Our management team has substantial industry experience. We have a strong culture supporting safety and environmental protection, and we strive to be a good partner and responsible operator.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Hooten was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer in June 2019. He is responsible for the financial performance, strategic direction, and leadership of the company. Mr. Hooten previously served as Executive Vice President, Onshore from 2015 to 2019. Prior to that, Mr. Hooten held technical and managerial positions at Red Willow since 2002, working in roles of increasing responsibility within the geoscience and exploration disciplines. Prior to joining Red Willow, Mr. Hooten spent his early career in various geoscience roles, working in the Rockies for companies such as Enervest Operating and Southwest Geophysical.
Mr. Hooten holds a Bachelor of Science, cum laude in Geology from Fort Lewis College and a Master of Science, Distinction in Geology from Northern Arizona University.
Richard L. (Rich) Smith
Executive Vice President – Offshore
Rich Smith joined Red Willow in November 2014 as Executive Vice President – Offshore and is responsible for the strategic direction and financial performance for the Company’s Deepwater Gulf of Mexico operations. Prior to joining Red Willow, Rich held similar Executive Vice President roles at Venari Resources and Stone Energy Corporation. Previously, he served as General Manager of Deepwater operations at Dominion Exploration & Production. Early in his career, Rich worked as a Geologist at Exxon, where he held various domestic and international management assignments.
Rich has more than 30 years of oil and gas experience and earned a Master of Science degree in Geology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Sciences, both from Texas A&M University. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.
Vice President of Operations
John Larkin joined Red Willow in January 2013 as Vice President of Operations and is responsible for managing the daily activities on all Red Willow operated properties. Mr. Larkin’s team is accountable for production, well servicing, engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance. Mr. Larkin began his career in the oil and gas industry in Bakersfield, CA with Tenneco Oil Company before moving to the San Juan Basin where he held various supervisory and managerial positions with Amoco and BP. He has over 40 years in the industry in both midstream and upstream operations. Mr. Larkin has been an employee of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Growth Fund since 2010 and served as the Director of Construction for both Red Cedar Gathering and Aka Energy before joining Red Willow in 2013.
Environmental Health & Safety Manager
Ember Michel joined Red Willow in August 2016 and is responsible for Environmental Health and Safety of all Red Willow assets. Ms. Michel’s team is accountable for fostering Red Willow’s safety culture, promoting environmental stewardship, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Ms. Michel has been working in environmental, health, and safety disciplines in the oil and gas industry since 2007. She started her career with Kinder Morgan as the Corporate Safety and Security Supervisor and then accepted a new challenge as the Regional Health, Safety, Security, Environmental and Community Manager for Trafigura. Ms. Michel joined the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in 2013 and Red Willow in 2016.
Ember earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver.