2019 Williston Petroleum Banquet

The Eighth Annual API Awards Banquet was a huge success. We had a sold out courtyard, great food, incredible people and companies who represented the industry!! This year we had a lot of nominations, seems to be the year to recognize and reward those in the energy industry. It started off with Cool Beans playing during the social while 300 people were networking and they played during dinner. Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken our Emcee started the night off great, followed by Williston Mayor Howard Klug welcoming the packed crowd. District #1 Representative Pat Hatlestad provided the innovation. Senator Hoeven provide us a welcoming video. 

The first award, the Industry Innovation Award, went to WDEA for their Wise Roads Project. Then the Community Service Award went to KLX Energy for their outstanding community efforts!! Followed by the Outstanding Achievement to a company and individual. The company went to Secure Energy Services and for an individual to Ron Ness. Then we provided the extra effort awards with Volunteer of the Year Award presented to Heidi Scott, from Holiday Stations, for her volunteering and dedication over the last few years. Followed by the MVP Award going to past-president of Williston API, current golf, chili cook-off, and education committee member Monte Besler “the FracN8R”. Monte’s emotional speech left the audience in awe and a standing ovation!! The API Board of directors provided a chef’s coat and hat to Jamie the head chef at the Grand Williston Hotel and Jamie brought his team of servers and cooks up on the stage. It’s all about thanking those you work with and recognizing your team. 

Capping the awards off with the most prestigious award Life Time Achievement Award going to Larry Laqua and Gary Routh. Larry was a very active member of the Williston API for many years serving as secretary and treasurer in the early days. His committee leadership with the golf tournament and chili cook-off for many years resulted in successful events. Gary was very active at API meetings and activities in the Williston, Sidney and Dickinson areas. He helped organize and participated in API golf tournaments in Williston for many years. He also helps to raise money and donations as well as providing space for storage of API equipment and is always ready to help with whatever is needed from cleanup to cooking. Back in the early days of the Williston Basin Chapter of API these two guys were inseparable and worked tireless at all of the events and meetings raising funds and helping run meetings. They helped the Williston Basin Chapter of API become what it is today!! 

Past Life Time Achievement winners Larry Dokken, Cliff Binks, and Kathy Neset provided a few words at the ceremony as well as Shari Buck from Senator Hoeven office, Rick Collins from Senator Cramer’s office, and a representative from Congressman’s Kelly Armstrong office. Larry Dokken asked the audience for a moment of silence for the following people; the passing of Life Time Achievement winner Jerry Illerbrun's wife Vivian, past Life Time Achievement winner Wayne Biberdorf father in-law passed away Gerald (Jerry) Rodvold, the shooting at Cash Wise in Williston, and the massacre in Mexico with ties to Williston. 

To cap the night off Pat Bertagnolli, VP of Human relations from MBI Energy Services provided a great inspirational speech. He brought a table full of people from Watford City to help him in his presentation. Mostly kids making the difference in recruiting for MBI. If we could take anything away from his speech it would be listen to your employees and future employees, get to know them and their families. If their families are happy then you will have a happy and productive employee!!


Ken Callahan