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GEM’s Gems May 2014 – Don Crawford

May 1, 2014

The GEM’s Gem we are featuring this month is Don Crawford, who was recently promoted to Software Product Owner at Halliburton Energy Services Group’s Wireline and Perforating Solutions unit.

Don Crawford

Don Crawford

​Crawford, 32, was relocated to Houston and is in the process of developing an informational course based on his current role.

“My new role will pull from many of the new skills I have acquired through the GEM Program,” he said, “but beyond that, it has opened my world to new interests so strong that I consider changing my job with every new class. The research completed for my class projects has re-aligned my skill-set, which was previously very heavy technically, now including the business tools and relevant energy industry knowledge to create completely new career paths.”

Crawford is a member of Cohort IX and will graduate from the GEM Program in June. “The GEM program helped me learn skills beyond the coursework, which allowed me to better prepare for interviewing for my new job and for negotiating the salary,” Crawford added.

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities?

I act as the main conduit between my team of software developers and the various stakeholders, end-users, engineers, and scientists. I translate the business need, the overall added value, and technology into specifications my team can understand and a ranked list of priorities driven by company objectives. I drive the evolution of the software beyond a reactive field tool towards a proactive and advanced component of the company with exciting added value.

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

The constant innovation and evolution of every aspect of the business keeps me learning new things and traveling around the world. Every conflict is really just a challenge, and every crisis a new way to test your metal.

How has the GEM program benefited you? ​

My new role will pull from many of the new skills I have acquired through the GEM Program. But beyond that, it has opened my world to new interests so strong that I consider changing my job with every new class. The research completed for my class projects has re-aligned my skill-set, which was previously very heavy technically, now including the business tools and relevant energy industry knowledge to create completely new career paths.

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

I may sound like a dork, but I look forward to meeting the new professors and guest lecturers. Since my recent transfer to Houston, I look forward to acting like a tourist now that I don’t live there.

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

I always forget not to bring my laptop. For work, a laptop is indispensable. But during GEM lectures I retain more from immediate social interaction with the class and lecturer which can often be impeded by electronic devices. This has the added benefit of limiting the work intrusions. The most useful tool in GEM is maintaining a mind free of expectations and bias. Every time I believe I might be able to ignore what I consider a small detail, inconsequential to the concinnity of the business, I end up having a large portion of a class which focuses on why that detail might be the most overlooked yet indispensable piece of the value chain.

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

Every class usually has a memorable comical aspect to the personal mannerisms of each lecturer. It really makes some of these very distinguished people seem much more approachable and human. Perhaps the most memorable is the classic (GEM professor) intro to every lecture, “GEM Students!” Without a doubt every time I meet someone new or run into someone from my cohort, this has become our greeting. If you have had his class you will understand and smile.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

When I was looking at graduate degrees, I was in a technical role which was typically filled by geologists, petrophysicts, and engineers. I had a BS degree which focused more on the computational aspects of biology research. At the time I was looking for something that would validate and accentuate my technical side. I even entertained the notion of pursuing either an MS in applied mathematics or a geology degree. Honestly, I had very little information on any graduate business degree with energy focus, and I truly had no clue that such a thing existed. Because I had a full-time job, I started frequenting websites and forums which discussed different online degrees. I realized that the amount of MBA or similar degrees that were offered online almost outweighed any other degree type. While humoring myself with aspirations in executive leadership, I came across a couple energy focused business degrees including GEM. The GEM Program was unique in the specialized courses, distinguished lecturers, and the scope of their view of the energy world.

 

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