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

Matt Gallagher, 36

President, COO, Parsley Energy Inc., Austin, Texas

Matt Gallagher, president and COO of Parsley Energy Inc., relishes the small part he plays in a huge industry that “is quite literally the mainstay of modern life. [Oil and gas] powers much of the global economy, as well as people’s daily lives—we fuel the buses that take kids to school and the planes that move people across the world on business trips or family vacations.”

To that point, every day as he leaves for work, he tells his young son that he is “helping the planes fly.” His son, who loves airplanes, is delighted and amazed.

Lights on: Gallagher, whose educational background is in petroleum engineering, elaborates further on the industry’s importance, saying that “cleaner-burning natural gas has now overtaken coal as America’s leading source of electric power. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas and liquid petroleum now provide almost 33%—nearly one-third—of our nation’s electric power. And just last month, [the U.S.] overtook Russia as the world’s largest crude producer. The shale oil revolution made that happen. It is providing dependable, secure energy for the world.”

Parsley Energy operates in the Texas side of the Permian Basin, holding more than 200,000 acres there, with about 107.8 Mboe/d produced in the second quarter of 2018.

As its president and COO, Gallagher has helped make “tremendous progress on lowering operating costs. … We’ve reduced lease operating costs per barrel by roughly 50%, and that can’t happen without imagination and coordination, which we encourage.”

Gallagher is slated to go far at Parsley, revealing at press time that in January 2019, he will become the CEO. He notes that he will continue working closely with Bryan Sheffield, the outgoing CEO.

On mentors: In fact, Gallagher considers the Sheffields, founders of the company, as mentors, among others including Paul Treadwell, Mike Hinson and Stephanie Reed. “We all try to run the company the right way—with a handshake and a commitment to do right by each other and the communities in which we live and work.”

Advice for young professionals: “Every day in our business is an adventure. I encourage young leaders to ask, ‘What might we find if we try a new bench or step out into a new basin?’ It’s that true sense of exploration, of always pushing toward new frontiers, that makes our business so exciting.”

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios