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Kenneth W.R. Vollman
Another in the long line of Saskatchewan farm boys to make it good in the western Canadian oil patch, Ken was born in Macklin in 1944 and received bachelor and masters degrees in engineering from the University of Saskatchewan.
Upon graduating in 1965, he joined Mobil Oil Canada and worked throughout the company's western Canadian operations, in all aspects of drilling, production, gas processing, and reservoir engineering.
In 1973, Ken left Mobil to join the National Energy Board to assist that agency in developing Canada's response to the Arab oil embargo. He rose quickly through the ranks at the NEB, and was named director general of energy regulation in 1982 and director general of pipeline regulation in 1985.
He became a temporary, then a full member in 1988, and served on panels hearing toll, export licence, and new facility applications. Between 1988 and 1992, he also served as designated officer and administrator of the Northern Pipeline Agency.
From January 1995 to July 1998, Ken served as vice-chairman of the NEB, a period which saw him chair the board's inquiry into stress corrosion cracking. That panel's report successfully addressed what was then a growing problem for Canadian pipelines, and is still used as a reference document by the industry.
As vice-chairman, he also led several case panels which opened new supply regions or changed industry thinking on infrastructure, including those reviewing the Sable Offshore Energy Project (1996-97) and the Alliance Pipeline project (1997-98).
In August 1998, Ken was named to fill the shoes of retiring board chairman Roland Priddle, and during an 11-year term as chairman and chief executive officer, he supervised an increasingly important list of board activities and negotiated the Mackenzie Gas Project Cooperation Plan that provided a workable blueprint for coordinating reviews of that project by no fewer than 14 regulatory agencies. He subsequently chaired NEB hearings into the Mackenzie Gas Project between 2000 and 2007, and following his retirement as chairman was appointed a temporary member to continue his involvement in that important review.
Among Ken's notable achievements during his tenure at the NEB, he championed an initiative in 1997-98 to move the board from prescriptive regulation to goal-oriented regulation and participated in a landmark TransCanada PipeLines Limited facilities and tolls case in 1988-89 that established many of the principles used in subsequent pipeline hearings, including the use of rolled-in tolling methodologies and economic feasibility tests.
He initiated and participated in an omnibus cost of capital hearing that addressed capital structure and return on equity issues and resulted in an appropriate annual adjustment mechanism for NEB regulated companies that dramatically reduced the need for those companies to apply annually for new tolls.
In a letter supporting Ken's induction to the Hall of Fame, Priddle-himself an inductee-commented on the character the farm boy from Saskatchewan brought to the board. "Ken brought a straight furrow approach to the NEB chairmanship. His term will be recognized for continued improvement of regulatory processes, the first major redesign of the NEB staff organization in 40 years, and, particularly, for [a] productive, cooperative approach with other regulators, Canadian and international. He brought a principled, sure-footed character to the chairmanship."Deeks.