Russ: This is the PKF Texas – Entrepreneur’s Playbook®. I’m Russ Capper, and I’m here once again with Brian Baumler, senior vice president of Joint Ventures Strategic Advisors. Brian, welcome back to the Playbook.
Brian: Thank you, Russ. Really appreciate being here.
Russ: So, we’ve talked about this Strategic Advisors thing a couple of times. Take us back to the beginning and tell us how this thing got built.
Brian: Obviously, back a number of years ago, we were already doing joint venture services already.
Russ: We being PKF?
Brian: Yeah, PKF. PKF happens to be one of the ventures, if you will, in the ownership structure of Joint Ventures Strategic Advisors. But we were working with a very fragmented workforce. A lot of them, in order to do the best job you can, they really need to be energy specialists in the areas of discipline, really understanding the drill bit, all the way to the burn value chain, if you will, in the operations of oil and gas and oil and gas production, operation production. But in doing so, it became very hard for us to maintain continuity resources.
So, we started, at that time, looking for an opportunity to source out a firm that could potentially help us. An opportunity came to us by way of our affiliate office out of Calgary called Catalyst LLP. They happened to be working with a joint venture services firm at the time called JBMI. And once we got the initial introduction, we realized that this could be a perfect fit for exactly what we were trying to accomplish in the Houston market. Not to mention JBMI was looking for a springboard into the Houston market to launch their services here domestically in the United States.
Serving predominantly North America, we also felt it was a great foot, because the majority of our clients here in Houston have operations in North America. And again, as I mentioned, since we’re already starting to launch Joint Venture Services Advisors right here in Houston, it made just a lot of business sense to go out and look for a firm to provide those resources that we needed when we needed them.
Russ: Yeah, that’s cool. So, actually some of these specialists that live in Canada come down here and help with joint ventures in Houston?
Brian: Yeah, that’s exactly what we were contemplating. I think some of it is in building a team here in Houston. We wanted the leverage of an established firm to help bridge that knowledge gap that we were missing. And of course, we would leverage their people and help train resources needed here on the ground. You know, the whole virtual idea, even though COVID is here today, we were already starting the process of doing work virtually just because traveling to all the energy and energy-related businesses around the country became somewhat expensive. So, it was an opportunity to be more cost efficient. So, a lot of the operators are already married up to the idea of using a shared site to exchange documents and information.
Russ: You’ve been doing this a while, you know, like how many companies you’ve been working for, like 10 or 100?
Brian: Actually, since we joined forces, we’re now performing about 120 audits a year. We’re predominantly energy and energy related. I would say 90% to 95% of the clients we serve are energy focused. But really for all practical purposes, Joint Venture is industry agnostic. Anytime when parties come together under a common agreement, there’s reasons for a joint venture to audit services, or it could be some level of compliance services may be necessary.
Russ: Well, that’s what I was going to ask. I mean, ‘cause y’all have always emphasized audits. Do you ever have a project or work for a company and not do an audit, but do these other services or is there always that base audit that’s there?
Brian: Well, I would say the majority of the work that we do are the JV-based audits, but there is also opportunity for a variety of consulting services that we do provide under JV Solutions. And we do have a number of opportunities that we’re serving the energy industry that way as well.
Russ: As we all know, particularly here in Houston and probably Calgary too, the whole energy industry is being kind of pushed in this direction that’s a little bit different than oil and gas. Although almost everybody says it’s going to be oil and gas forever. So, does that even come into play in conversations that you guys have?
Brian: Yeah, it does. It is somewhat cyclical in nature. There is a number of things that have faced industry, you know, over the decades that I’ve been working in oil and gas. A lot of peaks and valleys. And when there’s peaks, companies are very robust in their development program; they’re drilling a lot of wells.
When there’s valleys, they may pull back on the capital side of the spend, and then we’re more involved maybe on the revenue side when we’re trying to look for low-hanging fruit and where there’s elements of noncompliance and revenue and revenue distribution.
So, we do follow the industry, we do follow the cycles, but like I said, we have 15 almost 20 people now in our office. So, we have definitely the depth of bench that’s necessary to cover all the breadth of services necessary to serve an oil and gas joint venture.
Russ: So, I really appreciate you spending time with me once again.
Brian: Thank you very much. I appreciate having you here.
Russ: You bet. For more about Joint Ventures, visit jvsa.com. This has been another thought leadership production brought to you by PKF Texas – The Entrepreneur’s Playbook®. Tune in next week for another chapter.