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GEM’s Gems June 2013 – Eryn Bergin

June 17, 2013
Eryn 1

Eryn Bergin

Eryn Bergin of Cohort VI is unable to attend graduation this weekend, but the Global Energy Management Program is honoring her as an outstanding GEM’s Gem.

Bergin, 31, received her Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering and her Master’s in Petroleum Reservoir Systems from the Colorado School of Mines. She then earned a Master’s in Global Energy Management from the University of Colorado Denver Business School.

“The Global Energy Management program really lives up to its name,” Bergin said. “I strongly believe it was the emphases on the ‘Global’ early on that lead to the opportunity to live out my dream of working overseas. … About halfway through the GEM program I was offered the job in Brisbane, Australia as the Lead Geologist in what was then the Appraisal Team.”

About six months into the job, the company went through a re-organization, and Bergin was promoted to Team Lead.

“I’ve always felt that my strong work ethic and drive would eventually lead to a management position, but the GEM program gave me the tools and experience to confidently make this transition so early in my career,” Bergin said. “I was able to immediately apply what I had learned in the Leadership and Human Resources courses and hit the ground running.”

Bergin says that transitioning to living in Australia was not as easy as she thought it would be.

“We assumed that since we spoke the same language and had similar cultures, that the transition would be relatively smooth,” she said, “but I quickly learned that Australian’s do not do business like we do in the US. The emphasis is on quality of life, not profits, and you can see this across the board from their benefits packages to their business hours. Stores would observe what we call “bankers hours” and so shopping after work was very difficult, even to find a grocery store.”

In addition, she found stark contrasts in the energy industry methods used there. Many companies continue to rely upon decades-old conventional methods to operate today’s unconventional fieldwork.

“This is why the North American’s have been recruited,” Bergin said. “The school of thought was that if you staff up with people who know how to efficiently operate a field with marginal rates of return, then the rest will sort itself out and Australia will be the next North America.  But they are about 10 years behind North America, and it’s not as easy to catch up as they thought.  The cost of doing business in Australia is much higher than in the US, there isn’t a readily available experienced work force in the office and in the field, and most specialized equipment must be shipped in from the U.S. Energy companies in the U.S. can make these marginal plays work because the infrastructure is already in place. We are getting there, but still have a long way to go till we are operating as efficiently as companies in North America.

Bergin was recruited because she had experience in efficiently running unconventional operations. However, she quickly learned that adapting those experiences in creative and novel ways to an international energy standard is crucial.

“Australia will not change for you, so you have to adapt the U.S. methods to Australia, she said. “After a few months I began to adapt and love my new position and see Australia as home. We’re so happy that we made this decision and haven’t regretted it once, even in our most frustrating moments. It’s been a real adventure and I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of, professionally and personally.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

In my current role I am responsible for the appraisal of the Scotia natural gas field in Queensland, Australia.  My job involves all aspects of determining how much natural gas is in the field, the areal extents of the field, as well as exploration and identification of new opportunities within our three assets.

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

The Global Energy Management program really lives up to its name. I strongly believe it was the emphasis on the “Global” early on that lead to the opportunity to live out my dream of working overseas. Each course emphasizes not just the American experience, but how the energy industry is evolving all over the world. I am now able to intelligently discuss the global energy economy and my company’s role within it. This knowledge especially came in handy when I was asked to join a group tasked with outlining our division’s strategic plan. I found the background knowledge I had obtained through GEM helped me to materially contribute to this process.

About halfway through the GEM program I was offered the job in Brisbane, Australia as the Lead Geologist in what was then the Appraisal Team. The role was a promotion for me into my first management position. About six months into the job, our company went through a re-organization and I was promoted again to Team Lead. I’ve always felt that my strong work ethic and drive would eventually lead to a management position, but the GEM program gave me the tools and experience to confidently make this transition so early in my career.  I was able to immediately apply what I had learned in the Leadership and Human Resources courses and hit the ground running. Eryn 2

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

My favorite part of the cohort weekends was really just catching up with everyone. Once we all went home, we often only got to chat with the people in our groups. And since we were such a small, close cohort, we really got to know each person and sometimes even their families. There was always a lot of anticipation for me seeing everyone on the Friday. Who would get engaged? Who would be having a baby? Who would be moving or getting a promotion? A lot happened over those 18 months!

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

I always had to have my Starbucks coffee throughout the day. Especially after I moved to Australia and came back for the course in the fall.  Australia has Starbucks, but does not have Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

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

Well now that we’re done I can divulge some little secrets. We had a lot of avid football fans in our cohort from all over the nation, so when we would meet in the fall, Sunday’s breaks and lunches were football time. Being a fantasy football fanatic I would spend a lot of time on that Sunday hitting refresh on my phone to see the latest scores.  Unfortunately for Bob Donegan, our favorite Philly fan, he wasn’t able to check the scores on his phone. So to keep him updated on his Eagles, I would write the scores on the back of my name card and flash it to him when the professor would turn their back. I’m sure it’s all on tape somewhere, but hey it was the final minutes of the 4th quarter and football trumps financial accounting every time. Sorry Gary!

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

I chose GEM because I wanted a business degree focused on the energy industry. I had always been planning on getting my MBA at some point, and when I heard about the GEM program, I just knew it would be a great fit.

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

GEM has definitely changed my idea of what it means to be in the “energy” industry.  Previously when I thought of the energy industry, I thought only of oil and gas, as that was my exposure. But after working with such a diverse cohort and faculty, I now feel I could confidently work anywhere in the energy industry, including generation, renewables, government, and finance. It has definitely broadened my career path!

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