President & CEO
Jennifer Haley is President and CEO of Kern Oil & Refining Co. (Kern), where she leads a talented team of 155 individuals, directs policy and oversees Kern’s innovative “California Clean” renewable and petroleum refining operation. The company produces more than three-quarters of a million gallons of gasoline and diesel daily for the San Joaquin Valley marketplace. Under Haley’s leadership, the company has personified its “small but mighty” culture to help lead statewide efforts to promote energy resilience, clean energy and collaborative solutions that protect the economy and environment.
Haley took a non-traditional path to refinery leadership. After earning a law degree at the University of San Diego School of Law, she handled litigation for primarily public agency clients – including school and water districts – in state and federal court as a member of Best, Best and Krieger LLP’s San Diego office. Haley also represented public agency coalitions in regulatory issues before the California Public Utilities Commission.
Haley joined Kern in 2011 as Vice President – Legal and Government Affairs and, although she had no industry-specific experience, she brought an open mind and keen desire to understand every aspect of the business and California energy environment. Haley’s on-the-job training gave her a deep appreciation for the complexity inherent in a refining operation, and her fresh perspective helps drive Kern’s ongoing evolution to meet the demands of climate change.
Playing Division I softball for the University of San Diego, Haley pitched, played first base, and batted clean-up, which shaped her competitive spirit and commitment to teamwork. A servant-leader who believes the greatest achievement is helping others be successful, Haley has incorporated an emphasis on communication, culture and professional development into Kern’s business strategy.
Haley earned her BA in History, magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, summa cum laude and Order of the Coif. She serves on the Board of Directors for the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Science Center. Haley is married with two young sons and, outside of the office, can be found testing gravity on the ski slopes of Southern California.
Vice President Regulatory & Public Affairs
Melinda Palmer joined Kern Oil & Refining Co. in 2011 and is one of California’s leading experts on renewable low-carbon fuel production, which is critical to a sustainable Climate Change solution. As Vice President, Regulatory & Public Affairs, she develops strategy and leads advocacy and engagement with agencies, elected leaders, trusted community partners and organizations. Palmer is a trusted voice that recognizes the importance of building partnerships that drive industry innovation, support job creation, and improve the environment.
Prior to joining Kern, Palmer served in regulatory compliance positions with Shell Oil and Big West of California. She was responsible for the development of compliance reports to regulatory organizations, internal audits on the effectiveness of compliance policies and served as a liaison between management and personnel. She also oversaw environmental compliance within the organizations.
Palmer serves on the California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) Foundation board, the Government Relations Committee for the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, a member of the AB617 Arvin-Lamont Community Steering Committee and has been a RAMP (Runner Alumni Mentor Program) mentor for CSUB.
Palmer earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California State University, Bakersfield and is proud to a native of the community. In her free time, she can be found training for her next half-marathon or spending time with her family.