Our Team

Our Team

Commonwealth is led by a group of seasoned engineering and consulting professionals who provide expertise in a variety of areas and disciplines.

For any and every project, a deep, talented Commonwealth team can come together to create the ideal solution.

Richard N. Collins, P.E. – President & CEO

The CEO and third President of Commonwealth, Mr. Collins formerly served as Vice President responsible for managing the Transmission and Distribution Line Engineering and Environmental Services Department. He also served as Commonwealth's Corporate Secretary. Rich has been employed by Commonwealth since 1991. He previously was with SSOE from 1984 until 1991. Overall, he has 31 years of professional experience with particular emphasis in the design of high-voltage transmission lines. He is an active member of the IEEE Power Engineering Society (IEEE-PES) and was the former Chair of the Overhead Lines subcommittee within IEEE-PES. Mr. Collins holds a BS degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and is a registered professional engineer in 19 states.

Samuel R. Barnes, P.E. - Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Barnes is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Commonwealth. He has been employed by Commonwealth since 2012. Mr. Barnes previously worked for Commonwealth Edison from 1991 to 1996; Black & Veatch from 1996 to 2000; and HDR/Cummins & Barnard from 2000 to 2012, where he became Vice President - Director of Engineering and Business Class Leader of Generation, Power Delivery and Hydro. Overall, he has 24 years of experience in the power generation field. He has a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and is a registered professional engineer in Michigan. Mr. Barnes currently serves as Chairman of the Jackson College Board of Trustees, is the Jackson College Representative on the Dahlem Conservancy Board of Directors, is past president of the Jackson Cascades Lions, and is on the Advisory Boards for Electric Power and Coal Gen conferences.

Gary S. Bernstein, P.E. - Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

Mr. Bernstein is Commonwealth's Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer. Formerly a Regional Vice President of International Development at BrightSource Energy, Gary's background includes Engineering, Proposal and Project Management, Business Development, and Business Consulting services in the global fossil and renewable energy sectors. Overall, he has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Gary holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron, and is a registered professional engineer in Ohio. He is the holder of two U.S. patents for Methods for Reducing NOx Using Atomizing Steam Injection Control. Gary joined the firm in 2014.

Vicky A. Kruslemsky – Chief Talent Officer

Ms. Kruslemsky is Commonwealth’s Chief Talent Officer responsible for leading the Human Resources; Facilities; Information Technology; and Safety, Education, and Quality functions. She is a proven leader in the talent management space, most recently serving as Senior Vice President/Director of Talent Management for an advertising firm in Southeast Michigan. Ms. Kruslemsky holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development from Eastern Michigan University.

Craig A. Tapley - Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Tapley serves as the firm's Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He joined Commonwealth in 2012, after being employed for over seven years as the Chief Operating Officer for Kellogg Crankshaft. Craig began his career as a Supply Chain Consultant with Accenture, traveling worldwide developing business solutions. He holds an MBA in Accounting/Supply Chain Management from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University.

David A. Shafer, P.E. - Vice President & Corporate Treasurer

Mr. Shafer is a Vice President responsible for managing the Electrical Systems Department and is the Corporate Treasurer of Commonwealth. Mr. Shafer was one of the founders of the company in 1988. He was previously with Gilbert/Commonwealth from 1978 to 1988, and with Toledo Edison from 1973 to 1978. Overall, he has 42 years of experience in electrical engineering involving electric power systems studies. Mr. Shafer holds an MBA from Eastern Michigan University and Bachelor and MS degrees in electrical engineering from The Ohio State University. He is a licensed professional engineer in seven states.

John P. White, P.E. - Vice President

Mr. White is Commonwealth's Vice President of Western Operations. He also is responsible for Business Development in the western United States. He serves out of the Seattle office. John joined Commonwealth in 2006, having previously spent 11 years at Snohomish PUD in senior leadership roles in T&D Engineering and Operations and Power Management. John began his career at Puget Sound Energy in 1979. Overall, he has 38 years of experience in the electric utility industry. John holds a MS degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and a BSEE from the University of Idaho, from which he also graduated from the Public Utility Executive Course while working at PSE. John is a licensed professional engineer in several western states.

The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.

Tony Dungy

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We have earned a reputation for excellence in a number of specific industries. read more


World-class engineering and consulting for the electric utility industry and independent power producers. read more


The list of projects is distinguished and varied, with each project having a unique solution. read more