The Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia announced in August the founding of the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy to honor the memory of one of its pioneer members and industry leaders.
Thomas B. Dunn was a long-time Buckhannon resident and local businessman, a 1964 graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and a former trustee of the college.
The first session of the academy will take place at West Virginia Wesleyan College July 9-11, 2013 in conjunction with IOGA's sixth Annual West Virginia Oil & Gas Equipment Show, WVWC alumnus and IOGA President Dennis Xander announced.
"Starting this fall, the academy will be soliciting applications from every high school, public and private, across West Virginia, seeking science teachers who want to participate," Xander said. "Forty teachers will be selected, and those teachers will be asked to select two of their best and brightest students. We hope to have 40 teachers and 80 students."
Dunn was a past president of IOGA and a recipient of IOGAWV's "Gunslinger" Award and was West Virginia's Oil and Gas Man of the Year in 1982. He was actively involved in IOGA for more than 45 years until his untimely passing in April of this year. He also was an active member in oil and gas associations in several other Appalachian Basin states, and on the national level with the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
The academy will be aimed at students entering their junior or senior years.
There will be no costs to the participants for tuition, lodging or meals. Those attending will stay on the campus of WVWC at the expense of the academy.
"All they have to do is get to Buckhannon," Xander said. "The academy will cover all of the costs. That is how Tom Dunn would have wanted it."
Funding for the academy will come from donations from the energy industry and from the many friends of Tom Dunn.
"IOGA has had a number of calls from people that wanted to do something to honor and memorialize Tom," Xander said. "The Tom Dunn Energy and Leadership Academy is designed to do just that."
The three days of the academy will offer the teachers and students information about the broad range of energy careers available in West Virginia. Participants will visit active energy production sites and meet with energy companies.
"Tom Dunn understood the energy business in West Virginia. His company, Union Drilling, employed hundreds of people during the years he ran it," Xander said. "He knew how important properly trained people are to the industry, and the consequences of not having those people. 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."
For more information about the academy, contact Dennis Xander at Xander@DenexPetroleum.com
or at (304) 472-2186.