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In his roles with Jonah Energy, Brian Reger’s groups have been able to flourish under his leadership. In addition to his work there, Reger is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Colorado, proving the extent of his knowledge and professionalism in the industry.
“The most important quality [of a leader] to me is to be respectful,” he said. “This means respectful of employees, respectful of the communities in which we work and respectful of the environment. This has always been important to me and, while challenging, I am glad to see this becoming increasingly important for our industry.”
Serving currently as senior vice president of asset development with Jonah Energy, he lives in Denver with his wife, Heidi, and their four children: Sully, Dakota, Griffin and Mackenzie.
Fascinating career perspectives
“I was intrigued by the challenge of trying to solve problems using data from miles underground. The idea of having limited direct feedback to judge results is something that, from an engineering perspective, is unique to this industry, and I was attracted to that.”
“Early in my career I decided to go to school at night to pursue an MBA. It was a time-consuming endeavor, but there is no doubt in my mind that it has helped me as my career has advanced. The increased foundation of economics allowed me to transition seamlessly from production engineering to reservoir engineering.
Most recently, I am very proud of the work that we have done at Jonah Energy in building a highly successful horizontal program. In an area that has thousands of vertical wells, it was bold to switch to horizontals, and building the economic case was critical. It took conviction to stay the course when the first results were mixed. We are now about a year into a horizontal focused drilling program with strong economic results, even through challenging times for the industry.
Promotions to reservoir engineering manager and SVP have been rewarding. While I am very driven to grow and advance, I have tried to not focus on the title and instead on learning as much as I can about the business. In both situations, opportunities presented themselves for internal promotions, and I think I was selected because of the work I had done to build that broad foundation of knowledge.”
What makes a leader
“My experience has been that organizations that share information and discuss ideas openly across departments are more successful than those that are too specialized or siloed. It is critical that leaders embody these qualities if they expect their organization to have these as a part of their culture.
We are a data-heavy industry, but we have a lot of work to do in order to fully utilize that data. I have been an advocate of collaboration with IT to organize and provide the tools to analyze as much data as possible. Early in my time with Jonah Energy, there was an initiative to build out a data warehouse to aid in these efforts. While there was initial hesitancy to commit the time and money necessary for this project, I strongly advocated for the value that would be gained. I made sure my team embraced the work. Doing this led to the foundation of data that has been utilized in multiple analytical projects that are providing significant value every day (predicting new well production, auto-forecasting wells, drilling performance analytics, etc).”
Striving to improve
“I have had numerous formal training programs that have helped. This includes my MBA, individual leadership development while at Forest Oil Corp. and other management/leadership courses provided at various times by my employers. These are great foundations, and having regular one-on-one meetings with my employees to get direct feedback has been critical to applying those foundational learnings.”
“I am very happy with what I am doing and want to continue to learn as much as I can about the business. I also want to make sure that my team continues to perform at a high level to help the success of the organization. Long term, I do want to continue to grow and advance, and eventually I would like to run my own company.
Our industry faces the challenge of negative perceptions. I think it is only through actions by younger industry members that we can change that perception. For our industry to thrive going forward, I believe younger leaders are going to need to take these views head on and change the industry.
We need to push further and more quickly on the transformations that are already taking place. COVID-19 has forced many companies to quickly move up the curve in terms of how we communicate and where people physically work. I think this will help in attracting and retaining talent. The current regulatory/social pressure environment will hopefully result in a safer and cleaner industry. This will not be easy and some assets will be extremely challenging, but I prefer to view these pressures as an opportunity to change for the better.”
Key to success
“Over my career, I have been lucky to have great mentors in my direct managers. Those include, but are not limited to, Tom Hart at Jonah, Mike Dickinson at Emerald, Glen Mizenko and Todd Habliston at Forest, and Jason Alderson at Halliburton. Each of those individuals have been extremely helpful in understanding the technical and business aspects of the job. More importantly, I have tried to learn from their various management styles to be the most effective leader I can be.
Learn as much as you can about as much as you can. If teammates provide you pieces of information for a project you are working on, ask questions about the pieces so you can understand them. Volunteer to take on projects and come up with new projects to tackle.”
Three More Things
- My wife and I met in college studying chemical engineering, and our careers have followed very similar paths. Conversations in our house include exciting topics like decline curve parameters, Aries setups, geology nomenclature, etc.
- In addition to both having full-time jobs leading development departments, my wife and I also own two Subway sandwich franchises. On the occasional late night or weekend, you might find me working as the handyman at Subway.
- I am an avid Colorado Avalanche fan and have been a season ticket holder for a number of years. It has been a lot of fun having my kids gain interest in them. My oldest son practices math problems by me naming Avalanche players and asking him to solve a problem based on their jersey number.