ERP Platform Positions Killam Oil to Execute Growth Strategy

The following article, “ERP Platform Positions Killam Oil to Execute Growth Strategy“, was published in the November 2020 issue of American Oil and Gas Reporter. Authored by Tim Beims, Beims explores how Killam Oil Company, a family-owned oil company with deep roots, leveraged W Energy Software’s SaaS ERP to execute their growth strategy. 


LAREDO, TX.–Oil and gas operations generate massive amounts of data every day that must be sorted, stored, processed, and analyzed, from permit filings and well logs to production volumes and custody transfer tickets. And the proliferation of digital technologies is bringing a flood of new data types to an industry in which workflows were already heavily data-intensive. Because of the scale, complexity, and multifunctional nature of a routine operation such as drilling a well or managing a producing well, inefficient data processes can breed inefficiencies in operational processes, seemingly small errors or omissions in data entry can lead to costly mistakes, and inadequate or outdated information can result in missed opportunities. Particularly in smaller companies, workflows often include recording and inputting data using manual methods and informal data management practices relevant to a particular department or user group that interacts with the information. The challenge goes beyond improving the efficiency and accuracy of the data but also entails better managing it to get the right information to the right people at the right time to glean business intelligence and improve performance. For Killam Oil Company, the solution is to integrate all operational functions and data flow under a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) framework that unifies every aspect of the business, including land and leasing, drilling and well workovers, production and gathering, accounting and regulatory, and volume balancing and forecasting. “In challenging times, it is important for companies with a strong balance sheet like ours to continue to reinvest in their businesses,” maintains Cliffe Killam, president at Killam Oil.


“It may seem counter to conventional wisdom, but I think the time to invest in technology is when the industry is experiencing distress, contraction, and consolidation. That is what we are doing. Installing a new ERP system is a big step toward getting us where we want to go.”
-Cliff Killam, President of Killam Oil Company 


Killam Oil is a private, family-owned business with a “wildcatter” legacy. The family name is synonymous with pioneering the oil and gas business in South Texas, dating back four generations to Oliver Winfield Killam, who came to Laredo in 1919 in search of oil and found it when he drilled the first discovery well in 1921 near Mirando City, a town he founded. O.W. Killam’s son, Radcliffe, joined his father’s business in 1935 after graduating from Harvard Law School, left to fight in World War II as a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander in the Pacific, and then returned after the war to help lead the business. Radcliffe’s son, David, joined the company in 1975, becoming chief operating officer in 1984 and president in 1992. David’s sons, Cliffe and D.W., represent the fourth generation actively involved in the family business. Like his grandfather, D.W. also served in the U.S. Navy, joining the business as an operating manager for the area around Freer, Tx., after serving six years in the Nuclear Propulsion Program.

“There are not many family-owned companies that can say they have been in the oil and gas business for a century,” Cliffe Killam relates. “Today, there are different pillars to our family office: real estate development and acquisitions, in- vestments, and ranching and agriculture, in addition to oil and gas exploration and development. But oil and gas started it all and has remained the focus.”

Capturing Opportunities

The company defines its mission as building profitable oil and gas operations that are sustainable for the long-term while maintaining a rock-solid reputation. The vision is straightforward: become a “world-class oil and gas company that creates world-class opportunities.” Fittingly, the company’s culture is framed by several principles, not least of which are putting family first and functioning as a unified team to find the best way forward.

There is no questioning Killam  Oil’s reputation and long-standing status as a “partner of choice” in South Texas exploration, drilling, and production. It has partnered on projects with some of the biggest names in the business, including Exxon- Mobil, EOG Resources, and Devon Energy. But no matter how strong the balance sheet or disciplined the organization, how does a smaller enterprise find its way forward in such a topsy-turvy market? The answer can be found partly in Killam Oil’s mantra to “implement a learning culture that continually grows and learns to improve profitability, innovate, and apply best practices.” That is where the ERP system comes in, according to Killam. “We spent three years researching ERP software,” he says. “We looked at our existing business and strategy for the future, and spent a lot of time evaluating demos and getting into the details of different applications to understand how the technology could help us meet our existing needs as well as achieve our longer-term goals.” Those goals can be distilled into a simple statement: capture value-adding opportunities. And Killam says his company sees tremendous possibilities on the horizon for acquiring high-quality assets of all types. “I think we have the opportunity to double, triple or maybe even quadruple the size of the company by acquiring properties,” he enthuses. “We are well-positioned to move on a deal quickly and efficiently if we see an opportunity we like.”

Multiplying organizational size and operational scale by a factor of two or more may seem daunting, but Killam Oil has distinct competitive advantages that position it as a ready and able acquirer during a down phase in the commodity cycle that is creating an ultimate buyer’s market.

“Unfortunately, we expect the industry to see more asset sales, rationalizations, restructurings, and bankruptcy filings as operators free up capital and refocus their portfolios. That should lead to excellent opportunities in both oil and gas,” Killam suggests. “We are agnostic about whether an opportunity is an oil or gas, vertical conventional or horizontal shale, or in South Texas or another basin or state. We are going to be opportunistic and driven by data and economics.”

Gaining Exposure

Historically, Killam’s production has been concentrated in conventional vertical natural gas plays, largely connected to the significant mineral rights position it owns in South Texas, including its 200,000- plus acres of ranch properties. “Our focus has been on conventional gas in South Texas, but like any other oil and gas company, we lease acreage from mineral owners to drill wells and also acquire producing properties,” he notes. “For example, we recently made an acquisition in the Frio- Vicksburg in Starr County, Tx.” However, the company is active in other areas, namely Kansas and Arkansas, and also has non-operated interests in the Eagle Ford Shale. According to Killam, its experience collaborating with other producers in the Eagle Ford may be a harbinger of things to come. “Our intention is to gain more exposure to shale plays, including as an operator,” he holds. Even if the company decides to meaningfully expand its portfolio with unconventional assets, Killam says it will continue to maintain its deep expertise in conventional geology. “We use all the tools associated with traditional vertical exploration and production, including seismic and petrophysics. That won’t change,” he insists. What will change, however, is augmenting its in-house capabilities with core competencies specific to resource plays. “Shale is a very different world with its own characteristics and challenges, including faster decline rates and parent/child well relationships,” he notes. “For that reason, we expect to add technical talent experienced in shale plays and technologies to our team.”

So, Killam Oil is not only bullish on oil and gas, but it is going all-in by seeking to dramatically expand its asset base through acquisitions and add headcount to increase the scope of its technical proficiencies. How can a smaller, regionally-focused company play it big in the acquisitions game when so many of its larger peers are being forced to play defense and try to get to the next quarter?

“One of our advantages is the autonomy to make decisions quickly. We are not accountable to third-party stakeholders. We don’t have to go to a committee and take a vote before we can act. Only a couple of people need to be involved,” Killam responds. “We have a strong balance sheet that allows us to acquire assets without being subject to financing. Importantly, we also can be patient and take a long view. That means we may buy assets with near-term challenges, but that offers the upside to be very economic over the longer term.”

But it is not only about recognizing the value of an opportunity; it also is about conducting careful due diligence to scrutinize any potential pitfalls associated with an asset. “From my perspective, there are still a lot of overvalued properties,” he assesses. “But even with a quality asset, it may have onerous marketing contracts or lease terms that are untenable at current commodity prices. There could be a good reason why a quality asset has not already sold or participated in a failed sale. Buyer beware!”

Across-The-Board Upgrade

Given its plans to execute its growth strategy and transform its operations in the months and years to come, Killam says, it became glaringly obvious that the time was right to incorporate an enterprise-level platform as a central unifying link in the value chain. After investigating more than a dozen applications, he reports, the decision was made earlier this year to install W Energy Software’s cloud-based ERP suite.

“Our existing system was at least 20 years old and had a lot of limitations. Data was compartmentalized and difficult to ac- cess, and extracting different types of metrics was complicated and time-consuming. It was very cumbersome and required lots of manual data entry. Multiple users often had to input the same information again and again, especially in our accounting department,” he recalls. “All of those problems are now eliminated. We have gone from glorified spreadsheets to a state-of-the-art system. It is amazing what today’s software is able to do far beyond the basic aspects of running a business.”

As of early November, the system was 60% installed and the company was expecting all the legacy data migration to be complete by mid-December. Once fully in place, he says the software will help Killam Oil acquire and fully leverage data to extract up-to-the-minute business insights, ramp efficiency, and productivity, break down departmental silos, and enhance decision making.

“This is a comprehensive, across-the-board upgrade,” he affirms. “Every part of the business is benefitting. It enables us to not only do more with less but do it faster and better while innovating our processes. There are a lot of features we really like, but the fact that the software was built holistically from the ground up specifically for oil and gas was important to us because it aligned with our needs.” As examples of the functionalities, he points to report generation, automated data entry, and system notifications. Through a partnership with IBM’s Cognos web-based business intelligence suite, the W Energy platform provides a user-friendly toolset for reporting, analytics, scorecards, and monitoring events and metrics.


“From an executive or managerial level, the new ERP system gives us the tools to quickly access data, create custom reports, and analyze results in ways that help us see the full picture of our operations and guide our decision making,”
-Cliff Killam, President of Killam Oil Company


Eliminating the need for manual data entry and redundancy also frees personnel to focus on higher-order tasks. “Everyone from pumpers to accounting staff can spend their time on the work that matters, auditing and analyzing numbers, instead of collecting and entering them manually,” he remarks. “Plus, all the data and workflows are integrated under one system with transparency and efficiencies that would be impossible otherwise, so that all departments are always working on the same page.

“If there is an alert from a new well being drilled or a change in production output from an existing well, it automatically communicates that to accounting, financial reporting, land management or any other affected department,” he adds. “Notifications can be customized depending on our own parameters and specifications. That fosters more interdepartmental communication and collaboration.”


Fully Committed

Killam urges other operators that are considering upgrading ERP systems to keep some fundamental suggestions in mind. Chief among them is to explore all available options to find the right fit. But once the decision has been made, it is important to fully commit to the adoption, with a hard- stop target date for installation, he advises. “Also make sure you get feedback from the entire staff to understand their concerns. Their buy-in is important,” Killam points out. “Be open to asking why things are being done a certain way and if there is a better way. We found that the answer often was, ‘That is just how it has always been done.’ You have to ask those kinds of questions and not be defensive about existing processes. The goal is to enable everyone to do their  jobs better and more efficiently.”

Killam’s final piece of advice is to fully leverage the training and service capabilities of the vendor of choice. “Service and training are crucial to the success of any software installation. This is a big change for us, and having excellent service and training shortens the learning curve and helps us master all the features,” he says. “Our staff is ex- cited. They can literally accomplish with the touch of a button what might previously have taken days.”

Not only does the system drive efficiency and save time, but Killam says it presents verified and quality-controlled data in whatever form the user requires at a much more granular level. “I come at everything from a business/financial background, so it allows me to very quickly see cross-sections of information from a financial and operating metric perspective from the company level down to the lease or individual well levels,” he offers.

The ability to quickly examine performance parameters from the macro to micro lets Killam make optimal decisions at business speed, whether considering a workover recommendation on a particular well or evaluating a potential field acquisition. “The bottom line is that with the right technology, we get insights from data much faster, and ac- accelerate the flow of information throughout the business, which in turn, lets us respond faster to not just survive in to- day’s environment, but find opportunities to thrive,” he summarizes.

For a private company off the beaten path, discovering those opportunities is half the battle of getting in on the deal flow. The company has been headquartered in Laredo since Killam’s great grandfather set up shop 100 years ago, and he says it has no plans to change addresses anytime soon.

“We may be the only oil and gas company in town. As much as we love being here, we are not as connected or as visible as we might be in Dallas or Houston,” he concludes. “We try to overcome that through hard work, building industry re- relationships, and doing things the right way. The ERP system will help us continue to do that for a long time, and hopefully, help empower us to take the next steps to grow the business.”






About W Energy Software

Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, W Energy Software (formerly Waterfield Energy) offers the oil & gas industry’s only unified ERP solution built for the cloud that is relied on by more than 100 upstream and midstream companies to accelerate business performance, improve operational efficiency, and drive costs down. W Energy Software combines precision-built software in one extendable cloud-based workspace with an intimate understanding of the oil & gas business to deliver solutions that offer flexibility, affordability, and continuous upgrades. Unlike other ERP software that loosely ties together a mix of legacy solutions and fragmented technologies, W Energy Software designed a unified upstream and midstream ERP platform to seamlessly track oil, gas, and NGL from the wellhead through transportation and marketing, eliminating data silos as well as the burden and costs of maintaining multiple systems. With W Energy Software, oil & gas companies stay lean and agile with the tools they need to adapt to market changes and meet evolving customer needs head-on, all while gaining the confidence that their business is running on the latest technology. For more information, please visit



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Hayes Luger

Vice President of Professional Services

Hayes has over 17 years of experience in the Energy and Financial Services space driving high growth organizations while focusing on operational improvements and delivery excellence. She earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from the University of Mississippi.

Specialties: Management / Technology Consulting, Strategy, Disciplined Sales Execution, Account / Customer Success Management, Relationship Management, Delivery Methodologies & Best Practices, Estimating Models & Frameworks, SaaS & On-Premise Software Implementation, Program / Project Management, Team Building & Leadership, and P&L Management.


Chief of Staff

Jonathan joined W Energy Software in 2022, bringing more than 10 years of experience in corporate finance and financial services. Prior to joining W, he served on the FP&A team at Magellan Midstream Partners, where he focused on business optimization and cost containment. As Chief of Staff, Jonathan’s current responsibilities include strategic planning, project management, and decision support within W’s executive team. He graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Northeastern State University, earning a B.B.A. in Finance. Furthermore, he holds an MBA from Louisiana State University Shreveport and a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Rachel Collins

Chief Executive Officer

Rachel Collins joins WES with over 25 years of organizational transformation experience. Prior to WES, Rachel was the General Manager of Insite360, the software and analytics division of Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a NYSE:VNT operating company). Prior to Insite360, Rachel served as General Manager and SVP at Aurea Software (ESW Capital/Trilogy), where she directly managed several acquisitions including ista NA, Lyris, MessageOne, AlertFind, Artemis, Jive software operations, and Jive’s FedRAMP program. Rachel is responsible for over a billion annual recurring revenue since 2013. She also founded a boutique consulting firm focused on java development and middleware integration serving the energy, financial services, and healthcare sectors.

Rachel graduated with Cum Laude honors from LSU, with a B.S. in Information Systems and Decision Sciences. In 2019, Rachel graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Colorado State University Global, with a Master’s Degree in Finance.


Chief Financial Officer

Michael earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky and holds an MBA from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He began his career at LaSalle Bank in Chicago, later transitioning to an asset management firm, leading efforts to optimize internal processes and manage data flow across the organization. Michael has over 20 years of experience in FP&A, accounting, information systems management and capital markets.

Andy James

Chief Product Officer

Andy has 30 years of oil and gas experience which have been focused on technology leadership roles. He has extensive experience in commercial software delivery, product management, and product life cycle. Mr. James joined W Energy Software in January 2023, prior to which he served 10 years at IHS Markit where he led the global software development organization for the upstream oil and gas business. Key contributions include leading the geoscience software organization, migration of key platform technologies to the cloud, and Agile development transformation. Mr. James also spent 20 years in global roles in London, Holland, and Houston with Halliburton, including stints with KBR, Halliburton Integrated Solutions, and finally Landmark Graphics.

Vipul Bansal

Chief Technology Officer

Vipul Bansal brings in 20+ years of technology experience helping organizations build scalable solutions. In his role as VP of Engineering, Vipul leads the platform engineering teams delivering robust ERP solutions and plays a critical role in helping W Energy remain at the forefront of innovation. Prior to joining W Energy, Vipul was Head of Engineering for Seven Lakes Technologies building truly cloud-native SaaS solution for oilfield production, field operations and production accounting. Vipul received his Master’s from Wayne State University and holds a Bachelor’s in engineering from Sardar Patel University.

Whitney Braden

Chief Human Resources Officer

Whitney joined W Energy Software in 2013 and currently serves as the Vice President of Human Resources. She is passionate about building strategies and initiatives focused on solving business and people challenges. Whitney earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rogers State University and a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Oklahoma State University.

David Craig

Senior Vice President of Client Experience

David has over 20 years of experience in Upstream Oil & Gas spanning the IT strategy, design and implementation disciplines as well as extensive experience in data warehousing, business analytics, revenue accounting, production accounting and land applications. He earned a BA in Business Administration and Management and his MBA from Baylor University.

Frank Fuda

Vice President of Sales

Frank joined the W Energy team in 2020 and currently serves as Associate Vice President of Sales. He has 14 years of experience in various sales roles and enjoys helping clients across the oil and gas industry achieve strategic transformation. Frank earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baylor University.

Aubree Witt

Business Operations Coordinator

Aubree joined W Energy Software in 2018 and currently serves as the Executive Administrator for the Leadership Team. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelors in Sociology and comes with 10 years of administrative experience.

Stacey McCroskey

Head of Product Strategy

Stacey McCroskey, Ph.D., PMP joins WES with over 25 years’ experience in both corporate and educational settings. She has focused on software products and services in the oil & gas, construction, and financial services industries. She is a management professional with global experience in strategic planning, product leadership, project and change management, product development, and employee development.  Stacey has also worked as a college professor and Dean teaching management, leadership, organizational behavior, and project management courses.

Stacey earned her undergraduate degree and Master of Science in Accounting Degrees from Oklahoma State University. She also has a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and her Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management from Capella University. She has her Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute.

Sean Giese

Board Member

Sean joined True Wind in 2018 and is a Director of Envoy Global, Sysnet Global Solutions, and W Energy Software. Prior to joining True Wind, Sean spent over a decade at Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) where he led and managed growth equity investments and buyouts within technology. Sean was involved with various investments across the technology sector including Actifio, Cradlepoint, Datto, ExtraHop, Fuze, GoDaddy, Twilio, XRS and several others. Prior to joining TCV, Sean was with Deutsche Bank in the Technology Mergers & Acquisitions group.

Sean holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles.

Mike Crest

Board Member

Mike brings more than 25 years of IT industry experience where he was most recently CEO and President at Optanix, a software and solution provider for large enterprise collaboration and communications technology, where he led the team through a successful sale of the company in 2021.

Prior to joining Optanix, Mike served as CEO of Arcserve, a provider of data backup and recovery solutions, where he led the team that took the company independent. Before that, he held several executive level roles at CA Technologies, one of the largest independent software corporations in the world, and spent eight years in technology sales leadership roles at one of the largest resellers in the world.

Mike holds B.S. degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science and Communications from Minnesota State University.


Board Member

Sam joined True Wind in 2021. Prior to joining True Wind, Sam was co-CFO of Active Interest Media. Prior to his role at Active Interest Media, Sam worked at Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm, and in the Financial Sponsors Group at Citigroup.

Sam holds a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Latin American Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Mike Anello

Board Member

Mike Anello is dedicated to helping growth-oriented businesses maximize their operations by applying his extensive sales and marketing expertise to portfolio companies.

Prior to founding M33, Mike was a member of the ops team at Valor Equity Partners, where he focused on implementing sales and marketing best practices across the firm’s portfolio. Before this, Mike led business development for Axium Software (acquired by Deltek), where he led acquisitions and helped double the size of Axium’s sales and marketing engine in less than two years. Mike has worked with several companies to optimize and streamline their sales and marketing efforts, including Illumio Software, Tesla Motors, Manduka, Porch, and Project44. He was also a cofounder of Cleverlayover. Mike, Gabe and Brian first worked together at General Catalyst. There Mike built the sourcing team and focused on software and healthcare opportunities.

Mike graduated from the University of Notre Dame summa cum laude. He walked on to the Notre Dame Football Team, eventually earning a scholarship and two-time Academic All-American Honors. Mike received his MBA from Harvard Business School. While there, he partnered with Shikhar Ghosh and Mark Roberge to build a playbook around best practices for scaling sales teams from $10 million to $100 million in revenue.

Mike’s passion for giving back led to the launch of Boston’s inaugural St. Baldrick’s Event, a pediatric oncology research foundation. Since then he has led more than 10 events in four cities.

Peter Waldroop

Board Member

Pete Waldroop has served as executive, CEO, and Board member for numerous organizations over his 26 year career in IT and software.  Mr. Waldroop has founded such successful organizations as Waterfield Energy, Capitalize Consulting, and Quorum Business Solutions. Mr. Waldroop’s commitment to client service now extends to cyber security though Asgard Cyber Security.

Rachel Collins

Board Member

Rachel Collins joins WES with over 25 years of organizational transformation experience. Prior to WES, Rachel was the General Manager of Insite360, the software and analytics division of Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a NYSE:VNT operating company). Prior to Insite360, Rachel served as General Manager and SVP at Aurea Software (ESW Capital/Trilogy), where she directly managed several acquisitions including ista NA, Lyris, MessageOne, AlertFind, Artemis, Jive software operations, and Jive’s FedRAMP program. Rachel is responsible for over a billion annual recurring revenue since 2013. She also founded a boutique consulting firm focused on java development and middleware integration serving the energy, financial services, and healthcare sectors.

Rachel graduated with Cum Laude honors from LSU, with a B.S. in Information Systems and Decision Sciences. In 2019, Rachel graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Colorado State University Global, with a Master’s Degree in Finance.


Chief Operating Officer

Sally has spent 20+ years in IT, Commercial Software and Consulting focused on Operations and Customer Success.  Sally most recently was the VP of Customer Success at Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a NYSE:VNT operating company), a retail petroleum equipment manufacturer and technology platform with a customer base of more than $450mm in annual revenues in their Retail Solutions organization. Sally joined W Energy Software in April of 2023 and will leverage her extensive experience in managing large Services & Customer Success organizations to drive efficiencies through automation and build cross functional synergies to support our growth and scale.   


Head of Product Management

Hari is a highly experienced professional who over 18 years has consistently demonstrated a passion for leveraging technology to achieve exceptional business outcomes in the Energy industry. Prior to W Energy Software, Hari as the Director of product management was pivotal in shaping the JOYN product line and ensuring its alignment with overall business strategy making Seven Lakes Technologies a market leader in oilfield operations and data capture. As an offshore oilfield engineer in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, Hari brings a unique perspective to the Energy software industry. 

Hari graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management with an MBA. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Materials & Metallurgical engineering from the world-renowned Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.

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