So how did a guy from West Virginia become the President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association? It is a good question and I often wonder myself; but as I reflect on my years as a member of the Association, the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, and my career, I guess it is not that hard to figure out.
I’ve had the great pleasure to work for several companies throughout my 30 years in the oil and gas business. From my time at Columbia Transmission, Triana Energy, Chesapeake Energy, and currently EnerVest Operating, which has allowed me to not only join but engage in several state Associations. Through that engagement, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with some amazing people and have been lucky enough to be mentored by many of them. They may not have realized that they were mentoring me, but probably most leaders do not realize the effect they have on others because it just comes naturally to them. As I page through my OOGA directory and read the names of the Past Presidents and Hall of Fame members of the last many years, I count those leaders as my mentors. As they look at me, I’m sure they are thinking, “there goes the neighborhood!” With all kidding aside, what they taught me is to become engaged, express your opinion, and get involved in the Committees to make a difference. To that end, I’ve endeavored to do so.
My first stint was co-chairing the Commerce Committee, then ultimately chairman wherein we worked through many issues affecting the Industry. From that, we conceived the Midstream Subcommittee, given the activity surrounding processing, fractionation, and pipeline construction. My simplistic view was that it would ultimately help us get our product to market and improve our netbacks, so it would be an offshoot of the Commerce Committee. Little did I know, this Subcommittee’s first charge was to draft legislation to fend off the onerous rules that regulatory agencies were trying to burden the midstream industry with and make the construction and operation of the facilities more difficult than necessary. Thereafter, it was ultimately decided that this facet of the Industry was so important that it needed to be separated as its own Committee. I take great pride in that!
Through my work in the Committees, I was given the opportunity to become a member of the Executive Committee, ultimately leading to the Board electing me an officer; and for that, I thank you! So the answer to the question I earlier posed, is through Committee engagement. Being a Trustee is not a rite of passage nor a ceremonial appointment. It was a charge that was given to me by the Trustees that voted for me, and the mentors that shaped me, both of whom expect me to help carry the load.
As we enter 2019, we will have a new Governor, Administration and new department heads that we must become acclimated to and contend with. The more things change, the more they stay the same, so expect many of the battles that have raged in the past to rage again along with new ones we probably haven’t even thought of yet. However, be assured that your Association will be at the forefront of the issues and working in unison with our members to craft a viable outcome for our Industry. To that end, I urge you to become involved in the Committees and be engaged so that your voice will be heard and you will be part of the solution. The Association is only as strong as its members and Committees, in order to succeed, we all have to be engaged. Please accept the challenge!