Dunn Academy News

Now Accepting Applications for the 2017 Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy
Posted March 1, 2017

The Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy is now accepting applications from high school students throughout West Virginia. The Academy will take place July 11-13, 2017, on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W. Va. High school sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in learning more about the natural gas industry, regional career opportunities and leadership skills are encouraged to apply.

The Academy, which is sponsored by the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV), provides students with an in-depth look at West Virginia’s energy industry. Students participate in field trips and classroom activities, and are able to meet and network with industry professionals.

“This is a great opportunity for students to learn about the oil and natural gas industry and how important the energy sector is to West Virginia,” said Dennis Xander, member of the Academy’s board of directors and president of Denex Petroleum. “Wesleyan is a great learning environment, and offers a centralized location for students across the state to participate.”

Applications are available online at www.TomDunnAcademy.org and can be submitted electronically or by mail. Applications will be accepted March 1 through May 15. There is no cost for tuition, lodging and meals during the Academy, and all students who attend will receive certificates of completion for their efforts.

“We encourage all high schoolers interested to submit an application,” Xander said. “This is a great experience, and we hope to see students from all across the state participating in this year’s Academy.”

To learn more about the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy and to download the application and other materials, visit www.TomDunnAcademy.org. Be sure to like and follow the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy on Facebook and Twitter.



Oil, Gas Show features new youth academy
Posted July 12, 2013 by Elkins Intermountain


The oil and gas industry has jumped to the forefront of the West Virginia economy in recent years, and the president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association identified the main factor to continuing that trend.

"The key to our success is having a good workforce of qualified people," Dennis Xander said Thursday at the West Virginia Oil and Gas Equipment Show at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Xander said the West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association was working on a plan to educate young adults in preparation to work in the industry, and officials came up with a way to do so. IOGA created the Thomas Dunn Energy and Leadership Academy, where high school students from all over the state could gather to get a glimpse into opportunities that await them in that profession.

Xander said the students spent time in the classroom, learning about all of the aspects of the industry. Another day was spent touring wells, mines and service agencies, all with the intent of explaining how the industry works and what types of employment it can offer.

"We are grooming them to be in the energy industry," Xander said.

The Academy was held in conjunction with the annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Equipment Show at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Those in attendance could get a glimpse at the latest trends and technology available to energy companies.

IOGA to offer first leadership academy at West Virginia Wesleyan
Posted September 15, 2012 by The State Journal


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.