Although Swift Energy was founded a little over 36 years ago, the origins of the company's vision and values date back more than a century to the beginning of the oil and gas industry in northeastern Oklahoma. Aubrey Earl Swift was the son and grandson of Oklahoma oilmen. His father and uncles had worked together in a small Oklahoma drilling company they jointly owned, and they involved their sons in the business from an early age. Consequently, Earl grew up as part of the oil and gas industry. His experiences within his family and the industry shaped his outlook on life and led him to eventually become an oil and gas entrepreneur, in part because he wanted to create an organization that embodied the business ideals and ethical principles that he learned during his formative years.

In explaining his decision to start Swift Energy, Earl once wrote:

"I wanted to develop an independent company whose success would be assured by a competent and dedicated staff—people who would consistently meet the challenges presented to them by a highly volatile industry. I also wanted the employees and their families to feel that they were an integral part of the company and to benefit from that relationship. And finally, I wanted the company to be recognized for the positive impact it had on the communities in which it operated. In other words, I wanted Swift Energy to make a difference in the lives of the people it touched."

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"Cooperation from a variety of organizations – businesses, governments, communities, and nonprofit institutions – is always a necessary ingredient for corporate achievement."
- Earl Swift