Laura FitzGerald : Woman Trailblazer
Looking out for the little guy, this gal gives oil and gas goliaths a run for their money.
She is known as an honest game-changer for landowners who are seeking to secure and sell their mineral rights. Her ability to navigate through all the intricacies of mineral rights transactions helps ensure the seller of getting the best value for their minerals. Meet Laura FitzGerald, a gentle but tough southern gal who founded IIios Resources, an oil and gas exploration company based out of Shreveport, Louisiana.
From the Ground Up
FitzGerald started as a paralegal for some of the best oil and gas attorneys in Shreveport, Louisiana. During her four years working as a paralegal, she sharpened her knowledge of oil and gas legalities while keeping up with the latest federal and local regulations on drilling minerals. This experience would be foundational to her going full force into the field, forming the entrepreneur and leader she is today.
FitzGerald made a career change leaving her paralegal work and becoming an independent landman, or shall we say landwoman, for major oil and gas companies. Her first contract work started with TXO Production Company in 1983, where she studied well production and histories in Louisiana and then moved on to curing title deficiencies on lands which were part of planned or existing drilling units. It was hard work, but she gained a wealth of experience learning the ropes as the middleman between landowners and the oil and gas companies who were looking to extract minerals from their properties. Not only this, but she learned how much landowners needed help understanding the contracts they were being asked to sign.
Drilling Through a Man’s World
With each mineral rights transaction she processed, she learned the ins and outs of assessing possible mineral sales and how to offer options to landowners who may be sitting on valuable mineral resources. She gained an understanding of the drilling process and made invaluable connections with key individuals from major oil and gas companies which would one day work in her favor. Her hands-on experience, gentle persuasiveness and tenacity helped her break through the glass ceiling of a male-dominated field.
However, through the years, she realized there was something missing in her industry — helping landowners to understand the oil and gas process and understanding what their current position was, which would give them choices on managing their oil and gas interests. “I love what I do, I love working with the landowners and families and helping them realize what they have,” says FitzGerald in an interview with the Shreveport Times.
Her love for mineral work grew stronger through the years as a landman, then she took a leap of faith and followed her passion on her own terms. In 1999, FitzGerald started her own company, Ilios Resources, and utilized all her experience and connections to begin her journey as an entrepreneur.
Today, her company continues to protect and inform mineral landowners of their rights, laws, and land values. When landowners meet with her team, they learn if their land is in a prime mineral-rich area or not and are assured to get the highest possible value for their lease or minerals. “I think trust is very important; we are very honest and candid, and we all strive to do the best job we can, each and every day” says FitzGerald in building partnerships with clients.
Edging Out the Competition
What gives FitzGerald and her company the edge over her competition? She represents the landowner and is not connected to big oil and gas companies. She’s a mineral owner and landowner herself, and considers herself a student for life on studying the laws of mineral rights. She explains, “You have to be very careful and you have to understand the documents you are signing. We work hard, and everyone here is committed to do the best job they can do; our standards are just a little bit higher.” And as the results show, she is indeed a woman of character in word and in deed.
In the nearly twenty years that Ilios Resources has successfully been in business, the company has helped make thousands of families millions of dollars while protecting their rights in processing overwhelming oil company deals. Likewise, she builds trusted relationships with buyers, finding them quality oil and gas investments, and creating a win-win for all parties involved. FitzGerald believes that “in the oil and gas business, there is plenty of room for all parties to win; there is no reason for either party to be taken advantage of”.
In the Limelight
Her growing success caught public attention and she was asked to be featured on CNBC’s popular show, Blue Collar Millionaires, which aired in January 2017. In her episode, cameras went behind the scenes to show her handling day-to-day operations. Although she was flattered to be featured in the show, she found it very tiring and refused to allow it to get to her head. “I was so done after the second day, I was just ready to get back to work!” she says to Shreveport Times.
Ilios Resources has successfully negotiated interests in over 500,000 acres within mineral-rich land. These include the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana, the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, the Permian and Delaware Basins in Texas, the Scoop and Stack in Oklahoma, the Marcellus and Utica in Ohio and PA, and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, just to name a few.
FitzGerald continues to love what she does, she says in the CNBC show, “The oil and gas business is kick ass, but it’s also very competitive. It’s tough. It’s long hours. It’s not for the weak at heart but it’s also very rewarding.” Her hard work earned her company recognition as #1 Mineral Buyer in Shreveport for five consecutive years and the award for Best of Shreveport Oil and Gas Buyer in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
You can learn more about this enterprising southern lady and her boutique mineral buying company by visiting her website at iliosresources.com.