SPE Gulf Coast Section Young Professionals
Dan Tobin and Jonathan Gilbert


It is said that “all roads lead to Rome,” but on Monday, September 20th it was “all roads lead to Florence” in pursuit of PetroBowl glory. With the buzzer system stuck somewhere in an airport’s lost luggage area, the odds were stacked against the event, but what was seemed destined for disaster turned into a triumph. The 9th Annual PetroBowl ever became a success story complete with hard fought competition and outright fun. PetroBowl a quiz bowl style tournament that pits university teams of petroleum engineering students against one another in a “quick on the buzzer” test of their knowledge of all things industry related. Held at SPE ATCE in Florence, Italy, this year’s event featured certain elements never before seen in PetroBowl history: a 20-team bracket, more international schools than American schools, and a lack of a buzzer system for the morning rounds! Jonathan Gilbert (ExxonMobil), Gulf Coast Section Young Professional (GCS YP) and one of the PetroBowl coordinators, affectionately labeled the morning rounds “SlapBowl” as students were required to slap the table in order to answer a question due to the lack of buzzers. Participants seemed to rather enjoy what otherwise would have been a certain calamity as they mercilessly beat the tables to be recognized to answer a question. Dan Tobin’s (ConocoPhillips) powerful voice and Lucas Smith’s (Ryder Scott) statistical prowess proved invaluable to executing a successful competition as these GCS YPs served as moderator and statistician, respectively.

As the day moved on, the University of Oklahoma successfully navigated its way to the final round and defeated Missouri University of Science and Technology. This was the third win for the University of Oklahoma in the past four years – a feat unaccomplished by any other school. Matthew Paradeis, a graduate student at Missouri S&T, was named the tournament’s MVP for answering the most questions correctly. PetroBowl was hosted by the SPE GCS YPs in partnership with PetroSkills. ExxonMobil sponsored a post-competition reception and scholarships for the first and second place teams.

PetroBowl is unlike any other event held by SPE. An excellent example of collaboration between YP chapters, the GCS YPs began working with the Italian YPs in April to ensure a successful. PetroBowl facilitates the creation of strong relationships between young professionals from across the globe. Students also benefit by networking with their peers from across the globe and seeing type of event they could one day host once they have gone on to industry and joined a YP section.

PetroBowl has become far larger and more ambitious than what its founders first envisioned in 2002. Regional PetroBowl competitions are sprouting up all over the world, and the GCS YPs are routinely receiving e-mails requesting advice on how to run a quality competition. Certainly, as PetroBowl begins its second decade, the scale and scope to which we are accustomed will grow and become more of an influence on young professionals and students everywhere.


For photos from PetroBowl IX view the album online.