ALLY Energy celebrated over 50 honorees at its annual awards event. Photo via LinkedIn

The brightest stars in Houston's energy community celebrated wins at an annual awards event this week.

ALLY Energy, a company that works with its clients to make the energy industry more equitable, hosted its seventh annual GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces on October 26 — and named its prestigious winners. EnergyCapitalHTX, as well as its sister site InnovationMap, was a media partner for the event.

“Every year, we are astounded at how many impressive, committed people are demonstrating leadership and grit in their work to advance the energy transition and build more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces,” ALLY Energy CEO Katie Mehnert says in a news release naming the finalists. “This year is no exception. This is the time to celebrate so many crucial achievements that may otherwise go overlooked in the energy sector and in broader society.”

In addition to naming its winners, ALLY celebrated three Lifetime Achievement Award honorees who have distinguished careers championing change in energy and climate in the private or public sector in the areas of technology, policy, and workforce: John Berger, CEO of Sunnova Energy; Rhonda Morris, vice president and chief human resources officer of Chevron; and Amy Chronis, vice chair, US energy and chemicals leader, and Houston managing partner at Deloitte.

The big winners of 2023 are as follows.

The Professional Award

  • Alex Loureiro, Scientific Director at EnerGeo Alliance
  • Crystal McNack, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor at Enbridge Inc.
  • Dani Milling, Gulf of Mexico Environmental Engineer & Mexico HSE Coordinator at Chevron
  • Katie Zimmerman, Decarbonization Director, Americas at Wood
  • Mark Klapatch-Mathias, Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Natalie Valentine, Director - Business Performance at Worley
  • Syed Fahim, Global ESG Lead at SLB
  • Tane Bates, Regional Operations Manager at Certarus LTD
  • Ujunwa Ojemeni, Senior Policy Advisor - Energy Transition & Technical Assistance Delivery at E3G - Third Generation Environmentalism

The Executive Award

  • Cara Hair, SVP of Corporate Services, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Helmerich & Payne
  • Emma Lewis, Senior Vice President USGC Chemicals & Products at Shell
  • Jeremy Campbell-Wray, Strategic Accounts and Enterprise Growth Market Executive at Baker Hughes
  • Maggie Seeliger, SVP & Global Head of Strategy, Energy & Resources at Sodexo
  • Max Chan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development Officer at Enbridge
  • Megan Beauregard, Chief Legal Officer, Secretary, and Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Enel North America, Inc.
  • Sarah Delille, Vice President of US Country Management at Equinor
  • Whitney Eaton, EVP, People & Sustainability at TGS Energy

The JEDI Award

  • Jason Limerick, Sustainability Strategy Lead at Woodside Energy
  • Melina Acevedo, Associate & Partnerships Lead at DE Shaw Renewable Investments

The Entrepreneur Award

  • Charli Matthews, CEO at Empowering Women in Industry
  • Mike Francis, Co-Founder and CEO at NanoTech

The ESG & Climate Champion Award

  • Andrea Hepp, Deal Lead at Shell
  • Brittney Marshall, Senior Advisor, Climate Strategy and Policy at Woodside Energy
  • Gabriel Rolland, Vice President, Corporate QHSE at TGS Energy
  • Sandhya Ganapathy, Chief Executive Officer at EDP Renewables North America

Gritty Girl Award

  • Deepasha Baral, Student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies

Best Affinity Group, Employee Resource Group Award, sponsored by ChampionX

  • Baker Hughes
  • ChampionX
  • Shell
  • TPI Composites
  • Women's Energy Network Houston
  • Wood Mackenzie
  • Worley

Best Energy Team Award, sponsored by Ovintiv

  • Advisian Material Handling
  • Halliburton Labs
  • NOV Marketing
  • Syzygy Plasmonics, Rigel Manufacturing & Launch Team

Best Energy Workplaces Award

  • Aera Energy LLC
  • Baker Hughes
  • ChampionX
  • EDP Renewables North America
  • Enel
  • Global Edge Group
  • Shell
  • Southwestern Energy
  • Sunnova Energy International
  • TGS Energy
  • Wood
  • Woodside Energy
ALLY Energy has named its 2023 GRIT Awards finalists. Photo courtesy of ALLY Energy

Houston energy workforce solutions company names finalists for annual awards

energy honorees

For the seventh year, a Houston-based company that's working to make the energy industry more equitable has named the finalists for its annual award.

ALLY Energy's GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces, which will take place on October 26, has announced the finalists for the 2023 awards program.

“Every year, we are astounded at how many impressive, committed people are demonstrating leadership and grit in their work to advance the energy transition and build more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces,” ALLY Energy CEO Katie Mehnert says in a news release. “This year is no exception. This is the time to celebrate so many crucial achievements that may otherwise go overlooked in the energy sector and in broader society.”

The finalists are leaders, teams, and companies from around the world and across industry verticals — oil and gas, power and utilities, wind, solar, hydrogen, nuclear, climate tech startups, and academia. EnergyCapitalHTX, as well as its sister site InnovationMap, is a media partner for the event.

This year, ALLY has named three Lifetime Achievement Award honorees who have distinguished careers championing change in energy and climate in the private or public sector in the areas of technology, policy, and workforce: John Berger, CEO of Sunnova Energy; Rhonda Morris, vice president and chief human resources officer of Chevron; and Amy Chronis, vice chair, US energy and chemicals leader, and Houston managing partner at Deloitte.

This year's finalists for the award categories are as follows, according to ALLY Energy.

The Professional Award

  • Alex Loureiro, Scientific Director at EnerGeo Alliance
  • Allie Thurmond, Asset Manager at Equinor
  • Catherine Fuller, Senior Learning Strategy Leader at Baker Hughes
  • Crystal McNack, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor at Enbridge Inc.
  • Dani Milling, Gulf of Mexico Environmental Engineer & Mexico HSE Coordinator at Chevron
  • Diego Barreto, CFO Americas Region at Baker Hughes
  • Gayle Bowness, Technical Director Studies at Wood
  • Katie Zimmerman, Decarbonization Director, Americas at Wood
  • Kim Sabate-Strazde, Interim DEI Programs Manager at Baker Hughes
  • Krithika Kannan, IT HSE & Security Manager at Occidental
  • Lynn Buckley, Head of Supplier Development at Baker Hughes
  • Mark Klapatch-Mathias, Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Megan Suggs, Project Manager at BASF
  • Natalie Valentine, Director - Business Performance at Worley
  • Prajakta Kulkarni, Pricing Agreement Management Digital Platform Lead at Baker Hughes
  • Priscilla Enwere, Senior Well Engineer at Rano-Accrete Petroleum Development Company
  • Samantha Howard, Senior Organizational Development Specialist at Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline
  • Syed Fahim, Global ESG Lead at SLB
  • Tane Bates, Regional Operations Manager at Certarus LTD
  • Ujunwa Ojemeni, Senior Policy Advisor - Energy Transition & Technical Assistance Delivery at E3G - Third Generation Environmentalism
  • Yogashri Pradhan, Reservoir Engineer at Coterra

The Executive Award

  • Andy Drummond, Executive Vice President Exploration and Development at Woodside Energy
  • Cara Hair, SVP of Corporate Services, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Helmerich & Payne
  • Claire Aitchison, Executive Operations Leader at Baker Hughes
  • Emma Lewis, Senior Vice President USGC Chemicals & Products at Shell
  • Jeremy Campbell-Wray, Strategic Accounts and Enterprise Growth Market Executive at Baker Hughes
  • Kathy Eberwein, Chief Executive Officer at The Global Edge Group
  • Kim Holder, Senior Executive of Digital Technology at Baker Hughes
  • Leveda Charles, Director of PMO & Business Enablement at Baker Hughes
  • Maggie Seeliger, SVP & Global Head of Strategy, Energy & Resources at Sodexo
  • Max Chan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development Officer at Enbridge
  • Megan Beauregard, Chief Legal Officer, Secretary, and Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Enel North America, Inc.
  • Nikki Martin, President at EnerGeo Alliance
  • Pamela Skaufel, Vice President of Procurement at ExxonMobil
  • Sarah Delille, Vice President of US Country Management at Equinor
  • Shiva McMahon, Executive Vice President International Operations at Woodside Energy
  • Soma Somasundaram, Chief Executive Officer at ChampionX
  • Toby Begnaud, Chief Commercial Officer & SVP of Oilfield Services and Equipment at Baker Hughes
  • Trevor Mihalik, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Sempra
  • Whitney Eaton, EVP, People & Sustainability at TGS Energy

The JEDI Award

  • Alex Fleming, Senior Manager at Deloitte
  • Doug Peck, Head of Reserves at Woodside Energy
  • Jason Limerick, Sustainability Strategy Lead at Woodside Energy
  • Melina Acevedo, Associate & Partnerships Lead at DE Shaw Renewable Investments
  • Shengke Zhi, Director for Growth and Development at Wood

The Entrepreneur Award

  • Charli Matthews, CEO at Empowering Women in Industry
  • Mandeep Patel, Founder at ElecTrip
  • Mike Francis, Co-Founder and CEO at NanoTech
  • Nick Valenzia, Founder at Leafr

The ESG & Climate Champion Award

  • Andrea Hepp, Deal Lead at Shell
  • Brittney Marshall, Senior Advisor, Climate Strategy and Policy at Woodside Energy
  • Freya Burton, Chief Sustainability Officer at LanzaTech
  • Gabriel Rolland, Vice President, Corporate QHSE at TGS Energy
  • Lisa Larroque Alexander, SVP, Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer at Sempra
  • Misty Rowe, Global CCUS Account Manager at Halliburton
  • Sandhya Ganapathy, Chief Executive Officer at EDP Renewables North America

Gritty Girl Award

  • Deepasha Baral, Student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies

Best Affinity Group, Employee Resource Group Award, sponsored by ChampionX

  • Baker Hughes, Asian Pacific American Forum (APAF)
  • Baker Hughes, Generation STEM
  • Baker Hughes, D&I Group Celle
  • Baker Hughes, Parenting Tribe
  • Baker Hughes, Pride@Work
  • Baker Hughes, Multicultural ERG
  • ChampionX, PLAN
  • ChampionX, PRIDE
  • ChampionX, RISE Gender Equity ERG
  • ChampionX, SEED
  • Ovintiv, Leveraging Inclusion, Networking and Knowledge (LINK)
  • Sempra, Growing Responsibilities and Opportunities for Women
  • Shell, WAVE - Women Adding Value Everywhere
  • Shell, DE&I Council
  • TPI Composites, LEAP for Women
  • Women's Energy Network Houston, Women's Energy Network Houston
  • Wood, Launch
  • Wood Mackenzie, Pride Working Group-Americas
  • Woodside Energy, EmBRace - Employees Beyond Race
  • Woodside Energy, Spark
  • Woodside Energy, VIBE LGBTIQ+ Employee Resource Group
  • Worley, PRIDE@Worley

Best Energy Team Award, sponsored by Ovintiv

  • Advisian Material Handling
  • Baker Hughes, Sustainability Team
  • ChampionX, Asset Integrity Team
  • ChampionX, Brunei Supply Chain
  • EIC Rose Rock/Rose Rock Bridge
  • Halliburton Labs
  • NOV Marketing
  • Sempra Infrastructure
  • Syzygy Plasmonics, Rigel Manufacturing & Launch Team
  • TGS New Energy Solutions

Best Energy Workplaces Award

  • Aera Energy LLC
  • Baker Hughes
  • ChampionX
  • Consolidated Asset Management Services
  • EDP Renewables North America
  • Enel
  • The Global Edge Group
  • Shell
  • Solar Energy Industries Association - SEIA
  • Southwestern Energy
  • Sunnova Energy International, Inc (6-time finalist)
  • TGS Energy
  • Wood
  • Woodside Energy
ALLY Energy's annual GRIT Awards is still accepting applications — but not for long.

Deadline approaches Houston company's energy awards

A Houston company that advocates for equity and inclusion in the evolving energy sector is closing it nominations for its annual awards program on August 12.

ALLY Energy's 2023 GRIT Awards — honoring companies, nonprofits, and individuals with growth, resilience, innovation, and talent — is slated for October 26. For now, ALLY is looking for the best in the biz to honor at the program.

"We honor the energy industry’s brightest and grittiest talent who contribute to their companies, the energy industry, and their communities," reads the website. "Our awards program recognizes individuals, students, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated (GRIT) growth, resilience, innovation, and talent with a focus on driving a (JEDI) just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture. Best Energy Workplaces℠ give recognition to outstanding energy and climate technology employers."

The nomination categories are as follows:

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The Professional Award
  • The Executive Award
  • The Entrepreneur Award
  • The ALLY JEDI Award
  • The Gritty Girl
  • The ESG and Climate Champion
  • The Best Affinity Group, Employee Resource Group, or Business Resource Group Award
  • The Best Energy Team Award
  • The Best Energy Workplaces Award

The full description and requirements for each category is detailed online.

Once applications close on August 12 at midnight, ALLY's team will decide the finalists and reveal them before September 15.

Last year's honorees included representatives from many Houston energy companies, including Baker Hughes, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Marathon Oil, Rice University, Saudi Aramco, Shell, the University of Houston, Syzygy Plasmonics, and Wood Mackenzie.

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Houston's energy industry deemed both a strength and weakness on global cities report

mixed reviews

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

———

This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

New collaboration to build data center microgrid in Houston

coming soon

Two companies are teaming up to build a natural gas microgrid in Houston that will reduce emissions by 98 percent.

Provider of prime and backup power solutions RPower has teamed up with Houston’s ViVaVerse Solutions to build a 17-megawatt (MW) microgrid at the ViVa Center campus in Houston, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

The microgrid plans to employ ultra-low emissions and natural gas generators to deliver Resiliency-as-a-Service (RaaS), and this will connect to ViVaVerse's colocation data center operations during utility outages.

RPower will also deploy the microgrid across different ERCOT market programs, which will contribute to assist with essential capacity and ancillary services for the local grid. ERCOT has increased its use of renewable energy in recent years, but still has faced criticism for unstable conditions. The microgrids can potentially assist ERCOT, and also help cut back on emissions.

“RPower's pioneering microgrid will not only deliver essential N+1 resiliency to our data center operations but will also contribute to the local community by supplying necessary capacity during peak demand periods when the electric grid is strained,” Eduardo Morales, CEO of ViVaVerse Solutions and Morales Capital Group, says in a news release.

ViVaVerse Solutions will be converting the former Compaq Computer/HPE headquarters Campus into an innovative technology hub called the ViVa Center, which will host the High-Performance Computing Data Center, and spaces dedicated to mission critical infrastructure and technical facilities . The hub will host 200 data labs.

“We are thrilled to partner with ViVaVerse to deploy this `first of its kind' microgrid solution in the data center space,” Jeff Starcher, CEO of RPower, adds. “Our natural gas backup generation system delivers the same reliability and performance as traditional diesel systems, but with a 98 percent reduction in emissions. Further, the RPower system provides critical grid services and will respond to the volatility of renewable generation, further enabling the energy transition to a carbon free future.”