It took some time for Brent Kelsall to find his way to the energy sector, but once he did, he made a fast and meaningful impression.
As one of the initial employees at FourPoint Energy LLC, Kelsall helped set the company’s financial course. He’s part of a team that capitalized FourPoint and LongPoint Minerals over the past five years, despite industry challenges.
“I am incredibly satisfied to have contributed to the substantial growth of our companies over that timeframe,” Kelsall says. “It is rewarding to be part of such a high performing and talented team.”
An unexpected invitation: After graduating from Colorado State University at Fort Collins with a finance degree, Kelsall joined an IT and financial services-focused boutique investment bank. He remained with the bank for about three years but ultimately realized it wasn’t the best fit for his skillset and interests.
He spent another three years working in the strategic planning and corporate development group for Newmont Mining, the world’s leading gold mining company.
In 2013, he joined FourPoint as the company’s 14th employee.
“Receiving an invitation to join the incredible team at FourPoint Energy was a great achievement for me,” Kelsall says. “I always wanted to join an entrepreneurial team that was just starting out, but I figured it would take a while to sharpen my skills into something that was desirable by a team with this track record.
“This is probably the highlight of my career so far,” he proudly notes.
“The people [in oil and gas] are fantastic; they’re innovative, they’re creative, they’re fun. For the most part, it’s hard to find someone in the oil and gas industry you don’t want to be around.”
Challenging times: Transitioning from one type of natural resources industry to another challenged Kelsall, but he says he was guided through by mentor and FourPoint chief financial officer Tad Herz.
“Tad has been a wealth of knowledge and an extremely supportive mentor,” he says. “I don’t know where I would be today in this industry or company without his advice and guidance.”
Coming from the gold mining sector, Kelsall was no stranger to volatile commodity prices, but he still struggled when the energy downturn hit in 2015.
At the time, FourPoint had an opportunity to acquire Western Anadarko Basin assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp., which would further consolidate the company’s position in the region. The trouble was, oil prices were in the $30 per barrel range, and gas was valued at about $2 per thousand cubic feet.
“Raising capital from investors in this environment was incredibly challenging,” Kelsall says. Nevertheless, FourPoint persevered, and it closed the transaction in early 2016.
Natural leader: Kelsall tends to take on a leadership role on most projects and teams he is a part of, and he has high hopes for his future. He says he’d ultimately like to become chief executive or chief financial officer of a company such as FourPoint.
He believes three personality traits are essential to success: attention to detail, ownership of work and an eagerness to learn.
“I believe professional success is rooted in effort and hard work,” he says. “I am by no means the smartest person in the room, but I try to work harder than most to accomplish any task.”
A people person: Kelsall has worked in several industries, but he says nothing compares to the pleasure he takes from working in the energy sector.
“I think it is primarily due to the people who work in the oil and gas industry,” he says. “Ultimately, the people [in oil and gas] are fantastic; they’re innovative, they’re creative, they’re fun. For the most part, it’s hard to find someone in the oil and gas industry you don’t want to be around.”