Maguire Energy Institute Honors Two Prominent Energy Leaders

by Anna Martinez|

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Anna Martinez


Kenneth Hersh

2020 L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award Nominee

Dallas, TX (SMU) February 21, 2020 —The Maguire Energy Institute at SMU Cox School of Business will present Kenneth Hersh, president and chief executive officer of George W. Bush Presidential Center, with the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award at a luncheon ceremony Friday, February 21, on the SMU campus. At the same event, iconic oilman and wildcatter W. Herbert Hunt will be honored with the Maguire Energy Institute Pioneer Award. This marks the tenth year the Maguire Institute has hosted this annual scholarship fundraiser.

The Maguire Institute’s Energy Leadership Award Committee considers long-term impact to the energy industry as a key factor when it selects oil and gas leaders for both awards. The Pitts Energy Leadership Award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies a spirit of ethical industry leadership. The committee identifies industry trailblazers as Pioneer Award recipients.

“Throughout his career, Ken Hersh has exhibited leadership, innovation and sustained excellence both as a co-founder of NGP and now at the Bush Presidential Center,” said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute. "We are proud to present Ken with this year’s Pitts Energy Leadership Award. We are also pleased to present our Pioneer Award to Herbert Hunt, a legend in our industry who has led the way for so many successful people and companies in our industry. Both of these men have made big differences in the energy industry, and the communities in which they live and operate.”

Hersh, this year’s Pitts Energy Leadership honoree, co-founded NGP Energy Capital Management, a premier private equity investment franchise in the natural resources industry, managing more than $20 billion of cumulative committed capital since inception in 1988. Until 2016, he served as NGP’s chief executive officer. From 1988 through 2015, under his leadership, NGP invested over $12 billion and achieved returns, making it one of the nation’s leading investment firms. In addition to his role at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, he serves as senior advisor to the Carlyle Group’s natural resources division and sits on the boards of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and the Dallas Citizens Council. He serves also on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution and the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School. Hersh is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute. A native of Dallas, Hersh graduated from St. Mark’s School of Texas, attended Princeton University and earned his MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

W. Herbert Hunt

2020 Maguire Energy Institute Pioneer Award Honoree

Pioneer Award honoree W. Herbert Hunt, advisor for Petro-Hunt, LLC, is active in the oil service industry, mining and real estate operations on behalf of various Hunt family companies. Throughout his career, he has been active in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry and involved in numerous discoveries and developments of large and giant fields. Hunt has been a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) since 1953 and serves on its Corporate Advisory Committee. In 2007, he received the AAPG Pioneer Award. He has also been a long-time member of the board of directors for the American Petroleum Institute (API). He has served as president and board member of the American Association of Drilling Contractors (now IADC); board member and chairman of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA); and president of the Dallas Petroleum Club and Dallas Wildcat Committee. In addition to the oil and gas industry, Hunt serves other non-industry organizations including the Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America’s Circle 10 Council. He is a 1951 graduate from Washington and Lee University with a Bachelor of Science in geology.

Kenneth Hersh is the tenth recipient of the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award. The first award was presented in 2010 to Ray L. Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Oil Company and chairman, CEO and president of Hunt Consolidated, Inc. The 2011 recipient was J. Larry Nichols, now retired co-founder and executive chairman of Devon Energy Corporation. Mark Papa, now retired chairman and CEO of EOG Resources, Inc., received the award in 2012. Scott Sheffield, chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources Company, was the 2013 honoree. In December 2014, the Pitts Award was presented to David Miller, co-founder and managing partner of EnCap Investments, L.P. Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was honored in January of 2016, while he was still serving as chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. Trevor Rees-Jones, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Chief Oil & Gas LLC, was honored in 2017 and Greg Armstrong, CEO of Plains All American Pipeline LLC, received the award in 2018. The 2019 Pitts Award went to Tim Leach, chair and CEO of Concho Resources Inc.  

The Maguire Energy Institute Pioneer Award was first presented in 2011. Three iconic Texas oilmen were honored that year, including retired oil and gas executive John Harbin, who served as CEO of two different energy companies and chairman of the third one. Louis A. Beecherl, Jr., former chairman and president of the Texas Oil & Gas Corporation (which eventually merged with U.S. Steel Corporation) and William P. Clements, Jr., who co-founded Southeastern Drilling Company Inc. (SEDCO) and eventually served two nonconsecutive terms as Texas governor, were both honored posthumously. Edwin L. Cox, who spent his career in oil and gas exploration and became the benefactor of the Cox School in 1978, received the Pioneer Award in 2012. Forrest Hoglund, retired chairman and CEO of EOG Resources and current chairman and CEO of SeaOne Holdings LLC, was the fifth legendary industry figure to receive the honor. Legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens became the sixth Pioneer Award recipient in 2018. In 2019, the Maguire Institute presented two iconic oil industry entrepreneurs and longtime supporters of SMU with the Pioneer Award: Bobby B. Lyle, founder and chairman of Lyco Holdings Incorporated, and Cary Maguire, chair and president of Maguire Oil Company and Maguire Energy Company.  

Jack Talkington, BBA '20

Pitts Energy Leadership Scholarship Recipient

The L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award was created in 2010 to honor the legacy of Texas oilman and independent oil and natural gas producer L. Frank Pitts, who participated in the drilling of more than 3,000 wells over almost seven decades. The late oilman served as a member of the Maguire Energy Institute Advisory Board. Pitts’ daughter, SMU alumna Linda Pitts Custard (BA ’60, EMBA ’99), is a former member of the SMU Board of Trustees, and she serves on the Award Event Committee for the Pitts Energy Leadership Award Luncheon. 

The annual Pitts Energy Leadership Award event raises funds to support the Maguire Energy Institute, named in honor of oilman and co-founder Cary M. Maguire, as well as the Pitts Energy Leadership Scholarship for BBA and MBA students with degree concentrations in energy. A portion of the proceeds raised by this year’s event will help support the educational goals of two SMU Cox students.

The Pitts Energy Leadership Scholarship recipients are Jack Talkington, BBA ’20 and Travis Little, MBA ’20. Talkington, a senior finance major with a concentration in energy management, serves as president of the BBA energy club. He is an SMU Second Century Scholar, Kyle Miller Energy Scholar and in the Encap Investments and LCM Group Alternative Asset management program. Talkington graduates this year and has accepted a position as an investment banking analyst with UBS Securities. Little is a second-year MBA focusing on accounting and finance. Currently working for Petro Capital Securities in Dallas, he is a Kyle Miller Energy Scholar and serves as president of the MBA Energy Club.

Travis Little, MBA '20

Pitts Energy Leadership Scholarship Recipient


About SMU Cox
Founded in 1920, the SMU Cox School of Business celebrates 100 years of business education. The Cox School of Business is committed to influencing the way the world conducts business via prolific research that provokes innovation, change and global thought leadership. SMU Cox offers a full-range of business education programs including BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (part-time), Executive MBA and Master’s degree programs, as well as Executive Education. Consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools, SMU Cox maintains an active alumni network in more than 80 countries. SMU Cox is accredited by AACSB.