Many people living in Houston don't realize that the veteran community is taking an increasing leadership role in the energy transition. The Greater Houston area is the second largest veteran community in America with over 5,500 new veterans and their families coming to Houston annually. We are the fastest growing city in America for veterans as well.
In Houston you'll find a community of veterans who create a workforce and culture of excellence -- no handouts needed here. Our city is home to innovation in many industrial sectors, and also in the veteran services market. Combined Arms is the premier technology partner for accelerating the connection of veterans to resources like employment.
Headquartered in Houston, the agency operates in a dozen states nationally with a co-working space of over 30 veteran serving nonprofits on site and 120 services online. The top employment organization for veteran employment in the country, NextOp, is also headquartered in Houston. NextOp is focused on developing a pipeline of talent directly from military installations to industrial craft trades. They have the best numbers for placement of veterans and speed to employment, perfect for accelerating the energy transition as companies are looking for talent to fill new industry roles.
The energy sector is already the largest employer of veterans in Houston. We are a vibrant community with weekly networking happy hours for white collar veterans working in the energy industry at the original Kirby Icehouse on Wednesdays, put on by Houston Veterans in Business.
With one of the highest concentrations of public companies in the country, we have over 85 public companies with employee resource groups for veterans. The leaders of these groups meet regularly to support and serve our community. We are a thriving community that has the depth of relationships and connections to foster the personal and professional growth of veterans new to Houston and those that have called Houston home their entire lives. The majority of these groups are within energy companies that are actively supporting the energy transition.
Some examples of veteran-led energy transition companies include:
- Everpoint Services, founded by Tyler Goodell, is bringing an oilfield services model to the wind, solar, and energy storage industries along with wind blade and solar panel recycling.
- FastGrid, founded by Eric Curry, is rapidly growing through the project engineering side of renewable energy project development across the country.
- WindCom, led by CEO Tim Hertel, conducts wind blade repairs and servicing.
- Blue Bear Capital, co-founded by Tim Kopra, invests in high-growth technology companies across the energy, infrastructure, and climate industries.
- eRenewable, co-founded by Fred Davis, provides real-time online auctions for Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) and Virtual PPAs.
- Last Dollar Trucking, co-founded by Nate Reeve, focused on the transport of the massive number of wind blades entering texas ports.
- JAG Argueta, founded by Keith Argueta, provides accounting and fractional CFO services to cleantech startups.
- Digital Wildcatters, co-founded by Jake Corley, building the "Barstool Sports of Energy"
- Amberjack Capital, co-founded by Patrick Connelly, is a private equity investor in energy transition and infrastructure projects.
- re:3D, co-founded by Samantha Snabes, pioneering new innovations to decimate the cost & scale barriers to 3D printing.
- South Union CDC, founded by Efrem Jernigan, is developing the Sunnyside Solar project.
- Fervo Energy, led by CFO David Ulrey, is developing next-generation geothermal projects to deliver 24x7 carbon-free energy.
One of the top chapters nationally for Bunker Labs is also here, with a veteran entrepreneur accelerator at WeWork downtown, the WeWork Veterans in Residence program. On top of that the largest veteran business plan competition is hosted by Rice University. The Veteran Business Battle is entering its 7th year with one of the finalists Parasanti pivoting their successful edge computing solutions into the energy transition for cleantech applications through their recent acceptance to Haliburton Labs.
Houston is also building a chapter of the Veterans Energy Project which is advocating for the Biden administration's infrastructure bill. Jon Powers with CleanCapital, a private equity investor focused on accelerating the flow of capital into distributed generation project, co-founded the Veterans Energy Project. Having served our country in a time of war, it is time again to place the country first and advocate for the infrastructure that supports all Americans.
The veterans of Houston can help make Houston not only the leader in the energy transition but also ensure that we are the energy capital of the future.
Kevin Doffing is the president of Energy Capital of the Future.