Guyton is a member of the Emerging Executives Committee. He recently shared his insights on the sector.
COUNCIL: Why did you join the oil and gas industry? Was there an individual who influenced your decision? Was there an event or piece of technology that got you excited?
Matt Guyton: Serving as a nuclear engineering officer in the Navy gave me a deep appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes to keep the lights on and the engines running. Around the time of my transition from active duty in 2012, my eyes were opened to the shale revolution and the broader oil and gas industry. I knew I had to be a part of it.
COUNCIL: What individual has been most instrumental in helping with your career? What did their mentorship look like and how did it guide your path?
MG: One of the best things about my experience in the Navy and investment banking is that they both provided me opportunities to work as a member of several teams simultaneously. From this, I benefitted from working with a wide variety of talented individuals who are great leaders, managers, subject matter experts, or in many cases a combination thereof. I view these working relationships, across the spectrum of seniority, as informal micro-mentorships instrumental to my personal and professional development.
COUNCIL: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
MG: Although I recognized that the industry was a complex one, I did not fully appreciate the extent of the nuances of the various sectors and sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry and the breadth of their interconnectedness with the entire energy ecosystem and broader global economy.
COUNCIL: What surprised you most about the industry?
MG: The pace and frequency of change, whether relating to the introduction of groundbreaking technologies or the macro backdrop, is astonishing.
COUNCIL: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
MG: I look forward to seeing the industry continue to improve operational efficiencies and innovative approaches to reducing greenhouse emissions, enabling the sector to meet the energy demands of our evolving society safely and responsibly.
COUNCIL: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
MG: The energy transition can unfold in countless permutations with so many new technologies and solutions competing for viability and capital. My aim is to continue helping entrepreneurs, management teams and boards of directors navigate critical decisions on strategic matters and facilitate M&A and capital markets transactions that align with those strategies and enhance value for stakeholders.
COUNCIL: How has your involvement in the Council supported your career goals?
MG: My involvement with the Council began in early 2020, so admittedly I’m late to the party. In my short time with the organization and the Emerging Executives Committee, the merits of the world class professional development programs and unique networking opportunities are apparent. I look forward to participating in future events and continuing to meet with leaders and executives from across the sector that otherwise I would not have been able to meet.
COUNCIL: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
MG: The executives, entrepreneurs and investors I have had the good fortune to meet and work with as an investment banker have broadened my perspective about value, risk and business in general. Additionally, my colleagues at Simmons continue to drive home the importance of critical thinking and creativity as it pertains to generating positive outcomes for our clients.
COUNCIL: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the sector that impressed you?
MG: The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize operations remotely and improve decision making fascinates me, especially since I studied computer science as an undergrad. I’m always impressed with the complex integration of hardware, control systems, electrical infrastructure and advanced materials that tackle the industry’s toughest challenges.
COUNCIL: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
MG: When and where possible, try to learn more about your clients and suppliers, particularly how they differentiate themselves from competitors. This can provide a better perspective on how the industry works as a whole. Also, it’s a people business, so don’t limit yourself to learning through a screen.
COUNCIL: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
MG: The oil and gas industry is like the underappreciated offensive line on a football team. Tech, healthcare and a host of other industries play the flashier roles like quarterback, running back and receiver. For more than a century, the oil and gas industry has been a critical player in moving the ball down the field of human progress.
The industry’s contributions enabled the advancements of science and humanity, lifted populations out of poverty, and improved quality of life around the globe. And it continues to play a positive critical role in our everyday lives and the ongoing efforts supporting the energy transition. I can assure you that Tom Brady would not have earned all those Super Bowl rings without a quality O-line.
COUNCIL: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
MG: I’m a huge fan of visiting new places internationally, particularly locales with rich history and world class cuisine. A remote beach resort with no real agenda sounds nice, too.
COUNCIL: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?
MG: Although I had a musical background growing up (playing multiple instruments including drums in a high school rock band), I never really sang before my time as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.
While there, I joined the Men’s Glee Club, which was like a traveling fraternity, and was able to perform around the world at some unique venues including the 2005 Presidential Inauguration in DC, the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, HMS Victory (Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar) in England, and Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
As part of a much smaller group, I also performed the American and Canadian national anthems at an NHL game in Minnesota. After commissioning, the singing abilities were put to good use at the karaoke boxes when I was stationed in Japan.