Montana Tech SPE Symposium to be Named After John "Jocko" Evans

Montana Tech SPE Symposium to be Named After John "Jocko" Evans


Jocko Evans PictureThe Montana Tech Society of Petroleum Engineers Spring Symposium will be named after Montana Tech Petroleum Engineering alumnus and long-time faculty member John “Jocko” Evans.

“Naming the 2019 Symposium in honor of Jocko Evans pays tribute to his years of service to Montana Tech and the Petroleum Industry,” noted Burt Todd, Petroleum Engineering Department Head. “Moreover, it honors Jocko’s character – his open smile, his readiness to help, and his keen insight into problems and problem solving.”

John “Jocko” Evans was born and raised in Butte, Montana where he received his bachelor of science degree from the Montana School of Mines in Petroleum Engineering 1965. He later went on to receive his master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. John began his career with AMOCO Production Company where he served on the North Sea Gas Pipeline feasibility study group and completed a detailed reservoir engineering report for the Montrose Oil Field in the North Sea. In 1978, John left AMOCO to become Vice President of Operations at Kelpinger Operating Company in Casper, Wyoming, where he managed the Northern Rocky Mountain consulting area.

He and his wife Gaye are partners in Oilfield Consultants, Inc. As an owner and professional engineer, John provides petroleum consulting in projects covering all the Rocky Mountain States, Indonesia, Columbia, Libya and Cook Inlet, Alaska.

In 1991, John came back to his alma mater, Montana Tech, as an assistant professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department. He accepted the position of Department Head in 2003 and has built the department into one of the most reputable in the national. John was instrumental in the fundraising efforts to construct the new Natural Resources Building to house the growing enrollment in Petroleum Engineering.

John “retired” from teaching in 2008. His commitment to Montana Tech and the Petroleum Department never wavered as he continued to teach classes part-time and conduct research in support of the department’s mission. Through his tenure at Montana Tech, he has influenced and mentored hundreds of students. John knew the importance of connecting education with practical experience and created the summer petroleum field course for incoming sophomore students. His passion for connecting his students to industry professionals continued when he developed the Annual SPE Technical Symposium with Montana Tech’s Society of Petroleum Engineers Student Chapter.

A generous contributor to Montana Tech, John has given back to his university both financially and personally. He has served on the boards for the Montana Tech Foundation, the Digger Athletics Association, the Montana Petroleum Association, and served on the Board of Directors for the Montana Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. He received the Chancellor’s Medallion Award at Montana Tech’s 2016 commencement ceremony.

Jocko and Gaye EvansIn the summer of 2016, a group of former students, colleagues and friends of Jocko and Gaye Evans came together to establish the John ‘Jocko’ and Gaye Evans Endowed Scholarship on Montana Tech’s campus. This scholarship serves as a permanent testament to the impact Jocko and Gaye have had on those around him, the Montana Tech campus & the petroleum industry. The endowment continues to grow and currently is over $70,000. For more information on the scholarship, visit

This year’s Symposium—themed ‘Staying Connected’—and Golf Tournament will be held on April 11–13, 2019. In conjunction with and in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Department's first graduates, an expanded program will be offered. On Thursday, April 11th, the Symposium will feature a technical program of industry speakers with topics of interest to students and oil and gas professionals. The day will conclude with a banquet and a 70th anniversary celebration at the Copper King Hotel. During the banquet, Jocko and his wife Gaye will be the guests of honor. On Friday, April 12th, a special program of panel discussions and a keynote presentation will take place in the HPER. The panels will be composed of senior oil and gas executives. Panel topics are as follows:
• Skills Required for Today’s Changing Petroleum Industry by Jerry Schuyler, '77; Gary Kolstad '85, and Burt Todd '80
• Forming a Start-up Energy Company – What’s Important by Tom Bandy '76; Jim Fraser '75; Barrett Frizzell '00; and Keith MacPhail '84
• Securing our Social License for Energy Development by Bob Shepherd '82; Jamie Connell '85; Eric Jacobsen '93; and Sandy Stash

Thursday’s keynote speaker is Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, a Rocky Mountain pumping services company, and Executive Chairman of Liberty Resources, a Bakken-focused EUP company with unique expertise in well completion and stimulation technologies.

Friday's keynote will be delivered by Rick Muncrief, Chairman and CEO of WPX Energy. The day’s events on campus will conclude with a reception in the new Student Success Center. Tours of the Student Success Center will be available, along with a selection of tours of other new campus facilities.

The Symposium and 70th celebration will conclude with a golf tournament at the Old Works golf course in Anaconda on Saturday, April 13th, followed by the Digger Auction held that evening in the HPER on campus.

The technical presentations, panel discussions, and social events of the annual Symposium provide an opportunity for petroleum industry professionals and students to learn and to make valuable connections with each other. Make plans to come to Butte to take part in this historic event. Check out for periodic updates on speakers and the event's schedule.