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Networking Takes a Little Planning and Energy

September 21, 2018
 a man

 

When Aaron Bieber transferred to the University of Wyoming from a college in Minnesota, he loved Wyoming “right off the bat,” he says. Now 10 years after completing his J.D. from the UW College of Law, Bieber is based in Houston. He’s starting to build the Energy Alumni Network, an alumni network of UW grads working in the energy industry.

Bieber earned a political science degree in 2003, then a master’s degree in 2005, both from UW. He and wife Nichole (Kennedy), who was from Colorado, were involved in campus life, notably managing the married student housing complex. This was one of the experiences that made Bieber feel connected to UW.

Bieber decided to continue on to law school and considered law programs outside of Wyoming. In the end, he says, it was the quality of education he’d come to expect at UW that made him stay.

He focused his studies on transactional, oil and gas, and water law, graduating in 2008. He worked at a Laramie law firm for a time but wanted to focus more on the energy industry. He took a job in Houston and found moving from Laramie to a city of millions of people to be a culture shock. However, he noticed that Texans and Wyomingites were similar in outlook.

“I appreciated the Western work ethic, the entrepreneur spirit, in both places,” he says. The Biebers made friends and got involved in the community, but after about a year, Aaron was headhunted by a firm in Denver. Because Nichole’s family was in Loveland, it seemed like a good move for them to relocate there with their two children.

After a time, however, he found that Denver was not the best location for his career in the oil and gas industry. They both missed the community they’d found in Texas. When the opportunity arose to return, they took it.

There are only so many schools that teach oil and gas law, and many of these are based in Texas and Oklahoma. He noticed many of his business acquaintances who graduated from those places were connected with their college peers. “They have strong networks, and they know where each other are. They stick together and seem to develop business based off those connections,” he says.

Bieber always knew the UW Alumni Association was a good way to stay engaged with his university, and he wanted to connect alumni in the energy industry at UW with each other. He started by organizing events including Cowboy football watch parties and informally networking with Houston-area grads. Now the UWAA Energy Alumni Network is holding events in Houston, Denver and Laramie. He’s realized it is important to create connections for those just coming out of school. He’s posting to a UWAA webpage listing activities and information. He’s creating a LinkedIn group and planning Homecoming events for the Energy Alumni Network.

“That’s one way I can give back to UW. Helping new alumni connecting for jobs and other opportunities is something I really enjoy doing,” Bieber says. “Helping other UW grads connect ultimately helps all of us be more successful.”

To see the Energy Alumni Network webpage, visit uwyo.edu/alumni/networks-and-chapters/energy-alumni.html.

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