A native Coloradan from Grand Junction, Justin Beougher (pronounced Boo-ker) started with WPX in 2007 as a production intern. Today, he's a senior drilling engineer.
Justin's career progression started at the Colorado School of Mines. He graduated with a degree in Petroleum Engineering after working two summers as an intern for WPX. During his senior year at Mines, he also got experience at WPX in well-site permitting.
Hired-on full time by Jim Jackson, drilling manager, Justin spent three years under his guidance. Justin says he had a big influence on his career.
“Even after I was no longer working for him, I saw the way he put groups together and let the engineers under him take on responsibility – he wants you to get involved with everything going on. He wants you to succeed.”
On a typical day, you’ll find Justin in the office at 6 a.m. getting reports ready for a daily 7 a.m. company-wide drilling meeting. He and about 40 other engineers, rig operators, contractors and vendors from our core basins are on the call.
“We do a quick summary of the last 24 hours. We’ll talk about what we’re doing, lessons learned and any special projects coming up. By having people from the other assets on the line, we can better transfer those lessons learned through all areas of the company.”
It was during one such conference call several years ago when Jim couldn’t help but notice Justin, busily texting on his phone as the meeting was going on. Jim waited until the end, then asked him a couple of pointed questions about what had taken place.
“He answered correctly without hesitation,” Jim recalls. “I learned that his generation can multi-task with alacrity. My generation would call it rude or disrespectful, but the millennials mean no harm at all – it’s just what they do.
“Since then, I’ve been getting better and better at emulating them,” Jim says.
As a drilling engineer for WPX, Justin gets involved at the beginning stages of the well design, working with geology and completions on what their needs are.
He finds out where they want to put a well and what kind of pressures they expect to encounter before determining what hole size and pipe are needed, as well as any directional planning for the well.
“Multiple aspects come into it about what kind of rig we’ll use – from the actual well itself to the surface equipment. A lot of times, it isn’t as straightforward as we think it’s going to be.
“When people ask me what I should have learned in college that I didn’t, I tell them ‘project management.’
“The focus is always on the science, math and engineering part, but I think so many people coming out of college and working this kind of job are going to be project managers.
“You need to learn the timing, economics, cost analysis and even the politics of a job. You need to be able to manage all of that at the same time."
All this may never have mattered had Justin pursued the career he originally envisioned. As a junior in high school, he thought he would enjoy being a car mechanic. These days, he uses that skill to work on his own vehicles – one being a 1947 Willys military-style Jeep.
He also likes using his hands for woodworking projects around the house. His dad was a carpenter, and Justin learned a lot from him growing up. These days, his Christmas wish list includes mostly tools for all his handyman endeavors.