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Change comes naturally to Access Midstream CEO

His 33 years in the oil and gas industry have taken Mike Stice around the globe. Today, he heads Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream.
by Paula Burkes Modified: August 2, 2014 at 12:48 am •  Published: August 3, 2014
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Mike Stice, chief executive of Access Midstream, worked worldwide before being wooed in 2008 to join a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Access spun off Chesapeake in July 2012, with the help of private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners. And now there’s more change ahead.

Tulsa-based Williams Cos. Inc. has bought Global’s stake in Access for nearly $6 billion with plans to merge it with its own midstream subsidiary, Williams Partners LP.

Change has been the norm for Stice’s career. Over nearly three decades with ConocoPhillips, he lived in more than 20 different houses across several continents. But one constant is that Stice has worked mostly in midstream — or laying pipeline so producers can bring their resources to market.

Today, Access is active in the explosion of shale plays across the U.S. from Wyoming, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma. The company is worth $13 billion and employs 1,500, Stice said.

From his office at 525 Central Park Drive, Stice, 55, sat down with The Oklahoman recently to talk about his life and career. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Your office nameplate reads J. Mike Stice. What does the J stand for?

A: John, which is also my dad’s first name. I went by John through fifth grade, but decided to change to Mike in sixth. There were about five other Johns in my class. Plus, I was tired of my dad and I both showing up every time my mom yelled “John.”

Q: What did your dad do?

A: He served 30 years in the Army, including two tours in Vietnam, and retired as a full colonel. Then, he worked 10 years as director of the Texas Department of Corrections. He and my mom, 83 and 81, live in Huntsville, and my sister, who’s 60 and a retired school teacher, lives nearby. Originally from southwest Arkansas, my parents married as teenagers, and my dad — who was 6-foot-4, 250 pounds — played football (offensive tackle) for OU under Bud Wilkinson for one year. After he hurt his knee, he joined ROTC, and I grew up as a military brat. When I was in the second through fourth grades, we lived in Frankfurt, Germany, where I was a Boy Scout and learned to love Wiener schnitzel and other German foods. From the fifth through seventh grades, we lived in D.C., where I joined the Boys Club and played baseball and soccer.

Q: What brought you to Oklahoma?

A: From Washington, we moved to Lawton where my dad was battalion commander and I found American football. My junior year in high school, we moved to Norman, and my dad worked in downtown Oklahoma City as a military recruiter. Initially, I was mad at my dad for moving us; I left a girlfriend behind in Lawton. But at Norman High School, I met Joni, who’d become my wife and the love of my life. I also made the starting football team, and we made it to the playoffs that year.

Q: And college?

A: As one of the valedictorians in my class, I went to the University of Oklahoma and chose the toughest major possible: chemical engineering/pre-med. But, working as an EMT at Goddard Health Center, I discovered medicine wasn’t as romantic as I’d pictured. I pledged Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and Joni was a little sis. We married after my junior year, and starved for several years. She, for the first three to five years, made all the money working as a court reporter.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: chief executive officer, Access Midstream

Birthplace and birth date: Frankfurt, Germany; April 5, 1959

Family: Joni, married 34 years in August; sons Zac, 30, his wife Amanda and grandson Beckett, 2, of Norman and Tanner, 27, and his wife Rachel of Houston; “Southern,” a male chocolate Lab, and “Bentley,” a 6 1/2-pound female papillon, who rules their home in the Stonemill housing addition in northeast Oklahoma City

Education: University of Oklahoma, bachelor’s in chemical engineering, 1981; Stanford University, master’s in business, 1995; and George Washington University, doctorate of education, 2011

Church: LifeChurch.tv

Professional affiliations: He serves on the boards of Southern Gas Association and for U.S. Silica Holdings Inc.

Community involvement: Oklahoma Wesleyan University; foundation board chair; OU’s engineering and petroleum engineering schools, board of visitors; and Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business, board of advisers

Getaways: They have vacation homes on Texas’ Lake Cypress Springs, which is a halfway point for them and their sons to gather; and in Steamboat Springs, Colo. He’s an avid fisherman at both spots.

What’s left on your bucket list? “To complete a half marathon. When I was 21, it was to run a marathon. But now, anything with ‘marathon’ in the title will do.”

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