Petro River, Flotek support US veterans through NFVR

Sept. 1, 2012
As I write this, Labor Day, a day when Americans collectively celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers, approaches.

As I write this, Labor Day, a day when Americans collectively celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers, approaches. During these still-trying economic times, we are thankful for career opportunities and mindful of those still struggling to find work. Among those are many US veterans. The jobless rate for former servicemen and servicewomen is more than three times the national average, and many will see Labor Day come and go with no job and no immediate job prospects.

The Department of Veteran Affairs has reported that 24% of veterans in the United States under the age of 30 are unemployed. Simultaneously, our nation’s energy sector is one of the fastest growing in the world and offers stable career opportunities—not just jobs— for those who are driven and team oriented.

Enter the National Foundation for Veteran Redeployment (NFVR). NFVR is a non-profit organization that seeks to offer career opportunities for our nation’s veterans in the oil and gas industry in the United States. NFVR serves as a conduit for training, human resource networking, and financial support for veterans who are interested in learning a new trade to improve their career prospects.

Scot Cohen, co-founder of Iroquois Capital, a New York-based hedge fund, sits on the board of Petro River Oil, an emerging oil producer focused on assets in the Mississippi Lime, and is a driving force behind the formation of NFVR. Now chairman of the organization, his interest in veterans’s issues began with his brother’s DEA service in Afghanistan. Already heavily involved in various organizations benefitting veterans, Cohen began to focus his efforts specifically on the issue of unemployment.

"Transitioning to civilian life is tough, Cohen said, "and the staple of that transition is finding a veteran’s utility in the work force, and feeling like a productive member of society.

Through his brother, Cohen connected with West Point graduate and decorated combat veteran Rajiv Srinivasan. NFVR was born and Srinivasan now serves as the organization’s CEO.

"The oil industry is uniquely positioned to make a substantial impact in veteran unemployment. This profession is growing quickly, the jobs are there, and the leadership is incredibly patriotic and truly value the sacrifices our service members make to keep our country safe; it’s a great recipe to affect change in this major veteran issue, said Srinivasan.

While many service members leave the military with skills transferable to a civilian market, many are unable to leverage their combat experiences to employment opportunities. NFVR’s primary function is to award full scholarships to veterans seeking a vocational specialization in the oil and gas industry. Specializations include, but are not limited to: welding, drilling fluid technology, and roughneck school.

The organization also allows veterans to apply for transportation grants to fund airfare to training sites, as well as need-based stipends for living expenses during the course of their vocational training.

Through follow-up sessions and networking opportunities, NFVR and its corporate sponsors are committed to long-term career success of the veterans it helps sponsor and train.

A July 25 NFVR-hosted fundraising event at the Houston home of NFVR supporters Fred and Kay Zeidman raised $100,000 for the organization. In addition to oil and gas executives, distinguished guests included Buddy Grantham, Houston’s Director of the Office of Veterans’ Affairs and MG (Ret) Bob Ivany, President of the University of St. Thomas and former Commandant of the US Army War College.

Petro River Oil and Flotek, a provider of oilfield and mining products and services, both donated $50,000.

Petro River CEO Ruben Alba told OGFJ, "Sometimes we need to say more than thank you to our veterans. Petro River believes that the oil industry is stronger than ever and that we owe it to our country to support its veterans.

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About the Author

Mikaila Adams | Managing Editor - News

Mikaila Adams has 20 years of experience as an editor, most of which has been centered on the oil and gas industry. She enjoyed 12 years focused on the business/finance side of the industry as an editor for Oil & Gas Journal's sister publication, Oil & Gas Financial Journal (OGFJ). After OGFJ ceased publication in 2017, she joined Oil & Gas Journal and was named Managing Editor - News in 2019. She holds a degree from Texas Tech University.