Seven Years and Going Strong— SPE Gulf Coast Section Young Professionals

Being located in the center of the energy/oil and gas mecca, it is no wonder that the Gulf Coast Section boasts the largest SPE membership roll. The number of young professionals (YPs) in the section totals 3,000, making up about one-fifth of total section membership. 

YP Committee History

Mission: To engage and develop the leadership potential of young oil and gas professionals in preparation to challenge and lead the industry. 

Vision: To establish a resource base of qualified and dedicated leaders from which SPE can draw upon to strengthen the organization and industry. 

The YP section was an initiative sponsored by the Gulf Coast Section in 2002 for the purpose of enhancing the overall membership and effectiveness of the section by organizing individuals with less than 10 years of experience together to engage them in activities that ultimately support both the local and national SPE organizations’ missions and objectives.  Initially, it was called the Emerging Leaders Program but was recently renamed the Young Professionals Committee to mirror that of other YP groups in SPE. Over the past several years, activities have grown to include numerous programs aimed at developing YPs professionally and personally.

The Board of Directors

The YP Committee is directed by a diverse group of individuals with various years of experience and education. Initially, the board included 14 individuals divided into four subcommittees: Leadership, Publicity, Outreach, and Development. Because of the rapid growth of the program, the board now consists of 16 individuals splitting 14 different board positions. With such a large number of YP members, the board strives to host a variety of events, including conferences, developmental dinners and lunches, networking, and community service events. Events are always posted at


In 2002, the board created the first PetroBowl event that has now become the largest college student attraction at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. The PetroBowl competition pits four-person teams from participating universities against each other to answer questions ranging from fundamentals of petroleum engineering to the history and current events of the oil and gas industry. The PetroBowl celebrated its sixth year in Anaheim last year with more than 300 students in attendance and the University of Oklahoma taking home the trophy. For more information about PetroBowl, the rules, and the schools competing in the 2008 bowl, email or visit

Emerging Engineers Conference

To create a forum for YPs to explore topics that will shape and develop their careers, a conference was held to provide YPs the opportunity not only to network with other YPs, but also with industry leaders while exploring topics relevant to them. This year’s EEC gave 100 attendees in the Gulf Coast area exposure to topics ranging from managerial and technical skills to emerging technology and professional visibility as well as educational and personal opportunities.

Technical Paper Contest

This year, the YP board organized the first YP Paper Contest in the US. Of 19 submissions, five finalists were chosen to present their paper at the Emerging Engineers Conference and the winner received a USD 500 cash prize.

Roughneck Camp—Introducing the Future

The annual Roughneck Camp was created to introduce younger members, especially those in college, to the world to SPE. The camp introduces interns and new hires to the vast opportunities available in SPE-GCS while simultaneously making them feel welcome and connected to their peers in the industry. 

Connecting with the SPE-GCS Board

Because the YP board is considered a springboard to the parent section, a close relationship between the two is crucial for transitioning YPs to a chair position or committee within the parent section. The membership chair of the parent section acts as a board liaison to ensure a smooth transition from the YP to the parent section and to provide advice and direction. Many YP board members are active members of various committees on the SPE-GCS board.

Reaching Above and Beyond

This year, the YPs held the second Energy Flag Football League, as members from different companies in the energy industry compete against each other for bragging rights in a friendly, no-contact athletic event. More than 80 YPs came out each week for a 1-hour game of 8-on-8 co-ed flag football. In addition, YPs worked with the Girl Scouts of America to host a booth at the Girls Exploring Math and Science event. Using demonstrations about fossils and fossil fuels, YPs educated about 700 guests, ranging from 6-year-old children to grandparents, about the science of fossil fuels and why crude oil is so important to our everyday lives. This year’s SPE-GCS award banquet recognized several YPs for their efforts within the section and the industry. Rey Saludares received the TSPE Engineer’s Week Young Engineer of the Year Award, while the Drilling Group was recognized as the Most Outstanding Study Group.


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