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.
Founder and chair emeritus
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.
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).
Vice Board Chair
Robert Crain has served as Executive Vice President of Texas Pacific Water Resources since its formation. Prior to TPWR, Mr. Crain led water resource development efforts for EOG Resources across multiple basins, including the Permian and Eagleford.
Ashley Kegley-Whitehead currently serves as Chief Communications Officer for Infinity Water Solutions. Ashley is a strategic problem-solver, creative storyteller and radical collaborator whose work lives at the intersection of community and impact.
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.
Ben Warden is currently the Director of Supply for Deep Blue Midstream. He has worked with the Rattler Midstream group under Diamondback for the past 8 years and has recently started with Deep Blue.
Brian Shedd is currently the Executive Director of the Office of Innovation and Commercialization and the Interim Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Texas, Permian Basin.
Jake Hendricks has sixteen years in the Midstream space of the Oil & Gas industry focused on Distribution and Commercial Negotiations.
Jared Blong is one of Octane Energy’s founders and serves as its President and CEO. Mr. Blong has a diverse background in operations, risk management and business development, combined with a strong knowledge of the soft and technical aspects of the energy industry.
Joseph de Almeida
41 years with Occidental Petroleum – 30 years with the OxyChem Division, 5 years in Power Planning, and 6 years in Water Strategy & Technology. Background includes Manufacturing, Business Management, Commercial Development and Strategic Planning.
Co – Founder and CEO of B3 Insight, Kelly Bennett, has spent his career making obscure natural resource and commodity data usable for high-value decision making. Prior to B3 Insight, he built the global energy desk at BENTEK Energy (Platts) and co-founded Ponderosa Energy, an oil and gas market analytics company acquired by Enverus in 2016.
Lisa Henthorne is the Chief Scientist of Aris Water Solutions where she supports the company’s beneficial produced water reuse program. She was previously Chief Technology Officer at Water Standard, focused on developing advanced water treatment solutions for the oil and gas industry.
Matt Gabriel is the Founder and CEO of XRI, an innovative water management, disposal, and recycling solutions company serving the world’s most sophisticated energy companies. Prior to XRI, Matt found and led several high-growth, innovative companies.
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.
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.
Tim Reed has been with the Water Team of Concho and now ConocoPhillips since 2015. Prior to that, approximately 35 years of Oil and Gas environmental and regulatory work with various companies.
Sarah Zink is a team lead for the Permian Water Program with ExxonMobil. She has worked with ExxonMobil for 6 years, starting as a Facilities Engineer for the Midland Basin and then working on the Permian Water Team for the past 1.5 years. She has a degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma.
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.
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
Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and enrollment management
Dr. Becky Spurlock is the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at The University of Texas Permian Basin. Dr. Spurlock’s portfolio includes the Enrollment Management teams, comprised of Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Registrar.