James L. (Jim) Stafford (July 1934-May 2004)
, was a professional in mass communications for over 35 years. Before assuming the full-time NARO presidency in 1979, from which he retired in March 2000, he was Executive Vice President of one of the worlds largest public relations firms, ICPR. He was CEO of New York and Washington, D.C. offices of that Beverly Hills-based firm. ICPR’s client list listed over fifteen Fortune 500 firms, and included 3-M, MGM, PBS, AMF, Crocker Banks of California, and portions of Texaco and Exxon. Earlier, he was assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, dealing daily with the nation’s most influential media. That position included deep media involvement during the Arab Oil Embargo and he also served as a ranking member of the White House Task force on Airline Deregulation under President Gerald Ford. For an earlier decade, he was with Pepsi-Cola and PepsiCo, its holding company, as both PR Director and Director or Corporate, Government and financial communications from its New York headquarters.
Stafford also was an account executive with N.W. Ayer & Son, the nation’s oldest and most revered advertising agency, in its Chicago offices. He was agency point man for the legendary Great Ideas of Western Man advertising campaign for Container Corp. of America, considered one of the top 20 institutional campaigns in history by Advertising Age magazine. Earlier, he was director of public relations and publications for the U.S. Jr. Chamber of Commerce at its national headquarters in Tulsa. He had been a member of the U.S. Jaycee Crew since 1970 and also a longtime member of the Tulsa Jaycee Oldtimers Club. While in Washington, he partnered on many lobbying projects with former Jaycee Executive VP Tom Donelly. Both were active in keeping in touch with D.C. Jaycee alumni.
He had been an author, newspaper correspondent, magazine editor and public speaker. He lectured on mass communications, advertising and public relations at New York University, SMU (adjunct professor), and Baylor and before dozens of professional groups throughout the nation. He held over two dozen national awards in public affairs, public relations and public service advertising. In 1995 he was presented a Distinguished Service Award by the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.
A native Oklahoma, he had a B.S. degree from Oklahoma City University with graduate studies at Oklahoma University in marketing communications. He was the third generation of his family to be involved in energy. His active participation in that field as investor and PR consultant began over 25 years ago when representing Western Co. of North America, then one of the nation’s premier energy service firms. He was an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (1968) and served as president of its 200-member Dallas-Ft. Worth chapter in the 1970’s when he was involved in the Frito-Pepsi merger. He was named to the Counselors Section of PRSA in 1978.
He was the first chairman of the Citizens Advisory Council of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission; and founder of the Oklahoma Marginal Well Commission; a charter organizer of the Oklahoma Natural Gas Policy Commission; and was first chairman of the public education committee of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. He also helped form the public school energy education program of OERB, now adopted statewide. The programs have taken every top communications honor awarded in Oklahoma by PR associations.
He is a former member of the advisory board of the U.S. Dept. of Interior’s Minerals Management Service. He was also on the board of several philanthropic organizations including the Oklahoma Crippled Children’s Foundation and the Oklahoma Easter Seals Society. He authored “Look Before You Lease”, a primer of oil and gas leasing now in its 4th printing. “How to Fight Back – Protecting Your Constitutional Rights,” a citizen’s handbook on grassroots governmental lobbying and media communications; and “Surviving Force Pooling in Oklahoma”. While head of NARO, he was editor of the monthly Royalty Owners Action Report, a widely-quoted newsletter with international circulation and a guest columnist on energy, public opinion and political policy to several dozen newspapers and trade publications yearly.
He became heavily involved in Oklahoma’s energy picture as a volunteer advance man, handling national media, during the Oil Caravan to Washington protest of the Windfall Profits Tax. He donated two months on his time to that effort, which was headed by Bud Stewart of Energy Producers and Consumers Association of Seminole. Months later, at the urging of both independent and royalty owners, he and his wife Sandra founded the National Association of Royalty Owners. He has been both a royalty owner and working interest owner in oil and gas production.
“Natural Gas Magazine” named Stafford A Mover and Shaker of 1993 in annual industry tribute, which, in one paragraph, portrayed Stafford as bringing Madison Avenue communications technology to the oil patch of the nation.
As chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) Public Outreach and Education committee. Stafford accepted the 1997 Energy Education Award at the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission mid-year meeting.
In April 1999, the Oklahoma State Senate authorized a Citation of Appreciation commending Stafford’s leadership and support of the oil industry and the State of Oklahoma.
Currently trustee, U.S. Jaycees Memorial Foundation, Tulsa Oklahoma.
In December 1992 he received personal commendation on his public information and education efforts on behalf of the oil and gas industry from then – U.S. Senator David L. Boren and U.S. Senator Don Nickles.