Don’t let his age fool you—Dustin Cabrera has accumulated a career’s worth of accomplishments in less than a decade and shows no signs of slowing. The ambitious energy banker became one of the youngest vice presidents at Roth Capital Partners when he was 26, and today he helps lead its energy investment banking department.
But it seems the best has yet to come. “The environment at Roth allows me to continue to grow my career over the long term,” Cabrera says. “I fully expect that as we continue to stamp our presence in the space and grow our business I can be instrumental in that growth.”
Professional plot twist: Cabrera began his career as an investment banker in 2012, after graduating from Chapman University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Having emphasized in finance, he later worked at a merchant bank focusing on mergers and acquisitions. Cabrera initially focused his efforts on healthcare and specialty pharmaceuticals but soon saw an opportunity to make a switch. He transitioned to the oil and gas industry during the ramp-up of the shale boom in the Permian Basin, D-J Basin and Bakken.
“I recognized the aggressive drilling activity for small companies and therefore banking opportunities to finance them,” Cabrera says. “Working with Alex Montano, a long-time veteran in the space, I began to learn the ropes, understanding the marriage of disciplines between engineering, operations, finance and branding.”
Cabrera joined Roth in 2014, and he now advises growth-oriented micro-cap and small-cap companies in the oil and gas industry. He has proven to be a valuable addition to the firm’s team, having led its efforts into both the specialty chemical space and the oilfield technology sector.
“I always try to be the hardest worker in the room and let my work product speak for itself.”
Challenge accepted: One of Cabrera’s most challenging projects was the merger of a private NGL producer into a small public company in Houston. The public company was on the verge of delisting with minimal options. Cabrera represented the private company, which had a buy-and-build strategy and ambitions of going public.
To close the deal, Cabrera’s team pitched 22 individual interest owners on rolling in their interests and going public, and they tailored cash and stock arrangements for each owner. His team also had to get the lender to expand and refinance a new credit facility and complete a small equity financing to fund working capital prior to closing.
Cabrera’s efforts ultimately paid off. “We managed to get every shareholder a meaningful stake in the new company, negotiated with the lender to fund future development and, most importantly, won a long-term client,” he says.
A competitive edge: Cabrera’s high-achieving tendencies date back to his childhood. As the youngest in the family, he remembers having to work extra hard to match his older brother, Derrick. Although he recalls being a “runt” athlete in school, he compensated for that by putting in some extra effort.
“I was always a grinder and always aimed to be smarter and faster than everyone else,” Cabrera says. “I think that carries over into my professional career as well. I always try to be the hardest worker in the room and let my work product speak for itself.”
On industry: “If there’s anything unmistakable about the industry,” Cabrera says, “it’s that can-do attitude and swagger that you can’t help but have rub off on you. Old plays become new plays with state-of-the-art drilling and completion techniques and technologies. The constant change, innovation and identifying the next opportunity is exciting and something I really enjoy in this space.”