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Sales Tax and Orphan Well Legislation Heads to the Governor’s Desk

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Friday, June 8, 2018

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association commends members from the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate for passing House Bill 225 and House Bill 430, moving the bills on to await final approval from the Governor.

“On behalf of the members of the OOGA, we thank the leadership of the Ohio House and Senate for bringing these vital bills to the floor for consideration and the bipartisan support from members in both chambers in passing these important pieces of legislation,” said Matt Hammond, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “The vision and fortitude of Representative Tim Schaffer and his sponsorship of House Bill 430, and Representative Andy Thompson for being a tireless advocate of House Bill 225, both of which are greatly valued by the membership of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.”

House Bill 225 requires the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to spend 30% of the Oil and Gas Well Fund on plugging orphan wells and requires annual reporting from the ODNR to the Ohio General Assembly. With support from environmental organizations, those in the oil and gas industry have long advocated for a more robust oil and gas plugging program even as Ohio operates one of the best in the nation. This legislation will clean up legacy issues dating back to the early 1900s and ensures that revenue coming from the severance tax and fees are used to support the oil and gas regulatory program. H.B. 225 passed both the House and Senate Floors unanimously.

House Bill 430 reaffirms the traditional sales tax standing that oil and gas operators have received since 1960. Every business needs clear and consistent system of taxation, this legislation will provide Ohio’s oil and gas industry tax certainty. This bill simply reaffirms what has been conducted for decades and does not expand the scope of exemptions, but rather clarifies it. H.B. 430 passed the House by a vote of 85-12 and the Senate 32-1. It is also important to note that the Ohio Department of Taxation initially testified in opposition to H.B. 430., later withdrawing its opposition the day the Senate passed the bill out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The past few months have been full of twists and turns, uncertainty and political obstacles. Pending approval from Governor Kasich, signing these pieces of legislation into law will benefit Ohio’s oil and gas industry by bolstering the state’s orphan well plugging program and clarifying oil and gas sales tax treatment.

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Recap of the Region 1 & 2 Spring Golf Outing

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Monday, May 14, 2018

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted a successful Region 1 & 2 Spring Golf Outing at the Wooster Country Club on May 11. Groups of foursomes played in a shamble format braving brisk temperatures.

The Association would like to give a special thank you to the event’s sponsors: American Refining Group dinner sponsor, Ergon Oil Purchasing, Inc. beverage cart sponsor, IGS Energy lunch sponsor, Worthington Industries golf cart sponsor. The golf team of Matt Dye, Justin Cauldwell, Jeremy Cauldwell and Guss Zoppi won the tournament with a score of four under par. The closest to the pin on hole 14 was Joe Herman and hole 8 was Mike Wehner. In addition there was a raffle and multiple door prizes donations from member companies.

The Association would like to thank everyone who participated in this event, and the Sound Energy team Tyler Levengood, Bruce Levengood and Carrie Ellenbaugh for helping to put on a great event and overseeing the logistics. 

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Peer-Reviewed Study Finds No Groundwater Contamination from Fracking in Ohio

Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth Appalachian Basin, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The first ever and award winning Utica Shale study to examine the root source of methane (CH4) linked to fracking has finally been published in a scientific journal. The long awaited multi-year University of Cincinnati (UC) groundwater study that found no impacts from fracking was finally published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Monitoring Assessment – more than two years after researchers first announced its findings. The study was also blessed by the Ohio Environmental Council in 2014 as their recipient for the “Science and Community Award.”

Notably, the study’s topline conclusions echo comments made by the report’s lead researcher and a master thesis that was uncovered by EID two years ago, stating:

“We found no relationship between CH4 concentration or source in groundwater and proximity to active gas well sites.”

“… our data do not indicate any intrusion of high conductivity fracking fluids as the number of fracking wells increased in the region.”

The study further highlights how incredibly important the publication of the findings are, given the fact that it truly is a first-of-its-kind, stating:

“[O]ur study is the first to characterize CH4 sources in groundwater in the Utica Shale drilling region of Ohio, and is one of only a handful of time series studies of CH4 concentration and associated isotopic composition in an oil and gas extraction area.”

While this study is indeed a first for Ohio, this is just one of more than two dozen studies showing that fracking is not a major threat to groundwater, and as EID has previously covered, the report’s now-confirmed topline conclusion is all-the-more noteworthy considering it was partially funded and orchestrated by anti-fracking groups. In fact, the study received over 18 percent of its funding from the anti-fracking Deer Creek Foundation. In other words, it should come as no surprise that the hypothesis was not supported by the facts of the data, and we applaud UC for acknowledging that point as well.

The researchers reveal in the study that:

“We hypothesized that CH4 concentration would increase as the number of shale gas wells in the area increased, with the isotopic composition of CH4 reflecting an increasingly fossil fuel derived natural gas source, and that pH of groundwater would decrease and electrical conductivity would increase due to the presence of acidic, salty hydraulic fracturing fluids in groundwater. We also predicted that groundwater wells located within 1 km of active shale gas wells would have elevated levels of dissolved CH4 with isotopic ratios reflecting a natural gas source, and that groundwater within this ‘active zone’ would have decreased pH and increased electrical conductivity.”

But the data collected from 25 water wells in Carroll, Harrison, Stark, Belmont and Columbiana counties between 2012 and 2015 simply did not support that hypothesis:

Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not see an increase in CH4 concentration or change in isotopic composition of CH4 in groundwater in regularly monitored wells over the study period (Figs. 2 and 3), despite a large increase in the number of producing shale gas wells in our study area (Fig. 1). In fact, we saw a decrease in CH4 concentration in some of our regularly monitored wells, although the number of samples in our time series is relatively small. The low numbers of significant correlations indicate there may be natural variability in concentrations of biogenic CH4 in groundwater in our study area (contrary to our expectation).”

As EID has highlighted numerous times, it was at an anti-fracking Carroll Concerned Citizens meeting more than two years ago that lead researcher and UC professor Amy Townsend-Small announced the study’s findings, stating that,

“I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our resultsThey feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.” (emphasis added)

But again to the authors of the UC groundwater study’s credit, they correctly reported what the data they collected indicated even though it was contradictory to their hypothesis. In fact the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) stated,

“This innovative research study is examining the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on groundwater in Ohio’s Utica shale. Led by UC geologist Amy Townsend Small, this first-of-a-kind project is testing for the presence of methane (the primary component of natural gas) and its origins in groundwater and drinking water wells before, during, and after the onset of fracking. Other studies have focused on water contamination only after fracking is complete. The project involves the gathering and analysis of water samples in eastern Ohio by UC graduate and undergraduate students.”

The study notes that just 115 drilling permits had been issued in Ohio when the study began in January 2012, and that 1,600 permits had been issued by the study’s conclusion in February 2015. Most of the 180 total samples were collected in Carroll County, which has emerged as the most-drilled Ohio county, seeing shale well counts increase from just three in late 2011 to 354 in 2015, according to the study’s master thesis.

The fact that the samples collected on a “voluntary” basis and based on “landowner interest” — translation: from landowners that were involved with Carroll Concerned Citizens or sympathetic to their efforts — further validates the study’s conclusion. And the findings really couldn’t be clearer: there was no evidence of groundwater contamination attributable to natural gas development in the study area. From the study:

“our data indicate that the dominant source of CH4 in groundwater in the Utica Shale region is biogenic, and that neither the CH4 concentration nor its source change with an increasing number of shale gas wells or with changing distance to shale gas wells.”

EID applauds the UC research team for not only (finally) getting this study published, but not deviating from the original conclusions reported more than two years ago. We now call for those who have claimed fracking is “poisoning” Ohio groundwater (we’re looking at you, Dennis Kucinich) to acknowledge scientific evidence and stop fear-mongering that is driven more by politics than the facts.

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Ascent Resources Host Environmental Workshop

Posted By Amanda Finn, Government Relations Manager, Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2018

On May 1st Ascent Resources held an environmental workshop at our Watson Pad located in Guernsey County.  This environmental workshop is part of a several part series Ascent will be conducting this year.  The purpose of these workshops is to better equip our vendors and contractors with the tools they need to practice a safe and environmentally friendly workplace. On Tuesday, this workshop encompassed spill prevention stations where vendors and contractors learned about: spill kits and how to use them, pad drains, waste containers, wetlands, sheen vs. not sheen and finished off the workshop with how to remediate a spill.  During these exercises the vendors and contractors were split into several groups where they learned a different skill set at every station.  Each station lasted 15 minutes followed by a group presentation on how to remediate a spill.  

Ascent Resources considers environmental health and safety to be a top priority of the company and therefor doing workshops like this helps relay that importance on to those who work for us.  In total we had 31 different vendors/contactors participate and 55 people total attended.  Ascent could not have made this event what it was without the help of our three partners: Rettew, Sunpro and Wise Trucking.  Thank you again to everyone who came out, assisted and participated. 

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SHALE INSIGHT – Registration Open

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Registration for SHALE INSIGHTTM 2018 is now open!

Celebrating its eighth year, the SHALE INSIGHTTM 2018 Conference and Exhibit is returning to the epicenter of the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays October 23-25 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.  This year’s conference continues the partnership between the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA).

“The SHALE INSIGHTTM 2018 Conference and Exhibit continues to be the nation’s leading industry forum for public-private dialogue on shale development.  Our successful partnership with key regional trade groups in three of the top energy - producing states in the country is proof positive that SHALE INSIGHTTM 2018 will provide industry leading information and one-of-a kind experiences for conference attendees and exhibitors. ” said MSC president David Spigelmyer. 

New for 2018, SHALE INSIGHT™ will integrate all exhibit hall activities with the general session main stage and breakout session presentations to create one dynamic show floor and networking experience!  To generate even greater value for participants, we are also offering best-in-industry conference registration prices.

“This event is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our region and the abundant energy opportunities from our industry.  SHALE INSIGHTTM creates an important forum to exchange ideas and heighten the dialogue around common sense energy policies. We're glad to be part of the continued success and work with our partners at the MSC and WVONGA.” said Matthew Hammond, Executive Vice President, Ohio Oil and Gas Association. 

SHALE INSIGHTTM 2018 guarantees a front row seat for the most important discussion on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders.  Attendees will network with the most influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders throughout the three days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and dynamic combined conference and exhibit layout featuring all the major shale players. The conference will also feature daily educational sessions that explore various technical and public affairs-related topics.

“This combined effort absolutely poses a unique networking opportunity for attendees.  A number of energy producers as well as suppliers and vendors across Appalachia are active in more than one state,” added WVONGA executive director Anne Blankenship.

Become a sponsor, host an exhibit, or register for the conference today by visiting www.ShaleInsight.com and capitalize on this unique opportunity to gain unprecedented industry access. We look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh.

Register now to take advantage of the early rates!  

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New IHS Markit Study Proves the Shale Crescent USA Region Is The Place To Be

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Monday, April 2, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It’s one thing to not have home field advantage and it’s another to be the underdog, but to be in the position to be both at the same time, is a real true challenge. I imagine that is how the three volunteers from Shale Crescent USA felt as they entered the capacity ballroom during the World Petrochemical conference in Houston recently.

The challenge that faced Jerry James, Greg Kozera, and Nathan Lord is that history and conventional wisdom and the event location were all working against their messages and effort in general.

This is the second year a team from Shale Crescent USA has made the trip to the conference. The first year, the theme was “we don’t know, what we don’t know.” So they sponsored the opening night reception, to try and make a big splash, they worked the room and made the case, to anyone that would listen, that if you were going to build or expand a petrochemical facility, you should look at the mid-Ohio valley. They came back home with one lead.

For the conference this year, they stepped up their game big time and partnered with IHS Markit and put together a study answering a few key questions for the audience at the conference. The idea was simple, how to best convey the message, with good data, that there is a greater return on investment, lower costs, shorter transportation times and closer markets in the Shale Crescent USA that along the Gulf Coast.

So armed with an over 100 page study, and the knowledge that the Shale Crescent USA is the most profitable place to build a new petrochemical facility, the crew stormed the ballroom this year primed and ready to answer those questions and from diverse group of international attendees. Their research proved to be a difference maker and they had everyone’s attention. This year, they came home with several leads and left the Gulf Coast knowing momentum has a new address. Shale Crescent USA.

Here are a few key points comparing economic opportunities for an ethylene project placed in either the U.S. Gulf Coast or the Shale Crescent:

o   A petrochemical plant located in the Shale Crescent USA would generate a four-times-higher net present value cash flow than a comparable investment in the Gulf Coast.

o   Over a 20 year period, a petrochemical plant located in the Shale Crescent USA has a pre-tax cash flow of $11.5 billion. This is $3.6 billion greater than the Gulf Coast. 

o   Ethane price: 32 percent less in the shale crescent; ethane is extracted from the natural gas stream.

o   Polyethylene delivered cost: 23 percent less in the shale crescent; polyethylene is shipped to customers for use in a variety of products including food packaging and household containers.

For more information and the executive summary of the report please visit ShaleCrescentUSA.com.  

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New Report Finds Appalachian Basin Is Most Profitable Place in U.S. to Build Petrochemical Plant

Posted By Guest Blog: Energy In Depth Appalachian Basin, Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Appalachian Basin is now the most profitable place in the United States to build a petrochemical plant, according to new research from IHS Markit. And this isn’t just by a small margin – the report finds that Appalachia’s Ohio River Valley has four times the net present value compared to other regions of the country.

Source: IHS Markit

The IHS Markit report adds to a growing body of research on the important role the Appalachian Basin will play in the future of the petrochemical industry. For instance, the American Chemistry Council’s recent report entitled “The Potential Economic Benefits of an Appalachian Petrochemical Industry” found the region could be the “second center of U.S. petrochemical and plastic resin manufacturing, similar to the Gulf Coast” and as a result could see up to 100,000 permanent new jobs by 2025.


Encouraging investment and making this a reality is something the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is “working on actively.” DOE Sec. Rick Perry recently told lawmakers that he plans to transition Appalachia into a petrochemical refining center, and he testified before Congress that investment in the region is a priority for national security, explaining,


“To develop [the Gulf’s petrochemical industry] in another region of this country, the Appalachian, makes sense because you’re sitting on top of Marcellus and Utica, which are prolific gas fields, and helping transition the workers who are either out of work or not working in jobs that are satisfactory from their perspective into higher-paying refining and petrochemical type jobs. That is a something we’re working on actively today at DOE.”

Shale Crescent USA, an economic development initiative to encourage business growth in the Ohio River Valley, commissioned this new report, which makes the business case for investing in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Why is the Appalachian Basin so appealing?

For starters, it is located in close proximity to a prolific natural gas supply. Pennsylvania alone produced 5.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas from shale in 2017 – more than China and India’s combined total natural gas production – and 40 percent of America’s total natural gas production will come from the Appalachian Basin by 2030, according to the report. But that’s not the only advantage. As the report explains,

“For the first time in history, companies can now position themselves directly within the greatest region of supply as well as the greatest area of demand.”

Shale Crescent USA spokesman Jerry James further explained the advantages in the report’s press release,

“The Shale Crescent USA region boasts a number of major advantages, including access to some of the lowest natural gas prices in the developed world from the abundant Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. When taken with the close proximity to more than two-thirds of the domestic market for polyethylene consumption, it means we are the most lucrative location for a petrochemical manufacturing facility.”

U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-06) issued a press release on the new study, stating,

“There is little doubt that due to this natural resource below our feet, Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, and the surrounding area, sits at the center of America’s energy renaissance. We have an abundant natural gas supply, access to water, proximity to major markets, and a ready and skilled labor force. It’s a major reason that an international petrochemical company is considering building an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County – which would be the largest construction project in Ohio history.”

And, as Congressman Johnson explained, investment in the region has already been occurring. Royal Dutch Shell recently began construction on its world-class ethane cracker facility in Pennsylvania, and it appears PTT Global Chemical will announce more concrete plans for a similar facility in Ohio in the near future. In line with the IHS Markit report, Shell explains on its website that, “Locating the facility close to both supply and markets will reduce economic and environmental transportation costs…”

A bipartisan group of elected officials from Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania has also been aggressively pushing for more investment in the Appalachian region, and this week economic development groups from the tri-state area are headed to the World Petrochemical Conference to lobby for their shot at the next major petrochemical plant investment.

Shale development has brought a new hope for this region of the country, and is the key to a manufacturing renaissance taking place in the United States. With each new report it becomes clear: Shale has given the Appalachian Basin “a shot at this historical region-changing event.”

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Ohio Oil and Gas Association Names New Leadership

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Monday, March 12, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association board of trustees has elected Matthew Hammond as executive vice president. Hammond will lead OOGA’s advocacy efforts for the oil and gas industry and act as the chief executive officer of the Association and its operations.

“Matt has proven to be an effective and strong advocate for the Ohio oil and gas producers,” said Jim Aslanides, president of OOGA. “He has shown appreciation for our mission and has worked tirelessly for OOGA’s members. Matt is a talented representative of our great industry, I am privileged and honored to work with him to continue to protect and advance our membership.”

“It is an honor and a great privilege to be entrusted to lead this diverse organization,” said Hammond. “I am grateful to have the support of the leadership, our staff and my family, and I look forward to translate my vision into reality by boldly moving forward on our members’ agenda.”

Hammond has an extensive background in government affairs, working on energy policy. Prior to joining OOGA as senior vice president in January, Hammond served as principal for Vorys Advisors LLC where he worked closely with members of the state legislature, the governor’s office and state agencies, primarily focused in advising oil and gas clients. Previously Hammond was senior director of government affairs for Chesapeake Energy Corporation, where he served as a member of the OOGA’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees.

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Twelve Legacy Members Earn Their Place in the 9th Ohio Oil and Gas Hall of Fame

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) proudly welcomed its latest distinguished class of legacy members into Ohio Oil and Gas Hall of Fame during the Annual Winter Meeting held at the Hilton Columbus at Easton. The OOGA Hall of Fame honors those who have made their own distinct contributions to the Ohio oil and gas industry and was celebrated at the induction ceremony held on March 7, with more than 200 people in attendance.

“To be so recognized by their peers and colleagues and be inducted in the Ohio Oil & Gas Hall of Fame is the zenith for these folks who have dedicated their lives and reputation to this industry. All of the inductees have joined the ranks of the true independents who have forged success in this uniquely American industry and earned the admiration and respect of all those who surround them,” said Tom Stewart, former head of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association and Hall of Fame member.  

The Hall of Fame was established in 1987 and since then 137 honored veterans of the oil and gas industry have been inducted into the hall. The induction ceremony has been held once every four years since 1994. Honorees have come from many different levels and segments of the industry. The concept of the OOGA Hall of Fame came as an idea from OOGA President Gene Brasel in 9187 as a way of honoring the industry’s veterans.

2018 Inductees include:  Jeffery J.A. Baker, Joseph W. Haas, Eugene Huck, Jerry James, William G. Kinney, Mark S. Lytle, Robert G. McVicker Jr., Jack K. Miller, Robert Moss, Daniel Pottmeyer, John B. Walker, Howard J. Wenger. To view a full list of OOGA Hall of Fame Members click here

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Ohio Oil and Gas Legend Leaving a Legacy In Muskingum County

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018

Humble Beginnings

Muskingum County will always be a special place to J.W. “Bill” Straker. He has lived in Zanesville since 1925 and the area has afforded Straker a very good living, which he is generously sharing back with the community.

Straker grew up in Zanesville where his father owned and operated a local oilfield supply business called Zanesville Tool Company, later changed to Buckeye Supply. Straker earned a degree in petroleum engineering at Ohio State University in 1943. His real interest was not in the retail supply business, so in the early 1940s during his college years, Straker approached a local oil production company called National Gas and Oil for a summer job. When National said they were not hiring, Straker then offered to work for free just for the experience. The next summer he went back and National paid him fifty cents an hour.  

Buckeye Supply was a stable business and introduced Straker to the oilfield and his father’s business approach. In 1946 Straker founded the Oxford Oil Company. In its early years Oxford found success buying wells, salvaging equipment and finding oil in the clean out of old wells which allowed the company the ability to start drilling its own wells. Straker was meticulous in his operations, forward-thinking, frugal and Oxford’s books were balanced to the penny.  

A longtime Oxford employee says there was probably nobody in the state that was more forthcoming about paying its bills than Oxford. The drillers could come in the day they finished a well and get their check. That meant a lot to the people working with Oxford and others in the industry.

Reserved in nature about his business plans and sharing any operating techniques, those close to Straker describe him as the dictionary definition of work ethic. Often sacrificing family time for the business, Straker would do whatever it took to provide for his family. He and his wife Mary Helen had four children and from a young age he instilled in them the value of hard work. It was his way of life to empower others to want to improve themselves and make it on their own. His only son John took over Oxford with that same work ethic years later. Straker served as president and general manager of Oxford until he retired in 1986.

In addition to operating Oxford, Straker remained involved with National Gas and Oil. After getting his first taste of the industry there, National and Oxford did business together regularly. When National’s president retired Straker became the president and CEO in 1973, and was elected chairman of the board in 1978, serving in that capacity until he retired in 1991.

Through decades of successful drilling operations, ultimately becoming a top driller in the state, Straker became financially successful. Straker was a man of true integrity and unwaveringly devoted to his business operations; yet he kept his accomplishments to himself.

Mighty Oaks Warrior Project

Straker has never sought fame or recognition in his business dealings, and the same is true for his charitable giving. He simply feels it is most important that the benefits of his giving go back to the community where he was able to build his success. But after celebrating his 96th birthday he is now wrapping up his largest single contribution, a gift to intended to help veterans affected by war.

In 1943 Straker had finished his petroleum engineering degree at Ohio State through an accelerated program, immediately following he entered the U.S. Army Corps as a commissioned officer in the occupation of Japan after World War II. Though he is a veteran, the guiding reason he choose a project to support veterans was the need he saw and his desire to want to help do something about it.

Over three years ago Straker discovered the California based Mighty Oaks Warrior Program when reading an article in Forbes magazine. The group’s mission is to help active duty military and veterans facing posttraumatic stress disorder. The program serves as a means of bringing together people who face similar issues and helps them focus on recovery and identifying their purpose moving forward. The program thrives on an experience-to-experience model where graduates of the program become group instructors, rooted in faith and providing an open forum not found in clinical environments. 

After sending his daughter Susan to visit the original site in California, it became clear to Straker that the Midwest was lacking this type of program and he has since focused his efforts on creating a facility capable of hosting the program in Ohio. He came up with the idea to build a site at The Wilds, a private non-profit safari park and conservation center just outside his hometown in Cumberland, Ohio. Straker has been a supporter of the Wilds from its inception and saw natural potential at this site. 

To implement the Mighty Oaks program at The Wilds, Straker is personally funding the construction of seven cabins, along with a community style lodge that will hold class and meeting rooms, a kitchen and laundry facility. The site is located on a beautiful lake, within a few minutes access to fishing, horse back riding and animal safaris, all within a purposefully isolated setting that has very limited Internet access. The combination of these factors are an advantage to the program that host groups for up to a week, the easy access to activities are key to helping attendees quickly establish rapport. The Wilds is also directly benefitting by allowing this program, with rights to rent out the site for public use when it is not occupied by Mighty Oaks.  

In September of 2017 the program held a trial run for the program on The Wild’s property while the cabins were under construction. Construction of the project was completed in December 2017. The first official group of attendees is expected in the spring of 2018.

Giving Back

In the late 1980s the notion of starting a foundation was something that Straker began considering. In 1994 the J.W. and M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation quietly became a reality. Straker and his wife created the foundation and their daughter Susan Holdren was chosen to direct it. Since then the Foundation has given numerous charitable grants to fund capital projects throughout Muskingum County in excess of two million dollars to date; with most of these the contributor has remained anonymous to the public. Straker’s ultimate view is that he made his money in Muskingum County and the area has afforded him a very good living, he feels strongly that the benefits of that money should stay in the community. 

The Straker family is encouraged to sit on the board of the charitable foundation, which all of the children do and his grandchild are also welcomed with the stipulation that they must be college graduates or over the age of 25. It has been extremely important to Straker to start the foundation and his children have encouraged it in order to help guide them in where they want their funds to be distributed. Straker’s view of his legacy is replicable to that of the Warren Buffet mantra of giving your child enough to live, but not so much that they do nothing.

In running the foundation, Holdren said there have been some surprises along the way on what her parents want to put their money into. The projects lean towards being mostly brick and mortar, with primary focus areas in education, the arts and children. There are always more projects than there is money and they have set guidelines for choosing projects. Requirements of accepting a grant from the foundation considers the narrative of what to accomplish, how it will be evaluated and reported on the following year.

The project with Mighty Oaks strays a bit from the foundation’s typical focus areas of giving, and is one that Straker has personally led. The foundation has participated in the project, but the majority of the funding has come solely from Straker himself. It is something that is dear to him and he is willing to openly talk about. This fact alone has allowed for some added publicity, in hopes of reaching more veterans. His family is proud of the legacy he is leaving personally as well as professionally and leaving a mark unlike many people are able to do; all in thanks to hard work in the oil and gas industry and smart judgment.   

Tags:  Bill Straker  drilling  Lyndsey Kleve  Lyndsey Kleven  Mighty Oaks Warrior program  ohio oil and gas association  oil and gas  The Wilds 

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