Gabriel Aguilera

Commissioner Gabriel Aguilera joined the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in January 2023, following over 15 years of experience at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Commissioner Aguilera’s expertise focuses on electric transmission, interconnection, and Western U.S. electric issues.

Gail “Missy” Armstrong

Gail “Missy” Armstrong was born in Socorro, NM and raised in both Socorro and Catron Counties. She is a lifelong resident of the area. Before being appointed to the House of Representatives to represent District 49, Gail served her community in many ways over the years. She has strong roots and a deep love for the communities she serves.

As a businesswoman, rancher, mother, and wife, Gail is focused on preserving Catron, Socorro, Sierra and Valencia counties. She and her husband Dale started a business 38 years ago and now have over 900 employees. They have been married for 40 years, have four children and 12 grandchildren. She has served in the legislature now for four terms. She sits on the Legislative Finance Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.

Jay Dee Aten

Jay Dee has served as the Land Manager at Atlas Energy Solutions Inc. for the past five years. With 27 years of experience as a Petroleum Landman, he has devoted 22 of those years to the various Brigham Companies, working across Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Originally from West Texas, Jay Dee has made his home near Corsicana for the past 20 years, where he lives with his wife, Valery, and their two children.

In his free time, Jay Dee is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for hunting and fishing. He cherishes spending time with his family and his 15-year-old son, who is actively involved in Athletics, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and Shooting Sports.

Birlie Bourgeois

Birlie has 23 years experience in the oil and gas industry. Since joining Chevron in 2001, he has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility globally in the areas of asset development, operations, strategy, planning, business development, technology deployment, corporate affairs and people management. 

Birlie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering from LSU and is a licensed professional engineer from LSU and is a licensed professional engineer in petroleum engineering in the state of Louisiana (Inactive -#32123). He is married with 4 daughters.

Bradley Cantrell

Bradley Cantrell is an energy industry leader with a strong engineering background, currently serving as the Vice President of the Permian Business Unit at Coterra Energy. He has led the Permian Business Unit since October 2021. Prior to serving as Vice President of the PBU at Coterra, Brad successfully served in many roles with Coterra’s predecessor Cimarex Energy starting as a Drilling & Completions Engineer, and moving on to be the Chief Drilling & Completion Engineer, Drilling Superintendent, Interim Well Work Manager, and Permian East Region Manager 

Bradley holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and lives in Midland, Texas with his family.  

Coterra Energy was formed in October 2021 from the merger of Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation and Cimarex Energy. Coterra Energy Inc. is a Houston-based exploration and production company that operates in the Permian Basin, Anadarko Basin, and Marcellus Shale.

Sam Cobb

Mr. Cobb was first elected Mayor of Hobbs in March 2012, and was subsequently re-elected in 2016 and 2020. During his tenure as mayor, the City of Hobbs has achieved a number of major accomplishments, including improvements to its infrastructure; significant development in single and multi-family housing; award-winning recreational facilities, such as the CORE family recreation center and Rockwind Community Links; workforce training initiatives, such as the newly constructed CTECH vocational high school, and premier healthcare access through the newly constructed Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital. Sam is the President and owner of RMS Foods, Inc., a manufacturer of food products for the Kraft Heinz Company with distribution throughout North America.

Missi Currier

Missi Currier serves as the president and CEO of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. A proven governmental affairs, community development, and strategic communications professional, Missi’s understanding of the state’s political and regulatory climate has allowed her to champion energy, tax, and economic diversification issues throughout the state. A native of Carlsbad, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science in agricultural communications from Texas Tech University.

Meredith Dixon

Meredith was elected as a New Mexico state representative for House District 20 (Albuquerque) in November 2020. At the beginning of her second term, she was appointed vice-chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC). In addition to her position on HAFC she serves as a member of the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee.

Meredith’s primary areas of legislative focus include improving child-wellbeing, enhancing public safety, and diversifying New Mexico’s economy.  She sponsored legislation creating the New Mexico Opportunity Enterprise Fund, the Venture Capital Investment Fund, the New Mexico Match Fund as well as directed funding to the New Mexico Economic Development Department for clean energy technology and innovation. 

In September 2023 she organized the first annual “Building an Advanced Energy Ecosystem in New Mexico” conference and is currently working on the second annual conference which will be held in Albuquerque, September 23-24, 2024.

Meredith received her BA in Global Policy Studies from Chatham College and an MA in International Political Economy from the University of Pittsburgh.  She and her husband moved to Albuquerque in 2004. Her husband Kevin is an engineer at Sandia Labs and they have two teenage daughters.

Whitney Dobson

Whitney Dobson, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Infinity Water Solutions, is an accomplished chemical engineer with proven expertise in developing innovative water infrastructure systems. With a foundation in the reduction of nuclear waste using wiped film evaporation technology, Whitney transitioned her focus to advancements in water infrastructure specifically tailored for oil and gas operators. Through her various roles in produced water management, she’s consistently been an advocate for improved utilization and increased efficiency in completion activities and groundwater use.

In her earlier role as the water manager for PDC Energy, Whitney demonstrated her leadership by engineering and overseeing the construction and operations of one of the pioneering water recycle sites in Pecos, TX. This project demonstrated the potential of treating and reusing produced water in completion operations, highlighting solutions that supported sustainable water management practices.

As COO of Infinity Water Solutions, Whitney continues to play a critical role in shaping the strategic direction of the company. She spearheads the development and execution of innovation strategies, working closely with regulators and scientists to identify cutting-edge technologies and opportunities that can expand the use of treated produced water beyond traditional uses within the oil and gas industry. Through her role, she interacts with the local communities to understand and address concerns around water management, and how industry can provide a solution to these concerns.

Whitney’s work is instrumental in advancing Infinity Water Solutions’ commitment to sustainable solutions for water reuse and management. She also holds her MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth.

Russ Doss

Russ was born and raised in Denver, CO, but spent the summers of 1970 to 1978 in Hobbs working for his aunt and uncle, who owned a small business on Broadway. After graduating from Colorado State University in 1979, he began work with the City of Hobbs Engineering Department. 

Upon receiving his Professional Civil Engineering license in 1983, he became City Engineer and oversaw the Engineering and Planning Departments. Several economic development projects were first considered for development at that time, with the WIPP project and Urenco being two of the largest. 

Russ joined Souder Miller and Associates (SMA) as the Senior Engineer in the Hobbs office when it was opened in 2014. SMA is the third largest Engineering Firm in NM specializing in Engineering, Environmental, and Geomatics work. He continues to serve on the EDC Board and the EDC Executive Committee.

Garrett Golding

Garrett Golding is a senior business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In this role, he analyzes and forecasts trends in oil and gas markets, geopolitics and the energy transition. He also briefs Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan on these issues in preparation of Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

A frequent public speaker and Dallas Fed Economics blog contributor, his work has been cited in the Wall Street JournalNew York Times, CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg and other major outlets. Prior to joining the Dallas Fed, Golding held positions at Pioneer Natural Resources, Rapidan Energy Group and the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

A native of the Dallas area, Golding earned a BA at Baylor University and an MA at the U.S. Naval War College. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jennifer Grassham

Jennifer Grassham is the President & CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County, where she is responsible for business attraction and business retention/expansion efforts in Lea County.

Jennifer currently serves on the board of NMIDEA, an organization dedicated to the advancement of economic development in New Mexico, and has previously served on the board of Philanthropy Southwest. Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree in finance from Delta State University and MBA from Texas Tech University.

She is a proud native of Hobbs, where she resides with her husband and three children.

Lincoln Griswold

Lincoln Griswold is the SIMCO Chief Engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. Previous experience includes as Project Engineering Manager at Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) for Bechtel Nuclear, Security & Environmental Inc. (NS&E); Chief Engineer, Mechanical and Systems and Mechanical Handling, for Bechtel NS&E, where he was responsible for management oversight of mechanical and systems engineering work on all projects where NS&E provided engineering services and the functional manager for all NS&E mechanical and systems engineers (approximately 700 engineers at peak); Plant Engineering Manager for Bechtel BWXT Idaho at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant; Project Manager for Bechtel Nevada at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) Transuranic (TRU) Waste Project; and Project Manager for Central Characterization Program (CCP) field activities at NTS and engineer in charge of CCP equipment and processes for Washington TRU Solutions.

He also worked for Westinghouse TRU Solutions at WIPP as a cognizant system engineer of the contact-handled waste system and the underground ventilation fan, HEPA filtration and control system. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University.

Mike Hightower

Mr. Hightower is the Program Director of New Mexico State University’s New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium. After serving 38 years at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, Mike continues as a mentor on energy and water issues. Mike holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering from New Mexico State University and has 40 years of experience in space, weapons, and energy and natural resources research and engineering. His focus in the past two decades has been on the use of distributed and renewable energy and water treatment technologies to enhance economic development, global public health, and infrastructure and natural resource security and resiliency.

Since 2000 Mike has actively supported the Departments of Interior, State, Defense, and Energy in establishing science and technology programs to address energy and water sustainability issues and interdependencies. These efforts have centered on advanced treatment and desalination of non-traditional water resources such as brackish groundwater, oil and gas produced water, and power plant cooling water to efficiently and cost effectively reduce freshwater use and supplement fresh water supply availability in inland areas. Mike has had numerous articles and reports published on desalination and energy/water interdependencies including two Reports to Congress, an article in Nature, an Energy Water Food research roadmap for the National Science Foundation, and chapters in three books.

John Kirkpatrick

Before joining the UUSA team, John served as the Energy Corporate Plant Reliability Team Leader and prior to that role, was Plant Manager at both Arkansas Nuclear One Power Plant and Indian Point Power Plant. He has also held leadership positions in regulatory assurance, maintenance, performance improvement, and outage management.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics from Thomas Edison State College as well as certifications for Senior Reactor Operator, INPO management courses, and from the Harvard School of Public Health.

James Lackey

James Lackey, is the Community Relations and Economic Development Manager for Xcel Energy a position he has held since March of 2019. In his current role James manages the relationships between Xcel Energy and the communities in Southeast New Mexico. James was formerly a Key Account Manager for 5 years where he managed the relationships and business needs of many of Xcel Energy’s largest commercial and industrial customers in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas.

James joined the Xcel Energy in 2008 as a Power Plant Engineer, and worked as a Senior Engineer in Xcel Energy’s Engineering and Construction business unit.

James was born and raised in New Mexico.

James received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of New Mexico and a Master of Business Administration degree from West Texas A&M University. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in the States of New Mexico and Texas. 

James currently serves on the Boards of many community groups including: University of the Southwest Board of Trustees; Economic Development Corporation of Lea County Board of Directors; Carlsbad Department of Development Board; Lea County Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Committee. 

James has been a resident of Lea County for 14 years and is married to his wife Tanya of 22 years. He is the proud father of a son, Seth (18) and two daughters Falyn (16) and Aubrey (10). In his free time James enjoys coaching and watching his children play golf and volleyball.

Zach LaCount

Zach LaCount is a Senior Engineer for Mewbourne Oil Company in Hobbs, NM.  He currently oversees all field operations related to air emissions.  Zach and his multidisciplinary team work in conjunction with the construction, production, completions, and regulatory teams to ensure regulatory compliance.  They are responsible for daily operations of emissions control equipment, emissions inspections, air permitting, construction design, and regulatory reporting.  Zach was previously a production engineer with Mewbourne where he managed production operations, optimization, infrastructure planning and construction, artificial lift design, and well workovers.  He also has experience in spill cleanup and soil remediation.

Prior to joining Mewbourne, Zach was employed as an engineer for Halliburton and Baker Hughes, working out of Hobbs, where he gained experience in wireline operations, hydraulic fracturing, and production chemicals.  He also spent time at Devon Energy as a production engineer in Artesia, NM.  He has worked in the oil and gas industry for 14 years.  

Zach earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 2009.  He and his wife Shanna live in Lovington, NM with their two daughters.

Zoe Lees

Zoe Lees is the New Mexico and Texas Regional Vice President of Planning and Policy for Xcel Energy.  Prior to this role, Ms. Lees practiced law in the utility regulatory field for a decade, most recently as a Principal Attorney representing Southwestern Public Service Company for Xcel Energy General Counsel.

Ms. Lees’s practice has given her a wide array of experience with the policy and legal issues confronting New Mexico as it enters a time of significant energy transition.  Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ms. Lees graduated cum laude from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. After graduation, Ms. Lees spent a year in Malaysia as Fulbright Scholar. Ms. Lees graduated cum laude from the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Natural Resources Journal and the recipient of the Albert E. Utton Natural Resources Award.

Ms. Lees is the past-chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division Committee on Infrastructure and Regulated Industries, the past-chair of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (“FNREL”) Young Professional Committee, and has sat on the FNREL Renewable Energy Task Force and FNREL Programs Committee.  Ms. Lees currently sits on the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and has presented on utility resource planning.

Rick McCurdy

Rick is Vice President of Innovation and Sustainability for Select Water Solutions, a US-based service provider active in the water sourcing, treatment, reuse and chemical application spaces. In this role, Rick is focused on minimizing fresh water use and evaluating technologies that may lead to beneficial use of a treated produced water in the future. As such, he is an active participant in the produced water consortiums underway in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado.

Prior to Select, Rick served as a Sr. Engineering Advisor for Chesapeake Energy, where he guided produced water management and chemical usage throughout the company.  Rick served as a technical expert during the US EPA study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water resources and has presented to the National Academy of Sciences, the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Energy, and the Energy Information Agency regarding water use in the Energy Sector.  Rick has an AAS degree in Petroleum Technology.

Peter McDonald

Peter McDonald currently serves as the Director of Production, Facilities, Infrastructure, and Construction for Devon Energy’s assets in the Delaware Basin. Peter oversees all the Permian production, facilities, infrastructure, and construction teams, including field operations.  Before his current role, he served as a Production Manager for Devon Energy in the Delaware, Anadarko, Rockies, and Midland Basins, where he was responsible for production management, process improvement, and field operations. He also worked as a production and completions engineering supervisor for the Miss Lime play in Oklahoma, where he supervised a production and completions engineering team and gained experience in horizontal wells, infrastructure planning, and completion.  

Prior to joining Devon Energy, Peter worked as a region engineer for Baker Hughes, where he gained experience in acidizing, field service engineering, sales engineering, and hydraulic fracturing. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Mississippi State University and an Executive MBA in Energy from the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business.

Hal Mead

Hal Mead is asset manager, Delaware Basin East for ConocoPhillips.

Mead has 18 years industry experience, including leadership roles in development, operations, production engineering and strategic planning. Prior to his current role, Mead was director, Corporate Planning & Strategy. From 2012-2018 he held several leadership roles in Norway including: director, Ekofisk Reservoir Management; director, Well Planning; and supervisor, Production Delivery Center.

Mead started with ConocoPhillips in 2005 as a reservoir engineer working the Permian Basin. He has lived and worked for ConocoPhillips in Houston, New Mexico, Alaska, Norway, and back to Houston before moving to Midland in 2021.

Mead earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wyoming in 2005, and a Master of Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2013.

George Muñoz

George K. Muñoz serves with distinction as a State Senator in the New Mexico Legislature, representing the 4th District, an area notable for its rich cultural diversity and vibrant communities. With a tenure marked by steadfast dedication to public service, Senator Muñoz has been a prominent figure in New Mexico’s political landscape, known for his unwavering commitment to his constituents. 

Born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico, Senator Muñoz was deeply rooted in the values of community and public service. He pursued higher education focusing on business and finance, which later became instrumental in his legislative work, especially in areas concerning economic development and fiscal responsibility.

Senator Muñoz embarked on his political journey with a clear vision to advocate for the people of New Mexico. Elected to the State Senate, his legislative priorities have encompassed a wide range of issues, including education reform, healthcare accessibility, and infrastructural development. His work has been characterized by a balanced approach, seeking bipartisan solutions that benefit the broader community.

Senator George K. Muñoz’s service in the New Mexico State Senate is marked by a legacy of integrity, leadership, and an unwavering dedication to the betterment of his state and its people.

Corey Needham

Corey and his wife Robin moved to Lea County in 2003 after graduating from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Both Corey and Robin were raised in Eddy and Chaves County and have always called southeastern New Mexico their home.  Their two sons, Landon and Colin, attend Hobbs High School and Highland Junior High.

Corey began his professional career at Pettigrew and Associates, where he had the unique experience of working in the materials testing, surveying, inspection, and civil engineering fields.  While working for Pettigrew and Associates, Corey obtained his professional engineering license in Civil Engineering.  

In 2010, Corey accepted the position of Lea County Public Works Director and became the first Lea County staff engineer since the 1960’s.  Since 2010, Corey has led a variety of departments and construction projects, including the Road Department, Airports Division, Utilities, Planning and Zoning, Environmental, and Permitting, and was project manager on multiple construction projects.  

In 2016, Corey was promoted to Assistant County Manager for Lea County. Corey is proud of the activities that the departments that he has worked with have accomplished.  

Lea County Airports Department has made significant strides in becoming the premier airport network in the state and region, winning numerous awards from NMDOT, including Airport Manager of the Year, Air Show/Event of the Year, and 2 Most Improved Airport of the Year awards.

Lea County has also been very busy with infrastructure during this period. Over $260 million into transportation maintenance and reconstruction has occurred during this time.

James Pinchback

James Pinchback is Plains’ Vice President of Pipeline commercial. He joined Plains in 2006 and serves as Plains’ top executive located in the Permian Basin. Mr. Pinchback is responsible for Permian pipeline business development and commercial operation. He also coordinates the company’s operating, business development, and commercial activities in the region.

His expertise has focused on a variety of roles, including managing director of pipeline commercial operations. Mr. Pinchback has also worked with INEOS and BP with experience in supply and trading, lease crude acquisition, and marketing. Mr. Pinchback received a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering from Louisiana Tech University in 1987.

Bill Richards

In 2001, Bill Richards founded Richards Energy Compression and has been married to his wife, Pat, for 18 years and together they have 5 children, 8 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. Before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey, Bill served in the United States Navy for ten years. Bill is a passionate advocate for youth development and community enrichment.

For over a decade, he has served on the Boys and Girls Club board, dedicating his time and resources to supporting the next generation of leaders. Bill is also the president of the Eagle Trust Foundation and a member of the Covenant Foundation board. In addition to his philanthropic endeavors, Bill is an avid supporter of charitable causes, including his involvement in the Project 40:31 Make-A-Wish golf tournament since its inception in 2012.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Bill finds joy in golf, spending time with family, and cheering on his favorite sports teams.

Laura Riley

Laura served as Deputy Land Commissioner under Commissioner Aubrey Dunn.  Development of Gavilan Solutions, a governmental relations and regulatory compliance firm, was a natural next step. Gavilan Solutions provides knowledge and skills associated with review of title, determination of water and leasehold rights, market analysis and completion of due diligence required in assessing the value and potential of a property to the company.

We facilitated the approval of projects through the coordinated management of the various agencies and landowners involved, the public perception through paid and public media, and the permitting and approval process in local municipalities, counties, and state authorities.  Laura has developed a unique insight to the land and water management regulations of both State and Federal Lands in New Mexico. 

Gavilan Solutions is served by her 35 years of experience in real estate, land and water management, permitting and leasing.  Additionally, our firm has completed right of way and easement valuations for all utility purposes, including residential development, public use (i.e., drainage and open space), local and interstate petroleum product transmission and interstate electrical transmission lines.

Steve Sauceda

Steve has had a successful and decorated 20-year career in higher education. He worked for College of the Southwest for nearly 3 years, first as the Director of Alumni Services and then as the Director of the Annual Fund before joining New Mexico Junior College in January 2007. He joined NMJC as a coordinator and was later promoted to Director, Dean, and now serves as the Vice President for  Workforce Development. He is one of the youngest administrators in the college’s history. He holds both a bachelor’s & master’s degree in business administration. He has also served as an adjunct professor of business. 

In 2018, he launched his own business, Steve Sauceda Communications. He has been incredibly active and, on the road, traveling to speak to nearly 30,000 people in over 30 different industries in numerous cities, covering topics such as Leadership Development and Thriving in a Multi-Generational Workplace. He has published over 65 different columns, which have been read in over 40 countries and produced and hosted a podcast for nearly 5 years that was also heard around the world.

Gary Schubert

Gary Schubert arrived in Hobbs, NM in 1977 after graduating from Texas A&M University. Three years later he formed Schubert Construction which has become a commercial contracting firm focusing on constructing facilities for energy-related companies. Schubert Construction (and sister company Grimes Land Company) has developed over 150 such facilities since 2005.

Schubert Construction has been a Certificate Plus Member of the Lea County EDC for over 30 years and during that time Gary has served the EDC Board of Directors (Chairman 3 times), on the Airline Committee, Executive Committee, and various Search Committees. Gary also served on the Lea County Commission 2003 through 2011 (Chairman 3 years) & has served on numerous civic and church boards.

Manasi Scott

Manasi Scott is the Net Zero Development Lead for Oxy’s Permian EOR business. Manasi joined Oxy in 2022 as a CCS/CCUS Development Project Engineer, focused on field development planning and optimization, including transition to anthropogenic CO2 sources and Class VI permitting/project engineering for Oxy’s first CCS site in Permian. 

Prior to Oxy, Manasi worked at bp for 18 years in a variety of production engineering and operations leadership roles in the San Juan Basin in NM/CO, East Texas, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, and North Sea Norway. She also worked as a subject matter expert for waterflooding and reservoir management in deepwater unconsolidated sand reservoirs globally, as well as a brief stint in Finance to improve upstream cost management to top tier performance. 

Manasi has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a licensed PE in Texas. She lives in Houston with her husband Alec and two young children.

Jonathan Sena

Commissioner Sena’s interest in public service was sparked when his elementary school art teacher encouraged him to send his art project to the White House. The response he received from then-President Reagan laid the foundation for his future. He has served as an intern for Senator Pete Domenici, a travel assistant for Congressman Steve Pearce, and worked with New Mexico State Representative Shirley Tyler. In 2008 he was elected to the City of Hobbs District 2 seat where he served three terms. He is currently serving his second term as a Lea County Commissioner.

Commissioner Sena especially enjoys working with young people. He notes that while community projects can be challenging to initiate and complete, he is grateful to serve in the multicultural and diverse District 4.

He finds that it’s important to find philosophical common ground with other commissioners to positively move forward as this facilitates leveraging resources further than any one group or entity going it alone.

While Jonathan was born in Roswell, he has lived in his self-proclaimed hometown of Hobbs since 1986 and resides with his wife Valeria and their children Camila and Benjamin. He graduated from Victory Center Christian Academy and holds an accounting degree from the University of the Southwest and an MBA from Eastern New Mexico University. He has served as a youth pastor for seventeen years.

Jonathan would like his constituents to know that he cares deeply for his district and county. Jonathan is here to listen to make sure their voices are heard.

Ben Shepperd

Ben Shepperd serves as the President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association based in Midland, Texas, since 2006. In that role he represents oil and gas interests before legislative and regulatory bodies in Texas, New Mexico and Washington, D.C. He has more than twenty years working on state legislative and regulatory issues. His Austin experience includes staffing several Texas House members, including David Swinford, Harvey Hilderbran, and Buddy West.

He served as committee counsel for the House Energy Resources Committee under Chairman West. He also served as Chairman Hilderbran’s water policy advisor in the 79th Legislative Session focusing on issues before the Natural Resources Committee. He also worked for three different state agencies over those years, including the Department of Agriculture, director of Rural Affairs for the Department of Economic Development, and as Legislative and Policy Director for Commissioner Charles Matthews at the Railroad Commission.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Texas A & M University in College Station. Mr. Shepperd is a board member of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute Foundation at the University of Texas at the Permian Basin, as well as on the Advisory Council for the UTPB School of Business.

Shirlene Sitton

Shirlene Sitton is the new NMED Solid Waste Bureau Chief. She has worked in Solid Waste & Recycling for municipal governments for over 20 years- creating and managing waste and recycling collections, and Keep It Beautiful, sustainability, and public education programs in New Mexico and Texas.  She comes from the City of Santa Fe where she worked for eight years as the Environmental Services Division Director, which includes commercial and residential trash and recycling collections, Sustainability, and Keep Santa Fe Beautiful.  While there she transitioned the curbside recycling program to single-stream, modernized routing systems, and completed the City’s Sustainability Plan.  Before her work with Santa Fe, she was the Recycling and Zero Waste Division Manager for the City of Denton, TX. There she managed commercial and residential recycling, organics composting, and household hazardous waste and e-waste, public outreach . Her division also included the Keep Denton Beautiful program, which implemented litter reduction, beautification and waste reduction initiatives, urban forest and native plant projects.

Shirlene is active in the state and national solid waste industry.  She is Past President the Board of the New Mexico Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Roadrunner Chapter and represents the state to the national SWANA organization.  While in Texas, Shirlene served on the Board of Directors of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, and the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association.  

Her educational background includes a B.S. in Renewable Natural Resource Conservation from Texas A&M University, and Master’s work in Environmental Science at the University of North Texas.

Michael D. “Mike” Smith

Recognized as one of the “Most Influential” public relations professionals by a leading industry publication, Michael Smith’s eye for detail, industry knowledge and network of contacts have well-served clients of his firm, MDSA Strategic Communications, for 29 years.

Michael is a regarded as an international stakeholder engagement expert and is trusted by some of the energy industry’s leading companies. He has authored and executed a variety of engagement plans over his career from non-profit charities to multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects – implementing each with a savvy blend of public affairs, government relations, business development and relationship management.

In 2018, Michael helped to organize a group of energy companies to form the Permian Road Safety Coalition (PRSC), a not-for-profit organization seeking to reduce the number fatalities on the roadways of the Permian Basin of Southeast New Mexico and West Texas. He became Managing Director of the PRSC in 2021 and oversees financial, legal, and regulatory matters for the organization.

Jennifer Stewart

Jennifer is Director of Climate Policy for API and has decades of executive experience in finance, climate policy, and legislative and regulatory affairs. She leads all carbon management policy work at API at both state and federal levels, including carbon capture and sequestration, voluntary carbon markets, climate policy, ESG reporting, and GHG emissions methodologies. After retiring as an executive of Southwestern Energy, serving in roles as Senior Vice President Finance, Interim Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Legislative and Regulatory Affairs,  she held roles as an independent board member for  an environmental services company and an emissions detection technology company. She also served as Vice President for Baker Hughes Emissions Management providing methane monitoring and quantification technologies.  

Jennifer is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas and has held leadership positions with the Natural Gas Supply Association, American Exploration and Production Council, and Marcellus Shale Coalition. 

Jennifer received recognition by Hart Energy’s Oil and Gas Investor Magazine as a 2024 Influential Woman in Energy, and she has been recognized as one of Texas’ Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas by the National Diversity Council, a Top Woman in Energy by the Houston Business Journal, and received the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Trailblazer Award.

Todd Tanory

Todd Tanory is the General Manager of Commercial & Business Development for Phillips 66.  Todd has responsibility for all natural gas gathering & processing commercial activities in the U.S. He has over 23 years of downstream and midstream energy experience. 

Todd joined the Phillips 66 team as part of the DCP Midstream acquisition where he spent 5 years as SVP of Commercial.  Prior to DCP, he was SVP at NGL Energy Partners and was responsible for operations and commercial for all crude oil and NGL assets.  His experience includes profit & loss responsibility for various midstream segments as well as M&A activities to support strategic growth.  Todd previously held leadership positions at BP with responsibility for natural gas gathering & processing and NGL pipelines and storage. 

Todd has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Tulane University.

Todd and his wife, Andrea, live in Houston with their two children.

Craig Walters

Craig Walters is Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Mountain Energy and joined the team in January 2020.  He has 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.

Craig previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jagged Peak Energy from February 2018 to January 2020.  Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s Rocky Mountain Region.  Craig began his career in 1994 with Anadarko, having worked various engineering, business development, operations, midstream and leadership positions in the Rockies, Mid-Continent and Gulf Coast regions.

Craig is a Wyoming native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.  He is a registered professional engineer and an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Jim Winchester

Jim Winchester joined IPANM as Executive Director in September 2017, returning to New Mexico after working several years as a Communications Manager in Boulder, Colorado. Prior to working in Boulder, Jim served as the Communications Director for both the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) from 2011 to 2015 working as an appointee under Governor Martinez.

Prior to his work with the Martinez administration, Jim worked for 15-years as news reporter and anchor with tenures at television stations in Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and several other markets in the Midwest. His diverse educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.