23rd World Petroleum Congress Organizing Committee
The World Petroleum Congress Organizing Committee is responsible for producing the 23rd World Petroleum Congress to be held December 5-9, 2021 in Houston, USA.
The 23rd World Petroleum Congress Organizing Committee is governed by a Board of Directors with strong oil and gas industry experience and key stakeholders of the Houston community. This highly-engaged group of professionals has one goal in hosting this prestigious event: To convene a Congress that will advance the conversation on energy transition while delivering exceptional hospitality, compelling engagement and ease of access to every 23rd World Petroleum Congress attendee.
board of directors
Khalid Mohammed H. Al-Hitmi
Khalid Mohammed H. Al-Hitmi is the Executive Vice President of Subsurface Development and Exploration at Qatar Petroleum.
With over 25 years of experience in the Oil and Gas sector, Khalid held numerous technical and leadership positions in the areas of drilling, reservoir management and production operations in Qatar Petroleum. In his earlier role as the North Field Development Manager, Khalid had been responsible for the development and management of the North Field, the largest single non-associated gas field in the World since 2006.
Seconded to Qatargas in 2018 to take over as Chief Subsurface Officer, Khalid is now responsible for directing and managing all aspects of hydrocarbon production; well construction, well intervention, reservoir/well surveillance and production optimization. This is to ensure sustainable production and maximize the value from the North Field. In addition, he manages the development planning activities associated with the North Field Production Sustainability and the North Field Expansion projects.
Khalid also plays a major role as a valued member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is a recipient of the Mobil Award for Reservoir Engineering.
Khalid holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia and a Master of Business Administration from Hull University, UK.
Dr. Ali A. Al-Meshari
Dr. Ali A. Al-Meshari is currently leading the Upstream Development Strategy and Reserves Department in Saudi Aramco. Prior to assuming this position, he has held various positions within Saudi Aramco where he led the Upstream Research and Development Center. He oversaw the technology development portfolio for the Saudi Aramco Upstream business, which covers a wide spectrum of disciplines, including: geosciences, drilling, production, reservoir engineering and simulation. In addition, Dr. Al-Meshari manages the Saudi Aramco Upstream Global Research Centers (GRCs) through his role as the Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco Upstream Technology Company LLC. These GRCs are spread from China through Europe, Russia and North America.
Prior to assuming this position, he has held various management and leadership roles within Saudi Aramco. He is passionate about organizational performance in terms of management, optimization and staff developmental programs. In addition, Ali enjoys coaching young professionals to become future leaders. Dr. Al-Meshari is serving as a member in the board of directors of Saudi Instinctual Properties Authority and in the board of 23rd World Petroleum Congress Organizing Committee.
Dr. Al-Meshari is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) where he chaired, and co-chaired several SPE symposiums, workshops and conferences. He was an Ambassador Lecturer (2007) and has been a Technical Editor for SPE Journal of Reservoir Engineering and Evaluation. He has received several awards and recognitions from SPE. Dr. Al-Meshari holds a PhD degree from Texas A&M University and an MS degree from University of Texas at Austin both in Petroleum Engineering. He holds a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia. He is also a graduate of the INSEAD Advanced Management Program.
Aida Araissi is the Founder and CEO of the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce and the education foundation Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony (TEACH).
The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1997 to promote trade, investment, training and educational exchanges between the US and Arab World. Since its inception and under Araissi’s leadership, the mandate has evolved into a global mission focused on the energy and infrastructure portfolio of the companies represented on the board of advisors. The Bilateral is recognized as a cross industry expert resource for advancing collaborative economic, and education solutions founded on the principals of mutual respect and understanding. Stakeholders include Fortune 500 companies, academic and policy influencers, economic development boards, and city and state agencies.
For the last 22 years, Araissi has provided strategic planning, program management, and full life cycle advice on hundreds of multi-sector inbound and outbound business missions on behalf of public and private organizations. Her extensive experience in foreign direct investment consulting has ranged from developing roadshows for The Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Egypt, to name a few; to US government agencies such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and U.S. Department of State. She is a frequent speaker at the US Department of Commerce’s Discover Global Markets, the Africa Leaders Summit in London and ADIPEC’s Women in Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi and EGYPT.
She has received numerous international awards for business advocacy including the U.S. Commercial Service Award for Excellence in Export Promotion, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Trade & Commercial Office commendation for dedication and commitment to strengthening ties between the UAE and the US, the State of Georgia’s US Congress Commendation award as a Leading Women to Watch at the Amazons Watch Magazine’s conference highlighting her work in bridging US-MENA-Africa development.
Ms. Araissi speaks English, Arabic and French. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Political Science from the University of Houston. She serves on multiple civic and strategic boards including the U.S. Committee for the World Petroleum Congress, the Export Academy, the Nature Conservancy and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Her work with TEACH has spanned over 18 states in the United States touched thousands of students with global awareness programming aimed at inspiring American teachers to empower the next generation to learn about the world and appreciate diversity.
Gaurdie E. Banister Jr.
Gaurdie Banister is a seasoned executive who as CEO of Aera Energy LLC led one of the most successful and largest oil and gas ventures in the US. He is an experienced director with global leadership, strategic and operational expertise that is applicable to multiple markets. He has a strong governance background and has served as chair of different committees of public company boards.
Today, Mr. Banister is the chairman of the compensation and leadership development committee at Tyson Foods and recently finished a 5 year term as Lead Director. He recently became the Lead Director of Russell Reynolds Associates. He has served on the boards of Marathon Oil and the Bristow Group.
Mr. Banister is also the founder and CEO of Different Points of View, a private firm that provides advisory services in the areas of leadership and safety. He also mentors and serves as an advisor to start ups in the energy and technology space.
Mr. Banister was President and CEO of Aera Energy LLC (a $5 bln oil and gas exploration and production company jointly owned by Shell Oil Company and ExxonMobil) from 2007 to 2015. Aera is one of the largest California and U.S. oil producers with production of over 130.000 barrels per day, operating over 14,000 wells and is a recognized leader for its innovative approach to lean manufacturing in an oil field setting.
Prior to Aera Energy, he served in executive level positions at Shell Oil as technical vice president Upstream Asia Pacific from 2005 to 2007 and Upstream Americas from 2003 to 2005 overseeing drilling and development activities. From 2001 to 2003 he was vice president Business Development and Technology and from 1998 to 2001 he served as president USA and executive vice president Shell Services EP Gas and Power. Mr. Banister joined Shell in 1980 as an offshore facilities engineer.
Mr. Banister serves on the board of trustees of American University in Washington, DC, the foundation board of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and on the board of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation based in Bethesda, Md.
Mr. Banister holds a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and in 2007 was presented an honorary doctorate degree. Banister also received an honorary doctorate degree in 2002 from Fort Valley State University in Georgia.
As the Senior Managing Director for Resources in the South, Omar Boulos is intensely focused on partnering with clients in the Energy, Utilities, Chemicals and Natural Resources industries on their transformation journeys. Managing an extensive team across the region, he is responsible for implementing Accenture’s vision to enable clients to achieve results with innovative digital capabilities. His deep business expertise spans supply chain optimization, work force transformation, manufacturing execution, order fulfillment, and operational planning. Omar has led engagements across the globe and has worked with clients in China, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates.
Prior to his return to the United States, Omar served as Managing Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey where he was responsible for Accenture’s business since its inception in the region in 2011. During this time, he grew Accenture’s portfolio in the region into a standalone Market Unit.
Omar is a frequent speaker at industry forums and events, most recently representing Accenture at the inaugural State of Petrochemical event hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. His business and industry acumen has been quoted in numerous Middle East publications including Arabian Business, Arabian News, Gulf News, and Tahawul Tech.
Omar also spends his time out of the office acting as an advocate of education for all, serving on several non-profit and advisory boards in the space, the latest being EFE in KSA and Junior Achievement UAE. He deeply believes in investing time in people to help them achieve their full potential.
Omar graduated with BS in ECE from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Omar is married with three children and currently resides with his family in Houston, Texas.
W. L. Bullock, Jr.
W. L. (Bill) Bullock, Jr. is executive vice president and chief financial officer, ConocoPhillips. In this capacity, he oversees the teams responsible for finance, commercial, acquisitions and divestitures.
Bullock has more than 30 years of oil and natural gas experience. He previously served in leadership roles as president, Asia Pacific & Middle East; vice president, Corporate Planning and Development; president, Global Gas and Power; president, Middle East & North Africa; and president and general manager, ConocoPhillips Indonesia.
He joined ConocoPhillips in 1986 and worked in various engineering, operations, commercial and business development assignments.
Bullock serves on the Engineering Advisory Council at Texas A&M University, the Joint Advisory Board for Texas A&M University at Qatar, and as a Governing Director for the Houston Symphony.
He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1986 and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from Oklahoma City University in 1996.
Susan Davenport serves as Senior Vice President, Economic Development at the Greater Houston Partnership. The Partnership is a 1,100-member business partnership encompassing the 11-county greater Houston region. In this role, Susan leads the organization’s dometic and international economic development efforts and provides assistance to companies considering expanding, relocating or investing in the greater Houston region.
Prior to her work in Houston, Susan served as the President/CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, a five-star accredited Chamber with approximately 1,300 member companies and organizations. Prior to her role as President/CEO she served for two years as the Chamber’s Vice President of Economic Development. From 2013 through 2018, the Gainesville Chamber announced the creation of more than 1,100 new jobs and more than $400 million in new capital investment.
Susan came to Gainesville in 2013 after spending 13 years with the Austin Chamber of Commerce, most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Tech Strategies. While there she served as a key team member for the Opportunity Austin strategy which created over 174,000 new jobs and enhanced regional payrolls by $8.7 billion over an 8-year period from 2004-2012. During her tenure in Austin she developed and executed Austin’s regional business retention and expansion program, Portfolio Austin, where over 4,800 regional retention visits were undertaken with 520 regional expansions tracked. She also developed and managed the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization, which resulted in assisting 34 companies accessing $60 million in funding with an additional $30 million for local research and university projects. Susan also developed the Greater Austin Technology Partnership and Austin TechLive, which engaged over 100 regional technology executives in various economic development activities and supported entrepreneurism through a downtown co-working technology hub partner.
Susan received a Master of Public Affairs from The University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from The University of Texas Medical Branch. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is an active member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the International Economic Development Institute.
Ms. DuCharme joined Exxon Company U.S.A. in 1986 after graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. She spent her early career gaining experience in engineering and project management for production operations in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequently had assignments in the U.S. and Europe to gain experience in business development and marketing.
In 2011, Ms. DuCharme transferred to London, England as Director of ExxonMobil International Limited for Europe, Russia and Caspian. She then assumed the role of Vice President of Americas, Africa and Asia Pacific New Markets in 2015. In August 2016, Ms. DuCharme was appointed President of ExxonMobil Global Services Company.
Effective April 2019, Ms. DuCharme was appointed President of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions Company and a Vice President of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
Active in Houston area philanthropy, Ms. DuCharme serves on the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Board and the Executive Advisory Board for Houston Minority Supplier Development Council.
Ms. DuCharme is married and has two sons.
Paul Goydan leads Boston Consulting Group’s Energy practice in North America across oil and gas, power and utilities, and new energy. He is a globally recognized expert on unconventional oil and gas, and coordinates BCG’s work globally on that topic. He is also a member of the Operations practice at the firm.
Paul works with clients globally across the energy value chain to help leadership teams improve operational performance and unlock their full potential. Since joining BCG in 2005, Paul has worked for some of the largest companies in the Fortune 500 on business development, strategy, and transformational improvement.
Recently Paul has worked with leaders on digitizing their operations and deploying new technologies including numerous projects across the value chain on drilling and completions, plant and refinery operations, supply chain strategies, and field force excellence.
Stephen W. Green
Stephen W. Green, is president of Chevron North America Exploration and Production, a position he has held since March 2019. In this role, he oversees Chevron’s exploration and production activities throughout North America, including the company’s significant portfolio of assets in Canada, California, the Gulf of Mexico, Pennsylvania and the Mid-Continent region of the United States. Green joined Chevron in 2005 upon the merger with Unocal Corporation. Since then, he has held upstream leadership positions in southeast Asia, and served as corporate vice president of Policy, Government and Public Affairs for Chevron.
Active in the energy industry, Green is chair of the American Petroleum Institute’s Upstream Committee, serves on the board of trustees of The First Tee, the executive committee of the Greater Houston Partnership, and is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Texas A&M University in 1980 and completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program in 2003.
Greg Hill is President and Chief Operating Officer of Hess Corporation, a global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas.
Hess is a leading shale oil and gas producer, one of the largest producers in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and a key natural gas producer and supplier to Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand. The company is also engaged in exploration and appraisal activities offshore Guyana, participating in one of the industry’s largest oil discoveries in the past decade, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, Suriname and Newfoundland.
Prior to joining Hess in 2009, Mr. Hill spent 25 years at Shell in a variety of operations, engineering, technical and business leadership roles in Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States. This included serving as Executive Vice President – Exploration and Production of Singapore-based Shell Asia Pacific, Vice President of Production for Shell E&P Europe, and Senior Vice President of Aera Energy, a California-based joint venture affiliate of Shell and Mobil.
Mr. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Harbour Energy, a global private equity investment firm. He is Chair of the Wyoming Governor’s ENDOW initiative to develop a 20-year economic diversification plan for the state of Wyoming, Co-Chair of the Wyoming Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force and Chairman of the University of Wyoming Foundation Board. Mr. Hill also is a Board Member of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and the Greater Houston Partnership, a founding member of CEO’s Against Cancer – Gulf Coast Chapter, Board Member of the Wyoming Business Council and a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources created in 2014 by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).
Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti
Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti is the Chief Energy Officer at the University of Houston. Prior to his current position, Krishnamoorti served as Interim Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer for UH and the UH System. During his tenure at the University, he has served as Chair of the UH Cullen College of Engineering’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, Associate Dean of Research for Engineering, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with affiliated appointments as Professor of Petroleum Engineering and Professor of Chemistry.
David W. Leebron
David W. Leebron has served as Rice University’s seventh president since 2004, a period of growth and transformation for the university. A native of Philadelphia, Leebron is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. Following a judicial clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, he taught at the UCLA School of Law in 1980. After two years practicing in an international law firm in New York City, he joined the faculty at the NYU School of Law in 1983. In 1989, Leebron joined the faculty of Columbia Law School, where in 1996 he was appointed dean and served in that position until coming to Rice.
He is a member of the political science faculty at Rice and has written about international trade and investment, torts, privacy, corporate law and human rights. Leebron has served as chair of the Association of American Universities, the Consortium on Financing in Higher Education (COFHE) and Internet2, and on the board of the NCAA. He has also been a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany, and a Jean Monnet Visiting Professor at Bielefeld University.
Leebron is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Fulbright Canada Board. He is the recipient of an honorary degree from Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and is an honorary professor of law at Tianjin University. He has also been awarded Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the government of France and the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel La Católica by the government of Spain.
Gina A. Luna
Gina, a recognized leader with invaluable business insight, is a trusted advisor to CEOs and business owners. As CEO of Luna Strategies, Mrs. Luna counsels companies and their leaders on complex strategic issues and growth initiatives. She has established a reputation of partnering with owners, boards, and management from a broad spectrum of industries to deliver solutions and drive results.
Mrs. Luna is a member of the Board of Directors for Tetra Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: TTI), where she serves on the Audit Committee and the Nominating & Governance Committee. Tetra is a $1B oil and gas services company headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas; she has served on the board since July 2018. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Melior Innovations, a materials technology company, Mi2, LLC, a bioscience innovation enterprise, and Truss, a digital engagement company. Additionally, Gina serves as an advisor to the management of Complete Intelligence, an early stage artificial intelligence company, and several other privately held business owners and management teams.
Prior to founding Luna Strategies, Mrs. Luna held senior executive roles with JPMorgan Chase. From 2009 to 2016, she served as Chairman of the Houston Market and Managing Director of Chase Commercial Banking. During her 22-year career, she was progressively promoted from management and business development roles to Chief Operating Officer for the regional Commercial and Investment Banking businesses, and to Chief Marketing Officer of the national Commercial Banking business, before assuming the Chairman role. She ran a $150+M revenue business, managed sizable teams, led marketing and communications, talent development, risk management, and strategic planning.
As a dynamic, committed business leader, Mrs. Luna continues to be actively involved in supporting the community in which she works and lives. She is the founding Chairman of the Board for Houston Exponential (HX), an organization focused on building the innovation ecosystem in Houston. She raised the HX Venture Fund to support the HX mission and attract more venture capital to Houston. Gina is a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch, and is the Chairman of the Board of CHI St. Luke’s Health System. She also serves as a trustee of The Welch Foundation and Baylor College of Medicine. She was elected chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership in 2015 and served as chair of the nationally acclaimed workforce initiative, UpSkill Houston, from 2013 to 2017. She continues her service on the Greater Houston Partnership board, executive committee, and nominating committee.
Mrs. Luna is a member of NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors), Women Corporate Directors, the International Women’s Forum, and the Texas A&M Mays School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board. Mrs. Luna is active in the Young Presidents’ Organization.
She is a summa cum laude graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor of business administration degree in finance and management.
William F. McKeon
William “Bill” McKeon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Medical Center. He is responsible for driving strategic, operational and programmatic initiatives across the Texas Medical Center’s member institutions to enhance its leadership position in the life sciences. McKeon joined the Texas Medical Center in 2013 as executive vice president, chief operating and strategy officer.
McKeon has served as an executive for some of the leading companies and institutions in the world, including DuPont, Stanford University Medical Center, Raytel, US Oncology and Medtronic. His experience as a President and CEO includes heading up industry-changing companies MicroPort Medical Co. in Shanghai and Cellnovo in London.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in legal studies from Roger Williams University and earned a Master’s Degree from the University of San Francisco – School of Management.
Jeff Miller is Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, where he leads the Executive Committee
Since joining Halliburton in 1997, Mr. Miller has served in several roles, including Chief Operating Officer. In this capacity, he was responsible for developing and executing the Company’s operational strategy and aligning short- and long-term objectives with the Company’s overall strategy.
Mr. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and business from McNeese State University in Louisiana, and a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Advisory Council for Texas A&M University Dwight Look College of Engineering.
Gary R. Petersen
Prior to the formation of EnCap in 1988, Mr. Petersen was a Senior Vice President and Manager of the Corporate Finance Division of the Energy Banking Group for Republic Bank, Houston from 1985 to 1988. His duties and responsibilities included mergers and acquisitions, financial advisory services and institutional fundraising activities for the energy industry. Prior to his position at Republic Bank, Mr. Petersen was an Executive Vice President and a member of the board of directors of Nicklos Oil & Gas Company in Houston from 1979 to 1984. Previously, Mr. Petersen was a Group Vice President in the Petroleum and Minerals Division of Republic Bank, Dallas. He served from 1970 to 1971 in the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C., as a First Lieutenant in the Finance Corps and as an Army Officer in the Army Security Agency.
Mr. Petersen holds Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in finance from Texas Tech University and is a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas Tech. Mr. Petersen also has done post-graduate work at American University and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.
Mr. Petersen serves on the board of directors of several EnCap portfolio companies and is a member of the board of Plains All American, Inc. (NYSE: PAA) and EV Energy Partners (Nasdaq: EVEP). He is a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Houston Producers’ Forum. He is currently a member of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Foundation Board and Chairman of the Council on Alcohol & Drugs Foundation Board in Houston. Mr. Petersen is a minority owner and limited partner of the NFL’s Houston Texans and Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros.
Lees has spent 27 years at multinational, energy service company, Schlumberger in a variety of roles and locations around the world including Houston, Scotland, Trinidad, Venezuela and Alaska. She is currently part of the corporate team in Houston, working as the Chief Sustainability Officer. Prior to that, Lees was President of the Schlumberger onshore business in the US and Canada for all business lines outside of completions. Since relocating back to Houston in 2013, she has also served as Global Account Director for two of Schlumberger’s largest clients and Human Resources Director for the Production Group. Before coming back to Houston, Lees was General Manager for Schlumberger Alaska. In 2019, she was honored by Hart Energy as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Energy. Lees grew up in the Houston area and attended Rice University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and an MBA in Finance.
Mike Sommers is the 15th chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute since its founding almost a century ago. API is the largest national trade association representing all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.
Before being named APl’s president and CEO, Sommers led the American Investment Council, a trade association representing many of the nation’s leading private equity and growth capital firms and other business partners.
Sommers spent two decades in critical staff leadership roles in the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House, including chief of staff for Speaker of the House John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Special Assistant to President George W. Bush at the National Economic Council.
Sommers has been instrumental in crafting landmark legislation, including leading efforts to pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program through Congress, brokering a resolution between the administration and Congress ahead of the fiscal cliff in 2013, leading efforts to pass the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 and trade promotion authority in 2015.
Sommers is a native of Naperville, Illinois, and a graduate of the honors program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was awarded the President’s Distinguished Service Medal – the highest honor given to a Miami undergraduate.
He is married to Jill Sommers, a former Commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). They have three children and live in Alexandria, Virginia.
Starlee Sykes is the Senior Vice President for the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, one of the largest deep water businesses in the world.
Starlee has over 20 years of leadership experience in the energy sector. Prior to her current roles she served as Vice President for Global Offshore Projects and Vice President for Global Deepwater Projects. Starlee led the creation of the first global subsea solutions business and has been a strong proponent of standardized industry solutions and improving collaboration with industry partners. Throughout her career Starlee has led diverse international teams solving some of the industry’s most complex operational and project development challenges.
Starlee is Chairman of the Board of Directors of bp Exploration & Production and is a member of the bp America and bp Midstream Partners Board of Directors. She is bp’s representative on the API Upstream Committee and the Executive Committee of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), and recently finished her term on the Center for Offshore Safety Board of Directors. She is also on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the Greater Houston Partnership.
Starlee is active in the community through her roles with Million Women Mentors, President of the Board of Trustees for Spindletop Charities, and the United Way.
Starlee earned her Mechanical Engineering degree from Texas A&M University where she serves as a member of the university’s Industry Advisory Board for the Engineering College and is a founding executive committee member of the Aggie Women Engineers Network. She was a 2020 College of Engineering Texas A&M Outstanding Alumni award recipient.
Starlee lives in Houston, TX with her husband and three sons. She enjoys outdoor activities, cooking, and travel.
Uwem Ukpong is Executive Vice President, Regions, Alliances and Enterprise Sales at Baker Hughes. A 25-year oil and gas industry veteran, Uwem has managed operations across multiple regions, including North America, Europe, North Africa and Latin America. Previously, as Chief Integration Officer, Uwem oversaw the successful integration of the $32 billion merger between GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes.
Uwem began his career at Schlumberger, holding multiple oilfield services operating roles, including wireline field engineer, petrophysicist and reservoir engineer. He later managed oilfield operations, covering Drilling, Wireline, Pressure Pumping, Completions and Well Testing across different geographies. Uwem was promoted to increasingly more senior roles within Schlumberger, including regional operations, geosciences, digital, HR and product line management. In January 2016, Uwem joined GE Oil and Gas as CEO of a global product company.
Uwem holds advanced degrees in mathematics, computer science and petroleum engineering. In 2018, he was named one of the 300 most powerful executives in corporate America by Black Enterprise magazine.
Vanessa E. Wyche
Vanessa E. Wyche is deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), a position she assumed on Aug. 8, 2018. In this role, Wyche assists in leading an organization of nearly 10,000 civil service and contractor employees in Houston – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico – and also assists with a broad range of human spaceflight activities.
Prior to her position as deputy director, Wyche served as the director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate at JSC where she provided executive guidance and direction of a multi-disciplined organization to enable human and robotic exploration of deep space.
Wyche previously served as acting deputy director of JSC from September 2017 to February 2018.
Before joining JSC in 1989, she worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington D.C. Over the span of her career with NASA, she has held several key leadership positions; in the Space Shuttle Program, as a flight manager, in the Constellation Program as director of Operations and Test Integration, as acting director for the Human Exploration Development Support Directorate, as associate director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate and assistant center director at JSC.
A strong supporter of Innovation and Inclusion (I&I) at JSC, Wyche has served as a member of JSC’s I&I Council and co-executive sponsor of “Emerge,” an employee resource group for early career employees. She advocates mentoring and is a passionate promoter of science, technology, engineer and math (STEM) in her community, leading efforts to oversee an annual science fair at an underserved elementary school and supporting numerous STEM-outreach activities via her affiliations with The Links, Incorporated, Boy Scouts of America and Jack and Jill of America.
She has received numerous honors, notably, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two NASA Achievement Medals, a JSC Innovation Award, 2014 Women at NASA awardee, a national “2016 Women Worth Watching” honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal, and recognized as a 2017 “Inspiring Woman from South Carolina” by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership at Coastal Carolina University.
A South Carolina native, Wyche graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Science in Bioengineering. She resides in Houston, Texas, with her husband George Wyche Jr., Esquire, and they are the proud parents of one son George Wyche III, a graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Psychology.