Jeter Thomas

CFO, Caerus Oil and Gas LLC, Denver

The path to energy: As undergrad, a career in energy wasn’t on his radar screen. “It was ’98 and the Internet and all things electrical were in the spotlight. My degree was systems science—lots of electrical engineering, computer programming, materials science, chemical engineering. I thought I would find a career in the telecom industry but, coming out of school in 2002 after the dot-com bubble burst, that industry was on its heels.”

Moved back to Denver. “Through a family friend to whom I am eternally indebted, was offered a position with an oil and gas company.”

On monetizing engineering: Thinks it’s important for people in oil and gas to understand the technical aspect of the business, but also necessary to incorporate more thinking about how to motivate people, what are the right financial decisions, how to pay for what the geologists and engineers want to do.

“At the same time, it’s helpful to have worked as a reservoir engineer and understand the limitations of hydrocarbon systems.”

The path to Caerus: Knew of its upcoming formation and pitched the founders early on to hire him. “Caerus’ management and board members are, bar none, the smartest collective of individuals I have been around in any setting.”

People he admires: Former Caerus chairman Chris Hunt, “who showed me, by example, that business should be No. 2 to family. And I admire my uncles; they worked tirelessly on the family business, which instilled a principle that you’re always working for your shareholders.”

Motto in life: “Work hard; play hard.”

In business: “Hedge.”