A Passion for Growth Strategy
Anthony Nolte spent nearly three decades at Shell Oil, moving up from Business Analyst to In-House Counsel to Controller. Rather than getting a country club membership, Tony’s retirement plan involved moving to Austin and beginning an entirely new chapter of his career.
He took a day job as a legal and financial professional with a mid-sized consumer business, but with far fewer responsibilities than he’d had at Shell. This afforded Tony the opportunity to jump into Austin’s vibrant startup community. He began moonlighting as an advisor for several different startups, including an environmentally-friendly industrial cleaning supplies company and a software platform that helps real estate agents streamline communications with mortgage and title companies.
To understand why Tony is such an effective change agent, you have to understand his background. Tony comes from a military family that never stayed in one place longer than two years. From California to Germany, Tony attended twelve different schools between kindergarten and twelfth grade. For the most part, Tony embraced his transient childhood, claiming “it taught me to expect change.”
After graduating high school in Kentucky, Tony earned a Bachelor of business administration degree in industrial administration from the University of Kentucky, and an MBA from Eastern Kentucky University in Finance.
His first job was in Chicago at Shell Oil in 1989 as a budget and planning analyst. Almost as soon as he began, he was transferred to Houston.
Always the innovator, Tony made his first significant contribution at Shell shortly after arriving in Houston. He suggested a shift from manually compiling individual service stations sales data on poster boards to Lotus spreadsheets. Automating this process greatly simplified Tony’s job and left him wanting more of a challenge.
He approached his boss about going to law school. His boss was amused by Tony’s ambition and said “if you get into law school, I’ll pay for it.”
And he did. Shell gave Tony a free ride to South Texas College of Law in downtown Houston.
Tony would work all day, swing by his car to switch out backpacks and then go to class until 9 pm. It made for a long day, but Tony enjoyed it because unlike his fellow classmate who had the pressure of hailing from a family of law legacies, if he didn’t enjoy it, he already had a job to fall back on.
But he kept going. “I loved it because it gave me a chance to argue.” Tony enjoyed the challenge of working through the logic of a case from different, imposed perspectives.
Earning his law degree afforded Tony the opportunity to shift to the legal side of operations, serving as in-house counsel for a joint venture between Shell and Texaco until 2003 when he returned to the finance side as Assistant Treasurer and then Controller for Shell in 2009.
In 2017 Tony took early retirement from Shell, but his entrepreneurial spirit carried him on to pursue new endeavors.
Tony and his wife moved to Austin in February 2018 where he began a new position as the Head of Finance, Treasurer, Corporate Counsel & Secretary for a private equity backed consumer goods company. While he loved the work, Tony learned he doesn’t have the patience for the day-to-day tedium of private equity.
Tony’s passion is for developing long term growth strategy – “if you aren’t growing, I’m not interested.”
Tony went on to have a short stint as a fractional CEO and then as controller for a Venture Capitalist backed franchise accumulator before landing in his current position as the CFO and General Counsel at Open Mortgage in November of 2019.
Tony is at home with Open Mortgage because they share his zeal for seeking out growth opportunities. In addition to pulling most of Open Mortage’s legal operations in-house, Tony is also advising on a new realtor-companion software platform and he recently helped create the Fundient family of companies, offering additional retail financing opportunities with other board members from Open Mortgage.
But it’s not his professional achievements that Tony is most proud of – it’s his contribution to Dynamo Charities. Dynamo Charities is the philanthropic arm of the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer. “One year we brought in 1 million dollars,” Tony boasted. All contributions are then redistributed to organizations like Big Brothers & Sisters or Ronald McDonald House.
Dynamo Charities was also how Tony came to be a member of the Sollensys Advisory Board.
While working at Shell, Tony learned that of their insurance carriers, AIG, was a jersey sponsor for Manchester United. Tony reached out to his contact at AIG to ask if they would consider becoming a sponsor of Dynamo Charities; his contact put him in touch with a local Houston AIG representative, Marilyn Beavers – sister of Don Beavers, founder and CEO of Sollenys.
Marilynn has 25 years of executive experience as an innovation leader consulting with companies of all sizes and complexity, from Fortune 500 firms to startups. She became very active on Dynamo Charities’ Board of Directors and consequently, close friends with Tony.
As Don was strategizing on how best to bring Sollensys’ blockchain technology to market, Marilyn suggested Tony be invited to join the Board of Advisors. Tony accepted and now Thursdays with Texas Tony is a weekly event with the Sollensys C-Suite team. Tony helps the team assess, prioritize, develop, and implement the necessary legal compliance structures to ensure Sollensys can maintain its pace of growth.
“Tony is a true renaissance man who has vast expertise and willingly shares. His curiosity brings new ideas where stale business practices stall growth. We are lucky to have his guidance and enthusiasm.”Marilyn Beavers, friend & former fellow Dynamo Charities Executive Board Member, pictured here to the right of Tony and to the left of his daughter and wife.
Tony’s legal and financial experience has endowed him with an intricate understanding of how important data is to companies. Tony is excited to be an integral advisor for bringing technology as revolutionary as the Blockchain Archive Server™ to market. He’s also excited to embark on this journey with a team of Sollensys’ caliber.
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