Russ: Welcome back to The BusinessMakers Show, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business. For today’s second guest we’re featuring David Skinner, CEO of KCA, and energy consulting firm focused on technology and strategy and also talking about their upcoming quarterly Houston Energy Breakfast scheduled for April the 17th. David was on our EnergyMakers show last week and we thought we should share him here as well. Tell us about KCA.
David: So KCA is an energy consulting firm; we focus on strategy, new technology. Sometimes we get involved in M&A type deals. But we really help clients with situations where there’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of risk or oftentimes really big capital investments which in the energy space is almost everything.
Russ: Happens all the time.
David: Happens all the time but we’ve had a long history of working with clients in this space. Myself I’ve been working in the space for almost 30 years.
Russ: Well I do want to get into your background a bit but before that you got on my radar because you have an interesting event coming in the not too distant future, tell us about that.
David: We do. So we have an event called the Houston Energy Breakfast, it’ll be coming up on April 17th will be the first one. We have 4 events planned for this year so kind of about once a quarter. The idea was we’re really kind of very community-minded at KCA and we like to give back to not just the local community in general, but also kind of the energy and oil and gas community. I think everybody’s got plenty of newsletters so we were kind of like we don’t need another newsletter or anything like that, let’s do something where we can really get interesting people together, share ideas and really kind of give people something that’s different that they haven’t really had before. So the idea is basically we’re going to do this breakfast; we’re going to have it at the Westin Oaks hotel right in the Galleria so it’s convenient for everybody to get to.
We’ve got really a great set of panelists that one of the things of being in this business for 30 years I’ve got a nice rolodex of people and so I went through and found some really interesting speakers that we’ll have throughout all the events. Our first speaker is Scott Prochazka from CenterPoint Energy; he’s the CEO who’s going to talk about what’s kind of going on where the theme of this first event is called New Realities in Energy and I think we’re all experiencing new realities in terms of oil prices and gas prices, and of course the consumer is loving lower car gas prices.
Russ: And abundance of gas and gasoline, which is unbelievable.
David: And an abundance which is unbelievable, right; we’re the new Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of new realities kind of out there that are kind of going on and a lot of really interesting and somewhat revolutionary things that are going on especially like in the energy space. Scott will talk about how they’re reaching out to consumers more, being able to touch them with smart apps and smart meters and now you can control your whole house from your iPhone which you couldn’t do years ago. So that’s really kind of new and so he’s going to kind of touch on that and what CenterPoint Energy is doing.
I’ve got Greg Vesey from Chevron who’s the president of their gas supply and trading organization and of course gas is a huge thing for Chevron and huge around the world. He’s going to share Chevron’s views of what they see coming and how they’re dealing with sort of all of this reality – yeah, there’s the word for it, reality – within the gas space. And then we’ve got Craig Hayman from IBM and Craig’s going to be talking about more what are the issues – especially within energy – in terms of cyber security and things that people should know about or be thinking about. And then R.T. Dukes who’s an analyst with Wood Mackenzie that’s going to be there talking about their sort of prognostication about the future. So I think it’s going to be a really great event.
The beauty of it is it’s early in the morning, as long as you don’t mind early mornings – breakfast – you can get in and out and still have a full day to go to your job. We have a very interesting kind of focused networking session that will kind of kick it off before the panelists and before the breakfast. So a lot of these breakfast events everybody shows up and they’re just kind of standing around, drinking coffee kind of wondering who do I talk to next, we’ve got these focused, moderated coffee sessions that are going to go on so while you’re standing by a coffee pot somebody will be there with a topic that they’re very familiar with kind of leading a little bit of a discussion. So it’s kind of like poster sessions but on caffeine, I think people will really enjoy it.
Russ: Okay, so April 17th
David: April 17th.
Russ: Early in the morning, what if somebody is watching and they want to know more about it?
David: You can go to our website which is HoustonEnergyBreakfast.com and find out all the information, you can register there for the event and we sell individual seats and tables, we’ve got a great group of sponsors. The only thing I’ll say is again, kind of our focus on community involvement, part of the proceeds from the event are going to benefit Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas.
Russ: Cool, great organization.
David: Which is a wonderful organization; I’m on their board, we help 300,000 kids a year learn about business, entrepreneurship which I think everybody needs to know. And we’re also working with the Texas Workforce Commission on a veteran leadership program which what it does – it really helps veterans that are transitioning out of the military find new employment opportunites.
Russ: An important mission for sure.
David: Important, important mission.
Russ: Absolutely. Well I really appreciate it, looking forward to it; I’m going to be there for sure April 17th. But before I let you go give us an overview of your background. I know you’ve been in the space a long time, it’s been exciting times and it’s been difficult times. I like to emphasize the exciting times, I’m still blown away with the success of the shale exploration and what that did to our energy future but share your background.
David: Sure. I started out – I won’t tell you how many years ago, but enough – in the mid 80s with Conoco and was blessed to work projects all over the world all throughout the company on really interesting things of that time. So I worked with them on double-hulled tanker decisions and it was a great time; we saw lots of interesting things. Then mid 90s I decided I was going to try and do this for other companies and left Conoco, started a consulting firm here in town. We grew to be the largest strategy firm just focused on oil and gas really in the world and we would work with clients on everything from new country entries to partnerships, you name it. But at the heart of it all we really help people think clearly about the decisions they’re trying to make because big decisions tend to not be routine. Everybody makes a decision about where they want to go for lunch or whatever, there’s not a whole lot of materiality to it, it’s kind of easy to do. Big decisions where you’re getting ready to write a check for $100 million, $500 million, $5 billion…
Russ: Those are big decisions.
David: Those are big decisions and a lot of times it helps to have at least a third party that’s not biased by the outcome help you kind of think through it and think through those options. And so that was really kind of what we did and I sold that company to the employees in 2010 thinking that I was going to actually go sit on the other side of the table and I started an oil field service company focused around water.
Russ: Which has been a huge topic for quite a few years.
David: Which has been a huge, huge topic and so went out and found the technology, went and raised the capital to build the company and then left there after about 4 years in June. Partly because the KCA CEO was a good friend of mine and used to be my COO at the other company and he’s like why don’t you come over here and help grow it and you can be the CEO and I’ll be the Chairman and I’ll just go have a little bit more fun and so that’s what we did.
Russ: There you go; that’s where we are today.
David: And so we’re having a great time and doing a lot of fun work for clients.
Russ: Great, well David I really appreciate you coming in and sharing your perspective.
David: Thank you Russ, I appreciate being on your show.
Russ: Good luck on the breakfast, I’m looking forward to that.
David: It’s going to be a great event; everybody should come have a good time.
Russ: All right and that wraps up my discussion with David Skinner, the CEO of KCA. And this is The EnergyMakers Show, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business.
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