The UT PGE family is time and again producing stories of influential entrepreneurs and technology innovators. UT PGE parent, S. Javaid Anwar, falls into this category with his success story of creating two leading oil companies, Midland Energy Inc. and Petroplex Energy, through hard work, a strategic vision, the ability to take great risk and a couple of blessings.
Anwar’s work ethic stems from his upbringing in Pakistan by his single mother and grandparents.
“My family believes in the importance of creating your own success,” said Anwar. “My mother and grandparents gave me just enough money for a plane ticket to the U.S. and my first semester’s tuition and boarding to attend college at the University of Wyoming, but once I stepped foot on the campus, I had to fully support myself in less than six months.”
And he did just that, graduating in 1976 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. He worked as an engineer in the oil and gas industry for almost a decade and then was bit by the entrepreneurial bug.
“My wife thought I was crazy for quitting my secure job especially with oil prices falling, but I had a good feeling about it, so I went ahead and started my own company and it was the best decision I have ever made,” said Anwar. “In addition to buying low and selling high, I have discovered the recipe to business success is 25% intelligence and 75% blessings.”
Almost 30 years after launching his risky business in Midland, it is now thriving with 24 employees. Of course Anwar isn’t satisfied with the status quo and wants to continue building his business, particularly hiring more young people, which is good news for PGE students.
Despite Anwar’s intense schedule that includes growing his business and flying all over the country, he insists on staying involved with his family, especially with the twin children, Ryan and Leslie. Both are students at UT – Ryan is one of PGE’s very own and will be graduating this May along with his sister, who is receiving a degree from the McCombs School of Business.
Anwar is continuing to live by his grandparents’ philosophy. When asked if Ryan would make Midland Energy Inc. a family business, Anwar said, “It’s important for him to find his path and make his own living.” Ryan is in agreement with his father, but is looking forward to remaining extremely close to continue benefiting from his life lessons and engaging in their constant petroleum engineering discussions.
Anwar’s hard work is not going unnoticed by his community and even the world. This year, he was nominated Man of the Year 2012 by Geo-TV, which is broadcasted all over U.S, Canada and Asian Countries including Pakistan and last year he was honored by the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA as the 2011 Outstanding Businessman and Entrepreneur. During the award ceremony in Houston, Texas, a video showcased Anwar’s closest friends and colleagues, which included many of our nation’s most influential figures, such as former President George W. Bush, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Former Secretary of Commerce Don Evans ’69 BSME, ’73 MBA. Each person described his amazing entrepreneurial success, but a focal point was Anwar’s dedication to philanthropy.
Evans said it best, “When you think about Javaid, you think about the American dream. Javaid is successful and gives back to the community – I don’t know anyone with a bigger heart. He wants to leave America a better country than when he came here.”
One of the core areas of his giving is centered on the belief that students deserve a meaningful educational experience as this is the foundation for a prosperous country.
“I benefitted tremendously from my education, so I feel it’s important to give back,” said Anwar. “With so much global development, the U.S. must have strong research programs and a focus on innovation to stay ahead.”
Anwar has been extremely generous to UT and PGE, donating $1.4 million of which $1 million has been designated to petroleum engineering education. Anwar specifically connected with the drilling program at PGE – he supported the recent hiring of Dr. Eric van Oort, who is a 20-year industry veteran known for his innovative research. Anwar saw the talent in van Oort and is confident in his ability to create a world-class drilling program that will attract the nation’s best and brightest students to PGE.
“In the current economic climate, private support plays a leading role in ensuring PGE continues to remain the top petroleum engineering program in the country,” said PGE Department Chairman, Dr. Tad Patzek. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Javaid as such a good friend – he is helping to provide hundreds of students with direct access to a leading drilling and completions expert as well as updated equipment that will produce the next generation of innovators. PGE is definitely a better place because of Javaid.”