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GEM’s Gems February 2014 – Chris Longwell

February 1, 2014

This month, the Global Energy Management Program is honoring alumnus Chris Longwell as our GEM’s GEM. Longwell, 32, is a Drilling and Completions Manager at Santos Limited in Eastern Australia and was a member of GEM’s Cohort IV.

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Chris Longwell

Longwell looked at a variety of master’s program curricula before selecting the GEM Program at CU Denver.

“The Global Energy Management degree had the best selection of courses that were relevant for my desired career path,” he said. “The GEM program has given me a broader view of the energy industry and increased my business and leadership skills allowing me to take on a management role with a large team at a relatively young age.”

Serendipitously, Longwell’s profession helped him to discover a passion for motor sports and adventure.

“While living in Australia, I got the crazy idea to ride an off-road motorcycle around the coastline of the country,” he said. “So far, I’ve made it about three quarters of the way around and have had many mishaps including getting swept off a bridge by a flooding river in crocodile country.

“I’ve recently moved to a new position in our Offshore Team which will give me some more time off, and I’m hoping to finish up the trip in the next year. Should be a total of about 35,000 kms (21,875miles). So, if anybody wants to buy a worn out motorcycle that’s had a rough life, let me know.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

I am responsible for drilling, completions and frac for all Onshore Operations in South Australia, Northern Territory, & Southwest Queensland including EHS, and finance.

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?

The challenge of 24/7 Operations, exploring for oil & gas, and the ability to get paid to travel and see the world.

How has the GEM program benefited you?

The GEM program has given me a broader view of the energy industry and increased my business and leadership skills allowing me to take on a management role with a large team at a relatively young age. Also, this job led me to meet my Australian girlfriend who is very nice (when I can understand what she is saying).

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

With a wide variety of backgrounds and levels of experience in my cohort, we had some great debates that led to a greater understanding of the energy industry from different perspectives. It also provided me with a great excuse to see my family and friends when I flew in to Denver from Oklahoma, Vietnam, and Australia during the program.

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

With the late nights at the pubs and early mornings in class, a good coffee mug was critical!

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

I was out in the South China Sea on a Semi-Submersible Drilling Rig during the end of one quarter when a couple hurricanes came in. It was too windy to get helicopters in, so I had to do my final tests and presentation from the rig with intermittent service from our satellite. My team members and professors were very understanding and, although my presentation video was a bit choppy, I made it through with decent grades.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

After viewing a number of different master’s curricula, the Global Energy Management degree had the best selection of courses that were relevant for my desired career path.

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