Driven to Maximize Shareholder Value


Fifth Creek was established by the founders of Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. and its three predecessor companies. Each company had focused operations in the DJ Basin and, starting in 2010, management played a significant role in the horizontal and multi-stage completion transformation of the Wattenberg Field.

From 1999 through 2014, a total of $562 million was invested in the four Bonanza Creek companies and we achieved a total cash return of $1.9 billion, or 3.3x ROI and 39% average IRR per annum.

Executive Team

Michael (Mike) R. Starzer - Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board

Mr. Starzer has a degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from the University of Alaska. Mr. Starzer has over 32 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and has served in numerous technical, managerial, and executive positions and as a Director for four private and two public companies. In 1999, Mr. Starzer founded the first Bonanza Creek Company serving in positions of Managing Partner, President and CEO and on the board for each of the four Bonanza Creek companies. In 2014, Mr. Starzer retired from the fourth company, Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. (NYSE:BCEI).

Mr. Starzer serves on the board of Newalta Corporation (TSX:NAL) and is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (U.S.) and the Institute of Corporate Directors (Canada). Mr. Starzer is a registered professional engineer in petroleum engineering and is a member of the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers.  Mr. Starzer has published articles on topics including recovery optimization, investment decision-making and resource extraction policies. He has represented the industry providing expert testimony for private and public companies and to state legislatures and various governmental agencies in Colorado, Alaska, California and the Federal Government on advancements in technology and the impact of taxation policies and environmental regulations on industry investment. Mr. and Mrs. Starzer established the Starzer Scholarship Foundation providing scholarships to undergraduate students and in 2013 were awarded the Colorado School of Mines “Mines Medal” for exemplary service.

Patrick (Pat) A. Graham - Founder, Corporate Development and COO

Mr. Graham is a degreed petroleum engineer from Texas A&M with over 29 years of diverse oil and gas experience that includes a focus in advanced fracture stimulation on conventional and unconventional wells in highly technical areas. Since joining the first Bonanza Creek Company in 2001, Mr. Graham has been instrumental in evaluating, negotiating to closing and leading the implementation of post‐acquisition business plans for over 30 acquisitions. Beginning in 2010, the Rocky Mountain operations, land, marketing and corporate development for Bonanza Creek Energy reported to Mr. Graham setting the stage for a successful IPO in 2011. Mr. Graham retired from Bonanza Creek Energy as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development in 2014.

Mr. Graham began his career designing and implementing well completion and stimulation treatments on conventional and unconventional wells located in highly technical and sensitive areas, including the North Slope and offshore Alaska, offshore California and the DJ Basin in Colorado. With expertise in well completion and stimulation design (particularly fracture stimulation), Mr. Graham applied this experience in evaluating underexploited acquisition candidates across the United States and Canada. Mr. Graham’s stimulation experience is rooted in the design, implementation and analysis of hydraulic fracturing and he has managed technical staff in applying hydraulic fracturing techniques to conventional and unconventional, vertical and horizontal wells across the United States. Mr. Graham has expertise in the full spectrum of fracturing from the selection of stimulation candidates to post‐frac analysis, including radioactive and chemical tracers and micro‐seismic procedures. Mr. Graham has established a Fellowship within the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University with the goal of advancing the study of hydraulic fracturing.

Clifford (Cliff) Linhardt - Chief Accounting Officer

Mr. Linhardt joined Fifth Creek Energy in March 2015 as the Chief Accounting Officer. Prior to joining Fifth Creek, Mr. Linhardt served as an Audit Senior Manager in the Denver office of Hein & Associates. He provided audit services to both public and private oil & gas companies, as well as a tribal organization. Mr. Linhardt has extensive experience with various areas of financial reporting such as full cost or successful efforts accounting, derivatives, public offerings and with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX 404). He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants (CSCPA), and the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS). Mr. Linhardt received his bachelor of arts in finance from Fort Lewis College, and his masters of science in accounting from the University of Colorado at Denver.

James Masters - Vice President - Finance

Mr. Masters has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Pepperdine University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver. Mr. Masters brings substantial experience in both the private and public capital markets, having directly participated in nearly $2 billion of equity and debt financings. Mr. Masters most recently served as Director of Investor Relations for Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. (NYSE: BCEI). He joined Bonanza Creek in 2010 and oversaw the company’s investor relations and communications initiatives from the initial public offering in 2011 until 2015. Mr. Masters played a significant role in setting Bonanza Creek’s business and marketing strategy to institutional investors during a period of tremendous value creation.

Prior to joining Bonanza Creek, Mr. Masters held investment banking positions at Rodman & Renshaw, LLC and COSCO Capital Management, LLC. In these roles, he assisted clients in accessing private capital, often guiding a new management team from business plan to deal close.

Cody Truitt - Vice President - Engineering

Mr. Truitt has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver.  Mr. Truitt has participated in evaluating, negotiating, and closing transactions across multiple basins.  Mr. Truitt most recently served as Director of Business Development for Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. (NYSE: BCEI).  He joined Bonanza Creek in 2012 and was responsible for evaluating acquisitions and leading all divestiture processes from 2012 to 2016.  Mr. Truitt also led the formation and commercial arrangements for Bonanza Creek Energy’s midstream business, Rocky Mountain Infrastructure.

Prior to joining Bonanza Creek Energy, Mr. Truitt worked in Business Development for HighMount E&P and Denali Oil & Gas.  Mr. Truitt has worked multiple regions including: DJ Basin, Anadarko Basin, Mississippi Lime, Marcellus Shale, Eagle Ford, Gulf Coast Region, Delaware Basin, and Permian Basin.

Kent Gilbert - Vice President - Operations

Mr. Gilbert has over 40 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and has managed over 1,000 wells, 13 work-over rigs and two drilling rigs with approximately 300 employees in Colorado.

Mr. Gilbert began his career working for a local drilling contractor while attending the University of Colorado studying Environmental. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in 1978, he worked for an oil and gas and environmental engineering company (OECS CORP) in Lafayette, LA as an offshore Drilling, Completion and Environmental Consultant. Mr. Gilbert worked in the Gulf of Mexico, Baltimore Canyon, Southeast Georgia Embayment, Mexico, Africa and the Middle East. Projects included drilling directional wells, magnetometer surveys, wave/tide analysis, offshore rig stability, effluent cuttings procedure and analysis and assisted drilling supervision for EXXON, Transco, Getty, Gulf, Tenneco, and Texaco, PEMEX, and SA.

In 1986, Mr. Gilbert formed Gilbert-Stewart Operating LLC. Over a 29 year period, Gilbert-Stewart drilled and developed new fields in the SE Colorado Las Animas Arch, Kansas, and North Dakota and drilled an offshore Australia wildcat. Gilbert-Stewart has developed a reputation for efficient and reduced operating costs on its wells for clients due to their expertise in many areas of operations. In 1999, Mr. Gilbert provided operations, drilling and completion, permitting and environmental engineering, construction of production facilities and field supervision for Bonanza Creek Oil Company, LLC.

Key Technical Professionals

Salina J. Derichsweiler - Engineering Manager

Ms. Derichsweiler has over 15 years of experience in the oil and gas industry with experience in reservoir engineering, production operations, drilling and planning.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining from the Colorado School of Mines, and an MBA in Finance from Pepperdine University.

Ms. Derichsweiler began her career working the Wilmington Field, and throughout her career has worked multiple regions including: Uinta Basin, San Juan Basin, Michigan Utica-Collingwood Shale, Green and Wind River Basins, and Central Kansas Uplift. Through her various roles in Reservoir Engineering, Drilling & Operations Engineering, Planning Engineering, and Technical Leadership & Management, Ms. Derichsweiler has expertise in horizontal and directional drilling, development and exploration, acquisitions, waterflood management and reserves management.  During her career she has worked in environmental and culturally sensitive areas in California, Utah, and Wyoming requiring strong relationship management with City, State, and Federal governments, local citizens, and Native American Tribes.

Ms. Derichsweiler is a Colorado native and was the first in her family to graduate from high school, attend college, and earn advanced degrees.  She volunteers for programs such as KIPP and ACE Scholarships in the Denver area assisting under-privileged and at-risk students succeed through education.

Benjamin (Ben) C. Burke, MBA, PhD - Geoscience Manager

Dr. Burke has over 12 years of experience in applied geoscience with over 10 years in domestic and international oil and gas exploration and development.  Dr. Burke recently worked on Noble Energy’s horizontal development in the DJ Basin as a Production Geoscience Team Leader.  He holds an AB magna cum laude from Bowdoin College, a MBA from Texas A&M University, and a PhD from Dartmouth College. He is also a collaborating professor with the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University.

Dr. Burke began his career as a consulting geologist with Woodard & Curran in Cheshire, Connecticut.  Following graduate school, he worked for ExxonMobil Exploration, Development and Production in geologic modeling, petrophysics, and seismic interpretation.  Dr. Burke worked for Noble Energy in the DJ Basin of Colorado focusing on geologic operations, prospect development, wellbore integrity and petroleum geochemical interpretation and was promoted to Production Geoscience Team Leader.  Dr. Burke also worked as a Senior Geologist with Fidelity Exploration & Production in the Williston Basin, the Cotton Valley in East Texas and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.

John Smith - Completions Manager

Mr. Smith has 32 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from Cal Tech and has done graduate studies in geophysics at USC and Penn State. Mr. Smith holds three patents in the field of hydraulic fracturing and has two patents pending in general petroleum technology.

Mr. Smith began his career at Unocal’s research center as Unocal’s Geomechanic/Rock Mechanic technical advisor and was the company’s hydraulic fracture specialist. During his time at Unocal’s research center, Mr. Smith designed and executed over 400 fracture treatments and increased the economic success rate for hydraulic fracture treatments from 50% to 99%. He also conducted numerous field and lab studies in the area of the geomechanics of unconventional reservoir rocks, including the Monterey formation. During his tenure at Unocal, Mr. Smith transferred to the drilling department in Midland, Texas and supervised the drilling and completion of wells in the Permian Basin and the Four Corners region.

After leaving Unocal, Mr. Smith became a consultant and designed and supervised the fracturing and completion of unconventional wells throughout the United States and in Australia. His latest consultancy job was in the Eagle Ford in South Texas. During this time Mr. Smith also formed several small exploration companies that specialized in finding and developing small unconventional reservoirs. Mr. Smith joined Express Energy Services where he served as the Vice President of Research, Development and Engineering. As Vice President, Mr. Smith led a group that developed novel equipment and processes to recycle frac and produced waters. Mr. Smith’s group also developed several novel oil field tools including a high efficiency sand trap, robotic stabbing arm, and a continuous pull rig-assist snubbing unit.

Allen Jones - Field Production Operations Manager

Mr. Jones has 29 years of oil and gas experience. Mr. Jones joined the Fifth Creek Energy team as the Field Production Operations Manager in January of 2017. Prior to joining Fifth Creek Energy, Mr. Jones served as Production Foreman for Bonanza Creek Energy from 2006 to 2010. In 2010 he was promoted to Operations Manager for the Rocky Mountain region, the company’s largest and most important operating area. Mr. Jones was responsible for managing all operating activities in the region including establishing ES&RC systems and procedures, hiring personnel, supervising the implementation of investment programs and achieving profitability targets. During the period of time that Mr. Jones served as Operations Manager for the Rocky Mountain Region, Mr. Jones’s team achieved 1 million man hours worked without a Lost Time Incident and production for the region increased from approximately 3,000 to 20,000 BOEPD generating approximately $500 million in annualized sales for Bonanza Creek.

William L. Irwin - Senior Engineering Advisor

Mr. Irwin has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering from Montana Tech, and over 30 years of oil and gas industry experience. Mr. Irwin is a registered Professional Engineer in Alberta, and is an accepted professional engineering witness in North Dakota and New Mexico. In his most recent role as Vice President of Operations with Bakken Hunter, LLC, a division of Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (MHR), he was instrumental in developing significant Bakken and Three Forks shale oil assets; using modern unconventional resource drilling and completion techniques. These techniques include horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing. In addition, his facilities team planned, permitted, constructed and commissioned numerous field gathering and processing facilities. These cutting edge facilities produced, in record time, a cross‐border, FERC regulated gas pipeline.

Prior to joining MHR, Mr. Irwin was the Founder, President, and CEO of Pinon Oil & Gas Ltd. (1997) and Red Mike Energy Inc. (2000). Both private exploration and production companies primarily operated in southern Alberta. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Irwin was the Vice President of Business Development and a Board Advisor for Fractal Systems Inc., an oil services company with proprietary heavy oil viscosity reduction and partial upgrading technology. From 1994 through 1997 Mr. Irwin was the Operations Manager for Tidal Resources Inc. (Tidal) in Canada and North Dakota. Tidal was a leader in the implementation of horizontal drilling technology to legacy assets in North Dakota. Prior to 1994, Mr. Irwin held varying technical and management roles with Unocal Corp and Quintana Petroleum Corporation in Canada, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.