Tanya Andrien’s first foray into energy research on gas station concentrations and gasoline prices ended up helping to close a loophole in the U.S. government’s post-merger analysis and plans. It was her undergraduate thesis during her senior year at Princeton University. And, she did it while playing shortstop for the Tigers’ softball team.
The idea for the thesis came from her father, an economist who advises the government on offshore leases and bids, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. “He proposed it as a thesis because he was interested in the outcome,” Andrien says.
“What I found was the government required divestment in states where, if these companies would consolidate, it would create too much of a concentration in the market for gas stations. So, companies had to divest,” she continues, “but they didn’t specify who companies had to divest to. They’d divest to the next biggest player, and there would still be a concentration problem and an increase in prices at the pump.”
She recommended that the government be more deliberate about who the companies had to divest to and how the process needed to work. Her father thought her findings supported the case for post-merger analysis, and he advocated for that with the government.
“Today the government is more targeted in how they tell people to divest,” Andrien says, adding that she’s sure the government did its own research as well.
These days her work in energy is still influencing decision makers as COO of one of the top data and software analytics firms in the industry, Enverus. Andrien was officially named to the post in October 2019. It’s a bit of a different direction than the academic-focused work she’d done as an undergraduate and the consulting work she’d done in her first job at Navigant, in her now hometown of Austin, Texas.
At Navigant, she was once again working with energy companies, primarily on intellectual property. She consulted on litigation and expert witness testimony in multiple patent infringement cases. “I got to learn the technology,” she says.
She found herself learning about frac fluids, diamond drillbits and dual drillstring technology on offshore rigs. She even spent two years working on energy trading cases that were fallout from the Enron collapse.
It was at Navigant that she also ended up working for Jeff Andrien, who would eventually become her husband and father to their three girls.
Once she had her MBA, she had two routes from which to choose, Andrien says. She could go the education route or back into energy. “I was much more interested in energy,” she says.
Ironically, she ended up teaching at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) in the McCombs energy center. “So, I guess I got the best of both worlds,” she quips.
“UT was a fascinating job, but there is no real career for an MBA at a university. You have to be Ph.D. or go the administrator route,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to be an administrator.”
She says teaching at UT was a great way to make a difference.
“We had a dilemma getting women into finance classes, and getting women into energy finance was nearly impossible,” she says. But a class she taught, sponsored by BP Plc, had more success.
“We made it like a consulting course. I ended up with 50% women in my class because they like the collaborative element,” she continues.
She says that following that class many of those students ended up going into energy-related positions after college.
I’m thrilled at how the oil and gas industry in the U.S. has propelled the country to new levels of independence.
Her path to Drillinginfo Inc., now Enverus, was somewhat accidental. She says she couldn’t get into the door of the approximately 100 small oil and gas companies in Austin, where she wanted to stay.
“Drillinginfo had come to talk to me because they wanted to support some of our student activities. I reached out to one of my friends there to seek advice on companies in Austin. He said, ‘What about Drillinginfo?’”
She wasn’t sure she’d be a fit for a software company, but she ended up interviewing with the company over a nine-month period. Eventually they found a role for her—managing the financial services business. The department’s clients included about 200 hedge funds, private-equity groups and investment banks.
“It’s just been phenomenal. I have loved it,” she says of her current company. She credits Enverus CEO Jeff Hughes as a mentor who has taught her “so much about best practices in running a product-based organization.
“He pushes me to expand my horizons but is always there to support me,” she says.
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