Upstream Texas - Fall/Winter 2016 - 19
President of Hurd Enterprises, Ltd.
A LITTLE MORE THAN a decade ago, E. Eugene Garcia
found himself at a crossroad trying to decide whether
to switch career paths. Garcia already had made one
major transition early in his career. He had joined
NASA in 1989 as a payload project engineer, but
after earning an M.B.A., later accepted a supervisor
position at Intel in 1995. In 1999, he and his wife,
Wendy, relocated the family to Austin, Texas, where
he began work as a manager at Dell.
"I enjoyed living in Austin," he says. "I enjoyed my work and
had a good career path. I was doing really well."
But when an opportunity arose to work for Hurd Enterprises,
a company which traces its roots to his great-grandfather in
1920, both paths in Garcia's fork in the road seemed to lead
somewhere good. And since he had never expected to face
the choice, he had not previously weighed the possibility.
"It was one of the hardest personal and professional
decisions I ever made." Eventually, Garcia chose the family
business and moved to San Antonio. Now he is president of
an enterprise that, along with oil and gas production, includes
ranching, real estate and investment ventures.
"I enjoy it," he says. "I enjoy the exploration and how, with
every new prospect, there is a new idea and a new deal to
be made. I also have a lot of fun with the creation side of it."
Moreover, it's not like his previous experience lacks any
"It definitely is a non-traditional background for the oil and
gas business, but there are commonalities," Garcia describes.
"The high-tech business has booms and busts and the effect
can be a lot more extreme, even than what we are going
He can detect a number of other similarities, including both
sectors' ongoing technological revolutions. Even so, Garcia
acknowledges plenty of contrasts. He recalls some culture
shock at encountering so many larger-than-life personalities
his first time at a North American Prospect Expo (NAPE), and
reflects about the different pace of oil and gas work. Another
major difference he points to is the nature of interactions
within the industry.
"In my previous jobs, I was working with suppliers out of
Taipei, China or Japan," he says. "Here, your relationships are
a lot more local, face-to-face and hand-to-hand. I appreciate
that you had better know the gauger and the truck driver.
That relationship is a lot more personal than I was used to."
MEMBERSHIP AND INVOLVEMENT
IN THE TEXAS INDEPENDENT
PRODUCERS & ROYALTY OWNERS
GARCIA SITS ON THE BOARD
OF DIRECTORS-IS INVALUABLE,
DESCRIBES GARCIA. "TIPRO
REPRESENTS OUR CONCERNS
AND I CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT
KNOWING IT WILL REPRESENT
OUR INTERESTS IN AUSTIN."
Garcia indicates Hurd Enterprises' strategy is conservative,
and has dealt with the industry downturn accordingly.
Fortunately, as a private company, the company has not
had to concern itself with meeting certain metrics at
"We do things when it makes sense from an economic
and process standpoint," he reports. "We still have a lot to
do, but we do not have to choose a pace based on artificial
numbers at the end of the quarter. That is liberating when
I look back on my experience with publicly-held companies.
Private companies only have to be true to ourselves. That
means our company has slowed down relative to past years,
but we are continuing to build our stable of prospects. We
have quite a bit to work on going forward and the good news
is that we are in a financial position and mind frame to do it."
Hurd Enterprises also has the right team to get the job
done, he emphasizes.
"We are family-owned and family run," Garcia says. "Our
employees are our greatest assets and we are able to treat
them like an extension of the family."
And as a small outfit, he says, membership and involvement
in the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners
Association-for which Garcia sits on the Board of Directors-is
invaluable. "We don't have anybody specifically slated to
legislative affairs," he says. "TIPRO represents our concerns
and I can sleep at night knowing it will represent our interests
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