Collin McLelland, Digital Wildcatters, co-founder and CEO of energy technology media company Digital Wildcatters, is today’s featured Forty Under 40 honoree.

“When we first started Digital Wildcatters, I heard rumors from people saying that we were wet behind the ears for thinking we could change the industry—we’ve proved them wrong,” McLelland said. “The movement is only growing. Tomorrow’s leaders and innovators will come for the wildcatters’ community.”

Growing up in Midland, Texas, it would seem like an obvious plan to go into the oil and gas industry. However, McLelland said he didn’t decide to get involved until learning about the industry from the ground up after graduating high school.

“I grew up in Midland, Texas, so entering the oil and gas industry was pretty natural,” he said. “Interestingly enough, I didn’t really know much about the oil industry while I was in high school, but I’ve always been an entrepreneur, so I knew going to college wasn’t the path for me.”

McLelland graduated high school in 2008, right in the middle of the downturn and on the precipice of the shale boom.

“I remember being at the gym as a 19-year-old and running into one of my friends; he had just got a job roughnecking and was telling me about how much money he was making,” he said. “That’s all I needed to hear, and I was out on a rig roughnecking soon after that, learning the oil business from the ground up.”

Click here for Collin McLelland’s complete profile.

Take a look at all of the Forty Under 40 honorees.

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