The 2013 show drew some 17,000 attendees from 47 states and 43 countries.
The deckhand-turned-serial entrepreneur spent his early career on rig duty in the Louisiana swampland and looked uber comfortable Monday as he donned the ceremonial golden hard hat before a packed crowd at The Petroleum Club. He is the 35th industry leader to receive the award.
Per tradition, the honoree shared war stories of a life in the rough and tumble trade, in particular some of the early lessons learned from the masters — like the time he dropped a tool down the hole on the first day of a new job. "Son, you’re about to learn what it takes to fish an Allen wrench out of a 14,000-foot well,” said the drilling superintendent, exiting. Moncla was banished to the top of the derrick, which would bob and weave over 100 times through the night with each successive effort to retrieve the tool. When the crew finally extracted it, the wrench was broken in half, and he still has it in his office today as a reminder of one of his first big takeaways in the oilfield. "They didn’t fire me,” he said, "and I learned how important it is to give everyone a second chance.”
Asked about the future of the industry, Moncla predicted an even tougher road to a turnaround than in years past. "It may be slower uphill than the last seven times,” he said, blaming national energy, taxation and foreign policies. He cited the recent nuclear deal with Iran, which will likely increase the supply of oil in the global market and keep prices low. "We have not represented ourselves well in Washington,” he said. "The people of America don’t know how important the oil and gas industry is to this country.”
Moncla, who was born in Lafayette, graduated from Lafayette High School in 1966 and received a bachelor of science degree in economics and finance from UL Lafayette in 1970.
Moncla dove head first into the oil and gas industry, working at Pelican Well Service during the summers while attending college.
After graduation, he accepted a position in Houma with McEvoy Valve Company, a division of Rockwell Manufacturing, where he worked for two years as a field representative. Between the years of 1972 and 1984, he worked from the ground up at Pelican Well Service. He began as a roughneck and within 12 years was the company vice president.
In November 1984, Moncla began his own business, Moncla Well Services. The company got its start with one rig and six employees. By the time Moncla would sell his company to Key Energy Services in 2007, it had grown to 953 employees and 53 rigs.
After a brief retirement, in 2011 Moncla became CEO of Platinum Energy Solutions in 2011, which was sold in 2014.
Moncla now works alongside his three sons, two brothers and two nephews at Moncla Companies.
Throughout his career Moncla has actively participated in professional associations including the U.S. Junior Chamber, the Louisiana Independent Oil and Gas Association, the Association of Energy Service Contractors and the Clean Energy Technology Association.
A proud UL alumnus, Moncla continues to serve the university as an executive board member of the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation, an organization he helped get off the ground. In remembrance of his parents, Leon and Catherine Moncla, he helped the university fund and build the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility.
Moncla is married to the former Rhonda Daigle of Rayne.