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

Tim Brendel, 34

Oil and Gas Group Head, Associated Bank, Houston

Opened company’s physical office in Houston. Launched the oil and gas group at age of 28; since its inception, group has extended financing to 50-plus borrowers primarily in upstream, totaling in excess of $1 billion. Recruited and leads team of nine professionals on staff, as well as two on-staff petroleum engineers.

Entrée to the industry: Previously, vice president, energy capital services- relationship/portfolio management at Union Bank of California. While there, managed approximately 55 existing credits, about a $2 billion portfolio, comprising upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. Commenced career at Ernst & Young as an analyst in transaction advisory services-valuation.

On leadership: Learned a great deal from the hiring process, especially from one petroleum engineer. “An individual with 30 additional years of industry experience reporting to me could have potentially created tension in the workplace; however, my leadership style is one of service and genuine respect for my employees.”

Everything in proportion: Models himself after his father, who “subscribed to the motto, ‘You are what you make time for.’” Makes necessary sacrifices, even “given the demands of a relatively new business” in this tough environment, to balance work with family.

Driving force: “Everyone is unique. This is why I have learned to get to know my employees on a personal level, understanding what makes them tick beyond just earning a paycheck, so that I get the best out of them every day.”

Listening and learning: Advises young professionals to inspire trust from those who are “older, wiser and time-tested” in the industry through effective communication and “a dose of humility. I had to humbly understand that experience cannot be learned, it can only be lived.”

Business moto: Highlights focus as a key trait; enjoys the way Stephen Covey puts it: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Audio Interview