High school students from across the state of West Virginia participated in the inaugural class of the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.
The three-day academy ran from July 9-11 and corresponded with the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia's (IOGA WV) Sixth Annual Oil & Gas Equipment Show, also held on campus.
Students were selected to participate in the Academy, which was founded by IOGA WV in August 2012 to honor the memory of Tom Dunn, one of its pioneer members and industry leaders. Dunn, who died unexpectedly of cancer in April of that year, served as President of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia in 1974, and was a key leader in the industry, serving in many capacities, until his passing.
Academy participants were welcomed to the campus by representatives of West Virginia Wesleyan College and IOGA WV, and participated in a variety of discussions and activities, including an in depth presentation on how wells are drilled and completed, an Energy Career Day Panel, a session on leadership, and field trips to a coal mine and to operational facilities of several energy industry service providers. Students also received a guided tour through the IOGA WV Equipment Show by industry professionals, and had the opportunity to meet and interact with many industry leaders.
Additionally, Academy participants, along with several dignitaries including various state and local elected officials, attended the ceremony dedicating a portion of Route 20 on the north end of Buckhannon as the "Thomas B. Dunn Memorial Highway" in recognition of the many contributions he made throughout his life to the city of Buckhannon and the surrounding area.
"The first class of the Academy was a great success, and a wonderful way to honor the memory of our dear friend and a remarkable leader, Tom Dunn," said Dennis Xander, president of IOGA WV. "The industry is providing great promise for a strong future in this state, but this will only happen if we keep these bright students interested in, and knowledgeable of, the opportunities available to them in the energy industry. The Academy is one great way we can do that."
The Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy will occur annually each summer. Applications for the 2014 class will be available at tomdunnacademy.org.
"This is a great opportunity for high school students to learn more about this thriving industry and gain hands-on experience," said Xander. "I encourage all interested high school students to apply."
This year's class was made up of 33 students representing 20 high schools. Local participants included Ryan McCulley, Bridgeport High School; Ryan Mullennex, Elkins High School; Hunter Samples, Buckhannon Upshur High School; and Mitchell Williams, Buckhannon Upshur High School;
The Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy was founded by the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia in August 2012 to honor the memory of one of its pioneer members and industry leaders.
To learn more about the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy and to download the application, visit tomdunnacademy.org.