The future of the energy sector carries fragments of doubt that threaten to derail the next generation of professionals and propel them to alternative careers. The history of ups and downs in oil pricing, supply chain shortages, governmental scrutiny, and overall perception extended by influential lobbying groups have all plagued the industry with doubt about career longevity. UH Energy and the Energy Coalition at the University of Houston collaborated to offer the Energy Career and Leadership Webinars resulting in a Certificate in Energy Leadership.
Geared and crafted for the future decision makers of the industry, participants can attend a six part webinar series that began on February 3rd with the final session to be held on March 26th. Although the series is extra-curricular with no college credit to be earned, the potential reward still reigns as stellar because of its focus on leadership and team building importance provided by some of the most respected professionals within the industry.
“We solicited wisdom from key people in the industry,” said Dr. Alan Rossiter, executive director, external relations/educational program development of UH Energy at the University of Houston.
Living Your Interview: A Foundation for Career Success
Participants had the pleasure of listening to Greg Yeo, retired chief engineer with ExxonMobil Chemical, present the message of the first webinar of the series last Friday. With a 41 year career in the petrochemicals industry, Yeo provided assistance during the interviewing process. Refraining from giving insight on tips and pointers, Yeo informed the audience that the key to success comes in the form of proper preparation. For those individuals who currently work in the oil and gas industry, this sounds largely like good “pre-job planning.”
Referencing a robust career involving interviewing multiple candidates for chemical engineering positions, Yeo suggested studying the firm offering the position and then determining what the candidate can bring to assist in helping the company surpass its expectations. Identifying needs and offering solutions aim to serve as key performance factors when attempting to break into the energy industry, as well as in other fields and industries.
Dilemmas in the Energy Transition, and How They Shape My Energy Career
The second part of the UH webinar series takes place on Friday, February 10th. Richard Howe, Shell’s senior vice president for Upstream Transformation will address registered participants and focus on the current state of the energy transition and its future direction. Howe has worked internationally and domestically in both the upstream and downstream sectors.
For many considering a career in the energy industry, the thought of an energy transition can institute fear and uncertainty. Howe will be attacking the topic head-on and attempt to identify exactly what the transition will involve. This will include those impending dilemmas and identifying the career risks, but also the potential opportunities as well.
Taking the Risk with Renewables
The midway point of the webinar series will occur on Friday, February 17th compliments of presenter, Tom Weirich. In addition to working in marketing at EDP Renewables, Weirich authored the book, The Stories Behind the Early Risk Takers in the U.S. Renewable Energy Industry and the Leadership Traits that Made Them a Success.
Weirich will speak on the character traits needed to enter the world of renewable energy but also on those needed to eventually lead that energy source sector. He will be directing attention to case studies on key leaders in the renewable energy sector and will additionally identify challenges and opportunities available.
Authentic Leadership and More
While the content of session four is pending, Mona Setoodeh, president of CH-IV International, will serve as the presenter. Known in the professional world as a premier engineering and consulting firm, CH-IV International operates in the energy industry as a solution provider with areas of interest including asset development, regulations, and infrastructure among others.
Cindy Yeilding, retired senior vice president of bp America, will host the fifth webinar of the series and focus on authentic leadership. After retiring, she joined the Board of Directors with Denbury Inc. and the Center for Houston’s Future. While her career has spanned major players within the energy industry, Yeilding possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge that will allow her to explain the importance of leadership and how a true leader conducts business and motivates their respective teams.
Key Skills for Emerging Leaders in the Low-Carbon World
Upon the return to school following Spring Break, the final webinar will take place on March 24th. Having identified the importance of alternative energy and the importance of shrinking the carbon footprint, attention will be directed at its place in a world where energy demands have grown significantly in parallel with the need of meeting climate goals.
Hayley Ryan, infrastructure lead at ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, will harness her experience in carbon capture to address the audience of future energy leaders. She will identify lower-emission alternatives and enlighten participants on the need to continue the momentum into the future to better serve the planet. While the UH Energy Career and Leadership webinars strive to identify the characteristics of good leadership needed in the industry, Ryan will draw additional attention in how to continually cultivate these skills to better serve professionals during the energy transition.
Rossiter credits the success of the webinar series largely due to the quality of the speakers participating. He noted they were in the upper echelon of the industry.
“We had over 200 people register for the UH Energy Career and Leadership webinars,” said Rossiter. “We actually had a broad spectrum of interest and not all our participants are students. Many are current professionals in the industry already.”
Although the information presented will guide individuals in functioning at a greater capacity in the new and changing energy field, the final certificate does not necessarily come easy. After each online seminar, participants will be subjected to a quick quiz to gauge retention. When all is said and done, Rossiter noted the final goal is for people interested in joining and succeeding in the new energy market will have a better understanding of where it is headed in the future, and how to meet and accept the challenges associated with the new future path.
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. In addition to providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with twelve years of experience. Vaccaro also contributes to SHALE Oil and Gas Business Magazine, American Oil and Gas Investor, Oil and Gas Investor, Energies Magazine and Louisiana Sportsman Magazine. He has a BA in photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. Vaccaro can be reached at 985-966-0957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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