In Remembrance of Ken Baker
December 2, 2013
Kenneth Baker, a founding partner of Baker & O’Brien, Inc., passed away on December 2, 2013, following a courageous battle against cancer. Ken and his partner, John O’Brien, started Baker & O’Brien in February 1993, building it into the highly respected international energy consultancy that it is today. Ken was a key factor in the firm’s success and will be sorely missed by his many friends, colleagues, clients, and professional associates.
Ken was born on December 10, 1942, in Brownwood, Texas, and grew up in Albany, Texas, just northeast of Abilene. He attended Texas Technological College and Texas Tech University, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering. After graduation, he joined Celanese Chemical Company at its chemical plant in Pampa, Texas, where he was involved in both process plant design and project management. He later served at the Celanese’s corporate research center in Summit, New Jersey. Following that, Ken worked three years for the United States Environmental Protection Agency at its Research Triangle Park facility in Durham, North Carolina.
Ken entered the consulting business when he joined Greene & Associates, Inc., a Dallas-based energy consultancy. He rose to be president of Greene, where he became an acknowledged expert in accident investigations, property damage assessments, business interruption claims, and other incident-related matters for the downstream petroleum, natural gas, and petrochemical industries. In 1989, Ken left Greene to join Muse, Stancil & Co., another Dallas-based energy consultancy, as a vice-president and director. It was at Muse Stancil that he met John O’Brien, a fellow chemical engineer, and they soon became close friends and colleagues. Ken and John soon determined that they had a sufficient client following that they could “hang out their own shingle” and proceeded to do so in 1993.
During the almost 21 years since the founding of Baker & O’Brien, Ken consulted for clients on a wide range of matters affecting the oil, natural gas, and petrochemical industries. Although he continued to specialize in incident investigations and insurance-related issues, he also undertook feasibility studies, ad valorem tax assessments, and environmental pollution reviews. One of Ken’s unique strengths was his ability to combine his technical expertise and broad commercial experience with "plain common sense" to help solve clients’ problems. He was often called on to testify in arbitrations, litigations, and mediations involving energy-related disputes.
Ken was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for 52 years and the American Association of Cost Engineers for 43 years. Throughout his professional career, he always supported his alma mater, Texas Tech University, often participating as guest speaker and serving as annual host of the Rockwall Texas Tech Alumni Association. In 2013, he was a nominee for Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer.
Ken was highly respected by his Baker & O’Brien colleagues, his clients, and his competitors alike. He was a devoted husband to his wife, Cara, the proud father of two daughters and a step-son, and grandfather of six. His passing is a loss not only to his family and friends, but also to his many associates in the petroleum, natural gas, and petrochemical industries, as well as the insurance and legal communities.