Beck voted inaugural holder of Texas A&M petroleum engineering award

Petroleum engineering students at Texas A&M University say Gene Beck is tops. The associate professor was honored May 14 as the inaugural recipient of the Petroleum Engineering Department Award for Excellence in Teaching.Inaugural honoree Gene Beck"I congratulate Dr. Beck on this well-deserved award. He has made a positive impact on our undergraduate students by bringing real industry problems into the classroom. The students clearly see he knows the drilling business, and he has taught them valuable methods that they can apply immediately upon graduation," said Stephen A. Holditch, petroleum engineering department head and holder of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Endowed Chair.Beck received the $4,000 unrestricted cash award following nomination and a majority vote by graduating seniors and faculty members in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. The student vote carried a two-thirds weight."This is such an honor. The students in petroleum engineering at A&M are well prepared for industry by their senior year, and it is extremely rewarding for me to be able to work with them as they transition from student engineers to professional engineers," Beck said.The teaching excellence award was established with a $100,000 endowment at the Texas A&M Foundation by lead donors Dennis and Laquita Johnson, along with Henry Petroleum LP, Tim and Amy Leach, Tony and Gloria Best, and St. Mary Land & Exploration Co.Johnson, Texas A&M Class of 1974, is president and chief executive officer of Summit Petroleum Inc. in Midland. Leach, Texas A&M Class of 1982, is chairman and chief executive officer of Midland-based Concho Resources Inc. and serves on the Texas A&M Engineering Advisory Council. Both are petroleum engineering graduates. Best, Texas A&M Class of 1972 and a mechanical engineering graduate, is president and chief executive officer of St. Mary Land & Exploration Co. in Denver, Colo.Beck has 25-plus years in the oil and natural gas industry. He has taught drilling engineering classes since joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2009.His research specialties are high-temperature, high-pressure (HTHP) drilling and well completions. He previously was an assistant professor at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 1995-96.He also is vice president of drilling for Houston-based Gastar Exploration Ltd. Before joining Gastar in 2002, he was vice president of the turnkey drilling division of Nabors Drilling USA LP, a domestic natural gas and oil drilling company.The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M is home to about 600 undergraduate and 250 graduate students. U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks the department first and second in undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively, among the nation's public institutions of higher education.Written by Exa York