We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind my success at QED Energy Associates is working hard. The motto of my alma mater, Centenary College of Louisiana, is written on the arch above the entrance to Hamilton Hall. It reads Labor Omnia Wincit. Work conquers all. The same motto is written on the wall at my office. Not only do I work hard, but I expect everyone that joins our team at QED to do the same. Over the years, QED has survived many difficulties and celebrated many wonderful successes. Through it all, the hard work that we do for our clients had kept us in business in dark times and grounded us in the good ones.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2001. I decided to go to graduate school, but after many years of writing proofs, I was burnt out and my heart wasn’t in it. I came to Houston to take a job at one of the world’s top reservoir engineering consultancies. I quickly realized my education and grade point average meant very little in the real world. I was expected to answer phones, wipe down the kitchen counters, and provide mathematical analysis for $18 Billion transactions. No task was beneath me. When I went to interview for my second job, I saw the administrative assistant wrapping presents in the conference room as I waited to meet with their executives. I offered to help wrap, and she quickly handed me the wrapping paper, scissors, and tape and headed back to her desk. When the executives arrived for my technical interview, they were surprised to find me assisting in the preparations for their upcoming conference. Years later, my boss from that position told me it wasn’t the semi-transitive graph theorem publications on my resume that had impressed them; it was my willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. That attitude is critical for me to keep everyday, and it is critical for me to teach all of my employees at QED that go on to work for oil and gas operators, investment banks, energy lending firms, reservoir engineering consultancies, and software companies.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In West Houston, my favorite place to eat with friends and family is Taste of Texas. Whether my team at QED just wants a quick lunch at their fabulous salad bar or we are celebrating our anniversary, the team at Taste of Texas always goes above and beyond to make our experience great. We love The Escape Game Houston located in City Centre. It was recommended to me by Dr. Liz McIngvale and her husband, Matt Mackey. “It’s the best escape room experience, by far,” said Matt. We love it for an after-work activity. It’s great with or without kids. Don’t miss the coffee at Fellini Gelato & Caffe next door. It’s my favorite work day break to head there for a latte. Topgolf is our favorite Happy Hour Spot, and I love to go there for lunch on the weekends. Don’t miss their mimosas, and my son loves their injectable donut holes!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Erin Randolph, QED’s Lead Trainer and Managing Director of the firm, has stood by me in good times and in bad. She has been with me since 2012 as a QED team member. She stands by me when I make decisions good and bad. As an entrepreneur, you have to take risks. Some of my ideas don’t pan out, but she lets me take the leap then helps me up if I fall. We have worked all hours of the day and night to put together good product for our clients, sometimes in our offices in Hedwig Village, sometimes in our homes, sometimes on the deck of a cruise ship out at sea. She’s with me to the end.