Our expert leadership team's commitment to excellence provides the structure to motivate the public to learn about energy, engage in informed conversations, and make smart decisions about our global energy future.
Our board comprises non-partisan, dedicated and knowledgeable executives who provide counsel, oversight and guidance.
Scott Tinker is the State Geologist of Texas and Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology.
Scott Tinker works to bring disparate groups together to address difficult challenges in what he calls the Radical Middle. Dr. Tinker is director of the 250-person Bureau of Economic Geology, the State Geologist of Texas, and a professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair at The University of Texas at Austin. He has served as president of the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the Association of American State Geologists, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS). Dr. Tinker is an AGI Campbell Medalist, AAPG Halbouty Medalist, GCAGS Boyd Medalist, and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. In his visits to some 60 countries, he has given 750 keynote and invited lectures to government, industry, academic, and general audiences. He serves on private, public, academic, and government boards and advisory councils. Tinker co-produced and is featured in the energy documentary film Switch, which has been screened in over 50 countries to more than 15 million viewers and on thousands of K-12 and college campuses. Dr. Tinker founded the non-profit Switch Energy Alliance, dedicated to inspiring an energy educated future, and is working on two new film projects addressing global energy poverty and energy transitions. Dr. Tinker is the voice of Earth Date, a weekly radio program featured on over 350 NPR stations in all 50 states and on the web at earthdate.org.
Deborah Byers retired as a Partner from Ernst & Young LLP ("EY").
Deborah retired as a Partner from Ernst & Young LLP ("EY") in July of 2022 after 36 years of service in Public Accounting while holding multiple leadership roles. EY is a global leader in assurance, consulting, strategy and transaction and tax services. From July 2018 to her retirement, she was EY's Americas Industry Leader overseeing the markets and growth strategy across its primary industry markets including Energy, Industrials & Automotive, Consumer, Technology, Telecom, Media & Entertainment, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Real Estate, Private Equity, and Government, Deborah was EY's Houston Office Managing partner and US Energy Leader from July 2013 to July 2018, and Managing Partner of the Southwest Region Strategy & Transactions business unit from July 2008 to July 2013. In these roles she was a leader in the global energy markets and worked with corporations and investment funds in all phases of energy investment across the sector. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Excelerate Energy, Inc. and Kinetik Inc. where she is the Audit Committee Chair overseeing key areas of financial reporting, ESG, and overall enterprise risk. Deborah remains very active mentoring young professionals, and is passionate about supporting women in energy while engaging publically on all things Energy Transition and Transformation. Deborah holds a BBA from Baylor University in Waco Texas and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Anne Ekern is Head of Marketing and Communication for Rystad Energy and leads an international team.
She has more than 25 years of experience in the many facets of the global energy business from Regulator to upstream E&P, and from investment banking to Photovoltaics. Anne has a keen interest in communicating and creating dialogue related to the many opportunities and challenges faced by the energy industry and the ongoing energy transition. Anne started her career as Director of Public Relations and press spokesman for the Norwegian Ministry of Industry and Energy serving four Ministers (State Secretaries), including Jens Stoltenberg, currently Secretary General of NATO. Anne has later held senior Executive positions with Norsk Hydro (later to merge their energy business with Equinor); Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecom company; the energy division of the investment bank Jefferies & Company and REC Silicon, the US division of the solar company REC. She has also run her own consulting business, Energy 360, and worked as a Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Consulate General in Houston, TX. Anne serves on the Executive Advisory Committee at the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds her 1st class BSc Honors degree in Business Administration from the University of Bath, England.
Jim Farnsworth co-founded Cobalt in 2005 and also served as its Chief Exploration Officer and President.
Jim Farnsworth brings more than 30 years of industry experience. During this time Cobalt was responsible for discovering over 4.5 Bnboe with industry leading success rates and finding costs. Jim retired from Cobalt in 2016. Prior to forming Cobalt, Jim was BP’s Senior Vice President responsible for Domestic and Global Exploration, Appraisal and Technology. Employed by BP from 1983 to 2005, he advanced through various management and leadership positions including Exploration/Developments Manager-Alaska, Exploration Manager-North Sea, Production Manager Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Vice President Deepwater Exploration and Vice President of North America. In addition, he served in various Corporate and executive support roles in London. Jim is currently working with Blackstone Group’s Beacon Offshore Co., as an Advisor and Board Member. In addition, he is a Director and Operating Partner with Azimuth Capital working on Canadian Energy opportunities, and as a Director at X-Microwave, an Austin, Texas based technology company. Jim holds B.S and M.S degrees in Geoscience from Indiana University and Western Michigan University. Jim has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumni of both Universities. Active in the community and industry, Jim serves on and is the former Chairman of the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences Advisory Council and Foundation as well as on the Board of the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology. He also serves on the Indiana University Advisory Council.
David Rainey is an Independent Director on the board of Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE).
Dave is an accomplished global professional, with a 36-year career in the natural resource industry. He served as President Petroleum Exploration and Chief Geoscientist for BHP Billiton Petroleum and as Vice President Science, Technology, Environment and Regulatory Affairs for BP. Dave is an active member of The National Association of Corporate Directors and has been recognized as an NACD Governance Fellow. He is a member of the “Houston on Board” Advisory Council to the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, a long-time fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society and an inaugural member of the Gulf Coast Chapter’s ‘CEO’s Against Cancer’ initiative. He serves on the Jackson School of Geosciences (University of Texas at Austin) advisory council and has been recognized as a Michael T Halbouty Lecturer by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Dave has completed executive education programs at MIT Sloan School of Business, Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He earned both his Ph.D. and his Batchelor’s degree, with Honors, in Geology from The University of Edinburgh.
Richard “Dick” Stoneburner serves as a Board Director on two portfolio companies of Pine Brook Road Partners, LLC. and two public company boards, Tamboran Resources (Board Chairman) and Sitio Royalties Corp.
Dick has more than 38 years of experience as a geologist, holding senior management roles in major oil and gas corporations and independents. He held positions at Texas Oil and Gas Corporation, Weber Energy Corp., Hugoton Energy Corp. Pine Brook Road Partners, LLC. and 3TEC Energy Corp. He served as President of the North America Shale Production Division for BHP Billiton Petroleum, and as Vice President, Executive Vice President, President and Chief Operating Officer of Petrohawk Energy Corporation. He is on the board of advisors of Yuma Exploration and Ayata. He also serves on the advisory council of The Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, on the visiting committee of the Bureau of Economic Geology and is a board member for Memorial Assistance Ministries. Dick earned an M.S. in Geological Sciences from Wichita State University and a B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas.
Darryl Willis is Microsoft's Vice President of Energy Industry.
Willis blends his technical and strategic acumen with his deep knowledge of the global energy sector to drive digital transformation for organizations within the power & utilities, oil & gas, and mining sectors. The global team Willis leads at Microsoft drives enabling the energy transition, reducing carbon emissions and intelligently fulfilling growing demand with new renewable sources. Prior to joining Microsoft, Willis was Vice President of Oil, Gas and Energy at Google Cloud. His other past roles include president and CEO of BP Angola; head of Deepwater Horizon claims and spokesperson for BP; and senior vice president and deputy head of Subsurface for BP. Darryl works with governments, consumers, business customers, and investors to drive the transition to clean power, while providing equal access to all. Willis is an advocate for energy startups, supporting and fostering innovation in the field to enable next generation leaders to solve for the energy transition. Willis has been actively involved with various non-profits, volunteering and serving on the boards of Rebuilding Together, and Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Switch Energy Alliance. Willis holds an MS in business from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, an MS in geology and geophysics from the University of New Orleans, and a BS in chemistry and literature from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. He sits on the boards of Nine Energy Service and the American Bureau of Shipping. A father of three, Willis is a native of New Orleans, and loves cooking, traveling and jazz. He can be followed on Twitter @DarrylKWillis and LinkedIn @Darryl-Willis.