James Culver, PhD President & Chief Executive Officer and Director
Dr. Culver has spent over 40 years in the fields of commodities, international trade and trade finance, holding posts in government and academia, as well as the private sector. For the last 20 years he has focused on commodity finance and commodity project finance, primarily in mining and metals and agricultural products. Before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, he spent 22 years working in New York City where he most recently managed two private commodity asset based lending companies and developed hedge funds to support their lending activities. In both of these positions, he was intimately involved with advising and consulting with senior management of the firms he financed, including serving on corporate governance and advisory boards. Previously, Dr. Culver served as Chief Economist and Director of the Economics and Education Division for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) where he was responsible for market surveillance and new product approvals. Dr. Culver also served for five years on the staff of the Committee on Agriculture of the U.S. House of Representatives, the last three years as Chief Economist. In addition Dr. Culver has been an active participant in a family owned and operated business, The Parsons Group International Education Inc., a for profit international educational services company. Dr. Culver earned his BS at the University of Tennessee Martin and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Andre St-Michel Senior Consultant, Mexican Operations
A Canadian mining engineer/geologist now residing in Chihuahua, Mexico, Mr. St-Michel has more than 30 years of experience in the mining business with a focus on mine development, mill operation, administration and finance. He has spent the last ten years working in Mexico where he currently serves as President and CEO of Freyja Resources (TSX-V: FRA). From 2003 to 2008, he was a senior executive of Dia Bras (now Sierra Metals), responsible for its exploration programs and the startup of its Bolivar copper and zinc mine. From initial startup of the mine in 2005, production reached 450 tons per day in 2006 with annual revenues of approximately $27 million and cash flows of approximately $10 million. He was responsible for all aspects of the operation. Prior to 2003, he served as President of ECU Silver Mining, developing programs and properties in the US, Brazil and Mexico. Mr. St-Michel holds a degree from the Laval University Engineering School and a Master’s degree in Project Management from University du Quebec. He is a Professional Engineer.
Michel Lafrance Director and Secretary-Treasurer
Mr. Lafrance has been VVC’s Corporate Secretary and Treasurer and a consultant in geological matters to the Company since December 2002. Since 1980, he has served in similar roles with many other publicly traded exploration companies. He is also Corporate Secretary of POET Technologies Inc.( formerly Opel Technologies), a pioneer in the field of integrated circuits.He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa.
Kevin Barnes Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Barnes has served as the corporate controller and CFO of various public and private companies over the last 12 years. Mr. Barnes also served in the role of IT Manager and Senior Accountant with Duguay and Ringler Corporate Services, a firm which provides corporate accounting and secretarial services to publicly traded companies.Mr. Barnes served as the Controller of Canada’s Choice Spring Water, one of Canada’s first publicly traded bottled water companies. Mr. Barnes currently serves as CFO of Poet Technologies Inc (TSX.V:PTK), a pioneer in the field of integrated circuits and Controller of an international training institute with revenues of $100,000,000.Mr. Barnes received a computer operations diploma from Careers Development Institute and has a Certified Management Accountant designation from the ICMA Australia. In 2006, Mr. Barnes became a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Canada.