Mike McConnell, an energy professional with more than 30 years of leadership experience, has been named the new director of the Robert M. Zinke Energy Management Program in the Michael F. Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. McConnell will take the reins beginning June 1, following longtime director Steve Long’s retirement. Long has served as director of the program since 2006.
“Aspiring Energy Management students will benefit deeply from the vision, wisdom and enthusiasm Mike McConnell brings to everything he does,” said Daniel W. Pullin, dean and Fred E. Brown Chair of the Michael F. Price College of Business. “As an OU alumnus and former energy executive, Mike’s unbridled passion for our energy business programs will position our graduates for success in the great energy companies they will join or launch in this vital industry for Oklahoma and the nation. Flagship programs at flagship institutions deserve flagship leaders. Mike McConnell meets that standard in every way.”
McConnell is president of McConnell Interests in Austin, Texas, and has served on the program’s Board of Advisors as well as the Price College of Business Board of Advisors since 2001. McConnell left as president of Jones Energy Inc., in 2018, after 14 years.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have had an incredible career in the energy industry and am looking forward to sharing those lessons learned and business experiences with our students on a daily basis,” McConnell said. “I am very proud to be joining the Price College at OU. I’ve been active in the Energy Management Program and the Price Business Board of Advisors for 20 years, and this opportunity allows me to do more with this great institution and its students.”
McConnell joined Jones Energy in 2004, where he was responsible for coordinating leadership, growth and commercial and operational decisions. Over his tenure, McConnell transformed the company from a small private operator through a private equity capitalization into a public E&P NYSE entity. He was responsible for negotiating and closing the transformative Merge acreage from the Estate of Aubrey McClendon in 2016, and increased production from zero to 5,500 BOE per day in 17 months.
Prior to Jones Energy, McConnell served numerous roles for Enron Corp. in Houston from 1987 to 2003, including chairman and chief executive officer for two units. McConnell earned a bachelor of business administration degree from OU in 1982, where he studied petroleum land management with an emphasis in law.
McConnell said his return to the Price College of Business is based, in part, on his family’s love for the University of Oklahoma.
“My wife, Chris, and I are so excited to come to OU and be part of the excellent institution,” he said. “I believe in the value of OU and the Price College. My daughter, Claire, and son, Michael, are also graduates from the business school, and the school prepared them for success.
“As I’ve been considering my next and final steps in the energy business, I was blessed to have some amazing opportunities presented to me. In the end, I decided it was time to do something really important and help many young people get the education and best start to their careers in the energy industry.”
The Robert M. Zinke Energy Management Program at Price College, the oldest in the nation, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018. The energy-focused curriculum is composed of classes in business, law, petroleum engineering, geology and meteorology. The program prepares graduates to enter the workforce in several energy-related career paths, including land management, energy finance, commodities marketing and trading.
McConnell’s appointment comes on the heels of Steve Long’s retirement, after serving as director of the program for 13 years. McConnell said Long has offered helpful advice along the way.
“Steve Long once said something that really hit home with me,” McConnell said. “He talked about the three phases of our lives: we learn, we earn, we return. It is time for me to give back to the institution that helped change my life. I can’t wait to prepare the next generations of energy professionals to enter this amazing and dynamic industry.”
Established in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting university and leader in research, health care, and academic activity impacting the state of Oklahoma and global community. The Norman campus enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City enroll more than 3,000 students and the OU-Tulsa campus enrolls more than 1,000. Of the 4,385 incoming freshmen in 2018, the average ACT score is 26.2 and is one of the most diverse and inclusive groups of incoming students in university history. OU began a new focus in 2018 to double research efforts in the next five years, promote OU Medicine as the health care provider of choice in the State of Oklahoma, and grow the university in northeastern Oklahoma.
The Michael F. Price College of Business, originally established in 1928, ensures the enduring global competitiveness of Oklahoma and the nation. As OU’s second-largest college, the Price College of Business educates more than 4,500 students through undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive programs across six academic divisions in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Finance, Management and International Business, Management Information Systems and Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
The Price College of Business’s website is price.ou.edu