Born and raised in a section of Queens, New York City known as Jamaica, Kevin Sylla is an executive at several notable energy companies, as well as a successful serial entrepreneur in that same industry. His knowledge of the energy sector is regarded as expert-level, and his breadth of experience virtually unmatched. Having completed the Petroleum Land Management program at Texas Christian University and the Energy Land Management program and Finance program at Denver University, Kevin Sylla began what would prove to be an expansive career in the energy industry, wherein he has, as of the writing of this profile, drilled and reworked over one hundred oil wells, managed a portfolio of over two hundred active oil wells at different stages of development, and facilitated the delineation of over five hundred thousand acres of land for energy resource exploration and development.
Now with more than fifteen years of oil and gas industry experience, Kevin Sylla boasts a thorough knowledge of management, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and oil and gas field operations. Kevin has also been involved with the financing, acquisition, and development of more than one billion dollars worth of oil and gas properties in the USA. He specializes in transforming underperforming assets into profitable assets in order to increase shareholder value.
Kevin Sylla is also the Co-Founder of Pristine Energy, LLC and the Co-Founder of HydraThermal Energy, LLC. Both companies have grown since their inception to become very profitable, as well as extremely influential in the American energy sector.
Where did the idea for Pristine Energy come from?
Pristine Energy, LLC focuses on natural hydrogen and HydraThermal Energy, LLC focuses on building innovative new technologies for clean energy transition. The idea for both came from understanding that the world was going in a different direction when it came to energy production and consumption. For the benefit of the planet, we need to figure out how to get clean, abundant energy that doesn’t compromise our security as a nation and general global security. In conceiving of the companies, the other founders and I also wanted to come up with new processes and technologies that could provide carbon neutrality and assist in reducing emissions into the climate.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts with waking up and going through emails. After that, I get on my exercise bike and try to get in at least thirty minutes of cardio, then I get back to work. I go through conference calls and schedules, then I take two hours a day to research what new technologies are out there, what our competitors are doing, and how we can further refine what we’re doing. After that, it’s back to conference calls. I spend some time on business and business development later in the day, and I wrap up the day with closing out emails, having dinner, and spending time with my family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Once we’ve decided to pursue an idea, we figure out what the issues or challenges are that we’ll likely face upon implementing it. After we map out those challenges, I have a system that involves confirming its viability. Then I determine how hard it will be to get it from an idea stage to reality. I have all that written down on paper, and then I talk to my inner circle so I can bounce everything off of them. Once everyone involved is satisfied, then we go for it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One of the things in my business that excites me is looking for different energy sources, such as hydrogen. Forward-thinking governments and companies are trying to decentralize their energy production so as to not rely on any one single energy source. The discovery and innovation related to all of that excites me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Reading positive material, listening to positive speeches, and receiving different kinds of positive messages.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to stay focused and remember that sometimes slow is good. You don’t always have to be in a hurry to get things done. Sometimes learning every aspect of a project or issue is better than rampaging ahead full steam. Both methods can work, but sometimes it’s better to go a little slower. You can still get things done without giving one hundred and fifty percent; sometimes it’s okay to give one hundred percent. And if you go slower, you learn more along the way.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People tend to associate with each other or a given group based entirely on politics these days. It’s almost like a fraternity type of thing. There seems to be no middle of the road anymore—it’s either left or right. People join up with a group based on where they live, what they read, what they watch on television, and they become blinded by whatever that group likes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong, they define themselves by that group and don’t allow themselves to have individual thoughts outside of their group. I believe that is harmful.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Have a daily routine with components that will make you successful. Read, listen to positive messages, always think outside the box, and analyze what you’re doing and how to get to the next step every day. Keep a schedule that your internal clock can always come back to, and don’t get too bogged down. It’s good to go one hundred and fifty percent on your business, but you also have to take some time to step back and decompress. As hard as it may seem, it’s very important to take that time to relax.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Recruiting and aligning myself with smart people who have different backgrounds and different viewpoints.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early on, I had some businesses that failed. I overcame that by understanding what mistakes were made, why they were made, and what could be done to improve outcomes. It’s important to understand why certain obstacles happened so that you can learn from that and not repeat it. You also need to be self-aware enough to accept criticism and committed to doing better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A great idea would be localized green car rentals. Everyone is going green, so someone could team up with companies that want to go green and offer rentals from Priuses to Teslas. You could also look for other opportunities where you could use a green fleet of vehicles or meet green mandates. Anything you could do with that sort of business should yield you money in the future.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 at Barnes & Noble on autobiographies. That was the best purchase I’ve made lately because I was able to read about how some accomplished business leaders went about operating their businesses, and I was able to get some new ideas for my own businesses.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I have a bunch of productivity apps installed on my phone and my computer. They help me to be productive by enabling me to keep better track of my schedule and how much time I spend with different tasks.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Three Feet from Gold by Sharon Lechter and Dr. Greg Reid.
What is your favorite quote?
I have two quotes and they’re both by Winston Churchill. The first is, “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” The second quote is, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
- It’s possible to develop clean, abundant energy that can be safely accessed by everyone.
- Surround yourself with people possessing different kinds of intelligence to provide a balanced view.
- Always look for new innovations with an open mind.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.