Adam Ferrari is an accomplished petroleum engineer and is the founder of a private oil and gas a company, Ferrari Energy. Throughout various roles in the oil and gas industry, Adam was inspired to learned more about property rights and the inner workings of petroleum exploration and extraction. After gaining expertise in the energy sector Adam obtained knowledge of the financial industry through his time at an investment banking firm. He then pivoted to bootstrapping his own business, Ferrari Energy, from the ground up as he blended his knowledge of energy and finance together.
Tell us about yourself?
Although my surname carries the imagery of high-end luxury, I am the descendent of an Italian immigrant coal miner, Alexander Ferrari. My name is Adam Ferrari, and the foundations for my early years were provided by the labors of my parents and grandparents.
My father was a Will County Sheriff’s officer and a pipefitter while my mother worked as an electrical drafter for the local utility company. While I did not directly follow the blue-collar path of my parents, the tireless work ethic I learned from them helped propel me through the chemical engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Since graduating in 2005, Magna Cum Laude, with a BS in Chemical Engineering, I have worked in the oil and gas industry.
My entrepreneurial passions have led me to launch several businesses in the energy sector, the most recent one being Ferrari Energy. This company is a reflection of my heritage, and the objective of Ferrari Energy is simple: to provide transparency and fairness in a market that is known for being very inefficient and outright forceful to many landowners.
What makes you different than other professionals in your field?
With my background as a petroleum engineer and time working offshore, I’m fortunate to have hands-on experience with the oil industry in a way individuals in my field running the business side may not have been as exposed to. This has allowed me to understand the field from multiple vantage points.
Although what I’m most grateful for is the tremendous loyalty and positivity from those that have helped build my business at Ferrari Energy. It was the team in the office every day that made this magic happen. That tangible magic and family environment is what differentiated our company. We worked to give back as much value as we could to our landowners and a majority of the time bid higher than other competitors. Our long list of positive customer sentiment can attest to this.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
Having some failures early on was very important because the lessons I learned have proven invaluable. As I learned in engineering school, the most valuable lessons are learned when things fail. You cannot learn how to be successful in business from a textbook; you need to get out and take your shots. My early failures were summed up by acquiring bad assets and pursuing opportunities that had a limited upside. Time is our most valuable resource, and efficient time allocation is key to becoming successful in whatever field of work you choose.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
The worst purchase was a working interest in four oil and gas wells that ended up producing only water. This purchase was a loss. I was following the lead of a much larger successful oil company, and I learned that even large and successful companies could make mistakes. Since that time, I have never bypassed my due diligence.
The best purchase I ever made was a working interest in eight wells drilled in Weld County, CO. Given the anti-energy political headwinds present in Colorado at the time, this purchase had a lot of risks. I did sufficient due diligence to convince myself the reward was worth the risk, and it turns out that was indeed the case. It’s cliché, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
What takes up too much of your time?
Administrative tasks chew up valuable time that should be spent on higher-value tasks and projects. The key to making a successful transition to an executive-level role is to minimize time spent on tasks that are not game-changers. If you want to be the boss, you have to drive significant, impactful outcomes.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs or leaders in their field?
- Take chances.
- If your business idea is sound, stay the course even when times get rough.
- Choose business partners that are good at things you struggle with.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My grandma Ferrari. She was a renaissance woman. She was the eldest of 10 children born on a farm in Topeka, Kansas, and her family was very poor. She helped care for her younger siblings and even housed her youngest brother Leroy when her parents became too ill to care for their then 15-year-old son.
My grandma worked in the school kitchen and as an insurance appraiser on the side. She cooked, mowed the 1-acre yard, sewed, fixed things around the house, etc. My grandma seemingly could do everything. On top of this, she had a heart of absolute gold. She would give a stranger the last bit of food she had. She was selfless and loving, unlike anyone I have ever known. These traits, to me, are far greater than any self-interested business accomplishments. She was and will remain my hero.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
When things get tough for me personally or professionally, I reflect on my grandmother, who helped raise me because my mother had to work full time. My grandma also worked a lot and took care of her younger siblings. She is my source of strength and inspiration. My life could never be as hard as her life was at times, and that reminder gives me the strength I need during the toughest times. No matter what challenges she faced, my granny Ferrari always had a smile and continued to be her authentic, loving self.