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

Luke Essman, 36

President & CEO, Canyon Creek Energy II LLC, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Directly involved in 2015 sale of an original greenfield 80,000-acre multihorizon development to an unnamed public. Raised $75 million in capital commitments from ArcLight Capital Partners.

Entrée to the industry: Spent 10 years in commercial banking, beginning with Bank of Oklahoma as a commercial loan officer, then as senior vice president of Summit Bank. At Summit, personally managed $62 million in loan commitments, approximately 40% of the bank’s commercial loan portfolio.

Be prepared: As a banker, witnessed “how quickly a company’s valuations can erode” during the 2008 financial crisis and 2014 energy commodity price crash. Sobering experience “prepared us to maintain low leverage.”

Open-ended: Prizes the industry’s cultivation of operator creativity. “There are an infinite number of ways to structure transactions and several ways to embark on successful strategies surrounding oil and gas development.”

Delayed gratification: “As a company executive, I am constantly thinking six to 12 months ahead to help pave the direction of the company. Most times I don’t see impact of decisions made today for several months or years.”

Getting guidance: Encourages those with entrepreneurial spirit to “learn as much as you can from your mentors, as it will help tremendously when you start your business. Be careful of only listening to the vocal ‘experts.’ Instead, search for the quiet leaders who are confident and decisive in their business practices.”

Take action: Embraces action once it’s clear something’s got to give. Mentors taught him “to make early and decisive decisions once you conclude changes need to be made. ‘Hope’ is not an active or successful strategy.”