My Career in Energy

My Career in Energy: Ashley Zumwalt-Forbes


Ashley Zumwalt-Forbes is co-founder and president of Black Mountain Metals 1, Black Mountain Metals 2, Black Mountain Exploration and Black Mountain CarbonLock. Featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Energy in 2020, Ashley also sits on the advisory board for About Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V, Female Venture Fund, Polestar, TCU Energy Institute and the University of Oklahoma’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy.

In this week’s Q&A, Ashley discusses her start in energy and where she sees the industry heading in 10 years, and shares advice for those entering the industry today.

What was your first job?
My first job was as a carhop at Sonic in my hometown of Choctaw, Oklahoma.

What was your first job in energy and how did you get it?
After my sophomore year at OU (University of Oklahoma) studying petroleum engineering, I landed a reservoir engineering internship at ExxonMobil. I switched to an internship in drilling engineering the following summer and then was hired on at ExxonMobil full-time as a drilling and completions engineer upon graduation.

Who is your inspiration at work?
My forever all-time career hero is Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx.

What is the first thing you do when you start work in the morning?
Talk to my Australian team before they go to bed to hand over or fight any necessary fires. Then I reply to emails. I’ll have a full day of Australian emails when I wake up.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in this career?
I definitely anticipate that I would be sleeping more than I currently am — or at least hope that I would be. Jokes aside, I really love tangible assets. So, if I wasn’t in energy, I could see myself being involved in real estate development or something similar.

How do you relax?
I love to hang out with my husband, friends and family. I am generally most functional when I am making time to work out and eat well, but those two things don’t always happen!

What was your favorite school subject? Why?
Math — it always made sense to me and I liked that there was no room for interpretation. Numbers are very black and white. I also found that it really helped explain how the world worked.

What advice would you give someone entering the energy industry today?
Be open-minded and constantly learn about new and evolving areas. I think approaching the energy industry as an entire value chain as opposed to only thinking about it as oil and gas — or another piece — will really benefit professionals looking to maintain a long, interesting and prosperous career.

What do you think the energy industry will look like in 10 years?
I think it will be an incredibly lively, innovative and diversified space. I am a long-term believer in natural gas — particularly when coupled with CCS/DAC — but also think there are logical deployment opportunities for renewables, nuclear and inevitably new technologies. Energy storage will be a massive growth sector. I am a bit of a naysayer on large-scale hydrogen deployment but can see niche applications.

What book has helped you most at work?
I read a book a week and find that reading helps me expand my viewpoint and way of thinking. Some of my recent relevant favorites are Daniel Yergin’s “The New Map,” Bill Gates’ “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Bob Iger’s “The Ride of a Lifetime” and Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog.”

What excites you about your job?
I really like the concept that you get out of something what you put into something – that is certainly the definition of entrepreneurship. There is no one else there to pass the buck to; if it needs to get done, you need to do it. In terms of sector, the energy business is one of the most fundamental industries in the world; I love being able to see the tangible impact we can make on the world.

Looking to connect? You can find Ashley’s LinkedIn here.

Interested in sharing your career in energy or contributing to the “Enverus Innovator” blog? Fill out the form here.



Energy’s most trusted SaaS platform — creating intelligent connections that uncover insights and opportunities to deliver extraordinary outcomes.

Subscribe to the Enverus Blog

A weekly update on the latest “no-fluff” insight and analysis of the energy industry.

Related Content

Energy Analytics Energy Transition
ByAndrew Gillick

In case you missed it, Enverus virtually hosted EVOLVE, our flagship conference, May 16-17. The event included two full days of presentations, panels and keynotes, distilling the most relevant data and thoughts on the industry today.  Below Andrew Gillick, managing director...

Energy Analytics Other
ByShane Reddell

In the current landscape of heightened environmental and social consciousness, upstream oil and gas companies face significant challenges in achieving favorable refinancing for their existing credit facilities. These challenges are compounded by the recent volatility in the debt markets and...

Energy Analytics Intelligence Publications
ByMaurice Smith

Wildfires that have already scorched more than double the average annual fire destruction across Alberta forced the shut-in of more than 300,000 boe/d while threatening future shuttering of output from the so-far largely unaffected oil sands region. Record temperatures saw...

Energy Analytics Energy Transition
ByHeather Leahey

CO2 containment risk has become one of the most popular topics among our clients evaluating CCUS projects. Operators need to understand and evaluate subsurface features that could trigger CO2 migration and containment losses as well as introduce additional safety, reputational...

Energy Analytics Energy Transition
ByRyan Luther

Anyone who thinks spending time at a public charging station is a blocker to buying an electric vehicle (EV) might want to consider the numbers behind EV and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle refueling times. The answer is that it...

Enverus Blog - 6 tax preparation tips for mineral and royalty managers
Energy Analytics
BySilas Martin

Recent years have been a roller coaster for mineral buyers, from record low commodity prices to highs for oil and natural gas in the last year. Going forward, challenges and opportunities will be plentiful. We expect oil prices between $80...

Power and Renewables
ByKenneth Curtis

It’s that time of year when generator and transmission outages are at their peak in PJM. The first half of April has not disappointed volatility-wise as the WHUB/NIHUB spread has set new 30-day highs largely driven by congestion. Figure 1:...

Enverus Blog - April's energy outlook: Analyst insights you can't miss
Analyst Takes Energy Analytics
ByChris Griggs

May marks a new month, and it’s essential to assess the energy landscape of April. Our Enverus Intelligence® | Research (EIR) team has scrutinized critical trends and advancements, delivering to you insightful analyst takes that can shape your business decisions....

Energy Analytics
ByCayley Krynowsky

Inventory is king in 2023. Operators and investors alike are more concerned than ever about remaining inventory – who has it, where is it, and will it be economic? To answer these questions, most turn to the tried-and-true, but also...

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Sign up for our Blog

Access Product Tour

Speak to an Expert

Book a Demo