The EERC Energy Champion Award was created in 1986 to honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary personal commitment to energy and environmental research and development. Since then, the award has been presented 12 times to honorees who represent both public service and the private sector, most recently to North Dakota Petroleum Council’s President, Ron Ness, in June 2022.
Over a more than 30-year career, Ness’s leadership and commitment to clean, sustainable energy development in North Dakota have resulted in impacts that reach beyond the state to the nation and the world.
In a position he has held since 1999, Ness’s primary role with NDPC is government relations in North Dakota. He serves as the industry spokesperson and manages the association, which represents more than 700 companies involved in all aspects of North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. Under his leadership, North Dakota oil production has increased from 80,000 bbl/day to over 1.1 million bbl/day. Prior to his position with NDPC, Ness was President of the North Dakota Retail and Petroleum Marketers Association. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with the State of North Dakota, primarily as Deputy Commissioner of Labor.
Ness was appointed by North Dakota Governors Schafer, Hoeven, Dalrymple, and Burgum to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the Oil and Gas Research Council, the Empower North Dakota Commission, and the Governor’s Revenue Advisory Committee. As an Empower North Dakota Commissioner, he advocated for the creation of the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority and for the designation of the EERC as the State Energy Research Center (SERC).
Ness serves as the Chairman of the Board for Sanford Health Bismarck. He is also on the Board of Directors for the national Mule Deer Foundation, the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, and the Council for Secure America and serves on the Board of Regents at the University of Mary. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Leadership North Dakota. Ness served on the EERC Foundation® Board of Directors for 13 years, chairing the Board for the last few years. In this role, he was instrumental in helping to enhance and transform the EERC Foundation into what it is today. Ness has actively participated in the EERC’s Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership Program, receiving its Pioneer Award in 2009; Bakken Production Optimization Program (BPOP); and iPIPE (intelligent Pipeline Integrity) Program since their inception as well as partnering with the EERC on countless other projects in North Dakota. Ness has been an incredible mentor, partner, and friend to the EERC through the years. For this and his dedication to clean, sustainable energy development for his entire career, the EERC is honored to present Ron Ness with the 2022 Energy Champion Award.