Leaders honored at Industry Appreciation Dinner

Leigh Black Irvin
The Daily Times
T. Greg Merrion

FARMINGTON — The Desk and Derrick Club of Farmington hosted an Industry Appreciation Dinner earlier this month in Farmington's Courtyard by Marriott ballroom. Guest speaker for the event was T. Greg Merrion, President of Merrion Oil and Gas. Merrion was also one of the honorees.

Other honorees at this year’s dinner, held Oct. 20th, were John Alexander, Steve Dunn, Kurt Fagrelius, Steve Henke, Jerry Long, Richard Peterson, Dave Simmons, Rony Simmons, and Neil Tefteller. Earl Brown and Joe Salmon were honored posthumously, with family members accepting honors on their behalf.

While the Desk and Derrick Club holds the Industry Appreciation Dinner annually, presentation of honors to specific industry individuals occurs once every five years, and is organized by Dugan Productions. This year’s dinner also celebrated the 95th anniversary of the discovery of commercial natural gas in Northwest New Mexico.

John Alexander

Merrion said he agreed to be guest speaker at the event before he learned that he would also be one of the honorees. Merrion spoke to the group about the importance of the discovery of gas in the county, which occurred on Oct. 21, 1921. “That first gas well was located not too far from Aztec," said Merrion. "It’s particularly exciting for me to talk to people about how important the Basin has been since then, not only for our community but also for the entire country.”

Merrion also focused on how the industry has changed in the last 95 years. “As we celebrate this milestone, it’s also good to use this as an opportunity to honor people who have made a difference in the oil and gas industry.”

Earl Brown
Richard Peterson

John Roe, Engineering Manager with Dugan Productions, explained that honorees are chosen by past honor recipients. This year, the 12 honor recipients were chosen from a pool of 34 nominated individuals.

“We want to recognize individuals who have made an impact; those who have done something special in the oil and gas industry, or who worked on a project that had a real effect on the industry,” said Roe.

Farmington Desk and Derrick Club President Philana Thompson said the club has been in existence for 59 years and is open to anyone associated in any way with the energy industry.  Thompson said the club currently has 48 members, but said that membership has waned a bit due to the industry's economic slump.

Steve Dunn

She added that this downturn makes organizations like the Desk and Derrick Club even more important.

“We provide support for each other and are like a family,” she said. “Several members who recently lost a job have found that the club is a good place to network, for employment and other resources. We try to pass on information to each other.”

Thompson said the club, which meets monthly, usually offers members a presentation on topics such as education and self-help issues, in addition to networking opportunities. The club also offers scholarships for San Juan College students planning to go into the energy industries.

Kurt Fagrelius

Roe agrees that membership in professional organizations like the Desk and Derrick Club are beneficial for those in the energy industry.

Earl Brown

“Especially with smaller companies that don’t have a lot of staff, association with a professional group helps people know what’s new, what’s changing in the industry, and provides that needed support and opportunity to share ideas.”

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-546-4621.

Joe Salmon