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.

For more information about Permian Basin Water In Energy Conference, please give us a call: 432-552-2852 or send us an email: waterinenergy@utpb.edu.


Executive Board

photo of Jim Woodcock

Jim Woodcock

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.

Click to read more…

Ben Shepperd small photo

Ben Shepperd

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

photo of Steve Beach

Steve Beach

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

photo of Kirk Edwards

Kirk Edwards

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

Max Wright photo

Max Wright

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

photo of Michele Harmon

Michele Harmon

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

photo of Richard Brantley

Richard Brantley

Board Member

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).

Click to read more…

photo of Steve Melzer

Stephen Melzer

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

photo of Steven Pruett

Steven Pruett

Board Member

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.

Click to read more…

The University of Texas Permian Basin

Sandra-Woodley photo

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.

Click to read more…

Becky Spurlock photo

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.

Click to read more…

Shelby Landgraf photo small

Shelby Landgraf

Director of Community Engagement

Shelby Landgraf joined The University of Texas Permian Basin as Director of Community Engagement in July 2021. She brings more than a decade’s worth of experience in communications and community building to the table. 

Click to read more…