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Alumni Profile: Scott Filstrup '67

Energy to spare

Scott Filstrup '67 shares his experience and innovation, helping clients — including those in the oil industry — refine value

By Matt Golosinski

Global energy demand is in an early stage of a long-term boom, says Scott Filstrup, who over his career has shared his industry insights with key leaders in business and government.

In January, he accompanied Dean Dipak C. Jain and the Kellogg advisory board to India where he discussed the reality of energy consumption in India. During a private Kellogg meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence, the Kellogg graduate noted that energy use in the nation would double over the next seven years — a prospect that amplifies the need for creating new energy supplies, new technologies and new alternate fuels, says Filstrup '67.

His involvement in the energy arena extends a family legacy. Filstrup notes that his father and uncle invented air compression technology, which was utilized to break up coal in mines, replacing more dangerous explosives. Upon receiving his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University in 1965 and his MBA from Kellogg, Filstrup worked for Monsanto and later The Williams Companies Inc., a Tulsa-based diversified energy firm.

After a stint as the CEO of a transportation fuel injection company, he launched his consulting firm in the 1980s, with the founder and former CEO of The Williams Companies as an initial supporter. "I'm most interested in assisting business startups, enhancing growth or setting new strategies," he says.

President of The Consultants Ltd., a Tulsa-based strategic planning and management firm, Filstrup assists clients with mergers, acquisitions and partnerships. One of his clients has developed a new multi-fuel, environmentally favorable engine that has the potential to be far more efficient than other engines/generators in use today.

"It shows promising results in a laboratory, but how do you find materials to ensure reliable performance under extreme heat, pressure and vibration conditions?" Filstrup says. To assist the company, he is seeking new partners in materials and power companies.

Filstrup is also helping an energy supply company develop international markets, scouting opportunities for private equity firms in London and Chicago, merging oil/gas firms, and assisting new technologies in logistics.

Although his clients include healthcare and IT organizations, 75 percent of Filstrup's focus involves the energy business. CEOs call him looking for merger and acquisition candidates, and early stage firms seek his help in finding funding and strategic alliance opportunities.

"Being independent, I can often look at the competitive landscape and new global market segments more effectively than sources on the inside can," he observes. "You can effect change faster and on a more confidential basis."

Filstrup prides himself on advising companies to walk away from a deal when it's not a win-win scenario. In one case, he discovered that a key decision-maker involved in a deal had two conflicting personal histories. "Ethics and credibility are core values," he says. "If you look at a company's top leaders and see a 'crack in the wall,' it could be a warning that there are deeper issues."

Along with his consulting, Filstrup has been active in corporate governance, sitting on the boards of several public and private firms as well as nonprofits including Junior Achievement and Tulsa Opera Inc. "On a board, you're deeply involved with the future of that company," he says. "You get to use your cumulative knowledge and expertise to benefit an organization."

Making an impact motivates Filstrup to nurture his professional and volunteer commitments rather than retire. He is a former member of Northwestern University's Board of Trustees and a former president of the 150,000-member Northwestern University Alumni Association. Since 1994, Filstrup has been a member of the Kellogg Dean's Advisory Board, and is co-chair of his Kellogg 40th class reunion. He and his wife, Margee, also have been generous donors to Kellogg.

"I enthusiastically enjoy taking on a variety of projects where I can add value and be a catalyst," he says.

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