Parker and Parsley’s partnership began with a handshake and humble beginnings in the early 1960s. It grew into what has now become a legacy, as they have paved the way for one of the nation’s largest independent oil and gas operations. Amidst an atmosphere of great cheer and nostalgia, Howard Parker and Joe Parsley were honored for their foresight, leadership, and success at PBPA’s Top Hand ceremony held Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at the Midland Center.
The convened membership of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, along with invited guests, hundreds of celebrants in all, gathered on this night to see these two men receive the PBPA’s lifetime achievement award, the “Top Hand.”
A partnership and a legacy must have a name, and Howard and Joe decided on theirs with a coin toss. In the beginning, with the opening of a bank account, the pair were asked what they would name their company, Parker said, “We looked at each other and we hadn’t thought of that. If we were going to use our names it had to be either Parker and Parsley or Parsley and Parker. So, we flipped a coin, and I won. And that’s the truth!”
As with any startup, early times were tough, but as word got around about the honest, hardworking duo, business kept building.
“The investors would tell their friends about us, and we got more investors, more money, more wells. We grew from there. Eventually, we went public, and went pretty far to do that.”
When asked what his definition of success is, Joe Parsley told PBOG, “Respect in the oil community.”
Parsley attributes the company’s success to good employees and friends in the community. “Good employees helped us immensely, some of whom have gone on to form their own companies… and good friends helped us a lot. I think Howard and I were very fortunate to have our operation in the Permian Basin, because Midland and Odessa are great oil towns. The infrastructure there is tremendous. It has everything that an operator needs to explore for and produce oil—land men, geologists, engineers, lawyers—they’re all knowledgeable oil people.”
But this was a night when those knowledgeable oil people paid their respects to the team that meant so much to them. As the photos on these pages attest, Parker and Parsley are truly two well regarded oilmen richly deserving of the label, Top Hand.