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EERC Welcomes Jessica Wick

Jessica Wick is a Geoscientist at the EERC, where she interfaces with a diverse team of scientists and engineers to assess project uncertainties in oil and gas development and geologic CO2 storage. Her work includes developing geophysical models of the subsurface, performing regional geological characterization and petrophysical analyses of geophysical well log data, and evaluating geologic core samples. She holds a B.S. degree in Geological Engineering with a specialty in petroleum from UND.

“It is great to be encouraged to learn and to ask about areas that I’m not an expert in. It has widely expanded my knowledge,” said Jessica. She was employed at the EERC as a student for 6 months in 2019, which she credits with her interest in joining our team full-time. “My time as a student showed me that the EERC is a place where you can grow and be a valued member of the team. The employees are friendly and truly care about each other.” 

Jessica grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with two brothers and an adopted sister from China. Although she doesn’t have family in Grand Forks, she does have two dogs, two cats, a bearded dragon, and a snake. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, snowboarding, and traveling.

Red Trail Energy Hosts Open House in Richardton

Red Trail Energy, LLC CEO Gerald Bachmeier
presents to community members. 
RICHARDTON, N.D. – Red Trail Energy, LLC (RTE) recently hosted an open house event at the American Legion in Richardton. Approximately 40 community members attended to hear about the latest developments on a local carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

With the support of the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), RTE is investigating CCS technology as a way to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions associated with ethanol production. Reducing emissions enables ethanol producers to be more competitive in states that have low-carbon fuel programs, such as California. CCS technology captures and permanently stores carbon dioxide emissions.

RTE CEO Gerald Bachmeier gave a presentation about the project and answered questions from community members. Scientists and engineers from the University of North Dakota (UND) Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) provided information about RTE’s seismic survey results and the suitability of the geology at the site to permanently store carbon dioxide. 

“Using CCS to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of our ethanol ensures the long-term viability of RTE in a highly competitive global market," said Bachmeier. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the EERC in this investigation, and we are very appreciative of the community support thus far.”

Next steps for the RTE CCS Project involve further studying the deep rock layers at the RTE site and obtaining necessary permits and regulatory compliance for safe and permanent carbon dioxide storage. 

EERC Principal Policy and Regulatory Strategist
Kevin Connors explains CCUS storage layers.
Questions about the project can be directed to:

Dustin Willett, RTE Chief Operating Officer
(701) 974-3308,

Nikki Massmann, EERC Communications Director 
(701) 777-5428,

EERC Welcomes Dawn Zahradka

Dawn Zahradka is a Building Services Technician at the EERC, where she cleans and maintains specific areas of the EERC building complex.

“My coworkers are the best. I felt welcomed and like part of the team from the start,” said Dawn. She has worked custodial jobs in the past and brings many years of experience to the EERC. 

Dawn was born and raised in the country outside of Grand Forks. She always had a knack for working on vehicles and also spent time cleaning scrap metal for her dad. Dawn loves spending time with her children and grandchildren and enjoys their unique senses of humor.