Thursday Morning Moderator

Amanda Finn
  Government Relations Manager – Ascent Resources, LLC

As Government Relations Manager for Ascent Resources, Ms. Finn is the liaison to local, state, and federal officials on issues affecting not only Ascent but the industry as a whole. Assisting with legislative initiatives and bill creation Ms. Finn is a registered lobbyist in Ohio and West Virginia.

Ms. Finn also handles all landowner relations for Ohio and West Virginia which is part of creating a corporate/local relationship structure within their operating counties.

Previously Ms. Finn worked as Government Relations Manager for Magnum Hunter Resources, Eureka Midstream, and GreenHunter Resources, where she also handled all local, state, and federal issues affecting all three companies.  After years of working closely with a Congressman on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Ms. Finn brings with her the experience and exposure that is necessary to be an effective advocate to the oil and gas industry. Counterpoint to her government relations reach is her community relations experience.  An Ohio native, an active volunteer for local political campaigns, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee for OOGA, active member in several OOGA committees and a member of local volunteer organizations in Washington County, Ms. Finn’s community involvement plays a critical role in the relevancy of her understanding of the issues for the industry.

Ms. Finn has a background in Marketing and Business Development and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

Thursday Morning Speakers

James Aslanides
  President – MFC Drilling Inc.
President – OOGA

Jim Aslanides is the President of the Media Fuel Company (dba MFC Drilling, Inc.); an exploration and development company located in Coshocton, Ohio and founded in 1981.  Jim has been a member of OOGA since 1981, even while attending Kent State University, majoring in engineering. His company owns or operates some 750 wells throughout Ohio of which some were new field discoveries.  Jim served 5 terms in the Ohio House of Representatives thru 2009 and chaired the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for 8 years.  Jim is now serving his second year as President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

Martin Shumway, PE, CPG
  Technical Officer – Locus Bio-Energy Solutions LLC

Marty Shumway earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the College of Engineering at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio and an AAPG Certified Petroleum Geologist. Mr. Shumway has more than 20 years of experience in the mining and oil and gas industries and is currently serving as Technical Officer for Locus Bio-Energy’s paraffin and enhanced oil recovery business in the Appalachian Basin. Professional association memberships include the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

Timothy KnoblochTimothy S. Knobloch
  President – James Knobloch Petroleum Consultants Inc.

Tim Knobloch is President of James Knobloch Petroleum Consultants Inc. (formerly James Engineering Inc.) based in Marietta, Ohio. Tim has been associated with the firm since 1997 performing reservoir analysis and economic appraisals, estimating and auditing oil and gas reserves, providing litigation support, production analysis, oil and gas appraisals, and acquisitions and divestitures.

Tim previously worked with Peake Energy as a district petroleum engineer where he was responsible for estimating and auditing oil and gas reserves, AFE preparation, and disposal well permitting, monitoring, and reporting. In addition, he also was responsible for compressor system evaluation, specification, permitting, and installation and assisting in telemetering installation and maintenance. Prior work experience included Quaker State Corporation in Bradford, Pennsylvania where he was responsible for the design and supervision of drilling, logging, cementing, stimulation, gas well testing, equipment design, and remedial operations. Tim began his career with Amoco Production Company in Traverse City, Michigan as a drilling and production engineer.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and is a certified minerals appraiser with the AIMA. Tim has been a lifelong member of the SPE and has co-authored technical papers for SPE Eastern Regional Meetings on both production analysis and corrosion.

Jerry James
  President – Artex Oil Company
Volunteer Director – Shale Crescent USA

Jerry earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Marietta College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.  Jerry has been President of Artex Oil Company, in Marietta, Ohio, since 1995.  Prior to assuming his current role, he held positions with various major oil companies in Texas, Louisiana, and Wyoming and worked as a petroleum engineering consultant.  Jerry previously served as president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and as chairman of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.  He is currently a Volunteer Director for Shale Crescent USA.

Duane Clark
  Petrox, Inc.

Duane, who chairs OOGA’s Producer Committee, is currently employed by Petrox, Inc., a privately held oil and gas producer that operates legacy wells in eastern Ohio.  Prior to joining Petrox, he worked for and held various positions at Belden & Blake Corporation including Manager of its retail gas marketing division, and Vice President of Gas Marketing/Legal Affairs.   Duane started his career at Quaker State Corporation, where he also held various positions including Manager of its Belpre, Ohio Production Division, overseeing well drilling and producing operations in Ohio and West Virginia.  He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics.

Richard J. SimmersRick Simmers
  Chief – Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management, ODNR

As Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, Rick Simmers is responsible for enforcing Ohio’s laws related to oil and gas drilling, production, plugging, orphan wells, solution mining, enhanced recovery, gas storage and underground injection control operations.

An ODNR career employee, Simmers began working for the Oil and Gas Program in 1985. Over the years he has served as a staff geologist, ground water investigator, acting chief and statewide field enforcement administrator.

Simmers earned both a Master of Science degree and Bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Akron. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Akron.

He is currently serving as Ohio’s representative to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and has also served on the Ground Water Protection Council.

David Marks
Appalachian Business Development Coordinator
– Dominion Energy Fuel Services

David Marks is a natural gas professional with 40 years’ industry experience, beginning with Geosource (Houston) and Wildrose (Calgary) where he spent 12 years managing North American exploration crews.  David has spent the last 28 years marketing natural gas, commercial services and gas technologies, beginning with Consolidated Natural Gas in Pittsburgh, and including Allegheny Energy in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and Dominion Energy in Clarksburg, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.

David currently manages a portfolio of more than 240 Appalachian Basin producers at Dominion Energy Field Services in Pittsburgh.  Through Dominion, David is a member of OOGA, IOGA WV, PIOGA and SOOGA and is a subcommittee chairman for PIOGA in Wexford, Pennsylvania.  He also serves as a consultant to municipalities and energy brokers, and promotes natural gas technologies for transportation fuel, power generation and synthetic natural gas-based products.

David is also the executive producer of the Laugh & Learn Sessions on Energy and Public Policy, a public forum for the purpose of education in the areas of natural gas production and delivery, natural gas vehicles, power generation and economics.  He has produced 20 forums in the Pittsburgh area since 2008, and has also served on energy panels for California State University, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, the Southeast Ohio Oil & Gas Association, The Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Appalachian Basin Gas Processors Association.  David served on Allegheny County’s Energy & Environment Vision team under the leadership of Andrea Geraghty and County Executive Richard Fitzgerald in 2011 and 2012.  David also volunteers as an instructor for Junior Achievement’s energy curriculum, having taught in school districts across southwestern Pennsylvania since 2012.

David holds a B.S. in accounting with a minor in mathematics from The University of Pittsburgh, also with focused studies in geology and geophysics.  He has also earned certification in geophysical surveying, utility management and the PJM Interconnect capacity auction.

Melissa HamsherMelissa Hamsher
VP, Environment, Health, Safety and Regulatory
– Eclipse Resources Corporation
Chair – OOGA Environmental Committee

Melissa Hamsher is the Vice President, Environmental, Health, Safety, and Regulatory for Eclipse Resources Corporation.  Melissa has decades of experience in the oil and gas industry and has served as a corporate officer in multiple basins for the last decade.  In addition, she enjoys her current roles as a member of the OOGA Board of Trustees and as the Chair of the OOGA Environmental Committee.  Melissa has held Board positions on multiple industry groups across various states, and has participated with those industry groups in creating industry best management practices.  Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Structural Design and Construction Engineering, from the Pennsylvania State University.  Melissa joined Eclipse Resources at nearly its inception, and was involved in Eclipse Resources Corporation’s (NYSE:  ECR) successful 2014 IPO. Eclipse Resources Corporation’s acreage is primarily in eastern Ohio in the Marcellus and Utica plays.  In additional to unconventional horizontal Marcellus and Utica operations, Eclipse Resources Corporation successfully operates nearly 1,300 conventional wells throughout multiple Ohio counties. Melissa successfully leads its environmental, health, safety, and regulatory department as Eclipse Resources Corporation’s operation and production team explores and develops the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, while achieving regulatory compliance during the operation of both the conventional and unconventional drilling programs.

Gregory Wrightstone
  Author – Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To Know

Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist who has been investigating the Earth’s processes for more than 35 years. He received a BS and MS in geology from Waynesburg University & WVU, respectively. Gregory’s debut book Inconvenient Facts – The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To Know has received glowing reviews and has shot up the sales charts, recently reaching as high as #13 on Amazon best-seller list.

Greg was driven to write this book after a search for climate truth revealed that the notion of catastrophic human-induced climate change was not supported by the science, facts or data. His science-based view of ecosystems and humanity prospering due in part to rising temperatures and increasing CO2 has led to multiple radio and TV appearances including Tucker Carlson and Fox & Friends. Gregory is a strong proponent of the scientific process and believes that climate policies should be driven by science and facts not by a political agenda.

Mike Chadsey
Director of Public Relations – OOGA

Mike Chadsey serves as Director of Public Relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. In that capacity, he assists OOGA with media efforts in the state and to continue the Association’s great work creating and building relationships with local elected, community, and business leaders throughout the state.

Prior to joining OOGA, Mike served as Director of Energy In Depth-Ohio (EID), a grassroots advocacy, research and education initiative organized in support of responsible oil and gas development. Mike has served in a variety of roles at both the local and state level working for various campaigns and office holders since 1997. He is a graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Thursday Afternoon Moderator

James Haas
  Vice President, Development
– Reserve Energy Exploration Company

James (“Jim”) Haas grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and was one of four children born to Joe and Cindy Haas.  Jim graduated high school from Notre Dame Cathedral Latin and received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati’s (“UC”) business school.

Upon graduating from UC, Jim entered the professional world in the real estate development sector with a job at Developers Diversified Realty Trust (“DDR”) and was chosen as one of the first participants of the Executive Training Program.  Just out of school, Jim was afforded weekly access to the Executive Committee and developed large power center type shopping centers throughout the United States.  The job at DDR led to an opportunity to work for a privately owned real estate developer in Cleveland, Ohio for which he took the lead role in developing smaller scale shopping centers, post offices, and a historical office building.  Jim handled the leasing with Tenants, coordinated with the general contractors, governmental officials, historical tax credit buyers, and lenders.

Jim and his siblings grew up in the oil and gas industry often going to well sites and undertaking summer jobs that included courthouse research, installing a gas line and scraping and painting oil tanks.  At Reserve Energy, Jim is the Vice President of Development and focuses on both conventional and unconventional exploration and development programs.  Reserve Energy has diversified into the wind energy and solar sectors in Ohio, Michigan and New York, but remains focused on the oil and gas exploration and development. 

Jim serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, is a member of OOGA, NALA, AAPL and a GM&O Honoree.  Outside of work, Jim is devoted to his Catholic faith, enjoys playing soccer, golfing, fishing, and skiing.  Jim and his wife, Angela, are the proud parents of a young son and daughter.

Thursday Afternoon Speakers

Matthew Hammond
  Senior Vice President – OOGA

Matt is Senior Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. In his role, Matt utilizes his governmental affairs experience and knowledge of the oil and gas industry to advocate and pursue public-policy efforts on behalf of the association’s members.  He also assists with managing day-to-day operations.

Prior to joining the OOGA, Matt was a principal for Vorys Advisors LLC where he worked closely with members of the state legislature, the governor’s office and state agencies. Previously, Matt was the senior director of government affairs for Chesapeake Energy Corporation, where he served as a member of OOGA’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees.

Matt received his B.A. from The Ohio State University.

The Honorable Mike DeWine
  Attorney General of Ohio, DeWine Husted for Ohio

Mike DeWine’s upbringing is a true Ohio story. He was raised in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he spent his early years working in the family seed business. Mike met his wife, Fran DeWine, in the first grade. They got married at Miami University and have been blessed with eight children and 23 grandchildren.

Growing up in a family business, Mike is a man who understands the importance of jobs and community. Mike started his career as a county prosecutor and went on to serve as a state senator, lieutenant governor, and United States Senator. In 2010, he was elected Ohio Attorney General.

Throughout his career, Mike has always kept in mind what he learned growing up in a small business. In Congress, Mike supported tax cuts and eliminating regulations that put unnecessary burdens on small business. As Attorney General, Mike spent the majority of time in office fighting President Barack Obama and his constant overreach and push for job-killing regulations. From attempts to increase the cost of electricity by billions of dollars to attempts to give the federal EPA control over every ditch, puddle, and farm in Ohio, Mike was successful in stopping the Obama administration’s anti-business practices on many occasions.

Mike is running for Governor because he has a vision for Ohio’s future that will ensure our state is a great place for our children and grandchildren. Mike talks about how the spotlight of our economy is coming back to the Midwest. Companies in Ohio and all around the world that are expanding are looking for the things that Ohio already has: natural resources like water and natural gas, hardworking people, low cost of living, and a location that is a day’s drive from 60% of US Population.

To take advantage of those opportunities, Ohio needs a Governor who realizes that job creators and businesses need low taxes, common sense regulation, and long-term stability. We also need a governor with a plan to solve the opioid crisis and drive the drug cartels back to Mexico. The opioid epidemic is killing thousands of Ohioans, costing Ohio billions of dollars a year, and holding back our economy.

Mike DeWine has the plan and vision to address our problems, maximize our advantages, and transform Ohio into one of the leaders of the 21st century economy.

Jimmy Stewart
  President – Ohio Gas Association

Jimmy Stewart has been the president of the Ohio Gas Association since 2011. Prior to joining the OGA, he served three terms as a State Representative and in 2008 he was elected State Senator where he became Senate Majority Leader, the number three leadership position. He graduated from Marshall University in 1992 and completed his MBA at Xavier University in 1994.

Rebecca Heimlich
  Central Region Campaign Manager, External Mobilization
– American Petroleum Institute

Rebecca Heimlich is the American Petroleum Institute’s Central Region Campaign Manager. Heimlich is overseeing the organization’s grassroots educational outreach and mobilization efforts in API’s Central Region. Prior to joining API, Heimlich served as the Ohio state director for Americans for Prosperity. Heimlich also worked on political campaigns, served as assistant prosecutor with the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office, and as an associate for Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP and Taft Stettinius & Hollister respectively. Heimlich earned a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee and a Bachelor of Arts in economics and business from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

Jackie StewartJackie Stewart
  Strategic Communications Director – FTI Consulting
State Director – Energy In Depth-Ohio

Jackie Stewart is a Director in the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting and the State Director for Energy In Depth (EID), and is based in Ohio. She also is part of the segment’s Public Affairs practice and Energy & Natural Resources industry practice.

Ms. Stewart has over a decade of experience in government and community relations, public policy and event management.

Prior to FTI Consulting, Ms. Stewart served as district director and oil-and-gas point woman for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio). She set up the first-ever Women in Energy Summit in Ohio and earned “Best Practices” from the Ohio House Republican Conference for several oil and natural gas events during her time with Congressman Johnson. Ms. Stewart also organized and crafted media messaging around the 2013 House Energy Action Team for the Ohio delegation members to bring awareness and advocacy to responsible Shale development in Ohio and around the country.

Prior to that, she spent five years on Capitol Hill working for U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), and logged some time with the PGA Tour. In 2014, Ms. Stewart was named the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s “Workhorse of the Year” award for everything she’s done to support oil and gas in that part of the state. She’s also been awarded honorary membership in the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 396.

Ms. Stewart holds a bachelor’s in political science and history from the University of Mount Union. She lives with her family in the Youngstown area.

Dan Michalec, GISP, PMP
  Energy Program Director – Woolpert

Dan Michalec is a Program Director for Woolpert’s Energy Market with GISP, PMP, Security+ & Network+ certifications. He holds a BS in Cartography, an MA in GIS, & has over 18 years of geospatial experience.  Mr. Michalec has taught geospatial courses at the college level, published articles on the application of geospatial technologies, and has presented at multiple international Energy and Geospatial conferences. He has been a member of OOGA for 6 years.

Joe Surra
Energy Program Director – Woolpert

Joe Surra is a Program Director for Woolpert’s Energy Market, with over 15 years of experience collaborating with clients to manage energy project solutions. He leverages geospatial analysis in his environmental and engineering solutions, as well as develops and implements strategic programs that enhance his clients’ operations. Joe has extensive experience managing well pad development, water management and pipeline design projects, including strategic planning, workflow analysis, design and construction observation. He also has expertise in state and federal regulatory/policy/permitting requirements and oil and gas operations. Joe has been a member of OOGA for 10 years.

Lee Fuller
  Executive Vice President
– Independent Petroleum Association of America

Lee Fuller joined the IPAA staff in 1998 and is responsible for coordination of legislative and regulatory activities. Fuller has 35 years of experience in federal policy issues. Fuller served as staff on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works from 1978 through 1986. In 1985 and 1986 he was the Minority Staff Director, serving under Senator Lloyd Bentsen. During this time, Fuller was involved with all major legislation developed by the Committee. Subsequent to his service in Congress, Fuller has served as a vice president of the Smith-Free Group (and its predecessor organizations, Walker Free Associates and Charls E. Walker Associates) and of Jellinek, Schwartz and Connolly, Inc., and as a senior legislative associate with Van Scoyoc Associates. At these firms he concentrated on developing, implementing and advocating policy strategies for clients involved with environmental legislation including proposals to restructure the regulation of oil and gas production wastes, the application of Superfund to oil and gas production facilities, and the air toxic provisions of the Clean Air Act as they apply to oil and gas production facilities. Before coming to Washington, Fuller worked for Exxon Company, USA, at its Baytown, Texas, refinery providing technical support for process operations and managing environmental compliance issues. He graduated from Lehigh University as a Chemical Engineer.

Steve Downey
  Vice President, Business Development
  EnerVest Operating, LLC

Steven M. Downey is the Vice President of Business Development & Marketing for EnerVest Operating LLC where he is responsible for the acquisition, divestiture, and the joint venture of the division assets, and the marketing and transportation of its gas.  He has over 31 years of experience in the natural gas industry having been previously employed by Chesapeake Energy Corporation, its predecessor Columbia Natural Resources, LLC.,  and Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation having served in the areas of Finance, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Customer Services, Land, and Divestitures.   Mr. Downey has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and is a certified public accountant.  He is Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and is chair of its Commerce Committee, a former Board of Director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, and a member of several other state oil and natural gas associations. 

Allen Fore
  Vice President, Public Affairs – Kinder Morgan

Allen Fore, Vice President, Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan, Inc., manages corporate public affairs, government relations, and community relations for existing company assets and major expansion projects nationwide.

Prior to joining Kinder Morgan, Mr. Fore was a Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard. Mr. Fore has also served as an Assistant Attorney General of Illinois, as general counsel to the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, as the Executive Director of the Illinois Republican Party, and as a Judge Advocate General in the Illinois Army National Guard and US Army Reserve. 

Mr. Fore received his B.A. from Eureka College and a Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University.

David Dulak
  Managing Director, Business Development – Eureka Midstream

David Dulak has 30 years of experience in the energy industry and 20 years of experience in energy trading, origination and infrastructure development.   From 2004-2017 Mr. Dulak worked for BP Energy Company, the largest merchant energy company in North America, developing logistics and price risk management solutions for producers in the northeast, gulf coast and mid-continent.   Mr. Dulak joined Eureka Midstream as Managing Director of Business Development in 2017 to develop midstream solutions for producers in the northeast.

Friday Morning Moderator

James R. Halloran
  Vice President – PNC Wealth Management

Jim is Honorary Trustee of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.  He was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2014. He presently works as an Investment Advisor. From 1998 until 2009, Jim was the Energy and Utilities Sector Analyst for the wealth management department of a major bank. He continues to follow the oil & gas markets closely, providing analysis of trends in the Energy sector to over 300 interested parties.

Jim has over 40 years of experience around the energy markets, including 10 years in public accounting, during which he provided accounting and financial services to two major integrated oil companies.

Jim earned an BA from Williams College, an MBA in finance from Boston University and earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation in 1971.

Friday Morning Speakers

Ron Whitmire
  Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
– EnerVest, LTD.

Ron Whitmire is Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for EnerVest, Ltd., with responsibility for Government and Public Affairs, Corporate Communications and Office Facilities.

Prior to joining EnerVest, Ron served as Director of Public Relations and Manager of Sales and Contracts for Parker Drilling Company from 2001-2004 and played a key role during a growth period for the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) from 1994-2000 as Vice President of Membership and Marketing. Prior to joining IPAA, he served as the spokesman for the National Ocean Industries Association in Washington, D.C. He began his career as a newspaper reporter.

Ron received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Public Relations in 1989 from the University of Oklahoma.  He currently serves on the Executive Committee and Board of BIPAC, as Communications Committee Chairman and Board member of IPAA, and Chairman and Operating Committee member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.

Diana Hoff
  Vice President, Operations – Antero Resources Corporation

Diana Hoff has served as Vice President of Operations since June 2017. Prior to joining Antero, Ms. Hoff was the founder and Chief Executive Officer for The Unconventional Group from 2015-17, focusing on consulting to international companies implementing unconventional developments outside of North America. From 2010 to 2015, Ms. Hoff was Vice President Technical, Engineering and Innovation and General Manager Drilling and Completions for Santos in Australia for their domestic and international assets. Ms. Hoff was General Manager of the Pinedale Division and Regional Drilling Manager for Questar/QEP from 2003 to 2010. Ms. Hoff began her career with Chevron USA in 1987, holding various US engineering and operational roles both offshore and onshore before moving to Basin Exploration in 1995, Amoco Production Company from 1995 to 1999 and Barrett Resources / Williams Production Company from 1999 to 2003 for progressive technical roles. Ms. Hoff holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering (magna cum laude) from Marietta College.   Ms. Hoff currently serves as an Operating Committee member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.

G. Allen Brooks
  Managing Director – PPHB LP

Mr. Brooks has spent 40-plus years in the energy and investment industries as an energy securities analyst, an oilfield service company manager, a consultant to energy company managements and a member of the board of directors of oilfield service companies.  Since 2005, Mr. Brooks has been an advisor to PPHB LP, a boutique oilfield service investment banking firm with offices in Houston and Calgary.  There, he publishes his highly regarded energy newsletter, Musings From the Oil Patch, and provides proprietary research for the firm’s partners. 

Mr. Brooks headed the oilfield service equity research team at CIBC World Markets for eight years and prior to that was with New Orleans-based energy research firm, Howard Weil for four years.  In the early 1990s, Mr. Brooks was a member of the senior management team of ENSCO International, the offshore contract drilling company. 

Mr. Brooks is currently the lead director and chair of the Governance Committee of Trican Well Service Ltd., a Canadian company providing hydraulic fracturing services.  He began his investment career in 1969; is an Economics graduate of the University of Connecticut and has an M.S. degree in Economics from Cornell University.  He received his Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1975. 

William Ratcliffe
  Regulatory Affairs Manager – Williams Companies

Mr. Ratcliffe is the Manager of Regulatory Affairs at Williams Companies where he is responsible for regulatory policy matters for Williams’ assets in the United States. He currently serves and the Chair of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) Midstream Committee, was appointed by the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) Environment and Safety Committee, recently served on the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force (PITF) Environmental Protection Workgroup and is Vice Chair of the Marcellus Shale Coalition Advocacy Committee.  Before entering the oil and gas industry, Mr. Ratcliffe worked an environmental consultant in the eastern United States. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from West Virginia University.

Asim Z. Haque
  Chairman & CEO – Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

Asim Z. Haque is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. He was appointed to the PUCO by Governor John R. Kasich in 2013, and reappointed by Gov. Kasich to serve a second term in 2016.

Chairman Haque, an attorney, began his professional career at a large general practice firm in Columbus where he represented a broad spectrum of clients in energy and utility matters. He went on to serve as internal legal counsel for a global auto manufacturer, a role he held immediately prior to his appointment to the Commission.

Chairman Haque has represented Ohio’s interests in energy and utility matters within the state, nationally and internationally. He has testified before members of the Ohio General Assembly, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and has educated regulators abroad through formal partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Chairman Haque serves on the executive committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the board of directors where he is the Vice-Chair of the Task Force on Environmental Regulation and Generation, the Electricity Committee and the Critical Infrastructure Committee. He is a past president of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC), and serves on the MACRUC board of directors. In addition, he has been elected to serve on the Member Representative Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation where he represents state government interests in maintaining reliability of the electric grid.

Passionate about public service, Chairman Haque is heavily involved in his local community. He has served on many local non‐profit boards, and currently serves on the board of trustees of The Columbus Academy. Additionally, he is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, and was a long‐time mentor in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters school‐based mentor program.

Chairman Haque is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University where he received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and political science, graduating cum laude with department honors. He received his juris doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College

David Hooker
  President & CEO – Energy Storage Ventures LLC

Over a 37-year career in the energy sector, David has successfully worked with markets from wellhead to the burner-tip.  He has been co-founder on several start-ups, building management teams and directed company initiatives designed to originate, develop, own and operate energy infrastructure in diverse markets throughout the USA.  David has worked as the President of Merchant Energy Partners and East Cheyenne Gas Storage LLC, Vice President Business Development & Commercial Operations for Inergy Midstream, Vice President Business Development for CAES Development Company, Sr. Vice President Natural Gas Midstream Development for Aquila Energy, and Chief Operating Officer for Market Hub Partners — at one time the largest independent owner and operator of natural gas salt cavern storage in North America.   David also consulted on development initiatives involving biofuels, natural gas liquids, NGL export facilities, and compressed air energy storage.   He received a BS from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley in Lansing, Michigan, with a law license in the State of Colorado.

Tony Ehler
  Partner and Tax Group Chairman
– Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Tony is a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and serves as co-chair of the firm’s tax and probate group. He advises clients regarding all aspects of state and local taxation, including compliance issues, planning opportunities, audit preparation and defense, negotiated settlements with tax authorities, and litigation. Within the field of state and local tax, he focuses on sales and use taxes, motor fuel excise tax, real property tax, commercial activity tax and the oil and gas industry. Career highlights include:

  • Serving as Chairman of the Ohio State Bar Association Taxation Committee
  • Serving for decades as a speaker at and on the organizing committee for the Annual Ohio Tax Conference
  • Appointment by the Speaker of the House to the Committee To Study Motor Fuel Tax Funding of Highways
  • Tony is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and serves on its Taxation Committee.

Tony has presented a wide variety of state and local tax topics to the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, the Ohio Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Council on State Taxation.

Gregory Russell
  Partner – Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, LLP

Greg is a partner in the Columbus office and leads the firm’s energy group, which is one of the largest and most experienced energy practices in the Midwest. For more than 20 years, he has been advising producers and pipeline operators in Ohio on business and regulatory matters, ranging from asset transactions, to unit operations and development, to leasehold and royalty disputes. Greg’s practice frequently involves appearing before state and federal regulatory agencies, such as state oil and gas and public utility commissions as well as U.S. EPA, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

He is an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, teaching a course on oil and gas law. Greg is also a frequent speaker on a broad range of topics impacting the natural gas industry, including oil and gas leasing and contract matters, regulatory (e.g., pooling and unitization), environmental and natural gas market issues. Recently, he served as the chair of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation’s Special Institute on Title and Development Issues in the Utica Shale (2013).

Greg is the editor of the Vorys Energy & Environment blog. The blog highlights news and breaking legal developments involving the crude oil and natural gas industries, alternative and renewable energy resources and the latest environmental issues.

Greg serves as the general counsel of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Greg received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. summa cum laude from Washington and Lee University. He received a Fulbright Grant to study mathematics at the TH Darmstadt in West Germany in 1988-1989.

Thomas Fusonie
  Partner – Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, LLP

Tom is a partner and a member of the litigation practice group. His practice is focused in oil and gas litigation, eminent domain litigation, fiduciary litigation, employment litigation, real property and commercial disputes. Tom also has extensive experience before the Supreme Court of Ohio with extraordinary writs of mandamus and prohibition, having successfully obtained writs or other remedies from the Supreme Court of Ohio.

His notable experience includes:

  • Jury verdict in eminent domain proceeding involving flooding of farmland in favor of land owner clients four times the original offer from the condemnor and obtained affirmance of jury verdict at the Court of Appeals
  • Obtaining affirmance from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit of judgment in putative class action dismissing lawsuit seeking to invalidate oil and gas leases
  • Obtaining a writ of mandamus against the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources vindicating Ohio farmers’ constitutional property rights against the Director’s ongoing violation of the same
  • Maximized compensation for land owner clients in various eminent domain lawsuits involving pipelines, transmission lines, road projects, bike paths and government flooding
  • Jury verdict in favor of employer against former employees in a case involving misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of duty of loyalty and breach of non-compete agreement
  • Briefing and arguing cases before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Ohio Court of Appeals
  • Obtaining dismissals of lawsuits to void or terminate oil and gas leases
  • Obtaining temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions on behalf of companies seeking to protect their businesses from unfair competition
  • Obtaining dismissals of employment discrimination cases in state and federal courts Tom received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School where he served as the student writing editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Hamilton College

Tom received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School where he served as the student writing editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Hamilton College.

Mitchell A. TobiasMitchell Tobias
  Associate – Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, LLP

Mitch is an associate in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the litigation group. He is also a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Columbus Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.

Notable experience includes:

  • Serving as second chair in a week-long jury trial concerning a franchise dispute, securing a favorable result for client.
  • Serving as second chair in a bench trial concerning a commercial property dispute, securing a favorable result for client.
  • Serving as first chair in a bench trial and subsequent appeal involving the Convention on The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, securing a favorable result for the client in both the trial court and the Sixth Circuit.
  • Serving on multiple teams representing clients in construction law, product liability, commercial property and oil & gas lease disputes.
  • Coordinating document production in patent litigation matters.
  • Presenting at the Ohio State Bar Association Construction Law Forum CLE.

Defending a Criminal Justice Act (CJA) client in a Sixth Circuit appeal and subsequent petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. In late 2013, Mitch began a 4-month secondment as in-house counsel for one of the firm’s clients. During his secondment, Mitch assisted the client with all legal matters involving a division of the company.

Mitch received his J.D. summa cum laude from Capital University Law School, where he was a member of the Order of Barristers and the Order of the Curia. He was also a member of the Capital University National Moot Court Team, competing in the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition. He received his B.S.M.E. from the University of Rochester, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi.

Prior to joining Vorys, Mitch was a practicing mechanical engineer. In that role, his notable experiences included:

  • Designing scales with capacities of up to 1.5 million pounds for weighing vehicles such as over-the-road trucks, off-highway trucks, and rail cars.
  • Co-inventor of U.S. Patent No. 8,353,388.

The Honorable Mary Taylor
  Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Taylor Estruth For Ohio

As Lieutenant Governor, Mary Taylor has worked to improve the business climate in Ohio, rein in government overreach, and has been a strong supporter of the oil & gas industry in Ohio.  Taylor was a signatory to the Tri-State Agreement between Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that strengthened key areas of importance to the economic growth of the Shale play.   

Taylor leads the “Common Sense Initiative” to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies and cut the burdensome red tape that prevents businesses from growing and creating jobs. Under her leadership, CSI has changed or eliminated over 7,500 business impacting regulations. These reforms represent a significant culture change in state government, placing a check on the bureaucracy and ensuring accountability and a more commonsense business environment in Ohio.

Taylor also served as the Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, where she fought Obamacare and led efforts to modernize Ohio’s insurance laws to better protect consumers and increase competition within the marketplace. Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor serves as the chair of the regional economic task force for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.

Taylor was the first certified public accountant to serve as Auditor of State, where she transformed the office into a nationally recognized, 21st-century government auditing office. She was elected to that post in 2006, and was the only Republican to win statewide in that tumultuous election year.

The United Conservatives of Ohio named Taylor a “Watchdog of the Treasury” and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recognized Taylor as a “Guardian of Small Business” for her outstanding voting record on behalf of Ohio’s small business owners.

Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Akron. She began her career in 1990 with Deloitte and Touche, one of the “big four” national accounting firms. She joined the Akron firm of Bober, Markey, Fedorovich & Company in 1994, where she served as director of the firm’s tax department and senior manager of the employee benefits practice.

Keynote Luncheon Speaker

Brian Kilmeade
  Co-Host – Fox & Friends

Speaker, best-selling author, TV and radio personality Brian Kilmeade currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel’s (FNC) FOX & Friends (weekdays 6-9AM/ET) alongside Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt. Additionally, he serves as host of Kilmeade and Friends, (weekdays 9AM-12PM/ET) a nationally syndicated three-hour radio show on Fox News Radio. Kilmeade joined the network as a sports reporter in 1997.

Every weekday morning, Kilmeade provides viewers with the latest on the current headlines in news, sports, politics and entertainment. During his tenure at FNC, he has interviewed newsmakers in politics as well as celebrities and athletes, including former President George W. Bush, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, supermodel Miranda Kerr, television personality Simon Cowell, New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. During his tenure, he has also provided live coverage and analysis on major national and international events.

Prior to joining FNC, Kilmeade was a freelance reporter and anchor for NEWSPORT TV where he anchored Scoreboard Central. He also served as a sports anchor and director at the independent station WLIG-TV in New York, an anchor/host for KHSL-TV (CBS 12) in Ontario, CA and a radio host on The Jim Brown Show on XTRA-AM, an all-sports radio network. Kilmeade began his career as a correspondent on Channel One, a daily national high school television news program.

Kilmeade is the author of several New York Times bestselling books, including “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates”, “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” and “George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution.”

Brian Kilmeade received a B.A. from Long Island University.

SPE Scholarship Luncheon Speaker

Todd Tetrick
  VP Operations for Appalachia – EnerVest Operating, LLC

Todd Tetrick has over 20 years in the oil and gas industry, with experience across the Appalachian Basin, as well as in various other basins across the country.  He graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering and started his career working as a field engineer for Dowell in southern Appalachia.  During his career, he served in numerous engineering and management positions with Columbia Natural Resources, Dominion E&P and Equitable Resources.  At Equitable, he was the Director of their drilling and completions program when the company was drilling over 500 wells per year, and was instrumental in the engineering and management of their horizontal Huron Shale play which subsequently changed the company’s business strategy.  He has been employed by EnerVest Operating, LLC since 2008, and currently serves at the VP – Operations for Appalachia based out of Charleston, WV with headquarters in Houston, TX.  While working for EnerVest, he also served as VP – Drilling & Completions for an extended time and helped to lead the company’s efforts in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, as well as its horizontal drilling programs in its conventional reservoirs.

Todd is a member of numerous industry associations, including PIOGA where he serves as an active member on the BOD, IOGA NY, IOGA WV, VOGA, MOGA, OOGA, SPE and IPAA.  Formerly, he has served on the Board of Directors for MOGA, as President of the Eastern KY SPE Chapter and also as President of his SPE Student Chapter at WVU.  He has co-authored two SPE technical papers and presented at numerous industry meetings in recent years.  Todd served on various committees in Ohio working with the ODNR and OOGA, by providing technical guidance and assistance by industry with the regulatory changes made to accommodate the emergence of the Utica Shale and to mitigate the impact to conventional oil and gas producers.

Todd resides in Kenna, WV and he has four children, sons Gage and Cooper and daughters Faith and Ella.  He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys golfing, hunting, fishing and just about any sport he can still physically endure to play, although that list is becoming shorter by the year.