Coming out of the military Kellie Metcalf went to work for Conoco in its management development program.
“The program lasted 12 months and covered all aspects of the oil business, essentially learning the business and demonstrating that knowledge to senior management via four half-day presentations presented throughout the year,” she recalled. “That year taught me a lot about both the industry and about myself. I think more companies should continue to have this kind of program for recent college graduates.”
She’s proof of their success. Not long ago she reached her 25th year in the energy industry. Today Metcalf is one of four managing partners leading EnCap Investments’ Energy Transition platform, which focuses on backing management teams concentrating on solar, wind and battery storage. She is chairman of the board at Jupiter Power and Triple Oak Power and sits on the board at Broad Reach Power, Catalyze and Solar Proponent.
“I learned early that preparation is key, and when an opportunity arises, being willing and prepared to take that opportunity is essential. If you are prepared, there’s no need to second guess your ability to meet the challenge.”
Notably, EnCap is a Champion Member of the Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE). WRISE promotes the education, professional development and advancement of women to achieve a strong diversified workforce and support a renewable energy economy.
“People with whom I’ve worked with or worked for have been critical to my longevity,” she said. “Persistence and willingness to take on challenges has also helped me remain in this exciting industry.”
Passionate about energy
“I am passionate about the energy business because of its ever-changing nature and global importance. Also, because it’s critical to the world that leaders get it right from both an environmental perspective and a cost perspective. Opportunities and learnings continue to evolve as the U.S. has moved to top exporter of crude oil and the entire world transitions to a less carbon-intensive energy footprint. We continue to see opportunities to increase the presence of renewable electricity and renewable fuels in tandem with the more efficient and environmentally friendly use of traditional fuels.”
Metcalf said she is motivated by the macro impact of oil, gas and energy on the world economy.
“I was an Army logistics officer for three years after undergraduate school,” she said. “I led a platoon that was responsible for delivering fuel and fuel-related supplies to the front lines. That experience, combined with how important oil and gas is in global economics and politics, initially led me to a career in energy.”
“I do think women can provide a different perspective on business issues. Often being the only woman in a setting (business meeting, trading floor deal team) makes it difficult to form the relationships needed to effect desired outcomes. I think women still miss out on opportunities to further their careers when they are not included in the social side of business—hunting trips, golf outings, ski events. To that end, I’ve always accepted invitations (and often specifically solicit these invites) to gain the opportunity to be part of the informal networking that is so important to engendering long-term, business and personal relationships.”
“When I was an MBA summer intern at Mobil, Lou Noto (then Mobil CEO) said, ‘Sometimes you are in a role you find doesn’t use all your talents. You need to be patient and not move out of the role too quickly. You will find the role was a building block to what you are able to do in the future.’ I’ve tried to heed that advice (mostly) and found it to be quite true.”
“I started my post-MBA career as an associate at Enron. That experience shaped my business management, business risk and leadership skills in a myriad of ways. I met some exceptional leaders that I continue to use as examples. I also learned that attention to detail, common sense and trusting your own judgment are important and transferable skills. If you’ve done your homework, it’s good to question business decisions that don’t make sense.”
View the full on-demand video interviews featuring this year’s honorees at HartEnergyConferences.com/Women-in-Energy
“The energy industry is in transformation. Oil and gas companies are becoming energy companies, embracing changing fuel sources and the need for greater employee diversity. The energy industry will need to be willing to invest in evolving technologies (hydrogen, renewable fuels, battery storage) and resources (wind, solar). Economics of our industry are changing, and the potential for carbon tax or similar regulatory regimes are important considerations. Many people talk about the energy transition as if it’s a new thing. I started in the wind energy in 2001 after the Enron bankruptcy, so in many ways the energy transition is very familiar for me.”
“When I first entered the energy industry as a supply and transportation analyst, my goal was to learn as much as possible about all aspects of upstream and downstream oil and gas. I wanted to become an expert in the business, though I did not have a specific end goal in mind. I learned early that preparation is key and when an opportunity arises being prepared to take that opportunity is key. As an executive today, I continue to think about preparation but with more of an eye to my specific goals and the goals for my team. I also think much more about how I can impact the entire teams’ preparedness.”
Advice for young professionals
“Be curious. Assume that whatever you are working on will have relevance for your future career and give it 100% effort. You need to be prepared for what you are doing now and what you will be doing in the future, even though you can’t be sure what that is. Don’t spend too much time questioning whether you are ready for an opportunity; if it is being provided to you, assume you are ready and do everything possible to prove that assumption correct.”
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