Growing up in Dallas in the oil boom years, it was no surprise that my first audit client was Halliburton in Duncan, OK, or that I would work for an oil & gas company originally from Enid, OK (Champlin Petroleum). When oil & gas struggled in the late 80’s, the telecommunications sector was booming on the east coast. While most of America was glued to their TVs watching the first Gulf War unfold live on their screens, I was preparing a proposal to be submitted to Saudi Aramco as soon as the war ended. Two weeks after the ceasefire, I was in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia with GTE (now Verizon) setting up a new telecom company to work with Aramco.
This adventure took me around the world mobilizing a team. While I was in Seoul, South Korea, in August 1991, the Soviet military tried to overthrow President Gorbachev. By the end of the year, the USSR had dissolved. I had little idea at the time the impact that this would have on my career. The former Soviet states needed assistance transitioning from communism to capitalism. At KPMG (Barents Group), our team helped former Soviet states and other emerging markets set up economies, taxation models, stock exchanges and trading systems, and selling their state-owned businesses – banks, breweries, tobacco, etc., to private companies.
These international adventures eventually led me to Fidelity Investments in Boston, where I was on both sides of Private Equity – as the CFO of a fledgling software company and then later, on the investment side helping to manage their private portfolio. As I moved into the consulting space, working with global companies like CitiGroup, British Petroleum, and Michelin, my focus has always been advising companies and leaders on how to best grow their companies and execute on their business strategies.
I returned to Oklahoma in 2015 and joined i2E about a year ago. Having worked all over the world, I can say, without question, that the talent, skills, and innovation here can compete with any other region of the world.
My primary role at i2E is simple – increase the value of each of the portfolio companies, provide guidance and insight to CEO/founders of these companies, and help to maximize the returns for the limited partners that have invested their money in i2E funds. This involves collaborating with companies on strategy, execution of sales and operating plans, and governance / oversight.