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The New Normal by Ed Blyth

By Uncategorized

There is much discussion as to how the Coronavirus crisis will change the way we live, shop, and work. Fundamentally though, what we are adapting to is risk, and how we manage that risk as individuals and collectively in society. In my mind, whether at home or work, the key to how we will ultimately address this is Resilience.

As more people than ever work from home, employees have become more resilient, coping with the daily demands of this new norm. Correspondingly, organisations must embrace a vision and values which demonstrate solidarity with their workforce and resilience to customers. For example, the crisis has underscored how dependent we are on the long supply chains of a globalised economy driven by cost and efficiency. Supply chain resiliency in the future will be measured by reduced complexity and improved reliability.

Linking the above to energy industry, and the Oil Gas sector in particular, it is easy to suggest that the industry has already adapted. In the last downturn, when oil price went from $100 per barrel to the $40’s, companies demonstrated their resilience by becoming more efficient and reducing costs. Yet with lower oil prices and demand expected for some time to come, the industry needs to do more than just repeat the lessons of the last downturn. The industry must demand purposeful leadership to find new ways and the resiliency to get through this crisis.

Leadership is often framed in terms of experience but what we at Preng see as key to resilience is diversity. Diversity of leadership not only by ethnicity or gender but diversity in thought and skills. Leaders who not only bring perspectives shaped by the last oil price slump, but who also understand both the importance of technology and possess the emotional intelligence required to embrace and enhance the new ways of doing business and managing assets. This combination will provide the needed resiliency and navigate a successful path to the new normal.

Preng Associates continues to help clients address these issues, providing insight and fresh thinking into the composition of energy Boards in 2020 and beyond.

Preng & Associates Recent Management and Board Appointments

Texas A&M Foundation Names Chief Investment Officer

By News & Media

a photo of Mike Pia Texas A&M Preng Placement Chief Investment Officer(May 18, 2020) The Texas A&M Foundation publicly announced today the hire of Michael Pia, who assumed the role of chief investment officer on May 1. Pia will lead the Foundation’s investment staff and help drive critical decisions for the success of the Foundation’s long-term investment pool benefiting Texas A&M University.

Preng & Associates assisted The Texas A&M Foundation in its search.

The hiring of Pia comes at an important time as the Foundation investment team seeks to implement forward-thinking endowment management strategies throughout and beyond the period of market volatility during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Foundation officials.

Pia comes to the Foundation from the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas, where he most recently served as managing director of Strategic Partnerships & Research for its Investment Management Division (IMD), overseeing approximately 10 percent of the TRS Trust’s assets. He also served as chairman of the IMD’s Management Committee and as a voting member of its Internal Investment Committee. Previously, he worked as chief of staff to the TRS chief investment officer, coordinating and ensuring execution of his division’s internal and external executive-level initiatives across the Trust. Since 2015, Pia led a nine-person investment team that managed $15 billion in assets and six of the Trust’s largest relationships.

“I am very excited to join the Texas A&M Foundation, an organization with a culture and values that align closely with mine,” Pia said. “I am inspired by its work to build a brighter future for Texas A&M University so that Aggieland can continue to develop future leaders for Texas and our nation. My role as chief investment officer represents an opportunity to continue a lifetime of service, and I am highly motivated to make a significant and lasting impact on the Foundation and university.”

The Foundation’s executive leadership pointed to Pia’s lengthy track record of principled investment performance, as well as his leadership and technical skills honed over the last 30 years. “The Board of Trustees fully supports Mike’s hire,” said Otway Denny Jr. ’71, chairman of the Foundation’s board. “We believe we have recruited the best possible candidate to help us achieve our goals for the Texas A&M Foundation’s long-term investment pool.”

Prior to TRS, Pia served in the United States Marine Corps on active duty for 11 years and worked as a software/systems engineer for Lockheed Martin. In addition to holding certificates in financial analysis and alternative investment analysis, Pia holds an MBA from Texas Christian University, an M.S. in software engineering from the University of West Florida and a B.S. in mechanical engineering With Distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy. He is married and has two daughters.

“Mike has a great track record and unlimited potential. He has service in his DNA,” said Tyson Voelkel ’96, president of the Texas A&M Foundation. “Mike has the character, discipline and drive to think and act in the long-term best interests of the endowment. He believes in the power of higher education, and I know he will be a great partner as we evolve our capabilities and performance.”

As chief investment officer, Pia will supervise and guide the Foundation investment team to continually build and manage a portfolio that can perpetually meet the current and future needs of Texas A&M. He will play a crucial role in maintaining a diversified and resilient investment portfolio built to withstand severe market instability, such as the recent financial crisis that has occurred amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our number one priority is the prudent management of the long-term investment pool for the Texas A&M Foundation,” said Lou Paletta ’78, a member of the Board of Trustees and chairman of the Foundation’s Investment Committee. “Mike Pia is the right leader at the right time to partner with our CEO as they manage the endowment for the long-term benefit of Texas A&M University.”

The Foundation’s endowed funds, which come from private donors, are fundamental to ensuring Texas A&M’s future. These funds, all donated with philanthropic intent, are specifically directed toward programs, projects or initiatives in conjunction with the university’s academic partners. Distributions from the endowment annually fund scholarships, graduate fellowships, private research, student activities, college programs and capital construction.

Investment staff at the Foundation prioritize effective diversification and systematic oversight over the long-term to ensure that endowment funds are well managed and uniquely poised to weather the ups and downs of market volatilities, said Foundation officials. Historically, the long-term investment pool has been well-poised to recover from a number of financial downturns and continues to annually provide funds to Texas A&M even in tough economic times.

Voelkel went on to state, “Under Pia’s leadership of the investment team, we will continue to ensure that endowed donors’ gifts through the Texas A&M Foundation will be professionally invested for the benefit of Texas A&M’s students, faculty and staff for the coming decades.”

Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aspires to be among the most trusted philanthropies in higher education. It builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time. To learn more, visit

Laura Preng Interviews with David Ramsden-Wood

By News & Media

Join our Partner, Laura Preng, as she interviews with David Ramsden-Wood to discuss what executive search firms are looking for when they view your resume and LinkedIn profile. Whether your in transition or looking to join a Board, these are some helpful tips and some important DOs and DONTs. Other topic include the state of the oil and gas industry and what you can do to make yourself stand out.

COVID-19: A message from our President, David Preng

By Uncategorized

I would first like to express the hope that you, your family, and your employees are and remain healthy. To anyone whose family has been directly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID 19), we offer our prayers for a full and swift recovery.

We at Preng & Associates are concerned about the coronavirus and are taking steps to assure that the health and security of our clients, employees and candidates is our top priority.  We are monitoring and following the recommendations of the WHO and CDC in order to protect everyone as best we can, while ensuring the continuation of business.

Effective today, Preng & Associates has implemented the infrastructure processes and safeguards for our firm to function remotely and without any loss of time or effort.  Within our three practices, client teams have implemented plans to ensure our clients the reliability and availability of the consultants who manage their engagements.  We expect minimal disruption in our service, and we look forward to helping clients navigate their business challenges in these difficult times.  Our resources are available to you and you have my assurance that we will meet or exceed our planned search commitments.

While we’re not sure of what the future holds, we want you to know that we have taken these steps to support our staff and ensure we fulfill our clients’ commitments.  These trying times have created a good deal of uncertainty, but they also remind us how interconnected we are.  Again, in that spirit, we are committed to managing through these challenging times together.

David Preng

Dennis Chismar Joins Saulsbury as SVP, Business Development & Marketing

By News & Media

Dennis Chismar SVP Saulsbury Preng Placement(Nov. 11, 2019) Saulsbury recently appointed Dennis Chismar as Senior Vice President, Business Development & Marketing. Preng & Associates assisted Saulsbury in its search.

In this role, Dennis will be responsible for leading Saulsbury’s Business Development & Marketing functions, cultivating deep client relationships and developing future business opportunities across the heavy industrial construction space.

Dennis has over 25 years of experience in the industry and most recently served as Vice President, Business Development at a U.S. industrial construction company. In prior roles, Dennis has been directly responsible for creating new business and supporting growth and diversification through a balanced portfolio of clients and markets. Dennis began his career as a process engineer and later project manager before transitioning into the business development discipline.

“Dennis brings a unique mix of business development and technical expertise to his new role and we are confident that he will bring extraordinary value to our clients and our Business Development & Marketing teams,” said Chat York, President and CEO.

“I am pleased to be warmly invited to join Saulsbury, a successful company and a recognized industry leader,” added Chismar. “I am joining the company at an exciting time to support future growth into strategic regions and markets throughout the U.S. while maintaining the focus on the established strengths of the company.”

Helix Appoints Amy Nelson as New Director

By News & Media

Amy Nelson Helix Board Preng Placement(July 29, 2019) Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. (NYSE: HLX) announced today that the Board of Directors has appointed Amy Nelson as a new director. Preng & Associates assisted Helix Energy Solutions Group in its search.

Ms. Nelson, 50, is the president of Greenridge Advisors, LLC, which she founded in 2007 as an energy services and equipment consulting firm focused on the development, execution and financing of growth strategies. Prior to Greenridge, she served as a Vice President of SCF Partners, an oilfield service and equipment-focused private equity firm, and worked for Amoco Production Company in planning, project management and engineering roles. Ms. Nelson also currently serves on the board of directors of Apache Corporation.

Ms. Nelson will serve as a Class III Director whose term will expire at Helix’s next annual shareholder meeting. Ms. Nelson also was appointed by the Helix Board to serve on the Board’s Audit Committee.

About Helix

Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is an international offshore energy services company that provides specialty services to the offshore energy industry, with a focus on well intervention and robotics operations. For more information about Helix, please visit our website at

Erik Staffeldt, 281-618-0400
Executive Vice President & CFO