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Oil and Gas Investor

[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2021 is a supplement to the May 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe to the magazine here.]

Melinda Faust fell into the oil and gas industry purely by accident. The Slidell, La., native was attending a party for then Governor Edwin Edwards in New Orleans and met a person that owned a P&A bonding company. 

She ended up moving to Houston after she was offered a position from a small offshore client in 1998 and from there she said, “my love for the oil and gas industry started.” 

Startup specialty 

Faust has been part of four successful startups in her career. In 2000 she was one of the first employees of DrillingInfo (now Enverus) and helped lead the company’s growth for the first four years before leaving to enter the sports car racing business with Krohn Racing’s oil and gas CEO Tracy Krohn. She contributed to startups Lantana Oil and Gas Advisors and Detring Energy Advisors. Faust also is the founder of three ADAM (Acquisition, Divestiture And Mergers) groups: ADAM-Houston (250 members), ADAM-Permian (230 members) and ADAM-Rockies (100 members). 

“I feel like we are losing much of the ‘old school’ passion for the business. Over the years, the personality of the industry became more finance and real estate focused, leaving behind the true emotions and character of the wildcat pioneers who made this business so unique.” 

“I hope more is still to come, but thus far, seeing companies built from the ground up such as DrillingInfo and Detring Energy Advisors are great milestones for me. The success of these companies and working with amazingly talented people has been very rewarding. Building companies and relationships in this business means a lot to’s all part of the journey.” 

Entrepreneurial spirit 

“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’ve always had a love of deal-making. Whether it’s putting deals or people together, networking has always been a passion of mine. I love start-ups—being on the ground floor, thinking outside the box and the hard work to build a successful brand. I enjoy negotiating and putting deals and people together. Finding that ‘win’ for both sides.” 

Industry motivation 

“The amazing people in this industry are like no other. Even when I left this industry and went into sports car racing (with Tracy Krohn of W&T Offshore) for a couple of years, I always missed the friends I made in this business. If I was in Houston and not off at the races, I would sneak into NAPE just to walk the floor and visit friends and stay in the loop on deal flow; the NAPE parties were fun as well. I’ve made friends for a lifetime from this business.” 

Addressing challenges 

“Being a female in a male-dominated industry has come with some challenges, but I feel growing up with my dad and three older brothers helped prepare me. I have been challenged and not taken seriously or treated disrespectfully from a few select people early in my career. I’ve responded by going above and beyond [and] thinking outside the box on how to outperform in the situation. Because of this, mentoring young women in this business is important to me.” 

She described one incident: “I was a part of another A&D group many years ago. I continually made suggestions to grow the group and make improvements but was cut off from suggestions at every turn and eventually kicked out of the group. My response was to start up another A&D group that was bigger and better...hence the success of the ADAM groups. 

“On the flip side, many men in this business have become great friends of mine and have protected and shown me so much support throughout the years.” 

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Mentoring mom 

When asked who her most influential mentor was, Faust said it was her mom. 

“She raised five children, continued her education getting her master’s at night while working as a teacher during the day and later became an elementary principal for 25 years. She served on several social and civic committees. She was amazing.”