Professionals attend summit on energy

Spring break has begun in Las Vegas, an annual rite of passage where young men and women converge on the resorts and nightclubs of the city to kick off the doldrums of winter. One group of revelers also combined a little business with their pleasure.

A social-networking organization called Young Professionals in Energy held their first summit conference at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino April 8-10. YPE was founded by Stephen Cravens of Houston as a way to more actively engage a loose association of friends across different energy industries. Over the last five years, formal chapter organizations of Young Professionals in Energy have sprouted up all over the country and around the world.

According to Cravens, “YPE is, by design, cross-discipline and defines energy broadly. The foundation of YPE is making connections. The fact that we can do that, while contributing to the intellectual community of our industry, makes this occasion truly special. Make friendships, ask questions and see the industry in a more holistic way.”

The YPE Summit lived up to its billing. Ray Dempsey Jr. from BP America and Tanya Bryja from Exxon Mobil both issued 20-year projections calling for a global energy “wakeup call” about an increase in worldwide energy demand, due to increased population as well as gross-domestic-product growth. By 2030, production of oil will grow more slowly, but other energy industries like natural gas, coal, nuclear power and renewable energy sources will experience increased growth to cover oil production shortfalls. Their 2030 forecasts anticipate that the increased worldwide demand for energy will be led by countries like China, India, Brazil and Russia.

For the U.S., the way forward over the next 20 years is to increase the efficiency of its existing power-delivery infrastructure and transportation industries; increase domestic production of homegrown reserves, especially natural gas and develop renewable energy resources.

Energy industry technical panel discussions and breakout sessions included “Electric Vehicles and Utility Integration,” “Issues and Trends in Renewable Energy,” “Shale Gas: 21st Century Gold Rush?” “The Growing Energy Markets in South America,” “Unconventional Development and Mineral Acquisitions” and an “Energy Storage Primer.”

For young energy professionals who are building their careers, or thinking about starting their own company, there were panels and breakout sessions covering “How To Fuel Your Career in Energy,” “Finding and Funding the Next Great Idea” and “Oil and Gas Tax Primer.”

The YPE Summit was an encouraging look into how business relationships and social networking tools can be harnessed to create multidisciplinary teams that can rapidly share information to solve difficult problems of the future.

It was also an exciting beginning to the spring break season. Party on!

Stan Hanel has worked in the electronics industry for more than 30 years and is a long-time member of the Electric Auto Association and the Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association. Hanel writes and edits for EAA’s “Current Events” and LVEVA’s “Watts Happening” newsletters. Contact him at

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