Age: 31

Title: CEO of Northern Oil and Gas Inc.

What do you do? I am responsible for executing the company's exploration, development and acquisition activities.

Education: I hold a bachelor's degree in finance and a master of business administration degree in finance/management from the University of St. Thomas.

Family: Wife, Brittany, and 4-month-old son, John

Hobbies: Big game hunting and fishing

What's your family history in this business? My family history in oil and gas dates to the 1930s. My great-grandfather managed the Rockies for Mobil Oil, and my grandfather co-founded the exploration firm of Norsworthy and Reger Oil Co. My father is the president of Reger Oil in Billings, Mont. I've been involved in the acquisition of land, oil and gas leases my entire professional life.

Most exciting part of your job: Daily drilling reports on current wells.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Drilling more oil wells.

Why do you do what you do? I am the fourth generation in my family to be in the oil and gas business. I didn't have a choice.

What are the challenges and benefits of being the CEO of a company at such a young age? I frequently log 16-hour days and travel every week. It helps to be young when the hours are long and the travel is extensive. If you know your stuff, [age] doesn't matter. People will only judge you by your age if you are inexperienced. ... I grew up in the business and I know my stuff.

What's your ideal retirement? I plan to be in the oil and gas business until I drop. Retirement is bad for your health.

Why do you feel it's important to drill for oil in the United States? Global supplies are in decline. Every domestic barrel counts. A big oil field in North Dakota may not affect global supply and demand, but every barrel we produce at home is a barrel we don't have to import from the Middle East.

What's something most people don't know about oil production in the United States? The Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota -- specifically the Bakken formation -- holds the largest crude oil reserves in the lower 48 states. The crude is very high quality and the infrastructure is in place to get the oil to market. Also, much of the crude produced in North Dakota is piped to the Twin Cities.

What advice do you have for someone headed down this career path? Go with your instincts -- always.