Riki Meier

Director of Operations, Cornerstone Acquisition & Management Co. LLC, San Diego, Calif.
Riki Meier

Riki Meier never imagined he would be working in the oil and gas industry, but entering the workforce during the Great Recession gave him an opportunity he couldn’t refuse in the shape of an unpaid internship with Cornerstone. With his confidence and willingness to learn new skills, he proved himself to be an innovator and earned the trust of his leadership and peers. 

What is one of your professional achievements that you are most proud of?

“I’m extremely proud of what our team has been able to do with our annual networking event—The World Oilman Poker Tournament (WOPT). The event started as a handful of industry folks congregating in Las Vegas to now juggling a waitlist and constantly dealing with capacity restrictions. WOPT keeps us current with what’s going on in the industry, while creating new relationships with industry peers.”

What has been your most challenging project to date, and how did you accomplish your goal?

“A year into my role, I convinced the management group at the time to let me build out my own data management system and bring all the data in-house. It was a bit of a daunting task. Here I was, a year or so out of college, asking the firm to completely overhaul a system that has been working for them for the past five years because I thought I could do it more efficiently. Fortunately, I had endless support from my colleagues and the belief in myself that I could make it happen. After a few months of feasibility tests, we decided to make the switch permanent.”

What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the oil and gas industry?

“I think the ability to listen and take criticism is instrumental to being a good leader. Listening to other ideas can help you learn something new and can give you better insight on what others may be thinking. It also helps build trust—something critical in the workplace.”

Who is your mentor, and what valuable advice have they given you?

“Aside from my father, the most influential mentor in my life is my cousin, Soichiro Minami. I’ve never seen anyone work harder than him, and his drive to be successful is contagious. The biggest take away I’ve received from him is making yourself available to family and to those around you. It’s always healthy to take a step back and prioritize what’s important in your life. Some of the best advice—work or in life—may end up coming from people you love the most and are rooting for your success.”

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

“What the pandemic taught me more than anything is that social capital is critical, and it’ll only benefit you to meet as many people as you can. I would urge any young professional, in any industry, to get out and make those connections with industry peers. You’ll be exposed to new ideas, possible career opportunities or even find a mentor that will be your support system.”

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

“What I love most about the oil and gas industry is the people. It may not seem like it from the outside, but this industry really has an immensely diverse group of individuals. There are so many intelligent people, and they all work extremely hard. Everyone has a unique story to tell about our industry, and it makes networking in this industry so fun. I feel like I learn something new every time I talk to someone.”

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

“I think those in my generation and younger have an extremely bright future in this industry. You hear a lot about the negative headlines in this space. I see that as a perfect opportunity for anyone that really wants to make an impact in this industry. This sector is hungry for continued innovation, and I think my generation’s ability to adopt new technology and having the openness to disrupt traditional ways to do business will make this new energy industry more efficient.”

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

“There are two things that the industry needs to continue to implement if it wants to thrive into the future. The first is the ongoing adoption of data and data analysis. I love seeing new companies emerge with their core business being in data and analytics. It’s going to make the industry more efficient moving forward. The other is education. If you don’t have ties to the industry or have an interest in this field, I found it very hard to learn the ins and outs of the industry.”

Three More Things

1. I love traveling. I’ve visited over 35 countries, and I’ve been on six of seven continents. (I’ve been to Antarctica, and I am only missing Africa to conquer the seven continents.)

2. I’m at my happiest when I spend time with my two boys, Jakob and Keiden, and my beautiful wife, Kristen.

3. I convinced my best friends to climb Mt. Fuji for my bachelor party in Japan. Little did they know we’d be climbing the mountain during a typhoon. All of us made it back alive with an epic video from the summit to prove it.