If you want to stay in Houston, it makes sense to be in the industry for which Houston is the world capital," says Carrie Carson, vice president at Wells Fargo Bank N.A. Carson has been with the bank for the past four years, and is now focused on lending to the oilfield services and equipment industry.

Carson is a native Houstonian. Her parents came to Houston in the 1970s, when the energy industry was booming. Though she had only peripheral exposure to energy, she understood its importance to the city, and has enjoyed her direct involvement in the industry.

Carson attended Texas A&M University on a full scholarship with the goal of pursuing a quantitative-heavy business curriculum. She simultaneously participated in a vast array of additional activities from the Business School Fellows program to an internship at the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. Through these she met many luminaries and leaders—including the foundation's namesake, George H.W. Bush.

"Many people are familiar with A&M's traditions, but the wide range of extracurricular opportunities available to students is unique to A&M as well," she says about the experiences she credits with deepening and enriching her life both socially and professionally.

She pursued an undergraduate degree in accounting and a master's in finance due to their complementary, yet divergent, skill set. After graduation, she joined PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

"PWC was good at recruiting talent out of school," she says. During her stint there, she earned her CPA certification. Later, talent management would become a key strength for her when she made the transition to banking with Wells Fargo. She credits the bank with being forward-thinking in talent development and retention, which often means opportunities for less-experienced staff.

"I was fortunate that when I joined the group, management was focused on retaining and developing younger staff. Younger people are offered the opportunity to stay and grow with the group.

"Not all companies are focused on that talent aspect. I frequently hear from people in other sectors about the much-talked-about generation gap, for instance," she says, referring to the talent chasm in energy that has developed over time.

Carson actively volunteers in three Houston area non-profits: The Junior League of Houston and the young professional organizations supporting Trees for Houston and Dress for Success. The mission of Trees for Houston is planting, protecting and promoting trees to benefit the community. Dress for Success provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women in over 75 cities worldwide.

Carson is on the board of the Houston chapter of Young Professionals in Energy. She particularly enjoys fundraising for local organizations, and the time spent growing YPE and expanding its activities into new areas.

"Experiences like YPE give people a chance to take a leadership role they might not have until later in their career. It's really gratifying to help steer an organization into new things, like increasing outreach and raising attendance in work with non-profits," she says.

Carson spoke with Oil and Gas Investor recently about current energy lending conditions.

Investor: What kinds of transactions are you doing? Which are more interesting for you currently?

Carson: I do both public and private transactions. It is rewarding to go through the months-long, work-intense part of the process, and when it concludes, be able to come out with a public statement or news release on the results. Being able to announce what the funding will do for the company is gratifying. I am proud of the ways we have been able to be a part of industry growth.

Investor: How is the market coming out of the economic downturn?

Carson: Things have definitely improved. In banking and in oil and gas, particularly in services, there will always be cycles. But the market was full of opportunity in 2009. Wells Fargo has been consistent through cycles and it certainly helps that we are comfortable and familiar with the industry.

Investor: Where are the opportunities right now in the banking industry?

Carson: One of the benefits to being in this industry (both banking and energy) is that you get great exposure to a broad variety of companies, management teams and transactions. I think that there is always opportunity for people with interest and skills in finance and a solid work ethic to find a place in the finance industry.

Investor: What do you like best about energy?

Carson: Compared with other industries that can potentially create as much value as oil and gas services, I like that the industry is very tangible. In some other industries, that is not possible.

You can go out to the Offshore Technology Conference and see what they are actually working with, although it is a bit cleaner and shinier at a show than it is out in the field. I also like all the technological advancements that go on in the industry; someone is always coming out with a way to do things better, faster, or more efficiently than before.