Ian Falik, Vice President, Energy & Power Investment Banking, Piper Sandler, is a member of the Energy Workforce Emerging Executives Committee. He recently shared his insights on the energy services and technology sector.
ENERGY WORKFORCE: What is your role with the company? What does a typical day look like?
IAN FALIK: I am a Vice President focused on energy products and services companies. My current role focuses on leading transaction execution for M&A and capital markets deals. No day is typical — I normally find myself jumping from a meeting with an executive team to reviewing technical analysis to helping our junior team members understand the “what” and “why” of M&A.
EW: Why did you join the energy industry?
IF: I studied mechanical engineering as an undergraduate. During that time, I realized that sitting behind a desk doing technical work did not excite me. The fast pace and dynamic nature of energy intrigued me.
EW: What individual has been most instrumental in helping with your career? What did their mentorship look like, and how did it guide your path?
IF: Transferring from operations to business school and ultimately investment banking, I credit Fred Charlton for shaping my initial banking career and pushing me to continue to challenge myself. Currently, multiple team members, including Sanjiv Shah and Terry Padden, enable me to push my capabilities while always being open to providing guidance. I am fortunate to be a part of a group that offers both personal and professional mentorship.
EW: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
IF: As a Northeasterner, I did not know much about the industry beyond documentaries. The overall complexity of operations and consistently evolving technology continue to amaze me. On a personal level, the sacrifice men and women working in the field make to work in the industry requires immense respect.
EW: What has surprised you most about the industry?
IF: The amount of specialization that occurs across the industry. Being an expert in one portion of the industry often leads to having little knowledge of the other 98%. The “inch-wide, mile-deep” knowledge base is accurate for most people.
EW: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
IF: I hope the industry continues to embrace technology to help improve efficiency and drive down carbon intensity. Ultimately, I would like to see the emission intensity directly correlate to valuations to align incentives.
EW: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
IF: I will continue to help current and new clients navigate the evolving energy landscape by providing market insight and guidance in both M&A and capital raising. The changing energy landscape will require thoughtful, consistent change to remain relevant.
EW: How has involvement in Energy Workforce supported your career goals?
IF: Spending time with other members of the Emerging Executives Committee is a great way to connect with individuals from other organizations and share challenges we all collectively face as we mature through our careers. Gaining a sounding board has helped me clearly identify personal areas of focus.
EW: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
IF: Ryan Hanemann, Bob Rosamond and Denis Taylor of Audubon Engineering have a unique view on how to approach growing a company by empowering team members and incentivizing teams. What I learned from this group will always stick with me and forms the basis of how I approach building a successful team.
EW: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the sector that impressed you?
IF: I spent the first part of my career on deepwater rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The ability to drill 30+ thousand feet deep while floating in a mile of water is still something I find to be an incredible feat of engineering.
EW: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the energy industry?
IF: Focus on building the skill set the next generation of the industry needs to drive innovation. Cyclicality is a natural part of the industry, focus on the long-term.
EW: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
IF: Oil and gas offers an incredibly diverse range of experiences and the chance to wear many hats over the course of a career. It has given us the world we know today and enhanced the quality of life for billions of people (and animals).
EW: What do you do for fun?
IF: I spend as much time with my wife Deanne and three-year-old daughter Leah as possible. I am also a massive gearhead (fast, manual transmission sedans) and enjoy creating new cocktails.
EW: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
IF: Downhill skiing. On the mountain for the first chair, off the mountain mid-afternoon and enjoying time with friends and family in the evening.
EW: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?
IF: I spent the first portion of my career in Siberia; I was a member of a winning collegiate team for the 2017 U.S. National Toboggan Championships; and I earned a black belt in martial arts (Tang Soo Do).
Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.