Presented by Grant Thornton, Preng & Associates and Nasdaq. Photography by Evin Thayer Studios.

Chris Kalnin, 39

Managing Director, Founder, Kalnin Ventures LLC, Denver

“I didn’t expect to enjoy working in my own company so much. And if someone had told me how fun it is, I would have started this sooner!” Chris Kalnin says. Kalnin Ventures is helping its investor, a Thai coal and power company, acquire a high quality oil and gas unconventional portfolio, with $207 million out of $500 million already invested within the past 24 months in Appalachia.

Career path: In July 2000, he began his career as a financial analyst for a real estate PE fund at Credit Suisse First Boston, in Los Angeles. After working for a nonprofit in Thailand for a year, he worked as an engagement manager for McKinsey & Co. in Bangkok from 2005-2010. Next, he joined state-owned PTTEP in Bangkok in 2010 as chief of staff to the CEO. In February 2012, he joined Level 3 Communications in Denver as vice president of strategic business operations and planning.

Kalnin’s work experience prepared him to find and close Kalnin Ventures’ first deal in first-quarter 2016 as oil and gas prices plummeted; now the company has $500 million in equity through fund BKV Oil and Gas Capital Partners LP. It could triple its 50 MMcf/d (net) of natural gas within the next six months.

Kalnin Ventures closed four separate transactions within less than 24 months of starting the main fund.

“I didn’t expect we would already be poised to raise another $1 billion in commitments this year to turbo-charge our contrarian investment thesis”—that is, working on acquiring high quality assets in the Marcellus while others rush to the Permian.

On leadership: While working for PTTEP, Kalnin led the then-US$16 billion company’s response to the Montara oil spill offshore Western Australia. The West Atlas rig was owned by PTTEP Australasia. “The turnaround in Australia was cited [by the Australian authorities] as a best-practice case study in how to deal with crisis.”

Audio Interview

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios