|March 27, 2014
|Stormhold Energy Ltd.
|Articles, Cover Story
|Entrepreneurial Spirt, Hard Work, Honest Business Practices, Industry Influencers, Leadership, Natural Gas, Oil & Gas Industry
Chadd Radke, President and CEO of Stormhold Energy Inc., credits his small-town of Bowden, Alberta, hockey playing upbringing for giving him the ability to be a straight shooter who fights for everything he has, including moulding Stormhold Energy into a different company than others within his industry.
“What makes Stormhold Energy different is that our door is always open, our phone is always on, and weâ€™ll always get back to the most important people in our company; not only our senior management team, but every single shareholder,â€ says Radke.
It is this determination and unwavering commitment to having an honest and transparent business acumen that has taken Stormhold from just $362 CAD to having a projected worth of $3.46 billion dollars after 20 years by signing a very large Natural Gas supply contract.
The $120,000,000.00 contract will be used to drill 80 Horizontal wells that will fulfill the 200MMCF per day Natural Gas Contract for over 20 years which calculates to $182,000,000.00 in annual income and $3.46 B in 20 years.
Founded in January 2009, Stormhold Energy grew out of industry opportunity during the Stelmach government when land sales were low. Radke, along with his partner Ted Cantlon, took full advantage of this opportunity to purchase land as Radke had previously worked on the service side of the industry and was diversified enough to get involved in an entity such as Stormhold.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
When starting Stormhold, Radke surrounded himself with very experienced industry influencers, geologists, engineers, and scientists by bringing them on as senior consultants. Every single one of these individuals, including Radke himself, purchased shares in the company to demonstrate they all had a vested interest and belief in its success.
During Stormholdâ€™s first year, Radke and his team worked out of their homes to raise enough capital to purchase their first 125 sections of land. For the energy industry at this time, this stood out as most companies bonded together and refused to buy mineral rights from the Alberta government. By raising capital to purchase these mineralÂ rights, Stormhold upset the industry, because they didnâ€™t decide to stand with these companies in boycotting. Instead, they went out on their own and took advantage of this situation, as well as these companiesâ€™ greed, and built his company the way he believed a company should be built: by sticking to a sound business plan based on integrity, honesty, and transparency.
To this day, Radke continues to surround himself with industry influencers committed to these core values of Stormhold, yet he makes sure the company itself is analyzed and audited by outside third party sources.
In addition, Stormhold is now leading by example in recently signing one of, if not the largest, natural gas contracts in Alberta. This 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day contract has been signed with a group in Beijing, showing that â€œStormhold has already lead by example as far as doing business abroad. A lot of the companies tend to stay in Canada and North America, while weâ€™ve expanded and looked at other avenues.â€
Stormhold has also helped demonstrate their leadership by raising 17 million dollars in all equity,Â while having absolutely no banking or institutional debt whatsoever, a feat which is very rare within the energy industry.
HONESTY AND INTEGRITY ABOVE ALL ELSE
With Stormhold now being the largest private landholding company in East Central Alberta, this leadership and transparency mandate has guided how Radke intends to grow Stormhold. Having turned down over $50 million dollars in debt capital – â€œIâ€™m allergic to debt,â€ emphasizes Radke – the Stormhold team have raised all private equity through friends, their families, credited investors, and each team member. Radke continues to be completely honest and transparent as to what Stormhold is about and what they are prepared to do to increase their value to their shareholders. In fact, Radke welcomes all Shareholders to the office. They are encouraged to sit in on weekly team meetings and see firsthand what it takes to run an entrepreneurial start-up entity.
And he does so without requiring a single person to sign a confidentiality agreement. This trust in his company, his business plan, and his core values allows Radke to go and meet with any group forÂ drilling opportunities or joint ventures and open Stormholdâ€™s books without concern of what information goes out to the public. Radke simply puts it, â€œWe have nothing to hide.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s damaged the [energy] industry is a lot of false pretences, empty hopes, and empty promises from a lot of decision makers,â€ explains Radke. â€œHonesty and integrity are key to Stormhold Energy. Although some shareholders donâ€™t always agree with our decision making process, they need to understand all of our decisions are strategic and in their best interest, bringing added value to all.â€
Uncompromising with how Stormhold conducts business and unwilling to damage its credibility, Radke will always put the interests of his shareholders first.
Yet, there is something more to his success than his transparent manner that has taken Radke and Stormhold to such growth in just five years. Itâ€™s his entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and ability to refuse to say â€˜noâ€™ that have him and his team believe in his plan that builds the company.
â€œItâ€™s not in my vocabulary to say â€˜this isnâ€™t going to succeed.â€ Itâ€™s never once come out of my mouth that Stormhold isnâ€™t going to be successful. After all this hard work, weâ€™ve done everything we can to move forward, and now finally looking at the releases weâ€™ve generated and the joint venture partnerships, itâ€™s taken five years.â€ A success that may have seemed slow, but truly is amazing.
â€œWeâ€™ve kept this edge about Stormhold for going on six years, and if you donâ€™t have that entrepreneurial spirit itâ€™s easy to take a job anywhere in Calgary. I live on my phone 24/7, even on holidays. From an entrepreneurial perspective, itâ€™s key to have that passion to ensure you succeed.â€
What this spirit does is provide Radke the ability to control his own destiny within the industry through his approach to business. Itâ€™s the only thing heâ€™s truly worried about as itâ€™s the only thing he can actually change. As much as he would like to change the transparency of the entire industry, he knows the most important thing is how he conducts himself, builds his business plan, and talks with other entrepreneurs. He alone can hopefully bring a much more honest and upfront business respect to his fellow colleagues.
BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS
Doing business in Calgary differently than the competition can be a very stressful thing to do, but itâ€™s these pressures of going down his own path that Radke thrives under. He admits he has been asked numerous times by other companies not to purchase any more acreage, but heâ€™s focused on growing his business and value for shareholderâ€™s not other peopleâ€™s. Knowing this often irritates those around him, this creates stress, not just from a professional perspective, but from a personal one as well.
â€œNinety-five percent of start-ups fail, and five percent are usually new entities that came aboutÂ by companies like Suzanne Westâ€™s for example. Sheâ€™s done very well for herself. She steps outside of the box as well. She doesnâ€™t need to follow what I call â€˜the industry leadersâ€™, because they said so. Nor do I. Walking in the +15â€™s in Calgary, I hold my head high. Itâ€™s difficult to do business in Calgary when [companies] donâ€™t want you to succeed,â€ says Radke
Because of his dedication and commitment to his company and shareholders, Radke has been approached by a number of colleges in and outside of Alberta to mentor and answer how heâ€™s become a success while otherâ€™s want to see him stop succeeding. His answer, â€œA lot of blood, sweat, and tears is how you do it. A lot of torn relationships. Not only from a personal perspective, but from an industry perspective.â€
Radke admits to having lost a lot of friends, because he wasnâ€™t simply going to bring in his buddy without the proper background. â€œItâ€™s not about bringing in buddies. Itâ€™s about working with industry influencers, experts, and marked professionals. This is how you get to the next level.â€
LETâ€™S BE HONEST
â€œStormhold has made a lot of mistakes, but itâ€™s how you correct them and thatâ€™s how we move forward. We hold our head high for a number of reasons.â€
For Radke, itâ€™s not about sitting in an office with his head down and phone off. He knows the only way for Stormhold to stay on track with their growth is for the company to stay committed to their business plan and for Radke to continue marketing the company with the honesty he has been using to date. Radke finds he has his hands in everything, from the website, to social media, to networking. â€œI try to release and delegate as much as I can, but even doing that, I still need to be involved.â€
With his high involvement, he knows the company will be built the way he started it – with honesty and integrity. â€œBe upfront and honest with the people you are doing business with, and theyâ€™ll help you.â€
Honest conversations, transparent books, and high integrity relationships. This is how Radke and Stormhold are making their mark on an entire energy industry.