Skip to content

GEM’s Gems July 2014 – Eddie Billmeyer

July 24, 2014
Eddie Billmeyer

Eddie Billmeyer

Following high school, GEM alumnus Eddie Billmeyer joined the Navy out of a sense of duty and opportunity.

“I wanted to go through the academic rigor of the Navy’s nuclear power program and I didn’t want to be saddled with college debt,” he said.

He trained as a nuclear machinist’s mate, which is comparable to a nuclear power plant operator in the civilian sector. Following training, Billmeyer was stationed in Everett, Washington onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Billmeyer, a member of Cohort IX, chose the GEM Program because it allowed him to strengthen his business and leadership skills without having to sacrifice time on coursework that wasn’t necessarily relevant to his desired profession.

“Above all, GEM has significantly broadened my understanding of the entire energy sector,” he said. “I find myself routinely applying newly learned principles to address new challenges.”

Billmeyer, 29, is now employed with the Bureau of Reclamation as a Control Operator.

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

As a control operator, my duties are to ensure the safe operation of hydroelectric generating facilities within the Northern California Area Office. A typical day involves electrical and mechanical equipment inspections at various facilities, performing equipment isolations to enable system maintenance, and coordinating with internal and external entities to ensure reliability of power and water resources.

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?

The availability of electricity can literally impact life and death. So, being able to efficiently provide that resource in a safe, clean and reliable manner is very rewarding.

What are some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?

Cohort weekends integrate high caliber instruction and industry professionals. This mixture provides remarkable networking opportunity that continues beyond graduation.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?

An appetite. Not for food, though (although the breakfast is quite delicious). If you don’t bring an appetite for learning by the shovel full, then you’ll be missing a great opportunity and will likely regret something later in the quarter.

Is there anything else new in your life that you would like to add?

I gave up the tobacco. Any GEM student would acknowledge that balancing a full-time job with a graduate program is tough … I guess that I just wanted to make it tougher.

Business plans of GEM alumni moving forward

July 24, 2014
Joel Poppert

Joel Poppert

The Global Energy Management (GEM) Program is thrilled to announce that its alumni took second and third place in the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition.

GEM alumni Ian Jaeger and Sean Wisner, both members of the GEM Program’s Cohort VIII, received second place and $5,000. Their business plan was for SuperCryt Technologies, a Colorado based clean-tech business focused on water decontamination using a process known as Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO).

Jaeger and Wisner are now taking additional steps to put their business plan into action.

“We’ve been making some modifications to the financials based on feedback received at the Competition, and Ian has been speaking with potential partners/investors,” Wisner said.

Jaeger, 34, started his career as a materials and processes engineer with a degree in Ceramic and Materials Engineering from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. His partner, Wisner, has four years of experience working in both upstream oil & gas and midstream gas marketing. He received his undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Montana.

GEM alumnus Joel Poppert and his business partner James Adams received third place and $2,500. They outlined GeoCity, a vertically integrated development company established for the purpose of financing, developing, and managing geothermal infrastructure assets.

“I plan to use the money to pay for some trademarking and incorporation documents that have already been produced,” Poppert said. “The remaining funds will be used to travel several times to New York to meet with investors and whiteboard with my primary business partner and COO, James Adams. This is an exciting time for us. We welcome conversations with any interested stakeholders and, especially, investors right now.”

Poppert, CEO of GeoCity, has nearly a decade of successful entrepreneurial experience in the geothermal industry. He was awarded the Who’s Who in Energy from the National Business Journals in both 2013 and 2014. James Adams, COO of GeoCity, currently works for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Capital Projects and Infrastructure advisory practice.

“The opportunity for GeoCity is very significant at the moment and will continue to be in the future,” Poppert said. “With the new EPA carbon regulations we expect that our finance solutions will be welcomed at the policy level. As the market continues to trend toward sustainability, GeoCity provides ways to both reduce construction costs and significantly increase the value of the building by providing a form of ‘off balance’ finance to install a superior geothermal heating and cooling system through our GeoCity Thermal Purchase Agreement.”

 

 

GEM’s Gems July 2014 – Cliff Young

July 21, 2014

During the month of July, the GEM Program would like to thank all military veterans who are a part of the GEM Community for their service. Throughout the month, our GEM’s Gem blog is celebrating the accomplishments of several of these patriots.

Cliff Young, Associate Dean of Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, graduated

Cliff Young, Associate Dean of Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, is photographed in front of a T-38.

Cliff Young, Associate Dean of Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, is photographed in front of a T-38.

from college in 1969 at a time when the Vietnam War draft was in full force. “I realized I needed to make a decision or it would be made for me so I applied for pilot training in the U.S. Air Force,” Young said.

He was accepted to the Officer Training School and later to pilot training at Webb Air Force Base, TX.

“I went straight into the front seat of the F-4 and went through combat crew training in California,” he said. “My first regular assignment was Kunsan, Korea in February 1972.”

On April 1, 1972, Young’s squadron was sent down to Vietnam where he spent the next six-and-a-half months flying combat missions in both North and South Vietnam.

Young personally flew 102 missions with 34 over North Vietnam. He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and six Air Medals.

“I was in two Mig fights: one where the Mig snuck up behind me and fired a heat-seeking missile at me. Thanks to my flight lead, who saw the Mig and called for a max performance turn, I was able to dodge the missile,” he said. “The second attack was much more in my favor where I was able to shoot down the Mig with a heat seeking missile.”

This photo of Cliff Young (center), Associate Dean of Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, was taken the same day of his Mig fight.

This photo of Cliff Young (center), Associate Dean of Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, was taken the same day of his Mig fight.

After Vietnam, Young went back to Korea and was a guest instructor pilot with the Korean Air Force who were upgrading to F-4s. Returning home, he was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico where he instructed fighter pilots.

“While I was at Holloman, I was able to obtain my MBA through a special on-base program,” Young said. “I resigned my commission in 1976 and went back to school to obtain my doctorate.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

I’m currently Associate Dean of Faculty for the Business School. As such I oversee the faculty and financial resources of the Business School. I also directly oversee the Global Energy Management program.

What do you enjoy most about your position at the university?

I am most happy when I see that I can be of service to the School and programs at the university. The faculty and programs are what drive the School. I want to be able to help as much as possible.

 Please share a story about GEM or working at the CU Denver Business School that will entertain other students.

I was directly involved and worked with John Turner who developed and proposed the new MS GEM program. As part of the process, I presented the proposal to the Regents of Colorado. One of the regents asked me, “Do you mean that you have created a program that directly fits the needs of the industry?” I, of course, acknowledged yes, to which she replied that we need more programs like this. It turned out to be a very easy sell to the regents.

GEM’s Gems July 2014 – Melinda Harrington

July 13, 2014

During the month of July, the GEM Program would like to thank all military veterans who are a part of the GEM Community for their service. Throughout the month, our GEM’s Gem blog will be celebrating the accomplishments of several of these patriots.Mel Headshot 4

Melinda Harrington of Cohort X served in the U.S. Army from 1999 to 2003 as a HUMINT Collector, aka Interrogator. She has been stationed at Fort Jackson, Fort Huachuca, the Defense Language Institute, Fort Bragg, and the U.S. Embassy in Caracas Venezuela.

“I liked the idea of serving my country and the instant independence it provided,” Harrington said. “I discovered the possibility of becoming an Interrogator at a job fair my senior year of undergrad. … I mainly conducted target audience analysis for counter-narcotics and demining missions in Central and South America.”

Harrington, 36, is an Energy Program Planner at Fort Bragg, NC and supports the facility’s energy program. The program hosts a portfolio of energy projects and initiatives to reduce energy demand through promoting conservation and energy efficiency. 

“A day at my desk is never the same,” Harrington added. “I appreciate the dynamic nature of my job. “

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
I really enjoy the dynamic nature of the energy industry. My job is never mundane and neither are the opportunities in the energy industry. The most appealing part of being in the energy industry is that there is an opportunity to have a positive impact on the use of our natural and fiscal resources.

How has the GEM program benefited you?
The GEM program has enlightened me on intricacies of resource extraction and upstream and midstream energy sectors. I’ve also met an incredible group of people that I’m thankful to have as part of my network.

What are some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?

I enjoy socializing with the members of Cohort X whether we’re at a happy hour at the Four Seasons or seeking out the foodie spots on Larimer Square.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?
I never forget my computer, lint brush, or umbrella (I’m a native Oregonian). 

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
Oh man! This is a tough one. There are many stories that have provided a chuckle. All that I can say is that Cohort X is comprised of an amazing group of people who are fun and intelligent.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?
The GEM Program gave me the opportunity to understand the technical side of the energy industry with a business lens.

Is there anything else new in your life that you would like to add?
I’m recently engaged to an amazing man who supports me and understands the hours I must devote to homework.   

 

GEM Program salutes its veterans (Adam DeRito – July 2014)

July 1, 2014

During the month of July, the GEM Program would like to thank all military veterans who are a part of the GEM Community. Throughout the month, our GEM’s Gem blog will be celebrating the accomplishments of several of these patriots.

GEM Program veterans include: Greg Adam, Daniel Alexander, Charlie Barker, Eddie Billmeyer, Tom Briggs, Mark Broses, Greg Carpenter, GEM lecturer Terri Carver, Adam DeRito, Dustin Eiland, Bill Erhardt, Kyle Frazer, Jim Goodrich, Melinda Harrington, Michael MacFarlane, Doug Pearlman, Park Pratt, Marty Rodin, Jermaine Starks, James Steen, Matthew Willey, Mary Ann Zehr.

GEM’s Gems July 2014 – Adam DeRito

Adam DeRito is a native New Yorker who grew up in New Jersey and witnessed the 9/11 attacks from his home town in West Milford, New Jersey.

“My cousin, Michael McHugh, was killed on the 92nd floAdam DeRitoor of World Trade Center Tower #1 while working for Cantor Fitzgerald,” DeRito said. “This inspired me at a young age to join the U.S. military.”

DeRito, 26, came from a family lineage with a long military history including service in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the first Gulf War.

“I believed that it was my turn to serve my country as well,” he said. “I had always wanted become a pilot and be the first person in my family to go to college. I decided that the U.S. military would provide me with the education, leadership skills, and training that I would need in my future career when I entered the civilian world.”

At a young age, DeRito was a member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and attained the rank of Cadet 2nd Lieutenant at the age of 16. While in high school, he became a certified Emergency Medical Technician, fire fighter, and Search and Rescue Technician.

“This allowed me to remain focused in my studies, and I was able to obtain a GPA of 3.89, receiving a Congressional nomination to the United States Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a member of the Class of 2010.”

As a cadet, DeRito was a member of the United States Air Force. In 2008, he applied to the U.S. Marine Corps Bulldog Program and was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy Cross Commissioning Program. He graduated from the U.S. Marine Officer Candidate School in July 2009 and returned to the U.S. Air Force Academy to complete his last two semesters as a U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Senior (Firstie).

“With the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps, I have been all over the country, having the opportunities to serve in various roles and participating in numerous training programs,” DeRito said.

DeRito is a member of the GEM Program’s Cohort XI and an Operator for Noble Energy, based out of Houston, Texas. As a Lease Operator, he is directly responsible for optimizing oil and natural gas production from over 116 oil and gas wells in Weld County, Colorado.

“The Global Energy Management Program has exponentially helped me in my energy career,” DeRito said. “Since I am in the oil and gas industry, I became introduced to many of the other energy sectors. However, it was not until the GEM program that I really began to understand the nuclear, solar, wind, electric, coal, and geothermal industries.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.
As a Lease Operator for Noble Energy, I am directly responsible for optimizing oil and natural gas production from over 116 oil and gas wells in Weld County, Colorado. In the production department of Noble Energy based in Greeley, CO, I have been given the task to maintain and efficiently operate numerous production sites, dispatch cruel oil for market distribution, ensure natural gas is being sold into the natural gas supply lines, and ensure that every production facility is under strict environmental compliance for safety, emissions, and environmental containment.

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
Working in the oil and gas industry has really immersed me into a sustainable career field where the engineering is always improving, new processes are always being invented, and the technology involved in all of these processes is highly exciting. Being on the tip of the spear in the American energy independence movement is a humbling and honorable experience. With the main objectives of Noble Energy being bettering people’s lives and energizing the world, we are actively protecting the environment, integrating efficient “Green” technologies in our processes, and maximizing production while minimizing environmental impact. Being part of this team has been an incredible experience that I am proud to be a part of.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?
When I first left the military, I had the mindset of many who had also just ended their service time: achieve a degree in political science and keep trying to work for the government or the private sector. However, what I realized was that a master’s degree in political science was not really that special in the current demanding job market and would not make me stand out among my peers. With the unconventional oil and gas boom in the United States, I decided to take advantage of an amazing opportunity in a very stable job market. Achieving a specialized Master of Science degree in Global Energy Management really separates your marketability in the energy industry, makes you more attractive to employers, and gives you the specific skill necessary to be successful in not just the oil and gas industry, but any of the energy industries. Having more knowledgeable people who are willing to educate the public and innovate for the future are essential to the American energy independence movement and the global energy market.

What are some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
On the cohort weekends, some of my favorite things to do are exploring the Denver nightlife and discovering new restaurants, craft brews, and foods in the culturally diverse Denver cityscape. I also enjoy country dancing at the Grizzly Rose and flying recreational aircraft out of Centennial airport with the Aspen flying club.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?
The most essential thing for me on cohort weekends would definitely be a good cup of coffee to start the mornings off. They are long days and require a lot of attention and absorption of knowledge; getting a good night sleep always helps with this. Do not forget the mainstays of the class room: your laptop, a few good pens, a note book to take notes on the fly, your computer charger, cell phone, and of course phone charger. Come prepared to class by doing the readings and being able to participate actively in the lectures.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
One of my favorite experiences in the GEM Program was Professor Rubenstein’s domestic energy class in Washington D.C. Even though I am from the East Coast, many things have changed since I left in 2006. Two other GEM Program students and I had quite an entertaining cab ride from Regan International Airport to the hotel. Our cab driver’s driving skills were a little scary, and we did many circles around the city in the pouring rain until we finally arrived at our destination; nothing that could not be solved with some excellent sushi and a few beers.

Is there anything else new in your life that you would like to add?
Due to the excellent professors in the GEM Program, I was able to attain a high enough GPA in the GEM Program and was accepted into the Golden Key International Honour Society last semester. The CU Denver Business School is really building leaders in a competitive market, and I am proud to be a graduate student here in Denver, Colorado.

GEM in Mexico

June 30, 2014

Last week I had an opportunity to participate in a Colorado delegation to Mexico City, arranged by the Biennial of the Americas, and led by Governor Hickenlooper and the Consul General of Mexico’s Denver consulate, Señor Carlos Bello. The delegation consisted of about 80 people drawn from a cross-section of Denver’s business, cultural, and academic communities.  There were two themes to the trip and the workshops within it: energy/environment, and education/culture.  Much as I would have liked to participate in both the energy and the education groups, as GEM straddles both worlds, we had to choose one or the other, and I chose the energy group.

In case you haven’t been following events in Mexico, it’s an extremely dynamic and challenging time for their energy sector.  After seven decades of exclusive state ownership, earlier this year the Mexican government amended the constitution to open the energy sector to private – including foreign – participation.  This applies to both the oil and gas and power generation/distribution industries.  The secondary legislation is being written now – this will provide the details of exactly how this newly-opened sector will work.  From the Mexican point of view, not only are there many opportunities for new business, but the two state-owned giants, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) on the oil and gas side and the Comisión Federal de Electriciad (CFE) on the electricity side, have to face a new reality as they redevelop themselves from protected monopolies to productive state enterprises in a competitive market.  As a result, business and individuals on both sides of the border have what really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a market that is both mature and brand new all at once, and right on our doorstep to boot.

GEM is no exception here, and we are exploring ways to get involved that make sense for us as an educational institution and as a thought leader in the energy business.  If anything evolves beyond the concept stage, I’ll write about it here.

The thematic highlight of the trip came Tuesday morning with the twin clínicas (workshops).  These were:

  • Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce Today, which focused largely on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education, mainly at K-12 levels;
  • Balancing Energy Production and Environmental Protection, which took a broad look at the next stage of energy development in Mexico.

I was invited to participate as a respondent on the energy/environment panel – in the panel format there were three initial presenters from Mexico and three respondents from the US who were to follow and react to the presenters.  In our panel the presenters were Veronica Irastorza, Principal of NERA Economic Consulting and former Undersecretary of Energy for Planning and Transition, Oscar Martínez Senior Environmental and Sustainability Manager for Coca-Cola Mexico, and Marcelo Mereles, Partner in the consulting firm EnergA and former Advisor of International Affairs in the office of the Director General of Pemex.  My fellow respondents were Tom Murray, VP of Corporate Partnerships for Environmental Defense Fund, and Ricardo Bracho, Senior Program Manager at NREL.  If you don’t know Ricardo, he’s a GEM alum (Cohort I) – he of course did a great job, and I have to tell you that I was really proud to have GEM so prominently represented in a group like this.

I think the discussion was very productive, everyone learned a lot, and several business connections and possible business ideas were developed.  For me the key takeaways were about the intriguing blend of similarities and differences between the US energy market and what we believe the Mexican market will be.  I think the Mexican market will be more infrastructure-driven at least in the early years than the US is, with pipelines and electrical grids needed to enable energy production to reach markets.  In the oil and gas sector particularly, I think the immediate opportunities will be in deepwater (for majors) and in rework/ rehabilitation of previously uneconomic wells (for smaller companies).  There seems to be more of a wait-and-see attitude on shale development; I do think that will be a very big market eventually, but it might be slower to take off than others.  Of course services like engineering and pipeline construction will also be early needs.  On the power side I think small-scale distributed generation will come first, whether from fossil fuels (mainly gas – Mexico uses very little coal) or from renewables, starting with biomass and moving to solar, wind, and geothermal).  Geothermal, in particular, has a lot of interest in Mexico.

I was struck by the commitment on the Mexican side to environmental protection and by their interest in the social issues we face in Colorado, especially on unconventional development.  There has been a little bit of local backlash already to Mexican energy development (interestingly, both renewable energy and fossil fuels), and our Mexican colleagues are watching us to see how we manage the issue of social sustainability here.

My overall impression was that Colorado enjoys a very favorable reputation in Mexico, both as a destination and as a working partner.  The Governor’s office and our business, industry, and cultural associations are working very hard and very effectively to build this and are doing very well at it.  We have a great relationship and get wonderful support also from our Mexican Consulate here in Denver and from Consul General Bello and his team.  There are huge opportunities in the Mexican energy space just on the horizon; we in Colorado are very well-positioned to take part, and I plan to do everything I can to encourage all of our energy businesses to take a long look at Mexico, even if they haven’t worked internationally before.

Give me a call if you want to learn more.

GEM’s Gems June 2014 – Jonathan Wente

June 16, 2014

The GEM’s Gem we are honoring this month is Jonathan Wente, Surface Land Manager for Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc.’s Western Operations.

Jonathan Wente

Jonathan Wente

Wente is fascinated by the energy industry. He enrolled in the GEM Program because he wanted a learning environment filled with dynamic people who had varied experiences in the energy industry.

“GEM created a niche degree that catered to dedicated individuals who would like to remain working while obtaining a master’s degree,” he said. “After reviewing MBA programs and other energy industry degrees, GEM’s curriculum really stood out as the most challenging and diverse education focused on the energy industry, so it was an easy choice.”

Wente, 30, was a member of the GEM Program’s Cohort VI. During cohort weekends, he enjoyed the opportunity to embrace other individuals’ points of view, further his understanding of other energy industries, and explore the many factors that impact oil & gas.

“The GEM Program broadened my horizons and expanded my network of industry professionals,” Wente said. “GEM increased my organizational awareness and sharpened my leadership skills, which continues to benefit me, not only in my day-to-day work, but also in my new role as a Surface Land Manager. The program provided me with a foundational understanding of other energy industries outside of oil and gas and how they are both interconnected and co-dependent.”

The GEM Program would also like to congratulate Wente on his recent engagement to Alison Eastley!

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.
I manage Encana’s surface land negotiations in Colorado and Wyoming, including the negotiation of surface use agreements, road and pipeline right-of-ways, and facility agreements. My department also continually works to engage external stakeholders who live and work in the communities in which Encana operates to protect our social license to operate.

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
The energy industry is the most complex market in the world. It presents the greatest opportunity to increase the standard of living throughout the world and faces the great challenge of needing to balance economics, science, politics, and environmental externalities in order to produce competition within the market, drive ingenuity, and push industry to new limits for a better future.

How has the GEM program benefited you?
The GEM Program broadened my horizons and expanded my network of industry professionals. GEM increased my organizational awareness and sharpened my leadership skills, which continues to benefit me, not only in my day-to-day work, but also in my new role as a Surface Land Manager. The program provided me with a foundational understanding of other energy industries outside of oil and gas and how they are both interconnected and co-dependent.

What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
I enjoyed discussing the challenges that my peers face within their respective positions/careers and, in some cases, identifying potential solutions to the great challenges we face. Our cohort weekends provided a great opportunity to embrace a different point of view, further my understanding of other energy industries, and understand how other energy industries can impact oil and gas.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?
I chose GEM because I am fascinated by the energy industry, and I wanted to learn with a dynamic group of people with different experiences in the energy industry. GEM created a niche degree that catered to dedicated individuals who would like to remain working while obtaining a master’s degree. After reviewing MBA programs and other energy industry degrees, GEM’s curriculum really stood out as the most challenging and diverse education focused on the energy industry, so it was an easy choice.

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.