Buford Pollett’s career as an attorney specializing in international energy affairs has taken him around the world, including France, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Dubai and most recently to Iraq — a far cry from the farm he grew up on in rural Georgia.
From a young age, Pollett had an interest in mining and chose to study geology at the University of Georgia, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He knew that in the mining industry, international trade with countries like Germany was important. To balance his technical degrees with a business foundation and experience abroad, he pursued a master’s degree in international business at Pepperdine University. During that time, he also completed a semester-long internship in Germany.
“I now had the technical and business background I needed,” said Pollett, “but kept encountering questions about tax and environmental laws and realized I was missing the legal background to understand the regulatory aspect of the business.”
Pollett searched for a law program that offered courses not only in common law, which is practiced in the United States, but also civil law, which is more prevalent in other countries. He chose Loyola University New Orleans, where he earned a JD with a certificate in international law. A series of internships during his time at Loyola served as a springboard for the successful career that has followed.
In the past 15 years, he has held senior-level legal positions doing both domestic and international work for companies including Technip, Eni, McDermott and Wilson Offshore & Marine. His wife, Fidelia, and two daughters, Izabella and Agatta, have moved with Pollett to every location except his most recent appointment in Iraq, which began in February 2014.
It might seem unusual for someone who has enjoyed a successful international career to settle in Tulsa, but Pollett says he has always known he eventually wanted to return to the United States to teach — something he’s loved since his days in graduate school. Throughout his career, one of the things he has enjoyed the most is developing training courses for employees and clients.
As far as choosing The University of Tulsa as his next home, Pollett says: “TU has a great reputation, not just domestically, but also internationally. The abilities of the faculty members are very impressive, and they all work well together to create a great experience for students.”
He will teach energy business courses in both the energy management and master of energy business programs. “One of the things I look forward to is learning from my students,” he said. “When I teach courses, I get back perspectives I never would have imagined. These new perspectives enrich me.”