How Energy Leadership Is Shifting Focus

The oil and gas industry’s rising leaders embrace the opportunity of the energy transition, and the 2021 Forty Under 40 honorees exemplify the changing industry. 

(Source: Robert D. Avila / Oil and Gas Investor)

Way back in 1975, the New York Times published an article titled “Wildcat Oilmen a Dying Breed.” The article highlighted the oft-perpetuated image of the independent wildcatters who built the American oil and gas industry as “two-fisted, hard-drinking, leather-faced Texas yahoos with a nose for crude oil, an eye for wild women and a wallet stuffed with $100 bills.”

Even then, that image was being relegated to history and Hollywood.

Of course, that article came out long before any of our 2021 Oil and Gas Investor Forty Under 40 honorees were even born, so suffice it to say that the men and women leading our industry in the future are a far cry from those images. But that doesn’t mean many of them don’t have a wildcatter’s penchant for creative thinking, a nose for business and drive to succeed in an industry many in the general population don’t quite understand. 

Like the wildcatters of yore, these 40 professionals have faced obstacles, acted on hunches and learned from their peers and mentors.

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Len Vermillion

Len Vermillion is Hart Energy's editorial director. Based in Houston, Texas, he manages an editorial department consisting of, Oil and Gas Investor, E&P and Midstream Business, as well as nine digital newsletters and several special projects.