About the company: Aera Energy is a respected and responsible California oil company accounting for nearly 25 percent of the state’s oil production. Headquartered in Bakersfield, Aera is known for excellent safety and environmental performance, innovative business practices, application of cutting-edge technology, a dynamic company culture and active community involvement. With operations centered in the San Joaquin Valley, much of Aera’s oil production comes from Kern County. Aera also has active oil field operations in Ventura, Monterey and Fresno counties and is in the permitting process to redevelop the East Cat Canyon oilfield in northern Santa Barbara County.
What I do: As Aera’s CFO, I’m responsible for the company’s present and future financial position. I oversee accounting and reporting, financial budgeting and management, purchasing, strategy and planning.
Where I grew up: Bogota, Colombia.
How I landed in Kern County: I’ve been with ExxonMobil since 1994, most recently in Houston. Every three years, Aera gets a new CFO from ExxonMobil. This time, the opportunity was mine. My first day with Aera was May 1, 2017.
Education: I earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota. I also studied accounting at Bogota’s Universidad Externado de Colombia. I received an MBA from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Family: I met my wife, Lina, in Bogota through my best friend. We have one daughter, Gabriela, who is 16.
Hobbies: I love visiting museums and taking in the arts and cultural events. New York City is my favorite weekend getaway. I also enjoy watching live sporting events.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it? I was a commercial airline maintenance warehouse inventory clerk in Bogota. I learned how to be disciplined and organized.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career? My father, Bernardo, who taught me the importance of work; my mother-in-law, Maria, from whom I learned about caring and giving to others; and my first boss at ExxonMobil, who taught me the most important asset in any enterprise is the people.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received? Someone pointed out to me once that although a person may speak with an accent, he or she doesn’t think with an accent. It’s all about inclusion and diversity.
What is the most challenging part of your job? I love what I do, particularly when problem-solving is involved; it’s what makes the job exciting and rewarding. The biggest challenge, and opportunity for problem-solving, is helping our leadership team build Area’s vision and continue the organization’s long history of success.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? Being able to participate in the development and implementation of Aera’s future strategy for growth.
What is the most memorable accomplishment of your career? When I see others being successful under my leadership.