Georg Engelmann of Diamond Infrastructure Development: As early as possible in life, make every effort to see your world in 360 degrees; Don’t just focus on what’s in front of you

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
22 min readSep 3, 2020


…I would say that as early as possible in life, make every effort to see your world in 360 degrees. Don’t just focus on what’s in front of you. Try to get outside of yourself at an early age, so that you can have not only empathy for other human beings, but also appreciate the sensitivities of your environment. Then use to use those understandings as part of your decision making on how you want to consume and what career do you want to pursue. That process will lead you to healthier decisions.

The people that only care about “where am I going to charge my cell phone, and how many cars are ahead of me in the drive-thru before I eat my fast food, and what’s the next pair of shoes I’m going to buy,” I mean, this is a very tunnel vision way of living, but so many people are on that plane. Expanding perspective is key, which expands your empathy, and letting that inform your choices.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Georg Engelmann.

Georg is the C.E.O. and President at Diamond Infrastructure Development, Inc., He has always been fascinated by the ocean, and now his company is introducing a unique, truly green & clean energy production system to the world. He believes that the apparent lack of vital resources such as clean water and food are simply issues of poor resource management and a lack of technological innovation. SeaDog Wave Pump arrays can be located offshore, at the shoreline and even deep inland! Multiple or stand-alone systems can also be attached to bridge pilings, piers, docks and even the sides of ships, features that provide unmatched versatility. SeaDog Wave Pumps are also capable of pumping gas and liquids great distances. In addition, promising research is currently being done using SeaDog Pumps as propulsion for surface and subsurface craft.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

I grew up around Chicago, Illinois, in the northeast part of the state, close to Lake Michigan. My father is actually from Germany and my mom was from Illinois. I have two sisters and a brother. My parents were divorced when I was pretty young. We moved to the Houston area in 1981. Houston has been more or less what I called home ever since, so that’s nearly 40 years. I’m happy here. Tejas in Spanish is a word that Texas was derived from; I think it means friendly, or friends. It’s quite an open and friendly place, relative to other places I’ve lived. My mom used to work for the government, and so we had moved from Chicago to Minnesota to Oklahoma to Wisconsin and back. We moved around a lot. I believe that between kindergarten and graduating from high school, I actually went to 13 different schools. It really gave me an opportunity to redefine myself over and over and over again.

You are currently leading a social impact organization that is making a difference for our planet. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

We see clearly a need for a step-change in the way that the resources of this planet are being stewarded. We have to go from an exploitation-driven environment, to more of a balance of give and take. We need to move towards co-existence. If you look at the current oil and gas energy production systems as an example, they are certainly an exploitation process. You pull oil out of the ground and burn it. Do you put it back when you’re done? No. There’s better ways to use the resources that God gave us. People are on the right track when they want to talk about sustainable development and renewable energy. There have been a lot of proposed solutions. Some are better than others; some are actually, I think, inappropriately labeled in terms of renewable.

At Diamond Infrastructure Development, Inc., we’ve identified an approach to creation of energy and infrastructure that is actually sustainable. We recognize that at the very foundation of what people need to survive, it comes down to water and energy. When you’re utilizing systems that create energy, everything has a carbon footprint. The people that say that “we are carbon zero,” it’s a lie. There’s no such thing. Take a wind turbine for example. Considering the materials that are used in the manufacturing and installation process, then to operate and maintain it and go through the whole cycle of that system, the turbine will never create enough energy to justify itself. Let alone be a sufficient performer in terms of efficiency to ever display the demand for electrical power from the grid that it was meant to do, or decompose in a sustainable way. The idea of giving everybody an electric vehicle and it’s going to be powered by wind turbine, you try to do the math on this, and it just doesn’t work. It’s the Green New Deal with a Cadillac that’s a gas-guzzler — the wind turbine is a hood ornament. The wind turbine is like this icon of what’s supposed to be green or renewable, sustainable — it’s not.

In our systems, we will have actually utilized more carbon out of the environment for purpose of energy creation, then we would have incurred in terms of carbon debt to create that system in the first place. Responsible uses are chosen materials that can be recycled or repurposed again and again. I’ve chosen systems that actually have sources of energy that are perpetual. The heat that the sun adds to manifest itself in wind, and in the water temperature of the sea, those two work together to create all kinds of phenomena. The one that is most durable that has the greatest amount of impact and consistency is actually the waves. Ocean waves are the optimal manifestation of the energy God gave us.

The mission around what we do is sustainable technology. Starting at the foundations of society, which lies in infrastructure. We have a portfolio of technologies that enable every aspect of all that, be it from the water that you drink, to when you flip on light the, to the very building that you’re habituating or the transportation system that you use to get there, or the aquaculture or the hydroponics or the agricultural systems that are actually creating your food. I have a system that can create the fresh water from the sea. It can actually be energized to deliver that water to the place that you’re growing. There’s a comprehensive suite of what’s needed to define a complete socioeconomic lifestyle and value chain from top to bottom on what the planet needs. But all of this is done on a very environmentally conscious and sustainable basis and to reveal that every facet of society can benefit one way or another from what it is that we do. Today’s incarnation of the vision is the wave energy conversion system. My passion is solving these kinds of problems, problems that can only be revealed when you have the compassion to dig in and go after the source.

Can you tell us the back-story about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I’ve always been in love with the sea. That’s where it started — water. In terms of the Zodiac, I’m a Pisces. I don’t remember myself, but my mom said, “Back when you first learned to talk, you would tell me that you wanted to be a scuba diver, and I had no idea what that was.” She also quoted me again as a child saying that, “When I grow up, I want to farm the sea.” I read a lot when I was a kid. John Steinbeck wrote a book called, Cannery Row, which is iconic in American literature. It’s about a guy who was a marine biologist. I thought that was cool.

What I realized through my high school experience in Marine Biology is that Texas A&M had a university branch campus in Galveston to offer Marine Biology and Oceanography, as well as Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture and these kinds of courses, programs, four-year programs. I said, “Well, I want to go to Texas A&M University in Galveston because it’s by the beach because I want to surf.” I actually ended up studying just about everything before I got out. I was an unusual case where I was paying for my own college. I worked my way through school, paid for all my courses, all of my dorm fees, food, everything. I was really under no pressure from anybody to hurry up and get out because nobody was paying my bills but me.

I had the opportunity to look at a variety of courses, which took me all through Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering and Ocean Engineering — wave theory and hydrodynamics, ship design and actual coastal engineering processes, like erosion, harbors, everything about the sea and all the engineering aspects of it. With that came a very diverse set of skills and knowledge, all focused around the sea. As it turned out, when I got close to graduation, I was recruited by an engineering company that was supporting the oil and gas business, and to be quite honest, I was very tired of being poor. As a self-supported, self-financed college student, it wasn’t like I had a whole lot to work with financially. I joined white-collar society as an engineer, working for an engineering company and doing subsea pipelines. I ended up getting a Master’s Degree in Ocean Engineering — offshore structures, wave structure interaction of coastal hydrodynamics, again at the University of Houston at night while working fulltime. Again, just continue to stay by the sea.

Meanwhile, I was traveling the world doing offshore projects, offshore construction. I put in one of the deepest facilities at the time in the South China Sea. It set a historical first on subsea remote and robotics technology implementation. One of my first projects was the longest, largest diameter subsea pipeline in the world.

I was part of a team that installed the first deepwater floating production system in Nigeria. I worked for — I spent the last part of my career working for Shell Oil Company in their Deepwater Projects Division, participating with teams that set records with every new project. I was designing future technology. I lived in Nigeria for almost 13 years. I very much embraced the culture. I became embedded in the society and the local environment. I was able to not only see the United States from outside of it, but I also lived firsthand like the other 90% of the planet actually lives.

I realized that a society driven by materialism, a society that defines itself as eligible or as justified based on the amount of possession, that doesn’t just work for everybody. In fact, it’s really not necessary. To get that vantage point on the way that the world works, it gave me a very clear view on what the world really needs. It’s not an iPhone 11. It’s clean drinking water. It’s something to eat more than two days in a row. It’s to be able to have light in your house when you need it, or electricity.

What are some obstacles and challenges you have faced along your journey?

I think the biggest obstacle that I’ve seen as a recurring theme through my life has been about recognizing and accepting my own potential. I haven’t 100% cracked that code yet. At a certain point, a person has to take personal initiative to soul search and identify, “what do I want to do and what am I going to do about that?”

At the end of my time in Nigeria, I got a call from Shell. They said, “Sorry, you’ve been in Nigeria for so many years. You’ve got to go back.” The government is starting to have issues with your permit to work; along with the decline in the price of oil along with other issues, we have no choice but they have to send you back to the states. Thank you for your service, we love you — but essentially, see you.” When I get back to Houston, they were in the process of laying off 30% of the staff and then 30% again and 30% again. I found myself without employment, but I looked at it like I’ve been given an opportunity for a clean start, a fresh start. I had to recover from the whole trauma of suddenly being jobless after 25 years. It could have been an insurmountable obstacle.

I think that recognizing what your core values and your core beliefs are is crucial. For me, that core belief was really about faith. It’s a belief that there is a God, and He’s giving you the power and self-determination to get yourself where you need to be and be as healthy, both physically and mentally and emotionally as you possibly can, which means you have to face a lot of very difficult truths about who you are. Too many people have the wrong definition of their self- worth and their own ability. All they have to do is simply believe that God put you here for a purpose. You have been called and because you’ve been called, you shall be equipped because all the potential is within you, it’s required to come from within you to perform, stand and deliver and do what you’re meant to do. Believe that, and by the power of the word, it shall happen. Some folks just never get there. This world is full of angry, hurting people that need to understand that there is a way out, but it starts with you.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I began to realize my purpose that had been germinating all of my life after leaving Shell. I went back to the renewable energy that had gripped my attention span back when I was in school, as a young person with all kinds of dreams and visions. Finding my way back to that and then using

all the experience of my career, not only in terms of the technology that I was dealing with and all the processes and tools, from a management perspective and a commercial point of view, the financial liabilities and all that came with my experience in the energy industry.

When I met Kenneth W. Welch Jr. at Global Oceanic Designs and heard him share about his suite of technologies and vision for global healing and sustainable energy, there was this “aha moment.” Suddenly it all lined up and I realized that every life experience that I had actually funneled into this very moment, where I realized that I was equipped mentally and emotionally to be able to perceive the opportunity, accept it, and then survey that entire landscape. It all suddenly aligned and I realized that I can do all of this. But it took a lot of conversation. The back and forth exchange of ideas and thoughts and philosophies. I was able to quite easily see the horizon across the landscape of possibilities that existed for all of the different technologies that he had developed over his 40 years’ career of doing all this. To see how systemically it gave a fix for what the planet needs. That relationship between Ken and I was kind of evolved from a technical encounter to what could even be classes of — some level of spiritual bond in that regard.

Many people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the steps you took to get your project started?

For me, it wasn’t about steps I took immediately prior to our agreement, but about a lifetime of passion, choices, and experience coming together to facilitate the largest opportunity of my career. Basically at the point I just mentioned, Ken came to me and said, “I’m packaging my company to close, to exit. Georg here, you’re an instrument in what you can do with your talent. You’re producing all the building blocks and pieces that I need to be able to put my entire portfolio into a framework and then be able to put a price tag on it and walk away and be done. I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I want to go and enjoy with what’s left of my life with my wife and my family. I’m finished.” Then we spent the next few months designing the deal, which became our agreement. This suite of technologies will turn into structural systems, transportation systems, industrial systems and so many other facets. It’s going to blossom into an entire sort of ecosystem that as it comes into being, offers healing for the planet.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

In my career itself, I was always in a leadership position. When I came into Shell, I found a lot of satisfaction with managing performance and developing others. I found myself being more like a counselor than a manager, whether it was for technical coaching or personal mentoring. When I took over the desk in Nigeria, I found a lot of old unsolved problems. I found myself in the middle of a lot of conversations where I really had no idea what was going on. But yet, I was still obligated to take a leadership position to take control of their situation and get it solved in spite of its circumstances and uncertainty.

In one such meeting, I had to meet with a body of government officials over a longstanding issue that had long gone unresolved. There was millions of dollars at stake for some of the contractors. I walk into this meeting room and I have the government down one side of the table. I have all the company people down the other side of the table. I’m supposed to give a presentation of the solution that will make everybody happy.

What happens is that these guys start venting, or airing out their dirty laundry across the table, which goes back in history well before my time. The culture amongst these two opposing factions of Nigerian people, they just fight it out. They sat there and shouted at one another, all venting their grief for like an hour. It comes out — now it’s for the meeting, the meeting time was

finished, time’s up. I’m still standing there in the front of the room. I have never said a single word. I’m responsible for this whole resolution.

I have to think quickly on my feet. While they sat there and shouted at each other, I took a mental note associated with every take on the table. When they had winded themselves out and they’re were all about to stand up, I said, “Excuse me. I came here today to give you a presentation of a solution to this whole problem. With all due respect, if I can proceed?” I said, “Before I do, let me start to address some of these issues that I heard.” I walked on the table from one end of the other and addressed every single person’s grievance with compassion, understanding and humility, which was the opposite of any attitude that had been expressed from my side in the room up to that point. Then I said, “Okay. So with that, let me give you the presentation.” I said, “Here’s the solution and this is my personal commitment. See this through and every point that I brought to bear as I addressed each one of you is all part of my commitment as well. So with that, I’ll now ask respectfully for your feedback.” We got an incredibly positive response from the head government officials. When they left, all the guys at my side were almost out of their chairs, saying “Oh, my God, are you a politician or an engineer?” I said, “I guess I’m both.” They said, “We have been at a stalemate with these guys for over a year on this. How did you do that?” I said, “Well, God gave you two ears and one mouth. If you get a vote, I think the polls suggest you should listen before you speak.”

I’ve actually found my way through these kinds of encounters. Using my powers of diplomacy have proven key. Developing trust relationships through authenticity and genuine, credible communication have been examples of some of the greatest rewards that I’ve had in my leadership experience.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?

It’s kind of embarrassing, but in my early days as a team leader, there was a project control group had an initiative that they were trying to roll out. There’s various control programs; these different companies who have computer systems, and IT networks and systems of how control your costs and do your accounting and all this kind of stuff. These guys basically sold me on their platform how to run the program, and I was in love with it. I configured my whole project to it.

Then when I had to merge with corporate finance, I realized there are some disconnects. I participated in a meeting where one of the representatives of this functional area of the organization was giving a presentation to the whole community, including my leadership saying, “Here’s our new process. We want to run the program like this.” I’m the youngest guy in the room, the newest guy. I’m sitting there and I’m listening to all these more senior people giving all the reasons why this whole initiative was doomed to fail. They said, “Well, actually, we have a case to point and one very successful project that’s using it,” and they all pointed at me. These guys kind of pulled out a secret weapon, a kind of ambush and used me as the bludgeoning stick against all of my whole leadership. It’s highly embarrassing because I had basically gone and took it upon myself to implement a system, which actually wasn’t endorsed by anybody within the organization, which showed me that there’s no playing “the lone ranger,” that’s really not allowed.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I have had a lot of cheerleaders, helpers, and mentors along the way. Early on, I have to thank my parents and my grandparents for grounding me in core principles and values, which is a respect for God and the work ethics. As a teenager, my brother in law who was older than I was, took me under his wing and made sure, through his own efforts as well as some of his business associates, to give me opportunities to work and learn skills. He taught me construction and carpentry skills to be able to work and earn money to put myself through school.

I also was blessed with a guy, my roommate and best friend in college, who took me under his wing. He actually took me home with his family and I learned how to weld, work on the waterfront, work on boats, and learn a little bit about all this engineering and stuff that I had been studying — how it really works in the real world. He carried me up to Alaska, working in the commercial fishing industry. I learned a lot about self-discipline, self-respect, but more importantly, respect for others. Life was different on a fishing boat in Alaska with these seasoned old grizzly mariner guys, sea captains and stuff, grouchy old men. Their mode of communication is just shouting. This is where I had an opportunity to show what I was made of. Again, my roommate was there to coach me and tell me where I did stuff right, but more importantly, tell me where I did stuff wrong. Then it was just up to me to accept it. It taught me a lot of lessons that were valuable later in life. I have a lot to be thankful for in that person being in my life.

Beyond that, I’ve encountered people who have been my supervisors and superiors, on different jobs and different roles, guys who have always taken personal interest in my ability, who have always been nurturing, guys who stood up for me. I’ve always taken stock of that and recognize the value and try to emulate those behaviors right up until — even today, meeting Ken, as much as he’s been a partner and as much as he’s been a client, he’s also been a mentor. I also have a strong network in the people that are in my church family. It makes up the balance between living a life versus the pursuit of a livelihood.

Are there three things the community, society, or politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

First off, there are three factions involved here. There’s the public or society, we’ll say the end user or consumer. The next level is the producer, your supply chain or your value chain or the corporations that either create the products or deploy products to bring a commodity to that consumer group. Then above that, there’s going to be your policy makers, decision makers that actually create overarching policy. The core issues are that the federal government is misguided, the corporate system is broken, and the American republic can be ignorant. We need to shift these issues on all levels to create a more sustainable system.

There’s a role to play at every level. It’s the consumer demand that define which markets are more palatable, who’s going to dominate which market. Consumers must get educated on a deeper level about what they really want and why. You’ll find when you look into some of these wind and solar scenarios, corporations have chosen this line of business because it’s heavily subsidized. When you go into the books of the companies that own those companies, you realize that they’ve got a whole portfolio and they’re just as heavily invested in oil and gas as they are in wind and solar. They’re actually using the wind and solar business as a large leader to get tax deferment on their money-making businesses, which are not environmentally responsible at all.

For the corporations and the commodity providers, you better get honest with yourself and with society about the way that you’re doing business. There is a way to be socially responsible and environmentally responsible and still achieve the bottom line that your shareholders expect if you choose the right path, the right technology, the right methodology.

Now, the reason there is is a tax credit for wind and solar, a sheltering opportunity is because this government made it so. We also need to be aware of media manipulations and look for opportunities for the government to support true sustainability, not band-aid fixes.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

I would ask, what’s the real measure of profitability? There’s income and a cash flow, but then there’s also long term value. We’ve designed a system that can operate for 50 to 100 years on its foundation with just routine maintenance and upkeep, as opposed to a wind turbine system that has a fixed life. Solar panels as well, their efficiency begins to decline as they begin to age because the materials degrade. Sustainability should be looked at in terms of utilizable life of the system, in other words, they sustain for much longer, and at the end of the day, they’re going to be more profitable in the long run.

The short-term view that people have on cash generation. What does that add to society? Nothing. Widgets and trinkets and a narrow view that’s very much about personal gain, those kinds of agendas don’t add value to society. If you contemplate a value added agenda, well, it might not be a huge, say, individual profit stream. Through a global embrace of the philosophy of it, you will realize income on economies of scale because of the level of acceptance that you’re going to see across all of society. The return on investment requires a longer-term view.

In addition to that, it can look like something as easy as exchanging your office water bottles to something that is more re-usable. It’s not as cheap to get a re-usable bottle versus a plastic bottle. But again, for the long run, this is investing in our future and our planet.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

I wish I would have had exposure to tools like Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People earlier in life. There’s very solid, practical guidance given there in a straightforward format.

I think in the context of the present circumstances, I would say, I wish I was more aware of the level of conflict that was present in some of the technologies that I had started looking at earlier on. I wish that I understood earlier how much conflict there was in some of the materials and components, as well as conflict in the actual deployment of some of those technologies. It may have actually turned me away from the industry altogether.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Stay in school and don’t do drugs. [Laughs.] I would say that as early as possible in life, make every effort to see your world in 360 degrees. Don’t just focus on what’s in front of you. Try to get outside of yourself at an early age, so that you can have not only empathy for other human beings, but also appreciate the sensitivities of your environment. Then use to use those understandings as part of your decision making on how you want to consume and what career do you want to pursue. That process will lead you to healthier decisions.

The people that only care about “where am I going to charge my cell phone, and how many cars are ahead of me in the drive-thru before I eat my fast food, and what’s the next pair of shoes I’m going to buy,” I mean, this is a very tunnel vision way of living, but so many people are on that plane. Expanding perspective is key, which expands your empathy, and letting that inform your choices.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Oh, man! I think in my high school yearbook, I quoted Ozzy Osbourne, but that’s probably not appropriate. [Laughs] I think that the speech that Kennedy gave where he said, “the only thing that we have to fear… is fear itself.” Another profound quote, according to the Bible, is when Jesus hung on the cross and said, “Forgive them Father for they do not know what they do.” That was quite profound. It’s really about showing grace and compassion and unconditional love for other human beings.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

There’s a lot of people for a whole lot of different reasons. I would want to meet with President Trump to say, “Hey, I’ve got a plan that’s very much the embodiment of what I think you’re trying to drive this planet to.” I’d like to meet with Tilman Fertitta to say, “Hey man, I’ve got an opportunity for you that’s even bigger than the Golden Nugget, Landry’s restaurants or any other game that you’ve got into play.” I wouldn’t mind having lunch with one of the oldest astronauts still alive. It would be good just to sit down and spend some time with one of my favorite authors, like Patterson or Clancy. But if it could be anybody living or dead, I wouldn’t mind as an adult now, to be able to actually sit down and have lunch with my Grandpa and share with him all that my life has become.

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