Hillis Group Mangement Team

Michael Hillis, President

Michael founded The Hillis Group, LLC in November of 2004 in response to the need for a utility focused restoration/civil contractor in the tri-state area.  As president, Michael is responsible for carrying out The Hillis Group’s mission of building relationships and developing repeat business with a can-do attitude and the willingness to tackle any project.  His expertise in all aspects of the construction industry, from preconstruction to delivery, is predicated on one important goal, client satisfaction.  Michael has always been a leader who is very involved in the day-to-day operations of The Hillis Group and makes sure that every job gets the attention to detail to ensure success at the highest level.

Jennifer Hillis, Vice President

Jennifer Hillis is the Co-founder of The Hillis Group, LLC.  Jennifer oversees the day-to-day operations to support the growth and add to the bottom line of the organization by focusing on strategic planning and goal setting.  Jennifer directs the internal operations of the company in support of its goals by measuring progress and adjusting processes accordingly.

Jim Ciminelli, Chief Financial Officer

Jim Ciminelli’s career began 25 years ago in the financial industry in New York City. Jim earned his CPA while working at Ernst & Young, a Big Six accounting firm. He earned his MBA from Fordham University while working for Deutsche Bank in the Structured Finance Group. Jim served for ten years as the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for a Lehigh Valley based multinational manufacturer. Most recently, Jim performed corporate finance and strategic advisory services to clients in a variety of industries. 

Brett Ehasz, General Manager

Brett Ehasz brings his vast field experience to the management team.  Brett Ehasz joined The Hillis Group team in 2005 and has journeyed through the ranks proving to be a valuable asset and a very capable General Manager.  He began his career at The Hillis Group as an experienced Operator with an advanced knowledge of field work and progressed into a Foreman position in 2007.  Brett excels at running projects and directing crews.  Brett’s ability to run multiple crews, meet project deadlines and client expectations every time; along with his knowledge, experience, and work ethic, provide a winning combination for the company.

Jason Costantino, Director of Operations

Jason Costantino joined The Hillis Group team in 2005. He began his career at The Hillis Group as a truck driver and then became a pipeline supervisor in 2008. Jason has travelled up through the ranks to become Director of Operations. He is particularly skilled as a representative between the customer and The Hillis Group, LLC. Jason’s ability to multitask, know the field work, make thorough decisions, meet project goals and client expectations is crucial in the success of all stages of the project.

Tim Charous, Safety Director

Tim began his safety career as a Petty Officer in the United States Navy.  After being awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal for his participation in the Beirut, Lebanon Crisis he went to serve the State of New Jersey for 25 years as a New Jersey State Trooper actively protecting the public.  He advanced his career through the ranks and attained the rank of Lieutenant and was a Unit Head within the Office of Professional Standards, he conducted Internal Investigations pertaining to complaints of any criminality, violations of administrative rules and regulations, and violations of civil rights.

In 2011, Tim left his career with New Jersey State Police and became Deputy Director of Security and Safety for Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.  He was responsible for the overall supervision and leadership of Security & Safety Department, including Safety Policy and Procedure compliance throughout the plant, creating, administering, and the oversight of the PVSC Drug Testing policies and procedures as well as the compliance of all OSHA standards.  In addition to his daily responsibilities, Tim also assisted in creating the existing standards for all incident, safety, and injury investigations and assisted with the development of the Risk Analysis Core Group and Risk Management Advisory Panel Policy and Procedures. The results of these efforts reduced the annual workers compensation claims from approximately $2,000,000 to approximately $200,000!   

Tim joined the Hillis Group in 2017 and we can’t wait to see what he brings to The Hillis Group as Safety Director.

Sam Brockman, Safety Manager

Sam joined the Hillis Group, LLC in 2007 as Safety Director. Sam has thirty years’ experience in Industry and Construction Job Site Safety. His knowledge includes, developing and managing safety programs, employee training, supervisor and manager training, incident/accident/near miss investigations, conducting JHA’s, JSA’s, and Hazard Identification, producing safety procedures and policy’s. Sam is qualified in Chemical Plant Safety and Security through Rutgers University, NJ. He is an OSHA Outreach Trainer for General Industry and Construction, instructing OSHA 10 and 30-hour safety classes for 12 years and counting. Sam is a Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Wade Burnhauser, Superintendent

Wade joined the team in 2004 with 15 years of construction and Operator experience. As Superintendent, his role demands an ever increasing level of professionalism and competence in a wide variety of areas. Wade is an expert in every department and oversees the Restoration, Clearing, Carpentry, Demolition, and Cellular Communications divisions. Wade is a strong leader and places emphasis on maintaining high morale among team members and customers. Wade is an expert at making quick, accurate, and solid decisions that on-the-job projects demand. As superintendent, he is instrumental during project implementation and seeing projects through to successful completion. He is often requested by our customers because he demonstrates a strong work ethic, he has a diplomatic approach, solves problems competently, manages with a “teamwork” spirit, and importantly, he is particularly responsive to our customers’ needs.

Tim Phalen, Senior Project Manager

As Senior Project Manager, Tim is directly responsible for successful completion of all construction projects to meet and often exceed our client’s expectations.  Prior to joining The Hillis Group, Tim had worked in the construction industry for nearly 32 years, overseeing projects involving the construction of waste water treatment plants, bridges, and various industrial and commercial projects.  Tim has extensive experience in estimating, scheduling, project management, and site supervision.  Tim has vast experience in all phases of concrete construction and site development and has proven his leadership and analytical skills while functioning as the liaison between field personnel, construction managers, architects, engineers, and owners.

Ana Guzman, Project Manager

Ana Guzman, EIT, brings over 8 years of construction experience to her role as Project Manager. She is responsible for overseeing multiple construction projects from the proposal stage to project completion. Ana is a results driven and detail oriented PM that has proven ability to lead personnel to successful project completion while exceeding client expectations.  Prior to The Hillis Group, Ana managed the construction of wastewater treatment plants, sewer systems, water mains, mechanical systems, architectural precast concrete, and various commercial projects. She also possesses extensive knowledge associated with municipal permits, building code compliance, special inspections and Certificates of Occupancy. Ana holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University.

Carolann Phalen, Process (PMP) Manager

Carolann Phalen is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) whose current focus is application implementation, enhancement, and cross corporation process improvement.  She brings to The Hillis Group over eight years of IT project management experience and more than fifteen years in managerial positions with Fortune 500 companies. Carolann holds a BS, Business Management and Marketing curriculum, from Montclair State University, and The Complete Project Manager w/Microsoft Project 2010, Rutgers University. Carolann is a member of PMI.Org.


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