The man who would become an energy entrepreneur

By Matthew Hunt

October 2, 2012

[caption id="attachment_12319" align="alignnone" width="300"] The fall 2012 convocation speaker T. Boone Pickens[/caption] Giving back is what T. Boone Pickens, energy entrepreneur, is all about. As a child having gone through the depression he learned the value of a dollar early on from his grandmother and aunt.  These lessons would serve him well throughout his life.  He was taught to take a risk from his father and the value of a hard day’s work from his mother. His greatest lesson was that honesty was not to be rewarded but expected and to do what is right the first time. Pickens was the first birth ever done by cesarean means. He was always said to be ahead of his time. His early start at age 12 as a businessman would be the start of a lifelong career. He started by delivering newspapers, having expanded his business from 28 papers to a whopping 156. He attributed the success of his boyhood job to expanding quickly by acquisition, which would be how he would lead his life in business throughout his career. His parents greatly influenced his life as his father worked in oil and mineral as a rights leaser while his mother ran the office of Price Administrator which rationed gas and other goods in three local counties. Pickens earned a degree in Geology from Texas A&M. He gained employment from Phillips Petroleum until 1954. His training as a geologist aided to his growth as an energy entrepreneur.  Later Pickens would found the company becoming Mesa Petroleum. This company would become one of the largest oil companies of all time in the world. His first acquisition was the takeover of Hugoton Production Company, 30 times the size of Mesa. He became the deal maker of the 1980’s. His most public attempted buyouts were Cities Service, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum and Unocal. Pickens reinvented himself through the establishment of one of the nation’s most independent successful energy related oil and natural gas companies. He considered running for presidency in the 1988 election. His most recent accomplishment was from the Franklin Institute as the recipient of the 2009 Bower Award. He was awarded for his business leadership for 50 years of visionary leadership in oil and energy production. His accomplishments which led to this award were based on his contribution to education, medical research, wildlife conservation, and domestic renewable energy.