Our September GEM’s Gem is Carrie Dixon, and she says the GEM Program has already helped her in reaching career goals.
“I recently received a promotion at Xcel Energy,” said the Cohort XIII student. “I am now the Market Operations Manager, leading Xcel’s interests in the Southwest Power Pool.”
Dixon is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Global Energy Management at the University of Colorado Denver with an anticipated graduation date of June 2016. She is a recipient of the Global Energy Management Leaders Scholarship.
“Being a GEM student is great,” she said. “The unique hybrid-online design of the program has given me the opportunity to interact and network with other energy professionals from all over the world. The GEM classes have helped me to strengthen my skills and prepare me to be a leader in the industry.”
As Manager of Market Operations at Xcel Energy, Dixon oversees Xcel Energy Service’s participation in the energy market operated by Southwest Power Pool, Inc. She also serves as Xcel’s representative on various industry committees and provides technical support in various state and federal regulatory forums.
“Prior to enrolling in GEM, I evaluated several other programs such as an MBA and MS in Economics, and neither felt like a fit,” she said. “After reviewing the curriculum and meeting several faculty members and alumni of the program, I determined that the GEM program was the right fit for me. The unique focus will give me an edge as an emerging leader in the industry.”
In 2005, Ms. Dixon joined Xcel Energy as an Associate Trading Analyst. There, she developed short-term energy optimization analyses for use in scheduling of constrained resources and power plant commitment decisions. Furthermore, she provided analytical support for forward fuel requirements and the daily gas nomination process.
In 2007, Dixon joined BP’s Integrated Supply and Trading division in Chicago, IL as a Trade Control Analyst. In 2010, Dixon was promoted to the position of Market Risk Advisor for the Global Residual and Distillate Trading benches. In 2011, Dixon returned to the Trading Analytics group at Xcel Energy in Denver. She was the lead Front Office Project Member for the Southwest Power Pool Integrated Marketplace launch.
Dixon received her BS in Mathematics and Computer Information Science, with a minor in Psychology, at the University of Oregon.
Congratulations to GEM alumni Heath Lovell and Lincoln Anderson who have been accepted into the Denver Petroleum Club’s Mentor/Mentee program.
“I’m seeking to find a role model through this program; someone who is inspiring and a great example to professionally mirror,” said Anderson, a Lease Analyst at SM Energy Company. “I don’t have much of an opportunity at work to get to know management in this capacity, so engaging with someone who has had a successful career would be a great benefit.”
The Mentor/Mentee (M&M) program brings together established oil & gas industry leaders with young industry professionals to provide insight, guidance, and advice regarding their professional career development.
Lovell and Anderson will join a group of 15 mentees who will begin working together in August 2015. The program will culminate at the Club’s 2016 Charity Bash held in May 2016.
“I’m looking forward to participating in planning and managing that [event],” Anderson said. “It’s reassuring to know we’re working to help the Denver community, and at the same time gaining experience with planning and executing a project.”
Lovell, a Senior Landman at Anadarko Petroleum Corp., joined the program because he is new to the Denver area.
“I wanted to broaden my network base and have the opportunity to be mentored by some of the leading energy professionals in the area,” he said. “I have set the bar very high for myself in this new chapter of my life and will take all of the knowledge and mentoring I can get. Companies, their assets and jobs come and go. Relationships, knowledge, education and experience stand the test of time and is what propels an individual in their career.”
“I always try to put myself in a position to learn as much as possible from those who have been in the industry a lot longer than I have. Anytime I get the opportunity to sit and hear one of my elders provide advice, I am always tuned in. The parties and balls sound fun too, but I am excited about the charity aspect of the experience as well,” Lovell added.
From monthly educational meetings to competitive games and volunteer projects, there is a lot to be accomplished in just nine short months.
GEM has also had 14 mentees in previous classes including: Greg Adam, Chase Boswell, Michael Burn, Jessica Cavens, Scott Hazelwood, Bruce Hopkins, Kyle Hoppes, AJ Jairamani, Ryan Johnson, Patsy Landaveri, Owen McMillen, Ryan Pocius, Blake O’Shaughnessey, and David Watts.
GEM Advisory Council Members who have donated their time as mentors in the industry include: John Mork, Bill Schneider, Peter Dea, and Dave Keyte.
For more information about the program, please contact Sally Hallingstad at (720) 663-9070.
Sarah Loughran, GEM’s Director of Programs and Stakeholder Relations who joined the program in 2009 before the start of the first cohort of students, will resign in early September.
“Working with you all has been such a privilege, and I have enjoyed my time with you all,” she said. “I’d love to keep in touch and hope to maybe work with you in some capacity again in the future.”
Loughran has helped to transform the program and curriculum. Among her many accomplishments are recruiting more than 15 new professors from around the globe and integrating new courses.
Loughran recruited GEM Marketing Professor Melissa Wood before the second cohort.
“While the merits and quality of the program drew me to join the faculty, it was Sarah’s enthusiasm and passion for this program that truly sealed the deal,” said Wood. “Sarah is a big reason why the GEM program has evolved and become a world-class educational opportunity for energy professionals. She brings with her an unparalleled ability to create a vision and translate it into a reality, never losing sight of what’s most important — the students and faculty.”
“Beyond her expertise and professionalism, I will miss her wit and kind heart. Although, it’s not ‘goodbye.’ She can’t shake me that easily because I consider her a true friend.”
Loughran has also led efforts to develop the GEM Competency Model to integrate the competency expectations of a new GEM graduate into corporate career development.
The Denver Business Journal recently selected her as a Top Women in Energy Leader. She was among 40 women who were selected as key influencers in metro Denver’s energy sector.
“I’m so sorry to see Sarah leave us even while I’m thrilled for her bright future,” said GEM Finance Professor Mike Orlando. “Sarah was the first person I met on the GEM staff. She was exceedingly courteous and capable in bringing me onboard and helping me to contribute to the GEM program over the years.”
Loughran’s husband was offered an outstanding new opportunity based in San Clemente, California this spring, and it was an offer that they couldn’t pass up.
“While I have been working in a remote capacity for GEM the last several months, I feel the time has come to tender my resignation,” Loughran said. “As a Colorado native, it was heartbreaking for me to leave the mountains. However, our new home has an ocean view and a yard full of citrus trees – so I’m starting to come around.”
Loughran’s last day at the GEM Program will be Sept. 4.
“She is always so accommodating and helpful – professional, but very sweet,” said GEM Professor and alumnus Ralph Cantafio. “I know we are all going to miss her, but I think we are all so happy for her and her family.”
The Global Energy Management Program is proud to announce that Sarah Loughran has been selected as a Top Women in Energy Leader by the Denver Business Journal.
Loughran, GEM’s Director or Programs and Stakeholder Relations, is among 40 women who were selected as key influencers in metro Denver’s energy sector. These women come from a variety of industries within the sector, such as exploration, production, engineering, renewable, law, well services, finance, manufacturing, education, training, public policy and environment.
Nominations were accepted online for three months, then were reviewed and scored by a panel of judges. The top 40 were selected based on their expertise, leadership and personal commitment to their communities.
A couple of weeks ago we held our annual Energy Moving Forward (EMF) conference – a lot of you may have been there. I am happy to report to you that the conference was a great success. We had a full house, great speakers & panel discussions, and almost universally positive feedback from people who attended.
As you probably saw from the marketing campaign, even if you weren’t at the conference, our theme this year was North American Energy Independence. We had two keynote speakers: Robert Bryce was the headliner with the opening Keynote; the closing keynote was from Dr. Ram Shenoy, Chief Technology Officer at ConocoPhillips. In between we had two panels. Panel 1 discussed political and economic dimensions of the issue, and Panel 2 discussed infrastructure and regulatory dimensions.
In this blog entry, I want to give you my take. Personally, I think that energy independence kind of lies in how you define it. We could define it as standing completely apart from the rest of the world on energy – nothing in, nothing out. With the shale revolution, we are actually at a point where that might be technically possible in a very few years. To me, though, that’s energy isolation, not energy independence, and even if it’s possible I don’t think it’s very sensible. I would define energy independence as a net positive balance of payments on energy, with the freedom to choose what we import and export and what we don’t. Defined this way, energy independence is highly desirable and probably possible for North America within the next year or two.
Canada is already our biggest source of energy imports and Mexico, as it deregulates its oil & gas and electric power sectors, is poised to become a big export market, for gas if nothing else. There is also a lot of potential for cross-border flows of electricity. The key to this is a greater degree of market integration across our three countries. There are both technical and regulatory challenges here, but nothing that can’t be solved. The issue will be less about what we move within North American that what we can move out of North American and how we can do that.
The United States needs to increase development of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity and remove legal barriers to the export of crude oil. LNG growth is happening already but should accelerate – the barrier here is mainly a market one. The landed price of LNG in Europe and Japan is much less than it was in 2014, and the very great arbitrage opportunities for LNG have largely evaporated. I am told the business is still profitable but not as wildly profitable as it looked a year ago. LNG plants have relatively long paybacks and building them without guaranteed contracts is risky business. The barrier to crude export is a legal one, going back to the first oil embargo in the 1970’s – at that time Congress passed legislation banning the export of U.S. crude and, even though there are strong technical and economic reasons for removing the ban, Congress fears that doing so will raise the price of U.S. crude and nobody wants to leave themselves open to being tarred with the brush of having raised the pump price of gasoline.
In any case, we have plenty of supply, both for export and for domestic consumption. Our Canadian partners are scaling back their expectations for export to the U.S., simply on the grounds that we don’t need to import as much, and they’re actively looking for other places to send oil. We should also expect additional supply from Mexico as their deregulated industry increases productivity.
It wouldn’t hurt to add $15 to the crude price and a dollar or two to natural gas. It’s true that consumer prices would probably rise slightly but we would also be able increase capital investment, ease the pressure on smaller operators as they try to comply with increasing environmental regulation, enable better management of carbon, and ease pressure on the still-fragile development of renewables, not to mention improving profitability in the oil & gas sector. On the whole a modest price increase would do a lot more good than harm, but it’s not likely to happen until we begin exporting more.
Three members of the Global Energy Management Community created a startup, PetraFluids Energy, that recently took first place at The Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship Pitch Night at the University of Colorado Denver Business School.
“The competition brought in a number of local business leaders and CU Professors to serve as ‘mock investors,’ and we gave them all brief elevator pitches in order to secure mock investment funds,” said GEM alumnus Matthew Jorden. “We were practiced and confident in our pitches, and I think the judges could really see our knowledge and drive to make this idea work.”
PetraFluids Energy is now one of the six finalists in the business plan competition. The team will present a final pitch to the competition judges on Wednesday, June 10. Prizes will be given out, including in-kind services as well as cash.
“PetraFluids Energy is fundamentally designed to generate renewable electricity,” Jorden said. “The team has several pathways to provide clean electricity to local utilities, all of which utilize enhanced geothermal systems in the Front Range area. Unlike traditional renewable efforts, we want to rely heavily on the local oil and gas industry, with partnerships with local producers and service suppliers.”
Some of the main factors Jorden contributes to the team’s initial success at Pitch Night are the potential market size, knowledge of the industry, and unique position to bring industries together (when they’ve traditionally not worked well together).
“By leveraging the expertise of the petroleum industry with the growth opportunities of the renewable industry, we truly believe we have immense potential for success,” Jorden said. “I believe the primary benefits to local communities will be carbon free energy, jobs and long term economic exploitation of geologic resources to benefit the local governments. One of the primary strengths of the business model is bridging the gap between the petroleum and renewable industries, and being able to leverage the strengths and talent of both.”
Once the team finishes the Jake Jabs Competition, the teammates will begin investigating both the NREL Industry Growth Forum and an upcoming City of Denver Business Plan competition.
The making of PetraFluids
This entire business enterprise is really a GEM business from start to finish, according to Jorden.
“The initial idea was developed over coffee in the hallways of the CU Denver business school, multiple versions of the business plans have been vetted by GEM professors, our initial advisory council is made up of GEM professors, and the three co-founders are all GEM alumni (or very close to being alumni),” Jorden said. “We couldn’t have done any of this without the skills and opportunities provided by the CU Denver Global Energy Management Program.”
The PetraFluids teammates have a diverse skillsets. GEM alumnus Matthew Jorden will bring his insight into the geosciences, utilizing over a decade of geologic analysis in oil and gas basins across the world. GEM student Adam DeRito has skills in operations and equipment. GEM alumnus David Beeson will help the team navigate the land leases and business development.
“All of us bring a drive to accomplish and strong work ethic, as well as the view on the energy industry provided by the GEM Program at CU Denver,” Jorden said.
Jorden and Beeson began working on an Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) business plan during their GEM studies, while taking an Advanced Finance course with GEM Professor Jack Mason, who is also the Director of Entrepreneurial Studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
“Their team of two truly set the standard for plan quality and completeness,” Mason said. “Because I have a lot of experience and have started several businesses in the power generation side of the energy industry, I thought their idea had real potential and encouraged them to pursue the idea after graduation. I suggested a few ideas, some leads for potential support or partners, including NREL and Xcel, and the business plan competition I have stayed in touch and met with them a few times subsequent to their graduation. It has been exciting to see them continue to pursue an idea with significant potential for success and scale.”
Jorden and Beeson continued working on the project in Professor Herb Rubenstein’s Strategic Management class, eventually using the project as part of their capstone project. “While working in Prof. Rubenstein’s class, several students encouraged us to contact GEM Student Adam DeRito, who had similar ideas,” Beeson added.
Jorden and Beeson reached out to Adam and were impressed with his knowledge, drive, and skills.
“We quickly invited Adam on board,” Jorden said. “Adam has brought a lot of industry specific knowledge and guidance as we develop this idea, he has been a great addition to the team.”
Raised in Iowa, I joined the U.S. Navy right after high school in 1996 and was trained as a mechanic to operate nuclear power plants. I continued working for the US Navy until 2009, during which I operated nuclear power plants onboard two aircraft carriers and spent more than four years as an instructor. After my time in the service, I was hired by Ormat Technologies to be a Maintenance Manager at a geothermal power plant in Brawley, California. Earlier this year, I was transferred to the corporate office in Reno, Nevada to lead the development of an integrated training program.
My choice to enter the GEM Program was greatly influenced by a good friend who I served with in the military. He knew I was looking to further my education and wanted a curriculum that would be beneficial to furthering my career, as well as increasing my marketability as an employee. That is exactly what GEM has done for me so far, and I am sure it will continue to do so in the future. The program opens your eyes and educates you on multiple facets within your organization that may currently not be your direct responsibility.
The Global Energy Management (GEM) Program is a profound and insightful program that challenges students, while being flexible enough to accommodate their full time jobs. Students who successfully navigate the program course load gain invaluable knowledge, network contacts, and perspectives.