Thursday Morning Moderator


Kristin L. WattKristin L. Watt
Partner – Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Kristin is a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and chair of the environmental group. Her practice focuses on environmental compliance and counseling, enforcement defense, environmental audits and permitting issues. She also assists with due diligence in business and commercial real estate transactions and the contracting provisions related to each. Kristin has worked extensively in the areas of solid and hazardous wastes, petroleum underground storage tanks, NPDES permits, wetlands, environmental investigation/remediation and green labeling.

She practices before both administrative bodies and the courts.

Career highlights include:

  • Arguing successfully before the 10th District Court of Appeals
  • Regularly appearing before the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board where she has been successful in arguing issues relating to insurance coverage
  • Settling a $4 million dollar enforcement case for a large service station client
  • Acting as “special counsel” for a collegiate university client related to negotiations with the Ohio EPA

Kristin is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Columbus Bar Association and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law National Council. 

Kristin has spoken on many topics, including multimedia audits, environmental audit privileges, environmental issues related to real estate transactions, storm water regulations, underground storage tanks and environmental issues related to Ohio shale fracing.

Kristin received her J.D. with honors from The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law and her B.S.B.A. cum laude from The Ohio State University.


Thursday Morning Speakers


Shawn BennettShawn Bennett
Executive Vice President – Ohio Oil and Gas Association

Shawn Bennett serves as the Executive Vice President for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), having been elected to that position in December, 2014. Shawn is the chief executive officer of the Association and its operations; editor of the Association’s publications; an industry spokesperson to media outlets and other forums; and serves as the public policy advocate in Columbus and Washington D.C. on behalf of the interests of OOGA’s members.

Prior to joining OOGA, Shawn 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. In that capacity, Shawn received the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Workhorse Award and the Columbus Business First Top 20 to Know in Energy. Shawn also worked as the Government Affairs Manager for the Ohio Coal Association where he managed policy on behalf of his membership.

Shawn is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Communications.


Ron WhitmireRon 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 Board member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.


Martin L. MillerMartin L. Miller
Vice President of Operations – Alliance Petroleum Corporation

Marty has been employed in the oil and gas industry since 1976 when he began his career as a roustabout and equipment operator in Northeastern Ohio.   Marty and his wife relocated to Marietta Ohio in 1980 where they have raised their family and currently reside and work.  Marty has been employed by Alliance Petroleum Corporation since 1988 and currently fills the role of Vice President of Operations.

He has served on the SOOGA Board of Trustees where he held the President’s role for several years.  He also has served on the OOGA Enhancement Committee and is the immediate Past Chairman of the Board of OOGEEP.  Marty has served on the OOGEEP Board of Directors since 2010 and also served as has Chairman of the OOGEEP Safety Committee.

His hobbies and activities include competitive shooting, hunting and fishing and an active role in his local church where he has served as an elder for numerous years.  He is currently the Vice President of the Ohio State Trap Shooting Association and Vice President of the Marietta Gun Club.

During his 40 years of oil and gas experience he has been responsible for a broad span of activities that included drilling and completion, extensive production supervision and personnel management.  He truly believes that the people of the oilfield community are of the best character and have the top level of work ethic in our country.  His closest friends and confidants are his co-workers and lifelong business acquaintances in the oil and gas fields of the Appalachian Basin.


Rhonda RedaRhonda Reda
Executive Director – Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program

Rhonda L. Reda serves as Executive Director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Foundation (Foundation).  Ms. Reda helped form the organization in 1997.  Prior to OOGEEP, Ms. Reda served as Vice President, Internal Affairs and Public Information for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association for more than a decade.   Ms. Reda has also worked for several oil and gas companies including CGAS Exploration, Inc., Phillip Brown Oil Well Services, Inc., and Halwell/ Energy Omega, Inc.  Collectively, she has more than twenty nine years of experience in the crude oil and natural gas industry.

Ms. Reda currently serves on the Public Outreach Committee of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and is a Board Member of the Petroleum History Institute.  She is an active member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Ohio Geological Society (OGS).  Ms. Reda served on the White House Task Force on Energy Education, and has received numerous state and national awards for OOGEEP’s efforts including:  Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Oilfield Patriot Award, Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Work Horse Award, AAPG Eastern Section’s Presidential Award for Public Outreach, Friend of Science Award from the Science Council of Ohio, EPA’s Ohio Environmental Education Award for Outstanding Program, World Oil Runner Up for Best Public Outreach Program,  Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Minerals Education Award, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission’s Public Outreach Stewardship Award.  Ms. Reda is a graduate of Ohio University.


Martin Shumway, PE, CPGMartin Shumway, PE, CPG
President – Shumway Resources, LLC

Mr. Shumway has been involved in the resource industry for most of his career and has more than 20 years of experience in the mining and petroleum industries and has extensive experience with both exploration and development of oil and gas properties in the Appalachian Basin. He earned his Bachelors and Master’s degree in Engineering from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Mr. Shumway is President of Shumway Resources LLC, which was formed as a consulting company providing various engineering, geological, and geophysical services to the oil and gas industry, specializing in the Appalachian Basin. Mr. Shumway is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Ohio and also holds certifications issued by the American Association of Petroleum Geologist (AAPG) as a Certified Petroleum Geologist (CPG), the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists (SIPES) as a Certified Professional Earth Scientist, is an Associate Member of the International Institute of Minerals Appraisers, and currently serves as Treasurer of the Ohio Geological Society.


James D. ElliottJames D. Elliott
Counsel – Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

Mr. Elliott is an attorney in Spilman Thomas & Battle’s Greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania office. His primary areas of practice are civil and criminal environmental law with experience in appellate and district litigation, agency rulemaking, compliance counseling and administrative adjudication, with special emphasis on Clean Air Act Matters.  For the past five years he has represented the Independent Petroleum Association of America and numerous other national and state oil and gas trade associations challenging EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for VOC and methane.  He also has substantial experience representing electric utilities, chemical manufacturers and other industrial companies in a variety of enforcement actions, investigations, rulemakings and other proceedings.  Mr. Elliot has also been actively involved in the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his law degree from Pace University School of Law.


Ben L. Pfefferle IIIBen L. Pfefferle III
Partner – Hahn Loeser

Ben is a partner in Hahn Loeser’s Columbus office and is a co-leader of the firm’s Natural Resources and Emergency Services Team. He focuses his practice on environmental, energy, facility security and emergency response. Ben’s experience is broad based and his litigation and business clients range from individuals and small business to major corporations. His work includes assisting and educating clients on environmental compliance and permitting; providing emergency response services during catastrophic events; energy extraction, refining, production and distribution; creating legislative and regulatory solutions to business barriers as well as redevelopment, acquisition and divestiture of environmentally impaired commercial and industrial property. He provides his problem solving solutions to clients on a nationwide basis.

Ben’s experience includes emergency response to eco-terrorism events and chemical releases to air and waterways as well as facility fire and explosions; defending environmental permits before a regulatory hearing board clearing the way for construction of a metallurgical coke plant; helping a developer resolve complicated environmental and financing barriers to allow construction of a Town Center shopping mall on a former landfill; and  providing environmental, health and safety counsel for the paper, chemical and polymer manufacturing industries.

Other significant sector work extends to being a National Practice Team Leader for a national law firm; establishing and managing a national corporate litigation defense team for a national insurance company; providing legal counsel on oil and gas development and distribution; acting as an outside general counsel to a plastics components extrusion company; and being Associate General Counsel for a pulp and paper manufacturing company.

Ben has been listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in Business for more than 10 years and maintains an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest available rating for legal ability and professional ethics. He has had various leadership positions with his Bar Association and is honored to have been Board Chairperson for the Make A Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.


O. Judson Scheaf IIIO. Judson Scheaf III
Partner – Hahn Loeser

Jud is a partner in Hahn Loeser’s Columbus office and has almost 30 years of extensive experience in civil litigation, including trial and appellate work. He handles complex commercial litigation matters, including construction, antitrust, oil and gas, unfair competition, patent, copyright, trade secret, investment banker malpractice, and land use disputes. Prior to joining Hahn Loeser, Jud was a founding member of Welin, O’Shaughnessy + Scheaf LLC (WOS), a Columbus based boutique law firm specializing in construction law, complex business litigation and oil and gas litigation.

Jud previously practiced commercial litigation and energy law at an Am Law 200 law firm, where he was vice chair of the Business Litigation Practice Group, and had focused on construction law, complex business and oil and gas litigation. In addition, Jud worked at CGAS Exploration, Inc. as vice president and general counsel. Earlier, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Alan E. Norris, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Jud has been named one of The Best Lawyers in America (Litigation, Construction, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Land Use Litigation) for the past 8 years. He maintains an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest available rating for legal ability and professional ethics.


Thursday Afternoon Moderator


David E. CallahanDavid E. Callahan
Vice President, Government Affairs – MarkWest Energy Partners, LP

David Callahan is currently Vice President of Government Affairs with MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P., a leading provider of midstream services in the natural gas industry and a wholly-owned subsidiary of MPLX LP. David has served with MarkWest since 2011.  His duties include government affairs representation before the federal government and seven state governments, media relations, and charitable giving.  He is actively engaged in several national oil and gas trade associations and state oil and gas trade associations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Texas.  David currently serves as the chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition; he serves on the Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Executive Committee; and he is the incoming chairman of the GPA Midstream Association’s Legislative Committee.  David has twenty-six years of experience in the field of government affairs, in which he has represented a number of energy interests including natural gas utilities, interstate pipelines, energy marketers, integrated oil and gas companies, and more.     David earned a BA from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.


Thursday Afternoon Speakers


Shawn BennettShawn Bennett
Executive Vice President – Ohio Oil and Gas Association

Shawn Bennett serves as the Executive Vice President for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), having been elected to that position in December, 2014. Shawn is the chief executive officer of the Association and its operations; editor of the Association’s publications; an industry spokesperson to media outlets and other forums; and serves as the public policy advocate in Columbus and Washington D.C. on behalf of the interests of OOGA’s members.

Prior to joining OOGA, Shawn 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. In that capacity, Shawn received the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Workhorse Award and the Columbus Business First Top 20 to Know in Energy. Shawn also worked as the Government Affairs Manager for the Ohio Coal Association where he managed policy on behalf of his membership.

Shawn is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Communications.


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

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.


Jody JonesJody Jones
Regulatory Affairs Advisor – Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Jody Jones graduated Summa Cum Laude from West Virginia University in 2001 with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. He received a Juris Doctorate from WVU College of Law in 2005 and was admitted to the West Virginia Bar in 2005. In 2009, he served as Counsel to the House Minority for the West Virginia Legislature.

From 2009 to 2011, he served as Counsel to the Office of Oil and Gas and Division of Air Quality at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Since September 2011, he has worked for Chesapeake Energy Corporation and is currently a Regulatory Affairs Advisor for the Appalachian South Business Unit. In October 2013, he was appointed Co-Chair of the OOGA Technical Committee.


Melissa HamsherMelissa Hamsher
Vice President, Environmental, Health, Safety, and Regulatory – 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.


Jeremy SmithJeremy Smith
Director of Business Development, Northeast Region – MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P.

Jeremy Smith is currently Director of Business Development– Northeast Region for MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. , with responsibility for all commercial activities involving MarkWest’s midstream assets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan.  Prior to his role as Director of Business Development, Jeremy served as:

  • MarkWest’s General Manager of West Virginia– With responsibility for operations of West Virginia Marcellus Shale assets which included three processing plants and associated pipelines.
  • He joined MarkWest in 2012 as Area Manager of West Virginia.
  • From 2000 to 2012, Jeremy worked for Dominion Transmission, Inc., holding various positions in compressor services, as well as positions in operation’s supervision, construction management, and field engineering.
  • Prior to joining Dominion, Jeremy worked for Honda of America as a body design engineer.
  • Jeremy graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1999.

Mike JacobyMike Jacoby
VP of Business Development – Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth

Mike Jacoby is the VP of Business Development at the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG).  APEG is the JobsOhio regional non-profit affiliate organization charged with supporting and coordinating economic development across 25 counties in southern and eastern Ohio.  A significant portion of his time is devoted to Shale Energy projects.

Mike has more than 20 years of economic development experience in Ohio at the local, regional and state level.  Professional highlights include being part of the team working on the PTT Global Chemical proposed ethane cracker project in Belmont County, the recruitment of Halliburton to Zanesville, which created over 300 jobs, and the recruitment of Fanatics to Frazeysburg, which resulted in over 200 jobs and peak season employment approaching 2,000, the development of a business park in Marietta, and the filling of a spec building in Steubenville.

He is a Certified Economic Developer as designated by the International Economic Development Council, an Economic Development Finance Professional as designated by the National Development Council and a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at Oklahoma University.  He has a Masters’ Degree in Public Administration from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Arts in newspaper journalism from Kent State University.  He and his family live near Zanesville.


Mike ChadseyMike Chadsey
Representing Shale Crescent USA
Director of Public Relations – Ohio Oil and Gas Association

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.


William Siderewicz, P.E.William Siderewicz, P.E.
Founder/President – Clean Energy Future, LLC

Mr. Siderewicz is founder/President of Clean Energy Future, LLC (CEF). CEF is dedicated to implementing non-utility gas-fired electricity production facilities. By the end of 2017, CEF will have complete 5 such projects in Ohio representing $ 4.5 Billion of investment. Mr. Siderewicz has been developing non-utility power projects for 17 years. To date that would include 35 such projects with a collective capacity of 14,400 MW. Prior to establishing CEF, he worked for such energy firms as : Calpine Corp, Oxbow Power, BP Gas and Wheelabrator-Frye. Added details about CEF can be found at : www.cleanenergyfuturellc.com. Mr. Siderewicz has : MS Engr. Cornell Univ. (Fellowship) , MBA Northeastern Univ. and BS Engr. Merrimack College (cum laude).


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.


Anne CartoAnne Carto
Community Outreach Manager – Colorado Oil & Gas Association

Anne Carto serves as Community Outreach Manager for the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. In this role, she leads COGA’s local regulatory and outreach strategy. Previously, Anne held the role of Advocacy Program Coordinator at COGA, in which she organized a statewide speaking engagement program between operators and community organizations. Before arriving in Colorado, Anne was the Communications Coordinator for the Ohio Oil & Gas Association and Director of Coalitions and New Media for Energy In Depth – the Ohio Project, a national energy education and outreach program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, during which she worked in various levels of government and multiple political campaigns. In her free time, Anne enjoys travel, volunteerism, and outdoor recreation.


The Honorable Cliff Rosenberger The Honorable Cliff Rosenberger
Speaker – Ohio House of Representatives

Speaker Cliff Rosenberger is currently serving his fourth term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 91st House District, which includes Clinton, Highland and Pike counties, and parts of Ross County. For the 132nd General Assembly, he was unanimously re-elected by his colleagues to serve a second term as Speaker of the House.

Speaker Rosenberger is an Air Force veteran, formerly assigned to the 113th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, which he enlisted in shortly after graduating from Clinton Massie High School. Though originally stationed in Springfield, Ohio, with the 178th Fighter Wing, he transferred to the 113th Fighter Wing of the District of Columbia after accepting a position with the White House in February, 2007. A graduate of Wright State University, he has also served as the national political events coordinator for Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Interior, Dirk Kempthorne.

Speaker Rosenberger has a long tradition of civic accomplishments with leaders of his hometown, Clarksville. Speaker Rosenberger helped establish a village planning commission for Clarksville, and he also led a movement to establish a Clinton County Veterans’ Memorial in Wilmington, Ohio. He also served as the representative for the village to the Clinton County Republican Central Committee from 2004 until 2010.

Currently, Speaker Rosenberger serves on the executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, an advisory board member of GOPAC, a board member with the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee and serves as President of the National Speakers Conference.


The Honorable Larry ObhofThe Honorable Larry Obhof
President – Ohio Senate

Larry Obhof serves as President of the Ohio Senate for the 132nd General Assembly. As the presiding officer of the 33-member Senate, Obhof is responsible for leading the Senate’s Majority Caucus as it sets the policy agenda for the two-year legislative cycle. He is also responsible for the formal organization of the chamber, including recognizing members in debate, preserving order and decorum, calling for votes and signing all acts.

President Obhof proudly represents the people of the 22nd Senate District, which includes Medina, Ashland and Richland counties, as well as portions of Holmes County. He is focused on improving Ohio’s economy, and has been a staunch advocate of fiscal responsibility, smaller and more efficient government, and lower taxes. As a member of the Senate, Obhof has sponsored legislation covering a wide range of issues including education, civil and criminal law, election administration, and taxation. He has been described by newspapers as someone who has earned “a reputation as a lawmaker with a willingness to work across party lines.” Prior to his election as President of the Senate, Obhof served as both President Pro Tempore (the chamber’s number two position) and as Majority Whip.

President Obhof chairs the Rules and Reference Committee, which determines which bills, resolutions and appointments are considered by the full Senate. Obhof also serves on the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee and the Legislative Service Commission, which oversees a staff that is responsible for providing members of the General Assembly with impartial and accurate information and reports concerning legislative issues.

President Obhof has received numerous honors in recognition of his work, including several “Legislator of the Year” awards. Among others, these include being named Watchdog of the Treasury by the United Conservatives of Ohio and a Friend of Agriculture by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. In 2014, Senator Obhof was named Legislator of the Year by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. Obhof was named Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business (in 2013) and received the Outstanding Legislator Award from the Ohio Society of CPAs (in 2015) in recognition of his efforts to improve Ohio’s economy.

In addition to his legislative duties, President Obhof is an attorney and he has served as an adjunct law professor. Obhof graduated with degrees in Economics, History, and Political Science from The Ohio State University. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School.

President Obhof resides in Medina with his wife, Nicole, and their three daughters.


Friday Morning Moderator


Brent BreonBrent Breon
Vice President of Business Development –  Caiman Energy II and Blue Racer Midstream

Brent currently serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Caiman Energy II and Blue Racer Midstream.  In his current position, he is focused on developing gas gathering, compression, processing, and fractionation opportunities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale.

Prior to joining Caiman in 2011, Brent worked at Dominion Resources in various Operations, Engineer, and Business Development roles.

Brent graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.

Brent has been an Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) Board of Trustees member since 2004 and currently serves as the chair of the Midstream committee.


Friday Morning Speakers


Timothy KnoblochTimothy 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.


Mitchell A. TobiasMitchell A. Tobias
Associate – Vorys, Sater, Seymour and 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.

Joshua GibbonJoshua Gibbon
Director, U.S. Business Development – TransCanada

Joshua Gibbon is a Director of Business Development for TransCanada. Joshua is responsible for the origination and development of market centered and supply focused projects across the US gas pipeline grid.

During his career, Joshua has served in roles across the organization including Marketing, Capacity Sales, Optimization and Logistics, Project Coordination,  and Strategy.

Joshua has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from Texas A&M University.


Doug WalkerDoug Walker
Vice President, Business Development – Tallgrass Energy Partners

Doug Walker is Vice President of Business Development for Tallgrass Energy Partners with a focus on Midwest markets primarily accessible via Rockies Express Pipeline. He has been with Tallgrass since its inception in 2012 and began working on REX at its predecessor owner/operator in 2008. Prior to joining REX, Doug worked for Columbia Gas Transmission where was responsible business development including the Millennium Pipeline Project. Prior to that he was responsible for gas supply management of several of NiSource’s gas distribution and unregulated companies. He started his career with Natural Gas Pipeline Company with increasing responsibilities in engineering and business development roles. Doug has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Northwestern University.


Allen ForeAllen Fore
Vice President of Public Affairs – Kinder Morgan

Allen Fore, Vice President, Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan, Inc., has more than 25 years of experience in law, government and public affairs at the local, state, and national levels.

At Kinder Morgan, Mr. Fore manages corporate public affairs, government relations, and community relations activities for existing company assets and major expansion projects throughout the United States.

Before joining Kinder Morgan, Mr. Fore was a Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard, an international communications company. Mr. Fore has served in the Bush Administration and was an Assistant Attorney General of Illinois and general counsel to the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Mr. Fore was also Executive Director of the Illinois Republican Party and has managed and advised numerous political campaigns throughout Illinois.

Mr. Fore served as a Judge Advocate General in the Illinois Army National Guard and US Army Reserve, honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. Mr. Fore was also elected and served as an alderman on the Belvidere, IL City Council.

Mr. Fore has been active with numerous community and civic organizations, including Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Big Brother/Big Sister, Boy Scouts of America, and Presbyterian Church USA.

Mr. Fore has served as president of the national Board of Trustees of the Delta Sigma Phi Foundation and is a member of the Valparaiso University School of Law National Council.  Mr. Fore gave the Commencement Address to the 2013 graduating class of Valparaiso University School of Law.

Mr. Fore was a Ronald W. Reagan Scholar and earned his B.A. degree at Eureka College. He received a Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University.


Brett EdwardsBrett Edwards
CEO and President – Revelant USA

Brett is the CEO and President of Revelant USA. He received his BS in Mathematics and Geophysics at the University of Sydney, Australia; Honors (MS) in Geology at the University of Sydney, Australia; and his Executive MBA at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA. He has 30 years of international experience with technologically-advanced petroleum exploration firms beginning in 1983 as an explorationist and manager developing a Systematic Risk Analysis process. In early 1998 with Pete Rose, he focused on the implementation of the Risk Analysis process in exploration, appraisal and development decision management for companies such as PEMEX, Shell, Pioneer, and Apache. In addition to his geotechnical skills, he is proficient in strategic planning, integrated portfolio management, analyzing corporate cultures and aligning corporate and individual goals. He has given more than 150 courses as a CSU EMBA lecturer. Identifying the right people for the right positions has resulted in successful companies with both technical and portfolio optimization and risk analysis divisions. He has worked with the executive teams of many major oil and gas companies on their strategy and quantifiable performance goals.


Porter BennettPorter Bennett
President & CEO – Ponderosa Advisors LLC

Porter Bennett is President and CEO of Denver-based Ponderosa Advisors LLC, an advisory and information firm for the energy and water sectors. He has spent more than 30 years in the energy industry analyzing the natural gas and crude oil markets. He founded Bentek Energy in 1985, served as CEO and led the company’s development until 2011 when he sold it to Platts, a division of McGraw Hill Financial.  He started Ponderosa in 2012 where Porter continued the work started at BENTEK to develop creative and innovative data systems and analytical tools to improve his clients’ understanding of oil, natural gas and NGL price trends. In late 2016 he sold the energy assets that his team had developed along with their energy consulting business to DrillingInfo. He now is a member of the DrillingInfo Board of Directors.

Today, Ponderosa owns WaterSage, a state of the art information system that water system tracking that enables users to identify, monitor and analyze property and water rights in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas and California. For producers the system facilitates water sourcing, regulatory compliance and supply and disposition analyses.

Mr. Bennett holds an MS degree in mineral economics from the Colorado School of Mines, an MA degree in international affairs from Columbia University in NYC, and a BA degree in history from Lewis & Clark College. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Western Energy Alliance and has been an Observer with the Potential Gas Committee, participated on the Coordinating Subcommittee of the National Petroleum Council’s natural gas study. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Fairway Energy, a crude oil storage company in Houston, TX.


Luncheon Keynote Speaker


Robert Bryce Robert Bryce
Author, Journalist, Public Speaker

Robert Bryce is one of America’s most prominent energy journalists. He has authored five books in which he has covered everything from Enron’s bankruptcy and biofuels to the digitization of drilling rigs and the future of batteries. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, his articles have appeared in dozens of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Guardian, and Sydney Morning Herald. He has also appeared on numerous TV and radio programs ranging from Fox News to Al Jazeera. His latest book — Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong — was published in 2014.


Ohio Geological Society Meeting Speaker


Brad BaconBrad Bacon 
Exploration Manager – PDC Energy, Inc.

Brad Bacon received a B.Sc. in Geophysical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 1983. The next 14 years were spent working on seismic crews, supporting seismic acquisition crews, and data processing for Western Geophysical and Schlumberger Geco-Prakla in five continents. In 1997, Brad joined Jason Geosystems as a Project Geoscientist performing reservoir characterization work, and later – sales, technical team management, and management of North and South American operations. Brad joined Petroleum Development Corporation (now PDC Energy) in 2007 as a Geophysicist and Exploration Manager. The Exploration Team at PDC Energy was instrumental in the development of PDC Energy’s Marcellus operations and established a great position in the Utica play in SE Ohio. In November of 2014, Brad joined the Ohio Oil and Gas Induced Seismicity Workgroup.


Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Scholarship Luncheon Speaker


Dr. Rodney OsborneDr. Rodney Osborne
Manager, Energy Business Line – Battelle

Rod is the Manager of the Energy Business at Battelle in Columbus, where he leads approximately 60 staff who perform projects in the areas of oil and gas exploration and production services, carbon capture/utilization/storage, pipeline integrity management services, energy technology assessment/development/testing, and computational modeling for commercial and government clients. Rod has over 30 years in the Energy Research & Development business, all with Battelle, the world’s largest contract R&D institute. Battelle is a major force in science and technology discovery and in the translation of knowledge into innovative applications that have significant societal and economic impacts.