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

Jake Stroud, 37

CFO, Castell Oil Co., Fort Worth, Texas

Jake Stroud views himself as a prudent risk taker—and taking chances nearly always pays off for the successful businessman, who is a third-generation oilman.

“I think risk is a healthy part of a career,” he says. “It’s been a core tenet through my professional life that I’ve always been willing to try something new, try a new approach, or try a new venture with a new team.”

Stroud’s contrarian streak began in 2012, when he founded Axiom Resource Partners LLC to invest in dry gas during a time when many competitors were focusing on unconventional oil plays. Though the company’s gas strategy hadn’t yet matured, Axiom saw an opportunity in 2014 to refocus on the then-emerging northern Midland Basin.

This time, the gamble paid off.

“We acquired as much as we could buy and ultimately exited successfully,” Stroud says. “I give credit to the team. They not only sold me on the idea that we could get into the Permian to buy assets that would add value, but then aggressively pursued and acquired those opportunities in an increasingly competitive market.”

In 2017, Stroud was chosen by a colleague to help found Castell Oil Co., a private-equity-backed E&P that operates in the Permian, Powder River and Anadarko basins.

Flying high: Outside the office, Stroud is an avid pilot. Learning to fly a Cirrus plane, which he calls “a fairly unforgiving pursuit,” has taught him lifelong lessons in both his vocation and avocation.

Flying safely requires planning, preparation, discipline and judgment, and Stroud says the same principles apply to successfully running a business.

“There’s a very deliberate, careful and structured process to successfully mitigate risks. You have to constantly manage that with careful planning, frequent assessment, and pre-set decision points that dictate how and when to change your plan, before problems arise.”

Advice for young professionals: “Don’t be afraid to fail, be comfortable with who you are, and proofread emails before sending.”

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios