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GEM’s Gems October 2014 – Mathew Jorden

September 19, 2014
This photo of Mathew Jorden was taken during the AAPG/MGS conference in Myanmar.

This photo of Mathew Jorden was taken during the AAPG/MGS conference in Myanmar.

This month, we are highlighting alumnus Mathew Jorden who recently presented at the inaugural conference of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) held in Myanmar. His presentation, titled “Utilizing Potential Field in the Gulf of Martaban,” focused on using public domain magnetic and gravity data to image structural features and faulting that are linked to offshore gas production.

“The audience consisted mostly of Australian and East Asian professionals, with very few Americans in attendance,” said Jorden, who was a member of the GEM Program’s Cohort IX.  “The presentation was well received, and we were able to highlight some previously unknown potential plays in the Moattama Basin.”

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, commonly shortened to Myanmar, is emerging back onto the international commodities scene after decades of isolation and sanctions. The conference was hosted jointly by the AAPG & the Myanmar Geosciences Society (MGS) and took place in Yangon, a former capitol. A variety of companies were present, each focused on oil & gas production, exploration, or services.

Jorden, 30, who is a Geoscientist at NEOS Geosolutions, said he had been reading about energy opportunities in Myanmar for about a year prior to the conference.

“My company wasn’t interested in pursuing the opportunities in Myanmar, so I kept my interests on the back burner,” he said. “While on a GEM cohort weekend, GEM Professor Herb Rubenstein encouraged me to send an abstract in to the conference and to be a bit bolder in pursuit of individual career goals. At his prompting, I wrote an abstract and submitted it on a hope and a prayer. And the next thing I knew, I was buying a plane ticket and requesting PTO to attend a conference in Myanmar.

“Overall, it was a great experience, and I couldn’t have done it without the knowledge I gained from the GEM Program and the support and encouragement of the GEM professors.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.
I work with geophysical, geologic and geochemical datasets at NEOS, primarily acquired from fixed wing platforms. I help design surveys, monitor acquisition efforts (occasionally getting in a small survey plane), process data and assist our senior interpretation staff as they make sense of the data. Our ultimate product is an integrated interpretive study identifying prospectivity of hydrocarbon basins that gives previously unknown insight into the regional geology of an area. The majority of my work at NEOS has been focused on the Neuquen Basin of Argentina and its Vaca Muerta shale play.
What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
To be perfectly honest, I entered the energy industry at age 19 because I wanted to travel and the salary was tempting. My interests have evolved, and now I enjoy working in such a dynamic and technical field. Energy is a rapidly changing and evolving industry, and I really enjoy being a part of that. It is A very interesting time to be in the industry, as so much is changing so rapidly. Seeing things like the growth in energy demand in the developing world and the various success rates of deploying new, low carbon technologies in the developed world is very exciting and rewarding for me.
How has the GEM program benefited you?
The GEM Program helped build my public speaking skills. Before GEM, I had little confidence in my ability to present conclusions or work, but through 18 months of constant presentations, group and individual, I really gained some skill sets that have improved my public speaking (and recently helped me in Myanmar!). The constant workload also helped me become better at managing projects and multitasking. All those late nights and coordinating across time zones has really helped me in my work, where I am often tasked with multiple projects that need to be coordinated across multiple time zones.
What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
I was in Cohort IX, and my favorite part of the cohort weekends was the networking and socializing. Although the online portion of the GEM program was very valuable, I always enjoyed the personal interactions with fellow students the most. The GEM program attracts a diverse set of energy industry professionals, and I would highly encourage any new or current students to take advantage of the network they will build in GEM.
What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?
This may not be relevant in the iPad era, but I always made sure to bring copious amounts of pens and notepads. I find that taking prodigious notes really helped when we were working on projects after the cohort weekend, especially for the science and finance based coursework. For me personally, hand written notes tend to help me process information so I always brought pen and paper.
Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
 So I won’t name names here, but early on in the program I was working with a group struggling to finish our presentation. We had a series of mishaps while trying to record the presentation, everything from technical challenges to cell phones. On our third try to record our presentation, 19 minutes into the 20 minute video, one of my classmates stumbled over her own words and got flustered. She paused the video to compose herself, and said several words I won’t repeat here. When she was done with her outburst, we noticed that the recording had not stopped and that our presentation consisted of 19 minutes of content and a minute ofother colorful words. We had a good laugh about it and then went to record for the fourth time. I think most GEM students and alumni can relate to the frustrations of multiple recordings, trying to get your presentation just right.
Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?
I was attracted to the GEM program by its energy industry focus (rather than a traditional MBA) combined with the flexibility of the program. When I entered the program I was traveling internationally for work, and needed a program that would give me the ability to travel whenever I needed to. I was able to complete coursework from Argentina, Mexico and Tanzania – so I think the GEM program was a great choice.
Another motivating factor was the association GEM has with some of the prominent industry leaders around town. Knowing that organizations like Encana, Xcel Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory  are on the advisory committee let me know that GEM was going to give me the skills I needed to succeed in the energy industry.
Is there anything else new in your life that you would like to add?
I have been working with several GEM students under the guidance and mentorship of GEM Professor Jack Mason with an eye towards starting a business. We have laid some groundwork and were able to write both a business plan and a strategic plan for deploying our business through GEM coursework (and received some very valuable feedback from our professors!). I have had several initial talks with potentially interested investors, and will be attending the NREL Industry Growth Forum in hopes of moving forward with a potential business opportunity.
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