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Bill Dirks is the Founder and CEO of Dirks Energy Partners, a privately-owned company focused on oil and gas Exploration and Development in N. America. With a long-term interest in energy start-ups, he previously founded and served as President and CEO of Shell Technology Ventures, Inc., which focuses on commercialization of Shell's global technology portfolio. He has founded or guided several other small and mid-cap companies over the last 15 years, and has extensive experience fundraising in public and private markets. Bill has been active in community development projects in both the U.S. and Canada, with a personal interest in organizations dedicated to children's welfare and protection. He received a B.S. degree in Geology in 1979, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering in 1981 from Iowa State University. Bill is a member of the 1999 class of Henry Crown Fellows and the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.