Russell E. Parker

Russell Parker

B.S. PE 2000
President, Chief Oil & Gas

Russell Parker will deliver the keynote address at the Cockrell School’s Fall 2015 Commencement Ceremony and will be honored with a 2015 Cockrell School Outstanding Young Engineering Gradaute Award.

Parker grew up in Midland, Texas, during the 1980s oil bust. Opting to stay out of the oil and gas business, he enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as an aerospace engineering major. But two years later, he discovered a passion for reservoir engineering and geology and decided to change his major to petroleum engineering. Parker interned at Platt, Sparks & Associates, a petroleum engineering consulting firm in Austin, Texas, throughout the remainder of his undergraduate education and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering in 2000.

In 2001, Parker joined Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. During his 12 years with the company, he worked in all aspects the domestic upstream exploration and production business. Starting as a junior engineer, he rose to become asset team manager for south Texas and the northeastern United States and led regions with more than 100 employees and as many as nine active rigs.

In 2012, Parker joined Chief Oil & Gas in Dallas. After serving as vice president of engineering and acquisitions and senior vice president of engineering and operations, Parker was promoted to president in spring 2015. During his tenure at the company, gross production of natural gas has grown nearly fivefold and net production has increased sevenfold. With gross production exceeding 800 million cubic feet per day, Chief is the largest private producer of natural gas in the nation and is responsible for 1 percent of U.S. supply. 

Parker is an active member of the Cockrell School of Engineering and UT Austin communities. He serves on the External Advisory Council and the Distinguished Alumni Committee for the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. In 2010, he received the department’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2011, Parker worked with Cockrell School faculty and Breakthrough Austin to create an annual program that introduces engineering to sixth- and seventh-grade students who will become first-generation college students. Additionally, he established two Endowed Presidential Scholarships, which are awarded to top students in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

Parker and his wife Heather have four children, John Russell, William, Anna and Zachary, and currently reside in Dallas.

DEG Honorees

A "Distinguished Engineering Graduate" (DEG) is a graduate who has presented him or herself to the world as a consummate professional and dedicated engineer. Learn more about past DEG honorees.