Fall 2023 Appalachian Hydro Conference Speakers

Perry Babb

CEO and Chairman, KeyState NGS

Babb is CEO of KeyState Energy, Developer of KeyState Natural Gas Synthesis, LLC., a $900,000,000 very low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and ureaproduction facility under development in Clinton County Pennsylvania. KeyState NGS is a joint venture with Frontier Natural Resources, Inc. and will maximize its 7,000-acre stranded natural gas asset through a vertically integrated business case, of direct-use of its onsite natural gas supply, as feedstock, in onsite, value-added manufacturing, with novel onsite carbon capture, use and geological storage.

OGCI, Climate Investment has advised KeyState for more than 2 years and this year funded Development Phase II. KeyState NGS is proposed to be at FID 4th quarter 2023, construction 2024 & 2025 and commercial operation 2026.

Joe Barone Shale Directories

Joe Barone

President and Founder, Shale Directories

Joe Barone, President and Founder Shale Directories, has kept companies that service and supply the oil and gas industry current on the latest developments since 2009.  He produces a Shale Directories online member directory, and issues weekly Facts & Rumors newsletters.   

Barone realizing the need for in-person networking and information sharing has produced more than 60 upstream, midstream and downstream conferences as well as conferences focusing on underground storage, hydrogen generation and carbon capture sequestration. 

He is a recognized ‘go-to’ source for contacts, and information in the oil and gas sector with concentration in the Appalachian Basin.

Shawn Bennett

Energy and Resilience Division Manager, Battelle

Shawn Bennett is the Energy and Resilience Division Manager at Battelle where he oversees all government funded energy projects awarded to Battelle.  In this role he primarily focuses on opportunities in Carbon Capture and Storage, Hydrogen, Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals, and Direct Air Capture.  

Mr. Bennett is a former Managing Director at FTI Consulting in the Energy and Natural Resources sector as well as the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Oil and Natural Gas at the U.S. Department of Energy where he oversaw the Departments research and development in the oil and gas sector as well as regulated LNG export authorizations for the United States.  

Bernard Brown

Chief Operating Officer, Empire Diversified Energy

Brown is responsible for leading Empire Diversified Energy’s technical requirements for the deployment of technology in the recycling and energy space. He is also responsible for the management of research and development for supporting infrastructure in Empire’s business units. Brown has an impeccable reputation with several of the world’s largest financial institutions as a team leader for the restructuring of distressed assets and holds multiple degrees including a Masters in Energy from Texas A&M University, a MPA from Clemson University, and a bachelor’s degree in planning from Arizona State University.

Brent Chicken

Member, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC

Brent Chicken is an attorney with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. He is experienced in energy and natural resources law, with extensive knowledge of the challenges faced by exploration and production, midstream, and downstream/utility companies operating in the energy industry. He regularly represents clients in complex commercial litigation disputes, business transactions, administrative/regulatory law and procedure, and title examination matters.  


Appa Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference Speaker Kirt Conrad

Kirt Conrad

Executive Director & CEO, SARTA

Kirt Conrad is a senior executive in Public Transit with expertise in alternative energy and public policy. During his career, he has lead campaigns that have increased ridership over 30% and increased revenues by 20%, secured over $50 million in competitive grants and managed construction programs from railroad rehabilitation to LEED certified building in the transportation industry. He also led the purchase of 50 miles of railroad right-of-way and use of transportation infrastructure as a multi-modal corridor for both freight and commuter service.

Since 2009, Kirt Conrad has been the CEO of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) in Canton, Ohio. SARTA operates 100+ buses with 200+ employees. Last year nearly 2.6 million passenger trips were transported by over 30 fixed routes or demand response services throughout Stark County.


Andy Graham

Member, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC

Andy Graham has practiced energy and mineral law with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC over the last 19 years in Texas and West Virginia, focusing on mineral title examinations, assisting clients buying or selling mineral, midstream and renewable energy assets, and handling surface use issues arising from energy development. He also teaches energy land management at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. 


Tom Gellrich

Founder and CEO, RNG Directory

Gellrich has been one of the pioneers in understanding and identifying the changes that shale gas as risks and opportunities for the US manufacturing industry. His presentations and white papers have been extensively quoted. As an executive with experience in operational business management, strategic development, hands on sales and marketing Tom provides a unique perspective combining all elements. He has been involved in several start-up opportunities – innovation – balanced with Fortune 50 experience – rigorous application. His entry to the business world was with Exxon Mobil, moving from engineering to project management and business roles.

Larry Maggi Commissioner Washington County

Larry Maggi

Commissioner, Washington County, PA Commissioners

The Honorable Larry Maggi is currently serving his fifth term on the Board of Commissioners of Washington County and currently serving as the board’s vice chairman. He is proud to have been born, raised, educated, and working most of his life in Washington County. Commissioner Maggi believes in Washington County and that it is a great place to work, live, play, and raise families. He is committed to keeping Washington County at the forefront in jobs, low taxes, quality of life issues as well as keeping its agricultural and country charm. Commissioner Maggi served proudly in the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1971.

He graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. Prior to being elected commissioner in 2003, he was the sheriff of Washington County for six years, elected in 1997.

He served for 24 years with the Pennsylvania State Police as a state trooper. He and his wife Mary Jeanne reside in Buffalo Township, PA.

Matthew Maione

Senior Engineer, CNX Resources Corporation

Matthew Maione is an engineering professional with over 10 years of experience in the natural gas industry.  In his current role as Senior Engineer in CNX Resources Corporation’s New Technologies team, he is responsible for implementing new technologies and commercializing CNX’s unique fuel alternatives.  During his tenure at CNX, he previously held roles as a strategic planning engineer directing the company’s natural gas midstream strategy and capital allocation and a midstream operations engineer focused on improving day-to-day pipeline and processing facility efficiencies.  Matthew holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Jeff Nehr

Senior Vice President of Gas Supply & Development, Hope Gas

Jeff has responsibility for directing gas supply activities, developing programs with West Virginia producers, and leads the company’s microgrid projects.
Prior to joining Hope Utilities, Jeff has more than 30 years of combined work experience with the Peoples Natural Gas and Equitable where his most recent role was VP of Business Development at Peoples Natural Gas Company implementing corporate market strategy to help drive revenue growth. 
Jeff has volunteered his time to Miracle League Baseball, an organized baseball league for special needs children and adults, as a coach. Jeff is also a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXXIV.

Tim Reichwein

Executive Vice President, Lane Power & Energy Solutions

M.C. “Tim” Reichwein is the Executive Vice President for Lane Power and Energy. Tim has experience in engineering, operations, and construction surpassing 40 years. An expert in underground storage of hydrocarbon products, Tim frequently travels the globe to make presentations about technical issues. His areas of expertise include planning, designing, constructing, and operating gas & oil storage and handling facilities. Among his specialties are designing, developing, and operating hard rock and salt storage caverns – and the surface facilities related to them. Tim has been active for numerous years with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) facilities. He earned a B.S. in industrial construction and an M.Ed. in industrial construction management from Colorado State University.

Nansen G. Saleri, PhD
Keynote Speaker

Chairman of the Omnis Hydrogen Advisory Board and CEO and Co-Founder Quantum Advisory Board

Saleri is Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Quantum Reservoir Impact (QRI), a strategic consultancy and advanced analytics firm specializing in sustainability, Net-Zero, and energy transition, headquartered in Houston, Texas, with global operations.

As the former Head of Reservoir Management for Saudi Aramco for nearly a decade, Dr. Saleri led efforts in managing the company’s Maximum Sustained Capacity (MSC) of 11 million barrels per day in oil production and played a leading role in its development planning including Ghawar, the world’s most prolific oilfield. Represented Saudi Aramco in testifying at the Washington D.C. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) defending the company’s reserves. Chairman, Corporate Task Force, Non-Associated Gas Program, Saudi Aramco. Previously worked 18 years for Chevron, where his final role was as Manager, Reservoir Engineering at Chevron Geosciences responsible for technical support for all its domestic and international upstream assets.

Appa Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference Speakers Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

President, Mustang Sampling / Valtronics

Kenneth Thompson, Founder and President of Mustang Sampling brings with him over 30 years of experience in the Gas and Oil industry and the proven ability to lead multi-disciplined and multi-channel teams. Throughout his tenure, Ken has grown the Companies ten-fold by focusing on innovative solutions in the natural gas, NGL, and LNG sampling markets, and is the holder of numerous global technology patents. Utilizing his tenured experience Thompson currently leads the operational Business Units for Mustang Sampling and Valtronics creating a thriving and nurturing environment.

Bryan Abel

Pipeline Training, IUOE-PLCA

Bryan began his career with the operating engineers 27 years ago. He is proud that he is a third- generation operating engineer. Bryan has held various roles through-out his career, from Owner/CFO, project manager, foreman, to operator.

Through-out these various roles, Bryan has always had a desire to ensure the safety for all employees. As the director of the National Pipeline Training Program, he feels a sense of responsibility to pass on the knowledge and expertise gained in the pipeline industry through hands on experience to the next generation of operating Engineers.

It is Bryan’s goal, along with his staff of 15 full-time instructors, to help ensure IUOE operators achieve the highest level of safety and awareness through training, thus  safeguarding that the PLCA contractors performing the work in the pipeline industry have the skilled workforce to complete the job safely.


Perry Babb

CEO and Chairman, KeyState NGS

Perry Babb is CEO of KeyState Energy, Developer of KeyState Natural Gas Synthesis, LLC., a $900,000,000 very low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and urea production facility under development in Clinton, County Pennsylvania.  KeyState NGS is a joint venture with Frontier Natural Resources, Inc. and will maximize it’s 7,000 acre stranded natural gas asset through a vertically integrated business case, of direct-use of it’s onsite natural gas supply, as feedstock, in onsite, value-added manufacturing, with novel onsite carbon capture, use and geological storage. OGCI, Climate Investment has advised KeyState for more than two years and this year funded Development Phase II. KeyState NGS is proposed to be at FID 4th quarter 2023, construction 2024 & 2025 and commercial operation 2026.

Armando Benincasa

Member, Steptoe & Johnson

Armando Benincasa combines state agency experience, real-world business perspective, and deep understanding of complex environmental issues in a practice focused on energy and environmental law, environmental litigation, administrative law, government affairs, and lobbying. He manages cases involving permitting and regulatory requirements for natural resources, including coal, oil, and gas, carbon capture, solid waste, water resources, underground storage tanks, voluntary remediation, and the drafting of rules and statutes related to the environment.

He has extensive experience in governmental matters, as well as in representing energy companies before state agencies and the West Virginia Legislature. He earned his B.A. from Washington and Lee University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Holly Hannold

Director, External Affairs, Equinor

Holly Hannold is the Director of External Affairs for Equinor US, part of the exploration and production international team. In this role, Holly manages external engagement for energy transition projects, with a special focus on clean energy projects in the tri-state region. Prior to joining Equinor, Holly worked for ExxonMobil as Public and Government Affairs Manager for XTO Energy in the Appalachia basin and managed government relations in 7 states across the mid-Atlantic region. Prior to joining ExxonMobil, Holly worked for Chevron in various roles spanning state government relations, corporate advertising, federal, and international affairs. Holly started her career working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Holly holds a master’s degree in integrated marketing and communications from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Liberty University. Holly lives with her husband and son in Pittsburgh, PA.

David Miracle

Manager of Environmental Sustainability, Nucor

 Dave Miracle is the Manager of Environmental Sustainability for Nucor Corporation and has worked in the steel industry for 24 years. 

Dave joined Nucor in August 2020 as Manager of Environmental Affairs and accepted his current position of Manager of Environmental Sustainability in the January 2021. Dave began his career at AK Steel in 1998 and served in various environmental positions over his 22-year tenure, including General Manager of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability prior to joining Nucor. In 2019, Dave was appointed by the President of the United States as federal commissioner of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO). 

Dave holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky. 


Aaron Padilla

Vice President of Corporate Policy, API

Dr. Aaron Padilla is the Vice President of Corporate Policy at the American Petroleum Institute (API). He leads API’s efforts for corporate issues that apply across all segments of the oil and natural gas industry value chain: climate and environmental/social/governance (ESG); tax, trade, and accounting; and cybersecurity, physical security, and emergency preparedness and response.

Over his career he has worked in 30 countries across six continents. Prior to joining API, Aaron worked for Chevron with responsibilities for both supporting new capital investments on-the-ground globally and representing the company for international policy initiatives. Before Chevron, Aaron worked for the environmental consulting firm ERM.

Dr. Padilla is a Marshall Scholar and Truman Scholar, and he completed his M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University, where he studied as a Coca-Cola Scholar and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.


Jeffrey Soth

Legislative and Political Director, IUOE-PLCA

Jeffrey Soth is the Legislative and Political Director of the International Union of Operating Engineers, one of North America’s largest construction unions. Soth hails from Washington State, where he served as a staffer in both chambers of the legislature and as mayor of his hometown, the City of Snohomish, WA. Soth is a long-time member of Operating Engineers Local 302, Washington, Alaska and Idaho.

He possesses a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Master’s degree in political science from Western Washington University.

Appa Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference Speakers Chuck Zelek

Chuck Zelek, Ph.D.

Founder, Climate Smart Environmental Consulting

Charles (Chuck) Zelek, PhD., is founding partner at Climate Smart Environmental Consulting LLC, and principal at Climate Smart Business Solutions LLC. In these roles, Chuck provides expert perspective to clients on technologies and policies in both the energy and agricultural sectors as they relate to climate change and economic development, particularly in the area of carbon credits. This perspective is based on an over 20 year federal government career, including senior positions at both the US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

At DOE, Chuck occupied positions including director of the Economic Benefits Division at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh PA, and Senior Economist and Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary in the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) in Washington DC. In his role at NETL, Chuck led a group that developed and deployed expert modeling and forecasting capability to support policy and technology development. Chuck led the development of the representation of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) in the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) that is currently used by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to produce the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).