Having begun her professional career as a lawyer at Vinson and Elkins LLP, Amanda Brock’s initial foray into the business side of the energy industry needed a bit of a nudge from an industry titan. Richard Kinder, the billionaire co-founder and CEO of Kinder Morgan Inc., identified Brock’s talent and pushed her early on to shift her professional focus while the two worked at Enron.
“A pivotal milestone in my career was when Richard Kinder made it very clear that I should leave the legal side and go into the business side,” Brock says. “He took a chance on me and put me in charge of power plants in the U.S., and then, ultimately, managing joint ventures and power-related infrastructure internationally. That was a huge milestone.”
Brock’s initial hesitancy as to whether she was the right person for the job, and new career path, was allayed by Kinder.
“I’d never been in a power plant in my life, and I asked Rich, ‘Why me?’” Brock recalls. “He just said ‘You’ll figure it out.’ I realized there wasn’t much of a lifeboat. I was going to have to get out there and figure it out. Which hopefully I did.”
A culminating milestone has been her role at Solaris Midstream and her relationships with Bill Zartler, the CEO, and the rest of the team. As the chief commercial officer and COO of Solaris Water Midstream LLC, Brock has had a key role in the buildout of more than 400 miles of pipeline, large-scale recycling systems capable of recycling more than 300,000 barrels per day of produced water and the drilling and construction of more than 20 saltwater disposal wells.
Her previous career stops included serving as CEO of Water Standard, focusing on water treatment, primarily in the offshore industry, as president of the Americas for Azurix Corp., where she was responsible for developing water infrastructure and services, and as president of Enron Joint Venture Management, managing Enron’s global power assets and related partnerships.
With more than 25 years in oil and gas, Brock has had a front row seat to the changes the industry has experienced and continues to experience.
“The energy industry is in flux right now as it looks to redefine itself and focus more on free cash flow, environmental, social and governance, and the transition to renewables,” Brock says. “At Solaris we are core to this emphasis, particularly with our extensive pipeline infrastructure system taking trucks off the road and our significant recycling operations all with the added benefit of helping operators lower LOE [lease operating expenses] by more effective utilization of water-related assets. We have been out front with an incredibly talented team experiencing rapid growth in the core of the core in the Permian Basin. This has been quite a ride.”
Brock acknowledges that, at many points in her career, she encountered challenges working as a woman in the energy industry.
“There are very few in our generation who were not treated differently because of their gender,” she says. “You could choose to get upset, or you could choose—even though you knew in your heart it most likely wasn’t the case—to believe in a meritocracy. You kept your head down, worked very, very hard, in many cases harder than your male peers, and hoped things would work out and change.”
A board member of Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Corp., Brock also serves on the executive committee of the Texas Business Hall of Fame, which provides scholarships to business students in Texas and supports the Rice University entrepreneurial prize. She has also established a charity, Milwane Arts, which supports art cooperatives, disabled, and women and children in Zimbabwe, where she spent a large part of her childhood.
Brock and her husband Robert have two sons, Ryan and Robert.
“I could not do any of this without the support of my husband, who has been my biggest cheerleader, but also my two wonderful sons,” she says. “When you are trying to balance career, being a wife and motherhood, it is very difficult. Your family has to make many sacrifices particularly, when you travel, work long hours and have long absences. I am so grateful for the support and love these three amazing men have given me.”
Devon Energy had been actively shopping the Permian Basin assets, and others in the Rockies, the past several months.
A big crowd turned out for an afternoon honoring industry leaders representing all facets of the energy sector.
Production from Occidental Petroleum's Permian Basin unit rose 57% to 250,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter, boosted by its investments in the basin.