Leadership and Experience

Kevin Christian, JD

Managing Partner and Co-Founder

Kevin has over 20 years of leadership experience working in challenging times with talented teams to achieve dynamic goals, including during the post-911 collapsed market, Great Recession of 2008, oil price collapse of 2014, and now the oil price collapse of 2020. He sees great opportunity in today’s environment to help legacy mineral families monetize their holdings, while working with industry partners to aggregate robust royalty portfolios that will deliver yield and return for years to come.

Kevin is responsible for Contender’s capital, acquisition, and divestiture strategies with key focus on strategic industry relationships. He heads the Leadership Oversight Team that casts corporate vision and aligns execution with financial objectives and investment priorities. Kevin is passionate about resourcing and equipping Contender’s employees and contractors to meet their professional goals, both within the company and as emerging industry leaders. Kevin has a depth of experience in the oil and gas industry, having previously founded Stewardship Resources, a Texas E&P company. While leading Stewardship, Kevin sourced and funded acquisitions throughout Texas with operations ranging from secondary recovery water floods to drilling and developing stacked-pay prospects on the Texas Gulf Coast. Previously, Kevin amassed a breadth of experience serving in various roles to help establish and grow over 100 entrepreneurial ventures beyond oil and gas. He served as Director of Strategic Partnerships for his alma mater, Abilene Christian University. He also served in various government roles, including Executive Director of the Texas Governor’s West Texas Office for Economic Development & Tourism.

A licensed attorney, Kevin graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in in Political Science and minor in Public Service. He earned his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law where he served as Chief Manuscripts Editor for the Texas Review of Law and Politics. Kevin lives in Keller with his wife and three children.

Chase Gibson


Chase co-founded Contender with Kevin Christian in 2015, and was instrumental in the firm’s growth and execution to close over 250 transactions representing roughly $150mm in value. Chase continues to support internal operations, asset valuation, and corporate strategy with an entrepreneurial eye toward the pursuit of complementary business models within the mineral and royalty space. Prior to Contender, Chase was the CEO and Founder of a Texas-based oil and gas E&P company. During that time Chase quarterbacked the prospect generation, leasing, and ultimately the drilling and development of prospects throughout both Texas and Northern Oklahoma. He also led a successful divestiture of the firm’s Eagle Ford position that closed in spring of 2014. Chase was recently honored as one of Texas Oil and Gas Investor’s top Forty Under 40 business professionals across the industry.

Chase attended Texas Christian University on a football scholarship where he studied business. He later earned an Energy Finance Certificate from Southern Methodist University and a Land and Leasing Certification from the University of Texas. Chase lives in Sachse with his wife and three sons.

Allen Barham, CPL

Vice President — Land

Allen is responsible for oversight and project management for all transnational title matters including due diligence, curative, closing documents, and follow-on management of division orders and pay status. Prior to Contender, Allen served as Landman/Lease Analyst for Holland Acquisitions where he provided support for oil and gas exploration and production clients identifying and acquiring leasehold, abstracting and curing title, and conducting acquisition due diligence across tens of thousands of acres.

Allen is a Certified Professional Landman who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Management and a Masters of Business Administration for Energy Professionals, both from Texas Christian University. Allen lives in Fort Worth with his wife and three children.

Cristian Hernandez

Vice President — Business Development

Cristian works in both the Midland and Delaware Basins focusing on acquisitions from industry partners and boots-on-the-ground direct sourcing. As an acquisition specialist, Cristian works directly with mineral owners to help accomplish their goals of monetizing their mineral assets. He also assists in vetting and managing incoming deal flow from trusted third-party landmen and brokers. Prior to Contender, Cristian worked with several land service companies where he played a key role in leasing over 100,000 acres throughout the Barnett and Utica Shales as well as the Permian Basin.

Cristian holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and a Masters of Business Administration for Energy Professionals, both from Texas Christian University. Cristian lives in Fort Worth with his wife and two children.

Heather Betancur

Office Manager and Executive Assistant

Heather serves as Office Manager overseeing daily operations and Executive Assistant to Managing Partner Kevin Christian. She is responsible for administrative office and financial management and is instrumental to the entire team in document management, organization, scheduling, and executive support. Heather assists the VP of Land with Division Order processing and communication, while also fielding documentation and logistics requests from Contender’s various industry and capital partners. Prior to Contender, Heather held a number of different roles including Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, Legal Assistant, Executive Assistant, and Executive Assistant Operations Manager. With nearly 10 years of experience under her belt, she has proven herself to be instrumental to the internal processes and operations of Contender.

Heather was born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico and attended New Mexico State University, and she and her husband now live in Dallas

Matthew Sowards

Reservoir Engineer

Matthew manages all aspects of reservoir engineering for the team’s diverse acquisition strategy and robust divestiture program. He conducts engineering analysis on targeted prospects within the Permian Basin (and other domestic basins when required) for all mineral, royalty, and leasehold acquisitions. He generates decline curves and analyzes well performance while researching the latest trends in completion strategy and field development. Matthew models transaction economics through reserve analysis and operator forecasts, with a key understanding of correlative transactions and industry trends. Matthew developed a strong professional reputation over the past four years working as a Reservoir Engineer at Brigham Minerals, helping transition the company from private to public listing on the NYSE with current market cap over $600mm. While at Brigham, he performed monthly accruals on 5,000+ horizontal wells producing ~10,000 BOEPD. He also evaluated potential mineral assets through financial modeling of thousands of tracts across the Permian, Anadarko, DJ, and Williston Basins, helping grow the portfolio to 80,000+ NRA. Previous to Brigham, Matthew gained valuable experience and connections through internships with Chesapeake Energy and Five States Energy.

Matthew graduated with High Honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering and a 4.0 GPA in his major. He currently lives in Austin with his wife and two dogs, but they are excited to transition back to DFW where Matthew was born and raised.