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GEM’s Gems May 2015 – Ryan Johnson

May 12, 2015

Since I was raised in Texas as third generation oil field, I always knew I wanted to be in the energy industry. I was lucky enough to get into the University of Texas at Austin and greatly enjoyed my time there. After a few Oil and Gas internships, I started out of school with ExxonMobil as a facilities/project engineer for major projects. It was a unique learning opportunity and allowed me to live aRyan Johnsonnd work abroad for nearly three years, which is an incredible experience.

Subsequently, I decided that I should transition more to an O&G specific discipline, so I went into drilling. The pace of work and learning curve are pretty aggressive, and I found that to be exactly what I was looking for. I spent time drilling both domestically and in deep water Africa, but I wanted to get to a smaller company and a smaller town. Enter the GEM program. After spending some time with my cohort, Cohort III, and doing some networking, I was able to get a job with Newfield Exploration as a drilling engineer. I worked in that capacity for about a year and a half before I was asked to be a production engineer in preparation for a role in reservoir engineering. I have recently moved back into production engineering as an Operations Lead for Newfield’s production in the Greater Monument Butte and Myton fields of the Uintah Basin.

GEM provided the background knowledge in business and financial fundamentals that I was not exposed to as an engineer. I learned to read 10k’s, balance sheets, and sort through the jargon that goes into all of it. That education not only helped me professionally, but personally as well. I also continue to benefit from the incredible group of peers that I still stay in touch with regularly (three years after graduation). Some people have gotten more directly involved in the industry, some are climbing their corporate ladders, and others even have their own successful businesses established. I know I can call any of them for advice or their perspective on industry activity and trends any time.

I chose GEM for several reasons. I wanted to get a graduate degree tailored exactly to the field I wanted to spend my career in. I also wanted to learn more about business and critical decision-making skills. In addition, I wanted to develop a network of like-minded peers in Denver because that’s where I want to live in the long term. I also chose the GEM Program because the schedule was perfect for me: I was rotating month on/month off while drilling in Angola, so the schedule worked great. Lastly, I wanted a classroom experience and a cohort to learn and grow with.

GEM’s hybrid-online program was perfect for me because it allowed me to work an unusual schedule, live overseas, and still learn all along the way – both at my job and at school. I didn’t want to give up two years of my career for school, so the hybrid program made perfect sense.

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