The Academy

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, long-time Buckhannon, W.Va., resident and businessman Thomas B. Dunn. The first session of the Academy was held on July 9-11, 2013, at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, bringing together high school students from public and private institutions across the state to learn more about the energy industry, career opportunities available in the energy industry and what this important industry means to West Virginia. More than 30 students attended the first Academy. The following year was an even larger success, with nearly 40 students and teachers from all across the state of West Virginia.

There is no cost to participants for tuition, lodging, or meals. Those attending will stay on the campus of WVWC at the expense of the Academy. “All participants need to do is get to Buckhannon,” said Dennis Xander, president of IOGAWV. “The Academy will cover all of the participation costs. That’s how Tom Dunn would have wanted it.”

On the first day of the program, students will attend an Energy Career Day, where they will learn about employment opportunities in the energy sector ranging from engineering to geology, to welding, truck driving and accounting.

The second day of scheduled events allows for students to have the opportunity to observe in the field much of what they were shown in the classroom. Buckhannon and WVWC offer easy access to various energy companies operating in W.Va. – giving Academy participants the opportunity to see operating drilling rigs, producing wells and coal mines as well as a variety of other day-to-day operations at various companies that also service the energy industry. A day of on-site visits coupled with classroom experience and education will help students to understand more about the energy industry.

On the final day, students will have the opportunity to engage with educators and representatives from colleges, universities, and community and technical schools from across the state at a "career fair" style event. Now that the students have learned about the types of career opportunities available to them through the industry, this day allows them to begin meeting with the representatives of the institutions that will help them make those career goals possible. 

“Tom Dunn understood the energy business in West Virginia. His company, Union Drilling, employed hundreds of people during the years he ran it. He knew how important properly trained people are to the industry, and the consequences of not having those people,” said Xander. “Tom loved Buckhannon, and chose to raise his family here. He also loved Wesleyan, and served the college as a Trustee for many years. And he loved the energy industry. I feel certain he would be proud of this Academy named in his honor.”

Thanks to all those who made the 2017 Academy a success! Stay tuned for updates and information about our plans for 2018.

If you are interested in learning more about the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy, please contact us for more information.