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GEM’s Gems March 2013 – Andrew Haney

February 26, 2013
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Andrew Haney

When it comes to time management, GEM students tend to be experts. Case in point, 33-year-old GEM alumnus Andrew Haney had to balance a full-time job, school, and raising twin, newborn daughters with his wife. Now, the cohort 1 alum has been rewarded for all of his hard work as a he has become the Vice President of Development, Rockies at Ursa Resources Group II LLC.

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

Ursa Resources Group II LLC (“URG II”), the parent company of Ursa Operating Company LLC, is a private-equity backed E&P company (Denham Capital Management LP) that recently acquired liquids-rich Williams Fork assets from Antero Resources Piceance Corporation on Dec. 21, 2012. With this transaction, URG II plans to optimize the development of the Williams Fork by leveraging the latest in completions technology and to grow the value of the emerging Niobrara Shale resource play. URG II also has built key land positions in four oil-prone basins across the U.S.

As the VP of Development – Rockies I am responsible for: the delivery of asset development plans that deliver performance that meets or exceeds key production, reserves, capital, and profitability goals. Collaborating with the VP of Operations – Rockies and leading the Rockies Development Team towards the optimal strategy for asset development by leveraging local experience, employing the best technologies, and fostering an environment of continuous improvement. I work with the COO and the VP of Business Development to identify key new business opportunities and to develop competitive intelligence capabilities. In addition, as part of the Rockies Management Team, I communicate with the COO weekly and with the President & CEO and Board of Directors quarterly regarding the state of the business as well as the forward planning for the company’s Rockies assets.

How has the GEM program benefited you and your company? Have you been promoted since you began the program?

I participated in the first cohort of the GEM Program in 2009. I was supremely intrigued about a program that boasted the first focused degree for energy professionals to elevate their understanding of the broader energy industry and to prepare them with the skills to build their own businesses or lead in their current companies. As a pioneering program, I am pleased to say that the GEM program delivered upon its promises.

My career has directly benefitted through new opportunities including my new role for Ursa Operating Company LLC. Prior to the GEM Program, I was primarily focused on delivering the best wells in a given area of a Piceance asset for a large independent E&P company. In my current role, I have a much broader responsibility of optimally developing a portfolio of assets for a private E&P organization with which I have equity ownership.

There are three distinct challenges with this position: 1) meet corporate profitability goals while operating with high standards in our involvement with the community, the environment, and the safety of our employees and contractors; 2) identify opportunities to maximize the value of our assets through production and reserves growth as well as developing key partnerships; 3) collaborating directly with operational leadership and staff to plan smartly and execute vigilantly. With the tools and relationships I acquired in the GEM Program, I feel prepared and excited to tackle these challenges and generate momentum for our business.

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

Cohort weekends were an excellent opportunity to build relationships with your fellow colleagues. I enjoyed spending hours outside of the classroom learning more about my peers’ motivations and goals. The magic of the program is that so many different people are coming together to contribute their experiences and perspectives of the energy industry. You learn very early on how energy is that indispensable commodity that touches all of our lives and is necessary for our collective prosperity.

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

Sometimes what you do not bring to cohort weekends is as vital as what you do. I made a point not to bring work with me. There are inevitably times where work situations or emergencies will interject into your classroom schedule. However, this is a test of one’s time management skills. If you want to build your own business, you must be prepared to manage competing priorities and herein lies a valuable lesson. I attended the GEM Program while working full-time and assisting my wife (who was also working full-time in the energy business for an E&P operator) with our newly arrived twin girls, Emma and Avery. Time management is a challenge for everyone, but in our case, it was the most difficult daily task. During these moments in life, we learn who we are, what’s most important to us, and how to become relentlessly efficient. While it is crucial to come to cohort weekends prepared and ready to engage in complex discussions, it is also a must to minimize distractions and enjoy the experience.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.

One of the most controversial discussions that occurred during our program was climate change. As with most of the public debates on climate change, our classroom conversation quickly devolved into the typical entrenched positions of ‘climate change is man-made’ and ‘it is a natural fluctuation in global climate, nothing more.’

The conversation was focused more on the culpability for climate change rather than thinking beyond its role in the energy debate and the realization of its implications on the energy industry. So, I proposed to the class that debating climate change is similar to two cavemen sitting in a dark space arguing over making a fire. One of the cavemen insists that they must build a fire because it is too dark and they need the light. The other caveman insists that they must build a fire because it is too cold and they need the warmth.

I suggested that rather than arguing over the reason, they should focus on building the fire. Climate change is no different. Whether you believe it is man-made or nothing more than natural fluctuations in our global climate, its implications would compel you to take the same actions to those of several other important causes.  Whether you believe in climate change, or reducing our national trade deficit, or reducing our dependency on foreign oil, or reducing the resource cost to domestic industries to spur economic growth through the development of our own natural gas resources, the resulting action that must be taken is the same.

The point is to focus on the fundamentals and the choices to be made rather than on the politics. At the end of the day, we find that regardless of politics, many of our motivations are the same – a prosperous economy and a healthy environment. Once we accept this premise, real progress can be made. This is an example of the gravity of the discussions that take place in the GEM program. Throughout the program, each student has the opportunity to contribute to these discussions and elevate them beyond the common rhetoric to the reality that faces each of our businesses.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

I was intrigued by the ability to gain an energy-focused graduate level degree as an alternative to an MBA.  Furthermore, the hybrid nature of the degree was an indispensable component to my success. Given competing priorities between work, family, health, and school, it was vital to have the flexibility between online, offsite, and classroom learning. Therefore, the GEM Program was a perfect fit for my life and should be for other energy professionals who are unable to put their careers on hold for a graduate level degree.

Has GEM changed your perspective? If so, how so?

Absolutely! In many ways, I see my career and the world differently. The unique experiences that each GEM student brings to their cohort adds value to the projects and discussions that take place. Now, I approach my job with questions beyond technical problem solving. How will this affect the community, the environment, our reputation, our ability to meet corporate goals? Etc. Perhaps most importantly, the energy industry and its uneven age demographics need programs like GEM to help accelerate the learning and contributions from energy professionals in order to meet surging global energy demands.

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