Texas, business, and oil. The great southern state of Texas has long led the American oil industry. Business has trended toward a steady boom since ranchers found solace under the star-studded sky in the nineteenth century. When the Beaumont gusher erupted in 1901, Texans embraced the opportunity for economic growth and accelerated their role to the forefront of American leadership. The Texas of today is a culmination of Lonestar history.
Where there is oil, there are politics. The communication liaison between industry leaders, independent royalty owners and state legislation plays a crucial role in the success of Texas's oil economy. TIPRO (Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners) is one non-profit organization that megaphones the voice of oil entrepreneurs and royalty owners to the state capitol. The intricate balance between state governance and industry productivity can be a circus act if left in the hands of a novice; TIPRO has long commandeered this tedious task, and with great success.
Austin Style and Ed Longanecker, president of TIPRO, met last month to discuss the industry's impact in Austin, oil in Texas, and suits. The Chicago native exudes a presence of taste and confidence; in a community such as Austin, where cutoffs and flip-flops are a cultural staple, Ed Longanecker brings a little something extra.
What is your style?
I would consider myself more business professional. During the legislative session my world is filled with suits and ties. When session ends I maintain a business [look] and will generally only wear a tie a few times per month, depending on the occasion.
Where do you shop?
I buy the majority of business and business casual clothing from the local office of custom clothier, Tom James. Whether it’s my everyday slacks, or favorite Holland & Sherry suit, I have always found their “we’ll come to you” approach and focus on custom clothing to be the most ideal arrangement for my lifestyle.
Longanecker embodies a "sharp dressed man" mantra, whether it is at the Capitol or on the golf course. The transition from windy Chicago to Austin's humidity didn't strip the TIPRO president of his business savvy demeanor. Longanecker orchestrates his wardrobe like he manages his office - he maintains professionalism, poise, and executes strategy with intent. The TIPRO organization has established an untouched reputation of necessary involvement in oil, gas, and the relationship between business and bureaucrats.
Currently, Austin has a small-town-big-city atmosphere. While the downtown is urbanized, the community is fairly small. From your perspective and experience with a much larger city, do you think Austin will (one day) evolve into a widespread urban demographic?
There is definitely the potential for Austin to grow into a more urban environment. Ideally, it would be nice to keep Austin as is, but with approximately 1,000 people moving to Texas everyday it’s hard to assume we’ll maintain our unique biggest, small-town feel. Having spent a good amount of time in Austin over the past 15 years, I have seen the city continue to grow and mature, while maintaining a high level of diversity, laid back environment and unique culture. These will always be part of Austin’s fabric and core regardless of how large the city becomes.
How do you see Austin’s expansion affecting the oil industry?
Outside of the Austin Chalk there is not much oil and gas development directly surrounding Austin proper. However, as Austin is home to the regulatory and political headquarters of oil and gas operations in Texas we could see a trickle down affect from the growth of certain agencies. As the industry continues to expand, we will also see more companies opening policy related operations in the city.
Numerous publications and businesses have featured Austin's expansion as she continues to boom and paint the skyline. Capitol City has long been a second home to the technology industry, and now oil and gas partners are nipping at the heels of development. State politics play an unequivocally vital role in the growth of "black gold" companies in Texas. These businesses will continue to benefit from organizations such as TIPRO as Texans master the balance between industry and government.
As Austin expands, many industry leaders are moving their headquarters to Capitol city – how will TIPRO benefit, and what hand will the organization play in this expansion?
As the next generation of oil and gas talent continues to fill the generational gap we are facing, more and more will push for Austin as their home. Our strong university system in Austin continues to expand their emphasis on the oil and gas industry to produce more geo-scientistis and petroleum engineers. Companies will need to look at Austin if they want access to the talent that prefers the Austin lifestyle over larger, more energy oriented hubs in the state. TIPRO will benefit by increased participation among companies with local events and our advocacy related activities.
What do you love most about Austin?
The relaxed environment, outdoor activities, no state income tax and living in the Capitol city of Texas.
The next decade will undoubtedly change the perception of Austin. In that time frame, public involvement and education surrounding the oil and gas industry will continue to grow. Our economy is leading the nation for a reason - we innovate, work hard, and implement smart business practices. Ed Longanecker is one man in mix of millions working for Texas, his style just stands out more than most. That oil isn't going anywhere but up, that is Texas in motion.
© Lindsay Watson