Editor’s note: check back for feature stories from the 25 Influential Women in Energy event on this site. In addition, look for our special HART ENERGY CONNECT special “Women in Energy Week” featuring video interviews with many of this year’s honorees, beginning Feb. 25.

HOUSTON—Nearly  1,100 energy professionals packed a large ballroom at the Hilton Americas on Feb 12 to honor this year’s 25 Influential Women in Energy, presented by Hart Energy’s Oil and Gas Investor magazine. The second annual event nearly doubled last year’s inaugural program.

Schlumberger’s global director Paula Harris proclaimed the room “nothing short of amazing” as she took the podium and scanned the crowd, which was a virtual who’s who of oil and gas leaders. Harris presented the Pinnacle Award to M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories at Texas A&M University. She also serves as dean of the College of Engineering.

Banks spent her time on stage discussing the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the United States, particularly among women.

“The United States must prepare graduates for STEM fields of which energy, in all shapes and forms, will be one of our greatest challenges,” Banks said. She said, as the dean of one of the largest engineering schools in the nation, it was her responsibility to put into effect positive change.

Susan Helms, a former NASA astronaut and one of the pioneering women of the Space Shuttle program, took the audience on a breathtaking “journey” through a space shuttle mission—from take-off to landing. She’s done five of them in her career and once performed an eight-and-a-half hour spacewalk. She was stationed with the Expedition 2 crew on the International Space Station in 2001 and is the first woman graduate from a U.S. military academy to go into space.

Helms’s story centered around the various energy types and uses involved in a typical space shuttle mission.

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of the honorees, who represent all facets of the energy sector, from E&Ps to service companies to analysts.

The list of honorees includes:

·         Maria Borras, President & CEO, Oilfield Services, Baker Hughes, a GE Company

·         Barbara Burger, President, Chevron Technology Ventures

·         Denise Cox, President, American Association of Petroleum Geologists; President, Storm Energy

·         Helima Croft, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets

·         Susan Cunningham, Senior Advisor, Darcy Partners

·         Lisa Davis, Member of Managing Board, Siemens AG

·         Susan Dio, Chairman & President, BP America Inc.

·         Christine Economides, Ph.D, William C. Miller Endowed Chair, Professor of Petroleum Engineering, University of Houston

·         Kathleen M. Eisbrenner, Founder & Chairman, Next Decade LNG

·         Becca Followill, Senior Managing Director, U.S. Capital Advisors

·         Robin Fredrickson, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP

·         Laura Fulton, Chief Financial Officer, Hi-Crush Partners LP

·         Jennifer Grigsby, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Ascent Resources LLC

·         Diana Hoff, Vice President of Operations, Antero Resources Corp.

·         Jill Lampert, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, NGP Energy Capital Management

·         Mary Ellen Lutey, Senior Vice President & Regional Manager – South Texas & Gulf Coast, SM Energy Co.

·         Maria Mejia, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Ulterra Drilling Technologies

·         Niloufar Molavi, Global & U.S. Energy Leader, PwC

·         Lees Rodionov, President, North America Land, Schlumberger

·         Robin Russell, Deputy Managing Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

·         Michele Tyson, Underwriting Manager, IndemCo

·         Olivia C. Wassenaar, Partner, Apollo Global Management

·         Gretchen Watkins, President, Shell Oil Co.

·         Cynthia Welch, Partner & President of Geosciences, Resonance Resources LLC

·         Melinda Yee, Partner, M&A Transaction Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP