Mike Cook, The Las Cruces Bulletin | May 16th, 2022The new president and CEO of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) wants to “show people what we’re doing” for the state’s economy, the environment and the average American who fills his or her vehicle with gasoline to get work every day.
“You have to tell your story,” said Doug Ackerman, who took over NMOGA leadership March 1.
The industry is much more than a pump jack pumping oil out of the ground, he said.
Oil and gas production supports more than 134,000 jobs in the state and $27 billion in annual economic activity, according to the NMOGA. Taxes and royalties paid by oil and gas producers account for $5.3 billion in state and local revenues, 35 percent of New Mexico’s general fund budget and $1.3 billion annually for schools in Las Cruces and across the state.
Ackerman would like New Mexicans to be aware not just of those numbers, but of the people behind them and those who benefit directly from them.
For example, he said, about 70 percent of workers in oil fields in the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico are Native Americans, and about 40 percent of those working in Permian Basin oil fields in southeast New Mexico are Hispanic.
And, Ackerman said, the oil and gas industry is “a bridge to the middle class.” High-school graduates can get jobs in the industry starting at $60,000 and progressing into six figures, he said.
NMOGA’s Brighter Futures Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to nonprofits and educational organizations across the state, including $40,000 in recent grants to Casa de Peregrinos emergency food bank, Jardin de los Niños childcare and education program for homeless and near homeless children and their families and El Caldito Soup Kitchen, all in Las Cruces.
Ackerman was in Las Cruces in May to meet with 2022 New Mexico Teacher of the Year Lorynn Guerrero, who teaches English at the New America School, and to recognize and reward teachers Cassie Goff, who teaches agriscience at Centennial High School, and Jaime Alvarez, who teaches second grade at J. Paul Taylor Academy.
“At the end of the day, we’re good citizens,” Ackerman said.
Part of his job is also to correct misperceptions New Mexicans have about the oil and gas industry, Ackerman said, including that the industry is at odds with renewable energy resources.
“It’s an ‘and,’” Ackerman said, as oil and gas and renewable energy work together to ensure New Mexico’s and the nation’s energy future.
Part of NMOGA’s strategic reset is also better communication with New Mexico legislators, he said. NMOGA recently hosted members of the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee in Artesia, Ackerman said, showing them “boots in the ground” in the oil patch.
“Ackerman brings 25 years of transformation leadership in market-focused strategy development, category leadership, brand management and public affairs experience throughout the food system value chain – including agriculture, retail, foodservice and consumer packaged goods,” NMOGA said in a news release. He “has extensive experience growing and working with major consumer brands such as Publix Super Markets, Pizza Hut, Minute Maid, Anheuser Busch and more.”
Most recently, Ackerman was CEO of U.S.D.A.’s Dairy Alliance. He also served as executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, leading marketing, research and regulation for the $10 billion Florida citrus industry.
Ackerman has a master of business administration degree from the University of Tampa and a bachelor of business administration from Sam Houston State University. He is a native of Austin, Texas.
Visit www.nmoga.org and www.nmoga.org/brighterfuturefund.