Some people clutch their lucky rabbit’s foot when they stroll through
the casinos in Las Vegas. Others wear their loose-fitting pants so they
can imbibe in the many round-the-clock buffets.
On Charles “Chuck” Shultz’s honeymoon in Vegas, during his junior year
at Colorado School of Mines, he brought his tool of the trade — his
“I still had homework to finish” while honeymooning, says Shultz, a 1961 Mines graduate in geological engineering.
Shortly after their return to Golden in April, Chuck and Louanne (pictured, front center) put
their marriage to the test. Shultz attended summer school and field camp
at Mines, so the newlyweds were apart for six weeks. They passed the
test: The couple recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary.
The start of a career
After graduating from Mines on a Friday, Shultz and Louanne packed up a
trailer and headed to Oklahoma City, where he reported for his first day
of duty on Monday at Tenneco Oil.
“At the time, Tenneco and Shell were the only two companies that used
geological engineers as geological engineers,” he says. “I wanted to use
my degree rather than be just a pure geologist or a pure engineer.
During my 28 years with Tenneco, I was able to use my skills in varied
exploration and production roles.”
When the company was sold in 1988, he was senior vice president of
international and marketing. After the sale, he left Houston for
Calgary, Alberta, to become president and CEO of Gulf Canada Resources.
“It was a position with a lot of risk in a different country and
culture, but the business fundamentals were the same and Gulf Canada had
a staff of top-quartile people. Upon my departure in 1995, the company
had made a remarkable recovery.”
Now, Shultz is chairman and CEO of Dauntless Energy, a family-owned
upstream oil and gas firm founded in 1995. Its most significant project
is an interest in the largest carbon dioxide-enhanced recovery-oil
project in Alberta, which injects about 19 million cubic feet a day of
CO2 waste underground to produce oil previously considered
unrecoverable. Shultz says it’s the equivalent of removing 70,000 cars
from the highway.
Work and service
Dauntless is Shultz’s “spare time” job that “often gets taken care of at
night.” During the last 25 years, he has served on more than 29
corporate and not-for-profit boards, including Newfield Exploration, an
independent company that specializes in the exploration and production
of crude oil and natural gas; Enbridge Inc., the largest oil pipeline in
North America; Canadian Oil Sands; Matrix Solutions, a private
environmental services company in Shultz’s hometown of Calgary; and the
Sinneave Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that conducts research for
In 1996, he was the founding Chairman of Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., which
holds 37 percent of Syncrude, one of the world’s largest producers of
synthetic oil from oil sands. He helped Canadian Oil Sands grow its
value from $400 million to more than $5 billion. That same year, he was
the founding chairman of Matrix Solutions, which now operates in four
provinces in Canada. He has served on the Newfield Exploration board
since 1993 and is currently lead director.
One of his more memorable and fun boards was as founding chairman of
Graf Canada, a hockey and figure skate manufacturing company, of which
management grew into a significant “player” in the North American
market. Shultz was elected chairman with the understanding that he would
never be seen wearing Graf skates on ice.
“I can’t skate, and it would ruin the company’s image,” he says.
Giving back to Mines
In 1986, he received the Mines Distinguished Medal for being the first
president of the President’s Council, and he serves on the Mines
Foundation Board of Governors and as Co-Chair of the university’s $350
million Transforming Lives campaign.
Recently, the Shultzes established the Chuck and Louanne Shultz Scholars
Program that supports the male and female swimming programs at Mines.
“Our daughter was a captain of the Mines swimming team, and you always
do what your daughter wants,” he says. The Shultzes also have committed a $250,000 seed gift to the university to establish the Shultz Family Leadership in Humanitarian Engineering Fund.
Their daughter is just one of many family members to attend Mines, along
with their son-in-law, and Louanne’s father, uncle and nephew.
“I can’t help but get a twinge on the back of my neck when I look up at
the M on the mountain, whether it’s during the day or night, because of
how fortunate I was to get an education there,” Shultz says. “I wasn’t
the best of students and I learned how to fail there. A successful
career has some failures. At Mines, you learn how to fail. You don’t
fear failure as you forge ahead in your career. I think we have too many
young people who fear failure and, as a result, they don’t take risks.
Helping young people succeed, whether in university or business, is the
most satisfying reward there is.
“People look at Mines graduates and think we are all successful in
business and, therefore, we were straight-A students. But there are a
lot of us who weren’t. However, we learned how to pick ourselves up and
forge ahead. I’ve drilled some dry holes in my career, but I’ve drilled
some ‘discoveries,’ also.”