Mike Lennox, 35
District Manager-West Texas, Helmerich & Payne Inc., Odessa, Texas
District manager of Helmerich & Payne’s largest district, running 97 rigs and leading 2,000-plus employees at the height of drilling. Was recruited to play football at West Point. Served two tours in Iraq at rank of Captain from 2003 to 2008. Earned MBA while working in Odessa. Runs a cattle ranching business in Midland County with partners.
Entry to oil and gas: He was familiar with the industry because of growing up in Fort Worth, but his parents weren’t in the business. “After the Army, I wanted to work in Texas and use my engineering degree, but I didn’t want a desk job. I wanted to work outdoors and wear work boots. The oil and gas industry gave me that opportunity.”
On an MBA at Texas Tech: He was in Odessa, Texas, and could use the post-9/11 GI Bill. “I was running 50 or 60 rigs at the time with around 2,500 employees and I’m looking to get an MBA. I didn’t have enough to do, right?” Additionally, his first child was on the way, and his second was born toward the end of the MBA program.
Admires “leaders of character:” “In the military, I was exposed to several. Outside of the service, I like Lou Holtz. I like his principles; the way he approaches life, you can apply to business or, really, anything.”
At H&P, admires several folks for their leadership: “It’s a business but we have several influential leaders who truly care about me and our employees, and it makes it an enjoyable place to work.”
On cattle ranching: He and a couple of partners have cattle on land in Midland County. “We have a cow calf operation going on where we brand them, give them shots, make sure they’re fed and watered, and sell off the calves each year.
“I sit at a desk most days as part of my job; so it’s an opportunity to get out there, sweat, work with your hands, feel alive.” His partners are in oil and gas as well.
Mottos in life and business: “Work hard and be honest.”