Justin Love
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Founder & CEO, Blackbuck Resources, Houston
23 FortyUnder40 feat. Love, Justin

Water management solutions have gained momentum since the shale boom. In response, Justin Love, CEO, founded Blackbuck Resources, a midstream water solutions firm that designs, builds and operates water infrastructure in Texas and New Mexico, in 2018.

Blackbuck “represents the culmination of nearly 10 years of lightning-fast evolution in the oil and gas industry as related to water management,” Love says. 

“It has been my passion throughout those years to be a part of the broader industry conversation as a subject matter expert and to find ways to add value to E&P companies,” he says. “You could say that BBR has essentially been my life’s work thus far.” 

Love has always closely followed the E&P sector’s needs related to water issues. Prior to launching Blackbuck, Love founded Love Energy Advisors (LEA), a boutique global advisory and origination energy and water group, in 2014. 

The firm was focused on “serving as a focal point between investors, water technology entrepreneurs and E&P companies at a critical time when there was generally little connectivity or understanding between said parties,” Love says. 

As Blackbuck Resources continues to grow, with offices in Houston, Dallas and Midland/Odessa, Love says his focus is on building Blackbuck Resources in the direction of a billion-dollar company and “finding the best people I can to share my vision with, and then listening to them. I’ve learned leadership is as much listening as it is directing or creating, and I make an effort to do this every day.”

“The world is an extremely small and ever-shrinking place. I’ve learned working in this niche industry that treating others with respect and dignity always comes back around twofold.”

Leading with experience: Love gained valuable experience working in the field while at Schlumberger Ltd., where he began his career, and later as an entrepreneur. “I got to experience first-hand the demanding work folks in our industry conduct 24/7 to make the world go ‘round,” he says. 

The Virginia Tech engineering grad worked on offshore platforms and in onshore oil fields around the world, where he was directly involved in the physical operations. He once traded in his car for a pickup truck and drove to the Permian Basin— setting up shop in an Odessa storage unit—to perform the physical work required to provide the water management services his young firm offered E&P customers. 

“Having these very raw experiences has better enabled me to effectively lead the BBR organization, instilling in me a reverence for the absolute importance of a culture focused on safety, health and the environment. This, paired with well-planned, efficient work processes, is critical to being successful in our business.” 

Advice for young professionals: “Be bold. Be confident. Don’t be afraid to share your professional ideas and to passionately pursue them,” says Love. “Set long-term goals and shorter-term, specific sub-goals, and always keep moving forward. Sometimes it may feel like you’re moving in the wrong direction, but it’s most definitely better than sitting still. Always remember no one ever hoped their way to success.” 

Mentors: “I am fortunate to have a plethora of brilliant, hardworking entrepreneurial family members and friends who taught me to be bold and determined at a young age,” Love says. 

“I can think of countless sounding boards I’ve had as mentors over the years to help me tackle a challenge or to make a tough decision.” One mentor’s advice Love doesn’t take for granted came from his late professor, Dr. Torgersen, at Virginia Tech. 

“He indirectly showed me that larger than life leadership can come in a humble, unassuming package, and something that I always refer to: You always back through the biggest doors. Meaning some of the best opportunities come when you least expect it, often after a perceived loss. Bottom line—stick with it.”