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A third-generation descendent of the energy industry, Kyle Ray followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Since his father runs his own independent operation, perhaps it was no surprise when Ray helped shape a startup company after leaving Blackstone Credit. Ray currently serves as an executive vice president with FourPass Energy.
“Growing up, my summers were filled with working on their rig, setting up pumping equipment, checking wells and doing whatever else needed to be done in the field,” he said. “From an early age, I was always amazed by how oil and gas seemingly magically came out of the ground to ultimately power our cars and heat our homes.”
Working remotely as executive vice president, engineering and finance with FourPass Energy from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ray lives with his wife, Omaida, and his daughter. They are expecting their second daughter in the fall.
“I am very proud of my recent tenure in the energy credit team at Blackstone. At Blackstone I had the opportunity to work with a team of highly motivated individuals with a large pool of a capital and invest alongside some of the top management teams in the business. I learned so much about investing and running a business by having a window into each portfolio company. In many cases, I was charged with leading the technical diligence around underwriting the investment, was a key member of the ongoing development plans, capital budgeting and look-backs as well as strategic decisions on how to position those investments for success.
Co-founding a company is certainly a big career milestone that I reached earlier than expected. This has always been a long-term goal of mine. I’ve been intentional with my career progression from getting a solid technical foundation at a large operator, to getting deep exposure to the transaction and financing side of the business at an investment bank, and then working in a principal investing capacity where I got to see first-hand what differentiated successful management teams and companies.
That being said, what helped the most in achieving this milestone was a number of things coming together at the right time. The most important being the opportunity to partner with an amazing group of professionals at FourPass Energy and then teaming up with a like-minded and capable capital provider like Oaktree.”
Leading by example
“At FourPass, as a startup team, we all wear many hats. At this stage of the company’s life cycle, much of the focus has been on setting the strategy, securing organizational resources needed both now and in the future, and evaluating acquisition opportunities.
On the acquisition side, I’ve been responsible for multiple charges from evaluating type curves economics and development plans to building the corporate model and running acquisition and financing scenarios. In this role, I’m able to bring everyone’s work together, quantify it and create a final integrated product. I also communicate with external parties as well as everyone on the team so they understand the impact of their contributions and how that shapes key decisions.”
“This is a dynamic business that literally powers the world. While the industry is changing, oil and gas will continue to play a very important role in the world’s energy mix for a long time to come. This business has been good to my family and is practically ingrained in my DNA. I’m a proud third-generation oilman.
At a high-level, a big transformation I see the industry must continue to undertake is to become a leader in unwavering ESG practices. It’s not just something you do here and there; it’s about creating a culture focused on being good stewards of the environment, of the people in and around our industry, and of the capital entrusted to us by investors. I would say the industry already does more than it gets credit for and could use a marketing boost in that department. However, there is still much more that could be done. I’m confident the industry will get there.”
“I’ve had many mentors over the course of my life to whom I'm very thankful. One of my earliest was my paternal grandfather, who was a strong patriarch of the family while I was growing up. One of the things he would always repeat to me when we would go out to the field was ‘get your hands dirty.’ As a five-year-old boy riding around with grandpa checking wells, I took the phrase quite literally and would find a mud puddle to stick my hands in and proudly show him. As I got older, I realized what he was really telling me was to be willing to put in the hard work yourself. The appreciation for the value of hard work has been instilled in me from a young age and has translated to how I approach challenges to this day.
Continue to challenge yourself, find and follow your passion, and never get complacent. Also, remain open-minded. This is a very dynamic industry that will go through drastic changes over the coming years. Try to find opportunities that best fit your skills and passions where you can excel.”
Three More Things
- I’m an avid skateboarder and am full of random/useless skateboarding knowledge.
- I won my wife’s wedding ring through a jewelry store promotion involving an OU football game.
- I lost 40 lb during the 2020 quarantine.