Panel Bios


Dr. Wallace Tyner
Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics

Professor Tyner is an energy economist and James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry (1966) from Texas Christian University, and his M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1977) degrees in economics from the University of Maryland. He has over 250 professional papers in these areas including three books and 90+ journal papers, published abstracts, and book chapters. His past work in energy economics has encompassed oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale, biomass, ethanol from agricultural sources, and solar energy. In June 2007, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana named Tyner an “Energy Patriot” for his work on energy policy analysis. In 2009 he received the Purdue College of Agriculture Outstanding Graduate Educator award and was part of a group that received the College Team award for multidisciplinary research on biofuels. In 2011, he served as Co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Biofuels.

keynote-speaker Photo By Sam Houston Univ.

Dr. Gene Theodori
Sam Houston University, Department of Sociology

Dr. Gene Theodori is Professor & Chair of Sociology and Director of the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University. Dr. Theodori earned a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from The Pennsylvania State University in 1999. He teaches, conducts basic and applied research, and writes professional and popular articles on rural and community development issues, energy and natural resource concerns, and related topics. A central feature of his work is the development of outreach educational and technical assistance programs that address important community-level issues associated with energy development. Dr. Theodori received the award for Excellence in Extension and Public Outreach from the Rural Sociological Society in 2010 and the awards for Excellence in Extension and Public Service, Excellence in Research, and Excellence in Teaching from the Southern Rural Sociological Association in 2007, 2011, and 2013, respectively. He served as President of the Southern Rural Sociological Association (2008-2009) and co-editor of the Journal of Rural Social Sciences (2010-2012). He currently serves as a member of the Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems Program management team.


Todd Melby
2 Below Zero,

Todd Melby is lead producer of Black Gold Boom.  He's also a reporter.  His stories have aired on U.S. public radio stations, including national shows such as Marketplace and The Story.  He's also covered breaking news stories, including I-35W bridge collapse, for Reuters.  He is a senior producer at 2 below zero, a public media nonprofit.  And he's won a pair of Edward R. Murrow awards, a Sigma Delta Chi award and a PRNDI award for radio documentaries produced with Diane Richard.


Dr. Ursula Rick
Western Energy Alliance, Regulatory Affairs

Ursula Rick has spent most of her career pursuing problems at the interface of science, policy and politics. In her current position as a regulatory analyst, Ursula works with industry and academic scientists to improve regulation of the oil and gas industry. Prior to that she worked on energy and natural resource policy for Se. Mark Udall (CO) in Washington, DC. During her post doc, she published on the role of the media reporting sea level rise, the impetus for which came from her PhD research on melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Ursula has a PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado, an MS in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College, and a BS in Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.


Dr. Don Siegel
Syracuse University, Department of Earth Sciences

Don Siegel received his Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota. In addition to being a professor at Syracuse University since 1982, he's also an Adjunct Professor of SUNY's Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Forest Engineering. Before his academic positions, he worked as a hydrologist/geochemist for the U.S. Geological Survey.


Dr. Otto Doering, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
Session Moderator

Otto Doering is Professor of Agricultural Economics and Public Policy Specialist at Purdue University. His responsibilities include teaching, research, and public service/engagement on policy issues relating to agriculture, resources, energy, and the environment. He has extensive public policy experience as a policy advisor and educator and has served as chair of the National Public Policy Education Committee. His energy related experience includes service on the Department of Energy's Biomass Advisory Panel and Indiana's Energy Development Board. He was director of Purdue University's Energy Policy Research and Information Program, directed Indiana's State Utility Forecasting Group, and more recently works with the National Science Foundation's Power Systems Engineering Research Center. His experience on environmental issues includes involvement in the National Hypoxia Assessment, the National Academies' recent reports on the Mississippi River, the National Research Council's report on Water Implications of Bio-fuel Production, and several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory committees. He has held advisory positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the '77, '90, and '96 farm bills, and works with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the design and assessment of agricultural conservation programs. Professor Doering has degrees from Cornell University and the London School of Economics. He is also Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.

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