Thank you for attending see you in 2015

Thanks to our 2013 speakers

     J. Greg Schnacke

Greg Schnacke is Executive Director, Governmental Relations for Denbury Resources Inc.  Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Schnacke coordinates government affairs activities for Denbury’s senior executive team at the federal, state and local level.

Prior to joining Denbury, Schnacke was an energy consultant and served as the Chief Executive of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association from 1994-2007 directing strategic, political and communications activities for the state’s largest industry.    From 1985-1994, Schnacke served on the senior staff of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), both in Kansas and in Washington, D.C. holding several positions including Legislative Director and Deputy Administrative Assistant.

Schnacke is a graduate of the University of Kansas where he holds BS and BA degrees and is also a graduate of the University of Tulsa, College of Law with a JD in Energy Law.  


 Paul Hopfauf

Vice President of Business Development

WBI Energy, Inc.

Hopfauf began his career with the company in 1992. He held positions of increasing responsibility in financial planning and business development prior to leading the company’s non-regulated natural gas gathering business. In his current position, Hopfauf is responsible for all the business development activities at the WBI Energy group of companies.

A native of Glendive, Mont., Hopfauf holds a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Montana and an M.B.A. and Masters in Management from the University of Mary. 

WBI Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE: MDU) providing a variety of energy field services including natural gas transmission pipeline and storage. The company’s midstream services include natural gas and oil gathering, natural gas processing and conditioning, glycol recycling, and energy facility management. The company also has a corrosion services unit providing cathodic protection along with corrosion equipment and materials, engineering services and air/hydro excavation.

  Teresa Perkins

General Director, Petroleum

Teresa Perkins was named general director, Business Development, for BNSF Railway in 2008. In this role, Teresa is responsible for finding and developing new customers and markets that will be future growth areas for BNSF’s Industrial Products business unit. 

Teresa currently leads the sales team responsible for all shipments of crude oil, LPGs and gas liquids handled by BNSF. Since 2009, an important part of her job has been the development of shale oil markets for BNSF, primarily in the Bakken Shale and other shale plays. 

Teresa began her career with BNSF in 1985when she joined Burlington Northern Railroad, a BNSF predecessor.


  • § Bachelor of Science in forest resources, University of Minnesota in St. Paul
  • § Master of Science in forest products, University of Minnesota in St. Paul



Teresa lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her family.


BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. And we are working continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at

Tom Osborne Shane Bofto
Tom Osborne is the President and Principal Hydrologist, and Shane Bofto is Vice President and Senior Chemical/Environmental Engineer of HydroSolutions Inc, a hydrology and environmental consulting firm with offices in Billings and Helena. They will share in giving a presentation on “Water and Environmental Permitting For Resource Development and Growth

Tom is a Registered Professional Hydrologist with 37 years of experience working on water issues related to coal, oil & gas, irrigation, municipal water supplies, and environmental cleanup in Montana and the region. He has authored and co-authored over 40 professional publications and presentations, provides expert services in support of litigation, and was recently appointed to the Yellowstone River Basin Advisory Council. He has Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

Shane has over 26 years of experience in environmental aspects of oil & gas production and refining, mining, and land development.  He has led water quality, water management, air quality, and impacts assessments of many conventional and unconventional oil and gas projects, and performed environmental compliance audits, due diligence, and permitting for over 5,000 oil and gas properties. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Mary.

The content of their talks will include:

  1. Potential water sources for oil development and expanding communities
  2. Water rights and water marketing considerations
  3. Oil field solid waste management:  RCRA and RCRA-exempt oil field wastes, Special Waste designation and Permits for treatment and disposal, and landfill restrictions.
  4. Underground Injection of produced water and flowback.
  5. Air quality permitting: Air Quality Registration Process, Requirements for reciprocating internal combustion engines, and Green House Gas Reporting.

HydroSolutions is directly involved in all of these topics in the Bakken play, and is recognized as one of the leading environmental consultants to the oil and gas industry as well as to the governmental agencies that regulate oil and gas. Additional information about HydroSolutions can be found at or by calling 406-655-9555.

 Dr. Carrine Blank

Dr. Blank is a Research Assistant Professor at University of Montana in the Dept. of Geosciences.  Dr. Blank received her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in 2002.  Her research focuses on the evolution of cyanobacteria and algae.  Through her work she discovered a number of cyanobacteria and algae that are capable of growing on waste chitin as a source of nitrogen.  She is currently investigating the ecology and physiology of this process, and has isolated over 60 new cultures capable of using chitin.  She is also working on proving that algal growth on chitin is a superior new method for removing nutrients from P-rich wastewater, such as pulp and paper mill wastewater.

Talk title: Chitin as a novel nitrogen source for growing algae and its potential for greening-up algae-based wastewater treatment and biofuel production,


Chitin is one of the most abundant polymers on the planet, being an insoluble polymer of N-acetylglucosamine produced by crustaceans (crabs, lobster, shrimp), mollusks, cephalopods, insects, and fungi.  I will report that a number of cyanobacteria and algae are capable of using chitin as a sole nitrogen source.  Cyanobacterial genera include Synechococcus, Cyanobium, Leptolyngbya, Nostoc, Nodularia, and Merismopedia.  Algal genera include Chlorella, Auxenochlorella, Dunaliella, Nannochloropsis, a handful of novel green algae, and the diatom Cymbella.  Many of the cultured cyanobacteria have putative chitinases in their genomes.  Some cultures required the presence of helper heterotrophs to grow on chitin.

Conventional fertilizers (urea, ammonium nitrate) have enormous carbon footprints because large amounts of coal are needed for their synthesis via the Haber-Bosch process.  Chitin is a waste product: most chitin derived from shellfish harvesting in the United States is currently trucked to the landfill.  Minimal processing of crab or lobster shells can make it an excellent substrate for algal growth.  Shellfish are sustainably harvested, and thus the chitin that derives from it is carbon neutral.

Chitin can be used for the renewable production of cyanobacterial or algae based biofuels, renewable chemicals, natural pigments, nutraceuticals, feed or feed supplements for aquaculture or animals, organic crop fertilizers, or the production of naturally occurring sunscreen, anti-cancer, or anti-inflammatory compounds.  Photosynthetic growth on chitin can be used to remove pollutants, such as phosphorus and humic substances from nitrogen-deficient wastewaters, such as that produced by pulp and paper industries.  Because chitin is a renewable source of carbon and nitrogen, the biomass and commercial products that result are elevated onto a more carbon-neutral playing field.  Our group has demonstrated commercial-scale growth of cyanobacteria on chitin in a 2000L photobioreactor and bench-scale algal remediation of pulp wastewater.   Preliminary analyses show that our new method for growing algae for the removal of nutrients from pulp wastewater is superior to the current method using ammonia-based fertilizers.  This new technology has the potential for use for cleaning up industrial wastewaters in a more sustainable fashion.

 Bret Smelser
President of Border Steel and Recycling and current Mayor of Sidney, MT, Mr. Smelser has been at the forefront of the Bakken.  Mr. Smesler has been mayor of Sidney since 2001.  He has been the co-chair of Mondak energy Alliance since 2007, and he has been a Montana Oil  & Gas Commissioner since 2007.  

David Patrick
Principal at Eco-Asset Management, LLC has broad education and 25 years of experience in community ecology, assessment and restoration, public land policy and regulation, and as a professional consultant on eco-asset valuation, development and marketing.  Mr. Patrick has become nationally recognized for work on eco-asset assessment and development, establishing the first Corps-certified mitigation banks (stream and wetland) in the state of Montana, and as author of a unique, privately sponsored State-wide Umbrella Banking Agreement.  Mr. Patrick’s evolving career has included several years in the non-profit sector as director of a public lands policy and education-oriented environmental institute and college professor.  Additional experience has come through regulatory counseling/consultation on public infrastructure development (waste-water and water resources, roadways and bridges, solid waste, and resource recovery facilities and power plants); development of environmental impact reports, land management plans, and watershed analyses (including TMDLs); lake/ reservoir studies, restoration design and management planning; and design, implementation and monitoring of landscape-scale habitat creation/restoration efforts.  Over the past decade Mr. Patrick has focused almost exclusively on development of market-based resource conservation/restoration strategies including stream, wetland and species mitigation banking, water quality trading, water leasing, carbon sequestration and high return opportunities for alternative energy investments like wind and solar facilities throughout the West.


David will be presenting an introduction to the mitigation banking process and the relationship to aquatic resource permitting in Montana.  Some of the points to be covered include:


  • Mitigation overview
  • Mitigation process, options and results
  • Mitigation costs – sources of costs
  • Efficiencies and benefits
  • Users of mitigation banks in Montana
  • Example projects
  • Montana mitigation banks – current and pending


     LaNette Simonton

  • Employee for the State of Montana for over 30 years.
    • Eastern Montana Regional Manager, Montana Department of Justice, Driver Licensing Bureau, covering the Forsyth/Colstrip area east to the North Dakota border, south to the Wyoming border and north to the Canadian border.

  • Regional Director for the State of Montana School Board Association.

  • Chairman of the Glendive Unified School Board of Trustees. 

  • Past President of the Glendive Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors.

Presentation will explain the requirements and process for obtaining a Montana Commercial Drivers License.


 Anthony J. Rodriguez

 Project Manager for Global Development Services, Inc., (GDS) the company hired by the University of Montana to operate the Montana World Trade Center (MWTC). As a Project Coordinator for MWTC, Anthony has worked and done business in over 20 countries since 2009. He was responsible for organizing the largest single international trade delegation in Montana’s history in March 2013. Anthony also works as a Manager for the Northern Rockies Regional Center, LLC, Montana’s EB-5 Regional Center. Anthony holds a B.S. from the University of Montana and is a Kaufmann Foundation Entrepreneur Advocate. 

Presentation will focus on “International Business and Investment Opportunities for Montana’s Energy Economy”. 


  John R. Klaman

Small Business Administration 

Senior Area Manager

Billings, MT

30 years experience in finance

10 years experience as a commercial lender for major corporate banks

20 plus years with SBA

15 years as lending officer and headed the finance division of North Dakota SBA District Office

7 years with Montana District Office...last 6 years Senior Area Manager, Billings, MT.  Covers 29 counties in eastern Montana...

Presentation will review SBA Programs and services provided.  Provide tips on becoming "bank ready" when approaching a lender for a loan in today's tough economic times.

Jim Cusimano
 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, is the Co-Owner of Big Sky Financial Planning Group with offices in Glendive, Miles City, and Baker.  Jim has over 18 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry and is the only practicing CFP® in Glendive and Baker.  Big Sky Financial Planning Group specializes in areas of retirement planning, managing money during retirement, and tax efficient investing.  Jim’s presentation will be on what you need to be aware of before you retire and how Big Sky Financial can help
. Topics such as Social Security, Pensions, and Estate Issues will be discussed. 

Bob van der Valk


"Bob van der Valk recently joined the Bakken Oil Business Journal as their Managing Editor of the bi-monthly print and digital journal editions, connecting business and resources for the greater Bakken area. Bob has collaborated & contributed to the editorial voice of the Bakken Oil Business Journal since its inaugural issue in May of 2012. He has been the source of information on the petroleum industry, as a whole, in addition to paying specific attention to the booming growth of Oil & Gas industry in the Bakken Oil Shale Region. Bob is quoted regularly in the national media for his expertise on petroleum industry matters and fluctuations in the prices of petroleum products.

Bob has over 50 years of experience in the downstream refining and marketing sector of the petroleum industry with particular expertise on the U.S. western region. He is also a regular guest on Tom Egelhoff's "Open for Business" radio program on KMMS-AM 1450 from Bozeman discussing current events in the petroleum industry for the region."

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