How did you come to be in the energy industry?
After practising law in Vancouver, New York and Australia, I settled in Calgary, which is in my home province of Alberta, Canada in 2002. As energy is the dominant industry in Alberta, most of my clients were in oil and gas, power and related industries.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
In one of my first major transactions after moving to Calgary, I oversaw a transaction that involved the spin-off of oil and gas exploration and uranium mining operations from a struggling public company, together with concurrent mergers with a private oilfield service company and a private oil and gas exploration and production company. The transaction resulted in three focused public companies, all of which went on to success in their own industries. The transaction was relatively small in value but highly complex, so I had to expand my skills and get out of my comfort zone to get that transaction done, and was happy in the end to see the result of my work leading to the unlocking of value and creation of new opportunities for our client, the other parties, and their respective stakeholders.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the energy market?
In the development of new technology. The technological progress that we have seen over the last two decades will continue, and there will be significant new developments in technology that will advance environmental improvements in energy production and transportation. These technological developments will come from established energy companies and start-up entrepreneurs and create significant opportunities for growth.
Where do you see the greatest challenges?
Technology also represents a significant challenge. Many industries have been disrupted by the development of new technology in ways participants never expected. How technological developments in energy exploration and production, in transportation and in communication will impact the energy industry in the next decade is difficult to predict. Industry participants who are nimble and able to embrace change as the industry develops will have access to tremendous opportunities; those that are not will face considerable challenges.
Who had inspired you to join or develop within the industry?
There are many people I have worked with, including my partners and associates, as well as clients and my wife, who have provided inspiration to me in showing how advising parties in the energy industry can be personally rewarding and beneficial to my community. One client, in particular, took the time to demonstrate how my work on a transaction directly impacted his business positively, which improved things for the company’s shareholders and employees and numerous other parties that relied on the company.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
Don’t just identify problems – do some thinking up front to figure out the reasons behind the problem, develop potential solutions, and think of any ways the problem can be turned into a positive opportunity. Nobody responds well to just hearing that there may be an issue or being asked an uninformed question; people will respond well and appreciate the value that you can bring by showing some effort in developing understanding and the start of a plan for working toward a real solution.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in your line of business?
Be flexible – seek a broad range of experience and connections with many different people and places. The pace of change is increasing so those that are prepared to deal well with change will have the greatest opportunities for success.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
I don’t presume to have all the best ideas and am wary of unintended consequences, so I would refrain from using the magic wand.
What’s the one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?
I am a motorcycle rider. I learned to ride just three years ago and completed a cross-African motorcycle trip in the summer of 2017.
How do you prefer to spend your spare time?
I like to find activities to do with my family. My children are now 14 and 12 and I recognize that the time when they have an interest in spending time with their parents is closing quickly.
What is your hobby or an achievement outside of career?
I enjoy hiking in the Rocky Mountains west of Calgary when I have an opportunity.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I like to discover new places when I get an opportunity to be away, so I’d say that my favourite destination is the next place I am going where I have not been before.
All-time favourite book?
For fiction, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and for non-fiction The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
All-time favourite film?
The Big Lebowski.
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
A large beach umbrella (for protection from sun and rain), a toolbox and toilet paper.
About Dan McLeod
Dan’s practice focuses on corporate finance, private equity and M&A transactions, as well as corporate governance, shareholder activism, and general securities and corporate law compliance.
Dan has extensive experience acting for issuers, underwriters and investors in capital market financing transactions, including initial public offerings, public and private debt and equity financings, private equity fund formation, and strategic investments by private equity groups.