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Kenny Worrell: Accelerating Oil and Gas

By Kristen Hensley

Kenny Worrell

Kenny Worrell, BBA '10, was working for an oil company when prices took a big hit in late 2014. While the company was in excellent financial health, he believed the downturn presented an attractive entrepreneurial opportunity.

In 2016, he co-founded Accelerate Resources, with the help of New York investment firm Pine Brook Road Partners. The goal was to capitalize on market inefficiencies, using a technology-driven approach to pursue high-quality assets in the nation's best shale plays.

As co-founders in their early 30s, Worrell and his colleagues are committed to doing things differently than they've been done in the past. "It's an old business that seems to be getting younger every day with new innovations and technologies," he says.

It's that mindset that led to Worrell being named one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" in the energy sector for 2017, which he says was incredibly exciting and humbling. "My grandma doesn't really know what it is that I do, but that didn't stop her from sharing it on Facebook as fast as she could," says Worrell.

After graduating from McCombs in 2010, Worrell began his career as an investment banker at Barclays Capital in Houston, where he focused on public oil and gas company transactions and capital markets. He then joined Natural Gas Partners, a private equity firm in Dallas, where he helped to invest in and monitor dozens of oil and gas portfolio companies.

In the process, he got to know the management team of one of those companies, RSP Permian. After helping to take it public, he was offered a position as the company's No. 2 finance guy. While there, he executed $4 billion in capital markets transactions, acquisitions, and development capital before leaving to co-found Accelerate.

He credits McCombs for preparing him with the real-life skills needed for success. "McCombs graduates come out better prepared than a lot of their undergraduate counterparts around the country," he says. "The concepts you learn are the very same that you apply to making real-world business decisions."

Today, the Midland, Texas, native is happy riding the wave of Accelerate and seeing where it takes him. While the company's growth has been faster than expected, he says the final chapter is far from written. "It will be fun to look back someday and reflect on what we were able to build, starting with nothing but an idea, unboxed laptops, and a couple hundred dollars' worth of furniture."

From the spring 2017 issue of McCombs, the magazine for alumni and friends of the McCombs School of Business.

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