GEM would like to congratulate students Jackie Michael Cárdenas, Carrie Dixon, and Mike Gallo who are recipients of the GEM Leaders Scholarship. This award was recently developed for new students entering the program who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and potential for future success in the energy industry.
GEM student Carrie Dixon, a trading analyst at Xcel Energy, plans to use the scholarship funding to take part in the Global Energy Management Program’s Washington D.C. and London travel courses.
“I anticipate that the experiences and knowledge that I will gain through the GEM Program will give me a distinct advantage, making me an even more valuable asset to my company,” she said. “GEM is strengthening my business expertise within the context of the energy industry. This exposure is something that I feel I would not get with a traditional MBA.”
While in the GEM Program, Dixon plans to build on her analytical career and eventually move into a forward-looking, strategic planning position.
“I want to drive successful integration of new energy initiatives, while maintaining compliance with evolving government mandates,” she said. “I believe a MS in Global Energy Management will take me from where I am today, to where I want to go. The unique focus will give me an edge to becoming a leader in the industry.”
For GEM student Mike Gallo, the award was reassuring evidence that he was on his way to achieving his academic and professional endeavors.
“My family also was very excited,” he said, “especially, since I am the only one with a bachelor’s degree and now on the road to achieving a master’s degree.”
Gallo is a Senior Right-of-Way Agent at Universal Field Services. Although he only recently started his coursework, Gallo has already benefitted from the expertise of the GEM faculty.
“After completing the first two classes, my outlook on the energy industry has changed drastically,” he said. “From truly learning and understanding the world’s energy issues and how important economics is to production, my career as a land man is prevailing. I can easily address all concerns and issues landowners have on the spot, which I credit fully to the GEM program.”
Gallo’s career goal is to work in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, Oklahoma as a director for a midstream land department.
“Enrolling and graduating from the GEM Program will give me the knowledge and career advancement that would normally take a decade to achieve,” Gallo added. “Upon graduation, I know that no job is out of the picture and I have many more doors to open to a brighter future.”
Jackie Michael Cárdenas
Cohort XIII member Jackie Michael Cárdenas was honored to receive a scholarship from the GEM Program.
“It was an important sign of support from the university that helped me to go through the first quarter in the sense that I had to worry for one less aspect and therefore I could focus more on my studies,” she said.
Cárdenas is a business developer for Cogenra Solar and part of a team that studies the implementation of renewables in Chile for the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As a GEM student, she has obtained invaluable knowledge, a broad network, and lasting friendships.
“I want to acquire further knowledge from the professors and classmates to be able to advance in my career path, because I felt that I had reached the highest position I could with the education and experience I had before starting the program,” she said. “The program is providing state of the art knowledge of a wide spectrum of energy resources. This knowledge is already a strong tool when talking with governmental authorities and high executives of energy companies.”
The Global Energy Management Program is excited to announce that a Cohort VII graduate with three decades of experience practicing law will teach for GEM this summer.
Ralph Cantafio, Esq., a Partner at Cantafio Eddington, PC., will teach GEMM 6200: Environmental, Regulatory, Legal, and Political Environment in the Energy Industry in July.
Cantafio, who is the first GEM graduate to be offered a teaching position for the program, said the opportunity is “humbling.”“
“It is very difficult to articulate the immense respect I have for the GEM administration, the staff, and the professors,” he said. “I look forward to working very hard to make sure that I deliver to my students a quality of education consistent with the same very high standards that I benefited from as a student.”
Cantafio’s law firm has six attorneys and seven staff members with offices located in Steamboat Springs and downtown Denver. His practice emphasizes Oil and Gas Law as well as Commercial Litigation. Cantafio is also the managing partner of the firm.
Cantafio wants the students who take his course to become cognizant consumers of law.
“I would like my students to be able to analyze a fact pattern and be cognizant enough of the circumstance at hand to answer a simple, but hugely important question: ‘do I need to discuss this with an attorney?’” Cantafio said. “That applies to their professional and personal lives. I also want students to be able to read about or listen to a matter pertaining to law and be able to have a sense as to whether the legal issue is being presented in an accurate fashion as opposed to one that is biased, tainted, or just plain wrong.”
As a student of the GEM Program, Cantafio learned to analyze the oil & gas industry from the perspective of a landman, petroleum engineer, banker, accountant, and investor.
Cantafio has several takeaways for students of his course:
“I explain to clients and younger lawyers that when it comes to law, there is the legality and the reality,” he said. “Law is a process as much as a subject matter. The way the legal system works in practice is just not the way it is taught in law school or elsewhere. My background allows me to discuss law from the point of view of not only a lawyer, but a client, a judge, a mediator, and an arbiter.”
Having experienced GEM as a student, Cantafio is able to relate to students who take his course.
“I think those who have graduated from GEM appreciate that the program is all consuming,” he said. “There is not only school and work, but family to balance. Not only that, there is a point during the program where every student comes to a crossroad where they just cannot get everything completed that needs to be done – at that juncture you have to trust your team members, your co-workers, your friends, and your family to make it through those difficult times. If you have not been through the GEM experience, you just do not truly know what I am talking about. I suspect GEM graduates know exactly what I am talking about.”
Since I was raised in Texas as third generation oil field, I always knew I wanted to be in the energy industry. I was lucky enough to get into the University of Texas at Austin and greatly enjoyed my time there. After a few Oil and Gas internships, I started out of school with ExxonMobil as a facilities/project engineer for major projects. It was a unique learning opportunity and allowed me to live and work abroad for nearly three years, which is an incredible experience.
Subsequently, I decided that I should transition more to an O&G specific discipline, so I went into drilling. The pace of work and learning curve are pretty aggressive, and I found that to be exactly what I was looking for. I spent time drilling both domestically and in deep water Africa, but I wanted to get to a smaller company and a smaller town. Enter the GEM program. After spending some time with my cohort, Cohort III, and doing some networking, I was able to get a job with Newfield Exploration as a drilling engineer. I worked in that capacity for about a year and a half before I was asked to be a production engineer in preparation for a role in reservoir engineering. I have recently moved back into production engineering as an Operations Lead for Newfield’s production in the Greater Monument Butte and Myton fields of the Uintah Basin.
GEM provided the background knowledge in business and financial fundamentals that I was not exposed to as an engineer. I learned to read 10k’s, balance sheets, and sort through the jargon that goes into all of it. That education not only helped me professionally, but personally as well. I also continue to benefit from the incredible group of peers that I still stay in touch with regularly (three years after graduation). Some people have gotten more directly involved in the industry, some are climbing their corporate ladders, and others even have their own successful businesses established. I know I can call any of them for advice or their perspective on industry activity and trends any time.
I chose GEM for several reasons. I wanted to get a graduate degree tailored exactly to the field I wanted to spend my career in. I also wanted to learn more about business and critical decision-making skills. In addition, I wanted to develop a network of like-minded peers in Denver because that’s where I want to live in the long term. I also chose the GEM Program because the schedule was perfect for me: I was rotating month on/month off while drilling in Angola, so the schedule worked great. Lastly, I wanted a classroom experience and a cohort to learn and grow with.
GEM’s hybrid-online program was perfect for me because it allowed me to work an unusual schedule, live overseas, and still learn all along the way – both at my job and at school. I didn’t want to give up two years of my career for school, so the hybrid program made perfect sense.
The Global Energy Management Program has been instrumental in my successful fast track into management. Upon enrolling in the program, I had some leadership skills but not the specific knowledge and skill sets needed to advance. I came out of the program with a comprehensive understanding of the energy industry as well as the solid knowledge base you would get out of a traditional MBA program. Energy efficiency, in particular, draws on influences from all sectors of the industry, and understanding how all these pieces fit together has been very beneficial to my career.
I chose the GEM Program because I wanted something more specific than an MBA. I knew that I wanted to be in the energy industry, and I knew that an industry specific program like this would give me much more valuable skills and knowledge than I could get from a traditional business program. There was, of course, the added benefit that I could attend the program anywhere while working full-time.
I began my professional career as the head ski coach for Babson College. I believe this experience taught me many of the leadership skills that I use today in my job. I worked for four years in Massachusetts for the MassSave energy efficiency program run by Conservation Services Group. I began my career at the bottom, conducting energy audits in homes every day. I worked my way up into management while attending the GEM program.
I loved the flexibility of the GEM Program. I was able to work a full-time job while going to school. The program gave me skills that I could use immediately on the job. As many studies have shown and my personal experience can attest to, learning by doing is incredibly effective, and this program gave me the ability to do just that.
Global Energy Management alumnus Heath Lovell recently moved to Denver after accepting the position of Senior Landman at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
“You get out of the GEM Program what you put into it, and the opportunities are limitless,” he said. “One of the major reasons I have the job I have now with Anadarko, along with job offers from companies like Occidental Petroleum and Noble Energy, is because of the education that I received from GEM.”
Lovell, 32, graduated from the program in December and gave a speech during the ceremony.
“GEM opened my eyes,” he said. “I was a very close-minded individual about the energy industry coming into this program. Now, I see the big picture and know a lot about it. I can sit down with accountants, engineers, people in finance, and people in the utility industry among many others and speak their language.”
The Global Energy Management (GEM) Program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School is a hybrid-online Master of Science degree program. Each quarter, students attend four days of class at the Denver campus with their cohorts. The next nine weeks of class are completed online.
Lovell, a member of Cohort X, sought a degree from GEM for several reasons.
“Obviously for the quality of the education, but a major reason was also because of the staff,” he said. “Building relationships is a very important aspect of being a landman so I always try to develop a positive rapport with the people I engage. The folks at GEM developed this with me immediately, and I felt very comfortable and confident that this was where I wanted to be for an advanced education in energy.”
He was also attracted to the program because of its emphasis on all facets of the energy business.
“It was important to me that I learn more about accounting, finance, engineering, and the legal side of things in the energy sector,” Lovell added. “I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and if I am to ever start my own company or be part of a startup someday, being educated in these other disciplines in the energy sector are invaluable.”
Please tell us a little bit about your current role & responsibilities.
I am a Senior Landman on the E&P Surface Wattenberg team for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. My role is to work with the other disciplines involved and develop operational plans within the asset to optimize our position as a company in one of the most challenging regulatory environments in the country. I negotiate contracts, whether that be various joint venture agreements, surface use agreements, subsurface easements, surface damage agreements, assignments, right of ways, or easements just to name a few. I play a key role in determining and designing drilling locations through project due diligence, land/mineral owner consultations, and community engagement, while maintaining compliance with COGCC rules and regulations. I am one of the major conduits between the company itself, the land owners, and local communities in our area of operations in the Wattenberg.
What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
I enjoy knowing that everything I do has a major impact in our everyday lives. The energy industry is arguably the most important industry in our world, and knowing that I make an impact within that sector is very gratifying.
What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends? What cohort are you associated with?
I enjoyed catching up with my peers and going out on the town in the evenings. Denver has so many places to eat and hang out at. I am associated with Cohort X-Men (Cohort 10).
What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?
I would always bring my computer, iPad, and clothing for both warm and cold weather. The computer is obviously for school work, the iPad is for watching sports while in class (this is strictly for extremely talented multi-taskers like myself only), and clothing for both warm and cold weather is in order to be prepared for beautiful warm weather one day (even in the winter) and freezing cold weather the next. Oh, and don’t forget a koozie (a contraption to keep your beverage cold during consumption for those of you who are not familiar with my Texas lingo)!
GEM’s Gem funds company to connect United States and Latin American energy sectors GEM graduate Norma Mozee recently founded Afinidad Americas, LLC, a consulting company that creates collaborations between the United States and Latin America in the energy sector.
“I’m focused on opportunities emerging from Mexico’s recent energy reform and have been working cross-border with energy industry business executives, government officials, and universities on alignment for mutual benefit,” she said. “It’s thrilling that some of the few remaining largest untapped energy reserves are just a three hour plane ride away.”
Mozee pursued a degree from the Global Energy Management Program to differentiate herself from other professionals with MBAs.
“My other goal was to steer my career direction into the energy industry since I missed out the first time after I graduated with my B.S. from the Colorado School Mines,” she said. “I was also working full time and traveling frequently to Latin America so I needed a program that fit my rigorous travel schedule. Finally, due to GEM’s global focus, the trip to London during the international elective gave me the opportunity to experience energy perspectives ‘beyond our borders.’ GEM offered that perfect balance.”
Mozee said that GEM gave her confidence and a “credibility stripe” to open the doors to her energy industry career. She was able to land a job in the energy industry within a couple of months of graduating from GEM, and the program opened an incredible network of contacts. Her post-GEM career has steered her towards several interesting energy industry paths.
“I’m taking some entrepreneurial risk and testing the waters as an independent,” she said. “It’s both daunting and exhilarating, but I feel anchored to the network of colleagues and friends I met during GEM, and that I continue to maintain. So, whichever way this ride goes, I have confidence that my GEM ties are a lifeboat.”
What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
I enjoy that energy is global, it’s fundamental, and it’s increasingly becoming a platform for dramatic geopolitical dynamics.
What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
I was in Cohort II and enjoyed re-connecting with my fellow GEM colleagues during cohort weekends. I live in Denver, and, at the time I attended GEM, we all had to stay at the Westin in downtown Denver during cohort weekends which, as a local, I thought was an unnecessary expense. But, looking back, it gave us a nice hub for all of us GEM folks to reconnect without distractions. It was like one giant slumber party that lasted 18 months.
What are some of the things that you never forgot to bring to cohort weekends?
My alarm clock.
Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
There are some rock stars in the energy industry, and, I for one, get a little star struck. I’d say one of the highlights for me was meeting Daniel Yergin. I attended a speaking engagement where he had the room of 200 people spellbound as he shared his compelling insights and experiences advising captains of industry, heads of government, and ministers of energy. Just as he was leaving, I caught up to him and, like a “groupie,” asked for his autograph. I shared with him the fact that I was in the GEM master’s degree program. To this day, I open up my autographed page of The Quest when I need a little inspiration.
Global Energy Management Program’s Dr. Michael Orlando recently completed teaching his second MOOC. The massive, open, online course was titled “Fundamentals of Global Energy Business” and offered in the fall.
“FGEB provides a broad overview of energy markets and business considerations for organizations operating in those markets,” Orlando said. “It is complementary to the GEM curriculum and provides prospective students a high-level introduction to a range of issues encountered in energy business.”
Signature Track, which is a special software program that allows students to securely link their coursework to their identity thereby verifying academic integrity, accompanied the course, a first for the MOOC. Students who then successfully completed the course earned a verified certificate. More than 250 students opted to pay a fee for this service.
“I think our first offering of the ‘signature track’ option was a big success,” Orlando said.
Signature Track requires students to submit a writing sample and have an active webcam while online. From the instructor’s perspective, there is little difference between including and excluding the Signature Track option.
After completing Fundamentals of Global Energy Business, two students applied for the core GEM degree program.
“I now have a group of four or five ‘advisees’ from around the world who check in with me a few times a year to exchange thoughts on energy issues,” Orlando said. “Some of those have expressed interest in our MS degree program.”
The course officially opened on Oct. 20 and ran for eight weeks, including six weeks of lecture videos. This course is targeted toward anyone with an interest in energy issues.
Orlando has had students with backgrounds in the energy industry, those who hope to enter the industry, and others who are just interested in better understanding energy issues take his course.
“I’ve had early-career professionals, retirees, and junior high school students,” he said. “At our most recent commencement, a spouse of one of the Global Energy Management Program graduating students said she took the course. In general, the student base is much more diverse when you make a course available on a distribution platform like Coursera.”
Orlando’s students have indicated that one of the distinguishing features of this course, apart from others that discuss energy issues, is its focus on the business perspective.
“This course is about what is done by organizations participating in and developing energy resources,” Orlando said. “If you want to understand that perspective, which I think is complementary to the policy perspective, then this course is probably for you.”