Print Page     Close Window     

Board of Directors

James P.  Benson

A founding partner of Energy Spectrum Partners, James P. Benson has extensive relationships and networks within the energy industry. Historically, Mr. Benson has been instrumental in and responsible for originating many of Energy Spectrum Partners’ most successful investments. Mr. Benson primarily focuses on business development activities and the sourcing and financing of new transactions for Energy Spectrum Partners’ midstream private equity business. Through his extensive industry relationships and active marketing efforts, Mr. Benson participates in the evaluation and negotiation of potential investments and assists portfolio companies in arranging and structuring debt financing. Mr. Benson has approximately 30 years of private equity, investment banking, financial advisory and commercial banking experience in the energy industry. Prior to co-founding Energy Spectrum Partners in 1996, Mr. Benson served for ten years as a Managing Director at R. Reid Investments Inc., where his experience included energy-related private placements of debt and equity, acquisitions and divestitures. Mr. Benson began his career at InterFirst Bank Dallas, where he served for four years and was responsible for various energy financings and financial recapitalizations. Mr. Benson has a B.S. from the University of Kansas and a M.B.A. with high honors from Texas Christian University.
James H. Lytal

Mr. Lytal has served as a senior advisor to Global Infrastructure Partners, a New York based partnership that invests in infrastructure assets globally since April 2009 and since November 20 II has served on the Board of Directors of SemGroup Corporation. From 1994 to 2004, Mr. Lytal was president of Leviathan Gas Pipeline Partners, which later became EI Paso Energy Partners, and then Gulfterra Energy Partners, where he served on the board of directors. In 2004, Gulfterra Energy Partners merged with Enterprise Products Partners, LP, one of the largest publicly-traded energy partnerships in the United States, where Mr. Lytal served as executive vice president until 2009. From 1998 to 2008, he was directly involved in the development of over $3 billion in offshore platform and oil and gas pipeline projects. Having entered the energy industry in 1980, Mr. Lytal's business experience includes midstream mergers, acquisitions and master limited partnership drop-downs, as well as onshore midstream and deepwater asset development and management. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering.
I.J. "Chip" Berthelot, II
Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Berthelot serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of our general partner and Azure Midstream Energy, LLC. A proven entrepreneur, he previously founded Laser Midstream Company, which focused on natural gas gathering and processing in Texas and Louisiana and sold to Eagle Rock Energy Partners, L.P. in 2007 (Laser I). Subsequently, Laser II was formed and developed a 1.4 Bcf/d gas gathering system in Northeast Pennsylvania and Southern New York until it sold to Delphi Midstream Partners, LLC in July 2010. Additional experience includes serving as President of a privately owned midstream company (2002 – 2004) and Chief Operating Officer, Executive VP, and a member of the Board of Directors at MidCoast Energy Resources, Inc. (1991-2001), the predecessor gathering and processing business of Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. Mr. Berthelot is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Texas.
Jay M. Frisbie

Jay M. Frisbie is a Managing Director at Tenaska Capital Management (TCM). Mr. Frisbie joined Tenaska in 1998 and TCM in 2003. He has more than 26 years of experience in the energy industry in finance, strategic planning, business development, accounting and tax. Mr. Frisbie leads TCM's capital markets activities, including project financings, corporate financings and deal structuring for potential acquisitions and divestitures. Prior to joining Tenaska, Mr. Frisbie was Manager of Accounting for the non-regulated businesses of MidAmerican Energy Company. Before joining MidAmerican, he worked as a certified public accountant with Arthur Anderson, LLP, where he served a variety of clients, focusing primarily on the energy industry. Mr. Frisbie graduated from Buena Vista University with a B.A. in Accounting.
Thomas R. Fuller

Mr. Fuller is a founding and active partner of Diverse Energy Management Co, and has been a principal since 1988. Diverse Energy Management Co. is a 27 year old private upstream acquisition, exploitation drilling and production company which also invests in other energy-related companies. Mr. Fuller has approximately 44 years of experience in the energy industry as a petroleum engineer, specializing in economic and reserves evaluation. Prior to Diverse Energy Management Co., Mr. Fuller served as Executive and Director of Hillin Oil Company and Senior Vice President and Energy Group Manager of First City Banks. In the past 20 years, he has sat on the Boards of various public and private upstream energy companies. Mr. Fuller began his career as a petroleum engineer at Exxon Co. USA. Mr. Fuller has earned degrees from the University of Wyoming and the Louisiana State University School of Banking of the South and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas.
Mark F. Mulhern

Mark F. Mulhern is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Highwoods Properties, Inc. (HIW) a Raleigh, NC based Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Mr. Mulhern was previously EXCO Resources Inc.’s (XCO) Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2013-2014. EXCO is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Mulhern previously served on EXCO’s board of directors from 2010 to 2013 and on the Highwoods board of directors from 2012-2014. From 2008 until the merger with Duke Energy in 2012, Mr. Mulhern served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Progress Energy, Inc. and managed its financial services group. Progress Energy was a $17B investor-owned public utility holding company headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Mr. Mulhern joined Progress Energy in 1996 as Vice President and Controller. Between 1996 and 2008 he held executive positions in Treasury and Strategic Planning and was President of Progress Ventures, the unregulated subsidiary of Progress Energy. Before joining Progress Energy, Inc. Mr. Mulhern was the Chief Financial Officer at Hydra Co Enterprises, the independent power subsidiary of Niagara Mohawk. He also spend eight years at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Syracuse, New York, serving a wide variety of manufacturing and service businesses. He is a 1982 graduate of St. Bonaventure University. Mr. Mulhern is a certified public accountant and a certified internal auditor.
Paul G.  Smith

Paul G. Smith is a founding member and senior managing director of Tenaska Capital Management. Mr. Smith is Chairman of the Tenaska Capital Management Investment Committee and is Vice Chairman of Tenaska Capital Management. Mr. Smith has over 30 years of experience in the energy and power industries, including more than 20 years with Tenaska Capital Management. His broad experience includes business development, project development, power company management, natural gas production management, marketing company management, commercial contract negotiations, engineering, mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy, and equity placements. Mr. Smith was previously Tenaska Capital Management’s Vice President of Corporate Development. Prior to that, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Tenaska International with responsibility for its international power generation development and operating activities. Mr. Smith also served as Vice President and General Manager of Tenaska Canada, where he was responsible for all of Tenaska Capital Management’s business activities in the Canadian energy markets. Mr. Smith has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University and a M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Mr. Smith sits on the board of directors of various privately held companies.
Thomas O. Whitener, Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Directors

As President and founding partner of Energy Spectrum Partners, Thomas O. Whitener leads Energy Spectrum Partners’ midstream private equity business. Mr. Whitener’s responsibilities include leading negotiations, structuring and executing investment transactions, actively monitoring existing investments and working closely as a board member with the management teams of portfolio companies. As a Director for Azure Midstream Partners, LP, Mr. Whitner presides over the executive sessions at which non-management directors are present. Mr. Whitener has approximately 40 years of experience financing and advising companies and managing private equity investments in the energy industry. Prior to Energy Spectrum Partners, Mr. Whitener served as a Managing Director at R. Reid Investments Inc. and as a Senior Vice President of Dean Witter Reynolds’ Energy Corporate Finance Group. Through these positions, he gained significant experience with mergers and acquisitions, institutional equity and debt placements and energy asset divestitures. Following college, Mr. Whitener served three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy and began his professional career as an energy lender with InterFirst Bank Dallas. Later, as a senior manager, he was responsible for managing and overseeing commitments in excess of $1.5 billion to the upstream, midstream and oil field service sectors of the energy industry. Mr. Whitener has a B.B.A. with highest honors and a M.B.A. from the University of Texas.

© Copyright Azure Midstream Energy LLC. All Rights Reserved.