Julia Margaret Klingensmith
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Chief Digital Officer, Flywheel Energy LLC, Oklahoma City

Whether she’s whipping a CrossFit class into shape, commanding U.S. Navy missions or guiding the digital efforts of Flywheel Energy LLC, Julia Klingensmith knows how to be an effective leader.

As chief digital officer of Flywheel, she’s responsible for the company’s analytics, information technology and cyber security strategies. Day-to-day tasks include creating visibility into all the company’s data, working across departments to create efficient processes and building a data and IT foundation that is both easy to use and secure.

Leading Flywheel’s analytics department is no easy task, but Klingensmith says she’s helped by the company’s communal work environment. 

“At Flywheel, we put tremendous effort into coaching all leaders in the organization into a sense of shared consciousness in terms of understanding the value of data, digital platforms, analytics and understanding their individual role within the overall system,” she says. 

“By turning the end users into the biggest spokespeople for the value of cross-functional digital integration, every function benefits from the efforts of all the others.” 

Flight path: Growing up, Klingensmith was fascinated by space and aviation, and she considered flying for the armed services. She later joined the U.S. Navy, but to her dismay discovered she suffered from airsickness. She became a flight officer instead. 

“I chose to be a flight officer so that I could still be part of the aviation community but focus more on the tactical mission rather than the function of flying for the benefit of anyone sitting close to me while in flight.” 

Klingensmith served the Navy with distinction for 11 years, and ultimately she reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander. She says overseas missions highlighted to her the importance of energy for the U.S.

“Integrating the operational assets into our IT and digital systems was easily the most challenging project in my career, and we accomplished it not just through good old fashioned project management but also by remaining as flexible as possible.”

“Our reliance on foreign energy sources has led to a web of consequences, including supporting nations that do not share our values. Joining the oil and gas community was an opportunity to positively impact the security of our nation from the civilian side while aiding the spread of Western human rights and improvements in the standard of living globally.” 

After leaving the Navy, Klingensmith worked for SandRidge Energy Inc., where she developed software applications and conducted advanced analytics as a senior data analyst. 

Before joining Flywheel in 2017, she was BP’s analytics manager and led its data science and digital efforts for the contiguous U.S. 

Crushing challenges: Klingensmith likes a good challenge in both her personal and professional lives. She spends at least an hour a day at a CrossFit gym and is certified as a Level 2 CrossFit coach. She also spent a summer living in the Colorado wilderness, building a hiking trail. 

Her most difficult professional challenge came in 2018, when Flywheel acquired Southwestern Energy Co.’s Fayetteville shale business. 

The $1.865 billion acquisition included more than 4,000 producing wells, spread across over 900,000 net acres, and an integrated midstream gathering system with more than 2,000 miles of gathering pipeline and over 50 compressor stations. The assets are located in central Arkansas. 

“Integrating the operational assets into our IT and digital systems was easily the most challenging project in my career, and we accomplished it not just through good old fashioned project management but also by remaining as flexible as possible throughout the functions,” Klingensmith says. 

“Through cross-training, agile development and getting the actual end users on the operational end involved in the earliest stages of the product development cycle, we managed to avoid major errors and end up on the other side with a strong digital foundation that will hopefully set us up for scalable success in the years to come.”