A great lineup of speakers will be at the Eddy County Literacy Conversation on March 6, 2023. Check back to this page regularly for updates.
Shannon Johnson – Master of Ceremonies
Shannon Johnson is vice president of networking and partnerships for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. She has more than 20 years of experience in stakeholder relations and community development; helping to facilitate relationships between private business, public entities, and non-profit organizations with the philosophy that all should be welcome at the table to build thriving communities.
Shannon’s passion for helping children see beyond their current circumstances to a bolder future through educational opportunities has been a driving force throughout her career. It’s that passion that brought her to the Ripken Foundation in 2022 where she continues to work with educators and funding partners through the foundation’s STEM Center program.
Dr. Ray Perryman – Keynote Speaker
Dr. Ray Perryman is President and CEO of The Perryman Group, an economic research and analysis firm based in Waco, Texas.
He holds a BS in Mathematics from Baylor University and a PhD in Economics from Rice university. He always felt that the BS would have been somehow more appropriate for Economics. He took his first economics course on a coin flip between economics and psychology. If it had gone the other way, there might be some really messed up people in the world. In additional to his earned degrees, Dr. Perryman has received an honorary doctorate from the International Institute for Advanced Studies.
John Trischitti III currently serves as the Executive Director of the Literacy Coalition of the Permian Basin. Trischitti served as Director of the Midland County Public Libraries from 2011 to 2019. Trischitti is a former Texas Librarian of the Year and is a past recipient of the Rosalind Redfern Library Benefactor Award. Trischitti is a TED Talk presenter on the social impacts of low literacy. He is a frequent speaker and program presenter across the country on children’s literacy and best practices on management and leadership, including the 2023 World Literacy Summit.
Christine Quesada is the Assistant Director of Literacy and Humanities with the New Mexico Public Education Department. She has over twenty years of experience in education, thirteen of which were in the classroom. She is a former elementary school teacher and instructional coach/coordinator of Rio Rancho Public Schools. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and International Studies from Texas A&M University. Christine is a passionate advocate of the science of reading and professional learning for teachers so all students can have equitable and effective instruction in reading.
Khushroo ‘Khush’ Ghadiali is Devon Energy’s Community Relations Representative in Southeast New Mexico. A communications and marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience in community and governmental affairs, Khush also strongly believes in civic service and the concept of volunteerism and giving back. He currently serves on several organizational boards and values connecting people and organizations with the common goal of improving STEAM opportunities in the area.
In his spare time, Khush enjoys photography, dabbles in the culinary arts and is an avid reader.
Tracee Bentley is the President and CEO of Permian Strategic Partnership, a collaboration between local communities and oil and gas companies operating in the Permian Basin.
Tracee’s extensive experience and leadership within the energy industry well-qualify her to lead this first of its kind partnership.
Before joining PSP as its first CEO, Bentley was the Executive Director of the Colorado Petroleum Council, a division of the American Petroleum Institute, which focuses on state and local policy and supporting the development of Colorado’s energy resources, including hydraulic fracturing and energy infrastructure.
She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University and prior to receiving her bachelor’s, Bentley worked in Washington, DC for U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Tracee and her husband Mike have three children, twin daughters and a son. All three are currently enrolled in college.
Kate Hoback is the HR Director for Lower 48 Functions at ConocoPhillips. Kate began her career with ConocoPhillips in 2010. Her thirteen-year tenure with the company has included roles in recruiting, talent management, experienced hiring and business partnership. In her current role, her team works closely with other business leaders to align Human Resources strategy within the company’s largest business segment.
Kate is passionate about developing others and investing in her community. She has previously been named in the Oklahoma Magazine 40 under 40 and Tulsa Business Journal Woman of Distinction.
Kate currently resides in Midland, Texas with her husband and three children ages one to six.
Travis Gibb, Vice President and Refinery Manager for HF Sinclair Navajo Refining LLC brings to the panel nearly 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Travis received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A& M University. Travis began his career as an operator in a chemical plant with Nalco Chemicals in Sugarland TX. Over the next 18 years, Travis found his way through various positions and leadership roles with Koch Industries and Phillips 66. In 2021, Travis joined HF Sinclair, at our corporate office in Dallas TX, as the Director of Refining Practices and Innovation. In 2022, Travis relocated to Artesia, NM and joined HF Sinclair Navajo Refining as the VP and Refinery Mgr.
As an empowering leader, Travis’s expertise focusses on site culture, team development, mechanical integrity, process technical and equipment reliability all while identifying and helping to shape impactful leaders.
Michael Speir-Senior is current the Human Resources Advisor for Chevron’s Midcontinent Business Unit. Married with two children and a graduate of Auburn University, Mr Speir has over three decades of HR experience in the Energy Sector. He began his career over 31 years ago with Chevron (originally Texaco) in a Regional Staff Human Resources role supporting Upstream assets spanning two thirds of the United States, both on and offshore. He has gone on to roles of increasing responsibility supporting Upstream and Downstream organizations across all facets of their businesses in the decades to follow, leading to his current role based in Midland, Texas.
Additionally, Mr Speir’s past experiences include service on Chevron HR’s Corporate Policy Review Committee, HR functional support for World Wide Emergency Response, former United Way facility Campaign Chairman, Junior Achievement instructor and member of advisory board for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-Jackson County for Process Operations Technology Technical Programs. Mr Speir currently serves on the Permian Basin Workforce Board and is an active member in his church.
Denis B. Asay
Denis B. Asay is the Manager of Human Resources at SIMCO, the managing and operating contractor for the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
Denis has over 26 years of Human Resources experience in multiple industries including mining, large electrical construction, high tech, and manufacturing. He has previously worked in Human Resources at other projects within the Department of Energy and has been with the WIPP Project since January of 2021.
Denis has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Master’s in Business Administration. Denis’ enjoys the outdoors and sports, a good book and family and church activities with his wife and 7 children. Yes, 7.
Mike Rocha is a SIMCO Vice President and the Baseline Integration Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.
He has more than 30 years of progressive business management experience in field and corporate leadership roles on complex projects in the government and commercial nuclear, security, and environmental cleanup sectors.
Mike’s business acumen extends to all facets of deployed project controls, estimating, performance, finance and accounting, and associated services to support large-scale engineering, design, construction, and operations for DOE, Department of Defense, and commercial industry projects.
Before joining SIMCO, he served as a senior manager at the Vogtle units 3 & 4 plants in Georgia, a Bechtel-led project to finish construction of the first new nuclear power plants to be built in the U.S. in more than 30 years. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from California State University at Chico. His professional certifications include: Master’s in project Controls, Assistant Project Manager, Six Sigma Champion and Yellow Belt.