Endeavor’s Founder Autry Stephens Celebrated with Top Hand Award

Endeavor’s Founder Autry Stephens Celebrated with Top Hand Award

12:22 24 January in News

MIDLAND, TEXAS, January 24, 2022—Autry Stephens, the Founder and Board Chair of Endeavor Energy Resources, L.P. (“Endeavor”) was honored with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association’s (PBPA) prestigious 2021 Top Hand Award. The January ceremony recognized Stephens’ exceptional contributions to the oil and gas industry, the Midland community, and the Permian Basin.

Describing the Top Hand Award, Ben Sheppard, PBPA President and CEO, noted it is “one of the highest honors in the entire country where we honor an oil and gas industry professional for their achievements and contributions to the industry and the communities in which we operate.”

The award ceremony, held at the Petroleum Club of Midland, was attended by friends, employees, colleagues, and family members of Stephens. Event speakers included Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, the Honorable Kent Hance, and Lyndal Greth, an Endeavor board member and daughter of Mr. Stephens.

Mayor Patrick Payton declared January 20th as Autry Stephens Day in the city of Midland and presented the official proclamation at the award ceremony.

The sold-out banquet was the fastest-selling Top Hand Award event in PBPA’s history.

In his half-century-plus career, Stephens has been intertwined in oil and gas. His roots in the industry began at Humble Oil (now ExxonMobil) and led to drilling his first Spraberry well in 1979. He founded Big Dog Drilling in 1996, followed by the establishment of Endeavor Energy Resources, LP in 2000. Today, Endeavor is one of the Permian’s leading top-tier horizontal operators and proudly one of the largest private oil producers in the Lower 48 with more than 1,200 employees.

Stephens’s iconic journey was praised by industry leaders. Bryan Sheffield, Founder of Parsley Energy, highlighted Stephens’s vital contributions to communities: “What [Autry] means to the community is thousands and thousands of jobs. Jobs during hard times. When no one was drilling, he was drilling. He found a way to drill. He found a way to acquire properties. He found a way to create jobs and keep people working.”

Lance Robertson, CEO of Endeavor, also lauded Stephens’s legacy. “His consistent belief in the value of the Permian is remarkable. He is a hallmark of the Basin. He is an old-fashioned Wildcatter and a modern developer. He has found his place, and he has made this his home and his passion. He is as invested here as anyone you can point to and absolutely loves the community and the Permian Basin. This is where he wants to be – all the time.”

Don Evans, Chairman of the Permian Strategic Partnership and 34th US Secretary of Commerce, dubbed Stephens “the heart and soul of the Permian Basin.” Evans went on to say that “the Autry Stephens story is the most phenomenal story that I think might ever be told about this Basin. What a Pioneer he is and was throughout all those years.”

“Autry has put together something that nobody ever has put together before,” said Chuck Meloy, current Board Member and former CEO of Endeavor. “He is one of the most determined human beings I’ve ever met. The man is genuine. He is gentle. He has a deep respect for everybody – regardless of what they do, where they came from, or what they do for Endeavor.”

Meloy warmly congratulated Stephens, remarking that this award is “well deserved and a long-time coming for someone who has done such remarkable work for the Permian Basin and Midland.”


Formed in 1961 by a group of oilmen concerned about the federal government’s growing regulatory role, the Permian Basin Petroleum Association has grown from fewer than twenty members to more than 1,000 member companies. The organization’s mission is to advocate for safe and responsible oil and gas development and to provide education on safety, legislation, regulation, and support services for the industry. (Source: www.PBPA.info).