Brandon Lakatta

Vice President of Land, Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Irving, Texas

From bridging the gap between Pioneer Natural Resources’ Permian landmen and Dallas office to leading knowledge sharing opportunities, Brandon Lakatta works to unite his team through “openness/honesty, consistency and unwavering support.” Though he didn’t intend to join the industry when he enrolled in college, he knew upon taking his first petroleum land management (PLM) class that it was a profession he wanted to be part of.

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?

“I went to Texas Tech University on a golf scholarship and had no preconceived plan to enter the industry. I was in the Rawls College of Business and was planning to pursue a finance degree or something similar. A friend of mine, who is now my wife, introduced me to the program. She and I took the intro to PLM class together, and I immediately knew that I wanted to be in the industry. To this day, I remain amazed by the technical feats that our companies perform every day.”

What is a memorable professional experience that is especially meaningful to you?

“I was given the opportunity to participate in a Leadership Worth Following (LWF) program that was very unique and impactful to my leadership style. The LWF process includes a two-day executive development program during which psychologists conduct several tests and analyze your every move during an in-person leadership simulation. While that is somewhat intimidating, I learned a lot about myself and what drives my personal and team success. I use the learnings from this experience every day of the week, both at work and in my personal life.”

How have you exercised leadership to help shape your department?

“We have such a talented staff that it can be a challenge identifying valuable training and development opportunities. I encourage everyone to be open and share key learnings or identify opportunities to knowledge-share in the event a unique issue or project arises. This has resulted in opportunities for collaboration and team building throughout the organization.”

What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?

“I am very motivated by the concept of maximizing value creation for our company each day that I walk through the door. Our industry continually provides valuable opportunities, which keeps us working hard and on our toes!”

What transformation do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?

“Our world is clearly moving away from fossil fuels at a rate that seems to change by the day. It will be necessary to continue improving the manner in which we conduct our business to maximize efficiency and minimize our carbon impact. I have a relatively bullish outlook on the industry, but I do believe we must continue to keep this concept in mind as we grow and expand our operational footprint.”

What advice would you give other young professionals in the industry?

“It is a small world in our industry, so building and maintaining relationships is very important.  I have been surprised at the number of full circle moments I have experienced in my relatively short career.”

What do you think young industry members as a group have to offer that is unique to them?

“Those of us in the under-40 demographic still have a long career ahead of us, which will drive innovation and technological advances to ensure that our industry provides opportunities for success well into the future, despite headwinds.”

Three More Things

1. Most people (including some of my good friends) do not know that my first name is Robert. I am a third-generation Robert Lakatta; however, we all have different middle names. I kept the name going with my son, but I saved him some trouble and made Robert his middle name.

2. There was a period of time when I was Pioneer’s only Permian landman in our Las Colinas office prior to a series of moves and reorganizations that brought the rest of the mineral landmen to Dallas. At that time, I was the liaison between our land department in Midland and the rest of the asset team in Las Colinas.

3. I love Taco Bell.