Yes, Aera is an oil and gas company, and with the help of exceptional employees, we have created a diverse team that values each other, our communities and the environment.
CEO Business Advisor Ron Sasaki thrived on the various challenges he was presented with both academically and professionally. He has an intimate knowledge of the industry now, having spent nearly 11 years with Aera where he began as a production engineer, and he recently added another feather to his cap when he was awarded the Defining Leadership Award for “Confidence without Attitude” from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).
He was described by UC Berkeley Professor Jenny Chatman in the following way, “Ron has a chronic smile on his face and is open and welcoming to all. In a rare portfolio, Ron’s friendly demeanor combines with a big time intellect. He is thoughtful, smart and enormously motivated, a quintessential confidence without attitude guy! He has high expectations for himself and is looking to make the group and each of his colleagues as effective as possible. There is no better combination of attributes for a leader, friend and group member. Ron is the whole package!”
Aera is proud to have members of its team exhibiting outstanding leadership capability. Yet, he didn’t necessarily grow up dreaming of a career in the oil and gas industry.
“Honestly, I stumbled into the industry through my first summer internship,” said Sasaki. “Aera had interesting summer intern projects that inspired me. The work was both challenging and dynamic, and Aera’s employees were collaborative, helpful and genuine. As I continued to work in the industry, I began to appreciate the impact we have on a person’s everyday life.”
Sasaki recently received an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. As it turns out, the university and Aera have many commonalities.
“When I stepped on campus, I saw that the culture of Haas embodies similar values to Aera,” Sasaki said. “Students and faculty were genuine, humble and caring.”
During his time in the EMBA program, Sasaki had a number of conversations with his fellow students about the oil and gas industry. While there is a lot of misinformation about oil and gas, Sasaki found people were often sincerely curious about what actually happens in oil operations.
“People asked me all kinds of questions about the industry. For example, if hydraulic fracturing contaminated water. In this case, I shared about how the EPA has conducted studies showing that’s not the case, and because I actually work in the industry, I was also able to share about how we very intentionally and purposefully design our wells to ensure groundwater is safe, including running multiple layers of impermeable steel and cement deep below the ground,” said Sasaki. “What I found was that people wanted to hear from someone who was working in the oil industry and my taking time to answer their questions helped them put a human face on the oil industry and see us a little differently.’”
Through his academic experience at UC Berkeley, Sasaki learned others will applaud or even champion the industry as it works toward becoming more sustainable.
“People were often impressed that California oil is produced under the most stringent regulations in the world, and my classmates in the renewable energy industry were very excited to hear about Aera’s Belridge Solar project, which will have a meaningful environmental impact,” said Sasaki. “They recognized that efforts to impact climate change would require all industries to play a part. We all want clean air, clean water and an enjoyable quality of life, and finding those commonalities can help us bridge barriers.”