Spotlight: Chris Rockers – D.A. Davidson
In this third of five Spotlight Interviews, we spent a few minutes with Chris Rockers at D.A. Davidson, Managing Director and head of the investment bank’s energy practice based in Denver. D.A. Davidson has sponsored the Denver Energy Tech Showcase (DETS) and tells us more about what makes Denver a great oil city and DETS.
Prism Group: Thanks for joining us, Chris. Tell us a little about D.A. Davidson.
Chris: D.A. Davidson is a full-service investment bank. I head up the energy practice in the industrials group in Denver. We have a comprehensive platform for equity research, trading and advisory. I focus on oilfield services and equipment companies that generate anywhere between $5 and $35 million in EBITDA and are looking for outside capital or M&A advisory.
Prism Group: If Houston is the energy capital of the world, what makes Denver so special?
Chris: I have lived in Denver for the past 25 years and have worked on both the buy side and sell side. Denver is a great market because it is easy to get to Houston or Dallas, or anywhere in the oilfield for that matter, while staying close to the innovation that is going on here in Colorado. We also see a lot of foot traffic in the summer from Houston and Dallas executives who want to escape the heat and humidity! Even though there is no handicap to being located here, we have to think outside the box to do well in a highly competitive market. Denver is the perfect home base for our practice. Oh, and I also have a skiing problem (addiction).
Prism Group: What makes Denver advantageous?
Chris: For one thing, if you are an E&P company it is much easier to get to North Dakota or anywhere in the Rockies from Denver. We also have the Colorado School of Mines just 30 minutes away from downtown and while graduates will obviously go anywhere to further their career, we find their preference is to stay in the Rocky Mountain Region with its quality of life. That creates a highly attractive pool of technical talent here in the Denver region. D.A. Davidson likes the Denver market because the quality of life allows us to attract great people, which makes it harder for competitors to poach our talent!
Prism Group: Why did D.A. Davidson decide to sponsor DETS?
Chris: Our investment banking offering includes both an energy practice and a technology practice. I had attended a previous Showcase event and was highly impressed with the quality of financial investors who attended and the companies who were exhibiting. The sponsorship gained us a lot of visibility with a valuable audience.
Prism Group: How did D.A. Davidson benefit from its DETS sponsorship?
Chris. I was able to reconnect with a handful of private equity and venture investors who were in town during the Showcase. Also, I reconnected with several relationships that I hadn’t seen in some time, which prompted follow-up meetings.
Being on the ground at the event gave me a better feel for what technologies were out there. I can’t stay on top of all the innovations coming to market and I work with a lot of operators who could use them. If I see an interesting concept or solution at the Showcase, I’m very inclined to make an introduction to one of my clients. It allows me to be a better, trusted resource for my clients.
Prism Group: Can you provide an example of how DETS helped you?
Chris: You know, I hadn’t seen the Cottonwood Ventures guys in years, and they were some of the first people I ran into as I walked into the Showcase. I was able to spend quality time with them, catch-up on their business and renew that connection. I also ran into friend who works at an oilfield services company who was highly impressed with the turnout and quality of exhibitors. Him knowing that D.A. Davidson was a sponsor and supporting the Energy Tech ecosystem elevated the stature of our firm in his mind.
Prism Group: What areas of Energy Tech are you most excited about?
Chris: At the moment, asset tracking sensors and automation of production services are our main focus, since our clients are almost exclusively oilfield services and equipment. Given that emphasis, we tend to be more focused on innovations that are actionable out in the field, and less interested in theoretical models of what’s under the ground, which might appeal more to a reservoir or completion engineer. Basically, any technology that helps a services company or E&P eliminate costs or improve efficiency.
Prism Group: What is the best thing about DETS?
Chris: The informal format where people from E&P companies, service providers and capital sources all interact seamlessly. When I go to a traditional trade show, I’m talking to a bunch of sales people. When I go to the Energy Tech Showcase, I’m talking to business owners.
Prism Group: What else should people know about DETS?
Chris: It is a friendly and innovative format, and quite simply the fastest way to get up to speed on the newest cutting-edge services and technologies in the energy space. You can come and go as you please, and it is an awesome networking event.
About Prism Group
Prism Group is a multi-talented marketing and investor relations agency for leaders that are serious about building value. Our proprietary processes for building brands, generating awareness and establishing Thought Leadership and award-winning work help our clients drive top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability. We leverage state-of-the-art technology to optimize productivity, effectiveness and ROI.
We focus on Energy Tech, Oilfield Services, Oilfield Equipment, Energy Finance and E&P sectors.