Presented by Grant Thornton, Preng & Associates, and Warwick Group. Photography by Evin Thayer Studios.

Claire Chase, 35

Director, Government Affairs-Mack Energy Corp., Artesia

Besides handling government relations for Mack Energy, a New Mexico Permian-focused E&P started by her husband’s grandfather, Claire Chase is also on the boards of the Independent Producers Association of New Mexico and the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association.

Future of Mack Energy Corp.: “It is third-generation, and we’re hoping that with our twins, perhaps we can make it our legacy company and make it to the fourth generation.”

Strong foundation: Chase feels that her previous work experience with the federal government and New Mexico state government has helped her prepare for her current role. Most recently, she was a senior legislative assistant to U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce, R-N.M. Prior to that, she was financial adviser to the New Mexico Finance Authority. She also previously worked for New Mexico’s Strategic and Learning Services, the Association of Commerce & Industry, and also interned for U.S. Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M.

“It’s a perfect fit really,” she says of how her current job draws on past experience. As legislative assistant to Congressman Pearce, Chase worked on natural resource and public lands issues. “Working in federal and state government allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the importance of promoting policies that balance our obligation to protect the environment while at the same time supporting economic growth.”

Advice for young professionals: “If you aren’t willing to stand up for yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to do it for you. I have learned that you are your biggest champion—or your biggest hurdle —and that it’s up to you to decide which you are. Be confident in who you are and what you know, and understand what you don’t know, and you will earn respect.”

True grit: Chase spent her high school years at the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), the “West Point of the West.” Dear to her memory is her late troop commander, Todd Christmas.

When Chase was a first-year cadet at age 14, she wanted to quit the very tough Recruit at Training Week. “About three days in, I asked to make the call for my parents to come get me. [Todd Christmas] said he would take me, but that we would walk and talk along the way. During that walk, he told me that it was worth it to stick it out, that quitting is never the answer and that I was strong enough to make it through. His belief in me changed my mind, and he was right.” Chase graduated from NMMI. In 2004, Christmas was killed in action. “I was never able to thank him properly for changing my life.”

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios