Energy and Engineering

On October 23, EHS will host our fourth annual Alumni Leadership Day. This event gives seniors an opportunity to hear from a variety of alumni regarding their respective careers.

Based on their occupation, each alumni member sits on one of eleven panels. Every senior rotates through two panels in the morning, and the day concludes with a roundtable lunch.

Read about our Energy and Engineering alumni panelists below.

<< Back to All Panels

Will Bertron '08

Mgr. Pipeline Commercial Operations and Business Development, Plains All American Pipeline, LP

BS, Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering, University of Alabama

MBA, Finance, Lamar University

In my current role at Plains All American Pipeline, I typically arrive to the office around 7:15 AM and begin by planning my day. I review any emails/phone calls from the evening before and focus on the key items I plan to accomplish that day. Throughout the day, I generally have a numerous calls with team members to review any immediate issues that may need my attention. These issues could be continuing commercial negotiations or providing support by relaying prominent information with existing customers. In addition, we focus on conceptualizing pipelines, crude oil transportation facilities, and interacting with business associates to identify new ways of generating revenue and form strategic business ventures.

For an individual interested in getting involved in the oil industry, engineering is a great path in the door. There are a multitude of opportunities for internships or shadowing, which is exactly how I began my career. In the initial stages of my professional career I focused on engineering however, recently have transitioned into a more business oriented role. Engineering however, is not for everyone; it requires hard work in college and dedication to succeed. Two key traits that I value to be successful in any business is organization and the willingness to confidently verbalize your views. If you understand your competency, strive to be hard working, and always be willing to learn, engineering provides a great career path that can lead an individual to do whatever they desire.

Melissa Cross '89

Global Account Manager, AVEVA

Bachelor of Engineering, Vanderbilt University

Many days start with regularly scheduled internal meetings like a huddle where we all get on the same page and discuss our current priorities for the day and week and if we need to utilize time of other coworkers. We also share information, insight, advice and lessons learned to each other. There are various meetings at different levels of our company and different connected departments.

The priority quickly turns to completing proposals for new projects. I find new projects through existing and new contacts, listen to their needs, ask good questions, and discuss how we can help them at a high level. We have additional meetings that I set up where I bring in our Subject Matter Experts to dig deeper into the challenge and start to frame up a solution. The next step is to create a plan in writing with people, tasks, time, costs, and deliverables. This Statement of Work is refined until it becomes a sign able legal document. I work to create the team, get them up to speed, and hand over the technical tasks to the experts. I then monitor the progress of the project from a high level and look for more ways in which we can add value and help the client.

It takes listening, problem solving, innovative thinking, very good communications skills, and advanced negotiating skills. The proposal has charts, graphs, schedules, diagrams to explain the workflow and goals. There is a detailed financial model with the payment fees. All of this also includes a full written text of the same information. At the end, it all needs to become a legal contract which both sides can sign. I also lead the financial and contract negotiations. The biggest challenge is taking the complex discussions and translating that into a simplified plan then creating a document that can be agreed upon by all parties.

William Hayes '00

Sr. Land Negotiator – Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY)

BA, University of Texas at Austin
JD, South Texas College of Law

A typical day for me involves communicating with a large number of people. Internally, I consult with our facilities, production, and drilling engineers, geologists, regulatory analysts, and financial analysts regarding OXY’s mineral and leasehold interests. This consists of advising them on what our legal rights are and presenting them with options for how to accomplish proposed projects. Externally, I communicate with both individual mineral owners, as well as representatives from other companies. Most of my dealings with mineral owners involves negotiating Oil & Gas leases or other types of agreements related to their mineral rights. When I work with representatives for other companies, it generally involves the negotiation of various types of contracts.

I have found that the traits that have most helped me to be successful are my ability to pay attention to detail, communicate effectively with others, and practice strong organizational skills.

Brad Little '89

Executive Vice President, Global Head of Application Services at Capgemini

Bachelor of Arts, Trinity University
Master of Business Administration, Texas Tech University

Capgemini is an incredibly diverse company of 205,000 people operating in over 45 different countries, and is one of the largest technology, consulting and system integration firms in the world. In my role, I have had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world in global teams, and travel quite a bit to foreign countries. Capgemini is not necessarily a household name, but we have worked with some of the largest companies in the world helping them solve their most complex business problems using technology and consulting solutions. We build solutions that many of you have used but may not realize. Our clients include major companies like Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonalds, Schlumberger, General Electric, Sony Pictures, and even the State of Texas. Ever used the Whataburger App? We helped design and build that.

Being successful in a career of technology and consulting involves being a driven individual with natural leadership skills. If you are someone that naturally takes charge of a situation and likes to bring order from chaos, this is a field for you. You don’t have to be a computer science major but, having an affinity to technology helps. We have internship programs, and also hire 200-300 folks from college every year just in North America. Consulting is a great place to start a career as you can be exposed to a lot of different industries, and get a ton of experience in a short period of time. Whether you choose to stay in consulting for the long-haul, or build on it with another company, starting out in consulting can be a solid foundation for you.

Liz Roberts '08

Check back for bio!