Interview with SPE Presidential Candidates: Jordan Argamany & William Nelson
Conducted By: Meaghan Anderson & Sara Edwards
Coming off one of the most controversial Presidential Elections in recent U.S. history, the SPE officer elections will have a lot to live up to. But, the candidates are sure to not disappoint. Every year, the turn-out for officer applications astounds the current officer team, and they are never afraid of leaving the organization in idle hands. Texas A&M University’s Student Chapter of SPE is world-renowned, and the officer candidates never take that lightly. Having run for office last year, I can honestly say no matter who wins the positions; the organization will continue to improve. Directors, Co-Chairs, and even Committee Members are all eligible to run for office, and these dedicated individuals represent the heart and soul of SPE.
So, I encourage you to vote. I also encourage you to consider running, but most importantly I encourage you to educate yourselves on the candidates. Get to know them, ask them for old exams, or just hang out in the lounge with them and study. The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering brings out the excellence we all have as Aggies, and you never know who might become the next leader in the great industry we all hope to join.
When did you know you wanted to run for President?
- Argamany: That’s an interesting one. So, Alex Lambros was my RA during my freshman year in Mosher, and between him and the SPE officer team at the time, I was quickly convinced to become a member of SPE. Then within the first few meetings, after seeing the dynamic of some of the leaders and what the organization meant to other people, I could tell it was an organization you could truly get behind the mission and vision of. I realized that looking forward, after having others make that kind of an impact on me, I would want to make the same impact on others. So, I think it was shortly after the first few meetings that I knew this was an organization I wanted to give back to in that capacity, and I think that’s when I decided.
- Nelson: After being involved with the Recruitment committee and seeing how the committee within the TAMU SPE chapter, I realized that this was something I would really enjoy, and something that I could be good at. The responsibilities of the Director of Recruitment is to represent SPE and the department to the public—and that is exactly what the SPE President does, just in a different capacity. Progressing from a dedicated Member to Director has allowed me grow as an individual, a student, a young professional, and has prepared me to run for President of SPE.
If you win, what will be the first policy you advocate?
- Argamany: The first policy I would advocate, or rather the first motion forward I would make, would be to enumerate specific election clauses and processes so that every election can be consistent with SPE mission and goals. Additionally, I would absolutely ensure that all SPE general meetings and Lunch & Learns have topics that are properly vetted and that the presenters understand what we are trying to accomplish in our meeting. In doing this, we would ensure that everyone leaves a meeting having not only enjoyed the meeting, but also having learned something or gained something insightful for attending. Because ultimately learning about a day in the life of a drilling engineer, isn’t why we come to an SPE meeting.
- Nelson: The goal of SPE International is to advance the technical and professional competency of its members. A huge part of this goal is providing a source of networking. We are already doing a great job of networking with industry through the Career Enhancement Event, General Meetings, and Lunch & Learns, but I’d like to diversify and grow our networking community to include so much more. I would like to grow the chapter’s professional network by initiating a mutually beneficial relationship with TAMU SPE alumni, creating a welcoming environment for incoming sophomore students, and strengthening the already existing professional relationships between juniors and seniors. I don’t want to bring anything to the table that is too far-fetched or unrealistic; I want to bring practical ideas that can improve everyone’s lives, careers, and time while being involved with TAMU SPE.
If you could be endorsed by one person– celebrity, industry professional, faculty member– who would it be and why?
- Argamany: That is a tough one. I think that unequivocally, one of my favorite politicians is FDR—Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was someone that united the country on what were seemingly unprecedented levels since George Washington, and he is a person that I’ve always aspired to be. How can you include people to the extent that you can have almost every state in the Union wanting to vote for you? So, I think if I could be endorsed by one person it would be FDR because that means he would be endorsing someone who he feels can similarly unite and include people by masses.
- Nelson: If I could be endorsed by one person, it would be Winston Churchill. Not only was Churchill a great leader, but he had to overcome such great adversity in both his political career and personal life. It’s incredible that he recognized that he couldn’t accomplish what he wanted to by himself, and in the face of adversity, joined with other great leaders in order to accomplished many great things.
Recruitment is pivotal to the continued success of SPE. Why should an incoming freshman want to be a petroleum engineer?
- Argamany: Like other engineering disciplines, choosing to be a petroleum engineer is a difficult decision at a young age because you don’t fully understand what the job entails. What would differentiate a petroleum engineer from a mechanical engineer or a chemical engineer? For example, what I did over the summer could have just as easily been done by a mechanical engineer, but what differentiates us is our professional organizations and our social interactions. What differentiates the oil business, and petroleum engineering as a result, is the fact that it’s not just an engineering profession. Social interactions, economics, and global politics are an inherent part of the major. To be successful in the energy business, you have to make connections and develop a network. It is what makes a petroleum engineer just that – a petroleum engineer.
- Nelson: As Director of Recruitment, I interact with freshmen on a daily basis. I am able to do this not on by organizing and leading events such as the Freshman Petroleum Engineering Lecture Series and the Galveston Rig Trip, but by reaching out and being available for them if they have any questions. Because the college of engineering changed the process of entry-to-a-major, SPE has significantly been impacted. I don’t believe that we’ve been devoting enough focus and effort to this change and need to begin changing with the process. We’ve been continuing with the same mechanisms that we have in the past. I believe that coming together, focusing our efforts, and gaining perspective from the students who have been through the process will help us move forward together. Why a freshman student should want to be a petroleum engineer is an interesting question, and I think the answer is different for every individual. I chose petroleum engineering before I came to Texas A&M because I wanted to be a part of providing a reliable source of energy for the world as it continues to grow. In my opinion, a freshman student should want to become a petroleum engineer if they are passionate about the energy industry. I don’t want to force petroleum engineering on any freshman engineering student. Petroleum is only for certain people. You either love it or you don’t.An amazing step in the recruitment process—and something I’ve dedicated myself to over the past couple years—is to educate. If we educate freshmen on what petroleum engineers are and what they do, they are more qualified to make an educated decision on their future.
And last but not least, when you retire at the end of your career, what would you like to have accomplished?
- Argamany: By the time I retire, I would sincerely hope that I had made a difference in some capacity over the time of my career. Because when you grow up with parents who are not only Canadian, but are also obsessed with environmental protection and the like, you think “okay, you can never grow up wanting to be in the oil industry.” But, that’s contradictory. My dad worked for ExxonMobil for 16 years and before that for Mobil, and he has always been an avid supporter of green practices, green policies and caring for the environment. So, if I could have one impact, it would be to have others outside the energy business view energy in a more positive and sustainable light than they currently do because I believe what we do as an industry is important and when done right is environmentally sensitive.
- Nelson: The oil and gas industry is composed of a group of diverse people, each one with different skills and interests. Everyone I’ve met has slightly different goals/aspirations and wants to do slightly different things with their careers. No matter what my role in the oil and gas industry, whether I’m an engineer, manager, or consultant, I want to look back and be satisfied with the job I’ve done. I want to look back and see that I’ve made the oil and gas industry not only a better place to work, but that I have improved the industry technically, professionally, and personally. I want to leave a lasting and respectful impression on the industry.
For complete profiles on all Officer Candidates, please follow the link below:
2017-2018 Officer Candidates
|Last Name||First Name||Position||Expected Graduation|
|Lad||Ravi||VP External||May 2018|
|Abbas||Mohammad||VP External||May 2019|
|Shepstone||Alan||VP Internal||May 2018|
|Jones||Miranda||VP Internal||May 2018|
|Ridner||Dmitry||Grad Rep||May 2018|
|Frick||Taylor||Grad Rep||May 2018|
|Jin||Jimmy||Grad Rep||Dec 2018|
|Mendoza||Ruben||Grad Rep||Dec 2019|
|Ebin||Joshua||Grad Rep||May 2018|
|Alfi||Mehrdad||Grad Rep||Aug 2018|