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Dickinson native named in energy sector 40 under 40

Dickinson native Sarita Schank was recently honored on Hart Energy’s 40 under 40 list, which highlights the leadership of exceptional individuals in the oil and gas industry.

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Sarita Schank, a Dickinson native, has been recognized by Hart Energy for her exceptional leadership. (Contributed / Robert Avila)

Sarita Schank, 34, has been recognized by Hart Energy’s 40 under 40 program as an exemplar of entrepreneurial spirit, community engagement and creative problem solving in the fossil fuel industry.

Schank grew up north of Dickinson and is a member of Dickinson High School’s Class of 2005. As a DHS student, she competed in basketball and volleyball. Schank majored in accounting, graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2010 and found a job close to home.

“The oil industry was pretty hot at that time. I ended up getting a job like less than a mile from my house (in Dickinson) at Wyoming Casing Service,” she said during a phone interview with the Press. “That’s how I got my start in the oil and gas industry.”

Schank’s husband Garrett is also from Dickinson and an alumnus of Trinity High School, but they didn’t meet until college through a mutual friend when he was studying at NDSU in Fargo.

“We actually ended up studying abroad at the same school in Australia, and that’s where we really got to know each other,” she said, adding that her husband has been supportive of her career.

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Schank is now the chief accounting officer of Momentum Minerals in Houston, where she lives with her husband and 3-year-old daughter Juliette. At Momentum Minerals, she is responsible for leading the human relations, acquisition, accounting and treasury functions of the organization. The company buys gas and oil royalties from landowners.

She shared some advice for young people seeking to make their way in the world of business.

“When I started at Apollo around 2014, I was hired as an accountant to help process their revenue. Then when we spun off (and became Momentum), we no longer had the Apollo back office to help us with our daily functions. They just kept asking me to do things. I kept just saying yes and figuring out how to do things,” Schank said. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you’re afraid to that it might be a dumb question because chances are, it’s not. I feel like that’s helped me so much. Just continue to ask questions until you get where you need to go… Eventually you’ll get the answer that you’re looking for.”

Adaptability is crucial to succeed in her field, Schank said in a Hart Energy press release .

“This industry is constantly evolving, and especially now during a consolidation period, leaders must be able to adjust to the changes and react with solutions. Leaders also need to be able to listen to others and understand the entirety of a problem before throwing themselves into it,” she said.

Schank believes oil and gas are beneficial to society and that they have been unfairly demonized.

“The oil and gas industry needs to take charge of the narrative regarding the benefits of oil and gas. These products drive the world and everything around us in our daily lives, yet the image around them has become so negative and even considered detrimental to society’s well being,” she said. “We need to do better at conveying the benefits of the products we produce to society and the economy."

According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, domestic energy consumption is 35% petroleum, 34% natural gas, 10% coal, 9% nuclear, 3% wind, 1.3% solar and 7.7% other renewables. Furthermore, 79% of all energy consumed in the United States is derived from fossil fuels.

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