Remembering Matt Simmons
Matt Simmons was a friend. Unlike some of my best friends, I never worked with or for him. He just became a friend.
Matt was infectious and infuriating at the same time. He was like a 17 year old daughter; everything she does and says drives you crazy, but you can’t help but love her.
At his core, Matt was an incurable and incredible analyst. He could not help himself. He was really good to boot. Simmons & Company is Matt’s. He checked out years ago, and the firm has moved on, but no one can deny the mark he made on Houston’s energy banking community. Matt almost single handedly put the energy diving business on the map. And to this day, there are CEOs in the drilling patch who believe they owe their success to his acuity.
Matt was one of those successful executives who recognized that he would be more successful if he surrounded himself with really smart people. He wasn’t threatened by their success; he bathed in it.
And somehow, someway, Matt also managed to be a loving, caring husband to Ellen, and father to five wonderful daughters. We all chuckled over the novellas that appeared in the mail every Christmas. Tolstoy shuddered in his grave, as the Simmons Christmas card rivaled War and Peace. BUT WE READ THOSE CARDS EVERY YEAR. And a little piece of each of us gave Matt a figurative pat on the back. He managed to do it all.
Matt was an artist. Over the past decade, as he spent more and more time in Maine (and rather relished lording that fact over his friends!) he spent time dabbling in water colors, and dammit, he was good!
“Twilight in the Desert” was published in 2005. It was a major success amongst the peak oil gurus, and Matt was off and running in a new direction. That direction led to a number of controversial positions culminating in his campaign against BP’s response to the Deepwater Discovery incident. Ultimately, Matt decided it was time to focus 100% of his energies on his newly founded Ocean Energy Institute.
To listen to Matt discuss the potential still harnessed in our oceans was to listen to unadulterated joy. For no other reason, Matt needed to live another fifty years, so we could see whether his dreams could truly come to fruition.
In the past couple years, Matt and I argued about EVERYTHING. He had done a political 180 on me. I called his bluff on countless positions he had taken. I had him pegged. And do you know the beauty of it? He couldn’t have cared less!
Matt was on his own mission. WE WERE JUST ALONG FOR THE RIDE!
Matt made me laugh. I couldn’t stay mad at him. He was so passionate and downright committed that no matter how nuts I thought he was about many issues, he was OUR nut.
Matt Simmons, I will miss you. All your friends will miss you. I’m mad you’re gone. There is a hole in our lives that we need to figure out how to fill. I’m not sure we can. I look forward to arguing again with you some day. And when we meet, you will have had enough time to think about these past few years, and you can look me in the eye and say “Jim, you were right about Obama!”