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Robin Fielder smiling headshot.
Texas A&M University former petroleum engineering student Robin Fielder ’02 is a Hart Energy 25 Influential Women in Energy honoree. | Image: Courtesy of Robin Fielder.

When Robin Fielder ’02 was a young girl, she told her parents that she wanted to be a queen. Her father, a lab analyst at a large oil refinery, told her that she should be an engineer so that she could be the boss. After two decades in the energy industry, Fielder has been more than just a boss — her leadership has been widely recognized as she was recently named a Hart Energy 25 Influential Women in Energy honoree.

Sealed into petroleum

One of the first scholarships Fielder received during her college application process was from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Gulf Coast Section. Along with the scholarship came an internship opportunity with Diamond Offshore Drilling the summer after she graduated high school, which Fielder quickly jumped on.

“That internship sealed me into petroleum,” Fielder said. “I got to see the cool offshore technology and learned that the energy business is all about solving big problems, which really interested me.”

When the fall semester rolled around, Fielder quickly found herself immersed in Texas A&M University’s Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. She enjoyed the comradery among her class, which was comprised of around 30 people. She fondly remembers playing dominoes during study breaks in the student lounge, attending home football games and planning events as secretary of the university’s SPE chapter.

Though her time on campus was influential, summer internships— required by her degree— with Conoco, Texaco and Anadarko were of equal importance to Fielder. She appreciated the access that Texas A&M provided through career fairs and other resources to help her secure jobs in the industry during school and after graduation.

“Many of these recruiters may not go to every school every year, but they always come back to Texas A&M,” Fielder said. “There’s going to be a good group of high-quality students who you know can plug in and hit the ground running on day one.”

Significant sponsors

Fielder has been helped along in her career journey by mentors, teachers and friends. Women such as Janeen Judah ’81, who was a mentor figure to Fielder during her summer at Texaco, stand out as those who helped give her the tools she needed to succeed.

“I had a lot of support and a lot of great supervisors, mentors, and more importantly, sponsors over the years,” Fielder said.

Gaining experience through many positions and roles was important to Fielder to build her career. Throughout many of the jobs she held, a network of people opened the doors to opportunities for new skills and growth.

As personal development has also been key to her success, she attends events hosted for executive women in energy, where she connected personally with many likeminded women. Fielder has found that there are similarities in the challenges that many women in her position have faced as working parents who are discovering how to best juggle their spouses, families and careers.

Stepping out

In 2018, Fielder accepted the offer to be the president and CEO of Western Midstream, then called Western Gas, a $20 billion enterprise. Fulfilling this role has been one of the proudest moments of her career.

“There are so few female energy CEOs, and I was quite young compared to a lot of my peers,” Fielder said. “There’s a tremendous amount of honor and respect associated with what that role means.”

In 2019, she stepped into key roles at another company, Noble Midstream (formerly part of Noble Energy), including chief operating officer, president, CEO and director, leading organizational structure redesign, merger and integration efforts through its acquisition by Chevron Corporation in 2021. Since December 2021, she has led Talos Energy Inc. in carbon capture and sequestration as executive vice president of low carbon strategy and chief sustainability officer.

Now recognized by Hart Energy as one of the most influential women in her industry, Fielder has a piece of advice that helped bring her to where she is today.

“Don’t ever sell yourself short,” Fielder said. “If you don’t vouch for yourself, you can’t expect that others will. Be willing to lean in and take on the new things.”