Like many college students, Marcus Hinricher wrestled with the choices he faced.
He came from high school in Denver to Western in 2008 as a Business Administration major, but “I switched fast to Biology,” he recalls.
The following fall found him still unsettled, back at home, taking some courses remotely. He returned to Western in the spring, taking a variety of general education courses to support his Biology major, including one in Geology. His teaching assistant, Matt McConnell, encouraged Hinricher to consider Geology as a major.
That’s when he changed his focus to Petroleum Geology, with a minor in Mathematics. With his general education requirements mostly met, Hinricher dove into his major.
“Gunnison is great place to study Geology,” he says. “You can see everything from Precambrian rocks to ash flows. And all the professors in the Geology program are top notch.”
A course in Geoscience Writing helped Hinricher refine his résumé and build a good cover letter. And that led to his budding career at Antero Resources, founded by Western alumnus Paul Rady, who also founded Western's Petroleum Geology program. Antero is active in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and southeastern Ohio.
Hinricher now spends most of his time riding a desk in Antero’s Denver offices. But he’s far from saddle sore.
“One of the coolest things I do is geo steering. I remotely steer wells in West Virginia from our offices in Denver,” he says. “It’s a great skill for me to build, because it’s super in demand.
“I have specialized software, and people in the field send me live data,” he continues. “I look at the data and decide whether we need to change the angle of the (drill) bit up or down. You need geology to understand the bigger picture of where you are. I call the guys in the field, and they make a change one way or the other.
He says he loves the working environment.
“Antero has a ton of Western grads,” Hinricher explains. “It’s kind of nice, because everyone has a similar background.”
For Hinricher and his friends, that background includes hunting and fishing in and around the amazing Gunnison Valley. He also played on Western’s active club hockey team, continuing with a sport he enjoyed since childhood.
“I loved it,” he recalls. “I wish there were an Antero office in Gunnison. It’s far enough, I guess. Otherwise, if it were too close, everyone would be there all the time.”
He notes that his fiancé, her parents and brother are all Western grads, and “we all try to get back there as much as we can.”
For other students trying to find their way, he recommends picking a few interests – including totally new ones – and checking them out. He recalls fondly his work as a Western ambassador, giving tours to prospective students and their families.
“You’ve got to get involved, wherever you go to school,” Hinricher says. “It’s going to be ton more fun that way.
“And the earlier you get involved, the sooner you can pick the things you want to stick with,” he continues. “Go check out ice climbing, or go kayaking. There are endless things to do in the Gunnison Valley.
“But you’ve got to go do them.”
— Story by Greg Smith, Western Marketing & Media Relations