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GEM’s Gem says the opportunities the program provides are ‘limitless’

March 2, 2015

Global Energy Management alumnus Heath Lovell recently moved to Denver after accepting the position of Senior Landman at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
Heath Lovell
“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 founds company to connect US and Latin American energy sectors

February 17, 2015
Norma Mozee

Norma Mozee

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.

GEM’s MOOC increasingly popular around the world

February 3, 2015
Michael Orlando

Michael Orlando

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.”

GEM’s Gems January 2015 – Bryan Burns

January 29, 2015

Bryan Burns The January GEM’s GEM is Bryan Burns. He is a Senior Environmental Health & Safety Representative at LINN Energy, an upstream oil and gas master limited partnership. A member of Cohort VIII, Burns recently participated in the GEM Program’s Special Topics course in London as an alumnus.

“It was perfect timing because after graduating in January, I realized I missed being up-to-date with current events in the global energy industry,” Burns said. “We listened to a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford Analytica lay out underlying factors influencing supply trends in international oil and gas markets, as well as geopolitical concerns in Russia, NGL export projects in the Middle East, and refining capacity issues in Europe. It all made sense a month later when oil prices began to plunge.”

Burns, 29, wrote papers for the course that he later presented to leaders in his organization analyzing how oversupply could potentially lead to stranded assets.

“Whatever the future holds, I know I will be better suited to face it with the knowledge, skills, and friends I gained from the GEM program,” he said.

Please tell us a little bit about your current role & responsibilities:
As the Senior Environmental Health & Safety Representative at LINN Energy, my scope includes air quality, reclamation, water management, and sensitive species compliance projects for LINN’s Rockies assets in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. My responsibilities also include environmental due diligence and integration for acquisitions and divestitures. Before the downturn in oil prices, LINN announced nearly $10 billion in transactions with ExxonMobil/XTO, Pioneer, Devon, and others in just a 13 month period. With a bevy of new environmental regulations and the coming “Great Shift Change,” I am focusing on finding ways to leverage technology to improve data collection quality while decreasing the compliance time burden on our operations teams.

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
I am proud to be a part of America’s energy renaissance, providing affordable energy to consumers while driving an unprecedented reduction in carbon emissions nationwide to levels not seen in two decades. I enjoy the challenge of working with talented multidisciplinary teams across the country, getting out to the field, and connecting with colleagues from Michigan to California. My role sits at the juncture of business and environmental stewardship, and I know how important it is to operate responsibly. The future of our industry depends on building relationships of mutual trust with landowners, shareholders, regulators, and community partners. The oil and gas industry is renowned for its innovation, and I try to harness that spirit to cost-effectively conserve environmental resources for future generations.

What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
I am a member of Cohort VIII, a.k.a. the Ocho. My recollection of cohort weekends involved feeling tired for four days straight, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and straining my mind to contain all the material we learned. I preferred the nights where we got to know each other over a couple drinks and shared some laughs but I dodged a headache the next morning.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?
Business cards and Altoids. The former for networking, the latter to stay awake in the afternoon.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?
I studied environmental science and policy during undergrad, so I did not have much exposure to business-specific course material. I started in the industry in 2006 and learned quickly that having business acumen is essential to influence decision-making and culture in an organization. The GEM program offered the convenience of a hybrid-learning environment that enabled me to focus on school and my full-time job without sacrificing one over the other. The professors had real-world energy experience, which differed from other programs locally and nationally. The GEM program’s reputation enabled me to get a portion of my degree paid for by my company because they saw the value offered by the curriculum.

How has the GEM program benefited you?
While I was a GEM student, my former company of seven years merged with LINN. Learning about finance, accounting, and talent management helped me to understand what was going on around me during the transition, and also helped me recognize ways I could effectively contribute to my new company. Six months later, I was given the opportunity to join the integration team and learn the M&A side of the business, which I had wanted to do for years.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
In my cohort, a member’s significant other (accidentally?) appeared negligibly clothed on screen while the team was recording a WebEx presentation.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

January 28, 2015

By Paul Alvarez, GEM Lecturer

Fortnightly Magazine – November 2014
For decades now, most states have required Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) to file periodic plans describing least-cost, least-risk approaches for meeting anticipated future loads. Though many restructured states have replaced “Integrated Resource Planning” with “Procurement Planning,” the goal is essentially the same: complete a public process to help assure regulators (and other stakeholders) that low-cost electricity will be reliably available to customers when needed. More recently, integrated resource planning (IRP) has also been used to accomplish other ostensibly worthwhile goals, such as renewable portfolio standards, with as little cost and risk to customers as possible. To date, however, integrated resource plans have focused almost exclusively on electric generation options, including consideration of related issues such as transmission and demand-side management potential, capabilities, and costs.

This article proposes to apply integrated resource planning principles to distribution grid modernization. Using IRP goals, processes, and characteristics as a guide, readers will recognize the potentially significant value of Integrated distribution planning (IDP) in reaching future customer, community, and societal goals in the most cost-effective and low-risk manner possible. We’ll begin by looking at the changing role of distribution grids and modern distribution grid investment characteristics. We’ll also consider a potential framework for an IDP process and its likely value to community planning and development stakeholders.

As the roles evolve that distribution grids (and utilities) will be asked to play in the future, the characteristics of required investments (and planning) will (should) change too. Before the recent grid modernization gold rush, the capital a utility might request for its distribution grid in a rate case might have amounted to $100 per customer. Today, a utility’s comprehensive grid modernization proposal might amount to $2,000 per customer or more . Historically, customers demanded that distribution grids reliably accommodate 1-2% load growth annually; today, stakeholders are demanding that distribution grids meet a variety of customer, community, and societal goals, each presenting its own challenges and many in conflict with others:

Figure 1 – Distribution Investment Characteristics, Historical vs. ModernChoice. Accommodate ever-greater customer choice, including self-generation, electric transportation, microgrid, payment, and pricing options

Reliability. Maintain or enhance reliability, including reduced vulnerability to cyberattacks and severe weather

Efficiency. Increase the energy efficiency of the distribution grid

Cost. Remain economically viable/maintain low capital costs while holding rates down during times of falling sales volumes.

If the dramatic changes in distribution grid and utility roles aren’t enough to prompt a new approach to distribution planning, perhaps the uncertainty associated with future customer technologies is. How might convenient, cost-effective energy storage change the distribution grid and utilities? What about the connected home and the internet of things relative to demand response and real-time pricing? The timing and extent of customer generation and electric vehicle adoption? These ‘known unknowns,’ not to mention the ‘unknown unknowns,’ threaten to make IRP modeling look simple by comparison.

– See more at: http://www.fortnightly.com/fortnightly/2014/11/integrated-distribution-planning?authkey=a10098d0cf9df59f4db48b115ac6bfcf9ea525b1c87e51142b0e35196272a840#sthash.qARkORfl.dpuf

Analyzing Technology Trends for Fun and Profit

January 26, 2015

By Richard P. Mignogna, PhD, PE, GEM Lecturer

 Technology trend watching is a favorite avocation in many fields — energy, transportation, telecommunications — the list is endless. Renewable energy in general, and solar photovoltaics (PV) in particular, provides many great examples of current interest. For example, understanding trends in the efficiency of PV cells is needed to understand the future economics of solar energy. But, can we do more than simply marvel at current progress and just wait and see what comes next? The short answer is yes.

Specialists in strategic technology planning have invested careers studying the dynamics of technological advances and predicting the future direction in technologies of interest to business. The growth in PV cell efficiencies presents an ideal application.

While the relationship between PV cell efficiencies and the cost of solar energy is clear, the plethora of PV technologies available makes a very confusing landscape. Particular varieties of silicon and thin film dominate the landscape now, but for how long? The history of technological advance is replete with competing technologies vying for dominance in the marketplace (Remember the Beta vs VHS wars? Now followed by BlueRay vs HD-DVD) The current energy arena is no different. For example, silicon, thin film (in different flavors), organic solar cells, etc. are all on their own performance trajectories. How do we assess their comparative potential? Not where they are today but where they will be in the future?

Most have heard of Moore’s Law, which describes the exponential growth in computing power over time, but few know that Moore’s Law is merely a singular application of a broad class of growth models that apply to technological advance in general. Less well understood is how to apply such models to the vast quantity of trend data that has become available in renewable energy (think photovoltaics, wind energy, energy storage, etc.) and a host of other technologies of interest to energy planners, utilities, developers, manufacturers, researchers, R&D managers, strategic planners, venture capitalists, and investors in emerging technologies.

Is there a Moore’s law for energy in general and various renewable energy technologies in particular? Of course there is. The problem is there are many, and the first order of business is to define the technology of interest – for PV, think silicon vs CdTe vs CIGS vs organic PV vs etc., etc., etc. – and the metrics that will allow you to assess their performance over time.

But, there is more to this than simply turning such technology assessments into a data dredging exercise. It is common to consult with individual “experts” but unfortunately their biases often limit, albeit unintentionally, their ability to provide an objective picture. More worrisome, perhaps, would be relying on overpriced reports from the big market research houses whose optimistic growth forecasts are typically unsubstantiated, or on the projections of advocacy organizations.

Fortunately, more rigorous approaches for aggregating the diverse opinions and experiences of multiple experts are available to help arrive at a more complete picture of future advances in technologies of interest. And, combining these qualitative approaches with the aforementioned trend analyses can equip technology planners with a fairly robust suite of methods to analyze emerging technologies and plan technology investments.

It is incumbent on those who are making and managing investments to have some understanding of the dynamics of technological advance to help guide their decision making. It is not too essential that a given forecast must be proved accurate; it is rather the learning gained from engaging in the exercise that enables better decision making.

So where do you start?

1. Determine the performance parameters that can help you describe technological advance (hint: sales growth is NOT a technological performance parameter). For PV, cell efficiencies are a good place to start but there are others. For wind energy, rotor diameter, hub height, and turbine nameplate capacities are also a good starting place.

2. Obtain trend data on the metrics of interest but be careful not to mix different technologies. For example, if looking at trends in the speed of aircraft, do not mix propeller driven aircraft with jet aircraft as they are fundamentally different technologies and this will only make a mess of your analysis.

3. Understand where you are on the technology s-curve of the technology you are researching. There is always some physical limitation to the performance of every technology. Are you close to it? (See the figure below). Know how and when to apply the proper growth models (Gompertz, Pearl-Reed, Fisher-Pry, etc.) to complete your analysis.

4. If looking at the substitution of an emerging technology for an incumbent one, consider that such substitutions often take longer than expected – in spite of what you may read in the press about “game changers” – and it is not uncommon for such an attack to motivate improvements in the incumbent technology.

Finally, using the tools I’ve described in planning your technology strategy is only a starting point. Work to understand what the data is telling you. And most importantly, understand that trend is not destiny

For years, as principal in Technology/Engineering Management Int’l (TEMI) I have taught the principles of technology forecasting and technology intelligence to researchers, planners, analysts, R&D managers and others charged with strategic technology planning, competitive analysis, technology road-mapping, technology scouting, technology assessment, and technology transfer. To learn more, contact me personally at rich@energystrategies.co.

GEM’s Gems December 2014 – Greg Adam

December 17, 2014

December GEM’s Gem Greg Adam recently accepted a new position as a Sales Engineer for Allied Oil and Gas Services and works with the company’s Denver-based clients to offer products and services to meet their cement product needs.

Greg Adam and his wife Audra Adam.

Greg Adam and his wife Audra Adam.

“Cement isn’t the most glamorous aspect of oil and gas, but it is one of the most critical to keeping [hydraulic fracking operations] well safe and producing for years,” he said.

Adam, 28, who was a member of Cohort VII, said his favorite aspect of the energy industry is its scale.

“I am always surprised to see how large it is,” he said. “I came from the military and know how far reaching that is, but the oil and gas industry has so many parts to it.  I enjoy learning about the different roles people play in the industry.”

Receiving a degree from GEM has opened many doors for Adam.

“I came from working with satellites in the Air Force and had no background in this industry,” he said. “GEM gave me a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities in many different aspects of the energy industry. We had people who worked for electric, solar, and geothermal as well as every aspect of oil and gas. My network in the industry grew, and several classmates took active roles in helping me transition when I left the military.”

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

It was great to see everyone again during cohort weekends and to reconnect & bond. You become focused on your group and the course projects during the first four days, but occasionally make time to enjoy a few drinks after class.

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


  1. Aspirin:  Cohort VII did a lot of ‘networking’ after class.
  2. Notes: There is such tidal wave of information that occurs during the in class weekends that you need some way to manage it all. It was always helpful to have the slides printed or a notebook to jot things down on.
  3. Open Mind: The point of this program is to challenge and teach you to think differently. The best thing you can do is embrace it.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

I started the program while I was still on active duty in the United States Air Force. At the time, it was important for your career progression to have a master’s degree. I started looking around at the MBA options in Denver and discovered the GEM Program. It seemed like an exceptional program and offered a more unique experience than a general MBA. Also, I really liked the structure of the classes since I was on a crew rotation (shift work) and wouldn’t be able to attend a normal program two nights a week.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students

My wife and I were both in grad school when we got married. I was in the middle of Q4 in the finance and human resources classes. I remember being holed up in my hotel room getting an HR project squared away. One of my teammates actually came to pick up a thumb drive with all the files on it from me as I was headed out for my bachelor party. But, the professors were amazing with an understanding that we had life going on outside of the program. I asked for and received reprieves so I didn’t have to do homework on

my honeymoon. It is all about communicating these issues ahead of time.

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

I get to travel for work a lot; it is nice to really learn about my new company and get to see the field offices. I am gone every other week and am really enjoying meeting all the people at my new company. So far, I have been to Texas three times out of the past five weeks.

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