Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m here with Brian Baumler, the Energy Practice Leader at PKF Texas and the Chair of the 16th annual Houston CPA Society Energy Conference. Also with us is Jennifer Poff, the Executive Director of the Houston CPA Society. Welcome to The Playbook, Jennifer and Brian.

Brian: Thank you, Jen.

Jennifer: Thank you.

Jen: So, Jennifer, tell us a little bit about the Society.

Jennifer: The Society has been around for 90 years, and one of the things we’ve done for 90 years is we’ve been the local organization for CPAs to get their continuing education, to share ideas with other people in the profession and just to have an area where they can come network together. One of the things we do for our continuing education is the Energy Conference, and we’re in the 16th year of doing that. With 7,700 members, we have about 350 who attend this conference, making it one of our larger events.

Jen: That’s really great. So, Brian, you’re the Chair and you’ve been the Chair for the past several years. Tell us what you’ve got planned for this year.

Brian: We have a great lineup. As we’ve had in the past, The Big Four are all represented, giving various presentations on technical topics – accounting and reporting, SEC compliance. We’re also covering M&A trends and also taxation. It’s going to be a great event and is going to be well attended.

We also have various panels throughout the day. One is covering the E&P and trying to give everybody perspective on what’s going on in that space. We also have a panel that’s discussing capital markets; we have Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. and other home-grown folks represented in that panel. We also have an exciting panel on technology and what trends are shaping the industry within technology and also changing us in our workforce.

Jen: Perfect. Now, I know you’ve had several really big name keynotes in the past. Who is your keynote speaker this year?

Brian: We have Ryan Sitton, who is the Texas Railroad Commissioner. He’s got a lot of energy, is a great presenter and I’m sure is going to have everybody’s attention.

Jen: Perfect. So, when is this conference, where is the conference and what time does it start?

Brian: This year, the conference is going to be on August 29th. It’s going to be at Hilton Americas downtown. The registration starts at 6:45 a.m., the conference actually kicks off at 7:45 a.m. and lasts until about 5:00 p.m. We have a special session at the end – we have John Garrett, who is a recovering CPA, and he’s actually going to talk to us about how we brand ourselves outside of the workforce.

Jen: Perfect. I’ve seen his Green Apple talk – it’s really great. Now, Jennifer, where would somebody go to register for the conference?

Jennifer: They can go to our website

Jen: Is there an energy page that they should be looking for?

Jennifer: There are two ways to get the energy page: you can access it through the course catalog, or it’s right on the homepage. When you see the banner at the top, just click the arrow and you’ll see the Energy Conference right there.

Jen: I know you guys can’t do this all by yourselves with the Society. Are there sponsors this year?

Brian: Yes, we have almost 30 sponsors this year. Our underwriting sponsor is WG Consulting, so we’re very excited to have them this year.

Jen: Perfect. Well, thanks, and we’ll see you guys on the 29th.

Brian: Thank you.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.

Russ:  This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with R.T. Dukes, Research Director with Wood Mackenzie, and Prajit Ghosh, Global Strategy Lead also with Wood Mackenzie.  Guys, welcome to the Playbook.

Prajit:  Thank you

R.T.:  Thanks for having us.

Russ:  You bet.  Give us an overview of Wood Mackenzie.

R.T.:  Wood Mack – we’re part of a larger corporation called Verisk Analytics.  It’s a data analytics company focused in the insurance, energy and financial services sectors.  We’re part of the energy vertical.  So Wood Mack we describe as part of the energy metals and mining, really the natural resources value chain.  I’m focused in oil and gas; Prajit’s more focused on the power and renewable side, and we’ve expanded quite a bit there over the last few years.

Russ:  I remember hearing and seeing that about a year ago, too; I thought it was interesting.  To me it was more of an indication that the renewables were gaining ground these days.  So before we get to renewables, why don’t you give us an overview, R.T., of where oil and gas is today and in the immediate future?

Continue Reading Fossil Fuels and Renewable Power – What’s in the Future?

Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper. This week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m very pleased to have as my guest, Jason Ballard, co-founder and President of TreeHouse. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason: Happy to be here.

Russ: Tell us about TreeHouse.

Jason: TreeHouse is a home upgrade company focused on helping homeowners make their homes better; whether it comes to design, the way the home looks and feels, or performance, the way it uses energy and creates comfort or the outdoor landscape. The real underlying mission of the company is around health and sustainability, both for people and the natural world.

Russ: How old is the company?

Jason: Seven years old.

Russ: So, if you look at that, you know, landscaping outside, or making the home sustainable, or energy, how would you divide those up as far as how much business you do in those categories?

Jason: It tends to be really evenly split across the company. We tend to do about half of our business around design. So, kitchen remodels, helping expecting parents repaint a nursery, these kinds of things. Then, about half of our business is performance related. So, whether it’s like, I’m a card carrying member of the Sierra Club and I want to put solar energy on my house, or my energy bills are killing me and I want to put solar energy on my house, or I just want to make and investment in my home and so I’m going to do some insulation and some smart home stuff. The business tends to be really diversified in that way, kind of half and half.

Continue Reading How Home Upgrade Can Improve Health and Energy Consumption

Russ: The is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Kirsten Strieck, a shareholder and Director of Operations & Client Services at Joint Venture Strategic Advisors. Welcome to the Playbook, Kirsten.

Kirsten: Thank you, Russ.

Russ: You bet.  Tell us about Strategic Advisors.

Kirsten: We are a specialty joint venture consulting firm that provides any joint venture services to the energy industry, but also to other industries that have an agreement and partners. Continue Reading Working with Joint Venture Agreements

Russ:  This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook, I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum.  And I’m with John Berger, Co-founder and CEO of Sunnova Energy Corporation; John welcome to the Playbook.

John:  Thank you Russ, nice to be here.

Russ:  You bet.  Tell us about Sunnova.

John:  Sunnova Energy is a residential solar and storage service company.  We operate from near Japan and Guam, Saipan all the way through California, Texas to Puerto Rico and all the way up far north as Massachusetts.  What we do through a network of locally owned businesses, dealers and contractors is they’ll go out and source customers on our behalf and sign them up to our service and then install our equipment per our specifications on the customers’ homes, and then we provide for those customers for 25+ years cheaper power, cleaner power obviously with solar onsite, and increasingly – and just recently – a better service with storage, with batteries.  Onsite they’re working with the solar system and then have more complex IT systems and such so in effect we’re creating wireless power.
Continue Reading Solar Energy – What’s Next?

With panels and presentations on topics ranging from an Oil & Gas outlook to accounting and SEC updates, some of the energy industry’s best and brightest as speakers and panelists will be at the 14th Annual Houston CPA Society Energy Conference. It is sure to be a day filled with insightful discussion and substantive interaction. You’ll hear from several industry leaders including the luncheon keynote speaker John Hofmeister, founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy and former President of Shell.

Continue Reading Everything You Need to Know About the 2016 Houston CPA Society Energy Conference

Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here at the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum with Bill Rankin of W.E. Rankin Interests and one of the founders of the event. Welcome to the Playbook Bill.

Bill: Thank you, good to be here.

Russ: You bet. So tell us about this event.

Bill: Well it was an exciting event for us because it was a new concept that we’re trying to implement this year and the idea being of organizing an event that was an accommodation of advisors who are active in the market serving high end, wealth management families with the family members themselves. And many of these events are frequently just a whole bunch of us – advisors talking to each other – and that gets to be a little boring, it’s not so interesting. So we organize this so we have a mix of the two and so we were planning on having 60, 75 – a number of that type – and we had well more than double that. And about half of the attendees that we were able to gather from multiple parts of the country were family members; client family members. Prospect family members and in some cases representatives from their family offices supporting them who were here and that was what we really wanted and that was very special.

Russ: Really interesting. I’ve always had this respect for family owned and operated businesses. I always think more at the very early stages of them, but I think one thing that was always appealing to me is that man, when you get one that’s really thriving and can go on for generations and generations it really creates a great kind of basis for that family and obviously at some point the investment opportunities and challenges are almost overwhelming.

Bill: Well that’s what makes this sort of event – this kind of gathering – and the trick is how do you get the right people to all come together, which we can come back to, but there’s lessons everyone can learn from each other. So for example, one of our featured speakers had run the family office of a very well known family up in Minneapolis with the family going back 6 generations and so she had dealt with the transitions of a family going to second, third, fourth, fifth generation. We have a number of families here who are on the early part of that journey but who haven’t gotten to the fourth or fifth generation so there’s lessons that we can learn and vice versa by getting those people together as opposed to just having advisor professionals like us talking just to ourselves.

And so that was the excitement today, was kind of gathering that mixed group of advisors serving the families, family members themselves, family members from the Houston area, family members from the Gulf Coast region as well as family members from other parts of the country.

Russ: That’s what I find interesting.

Bill: That was the magic of it.

Russ: Do you think it has something to do with the energy industry? Maybe these were people that were investors in the energy industry and they wanted to come to the center of the energy industry universe?

Bill: That’s an interesting question, I think that was probably secondary but it was always our view that there would be interest from attendees, both advisors as well as families from other parts of the country, because there is a recognition that Houston is the energy capital of the world, there’s a lot going on in the energy world. And then secondly I do think there’s a growing recognition in other parts of the country that in some way we really are the third coast.

Russ: That’s true too.

Bill: Think about it, the East Coast, the West Coast – and so I think there’s a fascination in other parts of the country to what’s happening down here, so we think that’s a little bit of a draw but I think the primary draw for the attendees from outside was really more the nature of the event and the content of the agenda.

Russ: And so after this I assume you plan to continue it on next year? I mean, maybe?

Bill: I suspect we will. We were just thrilled that we got so much more response this time than expected that I think getting a critical mass of how to do this and do even more next year will be relatively easy. So I think we will. The key though is to not do this as a typical event that is sponsored and paid for by sponsors who are trying to sell products and in some cases trying to make a profit from the event. This was structured as really a nonprofit enterprise, we were just trying to cover the costs from the organizer firms to get the right attendees there – the family guest members – to have a good experience.

Russ: Well it seems like it was a success to me for sure.

Bill: I think so.

Russ: You bet. Thanks for sharing your perspective Bill, really appreciate it.

Bill: Thank you, appreciate it.

Russ: You bet. This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.


Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here at the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum with Del Walker, Tax Practice Leader at PKF Texas and one of the founders of the event. Welcome to the Playbook Del.

Del: Well welcome Russ, thank you for having me. Thank you for being here in with us today.

Russ: You bet. Well tell us about the event.

Del: Well this is an event that the vision kind of came together about 4 years ago for this when I was in Chicago and I was tending something – a situation where family members and advisors came together sharing best practices, learning from one another in an environment and developing business relationships. The thought was why can’t Houston? Why not now? And – a little show, but 4 years later we’re here today. Today’s event was an overwhelming success with guests from around the country, around the state, here in Houston – 170 strong at the Houstonian – comprised of family members, the folks that work for family members in the office and their advisors. We’ve had a great day today; very interactive, great panels, great speakers so.

Russ: Okay, and these are actually all high net worth families, right?

Del: That is correct. They’re either affluent families or their affluence is still concentrated in a family business between the two from that standpoint.

Russ: Okay, and they get together at this even and learn about things that are important to people who fall into that category.

Del: That are relevant, exactly. Topics of discussion ranged today in terms of what is going on in trends across the country in what we call an SFO – a single family office – or an MFO – a multi family office. We talked about issues of security, the world we live in today through the net obviously has greater challenges, especially if you have things that you’re concerned about. We had several panels very relevant to the city we live in; we had a great panel on energy, we had some great folks that are operators in the energy space backed by private equity as well as folks in the investment banking business and analysts from the energy space was in there initiating very lively discussion relevant to all of us here.

Russ: Absolutely. Well in fact that was something that I wanted to question you about is that the kind of doldrums that the energy’s in, which means Houston’s in now, is that good for the event or bad for this event?

Del: You know, that’s a great question because people ask me how did we end up having this – when we defined success for this event initially we thought we were hoping to get to 70 or 80 people, which was a significant increase over last year, and we did 100 over that. And people said why. I think we reached out to people nationally and so there’s a growing trend that people realize where Houston’s place is in the national picture of the country as well as from a commerce standpoint – it’s clearly known it’s one of the top 2 cities in the country for commerce. And I think when times are like this Houstonians – I found it here – Houstonians engage; they want to come together, it’s always been a very inclusive city versus exclusive, but I think these times bring people together. They want to come together and talk and network and see if we can find a path forward out of this. That’s my take away from it.

Russ: Ok, and this is going to continue to be an annual event?

Del: Yes, this is our second year and our goal is we’re already talking about next year and Target probably in the next 90 days we’ll probably make an announcement on save the date for next year, figure out who we’re going to be targeting to join us from an organizer standpoint and talk to our attendees about what we think is relevant from a content standpoint next year because obviously we can’t groundhog this, right, and just do it again, we need to find out what’s relevant and timely a year from now. So we’re very excited but the goal is the make this an annual, reoccurring event that’s part of the fabric in what goes on in our great city.

Russ: Okay Del, well thank you very much for sharing that with us and have a good rest of the event.

Del: Well thank you, appreciate it.

Russ: You bet.

Del: Take care.

Russ: You bet. And this is another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

The accountants and business advisors at PKF Texas have been proudly serving the energy industry since 1986 and understand the types of challenges and opportunities energy companies face. From downstream to upstream and oil field services, exploration/production and all the way to alternative energy, our team is here to assist energy companies as they make the decisions critical to their business. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce that we are the Title Sponsors of The EnergyMakers Show.

Featuring interviews with energy industry thought leaders, innovators and policy makers, The EnergyMakers Show is a weekly video production highlighting energy industry challenges and solutions. The show is broadcast on the web.

Check out The EnergyMakers Show on Facebook, find episodes of the show here, and view a comprehensive list of our energy services on our website.

Our friends and clients look to us, as accountants and business advisors, to formulate ideas and facilitate solutions for your business. With this in mind, we are supporting several upcoming events we think may be of interest to you.

  • El Centro de Corazon
  • Turnaround Management Association – February Breakfast Meeting
  • Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • East End Chamber of Commerce
  • University of Houston
  • Houston Young Professionals Endeavor – Conversations with HYPE: Strategic Networking
  • Houston Business Journal
  • Turnaround Management Association – Women’s Social
  • Houston Interactive Marketing Association
If you have questions about any event details or registration information, the organization-specific contacts are below. We hope to see you at any or all of these events!

Continue Reading February Events