Our team

Executive team

Philip von Schmeling

Chief Executive Officer

Philip von Schmeling has over twenty years of experience as a consultant, corporate manager, and entrepreneur. During his time at BCG in Munich and Los Angeles he worked in various industries, focusing mainly on strategy, process optimization and growth. After his time with BCG, he continued to work for his client Dole Food in Los Angeles and Costa Rica, at first assuming responsibility for the fresh fruit supply chain before becoming CFO of the North America division. Back in Germany, Philip joined the solar pioneer Conergy in 2006, initially as Head of Sourcing, tasked with setting up the company’s own PV module production. In 2007, he joined the Conergy board as CSO, at the time responsible for just over 1 bn Euro of sales. After Conergy, Philip supported a small PV developer in the successful implementation of several PV projects throughout Europe. In 2014, he joined PRESPARTNERS, a boutique consulting firm, focusing on transformation, restructuring, project and interim management. Since 2020, he has also been a member of the advisory board of the Inuwat AG, a German medium-sized company, active in automation and water treatment.

Philip holds an engineering diploma (TU Munich) and an MBA (INSEAD). He lives with his family in Hamburg.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/philip-von-schmeling-7a872972

Oliver Toma

Chief Operating Officer

Oliver Toma is a certified project management professional (PMP) with over 18 years of management and technology consultancy expertise having worked for blue-chip companies such as Capgemini, Hewlett Packard Consulting and Cassini Consulting. His experience spans a wide range of industries and international clients such as logistics (DHL), telecommunications (Vodafone, O2), industry (ThyssenKrupp) and automotive (Mercedes-Benz, Continental), Utilities (E.ON), retail (Payback) and many others. After completion of his army service as special forces mountain ranger, Oliver went on to a business apprenticeship, before graduating from Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences with a Masters Degree in Media Informatics. Additional qualifications include courses in Leadership and Communication Management from St. Gallen Business School and Ecole d’ingénieurs Lausanne respectively, as well as Scrum certification and ITIL v3 Foundation. He is a private pilot and ski instructor. https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-toma-38693572/

Heinz Klein

Chief commercial Officer

Heinz P. Klein is an experienced professional in the field of industrial IOT as well as commercialization of data-driven technologies. Heinz has gained significant experience as Associate Partner with McKinsey & Company where he led strategy, supply chain, industrial IOT and digitization projects in logistics, automotive, electronics, and semiconductor industries. In this area, he has also successfully negotiated and led global technology transactions and cooperation agreements. During his time at McKinsey, Heinz founded and led the initiative Artificial Intelligence in Advanced Industries – pioneering the application of data- and cloud-driven machine learning solutions in industrial settings. He has been publishing and speaking on these topics on conferences regularly. Heinz earned a Master of Arts in Corporate Finance at University of St. Gallen and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management at European Business School and University of Melbourne. https://www.linkedin.com/in/heinzklein/

Marc Schilling

Chief Technology Officer

Marc Schilling is a computer science expert with more than 10 years of experience in software design and development as well as team leading expertise. Marc worked for research facilities as well as in the private sector. The projects he assumed responsibility for spanned a wide range of areas from cognitive science and AI research, through embedded systems for intelligent homes to visual navigation and hazard detection & avoidance system for Airbus Defense and Space. Marc graduated from Bremen University with a diploma in computer science. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marc-schilling-41030422b/

Team

Marco Freund

Product Owner

Marco Freund is an experienced project manager with a focus on the integration of new technologies in areas including the supply chain, trade, logistics, cargo, and manufacturing. Marco’s primary focus with SecureSystem is on the customer experience and the optimization of processes to best support product use. Prior to joining SecureSystem, Marco was a project manager with Rhenus Logistics and worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics as both consultant and research engineer. He was also head of the research lab openID-center, where new technologies are further developed and integrated. Marco graduated from the Technical University of Dortmund with a Diploma in Logistics from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marco-freund-628327153/

Oliver Mauss

Head of Business Development, Asia

Oliver Mauss is a logistics entrepreneur and has founded and run several companies covering the spectrum from bulk fuels to consumer product logistics in Asia, Japan and South Africa, since 2006. Prior to this, Oliver worked at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, covering operations, trading, and sales. Oliver speaks 6.5 languages and graduated Cum Laude from Babson College in Boston, MA with a degree in International Marketing and Japanese Language/Studies. https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-mauss-a833611/

Ina Neukirch

Head of Business Development

Ina Neukirch has a degree in International Studies of Shipping & Chartering from the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen with a focus on sales, and also studied Marine Insurance at the World Maritime University in Malmö. She has held numerous roles focused on sales and insurance in the shipping industry. Prior to joining SecureSystem, Ina worked as an Assistant to Management and as a Claims Manager. Returning to her sales roots, she subsequently worked as a Product Advisor/Account Manager for a Norwegian maritime training, ability profiling and competence software company in Hamburg, where she was responsible for After Sale and Proactive Customer Support. She then worked for a freight forwarder in Bremen, where she built up the Back Office in Germany. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ina-neukirch-7496a4b0/

Torben Geldermann

Firmware Development

Torben Geldermann brings development and firmware expertise to SecureSystem. Torben has formal training as an electronics technician for devices and systems at the Defense Technology Service for Ships and Naval Weapons, Maritime Technology, and Research. He also has earned a Bachelor of Science in Electronics from the Hamburg University for Applied Sciences, with a focus on digital information processing. Torben’s experience also includes the fields of development and energy management and work as a development engineer. https://www.linkedin.com/in/torben-geldermann-7b300215b/
AWS DevOps Engineer

Timo Weber

Devops Engineer

Timo Weber is an experienced software and DevOps engineer with in-depth knowledge of managing and architecting cloud based solutions in highly available and scalable environments. He studied Computer Science at the University of Paderborn with a follow up vocational training as IT specialist. Prior to joining SecureSystem, Timo worked as a software and DevOps engineer for globally acting logistics and insurance companies. He was responsible for the technical lead of state-of-the-art cloud technology driven projects, as well as leading numerous and versatile teams with multilingual backgrounds. https://www.linkedin.com/in/timo-weber-530406216/

Erica De Vos

Chief of Staff

Erica De Vos has over 20 years of diverse management experience with a focus on operations and information management. Most recently, Erica served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Energy, where she served as a senior member of the management team of a Federal agency with a $30 billion annual budget and approximately 113,000 employees. Prior to this role, Erica was the Chief of Operations Services in the Office of Administration for the White House, where she managed daily operations and strategic planning for four divisions, a staff of 70, and a yearly budget of $37 million. Erica developed goals, priorities, budgets, and staffing plans to provide high quality, efficient, and cost-effective service to customers across the White House Complex. Erica graduated cum laude from Middlebury College with a dual degree in Political Science and French, and received a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a focus on Foreign Policy and Diplomacy. https://www.linkedin.com/in/erica-de-vos/

SUPERVISORY BOARD

Dr. Jens Riedl

Dr. Riedl is a Partner at Permira, where he leads the industrials sector globally. After graduating with an MBA from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and the London School of Economics, he wrote his PhD thesis at the European Business School on value-based management. Prior to joining Permira, Dr. Riedl was senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he led the BCG Private Equity Practice in the DACH region, having completed various due diligences and value creation programs. He joined BCG in 1999 and spent two years with their office in Sydney. He led the BCG Transportation & Logistics Practice in Europe and has deep experience in logistics as well as shipping. For the past 5 years, he has increasingly focused on digital topics and launched the BCG xChange platform for global container exchanges in 2015 amongst others. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jens-riedl-4534797/

Christian W. von Ahlefeld

Mr. von Ahlefeld graduated with an MBA from the University of Hamburg and during his long-standing career worked for renowned organisations such as JP Morgan, UBS and Siemens. He was CFO for Tele München and a board member for GfK SE responsible for corporate finance, M&A, controlling, overseeing human resources for 10,000 staff. He joined Loyalty Partner GmbH – known for their ‘Payback’ customer loyalty programme as managing director in 2010 and oversaw the sale of the company to American Express. Mr. von Ahlefeld is an active investor and works as a senior advisor to companies such as ‘The Mobility House AG’ and ‘Brauns Heitmann GmbH & Co. KG’. https://www.linkedin.com/in/christian-weller-von-ahlefeld-bb775117a/

GLOBAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

Tom Winkowski

Tom’s unparalleled experience, relationships and knowledge of the global shipping industry make him an invaluable member of the SecureSystem advisory board. Tom will focus on helping the company shape and execute its strategy to work with the U.S. government and industry to improve security and transparency of the global supply chain.

Tom’s career in the customs world took him from starting as a Customs Inspector in Los Angeles in 1978, to port director in Los Angeles and Miami, Director of Field Operations south Florida, assistant commissioner for Field Operations, Deputy Commissioner, and ultimately culminated with Tom serving as acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, overseeing the 60,000-person, $11.5 billion agency.

Throughout his service in customs Tom has been a champion for innovation and technology, including inspection imaging systems, radiation portal monitors, biometrics and establishment of the renowned National Targeting Centers for passengers and cargo. Among his responsibilities overseeing Field Operations, Tom was responsible for the operation at 331 Ports of Entry, including 58 Container Security Initiative ports.

Tom Winkowski is the only person to have served in the top leadership role in both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies.

Tom was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award by President Bush and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award by President Obama.

Dr. Ludwig H. Bertsch

Dr. Ludwig H. Bertsch began his career as co-founder of a management consultancy with focus on revenue and yield management systems in the travel and transportation industries. He has extensive experience in the Cargo and Logistics industry, as an innovative and future-focused executive and as an active investor with companies including Perot Systems, Swisscargo, Swissport International and CHEP. Most recently, he worked with Unilode Aviation Solutions, as CEO and Chairman and after a PE lead buyout as member of the Board. Unilode offers its airline customers the largest fleet of digitalized ULD’s (Unit Load Devices), enabling a new range of digital services in asset tracking and status monitoring, for pallets and containers inflight and on the ground. Under his leadership, Unilode Aviation Services has won the prestigious IATA innovation award twice for its digital offering. Dr. Bertsch has a Diploma in Management from the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt; he spent 3 years as research assistant at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, and then graduated summa cum laude with a PhD in Logistics Management. As result of his doctoral research, he co-developed and implemented the first operational Cargo Yield Management system in the industry. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-ludwig-h-bertsch-827b077/

AMB Douglas Lute

Ambassador Douglas Lute is the former United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s standing political body. Appointed by President Obama, he assumed the Brussels-based post in 2013 and served until 2017. During this period he was instrumental in designing and implementing the 28-nation Alliance’s responses to the most severe security challenges in Europe since the end of the Cold War. A career Army officer, in 2010 Lute retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service. In 2007 President Bush named him as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to coordinate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009 he was the senior White House official retained by President Obama and his focus on the National Security Council staff shifted to South Asia. Across these two Administrations, he served a total of six years in the White House. Before being assigned to the White House, General Lute served as Director of Operations (J3) on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide. From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Operations for the United States Central Command, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in 25 countries across the Middle East, eastern Africa and Central Asia, in which over 200,000 U.S. troops operated. Through his military-diplomatic career, he received numerous honors and awards, including three awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit for the Italian Republic, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany. General Lute holds degrees from the United States Military Academy at West Point and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard University; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a charter member of the Flag Officer Advisory Group of the United States Institute of Peace. https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglas-lute-6666b115/

Carl-Peter Forster

Carl-Peter Forster started his career at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant in 1982 after having been awarded Diplomas in Economics and in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1986 he joined BMW in Munich in its Engineering Department. He was appointed to BMW’s Executive Board in 1999 as head of global manufacturing. In 2001, he joined the European division of General Motors and became Managing Director of Opel and Vice President of GM Europe. In 2006 he was promoted to CEO and President of GM Europe and joined the parent company’s Global Automotive Strategy Board. After leaving General Motors, he became Group CEO at Tata Motors, where he was responsible for the Indian operations as well as for Jaguar Land Rover. Since 2012 he built a portfolio career by joining the boards of Geely Automotive Holdings and Volvo Cars, IMI Plc as well as Chemring Plc – the latter as Chairman. Currently, he is Chairman of the Shareholder Committee of Hella KGaA. He also has invested and is actively engaged in various start-up companies. https://www.linkedin.com/in/carl-peter-forster-b99220/

Daniel Prieto

Daniel B. Prieto is a senior strategy executive for Google Cloud, Public Sector. He has served on the staff of the National Security Council as Director for Cybersecurity Policy and in the office of the DOD CIO as Chief Technology Officer. After 9/11, he helped stand up the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been a senior advisor to McKinsey & Co, an executive at IBM and America Online, an investment banker at JP Morgan. He served as a strategist or advisor on over $150B in transactions in technology, media and aerospace & defense, including the mergers of America Online and Time Warner, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, the acquisition of Netscape, and the sale of firewall and encryption company Trusted Information Systems. He has held fellowship appointments at Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia universities and at the Council on Foreign Relations. He received his M.A. from Johns Hopkins SAIS and his B.A. from Wesleyan University. https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-b-prieto-7ba38/

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Blecker

Thorsten Blecker studied business administration and subsequently worked in satellite communications. He rejoined University research in 1996 in Klagenfurt and since 2004 he has held the professorship for information technology in logistics at the Hamburg University of Technology. Among other topics, he deals with the security of transports and anti-terrorism compliance. Prof. Blecker is actively involved in Logistics Initiative Hamburg (500+ member companies) and has founded a logistics consultancy. He has taught in Hamburg, Berlin, Nuremberg, Klagenfurt and Madrid. Dr. Blecker also serves as an independent expert and evaluator, e.g. for ministries and research programs in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Hong Kong as well as European programs. https://www.linkedin.com/in/blecker/

Max Holtzman

Max Holtzman is a principal at Pontos Aqua Advisory, part of the Pontos Aqua platform, a unique financing and de-risking ecosystem for the global aquaculture industry. He is also a founding officer of Stronger America through Seafood, which focuses on the increased U.S. production of healthy, sustainable and affordable seafood. In addition to his work with Pontos, Mr. Holtzman is the Vice Chairman of Capitol Peak Asset Management, where he joined in November, 2014. Capitol Peak provides capital, advice and solutions to companies and projects that spur economic growth and job creation with a focus on Rural America. Prior to joining Capitol Peak, for six years, Mr. Holtzman was the Senior Advisor to the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. Holtzman advised the Secretary on the development of new public-private partnerships, aquaculture, trade, biotechnology and international food security. He also served as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services and as Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Holtzman, an attorney for over 20 years, provided strategic consulting to multi-national companies related to transportation infrastructure, project finance, public-private partnerships, health care and government procurement. He also served as a City Attorney and Special Counsel to several municipalities. Mr. Holtzman is a Board member of K Street Capital, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture and is the Founding Chairman of Adopt-A-Classroom. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and his law degree from the University of Miami. https://www.linkedin.com/in/maxholtzman/

Marco Lopez

Marco has been working on cross-border commerce and security issues since 2001 when he was elected as mayor of Nogales, Arizona at the age of 22, shortly after graduating from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Marco is uniquely suited to help guide SecureSystem’s growth strategy in Mexico and Latin America. He currently serves as president and CEO of Intermestic Partners, an international business advisory firm, where he guides U.S. outreach efforts for Latin America’s most important philanthropic organization, the Carlos Slim Foundation. Marco has served as a U.S. advisor to successful presidential campaigns in Mexico on topics of border security and cross-border trade and safety. Prior to founding Intermestic Partners, Marco served as chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the largest agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Marco has also served as director of the Arizona Department of Commerce and vice-chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcoalopezjr/