Tenets to Live By
By Julie Anderson
No doubt S. Javaid Anwar could lead a seminar on achieving success in the petroleum industry. However, the owner and president of Midland Energy, Inc., could also teach a class on “the tenets of success” or “habits to live by,” the kind of course you would want your teenager or young adult to take before branching out into independence.
This year’s Permian Basin Petroleum Association Top Hand honoree has an inspiring story, one in which simple yet powerful creeds have played a clear role in his professional and personal lives: embrace opportunity, work hard, live within your means, and give back to others.
In Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount in the background
The first rung on Anwar’s ladder of success was put in place during his childhood in Karachi, the capital of the Pakistani province of Sindh. Anwar was raised by a single mother who worked as a telephone operator to put him through private school where he studied the English language from the time he was in kindergarten. His mother’s sacrifice allowed Anwar to apply to institutes of higher education in the United States, where he set his sights on the University of Wyoming.
“She gave me the best education, which allowed me to apply to American universities,” Anwar shared. “I was very lucky that I was given the opportunity to study in English schools; I knew the language.”
Three guys with connections to the Basin.
Oftentimes, embracing opportunity and hard work go hand in hand, and in Anwar’s family this was certainly the case. After his mother and grandparents laid the groundwork for his education in the United States, Anwar followed suit and paid his way through college. While studying petroleum engineering, Anwar held down jobs as a busboy and kitchen helper; during the summer he took on construction jobs. The struggle was long and difficult, but it was well worth the effort. After graduating in 1976, Anwar worked in Midland, Amarillo, Houston, and Pampa as a petroleum engineer. Several years later, he told his wife, Vicky, that he wanted to move from Pampa back to Midland and start his own business.
In 1984, Anwar drilled his first well in Kermit, launching a career that has stayed steadfast and strong despite the valleys that sometimes drive independents out of business. Some 35 years later, he is owner and president of Midland Energy, Inc., Petroplex Energy, Inc., and Western T. Corporation.
2018 Top Hand Honoree – S. Javaid Anwar
The Top Hand Award “exemplifies the best in all the characteristics of our leaders in the Permian Basin. A Top Hand has not only achieved success in the field, but exemplifies the characteristics of leadership, stewardship, and community involvement.” The 2018 Top Hand Award Banquet will take place on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Midland Petroleum Club. This year’s honoree is S. Javaid Anwar, owner and president of Midland Energy, Inc., Petroplex Energy, Inc., and Western T. Corporation. For more information, please go to pbpa.info/newsroom/ events/2018-top-hand-award-banquet.
Anwar at the Brunwick Monument in Geneva, Switzerland. The latest Top Hand honoree is a well traveled oilman, as the photos will illustrate.
Live Within Your Means
Anwar can recall in great detail the years and corresponding oil prices that have driven the Permian Basin oil industry. He remembers the influx of eager workers when times were good, and the departure of disheartened laborers and business owners when the climate was dismal.
During the downturns, Anwar would watch as smaller independents packed up and left; however, he couldn’t bring himself to follow suit.
“I loved the people too much,” Anwar explained, “and I saw the long-term potential.”
As companies left town in search of bigger and better fields, Anwar slowly acquired some of the smaller parcels they were leaving behind. He did all of this without borrowing capital, determined to grow a lasting business by budgeting from his earnings and avoiding debt.
“When you live within your means, you can enjoy everything when the prices are good,” Anwar elaborated, “and then you can weather the storm when times are slow.”
During the downturns Anwar remained determined, knowing that time and technology would eventually win the day.
“American ingenuity is among the greatest I have ever seen,” he declared. The combination of workable prices and new techniques to re-energize old wells, not to mention the porous, sponge-like plays still filled with oil, have all revolutionized the West Texas oil industry.
“You just have to live within your means when times aren’t so good,” Anwar reiterated. “You have to maneuver yourself during those days so you can make it through.”
Looks like the idea is, “Walk like an Egyptian,” though the choreography is perhaps a bit off the mark
Give Back to Others
Anwar loves to talk about the people of the Permian Basin as much as he loves to talk about his business life.
“These people, they are genuine,” Anwar declared. “They are friendly, and they are sweet.”
Anwar waxes historic when he talks about West Texans, referring to local farmers and ranchers who gave him leases and paved the way for him to drill his first oil well.
“I have been blessed, and it is important to give back to my community,” Anwar underscored.
Clearly, others have been impacted by his example.
“Javaid Anwar is an important member of a cadre of oilmen and businessmen who form the backbone of the Permian Basin community,” shared Arlen L. Edgar, an independent oil and gas investor and consultant. “He is a hard-working and successful oil producer who exhibits gratitude for his career success by giving back his time and financial resources to the industry, the community, and numerous organizations.
“He serves as an example and inspiration to many people who are privileged to know him,” Edgar concluded.
Working on a fishing story
Anwar has been a director on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board since April 2015. In 2014, President George W. Bush presented Anwar with the Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Permian Basin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2014 he also received humanitarian awards from the Pakistan Citizens Foundation and the Human Development Foundation. In 2015, he received the Golden Hammer Award by Midland Habitat for Humanity. He is a lifetime member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and former member of the George W. Bush Childhood Home Board of Directors. and is a member of Texas Lt. Governor’s Energy Council.
In 2016, Anwar received the MS Hope Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “given to those who strive to improve the quality of life today and create a better world tomorrow.”
Education holds a special place in Anwar’s heart, considering the role it played in launching his career in the petroleum industry. In 2013, Anwar and his wife donated $4 million for the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School’s Engineering Education and Research Center, a 430,000-square-foot facility designed to provide urgently needed space for interdisciplinary teaching, research, and hands-on student projects. Javaid and Vicky’s twins, daughter Leslie and son Ryan, graduated from UT in 2012.
Anwar’s contributions to his profession and his community have earned him distinctions from far and wide. In 2011, Anwar received the Outstanding Businessman and Entrepreneur Award from the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA. In 2012, he received the Man of the Year Award from Safeer e Pakistan. In 2014, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst presented Anwar with the Businessman of the Year Award from the South Asian Chamber of Commerce in Houston.
Anwar has earned the respect of area leaders who have taken notice of both his widespread knowledge of the industry and the calm but determined way he has worked to protect oil and gas interests.
“Javaid is one of those unique individuals who works quietly and behind the scenes to get things done for Midland, West Texas, and our Permian Basin energy industry,” offered Kirk Edwards, president and CEO of Latigo Petroleum, LLC. “Many times, I have personally seen him work the political structure of Texas to ensure that the politicians who are elected to serve us understand the needs we have on a day-to-day basis.”
Edwards concluded: “Javaid is very educated in oil and gas and therefore makes a great person to represent all of our industry. We are lucky to have him, his family, and his business located in West Texas, where he serves as such a strong voice for us all.”
Julie Anderson, based in Amarillo, is editor of County Progress Magazine, and is well known to many readers of PBOG as the prior editor of this magazine.