Chairman and CEO, Walter Group
Pierre Somers is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walter Group headquartered in Montreal, Canada, which is comprised of two main companies: Walter Surface Technologies, a leading provider of innovative solutions for the metal working industry, and Walter Financial, a prominent investment firm.
Over the course of almost 30 years as head of Walter Surface Technologies, Mr. Somers has continued developing the company founded by his father in 1962. He was the driver behind the company's expansion to international markets and Walter Surface Technologies now operates in nine countries across the Americas and Europe. He also innovated with the creation of the Bio-Circle division, which offers environmentally safe solutions for industrial cleaning applications through bioremediation. On the financial side of the Group's operations, he contributed to the establishment of Walter Financial as a credible investment firm within the financial community. More recently, Pierre Somers initiated the creation of Walter Capital Partners, a private equity firm dedicated to supporting small and medium-sized companies.
Before taking the lead at Walter Group, Mr. Somers held various positions within Walter Surface Technologies in Canada and the U.S., where he garnered in-depth knowledge of various sectors of the company , on his way to becoming Chairman & CEO. At the beginning of his career, he worked as a mechanical engineer at Metabo AG, in Germany
Pierre Somers holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, in Potsdam, NY, which he obtained in 1976. In 2005, he was appointed Alumni of the YPO/MBA program at the Harvard Business School, an institution he has been active with for over 20 years. He is fluent in English, French and German.
Mr. Somers is a strong supporter of education. He has been honorary president for numerous fundraising campaigns held by organizations such as Madeli-Aide and the ITHQ (Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec), from which he has received an honoris causa degree. Through Walter Surface Technologies, he supports the Walter J. Somers chair at HEC Montreal, where he sits on the steering committee. Mr. Somers is a founding member of the Business Families Foundation, and is a member of the Presidents Club of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the World Presidents Organization and the CEO Organization.
Vice President Finance and Secretary Treasurer
Frank Vitale is the Vice President Finance and Secretary Treasurer for Walter Surface Technologies and its financial arm, Walter Financial Inc. In this capacity, Mr. Vitale is responsible for the development, growth and strategic direction of all international finance, taxation, reporting and treasury-related matters of the overall organization.
After seven years of public practice in the accounting and audit field, Mr. Vitale went on to hold progressively senior positions with privately held companies. Prior to Walter Surface Technologies, he acquired a strong financial and operational background in the apparel industry, starting as a corporate controller at Baltex Swimwear in Montreal in 1997. He then went on to the role of Vice President Finance and Operations of the Corwik Apparel Group before switching industries and joining Walter Surface Technologies in 2009.
Mr. Vitale studied in Montreal where he completed a Finance and Accounting Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia University and subsequently completed the intensive Chartered Accountancy Program at McGill University. He successfully completed the Canadian Institute for Chartered Accountants exam in 1989 to obtain his CA designation.
Vice-President, Research And Development
Patrick Lapointe, Vice President of Research and Development at Walter Surface Technologies, is responsible for managing Walters’s product lines, engineering and technical support teams. He is also responsible for intellectual properties, patents and trademarks.
Mr. Lapointe started his career at Walter in 2009 where he held the position Vice President of International Marketing. Prior to Walter, Mr. Lapointe held progressively senior leadership roles at Sony Electronics and L’Oreal.
He holds an MBA from INSEAD and bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. Mr. Lapointe is fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
Managing Director - Walter Brazil
Jorge Farsky has served as Managing Director for Walter Brazil since the regional office opened in 1996. Walter entered the Brazilian market with only a few products, Mr. Farsky and his team have grown the business exponentially over the last 19 years.
Prior to Walter, Mr. Farsky worked with the Sandvik Group where he was responsible for international exports of the company’s rotary cutting tool division.
Fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish, Mr. Farsky holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita and earned an MBA from Fundação Getulio Vargas.
Mr. Farsky currently serves as a member of the CIESP (Center of Industries in the State of São Paulo) board of directors. He is also the Communications Director of ABINOX (Stainless Steel Brazilian Association).
and General Manager Bio-Circle
As Senior Vice-President and General Manager for Bio-Circle, a division of Walter Surface Technologies, Chester Collier shares responsibility with each country leader for the development, growth and strategic direction of Walter Surface Technologies with Distributors in Canada, USA, Mexico and Brazil. Working with each country’s leadership team, Mr. Collier builds relationships at the executive level of our largest partners and helps promote the Walter vision and programs to drive revenue and profit for all stakeholders.
Mr. Collier has held progressively senior positions with Walter over the past 34 years, starting his career as a sales representative in Nova Scotia where he more than doubled sales revenue in 4 years. He then moved to Toronto as a Sales Supervisor where he repeated this sales success. From there, he moved to Vancouver as Regional Sales Manager and was later asked to move back to Toronto as Western Regional Manager, responsible for all sales from Ontario westward. Mr. Collier then moved to Montreal as National Sales Manager. Progressive positions followed, including Vice-President Sales, Senior Vice-President of Walter Canada, Senior Vice-President of Global Distribution, and most recently Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Bio-Circle's North America division.
He completed a Marketing Diploma from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and later completed the Executive Management Program at McGill University, as well as the Advanced Management Program at McGill. Mr. Collier was among the first employees to complete Walter’s Master’s of Surface Technologies program. He now serves as a member of the MDM (Modern Distribution Management) advisory board, and the Chair of the PTDA Communications Committee.
Dan Pirro has been Vice President of Marketing for Walter Surface Technologies since 2013. Mr. Pirro has global responsibility for the Walter brand and oversees corporate communications and strategic growth initiatives.
Early in his career, he played a key role leading marketing at Teknor Microsystems (now Kontron AG), an industrial computer manufacturer, growing the business from startup to IPO in under five years. While at Teknor, he helped found the PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer’s Group), which today is the embedded computer industry’s official standards setting organization with hundreds of vendor members.
He then joined Nortel Networks where he helped promote the company’s fiber optic product suite and later directed the rebranding strategy as the division was spun-off. Mr.Pirro rejoined Kontron AG as Head of Global Marketing Operations where he led the company’s worldwide marketing and communications strategy through a series of mergers and acquisitions involving Canadian, US, European and Chinese companies, and eventually supporting the company’s public offering on the Neuer stock exchange in Germany.
Prior to joining Walter, Mr. Pirro was at Westcon Group, a $3B global IT distributor, where he managed new vendor relationships including Aruba Networks, Tandberg and RIM. He later took on responsibility for the Cisco Services portfolio as a customer advocate, providing thought leadership to C-level decision makers on Cisco business practice development.
Mr. Pirro is fluent in English, French and Italian and has a marketing degree from Concordia University in Montreal.
President - Walter USA
James (Jim) Welch, is President of Walter Surface Technologies USA. He is responsible for the leadership, growth and profitability of the mechanical and environmental products divisions. Since joining Walter in 2008, Mr. Welch has developed successful strategies that have led to a period of growth in operational performance.
Prior to joining Walter, Mr. Welch spent 26 years with LENOX Industrial Tools, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, where he was Vice President of Commercial Sales.
Mr. Welch holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and an MBA from Western New England College, in Springfield Massachusetts. He also serves as a board member of the Industrial Supply Association (ISA) and currently resides in East Longmeadow, MA.
Pablo Rivero Torres
General Manager - Walter Mexico
Pablo Rivero is General Manager for Mexico at Walter Surface Technologies where he strategically oversees growth in the region.
Over the last 14 years, Mr. Rivero has played key roles with industrial distributors. Before joining the company in January of 2015, he held progressively senior roles with both national and international manufacturing companies including Landsberg, R.S. Hughes, and Genuine Parts Company (EIS Division) where he was general manager for 9 years.
Mr. Rivero is fluent in Spanish and English having lived in the United States for many years. He holds a Bachelors degree in industrial engineering from the Universidad Regiomontana, in addition to an MBA from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.