Who We Are
The Permian Basin Water In Energy Conference connects industry leaders, experts and professionals to exchange best practices and cutting-edge approaches for the use of water in oil and gas production. Our mission is to facilitate collaboration and innovative strategy development for the improved use, recovery, and recycling of water in oil and gas production.
The Permian Basin Water In Energy Conference is a program of The University of Texas Permian Basin. The UT Permian Basin College of Business Advisory Council, with Jim Woodcock at the helm, planted the conference idea in 2017. Since then, the PBWIEC has grown into a sought-after networking event and annual marketplace of ideas. UT Permian Basin’s Shepperd Leadership Institute is now home to the PBWIEC, allowing students at UTPB to directly benefit from the conference proceeds.
MEET THE TEAM
Founder and Board Chair
Jim previously owned Hy-Bon Engineering, for 27 years. While running Hy-Bon, he also served as Chairman of Teton Petroleum, a O&G production company listed on the American Stock Exchange. Additionally, he cofounded Renovar Energy, a waste to Energy company.
Ben Shepperd serves as the President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association based in Midland, Texas, since 2006. In that role he represents oil and gas interests before legislative and regulatory bodies in Texas, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. He has more than 20 years of experience working on state legislative and regulatory issues.
Dr. Beach is Dean of the College of Business at the University of Texas Permian Basin. Since his arrival at UTPB, the college has experienced exciting growth, fostered by the dedication of its faculty and staff and the support of industry leaders in the Permian Basin.
Kirk Edwards is a proud native Odessan, successful petroleum engineer, and long-time booster of The University of Texas Permian Basin. Kirk graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Austin in 1981 and began his career in Petroleum Engineering for Texaco.
Max Wright is a long-time Midland civil trial attorney with extensive experience in both oil and gas and personal injury litigation who practices with the Shafer, Davis, O’Leary & Stoker, P.C. firm in its Midland office.
Dr. Michele Harmon began her career working for two Fortune 500 companies, then transitioned back to education serving as a middle school teacher and administrator, and worked as a director in three large urban school districts in Texas serving as the Director of Special Programs, Human Resources, and Career and Technical Education.
Richard Brantley joined University Lands in 1999, holding multiple positions within the organization prior to his current role as Senior Vice President of Operations. University Lands is a part of The University of Texas System and manages 2.1 million acres of land in 19 West Texas counties, which produces revenue that is deposited into the Permanent University Fund (PUF).
Steve Melzer is a consulting engineer in Midland, Texas specializing in CO2 injection projects, enhanced oil recovery (EOR), carbon capture utilization and storage, reservoir properties and horizontal well reservoir depressuring projects.
Steven H. Pruett is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Elevation Resources LLC, a Permian Basin focused exploration and production company which he co-founded in 2013.
The University of Texas Permian Basin
Dr. Sandra Woodley
Dr. Sandy Woodley brings strong experience in higher education leadership to UT of the Permian Basin. She also brings great insight and understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing students. The first person in her family to earn a university degree, she married after high school and completed her education while working full-time and raising children.
Dr. Becky Spurlock
Vice President for Student Affairs and Leadership
Dr. Becky Spurlock has served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Leadership at The University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) since August 2019. In her role, she oversees many of the co-curricular programs and services for students including the Shepperd Leadership Institute.
Executive Director of the Shepperd Leadership Institute
Kate Williamson joined the Shepperd Leadership Institute staff at the University of Texas Permian Basin in May of 2020. Over the last decade, she led the Basin Hill Group, a consultancy geared toward advocacy, strategic communications, and political campaigns.
Director of Community Engagement for the Shepperd Leadership Institute
Shelby Landgraf joined The University of Texas Permian Basin as Director of Community Engagement for the Shepperd Leadership Institute in July 2021.