Inside Aera


Bakersfield, General Oct 15, 2020

Aera Energy LLC Named “Best Energy Workplace”

The Bakersfield-based oil producer earned the award for the second year in a row, former Aera CEO and others in the company honored

Bakersfield, Calif. – Every year, ALLY by Pink Petro hosts its GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces awards ceremony to honor some of the top energy leaders from around the globe. This year, the Oct. 13 awards ceremony went completely virtual and named Aera Energy as a Best Energy Workplace for the second year in a row.

“Aera is honored to have been given the Best Energy Workplace award and I think it speaks volumes about the dedication our employees have to making Aera a great company to work for now, and in the future,” said Erik Bartsch, who became Aera’s president and CEO on Oct. 1. “The hallmark of Aera is our presence in our communities and it’s our employees that make us great. We do more than just give — we show up and make a positive difference. Our employees have a level of personal ownership for not just the business but for how we live our values. At the end of the day, we care deeply for the work we do, and the communities where we live, work and make an impact.”

Bartsch had been completely surprised to be presented the Best Energy Workplace award by Christina Sistrunk, his predecessor. Bartsch also had the opportunity to surprise Sistrunk with the GRIT award in the executive category.

“I immediately recognized this unique opportunity for the awards ceremony,” said Katie Mehnert, CEO and founder of ALLY by Pink Petro. “It’s so rare to have two CEOs – one retiring, one entering – accepting awards, allowing Christina to pass the torch to Erik for all of the energy industry to witness. I believe Erik recognizes the passion and history of Aera Energy. This is a great example of their motto ‘our energy powers great todays and better tomorrows’ in action.”

The GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces are designed to honor the best of the best in the energy industry – those who lead by example and show others that anything is possible. GRIT stands for growth, resilience, innovation and transition in a transparent world.

Nominees are evaluated on professional accomplishments, personal philanthropic efforts and other qualities through a blind review by a panel of judges. There are multiple winners in each category.

Aera Energy employees and teams won the following awards:

  • Best Energy Workplace – Aera Energy
  • Executive – Christina Sistrunk, former president and CEO of Aera Energy
  • Teams/Affinity Groups – Aera Black Employee Network
  • Ally – Brent Ilott, drilling manager
  • Individual:
    • Erin Larner, manager of operations
    • Jane Myneni, inclusion & diversity and engagement lead
    • Jessica Leung, facilities engineer
    • Linda Mohammad, production engineer

“The GRIT Awards are a celebration of the difference makers — the women who lead and the men who recognize the value women bring and advocate for their progress in energy. They are the unsung leaders who are down in the trenches, getting the job done. They are the role models this industry needs. Most importantly, they are nominated by their peers, which shows us their work has impact,” Mehnert said.

Media Contact:

Cindy Pollard
Aera Energy, Director of Public Affairs
(661) 665-5602


About Aera Energy

Aera Energy accounts for about 25 percent of the state’s oil production. The oil we produce allows millions of Californians to travel to work every day, businesses to grow and thrive and California-grown food to arrive at dinner tables. We live in the communities where we work, which includes Kern, Ventura, Monterey and Fresno counties. We’re proud to support local communities through jobs, partnerships and investments to build stronger neighborhoods and cities together. For more information, visit

About Pink Petro

Pink Petro was launched in 2015 as the first and only digital community for women in energy amidst volatile oil prices.  In 2016, we pioneered digital conferences and e-events to give our members a way to develop.  As the market improved, in 2017, we launched Experience Energy, a careers site to match career seekers and companies. In 2018, we launched The GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces to recognize top talent and companies.  For more information, visit

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DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is a three-time recipient of the Forbes America’s Midsize Employer List, placing ninth in the 2022 ranking and securing its spot in the top ten midsize companies to work for in the United States.

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