PESA’s newest high-performer spotlight is Shannon Cunningham, Director, Energy Services & Equipment Division, Wells Fargo Energy Group.
What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
My Dad influenced my decision to enter the industry. I started my career at Wells Fargo in the middle market banking group. My Dad told me that if I planned to have a banking career in Houston, I needed to be in energy. When a position opened up in the Energy Group, I took his advice and applied for the job.
What was your impression of the industry beforehand, and how has it evolved?
I always knew that oil and gas was important to the Houston economy, but I didn’t have an appreciation for the global reach of the industry.
What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?
I have found technology to be most surprising about the industry. I have a finance background, so I had little appreciation for technology. I love it when customers invite me to a job site, manufacturing facility or rig tour to show me their technology firsthand. It’s my favorite part of the job!
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
I find cyclicality the most challenging, as well as the most rewarding, aspect about my work. The past few years have been a roller coaster ride to say the least. I rotated through focusing on capital, helping customers grow, restructuring deals, to helping customers survive the through the trough. At Wells Fargo, I’m proud to say that we’re committed to our customers through the cycle, which has been both challenging and rewarding.
Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
I would love to see more women in leadership roles. Although the industry has come a long way, it still can be a bit of a boys club. In meetings, I’m frequently the only woman in the room, and I would love to see that change.
What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
Hopefully by providing capital to facilitate growth and consolidation as we come out of the down cycle.
How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
The majority of our customers are PESA members (and those who aren’t, should be), so it has been a great networking opportunity for me. On the Emerging Executives Committee, I’m getting to know the future leadership of my customers. It’s been an incredible experience!
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
In my job as a banker, I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with CEOs of energy service companies and hearing their vision for the future firsthand. They make me excited to be a part of the energy industry.
What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
Wells Fargo is committed to the oil and gas industry. It’s one of the largest energy lenders in the country and will continue to be in the future. I’m excited to be a part of it.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
Join! There are very few other industries that provide such an exciting and challenging career.