Oil and Gas Investor’s 2023 Forty Under 40
Presented by our sponsor, Preng & Associates, Oil and Gas Investor’s 2023 class of honorees are changing the future of their company and the energy industry.
Oil and Gas Investor first launched its annual Forty under 40 project over a decade ago as a recognition program showcasing the extreme talent the oil and gas industry has within its ranks. So far, we have proudly honored and celebrated dozens of these incredible trailblazers in the energy sector. Many have moved on to spearhead other successful companies, while others sold and founded new ones. These past honorees have paved the way for the class of 2023 and for the next generation of leaders to come.
This year’s honorees, all age 40 or younger, were nominated by peers, colleagues or superiors in an open submission process and selected from all sectors of the industry, including E&P, service, A&D, midstream and finance. All are recognized for proven leadership or potential and positive impact in their respective organizations. These role models demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit, creative problem-solving, leadership and community involvement.
The 2023 honorees for Oil and Gas Investor’s “Forty Under 40” program are (alphabetically by surname):
- Shelly Albrecht, Vice President of Land, Avant Natural Resources
- Bailey Donovan Allen, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Chemical Technologies, ChampionX
- Matt Autry, President, Oil and Gas, Valor
- Jillian Boldin (Vanzelfden), Director of Marketing and Optimization, DT Midstream
- Jeff Cook, Vice President of Exploration, Continental Resources
- Zach Davis, Executive Vice President and CFO, Cheniere Energy
- Syed Fahim, Global ESG Lead, SLB
- Sean Fitzgerald, Partner, Boomtown Oil
- Lehne George, Geoscience Manager, Marcellus Business Unit, Chesapeake Energy
- Jacqueline Gerst, Vice President of Storage, Carbonvert Inc.
- Travis Hancock, Co-Founder and Partner, Octagon Energy Partners; CFO, EnerVest Ltd.
- Ryan Hannemann, Portfolio Manager, Marathon Oil Co.
- Clayton Hewett, COO, Cardinal Midstream Partners
- Christopher Hogan, Founding Partner, Hogan Thompson Schuelke LLP
- Joshua Holt, Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer, WellDatabase
- Mathew Jarvis, CEO, Dark Horse Metals and Apex Capital Resources
- Patrick Johnson, Partner, Bracewell LLP
- Jody Jordan, Vice President of Business Development, Brazos Midstream
- Basak Kurtoglu, Managing Director and Head of Technical, Quantum Capital Group
- Robert M. Lee, CEO and Co-Founder, Dragos
- James Liu, Managing Director, Wincoram Asset Management
- Daniel Lopus, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Divestitures, Hilcorp
- Shannon Manner, Vice President, Business Development, Noble Royalties
- Jonathon McCartney, Senior Vice President, Land and Legal, Double Eagle Natural Resources
- Siddharth Misra, Associate Professor, Texas A&M
- Jackie Palmer, CEO, GeoVision; President, DataLog Geological Services
- Yogashri Pradhan, Reservoir Engineer, Coterra
- Shaun Prestridge, Vice President, Planning & Budgeting, LLOG Exploration
- Brittany Raiford, Vice President, Investor Relations, Southwestern Energy
- Brett Schellenberg, Vice President, Digital Solutions, Nabors Industries
- Maryam Schellstede, COO, University Lands
- Ethan Shoemaker, Investment Partner and Head of Infrastructure, Orion Infrastructure Capital
- Carolina Sierra, Director, Technical, First Reserve
- Aaron Smith, Vice President, Engineering, Circle S
- Brendan Smith, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, SeekOps Inc.
- Ryan Springmeyer, CFO, Tap Rock Resources
- Andrzej (Andrew) Stopka, Director, Engineering and Rig Construction, Patterson-UTI
- Janice Tran, Co-Founder and CEO, Kanin Energy
- Matthew Vining, CEO, Navigator CO2
- Caleb Weatherl, CEO, Garrison Energy
Advice that Aaron Smith would give other young professionals is to "Be careful not to burn any bridges, and place emphasis on fostering relationships with your peers."
Andrew Stopka says his mentor is "My father has been my biggest mentor over the years. The most valuable lesson he drilled into me was whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability or don’t do it at all."
Bailey Donovan Allen's best advice she can give to a younger professional is this: "The metrics of success for your life, and your career path, are yours alone to determine."
The reason Basak Kurtoglu entered the oil and gas industry stemmed from "My great uncle gave me advice that planted the seed for my long career in the energy sector. He said given the global demand of energy and water, there will always be jobs to meet these needs."
Brendan Smith describes his most challenging project to date as "Building and maintaining a rock star team that’s dedicated to meeting the industry needs for methane emissions monitoring."
A word of advice that Brett Schellenberg would give other young professionals is to "Volunteer and find ways of being visible throughout the industry and your company."
Brittany Raiford shares that a career milestone she reached sooner than expected was "Leading the investor relations team."
Caleb Weatherl shares his career milestone that he reached sooner than expected was "I don’t think I ever imagined becoming a CEO by the time I was 36, and it’s a milestone that others helped me achieve."
What keeps Carolina Sierra motivated about working in the oil and gas industry is "The availability of oil and gas to the global population has been one of the most critical factors in improving quality of life and reducing poverty."
Advice Chris Hogan would give to other young professionals is "Oil and gas is a small world and you need to keep that in mind when dealing with people."
What keeps Clayton Hewett motivated about working in the oil and gas industry is "I like the challenge that each day brings and the opportunity to solve problems with people that are motivated by the same."
Daniel Lopus shares that his long- term career goal is "I look forward to growing my relationships with our industry partners and working on mutually beneficial transactions."
Ethan Shoemaker says why he entered the oil and gas industry is "Mix of luck, familiarity (my father has been in the natural gas industry for ~40 years) and interest (I wrote my thesis in college on Oil in Africa)."
Jackie Palmer exercised leadership to shape her company by "I really try to just make the space for my employees to showcase their talents."
Jacqueline Gerst shares her most challenging project as "Being part of the shift from research to commercial applications that CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] is currently going through."
James Liu describes his most challenging project to date being "The most recent deal [Wincoram] completed was the acquisition of PureWest Energy with a consortium of family offices and other investors."
Janice Tran shares the qualities she believes are necessary to be a good leader in oil and gas are "I think now, more than ever, adaptability and openness to innovation are qualities that will make one successful over the next decade as the industry evolves."
Jeff Cook says the person he credits for helping develop his leadership skills is "“Ramiro Rangel, a past Senior Vice President of Marketing at Continental Resources, has committed a significant amount of his time over the past five years mentoring me on leadership."
Jillian Boldin (VanZelfden) says the qualities necessary to be a good leader is "Effective management requires a leader to understand the motivations and limitations of their team to achieve excellence."
Jody Jordan describes his memorable professional experience as "Early on at Parsley, we hit 10,000 net boe/d and, at the time, it was a big deal."
When asked who his mentors are, Jonathon W. McCartney said "I don’t have a traditional mentor, but I’m always observing and learning from those around me. My dad has been a major influence, specifically in terms of loyalty and work ethic."
Joshua Holt recalls his uniquely memorable experience in his career as "I remember sitting at dinner with my family, after we launched WellDatabase, and getting that first email about someone signing up."
Lehne George says what keeps her motivated is "As we drill wells, there is a constant influx of data and therefore a seemingly endless flow of things to be curious about. That’s the motivation and passion of being in this industry to me."
Maryam Schellstede exercised leadership by "I endeavor for the employees on the teams I lead, and the employees on teams I don’t lead, to know that I am available to them for everything from mentorship and guidance to voicing concerns or ideas."
Mathew Jarvis shared that one of his career milestones is "I wanted to become a VP within 10 years of starting in oil. I reached it at year five."
Matt Vining says a professional achievement he is most proud of is "Establishing a company that has not only grown substantially but also maintains a high employee satisfaction rate."
Matthew Autry shares the professional achievement he is most proud of is "The relationship I have created with our team and clients at Valor is my favorite professional experience."
Patrick Johnson shares the qualities necessary to be a good leader in the oil and gas industry are "A good leader in the energy industry must be intellectually curious, collaborative, flexible and persistent."
Robert M. Lee says the transformation the industry must undertake to thrive is "The oil and gas industry is going through a rapid technological transformation...To ensure those efforts are successful it will be absolutely necessary to invest seriously in ICS/OT cybersecurity.”
Ryan Hannemann's advice for young professionals is "Pursue what truly excites you and to seek out mentors and peers who challenge and inspire your growth. Listen intently, learn from every experience and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks."
Ryan Springmeyer says his long- term career goals are "To work with the best people. I have been fortunate to work with some really outstanding individuals and whether you are in good times or bad it’s fun to work with great people."
Sean Fitzgerald described one of his memorable professional experience as "I remember the first private equity deal where we controlled the accounting."
“An effective leader is committed to pushing boundaries, has the ability to drive tangible results and, perhaps most importantly, the capacity to earn respect," Manner says.
Shaun Prestridge believes that what young industry members as a group have to offer is "Young industry members bring new creative ideas on either how to improve or replace existing systems and processes."
Shelly Albrecht gives credit to those who have pushed her to grow throughout her career because they saw potential she may have not yet recognized in herself.
Siddharth Misra says he entered the oil and gas industry because "The oil and gas industry drew my attention because it offers the challenge and reward of working in a dynamic and ever-changing industry."
Syed Fahim says he's exercised leadership by "Using the platform, I and my co-leaders have been able to promote topics like sustainability and DE&I way before they entered the popular parlance"
A professional achievement Travis Hancock is most proud of is "Partnering with TPG to turn their Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) into Magnolia Oil & Gas in 2018 is one of the most interesting deals I have completed in my career, thus far."
Yogashri Pradhan says a professional achievement she is most proud of is "[SPE International] Young Professional Service Award in 2018, where my contributions in SPE—technical and professional—are recognized."