Kathleen Marie Eisbrenner
June 4, 1960 – May 9, 2019
Kathleen Eisbrenner, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend to all whose lives she touched, passed away in her home town of The Woodlands, Texas, on Thursday, May 9th, 2019. She was 58 years old.
Kathleen suffered a devastating head injury from a fall in her home earlier in the week and passed away while surrounded by her family.
She was the beloved wife of 30 years to Ray, mother of Lynn (Ed) Ames, Michael (Allie) Rush, Ray, and Michelle (John Paul) Wells, and adoring grandmother of Ava Ray.
Predeceased by her proud father Martin Collins. Survived by her loving mother Joan Collins, siblings Peggy (Gary) Masse, Eileen (Doug) Sheets , Mary (Glenn) Milos, and Marty (Trisha), by her mother and father-in-law Noreen and Ray Eisbrenner, and siblings-in-law Lauren (John), Jodie (Bob), Lisa (Terry) Litinas, Bob (Kristin), and Tom (Holly).
Born in Hammond, Indiana, in June of 1960, and raised in Munster, Indiana, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1982. She also participated in the Harvard Business School Strategic Marketing Management program.
Kathleen was a true visionary, who possessed the innate capability to implement her ideas. In 2010 she formed NextDecade LLC, a liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) development company focused on LNG export projects. She assembled a small talented team, partnered with various counterparts, raised funding for technical and regulatory development and took the company public in July 2017 as NextDecade Corporation. She remained Founder, CEO and Chairman until February 2018, and was still Chairman at the time of her passing. She was formerly Executive Vice President at Royal Dutch Shell, where she was responsible for the management of the company’s global LNG portfolio and LNG trading business. Prior to Shell, Kathleen was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Excelerate Energy, focused on developing the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (“FSRU”) vessel and industry. The concept of FSRU ships was not initially accepted by the industry, but Kathleen continued to push her vision and ultimately the industry adapted to value these ships. FSRU vessels provided great savings to the infrastructure of LNG import facilities because storage and regasification facilities were no longer required on-shore. FSRUs caused a paradigm shift in the LNG industry, opened new markets that couldn’t justify the cost of land-based facilities, and are now widely accepted and utilized throughout the LNG industry. She also held various senior management positions at El Paso Energy.
Kathleen was an Independent Director of EXMAR, and a member of the American Bureau of Shipping, JERA’s Fuel Business Expert Advisory Board, and Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. She was a former member of the Board of Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the National Petroleum Council.
Kathleen enjoyed mentoring, especially young women; she was devoted to bringing more women into the energy industry and often spoke of lessons learned to large groups of young people. She liked to highlight that failure is an option, that you learn more from tough times than from good times, and to respect people and give them no limits on what they can accomplish.
She treasured her children and shared her dreams with them. She and her husband were both in the energy business, working together three times in their careers. Their children couldn’t help but become mini-experts in energy and many of them caught Kathleen’s entrepreneurial spirit. She did everything large, she loved family trips and exposed her kids to countless international trips and excursions. Although one of her family’s favorite experiences was an RV trip down the coast of California, as many great stories were born on that 10-day outing.
Kathleen had many fans in the energy industry, she treated everyone fairly and was always looking for win-win situations. She cared just as much about the welfare of her business partners as she did about her own welfare. She may not have been fearless, but when presented with a problem, she liked to confidently say “I’ll figure it out,” almost as a challenge to herself.
With her children scattered across four states, she prioritized family events to bring everyone together many times throughout the year. Wherever they met up, on a yacht off the coast of Greece, skiing on the slopes, on a beach, or at home in The Woodlands, the time together was full of dancing, games, cooking, laughter and fun. Kathleen made sure that every holiday, vacation or family weekend was special and unforgettable.
Kathleen had an infectious, wonderful and joyful laugh, you always knew when she was around.
A celebration of Kathleen’s life will include:
Thursday, May 16th, 2019 – 4:00pm-7:00pm – Visitation at Forest Park – The Woodlands Funeral Home, 18000 Interstate 45 S, The Woodlands, Texas 77384.
Friday, May 17th, 2019 – 11:00am – Funeral services - St. Simon & Jude Catholic Church, 26777 Glen Loch Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77381.
Friday, May 17th, 2019 – Directly following funeral services – Celebration Banquet - The Woodlands Resort – 2301 North Millbend Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380. Please rsvp if planning to attend the Celebration Banquet (email@example.com).
Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – An evening banquet to celebrate and remember Kathleen’s legacy in the oil and gas industry. This event is open to those who worked with her, were mentored by her, or were simply impacted by her kindness and entrepreneurial spirit. Houston, Texas (specific location TBD). Please rsvp if planning to attend the Industry Memorial Banquet (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Industry Memorial BanquetAn evening banquet to celebrate and remember Kathleen’s legacy in the oil and gas industry. This event is open to those who worked with her, were mentored by her, or were simply impacted by her kindness and entrepreneurial spirit. Houston, Texas (specific location TBD). Please rsvp if planning to attend the Industry Memorial Banquet (email@example.com)
- Visitation Thursday, May 16, 2019
- Funeral Service Friday, May 17, 2019
- Celebration Banquet Friday, May 17, 2019
Kathleen Marie Eisbrenner
May 19, 2019
To Kathleen's family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Kathleen was a colleague in Shell in Den Haag & is remembered for her grace, beauty and courage to challenge conventional thinking, something which it seems was consistent throughout her interesting and successful life. Such a tragedy that she should be gone so soon and so young. Sincerest condolences, Catherine
May 18, 2019
So very saddened to hear this terrible news. My heart goes out to Ray, his family, and everyone touched by Kathleen Eisbrenner's life. She worked for Unigas Energy in Traverse City, MI., I believe, around 1990. I was Vice President of Supply & Marketing and brought Kathleen on with just a hunch she was going to be brilliant and do tremendous things in the Natural Gas business. She sure did! And she definitely surpassed all expectations we had of her. I remember when she told me she had thought she had outgrown our company and wanted to leave and asked if I would support her in her decision? I said yes, definitely. I didn't want to lose her as an employee and friend, but I knew she had much greater things to do and Unigas could not provide her with the opportunities she deserved. At that time, she went to Hadson Gas Systems, which I had also previously worked for. I remember the folks at Hadson calling me and asking me why I was giving her a reference as that was unusual for a departing employee to get a reference from the existing employer. I told them, Kathleen Eisbrenner is special, needs more than we can provide her, and you'll be extremely lucky to have her. They were and we all were that had any time, however brief, to have had her in our lives.
Again, I am so saddened by this news. To soon, too early, too sad. I wish Ray, family members, and close friends find a way to come to peace with her passing and go on to do great things in here remembrance.
May 17, 2019
Ray and family,
My sincere condolences for Kathleen’s untimely passing.
I had the honor and pleasure of working with her while we were colleagues at Shell, and I enjoyed us staying in touch with one another since then.
She was a beautiful, brilliant, fun, and down-to-earth visionary -- a world changer -- who I am honored to have known as a colleague, friend and inspiration. I know she will be missed by all who had the gift of knowing her.
May 16, 2019
I never met her but knew of her and the tremendous changes her company has coming to Brownsville Texas. New Decade will change the all of south Texas with hope for a better future. Our talented youth were leaving the valley for jobs else where. As we move on to a bigger and better world my hope is that she will be remembered for this effort. My condolences to the family.
May 15, 2019
I met Kathleen 20 years ago in a gas conference in Paris and since we met on numerous occasions as she was, whatever the company she was in charge of, regularly involved in leading the LNG industry towards new territories.
I did admire her enthusiasm to pioneer number of innovations in what was a very traditional industry and I can testify that she was one of very few that had a real impact on what has become the LNG worldwide business of today.
And she was not only a great professional, but she was on top a lovely person, full of joy and caring for others.
So long Kathleen, I will never forget you, and I wish lot of courage to your family who was so important for you.
May 15, 2019
I had the pleasure of listening to Kathleen address the FEED design team here in London as part of the kick-off to the Rio Grande LNG Project. She carried the room, put everyone at ease, and gave an open, engaging and positive entreaty regarding the path forward for the project and the people working on the job. It was self-evident that as a business leader she was able to articulate her vision and also had the grace and personality to obtain peoples' interest and support. I was very sorry to hear the news regarding her passing, and would like to offer my sincere condolences to her friends and family.
May 14, 2019
It was an absolute honor and privilege to have worked for Kathleen. I think I can speak for everyone who worked for her or knew her in the energy business...only the fondest of memories of her will remain.
So, so sorry for her untimely passing and deepest condolences to her family and friends.
May 14, 2019
Dear Ray and Family, I am truly saddened to hear of Kathy's passing. Kathy was a wonderful and caring person that I had the privilege to work with for 9 years. Kathy was an inspiration to me and that of my family. May beautiful memories heal the heart of you and your family as you go through this very difficult time.
May 14, 2019
Byron and I and all of Grogan’s Point have had the privilege of having Kathy and Ray as neighbors and friends for decades. They were always willing to open their lovely homes for many large events and were filled with wonderful community spirit. Even with their incredibly busy professional and personal lives, volunteering and helping others came naturally to this loving and giving couple. To say that Kathy was a trailblazer and the exemplary example for every executive and entrepreneurial woman is simply an understatement. She was a visionary, a risk taker, a pioneer, a global citizen, and she dreamed and lived as big as her adopted state! Her love of life was contagious to all and when we look up and see a bright shining star in the heavens, we will know it is Kathy still illuminating the way!
May 14, 2019
Dear Ray & Kathleen’s Family,
What a shock to hear about the sudden passing of Kathleen. What a terrible and sad news. Kathleen was an exceptional entrepreneurial leader with whom I enjoyed so much dealing with, debating with and dreaming with. Without Kathleen, the past twenty years would have been so much less exciting. Her spirit and industry breakthroughs will influence the next twenty. But even more importantly, she was a lady with a heart, a big heart. Most of the time, we ended up talking more about our families than the market. Not just about our pride but just the happiness and importance of our families in our lives. She will always be one of my truest friends in the industry and hopefully a role model for my daughters.
Dear Ray, I cannot begin to imagine your despair and sadness. My thoughts, sorrows and prayers accompany you.
May 13, 2019
Kathleen was truly one of a kind. We spent many hours working on bringing a new business to the world, and I always enjoyed her rapid-fire exchange of ideas. Her relentless tenacity and drive to succeed were only rivaled by her love for her family, and even in the busiest of times she always had Ray and the kids at the front of her mind. I wish her fair winds and following seas on her next great voyage, and send my thoughts and prayers to the entire Eisbrenner family. May God bless you and keep you during these difficult times.
Karla Fernandez Parker
May 13, 2019
Dear Ray & Family, from the time we first joined the NextDecade project, Kathleen appreciated us and always had a welcome. Hosting us for dinner in your home and even offering your home for shelter during a recent ice storm that hit the Houston area.
Her kindness and fortitude was an inspiration. She is an example to all women that you can be a great leader and never lose your heart.
She will be sorely missed and our sympathy goes out to you and your family. I hope that you can find joy at this moment of sadness knowing just how much she touched the people around her.
Thinking of you, Karla Fernandez Parker (on behalf of the Sensis team)
May 13, 2019
It has been a joy to get to know and work with both Kathleen and Ray over the last ten years. I will always remember Kathleen as a brilliant, dedicated and beautiful woman. She was an inspiration to me and a mentor to my daughter. I can truly celebrate her life but at the same time mourn her loss. I hope her family can find some comfort for the love and caring of so many who have had to opportunity to know her.
Your family is in my prayers-
May 13, 2019
I had the privilege of working with Kathleen for about the last ten years. She was a visionary and brought a positive vibe that shone upon everyone whom worked with her. Kathleen proved on a daily basis that a kind and generous heart were not incompatible with success in the business world. I am but one among the many, many who will miss her.
May 13, 2019
Iam totally shocked of what I just learned today. I now never will get the opportunity to meet Kathleen.
Iam a fan, an admirer and a mother like Kathleen too. What you have achieved in live was really remarcable. My sincerest sympathy go out to the Family. I feel truly sorry for the loss. May her soul rest in peace.
May God give the Family the strength to get through this very difficult time.
May 13, 2019
Saddened and Shocked beyond words.
Kathleen was a remarkable woman, always welcoming and ready to listen. She was willing to see the greater good in everyone and, ever ready to help anyone who asked for it.
Kathleen was kind, caring and, compassionate with an impeccable taste for the finer things in life. She could not only dream big but had the drive and tenacity to make her dream a reality. NextDecade LNG was one such example on which I had the opportunity to work with her closely.
She will be surely missed. May The Almighty give Ray and children the strength to get through this very difficult time.