PLJV + ConocoPhillips: Celebrating 25 Years

On June 22, 2016, PLJV celebrated 25 years of partnership with ConocoPhillips (Phillips Petroleum).

PLJV was honored to have Don Hrap, president of ConocoPhillips Lower 48, and three of our ConocoPhillips board representatives (Kari Gibson, 2015-current; Eileen Dey, 2013-2014; and Tuss Erickson, 1997-2002) at the celebration.

“The partnership between PLJV and ConocoPhillips is astonishing. I believe it is the most effective way to deliver boots-on-the-ground conservation—from the collaboration approach to the science and capacity,” said Kari Gibson, PLJV’s current ConocoPhillips board representative.

During his remarks, Hrap said he could feel the passion in the room. “Any type of joint venture, any type of partnership, any type of activity that goes on for 25 years has to have something special in it…and when I take a look at this, what I see and what I hear is that we have an alignment of purpose and we have passionate, skilled individuals. I want to thank everyone, all the past people that have been involved, all the people who are currently involved and all the people who are continuing to be involved. We are honored to be part of this Joint Venture.” Listen to Hrap’s full speech.

Stories and Quotes


At the reception and dinner, a few of the partners who were there at the beginning shared stories of the early years. Read some of their remarks below and listen to Mike O’Meilia tell stories of PLJV’s genesis and how the growing partnership was like a big family, squabbles and all.

“It’s been my distinct pleasure to be associated with PLJV. This is a great thing—to celebrate, to remember our history, and to get the folks back together that helped start this thing. PLJV was not one of the original joint ventures, therefore it didn’t get federal funding to begin with. So one of the unique things about this JV was the contribution from Phillips Petroleum. Without their funding, PLJV would never have started when it did. For a fair period of time, that was the only funding we had to do projects.

~John Cornely

“Phillips Petroleum (ConocoPhillips) was instrumental in how the Joint Venture came together. Not only were they a great partner, they were there every board meeting. They listened to everybody, and they had a lot of comments. If you think back 25 years, what ConocoPhillips did—as a private organization, an oil and gas company—to step into this partnership arena… and they didn’t just throw money at the Joint Venture. They became a REAL partner, and they still are to this day.”

~Joe Kramer

“I was selected as the first PLJV chairman, and then my life got real busy. After several meetings, we had developed the documents that would become our guiding light in working with playa lakes and, more importantly, with each other. Shortly after our formation, O’Meilia called and said that he had talked with Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips), and they were willing to become a partner and provide grants for playa work. Soon we were meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas, to sign an agreement. This event was the signal that our efforts would be successful. We were able to select and implement projects in each state, projects that would not have been possible without the help of Phillips. Working with private landowners, we were able to move forward, without having to make land purchases, and concentrate on actual habitat work.”

~Bruce Morrison

Posted: September 19, 2016