After graduating from the University of Denver, Griffin Hanna started working as a financial analyst for telecommunications company Starz. But after two years, he decided he didn’t want to be in a cubicle all day.
His goal had been to work for the family business anyway. So he called his father about joining Hanna Oil & Gas, and “he was on board.” In 2014, he relocated to Fort Smith, and started as a pumper in the field.
Hanna Oil & Gas produces oil and gas in regions, from Canada to Arkansas, primarily operating in the Arkoma Basin, stretching from McAlester, Okla., to Russellville. The company also has operations in Kansas and Nebraska.
“I’ve got my hand in all those areas,” Hanna said.
After about a year working in the field, he became a landman, negotiating with property owners on leasing mineral rights to draw oil and gas from their property. The job requires knocking on doors and asking questions such as, “Can we put a pipeline in your backyard?”
“A lot of negotiations have to take place,” Hanna said. “It’s a fun job.”
Before starting negotiations, one must understand the financial side of the business. He works with petroleum engineers to evaluate the value of the minerals. “It’s kind of a team effort,” he said. “A lot of collaboration.”
Hanna also works for KMW Properties, a commercial development company and subsidiary of Hanna Oil & Gas. “It started in oil and gas deals,” he said. More recently, it’s closed deals with Starbucks, Arkansas Braces and Academy Sports + Outdoors.
The company, which is based in downtown Fort Smith, recently purchased an adjacent building, and Hanna is planning an event space and brewery there. The company also owns two buildings in downtown Van Buren.
Hanna is co-director of “Ales for Trail,” a craft beer festival that raises money for walking trails, and he considers the volunteer project as his career highlight.
Hanna was recently named to the executive committee for the Fort Smith Association of Petroleum Landmen. He also owns and leases some duplexes and homes and hopes to add the property he owns. He looks to take on more responsibility at the company, and long-term he hopes to run the family business one day.