Michael Mitchell

Vice President, Energy Spectrum Capital, Dallas
Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell didn’t expect to end up in the oil and gas industry, but the novelty of it stuck with him after a brief introduction at his previous job. Originally working as a credit analyst for Amegy Bank in Houston, he transitioned into the energy business after being fascinated by it during a rotation into an oilfield services group.

“During my rotation through the bank’s oilfield service group, it became evident to me that the group was one of the busiest in the bank from a transaction standpoint and was managed by some of the premier thought leaders at the bank,” he said. “Amegy was a known lender within the space at the time, which afforded me the opportunity to evaluate a broad mix of deal structures and counterparties and to learn how to become more customer centric. I also had opportunities to establish and grow internal relationships with some of the bank’s most senior lenders at an earlier stage than I had initially anticipated and to learn from their experience along the way. Lastly, the energy sector was especially interesting given it was a new sector to me.”

Born in Dallas, Texas, Mitchell lives there with his wife, Melanie, and their daughter, Kate, as he serves as vice president of Energy Spectrum Capital.

Climbing the ladder

“After joining RBC, I kept my head down, working long hours and asking lots of questions, with aspirations to move up the learning curve that comes with any banking job as quickly as I could. Five months into the job, I was promoted to a second-year analyst, which provided me some conviction that my approach was beginning to pay dividends. After my promotion, I found myself being asked by more senior bankers to work on specific transactions rather than receiving work via the traditional staffing protocols. The work became more substantive, and I was able to build meaningful relationships within the energy team at RBC. The experience I had gained and the rapport I had built with the energy team at RBC ultimately led me to Energy Spectrum in Dallas, where I’ve now worked for seven years.

I was asked to sit on my first portfolio company board in 2016, two years into my time with Energy Spectrum. Sitting on the board of a company was always a goal of mine, but I did not expect it at that point in my time with Energy Spectrum. Up to that point, I had done what worked for me previously, kept my head down and learned everything I could about midstream investment fundamentals and philosophies. As I had in past roles, I also spent as much time as I could developing relationships with portfolio company management teams in order to establish a reliable and efficient line of communication between their teams and ours. The same approach that I leaned on to get to Energy Spectrum ultimately helped me obtain my first board seat sooner than I anticipated."

Overcoming challenges

“Achieving a final closing for Energy Spectrum’s last fundraise was a challenging, but rewarding, experience. Although it was my first fundraise, it was Energy Spectrum’s eighth, and that experience coupled with the firm’s existing relationships were the keys to our success. When we kicked off the fundraise process in 2018, the industry faced a variety of headwinds, including a scarcity of available capital – crude oil prices remained rangebound, the M&A market was muted, and many traditional investors had begun pivoting towards lower-impact and sustainable investment vehicles as a substitute to traditional oil and gas. The onset of COVID-19 in 2020 effectively halted capital raising efforts across the market; however, we were fortunate to complete our fundraise process in April 2020, and I was extremely proud of the efforts of the team to close out the fund during such a challenging fundraising environment. The team demonstrated grit, perseverance and forward thinking in accomplishing its goal of successfully raising our eighth fund.

Leading by example: “I make every effort to lead by example within Energy Spectrum. I hold myself to a high standard regardless of the task that is asked of me and prioritize open, high value communication within my team internally, our portfolio company management teams and our investors. I embrace the challenges, as these are the opportunities when you can often learn the most, and I expect those that I work with to hold themselves accountable as well. My hope is that my dedication to advancing Energy Spectrum will encourage others on my team to continue to work hard and support the firm in an effort to achieve its long-term goals."

Future plans

“Near-term, I am focused on further developing my skillset as an equity investor through relationship-building, thoughtful diligence, execution and creativity, while contributing to the generation of positive returns for our limited partners. Long-term, I hope to leave the industry in a better place than when I started by maintaining a bold and innovative approach to new ideas while being a good steward of capital.

The energy business is trending towards a data-focused industry. Leveraging digital infrastructure and technology-driven processes to analyze historical trends, maximize workplace safety and create solutions for future problems is a movement that young industry members have embraced and can continue to promote and improve upon going forward to create better-performing organizations within the industry.

The energy business is in the midst of significant transformation today. The industry is full of bright and talented individuals that must continue to promote positive change for the industry by being innovative and open to new ideas and concepts. Hydrocarbons should continue to be a significant contributor to a multi-pronged global energy future, and it is up to us to push the industry forward in a meaningful and responsible way with our creative approach."

Three More Things

  1. My wife and I were both born and raised in Dallas, Texas. We were thrilled that we were each able to find opportunities within our fields of interest that allowed us to return home.
  2. My wife is a practicing veterinarian here in Dallas. My daily responsibilities (transaction execution) pale in comparison to hers (savings lives).
  3. Outside the office, I enjoy getting outdoors; three favorites are golfing, fishing and bird hunting.