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Supporting Future Petroleum Engineers
Encana Corporation President and UW alum Randy Eresman and his wife Shelly have pledged $1 million to create the Eresman Family Engineering Endowment, which will support Canadian students who transfer to the University of Wyoming to study petroleum engineering.
"Randy epitomizes what the University of Wyoming aspires to instill in its graduates," says UW President Tom Buchanan. "As Encana's president and CEO, Randy has been instrumental in the exceptional relationship between UW and Encana, and now he has taken it one step further with his very generous personal gift with his wife Shelly. We cannot fully express how grateful we are for Randy and Shelly's generosity."
The Eresman Family Engineering Endowment
The fund will provide scholarships to UW transfer students from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Polytechnic (SAIT) who are pursuing a degree in petroleum engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
"The college cherishes its long-standing connections with NAIT and SAIT and the petroleum industry in Canada generally," says Rob Ettema, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. "The scholarships will serve to substantially foster the connections."
UW has recruited students from SAIT and NAIT since approximately 1975, and in a typical year 10 to 15 students transfer from the two Alberta institutes to the university. The college's Center for Student Services works with NAIT and SAIT administrators to ensure that 46 hours of transfer courses can be credited toward students' UW petroleum engineering degrees.
"What we find is that they are usually good students, they are hard working, and they usually return to Calgary when they finish," says Dr. Brian Towler, Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and former head of the department, who has been responsible for recruiting. "Consequently, the Calgary oil patch employs numerous UW graduates."
"Shelly and I were very fortunate to have had the UW experience. We fully understand and appreciate the opportunities that became available to us because of it and how much it has affected so many aspects of our lives," says Randy Eresman. "It is our privilege and pleasure to reciprocate in this meaningful way."
A Distinguished Alum
Randy was born and raised on a farm near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, a city of 61,000 located 75 miles from Montana. He entered the energy sector at age 14, working an after-school job at a company that serviced the gas industry. He received a diploma in earth resources technology from NAIT and at age 21 began working for Alberta Energy Company Ltd. (AEC) testing gas wells.
After working in the gas industry for a time, he decided that he needed more education, and he enrolled in petroleum engineering at the University of Wyoming. Because he was from a rural area, he felt comfortable in Laramie. Randy and Shelly were married in the summer between his junior and senior year, and they lived in married student housing while he attended classes. In 1984, he received his bachelor's degree from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
As a professional engineer, Randy returned to the natural gas fields of Canada and quickly advanced up the ranks, taking on ever-increasing responsibilities and serving both technical and leadership roles. He is an early adoptor of new technologies to solve problems and create opportunities.
Randy credits his success to his problem-solving abilities. Early in his career, he was able to efficiently solve complex challenges by developing computer models that enhanced production performance, and he implemented large-scale horizontal drilling well before it was commonplace.
He became a divisional vice president in 1996, where he played a key role in guiding the expansion of the company's oil and gas operations across much of North America.
In 2002, AEC merged with PanCanadian Energy to form Encana Corporation, and Randy served as executive vice president in charge of the onshore North America division and then as Chief Operating Officer.
In 2006, at the age of 47, Randy became president and chief executive officer of Encana. Under his strategic leadership, Encana became an early adopter of new technologies, enabling Encana to become a leading producer of unconventional natural gas and bitumen resources in North America.
Recognizing the potential implications of an abundant supply of natural gas in North America, Encana has become a leading advocate for converting electrical generation plants and transportation vehicles to run on cleaner-burning natural gas, thus reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants and achieving greater energy security while at the same time creating well-paying jobs in North America.
"Randy is truly one of UW's distinguished alums," says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation President. "For Randy and Shelly to make a gift of this magnitude is a statement regarding the remarkable passion and commitment to excellence our alums feel for their alma mater. Randy is one of the alums that UW points to with the greatest pride."
Randy is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta, the World Presidents' Organization, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and the National Petroleum Council, and he is a former member of the College of Engineering and Applied Science National Advisory Board.
As a result of his experience, Randy believes in the power of higher education. He, Shelly, and their two children, Trisha and John, have long supported scholarships for students.
NAIT, SAIT, and Encana
NAIT, located in Edmonton, Alberta, provides technical training and applied education in more than 200 programs designed to meet the demands of many industries. It is the largest apprenticeship training program in Canada.
SAIT-or SAIT Polytechnic-in Calgary, Alberta, is the first publicly funded institute of its kind in the country, providing students with a skill-oriented education in technology, trades, and business.
Encana is a leading producer of unconventional natural gas resources, including the formations of tight gas, shale, and coalbed methane, in North America. Encana operates across most of North America, and its assets include its highly valued Jonah natural gas field in southwest Wyoming.
With Randy at its head, Encana has also joined in partnership with the University of Wyoming to support engineering students and the development of energy industry technology. In 2006, a gift of $2 million, doubled by state matching funds, created three state-of-the-art laboratories-a three-phase flow laboratory, an integrated simulation data center, and a future laboratory to be determined.
In 2007, Encana generously gave $5 million to support facilities construction for the School of Energy Resources. Combined, these two donations are the single largest industry gift to UW. Among other support, Encana has also provided scholarship support to students in geology and geophysics.
Top: Randy Eresman
Middle: A UW petroleum engineering student in the lab (courtesy UW Photo Service)