Mike Kifer
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Vice President – Acquisitions and Reserves, EnerVest, Houston
22 FortyUnder40 Kifer, Mike

Born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas, a college town with a population of about 50,000 affectionately nicknamed the “Little Apple,” Mike Kifer, vice president – acquisitions and reserves for EnerVest, became attracted to the oil and gas industry while completing his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. The “fundamental benefits to society provided by the safe, reliable and affordable energy resources we produce” appealed to him, he said.

In tandem with his industry career, Kifer maintains his commitment to the good of others by supporting “charitable organizations in the Houston area focused on the homeless community such as Star of Hope. At EnerVest, we regularly volunteer our time at the Houston Food Bank and Buffalo Bayou Partnership,” he said. “I’m passionate about working in this industry because we provide the energy sources and products that make our privileged way of life possible.”

Career milestone

“A career milestone that I’m proud to have reached is to be promoted at EnerVest to the role of vice president of acquisitions and reserves. The role has been held by some outstanding professionals over EnerVest’s history, and I have the privilege of working with a talented group of people. It is exciting to have an impact on the future growth of our company, and I take the responsibility very seriously.”

Eagle Ford/Austin Chalk concentration

“A professional achievement I’m proud of was the concentrated position we assembled in the Eagle Ford and Austin Chalk plays at EnerVest from 2015 through 2018. We had a focused strategy of acquiring multiple assets of the highest quality possible and executed the strategy well. This required a deep technical understanding of the hydrocarbon system and an economic evaluation which enabled us to be a competitive bidder.”

A challenging project

“The project that presented the greatest challenge in my career was during my time at BMO Capital Markets in the A&D advisory practice. We were representing a client on a multibasin noncore divestment initiative. In building the company prior to going public, our client had amassed a diverse set of conventional assets that complemented the core unconventional assets which were the company’s growth engine.

“As our client’s representative in the sale process, we spent over two months compiling and organizing all of the relevant information for the assets which covered many of the onshore basins in the United States. One of the properties was an oil field in Texas that was discovered over 100 years ago! After presenting to over 40 bidders, we successfully sold the properties for our client which required organizational skills and perseverance.”

First management position

“When I was asked to lead the financial planning and analysis group at EnerVest, it was my first opportunity to manage a group of people. The promotion was the result of continuous dialogue with our leadership team about my career aspirations and competencies. The experience stretched me professionally in ways I couldn’t have predicted and turned out to be tremendously rewarding.”

Leadership qualities

“I believe that leadership qualities are learned by people more so than inherent in people. It requires conscious effort to exemplify these qualities and to build upon them over time. When setting goals and priorities for my department, I communicate the reasoning for my decisions in order to exhibit judgment and obtain buy-in from the group.”

Advice for young professionals

“My advice for young professionals in the oil and gas industry is to focus on the learning curve early in one’s career and embrace the process of failure. Many young professionals have enjoyed a lot of success academically and may not have faced serious adversity in their lifetimes. The ability to constructively turn failures into future achievements is what sets successful people apart from the crowd.”

“The ability to constructively turn failures into future achievements is what sets successful people apart from the crowd.”