Bauer Business Focus

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John Lee | August 19, 2011

Published on August 17, 2011

John Lee, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss the petroleum industries hiring dilemma.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on the need to enlist engineers to join the petroleum industry with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

The need for engineers in the petroleum industry is great, but the number of retiring petroleum engineers could present an impact to consumers.

John Lee, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss what the petroleum industry can do to increase engineer hiring.

“The problem is that the industry is expanding at currently a fairly rapid pace, but in addition, a significant fraction of the petroleum engineers that are working today will be retiring in the next ten years,” Lee said. “There’s a need to increase the population of engineers overall and to replace those who are retiring.”

As the industry faces these growing pains, it also battles with several factors that are making it difficult to recruit new petroleum engineers.

“The petroleum industry doesn’t have the best public image,” Lee added. “I think the perception is the petroleum industry is there to make enormous profits at the expense of the public, to pollute, to be indifferent to environmental harm, and until that image is overcome on a widespread basis, I think the petroleum industry will face continuing problems of getting enough people to go into the industry.”

Although this skewed perspective could fuel engineering students’ job choices upon graduation, Lee said he is working toward healing the petroleum industry’s image one prospective student at a time.

“I think given the opportunity and taking the initiative to get out and talk with people by visiting wherever we have the opportunity, we can make significant process on this problem.”

Click here to hear the full interview.

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