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Oil and Gas Investor

[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2023 is a supplement to the February 2023 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe here.]

Jen Hornemann knew growing up that getting a job that paid enough to allow her to support herself, pay back her student loans and make rent was critical.

Seeing models of rigs in the home of a childhood friend whose father was a structural engineer and learning about the exciting and global opportunities for engineers in the oil and gas industry gave her the push she needed to pursue engineering courses in college. That eventually led to a doctorate in chemical engineering from Montana State University and a career as an engineer.

When facing the challenges that come with being a woman in the male-dominated oil and gas industry, Hornemann said she meets them “head on and as gracefully as possible,” sticking to what she knows is right.

She is a board member and director at large for the West Virginia Energy Network and associate board member for the Denver Scholarship Foundation, as well as an associate board member for Stephen F. Austin State University’s physics and engineering department.

Hornemann lives in Denver with her husband, Michael, son, Torsten, and golden retriever, Willis.

Walking on water

“[Becoming] vice president of production was a major career milestone for me. Diana Hoff gave me a huge opportunity to come to Antero to prove myself. I’ll never forget the seven-page job description for the director of production role. I read through it and thought, ‘Does she want me to walk on water too? How can any one person excel at all of this?’

“I decided that if she and Antero believed in me, I shouldn’t question that and gladly accepted the challenge.”

Continuously driving improvement

“My passion is inherent to who I am. My daily motivation to continuously improve the [oil and gas] industry is driven by a desire to ensure clean energy is available to help millions of people domestically and across the world to heat their homes, get to their jobs and travel to see their families.”

Global perspective

“Working alongside engineers and operators on offshore platforms in Nigeria was the experience of a lifetime. I learned to appreciate other ways of thinking, respect for various beliefs and cultures and about safety when it really matters.”

Economic and environmental win-win

“Working in LaBarge, Wyo., for XTO Energy Inc. with a highly motivated field team, we were able to remove seven old compressors and replace them with an efficient, modern compressor. This was one of those win-win projects I love that saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars and was equivalent to removing thousands of cars off the road in reduced emissions.”

“Meeting strong, smart women who have paved the way for future leaders has been critical to believing that I could do it too.” – Jen Hornemann

Paying it forward

“When I started my first engineering job, I had $13 in my bank account and minimal furniture in my apartment. My goal was to get a couch and a TV as soon as I could afford them.

“After almost 20 years in oil and gas, my goals are to lead by example, mentor young engineers and give back to the community. Meeting strong, smart women who have paved the way for future leaders has been critical to believing that I could do it too. Without their determination, it would be much harder for those that follow to be successful.”

Change is inevitable

“[My advice for young professionals is to] find your voice and speak-up!  It won’t be easy but nothing worth doing ever is. Take it one day at a time, enjoy the adventure and keep in touch with the friends you make along the way. Don’t be in a hurry; good things will come to those who work hard.

“[The industry must] embrace that change is inevitable. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and hope the change will pass us by. Engineers coming out of school today have so much to offer the industry, but management has to be willing to listen and act on their ideas.

Three more things

1. I got married in a Montana barn in cowboy boots.

2. Being a mother is my most cherished accomplishment.

3. I have been an avid golfer since 1989. Two holes-in-one so far!

25 Influential Women in Energy

View the full list of this year’s honorees at Hart Energy LIVE.