When you take an energy training course from TOP Energy Training, you have access to expertise from faculty members at numerous universities, as well as professionals with a range of industry backgrounds and environmental approaches.

Michael Arthur

Professor of Geosciences, Penn State
Ph.D., Princeton University

Michael A. Arthur, a geochemist and sedimentary geologist, is Penn State Professor of Geosciences. He is a past Department Head in Geosciences and is a recipient of the L.L. Sloss Medal in Sedimentary Geology (Geological Society of America), the Francis P. Shepard Medal for Marine Geology (Society for Sedimentary Geology, SEPM), the Wilson Awards for Research and Teaching in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the Geological Society of America. His research interests include investigating the nature of climates and oceans of the past and the causes of past global change. He has long focused on studies of modern marine environments characterized by organic-carbon rich sediment deposits and the origin and nature of ancient “black shales.” The geology of the Devonian Marcellus Shale is a current research emphasis through the efforts of the Appalachian Basin Black Shales Group (Engelder, Slingerland, and Arthur collaboration and students in the Department of Geosciences).

Margaret Ash

Manager, Field Inspection Unit
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
B.S. Geology, Missouri State University

Ms. Ash started with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2005 as an Environmental Protection Specialist covering southeastern Colorado and then moved to a supervisor's role in 2006 working with a number of Environmental Protection Specialists covering southern Colorado. Ms. Ash became the manager of the then newly formed Field Inspection Unit in September 2009. As the manager of this new work unit she developed inspection protocols, designed a Risk Based Inspection Strategy and oversaw the creation of a comprehensive computerized inspection reporting system.  Ms. Ash was significantly involved in the development of agency policies, Standard Operating Procedures, conducted fiscal analysis of proposed legislation and authored draft regulations for the upstream oil and gas sector. Ms. Ash retired from the Commission in early 2020.


Matt Balhoff

Professor, Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University

Dr. Balhoff’s research specializes in Chemical EOR, Geological CO2 Storage, and Reservoir Simulation. He focuses on the flow of subsurface fluids with applications to hydrocarbon recovery, carbon sequestration, groundwater remediation, and nuclear waste storage. His work includes developing unique methods to simulate multiscale flow and transport processes in subsurface media, and discovering breakthroughs in recovering unconventional hydrocarbons. His expertise is in pore-scale modeling, multiscale modeling, reservoir simulation, and enhanced oil recovery. Dr. Balhoff’s awards include the Society of Professional Engineers International Teaching Fellow Award in 2012, Regents Outstanding Teachers Award for Assistant Professor in 2013, and the Society of Professional Engineers Young Member Outstanding Service Award in 2014.


Linda Battalora

Top Energy Training Leadership Team Member
Teaching Professor, Department of Petroleum Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
Ph.D. Colorado School of Mines
J.D., Loyola University School of Law

Linda Ann Battalora, J. D., Ph.D. is a Teaching Professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Mines, her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans SDr. Linda A. Battalora is a Teaching Professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines (Mines), and the Ben L. Fryrear Chair for Innovation and Excellence.  She is a Payne Institute for Public Policy Faculty Fellow and a Shultz Humanitarian Engineering Fellow. She has BS and MS degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Mines, a law degree from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, and a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from Mines.  Prior to joining the Faculty at Mines, Dr. Battalora served in various roles in the oil and gas industry including operations engineer, production engineer, attorney, and international negotiator for oil and gas project development.

Dr. Battalora serves on the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Sustainable Development Technical Section, Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization & Storage (CCUS) Technical Section, Health Safety Environment  & Sustainability (HSES) Advisory Committee, Engineering Professionalism Committee, Research & Development Committeee, and is Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.  She is a member of multiple other professional organizations including the Association of International Energy Negotiators, American Society for Engineering Education, American Bar Association, and Colorado Bar Association.  Her research areas include HSE, Sustainability, CCUS, and the Circular Economy.

Dr. Battalora is the recipient of the following awards and honors:

  • 2019-2020 SPE Distinguished Lecturer
  • 2019 SPE Rocky Mountain Regional Award for Sustainability and Stewardship in the Oil and Gas Industry
  • 2018 SPE International Award of Distinguished Member
  • 2018-2019 Faculty Trustee, Colorado School of Mines, Board of Trustees
  • 2015 SPE Rocky Mountain North America Region Award for distinguished achievement by Petroleum Engineering Faculty
  • 2014 SPE Rocky Mountain North America Region Award for distinguished contribution to Petroleum Engineering in Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility.

Courses taught at Mines: Petroleum Engineering Fundamentals, Properties of Reservoir Fluids, Multidisciplinary Petroleum Design, Mechanics of Petroleum Production, Field Session 1, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Law & Sustainability, Explorations in Science Technology & Society, Petroleum Seminar, Writing Skills, Oral Communication Skills

Professional courses taught: Health, Safety, Security, Environment & Social Responsibility (HSSE-SR), Environmental Issues and Sustainability, Well-Site Safety, Model Drilling Contracts, International Hydrocarbon Agreements, Sustainability Imperative: Making the Case, Driving the Change (Society of Petroleum Engineers), US Oil & Gas Development (University Aix en Provence), Professional Development & Effective Teaching and Learning (Satbayev University, Almaty, Kazakhstan)


Mike Batzle

In Memoriam (d. 2015)
Baker Chair, Geophysics Department, Colorado School of Mines
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Batzle held the Baker Hughes Distinguished Chair of Petrophysics and Borehole Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, where he was a member of the geophysics department for 17 years. Before his career at CSM, he was a principal scientist at ARCO Oil and Gas Company in Plano, Texas. His main interests were in rock properties research primarily for engineering and geophysical purposes, as well as seismic lithology, fluid identification, reservoir characterization, and time-lapse seismic monitoring. He also conducted borehole geophysics research and development, and holds several U.S. patents on tool designs. Dr. Batzle passed away unexpectedly in January, 2015.

John Beckworth

Lecturer, Law, The University of Texas at Austin
JD, University of Texas at Austin

John Beckworth served as Associate Dean in the Law School from 2013 through 2018. He has taught Oil and Gas Law during the past three years. Before joining the Law School faculty, Mr. Beckworth taught as an adjunct professor in the Law School during his career in private practice.
After completing his legal education in 1983, Mr. Beckworth joined Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP in Houston where he was an associate and a partner in the firm’s litigation section. Beginning in 1994 through 2014, he co-founded and practiced in his own law firm in Houston, Watt Beckworth. During his time in private practice, Mr. Beckworth handled and tried multiple civil jury cases and appeals in state and federal court. His later career in private practice focused in oil, gas, and energy law, both as counsel to companies and individuals in domestic and international oil and gas litigation, transactions, and arbitration and as a principal. Mr. Beckworth continues to work as an attorney, and he serves as an arbitrator in complex energy related disputes.
Mr. Beckworth is a former trustee of The University of Texas Law School Foundation. He is currently a member of the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee.

Paul Bommer

Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Bommer has extensive experience in reservoir evaluation and drilling and production practice. His research includes the investigation of oil field cementing operations and design, the testing and application of foam and foam cement, the fatigue life of sucker rods, and the mechanics of down-hole gas-liquid separators. He served on the National Academy of Engineering committee that investigated the causes of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. He has received numerous teaching awards including the University of Texas System Board of Regents Teaching Award in 2014. Dr. Bommer has published articles in several fields including solution mining, beam pump design, and well log analysis. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Texas.


Dan Brockett

Educator, Shale Energy Team
Penn State Extension

Dan Brockett is with the Penn State Extension Shale Energy Education Team. He lectures and teaches on energy development from shale, the economics driving the process, the process and politics of hydraulic fracturing, and the associated impacts to communities, businesses, land, and people. He has had the opportunity to provide training for industry, for elected officials, for businesses, regulators and for landowners and has been able to speak throughout the country and around the world.

Some of the recent issues he has focused on include:

  • Appalachian Basin Natural Gas Liquids – from Wellhead to Fractionation
  • The Case for Ethane Cracker Plants in the Appalachian Basin
  • Price Basis Differential for the Appalachian Basin – The Case for Shipping Gas Outside of the Basin
  • Local Government Role in Regulating the Oil and Gas Industry


Terry Engelder

Professor of Geosciences, Penn State
Ph.D., Texas A&M

Dr. Engelder is a leading authority on the recent Marcellus gas shale play. He has previously served on the staffs of the US Geological Survey, Texaco, and Columbia University. His academic distinctions include a Fulbright Senior Fellowship in Australia, Penn State’s Wilson Distinguished Teaching Award, membership in a US earth science delegation to visit the Soviet Union immediately following Nixon-Brezhnev detente, and the singular honor of helping Walter Alvarez collect the samples that led to the famous theory for dinosaur extinction by large meteorite impact. In the international arena, he has worked on exploration and production problems with companies including Saudi Aramco, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Agip, and Petrobras.

Alfred William Eustes III

Professor, Petroleum Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines

Dr. Eustes specializes in drilling operations and experimental and modeling research. He has twenty-four years of drilling, completion, workover, and production engineering and operations experience. As a field engineer, he designed and supervised the drilling of oil and gas wells in several states. His research at the Colorado School of Mines has involved him in drilling operations across the country. Current research activities include ongoing research with the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the development of a robotic drill for Martian deployment. He is also working on a National Science Foundation grant to develop a next-generation deep-wet ice-coring rig for Antarctic mobilization. Dr. Eustes is a registered Professional Engineer with the state of Colorado.


Cliff Frohlich

Senior Research Scientist Emeritus, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences
The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., M.S., Cornell University

Cliff Frohlich is an earthquake seismologist and Associate Director at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), where he has been employed since 1978. He is the word’s leading authority on Texas seismicity, a coauthor of the book Texas Earthquakes, and a co-author on the recent paper in Leading Edge describing the 2008-2009 Dallas-Fort Worth earthquakes. However, being the world’s leading authority on Texas earthquakes is not a full-time job, and he is better known internationally for his research on deep-focus earthquakes, moonquakes, and tsunamis. In 2008 he was chosen as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Seismological Society of America (SSA). 


Lee Ann Kahlor

Associate Professor, Department of Advertising, College of Communication
The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. Mass Communication University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Kahlor's primary research interest is in health and environmental risk communication with an emphasis on information seeking and processing. A secondary interest is in cultural and racial norms related to health behaviors and message processing. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the State of Texas, and the St. David’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. She has won awards from the International Communication Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for her research on science communication and television viewing. In 2015 she won the Moody College's highest honor for undergraduate teaching. She is also Stan Richards School's minority liaison, working extensively with students from underrepresented backgrounds. Prior to academia, Kahlor worked in journalism, as a freelance writer, and as communication officer for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program office. 

Jim Ladlee

Top Energy Training Leadership Team Member
Assistant Director Energy, Business & Community Vitality Programs Programs
M.Sc, Penn State

Jim currently serves as Associate Director at the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR) and Director of Special Initiatives for the Shale Training and Education Center (ShaleTEC). He has extensive experience teaching all aspects of oil and gas development ranging from shale economics to supply chain and drilling basics to environmental compliance. Jim’s educational outreach programs have encompassed a variety of stakeholders including the general public, industry, business, government, education, and non-governmental organizations. His research efforts have focused on workforce requirements for shale development, shale economics, decline curve analysis, industry best-practices, and supply chain development. Jim also brings a strong background in community and economic development to questions about social license and shale development.


Art Markman

Professor, Department of Psychology
The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., University of Illinois

Art Markman is the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Founding Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations.  The HDO program brings the humanities and the social behavioral sciences to people in business. He got his ScB from Brown University and his PhD from the University of Illinois.  Before coming to the University of Texas, Art taught at Northwestern University and Columbia University. Art's research explores thinking.  He has studied the way people form and use analogies, the mechanisms of decision making, the modes that allow people to form categories, and the influences of motivation on reasoning.  Art is also the executive editor of the journal Cognitive Science and is a former executive officer of the Cognitive Science Society. Art has always been interested in bringing insights from Cognitive Science to a broader audience. To that end, he writes blogs for many sites including Psychology Today and Fast Company.  He consults for companies interested in using Cognitive Science in their businesses.  Art is also on the scientific advisory boards for the Dr. Phil Show and the Dr. Oz Show. Along with Bob Duke, Art hosts the radio show Two Guys on Your Head for KUT Radio in Austin.  Two Guys on Your Head is available as a podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.  You can also follow the show on Twitter.  When he's not doing things related to Cognitive Science, Art can be found spending time with his family or playing sax in a blues band.


Dave Messersmith

Business Operations Manager, Marcellus Education Team, Penn State Extension
Penn State
M.S. Crop & Soil Sciences, Penn State University

Dave Messersmith is an Extension Educator with Penn State Extension's Shale Energy Education Team. He has delivered educational programs on Marcellus shale and natural gas – focusing on natural gas pipeline development – throughout Pennsylvania, nationally and internationally. Dave speaks regularly on natural gas pipelines and right of way negotiation to landowners and communities where pipeline activity is being planned. He has authored several peer-reviewed publications including “Negotiating Pipeline Rights of Way in Pennsylvania” and “Understanding Natural Gas Compressor Stations”. In addition, Dave recently served on Governor Wolf’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force which was formed to engage stakeholders in a collaborative process to achieve a world class pipeline infrastructure system.


Drew Nelson

Senior Manager, Natural Gas
Environmental Defense Fund
MPAff, The University of Texas at Austin

As Senior Manager, Natural Gas for EDF’s US Climate and Energy Program, Drew is focused on understanding how best to work with governments and companies to cost-effectively reduce global methane emissions from natural gas production, distribution, and use. Prior to joining EDF, Drew worked for the U.S. Department of State on the international climate negotiations. At the State Department, Drew was the lead negotiator on a variety of issues, including deploying clean technologies, reducing emissions from international aviation, and developing international sustainability criteria for biofuels. Drew also worked at the EPA in the Office of Air and Radiation.


Hilary Olson

Top Energy Training Leadership Team Member
Senior Lecturer and Research Associate, Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering
Director of Education, Training and Outreach, Center for Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Geology, Stanford University

Dr. Olson’s technical research integrates biostratigraphic and paleoenvironmental data with core, well-log, and seismic data to examine the Earth’s stratigraphic record. Her research includes stratigraphic studies in the offshore and onshore Gulf of Mexico, Faeroe Basin, California, and New Jersey Margin. Her education, training, and outreach programs address the areas of unconventional resources and carbon storage, with audiences ranging from state and federal regulators to the public. Dr. Olson’s K-12 teacher professional development activities are focused on energy and earth science education, and have received support from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Her involvement in STEM education for pre-university age girls is focused on addressing energy, climate, and water issues in the 21st century, and building confidence in middle-and high-school age girls. Before joining the University of Texas at Austin she worked as a research geologist for Mobil Research and Development Corporation. Dr. Olson has served as President of the North American Micropaleontology Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology and as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Ocean Drilling Program. She was awarded the Public Service Award by the Dallas Geological Society.

Jon Olson

Chairman and Frank W. Jessen Professor in Petroleum Engineering
Lois K. and Richard D. Folger Leadership Chair
Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Applied Earth Sciences, Stanford University

Dr. Olson specializes in geomechanics, production optimization and environmental impact issues related to unconventional oil and gas development. His research includes hydraulic fracture design and modeling, induced seismicity, wellbore stability and reservoir compaction and subsidence. He participates in public outreach focused on secondary school science teachers with regard to energy supply and utilization, the place of fossil fuels in the energy mix for the USA, and the use of geologic carbon storage to mitigate greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. Before joining the University of Texas at Austin he worked as a research engineer for Mobil Research and Development Corporation. Dr. Olson has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for both the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Texas.


Mike Parker

Parker Environmental and Consulting, LLC

Mr. Parker recently retired after over 35 years of service as a Technical Advisor within ExxonMobil Production Company's Upstream Safety, Health, and Environment organization. Mr. Parker provided technical support and guidance to ExxonMobil affiliates world-wide on a range of issues including drilling and production discharges, underground injection control, spill prevention and control, facility decommissioning, artificial reef programs, marine environmental issues, carbon capture and storage, hydraulic fracturing and general issue management coordination.

At retirement, Mr. Parker Chaired the American Petroleum Institute’s Upstream Environmental Subcommittee, the Carbon Capture and Storage Work Group and the Hydraulic Fracturing Workgroup and was Upstream Environmental and Regulatory Issue Management Coordinator for ExxonMobil Production Company.

Mr. Parker is currently Principal of Parker Environmental and Consulting which provides environmental and regulatory policy advocacy support on a range of issues, including water resource management, hydraulic fracturing and energy development, offshore facility decommissioning, and carbon capture and storage issues.

Mr. Parker is a graduate of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University and is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas and Louisiana.


Bridget Scanlon

Senior Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences
The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. Geology, University of Kentucky, 1985

Bridget Scanlon is a Senior Research Scientist at the Jackson School of Geosciences, Univ. of Texas at Austin. She has worked for 20 years on unsaturated flow studies that included use of physical, chemical, isotopic, and numerical modeling of flow and transport in these systems. Her research included monitoring and modeling of alternative covers at a site in the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas for several years. She has collaborated with researchers in DOE on modeling alternative covers at other sites. She has published many papers on these topics. She is currently serving as an Associate Editor in Hydrogeology Journal and Vadose Zone Journal. She has served on National Academy of Sciences and DOE review committees on vadose zone processes related to waste containment.


Steve Sonnenberg

Professor, Boettcher Chair in Petroleum Geology,
Department of Geology & Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines

Dr. Sonnenberg specializes in sequence stratigraphy, tectonic influence on sedimentation, reservoir characterization, unconventional resources, and petroleum traps. His career includes leadership positions at Exxon, EnCana Energy Resources, and Anadarko Petroleum. He is a licensed professional geologist in the State of Utah, and serves on the advisory committee for the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M University. Dr. Sonnenberg served as Chairman of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission from 1999 until 2003, and holds several awards, including a 2003 fellowship with the Geologic Society of America.


Bryan Swistock

Senior Extension Associate, Water Resources Coordinator, Penn State Extension
Penn State
M.S. from Penn State University

Bryan is currently a Senior Extension Associate and Water Resources Coordinator for Penn State Extension in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State University. For the past 29 years he has conducted research, teaching and extension programs on emerging water resources issues throughout Pennsylvania. Over the past ten years, Bryan's research and Extension projects have focused on proper construction, testing and management of rural drinking water supplies including studies of private drinking water supplies near shale gas drilling. He has authored numerous referred journal articles and presented hundreds of educational programs on drinking water issues.


Rick Tallini

President, Otto Cupler Torpedo Company Inc.

This year marks my 50th year in the explosives business, the adventure began in 1967 when I joined the United States Air Force and served as a Weapons and Munitions Mechanic both domestically and at various overseas bases. I loaded conventional and nuclear weapons on Fighter aircraft and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 1971. I then earned a BSEE degree from the University of Lowell Mass in 1974 and went to work for Hercules Inc as a Technical Explosives sales Representative. In the years since I have worked for Harrison Explosives, Controlled Energy Specialists, Northern Ohio Explosives and of course Otto Cupler Torpedo Co. In all those years I have performed explosives work in Quarry, Surface mining of coal, underground mining of coal and non-coal, demolition, Open Hearth Steel Mill hot furnace blasting, Construction, trenching and of course Oil & Gas Well Shooting. My participation in the Oil & Gas Industry started in the late 1970's. I became very interested in the history of the oil & gas industry in 1985 when I purchased a controlling interest in Otto Cupler Torpedo Co, the Worlds Oldest Oil & Gas well Service Company.

Azra N. Tutuncu

In Memoriam (d. 2019)
Professor, Harry D. Campbell Chair, Petroleum Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines
Director, Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute (UNGI)
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Tutuncu held various research and leadership assignments in Well Engineering, Rock Physics, Geomechanics and Subsurface R&D groups at Shell International E&P and Shell Oil Company in Houston and in the Netherlands before joining Colorado School of Mines faculty. Her interest areas include rock-fluid interactions, integrated borehole stability, geomechanics, reservoir characterization and formation damage detection, mitigation and removal in conventional, deepwater, ultra-deepwater and unconventional reservoirs. Dr. Tutuncu has over one hundred fifty publications in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings in addition to over one hundred research and technology advancement reports. She holds several patents on pore pressure prediction, attenuation, wellbore stability and acoustic stimulation. She is licensed Professional Petroleum Engineer and licensed Geoscientist in the State of Texas.


David Yoxtheimer

Hydrogeologist, Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research,
Penn State
Ph.D., Geosciences, Penn State

David Yoxtheimer (P.G.) is a hydrogeologist and extension associate with Penn State University’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research and serves as a liaison to advise stakeholders on key environmental issues. He earned his B.S. in Earth Science from Penn State, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. in Geosciences. Previous to joining MCOR he spent 18 years as a consulting hydrogeologist with expertise in water supply development, karst hydrogeology, geophysical surveying, environmental permitting, shale energy geology, and integrated water resource management. Dave is also a hydrogeology instructor at Penn State and was recently appointed by Governor Wolf to be a voting member of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board.