Shawn Bennett

Shawn Bennett

Executive Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association

BIO: Shawn Bennett will speak about the state of the Utica Shale in Ohio and other oil and gas industry matters.

As OOGA’s Executive Vice President, Bennett 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 OOGA’s members’ interest.

He was elected to the position in December. Prior to joining OOGA, Bennett 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, he received the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Workhouse Award and the Columbus Business First Top 20 to Know in Energy.

Bennett also has worked as the government affairs manager for the Ohio Coal Association where he managed policy on behalf of his membership. He is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor of science degree in political communications.

Dr. Jeffrey Dick

Dr. Jeffrey Dick

Professor and Researcher, Youngstown State University

BIO: Dr. Jeffrey Dick of Youngstown State University is a university professor and researcher who is contributing to an understanding of the Utica Shale’s economic potential. Second, he is a private consultant to the energy industry. And third, he is an Eastern Ohio landowner who has leased his mineral rights to an oil and gas company.

Dick started his professional career in the energy-related fields of applied geology in 1980, doing permit work for the coal mining industry. He shifted to the petroleum industry in 1982 as an offshore Gulf of Mexico exploration and development geologist for Chevron USA. Moving back to Ohio in 1986, he worked for Locust Energy evaluating oil and gas joint venture opportunities for a variety of basins within the United States. He currently divides his time between Youngstown State University where he has been a faculty since 1991 and his private consulting business, J.D. Geological and Environmental Services.

He is chairman of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Youngstown State and director of its Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute. This will be Dick’s first presentation at a Utica Capital Seminar Series event in Canton.

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher

Senior Economic Advisor, American Petroleum Institute

BIO: Ms. Dougher will speak about the current energy slump and how we can turn present-day energy and economic challenges into future opportunities that will make our country stronger for generations to come.

Ms. Dougher is a senior economic advisor at the American Petroleum Institute and is a member of API’s Media Relations Department. She is one of API’s principal spokespersons and covers a wide range of issues affecting the oil and natural gas industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, hydraulic fracturing, and refining and marketing topics.

She has been interviewed on all the national network TV shows, as well as on numerous radio news shows, extensively quoted in newspapers and has testified before federal and state legislators.

Prior to joining API, Ms. Dougher was at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. She holds a master’s degree in economic development and East Asian studies from the American University and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the State University of New York at Brockport.

Congressman Bill Johnson

Congressman Bill Johnson

Ohio’s 6th Congressional District

BIO: Congressman Johnson, represents Ohio’s 6th congressional district, including most of the state’s Utica shale counties, serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He is an advocate of Utica Development and of improvement to Route 30 east of Canton, “The Energy Corridor.” He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and elected to his third term in 2014.

Congressman Johnson served 26 years in the United States Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel after a distinguished military career. While in the Air Force, Johnson served as Director of the Chief Information Office Staff at U.S. Special Operations Command.

Following his retirement from military service, Johnson co-founded Johnson-Schley Management Group, Inc., an information technology consulting company that increased revenues by more than 200 percent in just three years under his leadership.

In 2003 he left Johnson-Schley to form J2 Business Solutions, Inc., where he focused on providing executive level IT support as a defense contractor to the U.S. military.

From 2006 through 2010, Johnson served as Chief Information Officer of a global manufacturer of highly engineered electronic components for the transportation industry headquartered in Northeast Ohio. As a member of the executive leadership team, he managed a multi-million dollar departmental budget.

Rick Simmers

Rick Simmers

Chief of ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management

BIO: When Rick Simmers became chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management in late 2011, he said his goal was “to effectively and fairly regulate the industry and, above all else, ensure that public safety and protection of the environment are foremost.”

A Stark County native and resident of Lake Township, Simmers began working for the Oil and Gas Program in 1985 as a staff geologist and ground water investigator. In 1987 he was promoted to Northeast Ohio enforcement administrator for 19 counties. From 1994 to 1996, Simmers also served as acting Chief for the Division of Oil and Gas. When the division merged with the Reclamation program to become the Division of Mineral Resources Management in 2000, Simmers assumed responsibility for supervising all field enforcement activities across the state.

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 serves serving as Ohio’s representative to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Simmers has also served on the Ground Water Protection Council.

Rick Stouffer

Rick Stouffer

Senior Energy Editor, Shale Energy Business Briefing (SEBB) and Shale Media Group

BIO: Journalist Rick Stouffer was one of the first reporters to begin covering the Marcellus Shale play, back in 2007. He has been an energy reporter since the late 1990s.

Stouffer is senior energy editor for Shale Energy Business Briefing (SEBB) and Shale Media Group. He is a University of Pittsburgh graduate and has worked at daily newspapers, a weekly business paper, monthly magazines, and Internet-only publications. He has been covering all forms of energy since the late 1990s and has concentrated specifically on the shale oil and gas industry since 2007.

Prior to joining Shale Media Group, Stouffer was the original editor of Gas Business Briefing, a five-day, Internet-only publication covering shale oil and gas, owned by Platts, one of the oldest business-to-business publishing houses in the United States.