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September 5, 2017
head portrait of man
Gary Cameron

Alumnus Gary Cameron has enjoyed a career of U.S. domestic and international upstream commercial assignments with Shell and now makes it a point to give back to his alma mater.

By Micaela Myers

During his senior year at UW, an on-campus recruiting brochure led alumnus Gary Cameron on a 36-plus-year career with Shell, but it was his education at UW that prepared him for a successful career.

“The biggest highlight of my time at UW was the strength of the business curriculum and the quality of the professors,” says Cameron, who graduated with honors in 1981 with a business degree. “I got a really great education.”

Cameron was born in Casper and grew up in Cheyenne. Leading up to graduation, Cameron’s interest in the energy industry and the role of a “landman” led to employment with Shell in Houston on June 1, 1981.

The first six years he worked as a landman in the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest and West Texas. During this time frame, he negotiated surface agreements with ranchers, cattlemen and farmers to enable oil and gas operations; oil and gas leases with mineral owners; and acquisition and divestment commercial transactions. The next 22 years of his Shell career, he worked on international commercial projects leading the negotiating of a multitude of commercial arrangements in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria and Jordan. Following his international tenure, he worked in Alaska for five years as Shell’s land and contracts manager.

Cameron and his wife, Jahna, and their three children (Ricci, Cody and Caitlin) lived in Damascus, Syria, for about 10 years and The Hague, The Netherlands for about seven years. Their primary residence is Naples, Fla., and they are the proud grandparents of three grandchildren (Molly, Carly and Colton).

“One of my career highlights was being the commercial lead for an in-situ oil shale project in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This transaction stretched my commercial capabilities in terms of developing and negotiating a very complex arrangement with the government of Jordan,” Cameron says. “I am privileged and fortunate to have worked 36-plus years for Shell. The diversity of assignments and the quality of professional staff within Shell make it a great company to work for.”

As Shell’s U.S. onshore land manager, based in Houston, Cameron makes it a priority to give back to UW. He serves on the School of Energy Resources Petroleum Land Management Advisory Board. Twice a year, he visits UW to speak with students majoring in petroleum land management or the energy management MBA program, neither of which existed when he attended UW.

“My UW professors gave me a great education, and my passion now is to invest my time in giving back to UW in the form of sharing with students my thoughts on academic curriculum to focus on and how they can be successful in their life after UW,” he says.

In addition to the energy/PLM curriculum, Cameron is impressed with UW’s ongoing infrastructure development projects on campus, including the new High Bay Research Facility, which he believes aligns nicely with larger statewide initiatives. “When I look at the High Bay’s opportunities for science, technology and engineering, and then you think about the governor’s 2016 energy strategy (Energy, Environment and Economy), there are themes within the strategy where UW can really support the governor’s initiatives,” Cameron says. “I think UW is a key player.”

To students seeking to follow in his successful career footsteps, Cameron advises to follow “the Code of the West”; maintain a high grade-point average; develop a strong work ethic; be a team player with a creative and diverse mindset; proactively pursue your career ambitions; and, most importantly, have fun along the way.

“Really go after it—don’t be timid,” he says. “Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.”

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