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As a third-generation businessman, Ben Heinzelmann got his passion for oil and gas from his grandfather. However, the success he has found in the field since then has been self-made. In college, he fell in love with the business and has worked hard to ensure he stands apart from other industry titans.
“I was fortunate to have family roots at the University of Oklahoma where I had the opportunity to study within the best Energy Management program in the country,” he said. “I immediately fell in love with the business, and I’m not sure I would ever want to do anything else.”
Since then, he has worked to grow his MineralWare business and its sister company, Energy Domain, the latter of which he is president. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife, Annie, and their two children, Adeline and Bahner.
“I’m very proud to be a part of the management team that has grown our first business, MineralWare (mineral and royalty management software), over the last seven years. When we got started in 2014, it was four of us in a 600-square-foot office. Shortly thereafter, 2015 hit and we were all questioning how we were going to grow a startup in a challenging OG environment. I worried about whether I had made the right decision, was in the right industry, etc. Bit by bit we chipped away and grew MineralWare from four of us to 25 to 30 employees by 2019.
The financial success has been rewarding, and we have been incredibly blessed in that regard. However, it has been more fulfilling to watch some of our early hires take management roles and have massive impacts on our company’s bottom line. Stewarding these guys and watching them succeed and flourish is by far and away my greatest joy.”
“In 2019 we decided to branch off and start Energy Domain (our online marketplace) as a sister company to MineralWare. This was a risky move because MineralWare was very self-sustaining, and we could have comfortably continued to run that business and been stable long term. Similar to MineralWare, we hit COVID-19 in 2020 and were faced with incredible uncertainty and headwinds in another poor pricing environment. The team that we hired for Energy Domain was unbelievably resilient. We essentially had to build a brand new product from the ground up and hit the pavement to establish brand awareness all while staying home during quarantine. Most of us also have younger children that we were taking care of during this time. In June of 2021, we finally were able to launch the product, and by the end of the first month, we had seven deals already in closing. We have a long way to go, but I think it is important to look back and appreciate the resiliency and fortitude that we showed to get where we are today.”
“I always look back fondly on MineralWare’s early days when we were hiring interns left and right from TCU. Several of those interns are now in management roles and are key decision makers at our suite of companies. I would like to think that I was able to instill in them our general attitude here that no one is too good to take out the trash. I’ve been willing, to a fault at times, to roll my sleeves up and get in the weeds on a project if absolutely necessary. I was always right there with them grinding on setting up a new client, maintaining a relationship, etc., and I certainly hope and believe that this was a guidepost for them as we began to establish our culture and future success.”
“Us millennials, while we get a bad rap from time to time, have all grown up with a computer or screen in front of our faces. Our generation understands the importance of technology and its role in our industry moving forward, which well positions us to move into leadership roles. There is so much room for optimization in the energy space, and our generation has the tools and skills to fit into this puzzle very well. While we may not have decades of experience, we can do things more quickly than anyone else, which is a huge advantage.”
“In the next few years, my goal is to help Energy Domain transact more in gross sales than any other platform or broker in the market. I’m leaving long-term wide open. I think if you get too narrowly focused on your future, you won’t have the ability to objectively review all opportunities. I do anticipate that I will be in technology for a long time.
These people [in the industry] have been beaten down so many times, but they continue to push forward. It’s really inspiring to hear stories of veterans that have been through multiple downturns and ultimately found their success later in life.”
Advice to young professionals
“Professionally, I would tell these young guys/girls to take everything they have envisioned in their minds about what they want their career to look like and throw it out of the window. Keep yourself completely open to new opportunities and new industries and meet as many people as you can.
On the personal front, you should think long and hard about who you spend the most time with. As you get a little bit older, your friend groups will shrink as you have less free time. Whether you realize it or not, you are the product of those that you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with other positive people that work hard and don’t complain. You’ll be amazed at how much happier your life will be.”
Three More Things
- My great grandfather, Gerald Heinzelmann, was a wildcatter in Scurry County, Texas, during the boom of the early ’20s.
- I have been confused for Bryson Dechambeau a few different times. I wear a golf shirt every day, which probably doesn’t help.
- I was the only intern at my company in college to not get a full-time offer—that was a learning experience!