Mindy Stitt, the executive director of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has more than a few challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One is an 8,000 square warehouse filled with supplies the OERB normally hands out to students during environmental presentations.
Then there is the Oct. 8 John C. Godwin memorial golf tournament that will replace the annual expo that the OERB recently cancelled because of the pandemic.
“We canceled the Expo for this year but we wanted to provide the opportunity for our vendors and our operators to network,” said Stitt as she spoke with OK Energy Today about the tournament. “So this is a good opportunity to do that.”
Stitt says there will be extra precautions taken when the tournament is held at the Lincoln Golf Course in Oklahoma City.
“We want our group to have a great time but we want to protect them while they’re doing that,” she added. “They were disappointed but everything’s been canceled or postponed. We try to keep our vendors engaged so they come back next year and this is a way to do it.”
Thousands usually attend the Expo and part of the event has been the Head Country Bar-B-Q service. Instead of the Expo, Head Country will be part of the memorial golf tournament.
Already the OERB is about half-way full for the tournament which is named after John Godwin, an OERB member who worked on the expo every year and according to Stitt, “never missed a golf tournament. He was an amazing member of our group.”
But back to that 8,000-square foot warehouse. In addition to cleaning up 17,600 sites of abandoned wells at a cost of nearly $200 million over the past 26 years, the OERB sponsors an environmental program aimed at helping teachers and educate students statewide.
But COVID-19 has forced the OERB to make drastic changes in presenting the workshops for teachers and students.
“We’re not able to do that but we’re planning innovative ways to help them such as starting some virtual classrooms and taking care of our lessons in an online program. It’s tough but we’re planning good ways to reach teachers and help students,” explained Stitt.
That’s why the warehouse is a big challenge for Stitt and others at the OERB.
“It’s tough but we have an 8,000-square foot warehouse and it’s full of supplies for our workshops. And we’re figuring how we can help people with that—give teachers our supplies and get them to students.”
Typically in pre-COVID-19 days, teachers would attend OERB workshops and leave with a kit full of supplies for the activities to be held with students. Cost of the kits, according to Stitt ranged from $300 to $1,100.
“We certainly can’t be shipping those out. So we are working on smaller kits to send out to the teachers so they can hand them out to the students to do their hands-on activities.”
Just one of the challenges facing the OERB as it attempts to carry out its goals with the help of the oil and gas industry.
“It’s interesting times but we’re doing really well,” said Stitt.