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Craig C. Barto is co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of
Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc. He has more than 30 years' experience in the
Mr. Barto was essential to the formation of Signal Hill Petroleum and
continues to lead its evolution. In 1979, after studying economics at
UCLA, he partnered with his father in real estate development and
helped the business branch out into oil production.
Guided by his ability to see opportunity differently, Mr. Barto saw
potential in the Signal Hill area, predicting that oil production and
residential neighborhoods could thrive together. With a roll-up-your sleeves work ethic, he spent years working in the oil field while he and
his team established the business.
Today the company produces one million barrels of oil per year and
owns natural gas wells in Northern California, oil and gas exploration
ventures in Texas, and residential real estate, retail shopping centers and
office buildings in the Long Beach/Signal Hill area
In 2011, the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce honored him as the
Entrepreneur of the Year for his vision, leadership, achievement, and
Mr. Barto is an active advocate for the responsible production of
America's oil and gas resources. He is currently on the board of
directors for the Independent Petroleum Association of America
and was previously chairman of the California Independent
Mr. Barto and his wife enjoy their time with family and a wide range
of outdoor activities. They live in Newport Beach and have five grown
children and four grandchildren.
David L. Slater has been the Executive Vice President and Chief
Operating Officer for Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc. since 1998, and has
worked in the oil industry for more than 30 years.
Mr. Slater has been an important part of Signal Hill Petroleum's growth
in the last decade. As the head of command on a daily basis, Mr. Slater
guides a team of more than 100 employees in production operations,
drilling, exploration, real estate management, and community relations.
He also runs the day-to-day operations of Nodal Seismic, the geological
imaging company owned by Signal Hill Petroleum, created to gather
2D and 3D seismic data. His community consciousness reinforces both
companies' missions to be a positive contributor to the environment of
which they're a part.
His career began at Getty Oil Corporation where he was inspired by
a dynamic culture of engineers. He went on to become the regional
drilling manager for the western United States at Santa Fe Energy
Resources, later becoming the asset manager for coastal California.
He then joined Texaco as the regional director of new business
development for the western United States where he remained until he
was introduced to Signal Hill Petroleum.
Engaged with the communities in which he works, Mr. Slater
has served on a number of boards throughout his career. He is
passionate about his family, oil and gas, and America. He lives with
his wife and son in Huntington Beach.
Mr. Slater has a bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering
from Cal Poly Pomona and has been a registered petroleum
engineer in California since 1989.
Jeffrey Ocheltree is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice-President for Signal Hill Petroleum. He has been with the company since 1983.
Mr. Ocheltree oversees the financial and tax operations of Signal Hill Petroleum and most areas of the Barto family businesses. He has been involved in the financial operations of the company since the beginning and has assisted in developing the growth of the company and family estate planning over the last three decades.
Mr. Ocheltree joined the team after the successful acquisition of Shell California and Production Company's majority oil interest in the Signal Hill Central Unit, along with significant real estate in Signal Hill. Since that time, many additional oil acquisitions have been completed in the Signal Hill/Long Beach field to aggregate ownership interests in the oil-producing units.
He holds a degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from California State University, Fullerton. He has a master's degree in taxation from Golden Gate University and is a Certified Public Accountant in California.
Kevin Laney has been Vice President of Rig Operations for Signal Hill
Petroleum, Inc. since 2008 and has worked in the oil industry for 37 years.
Mr. Laney has been an integral part of Signal Hill Petroleum's history as
well as the Signal Hill and Long Beach oil industries. For the majority of
his career he worked as an independent operator in the region before
joining Signal Hill Petroleum as Operations Manager in 2003.
In his current role, Mr. Laney directs the company's drilling and
well service operations. He expanded the company's rig operations
department from one rig in 2003 to its current operation of four well
service rigs and two highly efficient drilling rigs. His work is essential
to the company's oil production.
Mr. Laney is the third of four generations in the oil business, following
in his grandfather's and father's footsteps. His son also works in the
industry. He lives in Signal Hill with his wife and has two grown children.
Sean McDaniel is Vice President of Production and Operations and has
been with Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc. since 1992.
Firsthand knowledge of virtually every job within his department and a
team-centric management style make Mr. McDaniel highly effective in
his role. To put it simply, he is in charge of everything above and below
ground, managing the production facilities, well sites, and construction
of new facilities.
In 2004, Mr. McDaniel oversaw the design, building and construction of
a cutting-edge, emissions control electrical turbine generator for the
company as the project manager. Signal Hill Petroleum was one of the
first petroleum companies to implement this technology, which produces
the cleanest electricity in the country.
Mr. McDaniel is a champion of the company's mission to be an efficient,
neighbor-friendly and environmentally conscious domestic oil producer.
He is passionate about his work, family and sports. He was born and
raised in Whittier where he lives with his wife and three daughters.
Michael Kuzmits is Vice President of Finance for Signal Hill Petroleum. He has 15 years of experience in finance and accounting.
Mr. Kuzmits oversees the financial services center, which provides critical financial and administrative services in the areas of financial planning and reporting, receipt and disbursement of funds, accounting, payroll, and internal controls. Shortly after joining Signal Hill Petroleum, he spearheaded the implementation of a cutting-edge accounting system for the company.
Mr. Kuzmits' career began in the U.S. Army's Field Artillery where he reached the rank of Captain during his 10+ years of active duty and reserve service. He has also worked in finance as a controller for several manufacturing companies.
Mr. Kuzmits holds a bachelor of business administration in accounting from the University of Notre Dame, where he also completed the Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) program. He also holds a master of science in accounting from Indiana University, South Bend. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Mr. Kuzmits lives in Orange County with his wife, Kate, and their son, Zakary.
Debra Montalvo Russell has served as Vice President of Community Relations and Real Estate Operations for Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc. since 2005.
In her multi-faceted role, she manages government affairs, urban seismic ventures and leads the community relations team, which promotes giving and events that improve the quality of life in Signal Hill and beyond.
As the driving force behind the company's public image and company morale, Ms. Russell has been responsible for the planning and execution of multiple annual community events from the Long Beach Movies in the Park program to Signal Hill Police Department's National Night Out. In the last three years, she has also exponentially grown the company's giving efforts, coordinating donations that support local police departments, libraries, parks and schools.
She earned her bachelor's degree in international business from California State University, Fresno and is today deeply involved with her community, Mrs. Russell currently serves on the boards for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, The Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at California State University Long Beach, and Partnerships in Excellence through the Memorial Medical Center Foundation.
She lives in Long Beach with her husband and their two children.