Thousands of students spent the latter part of May enjoying their last days as members at the top of the food chain that is being a high school senior. Upon graduating, they return to the bottom of the heap as first-year college or technical school students.

As one valedictorian that I had the pleasure of hearing speak put it in her commencement address, for 13 years the 19 students in her class walked a single path and with graduation that number reversed, as each classmate sets out on one of 19 new paths. In that crowded high school gym, the plans for each were revealed. Many were bound for college programs in business and engineering. A few were bound for the military or technical schools.

It was telling that words like “petroleum” and “energy commerce” factored into the future plans for these students familiar with words like “Eagle Ford Shale,” as their community sits just north (and outside) of the play’s oil window.

Are there energy innovators in 2019’s Band of 19?

Maybe. Time will tell and I will watch to see where the group lands.

For those a bit further along on their path, the energy innovation clock is ticking for the thousands of engineering, science and business college graduates leaving their universities behind as they enter the workforce. The skills garnered through countless group projects, field trips and internships will be tested as each works to find solutions to the exploration, drilling, completions and production challenges facing the oil and gas industry. They will join a workforce that is already at work developing the next generation of energy innovations, many of which are featured in this month’s issue.

In recognition of that next generation as well as those actively engaged in research, technology management and product or service applications, it is my distinct honor to announce E&P’s Energy Innovators recognition program.

The program seeks to recognize today’s technology influencers that demonstrate leadership and significant contributions to advancing oil- and gas-related technologies and innovations that enhance (or have the potential to enhance) a company’s mission or the industry’s long-term success. Nominating up-and-comers is encouraged as this program seeks to recognize the diverse nature of today’s oil and gas industry.

Nominations can be submitted at Honorees will be announced in the fall and featured in a standalone supplement, the 2020 Energy Innovators.

For more information about the Energy Innovators program, visit
Questions about the program? Contact Jo Ann Davy at