IPAA Board Announces Staff Leadership Changes in Washington

IPAA Board Announces Staff Leadership Changes in Washington

IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell announces retirement; Jeff Eshelman, current Chief Operating Officer, to assume Russell’s role; Dan Naatz, Executive Vice President to add role of COO   

WASHINGTON – Today, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Board Chairman Jim Wilkes announced the retirement of President and CEO Barry Russell, effective today, Sept. 1. Russell has served in leadership roles with the association for more than 43 years. As part of a planned leadership succession process, Jeff Eshelman, IPAA’s current Chief Operating Officer will assume the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. Dan Naatz, IPAA Executive Vice President will continue to serve in that capacity and add the role of Chief Operating Officer. In the coming weeks, Jeff and Dan will work closely with the IPAA board to support a smooth and organized transition that builds on the association’s efforts to advocate for independent oil and natural gas producers in Washington and provide member value through facilitating capital raising, business development and educational opportunities. 

“Barry Russell built the modern IPAA,” said Jim Wilkes, IPAA chairman of the board and President, Director and Co-Owner of Texland Petroleum, L.P. “He has guided the association through the ups and downs the industry has seen in this new millennium and equally important, he built a talented team that will continue to showcase and defend the value of independent oil and natural gas producers for many years to come. Under his leadership we’ve seen the lifting of the crude oil export ban, the safe and established practice of hydraulic fracturing preserved, and major educational investment in the future workforce of our industry. IPAA Vice Chairman Steven Pruett and I speak for the entire board in expressing our sincere gratitude for Barry’s years of dedication, service and dutiful leadership to IPAA.

“We are confident in Jeff’s ability to take on leading the charge, growing the organization and building upon member engagement,” added Wilkes. “Jeff, Dan and the entire IPAA team are well-equipped to serve and energize members through their government relations, communications, and valuable events. The board will continue to carry out our important role as partners in the field, to help IPAA best tell the story of the men and women who support a strong oil and natural gas industry and ensure the U.S. as a secure and reliable energy supply.”

Barry Russell was elected President of IPAA in in March 2000. Over the past 22 years, he has guided the association through industry booms and busts and regulatory and legislative challenges, assuring the IPAA remained resilient like the members it represents. Russell was integral in working with over state and national associations to create IPAA’s grassroots network made up of over 50,000 individuals. This network helps the industry express important policy positions to Congress and Washington policymakers.  

Russell played a key role in the establishment of programs that help producers acquire capital and prospects, including the IPAA’s Oil and Gas Investment Symposium (OGIS) and Private Capital Conference PCC, and the North American Prospect Expo (known as NAPE®) for which he served on the board for many years. In addition, Russell developed the IPAA Educational Foundation which is dedicated to inspiring students in enhanced STEM curriculum and has prepared the next generation for successful careers in the energy industry. Since its founding in 2006, over 41,000 students have participated in the Foundation’s programs.  

Prior to being named President, Russell served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. In this role, he was the principal deputy to the President, focusing on legislative policy development as well as the legal and financial administration of the association. With a background in environmental law, including serving in the EPA Office of General Counsel and Enforcement, he also managed IPAA’s environmental issues as one of IPAA’s registered lobbyists.  

As COO, C. Jeffrey “Jeff” Eshelman II oversees public affairs and communications, administration, membership, IT and finance departments.  He is also the corporate secretary (officer) on IPAA’s board of directors. In 2009, he founded Energy In Depth, the industry’s rapid response, research and communications coalition. He serves as the project’s Executive Director. In his 25-plus years in the oil and natural gas industry, Jeff has also managed the communications programs of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council and the National Stripper Well Association.  

Daniel “Dan” T Naatz has represented independent oil and natural gas producers in front of Congress and regulatory agencies as a member of the IPAA government relations team for nearly 20 years. In his role as Executive Vice President, he coordinates all IPAA government relations activities, oversees federal onshore and offshore resource issues and manages the political activities for the association.  Prior to coming to IPAA, Mr. Naatz spent 12 years on Capitol Hill working for the late Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) in various capacities including Chief of Staff and Legislative Director. 

For the full IPAA management list, visit https://www.ipaa.org/management-team/

With decades of combined leadership experience, IPAA’s management team has the breadth and depth to lead the association forward.   

About the Independent Petroleum Association of America
The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) is a national upstream trade association representing thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States. Independent producers develop 91 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells. These companies account for 83 percent of America’s oil production, 90 percent of its natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) production, and support over 4.5 million American jobs. Learn more about IPAA by visiting www.ipaa.org and following @IPAAaccess on Twitter.