Brett Knowles earned a level of responsibility and accountability at EnCap Flatrock Midstream earlier than expected in his career, serving as the “point person” on a variety of projects. He credits being a team player, his willingness to listen and his desire to create value and make an impact.
Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?
“Almost by accident. I was planning to enter public accounting and was interning with a Big 4 firm in New York in the spring of 2010. While I loved the city and enjoyed the experience, I missed Texas and realized I wanted to start my career in the finance or investment space. Houston and energy investment banking became the obvious first move, but before that, I had not thought much about the industry. I quickly realized it was dynamic, capital-intensive and relationship-based, and it just so happened to be in the early beginnings of the shale revolution. All of that plus energy supports virtually all other industries. It became clear that working in oil and gas would be a great launch point.”
Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?
“The sale of Tall Oak Midstream to EnLink Midstream in 2015. When I joined EnCap Flatrock Midstream, I moved to Oklahoma City and was fortunate to work under Dennis Jaggi. The Tall Oak team was local, and I was there from the earliest beginnings—from first meeting the team, to forming a new partnership, to signing the first midstream contract that led to the buildout of two gas gathering and processing systems in Oklahoma. Less than two years later, a successful sale to EnLink led to a great outcome for both our investors and management. It was my first ‘full-cycle’ investment experience, and I learned a lot seeing the process from start to finish.”
What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the oil and gas industry?
“Good leadership [in the oil and gas industry] is the same in any industry or for any group of people working to achieve a common goal. The results—or achieving the goal—must be the baseline for success. But to be a great leader, you have to be a strong communicator and be others-focused, seeking to support and develop the people around you. The results need to stay front and center, but the people-side must be equally prioritized.”
Who are your mentors? What is the most valuable advice they have given you?
“I look up to Jerry Cox, not only for his success as an oil and gas entrepreneur, but even more for how generous he is with his personal time and resources. He integrates his passions for faith and education as well as anybody I know, and I am truly fortunate to have him as a resource for business and life advice.”
What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?
“The people I get to work with and the value that the energy industry provides to everyday life all over the world. It is a vital industry to economics, geopolitics and virtually all aspects of society. The opportunity set is only expanding as energy demand grows and new technologies and sources enter the mix. It is really an exciting moment to be an energy investor, and the future is bright.”
What transformations do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?
“It’s critical to stay in front of emerging opportunities like CCS [carbon capture and storage] and hydrogen while staying focused on the overall economic benefits. It has also never been more apparent how critical hydrocarbons are to free societies all over the world. As an industry, we need to keep improving how we tell this story based on truth and facts, in a world with a lot of noise.”
1. We welcomed our first baby in May 2022. Becoming a dad has exceeded all my expectations!
2. My wife is my hero. We recently celebrated five years of marriage, and I’m very thankful for her love, faith, support and friendship.
3. My family has deep roots in the military. My dad, mom, both grandfathers, two uncles and now several cousins have served or currently serve.