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

Jeffrey Knupp, 37

Director, Investment Banking, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., Denver

Spearheads TPH’s investment banking practice in Denver; since joining company, has worked on approximately 40 transactions, representing more than $30 billion. Managed deal teams on execution of 14 transactions, with total value of $19 billion-plus.

Career path: Started career at ExxonMobil, working on the development plan and start-up of a 225 Mboe/d field in remote Chad, Africa.  At Netherland, Sewell & Associates, analyzed the oil and gas assets of more than 15 major and independent E&Ps, ranging from $50 million to $2 billion. Previously, at Merit Energy Co., optimized 3 EOR projects, adding 1.2 MMboe reserves.

Next generation: Spotlights the importance of teaching and mentoring junior staff—“the backbone of our business.” Believes companies cannot succeed without the next wave of determined professionals.

Self-confidence: As a petroleum engineer, long trusted his analytical and problem-solving ability; developing “that same level of confidence in my leadership/management and client interaction skills” took his career to the next level, marking “the final jump from being a team member to a true team leader.”

Going to the mat: Began wrestling at age five. After the first day of practice, came home eager to quit, crying, with a bloody, bruised nose. Father “taught me never to give up, and to never quit. Once you start something (or commit to something), you can’t quit in the middle.” Stuck with it through college and gained “discipline, determination and self-confidence that I think has helped set me apart from many of my peers.”

Plan ahead: Mentor Chad Michael, co-head of upstream banking team, taught him “to always be prepared for every situation—spend as much time as it takes doing so.”

Mix it up: Values the diversity in the industry’s disciplines; “it’s important to have a thorough breadth of technical, financial, commercial and relationship skills.”

Audio Interview