Josh Young

CIO, Bison Interests, Houston

Josh Young got into the investment space at a young age. As a teenager, he invested in stocks after following them in the newspaper. However, it wasn’t until he became chairman of a $100-plus million public company at the age of 33 that he really got to show the energy sector all the good he could do for it.

In addition to hosting regular barbecues with oil and gas executives, Young has a mounting social media presence, where he advocates for increased investment in the industry and better energy policy.

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?

“I’m a value investor, and I found analyzing oil and gas companies to be intuitive. I also really like the people, and I noticed that there is a cumulative advantage in focusing on the industry—the more I learned, the better I got.”

Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?

“I became chairman of a struggling Canadian publicly traded oil and gas company, RMP Energy, in 2017. I refreshed the board and management team, sold off noncore assets and sold the company for a 79% premium in 2018, despite a challenging time for the company and its peers. It helped to have supportive clients, a great business partner at the time and excellent advisors. I’m very proud Bison stayed in business and thrived through multiple oil and gas price crashes, despite losing our largest client at the start of the new bull market in November 2020.”

What has been your most challenging project to date? How did you accomplish the goal?

“Co-founding and growing a public equity, oil and gas investment fund at a time when both the industry and public equities have been very out of favor has been immensely challenging. Embracing the Bison ethos and ‘facing into the storm’ has allowed for success as others changed focuses or left the industry.”

What has helped you develop your leadership abilities during your career?

“Practice has helped the most. The best thing I’ve done is hiring interns and employees who I’ve helped progress in their careers and who are great for further development as they move on and provide feedback and sounding-boards.”

How have you exercised leadership to help shape your company?

“In November 2020, when many firms were refocusing away from the industry, I started publishing a series of oil and gas industry analyses and white papers, highlighting such topics as the Midcontinent and Waha basis differentials narrowing, undervalued public equities and other market dislocations. These were very unpopular and controversial but helped build Bison’s reputation.”

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

“Plentiful oil and gas is key to improving the quality of life of the poorest and least fortunate people in the world. Investing in the industry is an incredible social good, in addition to the financial aspect.”

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

“Young people have the ability to look at problems from a fresh perspective and are more inclined to apply technology to solving problems. There are many opportunities from new applications of existing technologies, as well as inventing new ones.”

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

“The industry should be more open about the good it does for humanity. Focusing on the positives is great for morale and could help improve broader sentiment toward the industry.”

Three More Things
  1. Bison may have been the top-performing equity fund in the world in 2021, according to Barron’s magazine.
  2. I first invested in stocks as a teenager after reading the Motley Fool newspaper column avidly for years.
  3. I graduated from the University of Chicago in only two and a half years.