Throughout his 20 years of experience in the energy industry, Michael Garberding ’91 has witnessed both the growth and decline of major energy companies. We are in the midst of what he calls an “energy renaissance,” and he spoke with a group of Business Honors students about implications for companies in this industry.

Garberding is executive vice president and chief financial officer of EnLink Midstream, an integrated midstream company formed in 2014 by combining the midstream assets of Devon Energy and Crosstex Energy. Before joining Crosstex in 2008, Garberding held positions at TXU, Enron and Arthur Andersen LLP. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

During his time at TXU, he helped navigate the business after it became deregulated and subsequently underwent a major restructuring. After joining Crosstex, he saw the business face challenges associated with two hurricanes and the collapse of the financial market.

According to Garberding, successful companies are able to survive these types of challenges by managing three things: company culture, risk and the balance sheet. Unfortunately, many companies, such as Enron, have failed because of their inability to manage these aspects of the business.

“The opportunity to interact with a C-Level executive for a major oil company was incredible,” said Nicholas Davis ’16. “Mr. Garberding was very open to any questions, and his experience at Enron before its collapse was particularly interesting to me.”

Garberding focused especially on the importance of creating a positive and supportive company culture. He emphasized the need for employees to be able to work together to get things done, noting that he works with other people at least 50 percent of the time. “The people and culture you see in your career is so important,” said Garberding. “If you have a bad culture, you lose.”

“Mr. Garberding was a very interesting speaker,” said Ian Wood ’17. “He stressed that business culture is key and that people are the most important aspect in every company.”

Garberding said he has been able to use his personal connections to find new career opportunities, even when the market was performing poorly. “All my jobs have come through relationships,” he said.

He described EnLink’s five relationship principles:

  • Care: Showing appreciation for others and caring about their success
  • Know: Spending time with others and understanding their needs
  • Communicate: Taking advantage of every opportunity to interact with others
  • Plan: Have a purpose for every interaction. Every interaction is an opportunity.
  • Deliver: Doing what you say you will do, going the extra mile and fixing your mistakes

Garberding also outlined the company’s “Keys to Success,” including a foundation built on relationships and a focus on safety, financials, customer service, engineering /operations and commercial development. “These are things you have to have to be successful before you even talk about the business,” he said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Mr. Garberding talk about his experiences and takeaways from his professional life and career,” said Drew Faith ’15. “He furthered my beliefs about the importance of relationship building in regards to creating both a rewarding career and a successful company.”

Lastly, Garberding encouraged the students to take advantage of any and all opportunities even when situations are tough. “The best opportunities arise when things are bad,” he said.


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management informaton systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.