joel-gayJoel Gay is the President and CEO of Energy Recovery, a company that develops award-winning solutions to improve productivity, profitability, and energy efficiency within the oil and gas, chemical, and water industries. When Gay became the CEO of Energy Recovery in April 2015, he was the youngest black CEO of a publicly traded company and the 10th ever.

In addition to his role as CEO of Energy Recovery and as a member on the company’s board of directors, Gay serves on the board of GDG Constructors as an Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee. Prior to joining Energy Recovery, Gay held various roles at the Aegion Corporation, most notably as the CFO of the North America division. Gay has also held several positions within the Service Master companies. He began his career in entrepreneurial finance where he led a start-up to a successful liquidity event.

This year, Gay landed a spot on Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 List. He speaks on his success in a recent interview for Fortune Magazine.

On his success

Gay says he owes a lot of his success to his parents.

“My parents facilitated a high degree of intellectual curiosity,” says Gay. “In addition to being a competition junkie, I am as intellectually curious as anyone I know, frankly as my sister and my little brother. My parents introduced us to the widest spectrum of literature and theory at a very young age.”

“Through diverse, theoretical exploration, that’s how you expand your frame of mind. And that’s how you, shall we say, exercise your brain,” continues Gay. “My parents were incredible in doing that and helping us understand that there is not a ceiling for success.”

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