Society of Petroleum Engineers Chapter Wins National Award

SOCORRO, N.M. September 4, 2012 – The Roswell Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers will be awarded an Excellence Award from the national chapter this fall.

The Roswell Section includes all of southern New Mexico, including Tech. Further, every board of directors has earned a degree from New Mexico Tech.

“This is huge,” said Karen Balch, board member and secretary of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Tech. “This award is great for our section and great for students. It’s recognition nationwide – even worldwide – that we are innovative.”

Board member J.J. McGlasson said he was surprised to win the award.

“I thought it must have been a typo,” he said, chuckling. “I believe that our annual report, which Karen creates, opened their eyes that, even though we are a small chapter, our activities and our collaborations with the Tech student chapter are significant.”

The award is based on the chapter’s professional activities, including seminars and workshops, community service, student outreach and collaboration with other organizations. The local group hosts regular seminars and fosters interaction between petroleum producers, students and researchers.

McGlasson, who is an engineer at Elite Well Services in Artesia, N.M., said the Roswell section sponsors a distinguished lecturer series throughout the year, inviting industry specialists to provide updates on new technology or methods. The chapter also offers periodic field trips for Tech students to observe drilling rigs, fracking jobs or the daily operations.

“When I was a student at Tech, we didn’t have a whole lot of industry correspondence,” McGlasson said. “I missed out on that. As such, I try to give back to the department as much as possible.”

The Roswell section offers scholarships to Tech students and recently resurrected its fund-raising golf tourney to support those efforts.

Balch said the Roswell section is one of the smaller groups in the region, which includes Texas and the Gulf Cost. The Roswell section has 85 to 100 members, while larger sections have more than 3,000 members.

“We were competing with much larger sections and we beat them,” she said. “It’s pretty neat and I was ecstatic to hear that we won.”

In addition to Balch and McGlasson, other board members include Dr. Tom Engler, Dean of Engineering at New Mexico Tech; Dr. Robert Balch, scientist at the PRRC; Dr. Michael Kelly, scientist at PRRC; and Vidya Bammidi, engineer with Ultratech Frac Services in Midland, Texas.

The Techies will receive the award at the Society’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio on October 7.

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By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech