Kevin Sylla was born in the Jamaica section of the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. As a young man, he completed the Petroleum Land Management program at Texas Christian University, as well as the Energy Land Management program and Finance program at Denver University.
During his extensive career, Kevin Sylla has drilled and reworked over 100 oil wells and has managed a portfolio of over 200 active oil wells at different stages of development. In addition, his land-geology-centric approach has led to the delineation of over 500,000 acres of land for resource exploration and development.
Kevin Sylla founded Pristine Energy, where he led the revolution of frontier exploration for clean energy through the exploration of natural hydrogen. Kevin also co-founded HydraThermal Energy; a company focused on emergent clean technologies. He and his cohorts have a patent-pending technology aimed at redefining the oil industry by repurposing abandoned wells for clean energy.
To date, Kevin Sylla has over 15 years of oil and gas industry experience, with extensive knowledge in management, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and oil and gas field operations. He has participated in the financing, acquisition, and development of more than $1 billion worth of oil and gas properties in the United States, specializing in transforming underperforming assets into profitable endeavors to create significant shareholder value.
What do you currently do at your company?
On a daily basis, I create a strategic vision for the company and assist all departments of each business unit in aligning the strategic and corporate visions in order to meet corporate goals. That includes future business acquisitions, developments, and division enhancements. Basically, I figure out how we can make things better and grow the business. With our energy division, I figure out what we can add, who we can recruit, what companies and organizations we can develop strategic alliances and partnerships with, and I also look for innovative technologies we can add to our processes. Another thing I do in our oil division is ask how we can acquire companies that add to what we do or can help us grow faster.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I have different businesses, but the inspiration is all about helping the energy sector transition for the future. I understand what our energy needs are going to be in years to come and what we need to have a fully sustainable society that helps with carbon neutrality and climate change. But I also know that how we achieve that is important from a national security standpoint, as well as from the standpoint of the security of all Americans. I want to make sure that we have a safe, secure, and abundant energy future in America.
What defines your way of doing business?
I come from an athletic background and that plays an important part in the way that I look at things. What I mean by that is that I learned certain lessons playing sports, one of which is it’s all about the process and the work that you put in. My business is defined by hard work, doing more than you need to, and always giving 150%. You have to understand that sometimes the process is long and hard, but success comes down the road. It’s important to have a commitment and perseverance to get through. You also need to have the innovation and ingenuity to let people blossom on their own.
What keys to being productive can you share?
I think the key to being productive is finding a balance between structured flexibility and a consistent, daily routine that allows you to execute the mission or task at hand. Having a continuous routine allows you to hit your daily goals and weekly milestones, and you can have structured flexibility within that subset of goals and tasks. The other key is having those daily and weekly goals to meet. They don’t necessarily have to be productive goals, but it’s important to take that time to commit to the work.
Tell us one long-term goal in your career.
I want to build one of the largest independent, integrated energy companies that focuses on clean and traditional energy sources. I want to use that platform to give back to the communities we serve.
How do you measure success?
In life, we measure success in business by some metric of economic scale. That’s simple enough. However, at my companies, we also tend to measure success by the lives that we’ve touched, or how much we’ve helped to expound on an industry or idea. At Pristine Energy, we became one of the leading pioneers of using natural hydrogen, so we opened the eyes of many people to how beneficial that process can be. It’s not all about the bottom line; sometimes it’s about how we’re able to disrupt thought processes and make innovations.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
I believe the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my career is that you need a team around you that’s focused on a common goal and supportive of each other, while still maintaining their own individuality and autonomy.
How would your colleagues describe you?
Demanding, unyielding, persistent, flexible, determined, and fun.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I come from an old-school line of thought, which dictates that people who work hard also play hard. When you’re working, you give it 150%, and when you’re on your off time, you give that your all, as well, and relax as best as you can. At least, that’s what works for me.
What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?
I use a lot of different productivity apps that help me to monitor the time I spend on different tasks and help me schedule everything I need to do in a day.
What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?
Don’t settle in life. Go for your dreams. If one door closes, find another one and open it. If you believe in something, act on it. No matter how dim or dark things may look, keep working hard. If you do that, somewhere, somehow, something will open up. It might not be right away, but those who engage in productive activity somehow always stumble on success down the line.