Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2004 Scholar Justin Hayes

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2004

Hometown: Aurora, CO

College/Degree: Colorado School of Mines for BS in Petroleum Engineering; Rice University for MBA

Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I am currently a director of reservoir engineering and analytics at a small private equity backed oil and gas company that produces mostly natural gas. I live at the intersection of subsurface understanding and finance. I love that I get to deploy machine learning regularly to help make business decisions and that I get to help people in the organization develop.

What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Boettcher has been a great support infrastructure throughout my academic and professional career. Support started with funding of undergraduate research and a more recent example is through personal development coaching. Throughout my career Boettcher has provided substantial support beyond the scholarship that I have found helpful.

Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Outside of work I am most active through a startup nonprofit focused on early childhood education for at-risk children, where I am the president: Harbor School, Inc. I also participate in a few professional organizations around the topics of oil and gas, energy, engineering, and business.

What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? “A wise man can learn from a fool, but a fool can learn from no-one.” It’s a riff on a quote from Bruce Lee. I think these are wise words to live by whether professional or personal, and I try. If you are entering my career path today or you are starting out as a STEM professional I would recommend focusing in on people and soft skills. Both will matter as much as your technical skills.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? Right now the person I wish I could talk to most is James Baldwin. James Baldwin seemed to have understood a lot of things that would help us understand and fix many issues we deal with today as they relate to race (and class and sexuality) in America.

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