Barnett is being recognized for his recent career move to Cantafio Hammond law firm as Special Council and Chief Operations Officer. Barnett is a GEM alumnus from cohort XIII and graduated from the program in June 2016. Ironically enough, he now works for fellow GEM alumnus, Ralph Cantafio, attorney and partner of Cantafio Hammond.

Cantafio graduated with Cohort VII and now serves as a GEM faculty member, teaching GEMM 6200: Environmental, Regulatory, Legal and Political Environment in the Energy Industry, and GEMM 6210 Energy Law: Property, Contracts, and Transactions.

When asked about the GEM Program, Cantafio believes the community within the program is what makes it differential from other graduate degree programs. This of sense of community directly influenced his decision to transition from GEM student to faculty member. “I found the program to be so valuable, next thing you know, I am teaching in it,” Cantafio said. “GEM is like an MBA but with a community. I am still in constant contact with many people that I graduated with; not even a day goes by that I am not in contact with my classmates or colleagues.”

Cantafio’s statement proved to be true as Barnett was one of Cantafio’s students while enrolled in the program.

“I’ve always looked at Clay as a peer, not as one of my students, not as a fellow lawyer but as my colleague.” Ralph Cantafio said. “He understands the legal industry, he is a reasonable risk taker, well-respected by others, and his traits provide us access to the right kind of clients and lawyers. Clay is an earnest father and husband and is really just a great fit.”

Clay Barnett
Clay Barnett

Barnett has been practicing law since 2005 and has experience from working in a very large firm. “Throughout my career, I’ve always wanted to be part of the leadership decisions at my firm that determine where we are going and I am excited to do that here with Ralph,” Barnett said. “I truly respect and trust the person I work for,” he added.

Barnett started his new role as Special Council/Chief Operations Officer in February 2017. Along with continuing to practice law, Barnett will be working on several initiatives for the firm with the main goal to grow the firm. Although the firm has a presence in Steamboat Springs and Denver, Barnett’s growth strategies will be focused on the Denver Metro area. The long-term goals include moving the firm towards a regional presence of Wyoming, Nevada, and Montana.

Barnett credits the GEM Program in providing him the knowledge and tools needed for his new position.

“Before GEM, I was working with clients within energy, and I wanted to know more about the business side of the industry,” Barnett said. “I wanted to advise them better and long-term, I wanted to advance my career.”

In addition to firm growth, Barnett will focus on strategic planning, efficiencies, marketing, advertising, public relations, recruitment, and general human resources.  All areas of which were also covered in GEM curriculum.

“The beauty of GEM is that the entire program is geared around the energy industry but the curriculum learned is extremely applicable to all areas of business within many industries, Barnett said. “So many classes are readily applicable and can be used no matter what industry or area you work in.”

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