eyes on EY
Houston energy leaders score wins at annual regional entrepreneur competition
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.