Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves: Louise Daniel Women's History Luncheon

Aug 19, 2018

One of my favorite in-studio guests ever, Lou Ann Garrett of the Louise Daniel luncheon!

Thanks so much to Lou Ann Garrett for stopping by High Plains Morning to share information about the 9th Annual Louise Daniel Women‘s History Luncheon and Women’s Equality Day Celebration, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, August 24, in the Great Hall of Polk Street United Methodist Church, 1401 S. Polk in Amarillo. This year, they’re honoring women in the oil and gas industry—past and present—in the Texas Panhandle.

The luncheon is held annually near the end of August to coincide with Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.

Featured speaker will be Juanita Malecha, Director of Land Management and Vice-President of Pantera Energy Company of Amarillo, on the topic, “From Confused to Confident to Chair.”  She will share her story of how a girl who grew up on a farm at Umbarger got into the oil and gas business and became one of the first women “landmen” in the Panhandle--and how attitudes toward women in oil and gas management have changed over the years.

Beginning in 1980 as a receptionist with the added responsibility of maintaining lease records, Malecha worked for different oil and gas companies until starting with Pantera in 1991 as a landman.  At that time, there were only two other female “landmen” working in the Panhandle that she knew of, plus another whose work led into her becoming a successful landman also.  A landman’s duties are extensive, in Malecha’s experience, including determining availability of land on which an oil and gas lease can be taken, checking courthouse records to determine titles, negotiating oil and gas leases, negotiating access with the surface owner and settling surface damages, drawing up various types of agreements and making applications for permits to drill, among others.

In her 27 years with Pantera, Malecha has also achieved the title of Vice-President and has been active in the Panhandle Association of Petroleum Landmen, serving as its president twice.  A member of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen, she has also served as a director of the Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association.  She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from (then) West Texas State University.

In the early years of the oil and gas business in Texas, few women held top positions in the industry.  A notable exception was Ivy May Parker, a native of Quay County, New Mexico, who was educated at West Texas State Teachers College and went on to earn her master’s degree and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Texas.  In 1935 she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry from the university.  She worked for many years in the oil industry as a specialist on the causes and prevention of corrosion of pipelines, including several years with the Shell Oil Company and then a 27-year career at the Plantation Pipeline Company as a field technologist, research engineer and senior engineer.

The luncheon committee is preparing a listing of women honorees--past and present—who have served in top positions with petroleum companies in the Panhandle, but is seeking names of those it may not have.  Anyone wishing to suggest a woman “landman,” engineer, scientist, geologist  or company owner or co-owner is asked to send the woman’s name, the company and her position and any special, but brief, additional information to Jane Harlan at ejharlan@suddenlink.net by August 17.

The public is invited to attend the luncheon. The cost is $15 for students, $30 for others and $350 for a table of eight.  Reservations should be made ASAP by calling committee secretary Jane Harlan at (806) 355-4125. If spots are open, you can also reserve your seat online at www.louisedaniel.org.  Proceeds will benefit the Louise Daniel Women’s History Lecture Fund at the Foundation.  For any questions,

Louise Daniel, who died in 2003, had been an Amarillo science teacher, education advocate, landscape photographer and community leader.  The luncheon will honor her last wish, to remind women of all ages of the struggles and efforts of earlier women to overcome barriers to equality and to celebrate their contributions to Panhandle history.

For more information, you can contact Lou Ann Garrett at 806-373-8289 or by email.

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The luncheon is sponsored by Pantera Energy Company, Courson Oil & Gas, Inc., Plains Land Bank, FirstBank Southwest of Perryton, Amarillo National Bank, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Sunlight Exploration, Inc., Susan Coleman, J.D., Mark and Terry White, Carolyn Ottoson, Amarillo Women’s Network, American Association of University Women, Amarillo Executive Women, League  of Women Voters and the Amarillo College Foundation.