by George Zamora
SOCORRO, N.M. Nov. 29, 1999 -- New Mexico Tech alumnus Thomas W. Engler recently returned to his alma mater to become the newest faculty member in the university's petroleum and chemical engineering department.
Engler entered New Mexico Tech as an undergraduate student in the late 1970s; earned two bachelor of science degrees--one in geology and another in petroleum engineering--in the early 1980s; returned to Tech and earned a master of science degree in petroleum engineering in the early 1990s; and, now has once again returned to Tech--this time to accept a tenure-track, full-time position as an assistant professor of petroleum engineering.
Before assuming his new faculty position, Engler, who earned his doctorate degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma, worked the past four years at the University of Tulsa--first, as a senior instructor, and, later, as an assistant professor of petroleum engineering.
"New Mexico Tech has always been an outstanding school," Engler says, "and its credentials alone prove that. . . . In my career, I've traveled all over, and I've found that people in any given area usually have already heard of New Mexico Tech before I get a chance to tell them about it."
This fall semester at Tech, Engler is teaching an undergraduate-level course in reservoir stimulation, as well as a graduate-level class in advanced formation evaluation.
"Students have always been pretty laid-back here at New Mexico Tech," the petroleum engineering professor relates. "The Tech campus has always been an oasis, conducive to both relaxation and serious study. Of corse, since I was an undergraduate, the campus has undergone a constant evolution of expansion and improvement."
Engler's principal research interests are in petrophysical interpretation, modeling of formation damage, development and analysis of unconventional gas recovery methods, and improvements
in interpreting production logs.
The major research project he currently is involved with is the San Juan Basin Tight Gas Project, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to determine the possibilities of in-fill drilling in the Dakota Formation, a major gas formation in the Four Corners area.
"Most of the work that remains to be completed in that project is computer work--characterization and simulation--which is being done by Tech petroleum engineering students," Engler points out.
Engler is married to New Mexico Tech alumna Nancy neé Sparks Engler, who also earned both her bachelor and master of science degrees in petroleum engineering at the university.
The Englers are parents to 11-year-old Scott, seven-year-old Nicole, and six-month-old Eric.
"I'm very involved with my children's activities," Engler says, "so that takes up most of my weekends. But, whenever we get a chance, I enjoy taking the family up to the mountains to climb around--which is kind of hard to do now with our six-month-old baby, but the rest of us sure enjoy it anyway."