Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House – Dallas, TX
A legendary oil and gas entrepreneur who has become the nation’s most effective energy expert, T. Boone Pickens is on a mission to enhance U.S. energy policies to lessen the nation’s dependence on OPEC oil — a reliance that he views as the greatest threat to America’s national security and economic well-being. Cited by President Barack Obama for his leadership in developing The Pickens Plan for America’s energy future, the entrepreneur and visionary has long been an advocate for harnessing domestic alternatives and developing even greater new technologies. He has not been shy in predicting oil and gas prices, and has been uncannily accurate. As a result, he is a frequent guest on some of the nation’s most-watched business programs (CNBC coined him the “Oracle of Oil”). Truly an American success story, he grew from humble beginnings in Depression-era Holdenville, Oklahoma, to be one of the nation’s most successful businessmen, gracing the cover of Time, Fortune and virtually every other major business publication in America. A folk hero in global business for his tenacity in the rough-and-tumble world of mergers and acquisitions, his career has staggering breadth. He first built and led one of the largest independent natural gas and oil companies. Then, at a time in his life when many of his peers retired to the golf course, he reinvented himself by establishing one of the nation’s most successful energy-oriented investment funds. The much-honored Pickens chronicles the lessons he learned during the journey in his best-selling 2008 autobiography The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future. Ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s richest people, Pickens also is an innovative, committed philanthropist who has donated nearly $1 billion to charity. His impact on American culture reflects his many interests and passions, including an unyielding belief in the entrepreneurial spirit, leadership in corporate fitness, the need for alternative fuel development, and prudent stewardship of American lands.