Corporate Energy Leadership

September 21, 2021

The effectiveness and efficiency of an energy corporation depend strongly on the board, officers, and ultimately on a team effort, from all levels. In 2018, I spoke at several events with the presentation being entitled The Digital Transformation: From the Whiteboard to the Boardroom. 

It seems so simple that there would be open dialogue and discussions among corporate leaders and with all levels. However, there is nearly always a degree of improvement necessary when it comes to corporate communications from the leadership. Several from the “whiteboard” have expressed their concerns that board members in some cases are not responsive to many suggestions, ideas, and solutions in the corporation’s future. 

There are so many issues and concerns confronting the energy industry, from climate change to methane emissions, cyber security, digital transformation, work force development, proper funding, and infrastructure, and the list goes on, in regard to the evolving energy transition. Whether a corporation is working in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore, onshore, domestically and/or internationally, the challenges are daily present for corporate energy leaders. 

Technologies and innovations are essential in the progress of a corporation’s success. Whether it be future use of clean coal technology, electric vehicles, hydrogen, or other forms of energy, strong leadership will be necessary in navigating the corporation’s roadmap. 

One concern that I have is with preparing leaders of the future, for the challenges they will face. Along with the leadership, having a strong workforce will be an even greater challenge. Therefore, I believe that “STEM” (Science Technology Engineering Math) programs from the grade schools to the college levels and technical schools will be so important. 

Firsthand, I was involved as Chairman and Board Member of the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma, RUSO, with the development of a major STEM project in Oklahoma. The Donald Betz STEM Research and Learning Center was opened November 14th, 2018, at the University of Central Oklahoma. The center is the  interdisciplinary hub for the university’s various science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, including biology, chemistry, engineering, forensic science and nursing. The building adds 56,000 square feet of learning space for the campus for the highly-sought STEM majors. 

There are so many STEM and similar projects throughout the nation. But, I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of such commitments by energy companies, communities and universities. 

While communication and workforce development are vital to success at the corporation, many energy companies struggle with defining their true mission and vision. The input from all levels have to be addressed in order to reach full potential. 

Strategy of the corporation starts at the top, but includes meetings and retreats, which are held to embrace all avenues of input. Many energy companies have been successful as well as many have been unsuccessful, due to their strategic planning or lack thereof. The focus upon a concise strategic plan is key. The energy corporations normally are confronting continuing changes that make it difficult to incorporate the strategic planning processes. 

The corporation must be comprised of the right people at the top. For the shareholders to get full value out of their investment, they must have leaders who stay up to date on energy issues, technology, and other key components. The board needs to be comprised of cross-sections of disciplines. 

America needs America’s energy, and America needs strong energy leadership!

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