Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised to benefit the Williston community thanks to the efforts of a senior Halliburton official, and he has received an award for that contribution.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council has recognized Brent Eslinger with its Distinguished Service Award, given each year to an industry veteran who has gone above and beyond normal job duties to help NDPC educate the public and reach out to the community through industry and association activities.

Eslinger has been at the forefront of Halliburton’s operations in North Dakota for the past 15 years. He is senior district manager for Halliburton and leads the local management team. In that role, he works closely with the Rockies Region Management team to develop strategies and make operational decisions for the Williston District. 

Eslinger is also a key volunteer in the Williston Basin Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute, which annually raises thousands of dollars for scholarships and charities. 

Ken Callahan, president of API, said he himself was recruited by Eslinger for API in 2009. 

“With his leadership, we were able to think big and start reaching milestones,” Callahan said. “We were able to set up two endowments, one for $50,000 at Montana Tech and another at UND. Within a year and a half we paid those off. That was $200,000 we raised and gave back. That is four $2,000-dollar scholarships, two each at UND and Montana Tech for life under the API name.”

Callahan describes Eslinger as a man of few words, who doesn’t want to be in the limelight.

“I know he had tears in his eyes, though, last year when we gave him the Outstanding Achievement Award for an individual at the API Banquet,” Callahan said. “He doesn’t want to be recognized himself. He wants his company to get recognition, but he doesn’t want to be at the forefront. But he does a lot of things behind the scene.”

Callahan recalled Eslinger staying to help one of his employees cook after a golf tournament and serve food. 

“I don’t know another region manager at his level who would roll up his sleeves and go to work beside his men like that. And not just once in awhile. He does that all the time,” he said. “He’s looked up to in his community as a great leader and mentor, and he is my mentor. I joked about it at the API Banquet, but he is the guy that when you have a tough question and need an answer he will give you the advice you need.”

Eslinger also serves on advisory committees for Bismarck State College’s engineering program and the TrainND program at Williston State College, and has been a big supporter of Montana Tech’s engineering program, as well.

“We could always count on Brent to be supportive and engaged, always offering his help and services with technical support on new rules and regulations, working with local community officials, giving tours, or supporting industry and the Petroleum Council through sponsorships and support,” NDPC President Ron Ness said. “Brent is a great example of a distinguished leader. He works hard — is committed to getting the job done right. he makes those around him better, and he’s more than happy to let others get the credit and publicity.”

Other awards given at the recent NDPC conference:

• Excellence in Community Engagement, to Crestwood Equity Partners, for “extraordinary commitment to building better relations between the industry and community.” 

Crestwood pledged $1 million to the Head Start facility in Mandaree, which will help provide educational programs for low-income children, as well as comprehensive health, nutrition and parent involvement services. 

The company has supported many established community traditions, including the Ray Youth Rodeo and Fun Nights, Epping’s Buffalo Trail Days and the Mandaree Pow Wow Celebration. 

They also annually hold the Crestwood Halloween Party in Epping, and the West Segment Thanksgiving Dinner, prepared and served by Crestwood Arrow employees to more than 600 people.

• Excellence in Environmental Stewardship, to Targa Resources, for its work to advance microbiological treatment of soils contaminated by crude oil. Its pilot program has made great strides in making bioremediation a viable alternative, and could one day be a sustainable alternative for traditional landfill disposal of oil and gas wastes.

• Excellence in Safety, to Enerplus Corporation for designing and implementing an automated tank gauging process that eliminated the need for workers to manually gauge and retrieve oil samples from storage tanks. The project was conducted in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and has the potential to prevent potential health risks and even fatalities in the future, as well as improving the precision of measurements.

• Outstanding Service Award, to North Dakota Rep. Al Carlson, for elected officials and public servants who go beyond the normal call of duty in making the state a better place to live and work. Carlson was first elected to the North Dakota House in 1993, and has served as Majority Leader for the North Dakota Republican Party since 2009.

• NDPC Hall of Fame, to Craig Smith. He is a partner in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Department at the Crowley Fleck law firm, and vice chairman and chairman of the North Dakota Petroleum Council from 2008 through 2012. He is a member of the council’s board and executive committee.

“Throughout his many years as an NDPC board member and legal counsel, Craig has been a tremendous asset for the industry,” said Ness. “He has been instrumental in many victories for the industry and led the NDPC board during a period of significant growth. His leadership and wise counsel has been invaluable in making both the NDPC and industry as strong as it is today.”

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