Core Staff

Acorn International’s highly qualified consultants in Houston and Boston have delivered social and environmental management advice and best practices to industries and investors around the globe. We work globally, managing projects ranging in size from week-long environmental screening processes to multi-million dollar, multi-year efforts. Companies have benefitted from Acorn International’s training and capacity building in environmental and social risk management, community engagement and investment and human rights.


Dean Slocum - President, Consultant
Dean is the founder of Acorn International and a former Director of EHS for Arthur D. Little, and VP, Oil and Gas Market Manager for Battelle Memorial Institute. He serves as an expert witness and advisor to industries, investors, and governments on community and environmental challenges worldwide. His experience ranges from leading an integrated multi-national team of experts on a $20million consulting assignment to leading more than 200 social and environmental risk management studies/plans with teams of local specialists in over 30 countries. Dean is based in Houston, and speaks fluent Spanish, intermediate Portuguese and basic French and Greek. See Dean’s bio.

Andrew Buchman - Consultant
Andrew is a development professional with extensive international experience, primarily for extractive industry projects. Formerly Sustainable Development Advisor for a major oil and gas project in the Caspian, he has managed stakeholder engagement, social investment, and risk management programs in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Central and Southeast Asia. Andrew recently served as Social Performance Advisor for a major oil and gas company’s North American downstream, gas development, and exploration projects. He works in our Houston office. See Andrew's bio.

Atma Khalsa - Consultant
Atma has led environmental and social risk management assignments in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, and participated on projects in over twenty-five developing countries. He holds a Master of Science degree from the joint McGill University – UNEP Environmental Assessment Program, and brings to our projects strong formal training in ESIA, stakeholder engagement, and community investment. Atma is based in Boston and has recently led ESIAs in Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Angola and Equatorial Guinea. See Atma's bio.

Alexis Peterson - Consultant
Alexis is a consultant with experience in social and environmental research and project management for international development projects. She has worked on environmental and social risk assessments for offshore oil and gas exploration activities. Alexis recently completed an independent annual monitoring report of a major offshore exploration program in West Africa for the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Areas of specialization include due diligence and performance standard review. Alexis holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from Harvard University and a double BA (Sociology, Urban Studies) from Stanford. She is fluent in French and conversationally fluent in Spanish. See Alexis's bio.

Paula Uscátegui - Consultant
Paula’s focus is on supporting and monitoring implementation of community development programs required as part of oil and gas industry activities overseas, as well as performing social performance assessment, social baseline and impact assessment, social risk assessment, community engagement planning, and stakeholder mapping / engagement programs within affected communities. A native Spanish-speaker, she brings the critical experience and knowledge of applying the IFC Performance Standards for Environmental and Social Sustainability, along with other good international industry practices applied in her role on the CSR team of an international oil company. See Paula's bio.

Diana Connolly - Office Manager/Administrative Assistant
Diana has 10 years experience in office management and three years experience in infrastructure transportation, with a focus on organization, documentation, and recordkeeping. Prior to her arrival at Acorn International, she provided executive assistance to the Central Support and Manufacturing Director at Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. Additionally, Diana provided administrative support to BP’s Incident Management Team during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response. Diana is also fluent in Spanish.

Lisa Aldrich, CPA - Adjunct Consultant
Lisa has over 20 years of experience as a financial consultant focused on evaluating and recommending strategic business objectives. She is a Certified Public Accountant with an Accounting Certificate from Bentley University, and is based in the Boston area.


John Black, P. G. - Adjunct Consultant
John is a senior environmental consultant with over 30 years of experience working worldwide for the petroleum and other industries. He is based in the Houston area.

J Chris Anderson, Ph.D. - Strategic Partner
Dr Chris Anderson has worked as a communities & social performance practitioner and senior executive in the mining industry for 17 years with Rio Tinto, Newmont Mining, and Normandy Mining. He is an anthropologist and has worked with and for Indigenous and other communities on a variety of issues including land claims, Royal Commissions, customary law and on other similar issues around the world (West Africa, North America, Australia, and Asia). His specializations include stakeholder engagement, social performance assurance, Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC) as well as agreement-making and resettlement. He is a board member of the World Bank Institute’s Open Contracting Partnership, past chair of the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Working Group, was Alumnus of the Year in 2013 at the University of Queensland and is a Research Associate at the Colorado School of Mines. See Chris's bio.


Our Team

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Phone: 832-900-3997