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GEM Program salutes its veterans (Charlie Barker)

May 22, 2015

During the Memorial Day holiday, the GEM Program would like to thank all military veterans who are a part of the GEM Community. Throughout the week, our GEM’s Gem blog will be celebrating the accomplishments of several of these patriots.

GEM Program veterans include: Greg Adam, Daniel Alexander, Charlie Barker, Eddie Billmeyer, Tom Briggs, GEM lecturer Terri Carver, Adam DeRito, Dustin Eiland, Bill Erhardt, Kyle Frazer, Michael Gallo, Jim Goodrich, Melinda Harrington, Michael MacFarlane, Doug Pearlman, Carl Perkins, Park Pratt, Marty Rodin, Jermaine Starks, James Steen, Matthew Willey, Mary Ann Zehr. . (These are the names of all the veterans that the GEM Program has on file. If you are veteran and your name is not listed please contact us so we can update our records.)

Charlie Barker


GEM’s Charlie Barker with his son Hunter.

GEM student Charlie Barker was born in the U.S. Canal Zone in Panama and grew up on military bases for the first few years of his life. 

“My father was a Master Sergeant in the Army Signal Corps and always took care of his Soldiers,” Barker said. “His service influenced me to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point to become a leader in the Army and similarly look out for my Soldiers as well.”

Barker’s first assignment as a Lieutenant was to a Field Artillery rocket battalion near Frankfurt, Germany. It wasn’t long after the events of 9/11 unfolded that his unit was deployed for the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  After Germany, he transferred to Fort Polk, LA where he assisted in the activation of 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain, and the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.  While a member of the 4th Brigade, he was deployed for five months to Afghanistan as part of a multi-national force.

Barker is an Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Senior Compliance Specialist in the Natural Gas Business Unit within Kinder Morgan. His career in energy started with Kinder Morgan as an Operation Supervisor at the Argo Terminal located near Midway Airport in Chicago.

“My primary role as a compliance specialist is to be the point of contact for anything dealing with air pollution permits and compliance in the states of Iowa and Illinois,” Barker said. “I provide direct support for 15 natural gas compressor stations and also serve as the subject matter expert for EPA regulations on stationary engines.”

Barker applied to the Global Energy Management Program because he wanted to work towards an advanced degree. Being in the energy industry, he appreciated the focus of the program. 

“I feel that in GEM, the students and professors all have a common language around energy,” Barker said. “GEM has really helped me better understand the way that my company fits within the industry. I have a greater appreciation of the roles of finance and accounting. I’ve learned a little bit about myself and have met truly inspiring people in my fellow cohorts.”

Along with balancing school and work, Barker has also added parenthood to the mix. He and his wife Joanna had a their first child Hunter William Barker in July 2015.

“I’m currently in my rookie year of parenthood and have been enjoying every spare minute that I have with my family,” he said. “I really appreciated the advice from the other parents in the program and am thankful for how understanding my fellow group members are.  As we come up on Memorial Day I am thankful for the sacrifices of all of our service members, especially those we lost.”

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