An Interview with Basil Allam, Chairperson of the Gulf Coast Section’s Emerging Leaders Program
How did you get involved in SPE? What has your SPE membership meant for you?
I learned about SPE through the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) group in Houston. By going to their events, I was really able to network with many young professionals and learn about the industry. It was exciting to see how much of an impact the previous board had on the youth in the Houston area, and I, too, wanted to be involved in having such an influence. Being a member of SPE and serving on the ELP Board has been the most rewarding experience I have had working in the energy industry. Being able to brainstorm events focused on young people in SPE and then actually making them happen has been an utterly gratifying opportunity.
Why do you think the Gulf Coast ELP has grown into such a successful program?
The energy that we have from our board about creating a diverse and meaningful program of events has made the all difference. Whether it is planning for the annual Emerging Engineers Conference or Petrobowl, we have outstanding leaders with passion around each event. That has been the key to our overwhelming success over the past year.
What constitutes a successful event?
Over the past year, we have strived to hold events that not only cater to our rapidly growing membership, but that have meaningful and relevant information that young professionals (YPs) want to hear. You really have to ask yourself before you start planning, “Is this going to be something that will spark the interest of our members?” Using feedback from past events and lessons learned from previous boards also has been crucial.
What do you see in the future for Gulf Coast YPs?
As Houston becomes ever more important in the energy industry, we see Houston’s YP group taking the lead in educating and connecting the youth in the area. As our numbers start to grow, we will also be able to expand our programs, such as starting an energy intramural sports league and a YP paper contest.
The theme of this issue of TWA is “Peak Oil and Hot Technologies.” What is your view of new, promising technologies?
Hot technology is a key topic of interest not only to me but for the majority of young people entering the industry. New technology has the ability to drastically change the way we extract and process hydrocarbons. As young engineers working to develop finite resources, we need to be open to new and emerging technologies as a way to fulfill the rapidly growing demand for energy around the world. Furthermore, to attract more college graduates to the oil and gas sector, we need to advertise more of the technology we use as well as develop a tech-savvy workplace.
Photo – Members of the Gulf Coast Section’s Emerging Leaders Program