Presented by Grant Thornton, Preng & Associates, Citigroup and The University of Oklahoma Price College of Business Energy Institute

Nathaniel Harding, 34

Founder and President, Antioch Energy LLC, Oklahoma City

Headed Harding & Shelton’s first-ever horizontal drilling program and its 2013 sale for $100 million-plus. Founded private equity-backed Antioch Energy to develop Midcontinent assets. Has consulted in China, training technical teams and designing wildcat shale drilling plans.

Entrée to the industry: Started at Encana Oil and Gas Inc. as a petroleum engineer; conducted analyses related to production, equipment and reservoir performance for 1,000 natural gas wells spanning three states and 1 million acres.

Mix and match: Appreciates the industry’s intermingled “disciplines, high-level technology and science, financial wizardry, deal-making and big rigs you find in our business.” Operators have the opportunity to “create value where once there was none. You could say we’re the alchemists.”

Onward and upward: Expanded family business to greatest level in its 30-year history. Along with business partner Kevin Dunnington, implemented a horizontal development plan; sold the assets for $100 million, paving way for launch of own company.

Lemons to lemonade: Dropped off at ice hockey camp in Minnesota at age 11 without any cash, his parents’ mistake. Enterprising from an early age, made money by selling bottles of Gatorade, using money to buy pizza and selling leftover slices to other campers. “I suppose you could say I learned about segregated rights and fractional ownership, or at least caught the entrepreneurial bug.”

Taking charge: “If you want to start your own company, you just have to start, make a plan, pursue every lead, make up your mind, but be willing to change it. You almost certainly won’t end up doing what you set out to do, but if you’re not in the game then nothing will come about.”