When it comes to conquering challenges, industry executive Aaron Blomquist is not afraid to make missteps. In fact, it is just the opposite—Blomquist feels that defeats help make him a better person. “I have failed a ton,” he says. “I feel like I improve more when I acknowledge failure and learn from it. I think it is all about failing and coming back from failing.”
The resilient executive leads the infrastructure investment banking group at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH), which includes midstream, refining, power and utilities. He makes decisions on department strategy, staffing, time management and more.
Career path: Blomquist entered the industry after graduating from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He briefly worked as a summer analyst at Credit Suisse before joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He quickly climbed the ranks within the firm’s global energy and power investment banking group, and he was ultimately director of its global energy and power investment banking group. He has also worked at Evercore Inc. as a vice president.
Becoming a bank managing director—and shortly thereafter a group head—was one of Blomquist’s key career milestones, and it is an accomplishment he reflects upon with modesty.
“Making managing director was because I really liked being a banker and uniquely focused on midstream investment banking solely for 12 years,” he says. “Becoming the head of the group was more luck—right place at the right time.”
Hidden blessings: Blomquist learned an early lesson in failure while studying at LSU, which was not a school that Wall Street firms typically recruited from at the time. Blomquist was overjoyed to land a summer internship on Wall Street through networking. But when the summer ended, the firm did not extend full-time job offers to any of the interns.
“It was crushing,” Blomquist recalls. “Fortunately, I was able to land one full-time analyst investment banking interview with Merrill Lynch in energy investment banking in Houston. I ended up getting the job. It was a much better position for me, and Houston is a much better spot for me personally than New York City, and I absolutely loved working at Merrill. I got a ton out of it, and it set the foundation for my career.”
“The top 10% are those that are forward thinkers, and they’re right more often than not.”
A likeable leader: Throughout his 16-year career, Blomquist has learned a lot about effective management. He has been inspired by mentors at each of the firms he has worked for and says he incorporates their wisdom into his current role.
“I think the most valuable advice has been consistent and is along the lines of love what you do, always have a point of view and don’t take yourself too seriously,” he says. “To be a good advisor, you need to be both trustworthy and viewed as an expert. This is all part of our culture that I push very hard.”
An industry of innovation: Blomquist counts himself lucky to be working in the energy industry and even more fortunate to be at TPH and a member of TPH’s leadership council. “I think our industry has the best people,” he says. “They’re smart, innovative, hardworking and down-to-earth.”
The most outstanding oil and gas executives, he says, are those who are ready to embrace change and stay a step ahead of the trends.
“Being a forward thinker allows you to be differentiated,” Blomquist says. “Our industry is constantly changing, and the folks that are most successful are always working toward what’s next and not following the herd mentality. The top 10% are those that are forward thinkers, and they’re right more often than not.”
Personally speaking: Outside the office, Blomquist is an avid hunter and fisherman, and he has traveled the world pursuing those passions.
But he says nothing brings him more joy than spending time with his wife, Kristin, and their two children, 4-year-old Isabelle and 2-year-old Stire.
“Having children reminds me that nothing is more important than they are.”