Continuing the Mission: Creating Career Pathways in Energy for Military Veterans
By Brad Purtell – Director, Services Business Development; Co-Chair, Invenergy Veterans Network; and former Naval Nuclear Electrician’s Mate (Submarine)
Did you know military veterans make up more than 10 percent of Invenergy’s workforce? As an employer, Invenergy deeply values the mission-driven dedication and technical expertise veterans bring to our company.
As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I was proud to join with colleagues last year in establishing the Invenergy Veterans Network, an employee resource group for veterans, reservists, military family members and allies.
In advance of Veterans Day, I’m proud to share with you an important way Invenergy is supporting veterans as they look to transition from the military to the civilian workforce. This year, we were the presenting sponsor for, a national program that aims to educate veterans on global energy security challenges and inspire continued service to national security through careers in the energy industry.
As a founding sponsor of Veterans Energy Seminar, we believe their mission aligns closely with that of Invenergy. Last December, we partnered on the first-ever Veteran’s Energy Seminar event in Chicago, and we were glad to host the second annual event in August 2018, further building on our relationship with this impressive organization. This year, keynote speakers at the Chicago event included U.S. Representative Bill Foster and City of Chicago Chief Sustainability Officer Sandra Henry.
Having transitioned from being an Electrician’s Mate aboard the USS La Jolla submarine into a civilian energy career at Invenergy, I was on Veteran’s Energy Seminar programming for their events across the country. I also had the unique opportunity to travel to Veteran’s Energy Seminar events in San Diego and Boston to connect with experts in energy, government and academia. I heard from current and former military and political leaders about how military servicemen and women are uniquely suited for employment and success within the energy industry.
In San Diego, I learned about how the city and the state of California as a whole have committed to aggressive sustainability goals for renewable energy, and the steps being taken to meet those goals. A large focus across California, where there is still ample land to develop clean energy projects, is utility-scale solar projects. In the aptly named Sunshine State, there have been days where the amount of solar energy on the grid exceeds demand for electricity in the entire city of San Diego.
This energy dynamic differs drastically from other areas of the country, like New England. In Massachusetts, for instance, the last coal-fired plant closed in 2017. Natural gas now makes up the majority of the region’s energy supply and has played a critical role reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, to bring more renewables online, utilities are pursuing long-term contracts with hydropower suppliers and offshore wind developers, due to limited available land for renewable projects.
Even though technologies and policies differ from state to state, the overall consensus is the same: national security, climate change and energy dependence are all interconnected. Many military servicemembers have deployed to energy rich geographies, responded to extreme weather events or secured fuel supply lines to operate heavy equipment and machinery in the field of combat.
As a U.S. Navy veteran who transitioned into the civilian workforce, I have drawn on the skills and experience I gained in the military in an industry that is serving part of the same national security mission as the military.
I hope you will watch the video recap from the Veterans Energy Seminar and take a look at their, which showcases their great work.