Inspired Leaders Series hosts Duane Lock


Marissa Haas

Founder and CEO of River Oaks Energy delivered a speech in Scianna Hall’s McDonnell Auditorium on Feb. 27 at 9:45 a.m. as part of the Inspired Leaders Series.

Duane Lock is a Southern Miss alum who is now the founder and president of River Oaks Energy, an energy consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

Lock received his undergraduate degree from Southern Miss in 1983 and went on to receive his MBA from Rockhurst University. The Inspired Leaders Series is a series of speakers put together by the University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business and Economic Development to give successful, recognized business leaders and executives the opportunity to tell inspirational stories.

“You have to figure out the job you are in and do that job extraordinarily well,” Lock said. “Everybody’s watching you, whether you think they are or not.”

Lock’s speech primarily focused on the time he spent at Southern Miss and his upbringing in rural Brandon, Miss. Lock told stories of the tasks he did growing up, like him driving his peers on the school bus. All of Lock’s stories focused on the importance of hard work and his ability to adapt the skills he learned as a helping hand for his grandfather. Lock used metaphors to deliver business advice, like how he compared bad friends to crawfish pulling each other into a pot of boiling water.

“To be honest, I went into it for money,” Lock said after being asked about entering the energy market. “Be very aware of a trend.”

Lock worked in what he referred to as corporate America for 20 years, including a 10-year stay at Xerox Corporation. This field was not where he saw himself in the long term, and Lock eventually found himself working in energy. Lock launched River Oaks Energy in 2003, and it has remained in business ever since.

“I thought his point about doing the small things really well was a good point. It is really for people to understand that you do not have to be the smartest, quickest, fastest or strongest. It’s just really about doing those small things,” senior business administration student Brooks Rahaim said.

Lock spoke about how he aims to give back to the state of Texas and his general worries surrounding the criminal justice system. He mentioned his time in the military and how it gave him a sense of structure. Lock also stated the need for cleaner, more efficient energy and warned the audience of the dangers surrounding greenhouse gases.

“Every semester we have a leader come in and talk to a group of students,” College of Business and Economic Development Marketing coordinator Bailey Harris said. “This semester we had Duane Lock. I feel like he did a really great job telling the students what to expect once they graduate and how to better prepare for that.”