From realizing a lifelong dream of earning a law license to working with his team to build a company during the peak pandemic years, Robert Anderson accredits his leap from practicing law to leading Arch Energy Partners to “luck or divine providence.” After leading the company through a period of negative oil prices, he has learned that sometimes there are benefits that come with being the first to try a new idea—sometimes figuring out processes along the way is OK.
Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?
“I grew up in southern Utah in a small town where uranium was mined during the 1950s. My father and grandfather were both attorneys who represented a number of uranium miners, and as a result I grew up with a lot of exposure to the energy industry. After beginning my own career as an attorney, I met a friend who was an entrepreneur in the oil and gas industry. He was very influential in helping me see the potential of the energy industry. Based on the potential he showed me, I became an oil and gas attorney, which led to my current role as an energy investor.”
Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?
“After practicing law for a number of years, I started Tracts, a title software solution for oil and gas, with Ashley Gilmore. One of the highlights of my professional life was when our first patent was granted. Seeing my name on a patent filing was an incredible highlight of that experience.”
What has been your most challenging project to date, and how did you accomplish your goal?
“Every aspect of growing a business through the pandemic was extraordinarily challenging. In the current environment, it’s easy to see the value oil and gas bring to the world, but we had to convince potential investors of the necessity of our industry when you couldn’t even give away a barrel of oil. My partners and I relied on our analysis and intuition, giving us the conviction necessary to persevere.”
Who are your mentors, and what is the most valuable advice they have given you?
“I have a few, including Dan Peterson and my father. From the time I was young my dad always told me, ‘People dumber than you have done it.’ It’s an odd saying and not particularly polite, but for me, it made difficult things feel achievable.”
What has helped you develop your leadership abilities during your career?
“I try to use every experience to make sure that I only make each mistake once. My partner and our team are strong proponents of holding one another accountable while also being available and supportive in working together to problem-solve.”
What are your short- and long-term goals?
“My focus is continuing to build Arch Energy Partners. Every aspect of modern society currently depends on the energy our industry provides. At Arch, we are working to be part of the solution to provide secure, affordable energy in the U.S. and across the world.”
What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?
“Our industry is the silent backbone that drives the entire modern economy. We provide dependable energy that allows modern society to function. Over the years I have come to see how absolutely crucial our role is. I am grateful to contribute to the stability that the industry offers.”
What do you think young industry members as a group have to offer that is unique to them?
“When you’re young, there’s a naivety to what you believe is and is not possible. The challenges we face in upcoming years will require unreasonable people with a drive and confidence to overlook the narrative of what can and cannot be done.”
- For whatever reason, I can tell you the mascot of pretty much any small town high school in Utah.
- In 2019, I was able to donate my kidney to my 7-year-old son, Robert, who was born with kidney failure. It will likely be one of the greatest achievements of my life.
- I applied to the University of Texas law school because Texas played in the national championship game. If not for Vince Young, I may not have ever known the joy of Buc-ee’s or been able to listen to my oldest son sing “Take Me to Texas” by George Strait for a school program.