Founded with a Wildcat Mentality
The history of the Permian Basin and its evolution over the past century have been an inspiration around the world. The wildcat mentality of courage, grit and tenacity has been part of the Permian Basin’s roots for decades. People have flocked to the dusty fields of the Permian in pursuit of their dreams, and Autry C. Stephens is no exception.
Before venturing west, Stephens grew up on a farm in DeLeon, Texas, where his family worked hard to raise peanuts and a variety of fruits, including watermelons, peaches and cantaloupes. Here Stephens learned first-hand the value of hard work. He also developed a love of adventure and the freedom of being outdoors, which sparked an early interest in the petroleum industry.
After graduating with Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, Stephens started his career with Humble Oil and Refining Co. in 1962. After working three months, he took a two-year leave of absence to fulfill his military obligation. He served as a platoon leader in the Army Corps of Engineers overseeing small construction projects on a NATO fuel pipeline that ran from the coast of France to Germany. Following his service, Stephens resumed his position at Humble for another five years before leaving the company. Little did he know, this decision would forever change the landscape of the Permian Basin.