
Bill joined Bristow in July 2004 as President, CEO and a board member after a 32-year career in the offshore oil & gas drilling business. He began his career with Western Oceanic, Inc. in 1972, as a Floorman, Derrickman, and Driller in the North Sea out of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then Rig Manager, Operations Manager, and VP – Domestic Operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Bill co-founded Chiles Drilling Company in 1977 (“Chiles I”), which later became Chiles Offshore Corporation, which was acquired by Noble Drilling in 1994. At the time of the sale to Noble, the company operated eight offshore drilling units in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and other international markets.
After leaving Chiles Offshore in 1992, Bill founded Southwestern Offshore Corporation, for the purpose of purchasing ten offshore drilling units which were operated in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Middle East, and Trinidad. He served as President & CEO until Southwestern was acquired by Cliffs Drilling Company in 1996. Until January 1997, he served as Senior Vice President - Drilling Operations for Cliffs, responsible for the operation of its worldwide fleet.
In early 1997, Bill left Cliffs and founded Chiles Offshore Inc. (“Chiles II”), and between 1997 and 2002, built and operated five ultra-premium jackup mobile offshore drilling units targeting very deep, high temperature and high-pressure drilling projects on the shelf in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad, and Australia. The company was merged into ENSCO International Incorporated in 2002, and Bill became Vice President of Business Development for ENSCO. In April 2003, he joined Grey Wolf Inc., a publicly traded land oil & gas drilling company, as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer until joining Bristow in July 2004.
He also serves on the boards of Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. (GIFI-NASDAQ), and the National Ocean Industries Association where he was the 2012 Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee, and the Houston Country Club. He serves as the Co-Chair of the Methodist Hospital Neurological Institute National Council. He was formerly on the board of Basic Energy Services (BAS – NYSE) and chair of the compensation committee. Bill is a co-founder and current Chairman of HeliOffshore, (the International Offshore Helicopter Association). He is also a former trustee of Awty International School and Episcopal High School, and served on the Vestry from 2011 to 2013 and as Senior Warden in 2013 of Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church. He also formerly served on the board of Directors of the Sam Houston Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Bill was born in Alice, Texas in 1948, is a 1971 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Petroleum Land Management, and earned an MBA at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1972 with honors.
Bill and his wife, Wendy, reside in Houston and have five children.
Daniel K. Peoples
Daniel Kekoa Peoples, the innovator behind the thrust drive system, demonstrated an early passion for aviation from a young age. At the age of 10, under his father's guidance, he assumed control of a Cessna 182, showcasing his adept piloting skills honed through extensive practice on a flight simulator. Since that remarkable experience, Daniel has been deeply involved in the design, construction, and operation of radio-controlled planes and helicopters.
His journey continued with a significant milestone at the age of nineteen when he started collaborating with an IMSA auto racing team. This experience provided him with invaluable insights into engine tuning, fabrication, and the intricate mechanics associated with high-performance machines. Daniel further honed his expertise by managing his own computer consulting company in Memphis before relocating to Houston in 2010. In Houston, he assumed the role of Information Technology Manager at DeWalch Technologies Inc.
Daniel seamlessly integrates his proficiency in computers and model aircraft to stay abreast of advancements in aviation and related technical domains. His groundbreaking concept, the thrust drive system, and the development of the reaction drive helicopter originated from his extensive knowledge and hands-on experience. A testament to the feasibility of this simplified system, a 1/6 scale model was successfully flown, showcasing its potential to enhance the performance and reliability of helicopters.
Recognizing the significance of his contributions, both U.S. and international patents have been assigned to Thrust Drive LLC, formally acknowledging Daniel Kekoa Peoples as the inventor of this groundbreaking technology. Beyond his professional pursuits, Daniel is deeply immersed in mechanical interests and enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons. Noteworthy among his hobbies are the restoration of antique boats and motors, and his involvement in the Antique Outboard Motor Club Incorporated. Additionally, Daniel holds a security clearance as a member of the FBI InfraGard cybersecurity organization.