In a time when sources of energy have become more scarce and lucrative, the Dan A. Hughes Company is a forefront leader in discovering and utilizing some of the world’s unknown oil and gas reservoirs.

“Ten years ago, I thought we were going to run out of means for energy,” president Dan A. Hughes ’80 said to a group of students during a recent conversational lunch. However, with the discovery of the Barnett Shale and other sources, Hughes’ company has seen a plethora of opportunity in Texas and Louisiana and in countries such as Colombia, among others.

Dan A. '80 and Peggy Hughes '82 (center) visited Mays to speak with students as part of the Dean's Distinguished Executive Speaker Series.
Dan A. ’80 and Peggy Hughes ’82 (center) visited Mays to speak with students as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Executive Speaker Series.

Hughes received a management degree from Texas A&M and then a graduate degree in geology. When asked how he got into the oil industry, Hughes responded, “My family is full of geologists, with my father being in the oil industry. On several occasions, I went on trips with my dad where I learned about energy.” With his experience, Hughes has led the company to greater heights in discovering and extracting natural resources all across the world.

However, as Hughes recounted, these achievements do not come without risks or challenges. Discussing the future of the oil and gas industry, Hughes addressed the difficulties of international expansion, including political atmosphere and volatility. In some situations, unrest has caused several drilling locations to shut down temporarily in order to make sure that the company’s employees stay safe. However, putting people first is not an attribute that is uncharacteristic of the company.

“It’s all about the people,” Hughes said when discussing the challenges that his company faces in the energy industry. The Dan A. Hughes Company allows employees the opportunity to become partners in the private company, earning a tangible interest in the livelihood of the business. Hughes attributes this “family-like environment” to the company’s ability to retain employees. “Our people have been there for a long time with hardly any turnover. That is something we are very proud of.”

Hughes and his wife Peggy ’82 experience ties that span further than the oil and gas industry, including heavy involvement as Texas A&M alumni. Currently, Peggy sits on the board of directors for the 12th Man Foundation, an integral group in the Kyle Field renovation discussion.

“The [Southeastern Conference] is the elite conference in the nation. A renovated Kyle Field will only add to its greatness,” she said.

When asked about the proposed plans for Kyle Field, Mrs. Hughes noted that the contractor, Populous, will be seeking students’ and others’ input.

To illustrate all the speculation surrounding the stadium, Mrs. Hughes gave a humorous example. “It’s funny, people come up to me and say, “This is what is going to happen to Kyle Field.’ I just smile and say back, “Really? I didn’t know that, and I’m on the board!'”

Ending the discussion, both of the Hughes talked about one of the largest blessings in their lives — giving back to Texas A&M. “Start making the time to give back in as many facets as you can, especially to the school that you love so dearly,” he said.