Sean Fitzgerald’s father worked in the oil and gas industry, but it was not until Sean attended the University of Texas that the Katy, Texas native realized how technologically advanced the industry had become. “From that point forward, I was hooked,” he says.
Which career milestone did you reach sooner than you expected?
“I started my own company earlier than I anticipated (2011). I was getting married at the time and my wife was very encouraging. She was still working on her Ph.D, so it was a good time to take a risk as our cost of living was very low. My business partner and I formed a professional engineering firm and quickly found clients and private equity sponsors. Then, as the size of the private equity assets we managed grew, we eventually shut down the consulting side.”
Describe a memorable professional experience.
“I remember the first private equity deal where we controlled the accounting. At signing, the sponsor transferred $12 million into the corporate account that I controlled. This was the first time we were truly in charge of everything—land, drilling, completions, production, regulatory and accounting. I remember the excitement we had to get the project going and start building the company. I don’t think we left the office for a week! It was a dream come true. Looking back, of course, I chuckle, as our projects now are 20 times that size.”
What has been your most challenging project to date?
“Hiring the right people has by far been the most challenging project to date. When the team is small, it is easy to find someone who fits the corporate culture, as you normally know someone. As the team grows, it becomes harder as you have to do a proper interview and judge potential employees on very little interaction. I can tell you, in the past we didn’t do a great job of this and had to let people go because they overinflated their resume and were unable to do the tasks that were assigned to them. However, I got better at the hiring process and Boomtown is now at 16 employees who I’m very proud of as they do an excellent job.”
Who is your mentor?
“My father is my biggest mentor. He was in the industry for his entire career. His most valuable piece of advice, of course, was that ‘all things tend towards the center.’ While not 100% accurate, generally speaking, it is safe to say that your company will experience ups and down, with both good and bad periods.”
What advice would you give other young professionals?
“The oil and gas industry is a small place. You will be surprised how often you run into the same folks over and over in your career. To that end, make friends and learn from those around you. If something isn’t working for you, politely take a different route, but don’t burn bridges.”
What do you think young industry members have to offer that is unique to them?
“One of the most common things that those under 40 do in the industry is ask questions. This is both unique and important. While the group is always trying to learn more about the industry, their questions are also reminding everyone in older generations that not everything is set in stone and sometimes deploying a new technology or strategy can be helpful.”
- I am a professional engineer in the State of Texas with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas.
- I started my career with Shell, then moved to Rosetta Resources before stepping out on my own in 2011.
- We have worked with multiple private equity providers in the past and are actively working with Juniper Capital.