Oil and Gas Industry Energy Forum 2017

SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, April 6, 2017


Hosted by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Sponsored by the Case Alumni Association


The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is hosting an Oil and Gas Industry Energy Forum 2017 this spring. The event provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from Case alumni who are business leaders in the oil and gas industry, said Daniel Lacks, chair of the department.


“These business leaders bring a wide range of industry perspectives and business skills including exploration and development, refining and retail operations and financial and risk management.  Our students will see firsthand the many opportunities the industry presents for engineers and business professionals,” Lacks said. “For our alumni, it is an opportunity to engage in a thoughtful discussion on the wide range of challenges facing the oil and gas industry,” Lacks said.


The event is made possible through a designated endowment held at the Case Alumni Association. Faculty, students and alumni are invited to attend the panel discussion, followed by a complimentary reception.


The forum will be moderated by Jeff Herzog ’79, WSM ’86, president of the Case Alumni Association, who helped compile the panelists, all experts in varying aspects of the oil and gas industry. Herzog is president of Nexus Engineering Group, LLC based in Cleveland, Ohio, a full-service independent engineering firm serving the oil and gas, chemical and manufacturing industries.


“I am thrilled, proud and honored to be part of this forum and am looking forward to an interesting and lively discussion,” Herzog said. “All of my fellow alumni presenting at the forum are not only brilliant engineers but have proven to be great business leaders. They possess the unique combination of intellect, ethics, energy and personality needed to build and run complex businesses.”


The forum panelists include Myra Dria ’76, George Damiris ’82, WSM ’85, Tom Komos ’80, WSM ’87 and Mark Smith ’83.


“I have known Mark, George and Tom since we were all students at Case. More recently, I have gotten to know Myra, who is a member of the dean’s visiting committee, as part of my Case Alumni Association duties,” Herzog said.


All five of the participants started their career at the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, a company founded in Cleveland by John D. Rockefeller, whose name still appears on the physics building on the Case Quad. The original Standard Oil Company was eventually split into smaller companies including Exxon, Chevron, Mobil and Amoco. “It’s especially exciting for me, as a Case and Standard Oil alumnus, to be part of this forum, talking about oil and gas just a few blocks from where this important industry was born,” Herzog added.


The panel discussion will include a look at the challenges facing all aspects of the oil and gas energy industry. The panelists will discuss how their undergraduate and graduate degrees and experiences from Case helped prepare them for their careers and discuss additional insight and opportunities for engineers and MBAs in the industry.



Oil & Gas Industry Energy Forum Participants


Myra Dria’ 76
Chief Executive Officer and President
Pearl Resources LLC, Pearl Resources Operating Co. LLC and Ristra Energy LLC

Myra Dria, one of a handful of women in her graduating class at the Case Institute of Technology, went on to achieve great success in the petroleum industry. After rising through the ranks of top petroleum corporations, Dria eventually founded three companies. She serves on the visiting committee of the Case School of Engineering and is a member of several petroleum and energy industry associations. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in polymer engineering from Case, Dria obtained her Ph.D. in petroleum engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.


Mark A. Smith ’83
Partner, Houston Advisory Practice Leader
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Mark Smith leads PwC’s advisory practice for the Greater Texas Market. Smith worked in industry at BP for the first 15 years of his career, beginning as a process engineer. He progressed through various roles and management positions in operations planning/LP modeling, logistics, oil trading, marketing and commercial management. Smith’s experience provided him with a broad perspective on business issues across operations, commodity markets, human capital and risk management. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


George Damiris ’82, WSM ’85
Chief Executive Officer and President

George Damiris has served as chief executive officer and president of HollyFrontier Corporation since January 2016. He previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer from September 2014 to January 2016 and as senior vice president, Supply and Marketing from January 2008 until September 2014. Damiris joined the company in 2007 as vice president, Corporate Development after an 18-year career with Koch Industries, where he was responsible for managing various refining, chemical, trading and financial businesses. Damiris holds both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Case Western Reserve University.


Thomas Komos ’80 WSM ’87
Senior Vice President, Fuel Supply
TravelCenters of America
Product Sales

Tom Komos graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. In 1987, he completed a Master’s in Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management. Tom began his career in 1980 with the Standard Oil Company in Cleveland as a development engineer. Over the next 20 years, he served in technology assessment and numerous strategic planning roles for both Standard Oil and British Petroleum. He joined TravelCenters of America in 2001 and served as the vice president, strategic planning before assuming his current role in fuel supply in 2007.


Jeffrey Herzog ’79, WSM ’86
President and Cofounder, Nexus Engineering Group, LLC

Jeffrey Herzog leads the Cleveland-based Nexus Engineering Group, with offices in Toledo, Ohio, and Houston, Texas. He began his career with the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, and later acquired by BP. Herzog held various engineering and business assignments at Sohio until joining a Cleveland-based engineering firm leading its refining business and then worked at Praxair, Inc., an industrial gas company. He started his business in 2005. Herzog is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, with degrees in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management.


NOTE: As of Friday, March 31, we have reached seating capacity for this event.