Spending several years with U.S. Well Services not only allowed Josh Shapiro to rise through the ranks to the position of CFO but also to become an effective and teamwork-oriented leader in the role.
Having learned the most about the industry through asking questions and seeking out guidance from mentors, he would encourage young energy professionals to follow suit. Shapiro believes straying outside the comfort zone and taking risks is the best way to gain new experiences and achieve their personal and professional goals.
Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?
“I joined the oil and gas industry by accident. A former employer in the investment banking industry sponsored my business school education and moved me to Houston from the east coast after graduation. Looking back, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.”
What is a memorable professional experience that is especially meaningful to you?
“The first time I went out on a frac location was one of the most meaningful professional experiences I have had. Prior to that, I had spent most of my career sitting at a desk staring at spreadsheets. Although I advised oilfield service clients on various transactions, I rarely had the opportunity to see operations in action. Going out on site and seeing what looked like a factory running in the middle of the mountains in Appalachia was incredible and helped provide perspective for me.”
What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the oil and gas industry?
“In this industry, a good leader needs to be patient, willing to accept input and counsel from his or her team and possess an ability to evaluate risk. The oil and gas industry faces challenges on so many fronts, so the ability to build the best team and leverage its capabilities to analyze and navigate risk is critical.”
What has helped you develop your leadership abilities during your career?
“I have been very fortunate in my career to have been surrounded by some of the smartest, most experienced industry veterans. This includes my former colleagues in investment banking, whose knowledge and advice taught me how to evaluate transactions and advise clients. My colleagues at U.S. Well Services have taught me how to anticipate and prepare for the challenges we face in a cyclical business.”
What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?
“This industry is always changing and innovating. There is no challenge too big for the oil and gas industry, and that keeps things exciting for me. I love learning about the new technologies and ideas that are helping to produce much needed energy.”
Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?
“The professional achievement I am most proud of is a capital raise and term loan amendment that my team completed in March 2020. We anticipated the impact that COVID-19 would have on our business and proactively worked to raise capital and secure relief from our key lenders, allowing U.S. Well Services to maintain financial flexibility through the ensuing chaos.”
What advice would you give other young professionals in the industry?
“I would tell young professionals to make sure they stray outside their comfort zone. So far in my career, I learned the most when I’ve been in new positions that required me to lean on my colleagues, ask questions and work my hardest. Chaos creates wonderful learning opportunities, so being in difficult positions and facing critical challenges will increase your value and radically alter your career trajectory.”
- I would love to do a hitch on one of our fleets to better understand the hydraulic fracturing business and see what my team faces daily in the field.
- My favorite city to visit for work is Lafayette, La., because it has some of the best food in the country.
- When I am not working or playing with my kids, I am working diligently to eliminate my big right miss on the golf course.