Sometimes it pays to start at the bottom. Rod Lewis began working for Stampede Energy in 1978 as a gauger—a tough job that required him to keep oil and gas wells running—and in the early eighties he used that experience, plus $13,000, to buy a sluggish well and jump-start its gas flow. Since that time, Lewis, now the CEO of Lewis Energy Group, has become the second-wealthiest person in San Antonio (after Charles Butt). Best known as an early comer to the Eagle Ford Shale, where his company has been drilling since 2002, Lewis has recently been drilling in Mexico. Using his bilingual skills and his sixth-generation South Texas roots, he got a contract with Mexico’s state-run petroleum company, Pemex, and became one of the first U.S. drillers allowed to produce natural gas south of the border.