eyes on EY

Houston energy leaders score wins at annual regional entrepreneur competition

These Houston-area executives were recognized by EY's annual regional awards. Photos courtesy

You might say that four Houston executives with ties to the energy sector are energized about an award they just received.

The four executives recently were named winners in the Gulf South division of the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program. They’ll now compete at the national level.

The one winner who works directly in the energy industry is Roger Jenkins, president and CEO of Houston-based Murphy Oil. Jenkins rose to the company’s top positions in 2013. He joined Murphy Oil in 2001 as a drilling manager in Malaysia.

Jenkins earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Harvard University’s business school.

Murphy Oil is an oil and natural gas exploration and production company that operates primarily onshore in the U.S. and Canada, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Fortune 1000 company founded in 1944, Murphy Oil generated revenue of nearly $4 billion in 2022.

In 2020, the company announced it was shuttering its headquarters in El Dorado, Arkansas, as well as its location in Calgary, Canada, and consolidating its operations into a new main office in Houston. About 190 Murphy Oil employees worked in El Dorado and Calgary.

“Our ongoing execution excellence across our significant offshore backlog and over 1,000 oil-weighted onshore locations will ensure that we will remain a long-term sustainable company,” Jenkins told Wall Street analysts in May 2023.

While not exactly an energy company, Solugen's co-founders — Gaurab Chakrabarti, CEO, and Sean Hunt, CTO — are representing the clean chemicals space within the energy transition.

Solugen, founded in 2016, makes and distributes specialty chemicals derived from feedstock. The startup is reportedly valued at more than $2 billion. To date, Solugen has raised $642.2 million, according to Crunchbase.

In naming Solugen one of the most innovative companies of 2022, Fast Company noted that the carbon-negative process embraced by Solugen and the startup’s “ability to sell flexible amounts of chemicals to companies looking to lower their own footprint have helped the company make inroads in a traditionally slow-moving industry.”

Another Houston executive with connections to the energy sector also is regional Entrepreneur Of The Year winners.

Ludmila Golovine is president and CEO of Houston-based MasterWord Services. The company provides translation and interpretation services in more than 400 languages for clients in sectors like energy, health care, and tech. The woman-owned business launched in 1993.

“It is a great honor for me and for MasterWord to be recognized alongside the other EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winners,” Golovine says in a news release about the Entrepreneur Of The Year honor.

In all, 10 executives from Houston-based companies were hailed as 2023 regional winners in the Entrepreneur Of The Year program, run by professional services firm EY. Aside from Jenkins, Golovine, Walker, and Smith, they are:

  • Steve Altemus, president and CEO of space exploration company Intuitive Machines.
  • Mark Walker, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Direct Digital Holdings, and Keith Smith, co-founder and president. Direct Digital Holdings operates advertising platforms for clients in sectors such as energy, health care, travel and financial services.
  • Daryl Dudum and Matthew Hadda, founders and co-CEOs of Specialty1 Partners. The company provides business services to dental surgery practices.
  • Mohammad Millwala, founder and CEO of DM Clinical Research. The company operates 13 sites for clinical trials.

Also grabbing a regional award is Omair Tariq, co-founder and CEO of Austin-based Cart.com. The company, which provides software and services to online merchants, relocated its headquarters from Houston to Austin in 2021. Tariq remains in Houston, though.

Trending News

A View From HETI

A View From UH

A Rice University professor studied the Earth's carbon cycle in the Rio Madre de Dios to shed light on current climate conditions. Photo courtesy of Mark Torres/Rice University

Carbon cycles through Earth, its inhabitants, and its atmosphere on a regular basis, but not much research has been done on that process and qualifying it — until now.

In a recent study of a river system extending from the Peruvian Andes to the Amazon floodplains, Rice University’s Mark Torres and collaborators from five institutions proved that that high rates of carbon breakdown persist from mountaintop to floodplain.

“The purpose of this research was to quantify the rate at which Earth naturally releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and find out whether this process varies across different geographic locations,” Torres says in a news release.

Torres published his findings in a study published in PNAS, explaining how they used rhenium — a silvery-gray, heavy transition metal — as a proxy for carbon. The research into the Earth’s natural, pre-anthropogenic carbon cycle stands to benefit humanity by providing valuable insight to current climate challenges.

“This research used a newly-developed technique pioneered by Robert Hilton and Mathieu Dellinger that relies on a trace element — rhenium — that’s incorporated in fossil organic matter,” Torres says. “As plankton die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, that dead carbon becomes chemically reactive in a way that adds rhenium to it.”

The research was done in the Rio Madre de Dios basin and supported by funding from a European Research Council Starting Grant, the European Union COFUND/Durham Junior Research Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation.

“I’m very excited about this tool,” Torres said. “Rice students have deployed this same method in our lab here, so now we can make this kind of measurement and apply it at other sites. In fact, as part of current research funded by the National Science Foundation, we are applying this technique in Southern California to learn how tectonics and climate influence the breakdown of fossil carbon.”

Torres also received a three-year grant from the Department of Energy to study soil for carbon storage earlier this year.

Trending News