who we are


2023-24 OFFICERS

​Michael J. Potter, PLS, RL              President

Willene-Slusher Quillen, CPL         1st Vice President

​Michael Webb, RPL                       2nd Vice President

​Richard D. Adkins, CPL                 Secretary Treasurer 

Richard D.Adkins,  CPL            Chapter National Director

                  2023-24 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Michael J. Potter, PLS, RL 

Richard D. Adkins, CPL

Phillip M. Seals, PLS, CPL 

Willene Slusher-Quillen, CPL

Michael Webb, RPL  

Bradley Bowers, CPL

​Stacey Blanton-Lemaster, RPL

The Southern Appalachian Association of Professional Landmen (formerly known as Appalachian Association of Professional Landmen until December 2015)  is a group of professional men and women landmen working in the oil, gas, coal, banking, surveying, engineering and legal industries across eastern Kentucky, east Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and West Virginia and beyond. We are an affiliated charter association of the national American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL).

The group has been meeting on a regular and consistent basis for more than 25 years and provides members an opportunity to acquire continuing education through informative seminars and educational programs along with entertaining social and networking opportunities to meet with peers and colleagues in a congenial atmosphere.

AAPL serves as the voice of the landman profession to encourage fair trading and negotiation terms that work in the best interest of all parties, wise utilization of natural resources and responsible employment of the land’s surface. 

One of the primary mission of AAPL is to promote the highest standards of performance for all land professionals, to advance their stature and to encourage sound stewardship of energy and mineral resources. 

AAPL ensures ethical business practices and professional service of its members through enforcement of its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Every member pledges to abide by these principles as a condition of their admission and continuing membership in AAPL. For more information on AAPL National please visit www.landman.org

Appalachian Association of Professional Landmen membership is available to persons engaged in energy and/or mineral land work related activities who maintain acceptable professional and moral standards. Applicants must be recommended by (3) three members in good standing and have the application approved by an Association Director or Association President. 

To obtain a membership application for Appalachian Association of Professional Landmen please click here:


What is a “Landman”?

A Landman is the person in the oil and natural gas exploration industry that determines the ownership of subsurface mineral rights beneath lands that the oil company geologist and geophysicist have deemed to have potential for hydrocarbon production. A Landman's education and experience must include some real estate law, geology, psychology and genealogy. There are many facets to a Landman's responsibilities.

 Not only does a Landman research the Official Public Records in a County or Parish Clerk's office to compile a "chain of title" to geologically attractive tracts of land, but he also has to track down the owners of those mineral rights, wherever they may be. Most often, the original land owners have long since died and their heirs or successors in title have moved away to parts unknown. Part of a Landman's skill is in using the latest Internet technology to locate people whose whereabouts are a complete mystery. There are many useful websites that aid Landmen in locating the addresses and telephone numbers of people across the United States.

Once these missing mineral owners are located, a Landman must contact them to negotiate and obtain execution of a petroleum exploration contract called an oil and gas lease. The oil company represented by the Landman has determined the maximum terms that the Landman may offer to the land owner to persuade him or her to sign the lease.

There are usually extra terms, conditions, provisions and requirements that the Landman must negotiate in order to win the land owners acceptance of the oil company's offer. Once the lease is signed and a sufficient area is leased up into a drilling block acceptable to the company, the Landman's work is not yet done.

 When the oil and gas exploration company is ready to drill a test well at a location chosen by the company's staff of geologists and petroleum engineers, the Landman has to act as the buffer between the company and its cadre of contractors and the surface owners of the well site. Oftentimes, the owner of the subsurface mineral rights and the owner of the surface are entirely separate. The Landman must appease the surface owner, so that the company can do what is necessary to extract the oil and gas from the ground and into a pipeline for further processing.

 By law, the mineral estate is dominant to the surface estate in terms of the removal and full enjoyment of the wealth that lies beneath the earth's outer layer. If it were not so, it would greatly hamper the production of oil and natural gas, as well as hard minerals, for conversion to gasoline, plastics and chemicals that the world enjoys and uses every day.

 The United States of America is the only nation on earth that allows its private citizens to own mineral rights. Those rights are passed down from generation to generation and bought and sold every day, on the open market. Much of the basis of the level of prosperity and wealth that benefits the American people can be attributed to the private ownership of mineral rights. In all other countries, the Federal government claims ownership of all subsurface natural resources. As long as there is private sector ownership of mineral rights in the United States, there will be a need for Landmen, because "Land is the basis for all wealth."