Ahead of the 2019 Veteran’s Advanced Energy Summit (VAES) on August 13 in Chicago, we sat down with Frank Santiago, Manager of Operations Support at Invenergy and the current Chair of the Invenergy Veteran’s Network (IVN), to learn about his background as well as what to expect at this year’s event.

The Veteran’s Advanced Energy Summit is a national program “designed to address the trends, technologies and policies that are shaping the energy sector and to develop a community of veterans and allies committed to advancing U.S. energy leadership.” Since the first summit in 2017, Invenergy has been a proud founding sponsor, and we are excited about this year’s expansion of the program with The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. The program is open to veterans and energy industry professionals and you can register here if you wish to attend. A limited number of travel scholarships are available.

I began my service in the United States Navy in 2003 in the nuclear power program, and I spent four of my six years of service on the USS Carl Vinson CVN70. After my time in the Navy, I started a job in automation working at a high-volume production facility while pursuing my bachelor’s degree. I joined Invenergy in 2013 as a Control Room Operator and then moved into a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) analyst role, for which I leveraged my Navy skills and experience. I started to do a bit of the same work I did in the Navy around maintenance, and my knowledge of power generation facilities allowed me to excel quickly. Currently, as Manager, Operations Support, I coordinate security system installations and updates across the Invenergy fleet of operating wind, solar, and storage projects, and manage a team of analysts, database administrators and a technical writer. The Operations Support team ensures efficient and effective use of programs—Enterprise Asset Management (EAM); Environmental, Health Safety and Quality Management System; and Operations Document Repository (ODR)—across the Invenergy Services fleet. 
As the Chair of the Invenergy Veteran’s Network (IVN), I’m very passionate about recruiting veterans to the energy industry and their career progression. I’ve seen first-hand the impact and contribution veterans have on Invenergy’s day-to-day operations and major milestones, and I want to play a role in attracting more talent through networking and important discussions around industry issues. Partnering with the Veteran’s Advanced Energy Summit is essential to having these conversations. At last year’s event, it was interesting to network with different industry people—from fellow energy developers and operators to policymakers and academics. One of the discussions centered around the topic of energy from a national security and foreign affairs standpoint, which is very relevant to veterans. When we think about the challenges that sustainable energy can help address—especially in helping reduce U.S. oil dependency—it gives me a great sense of purpose and pride in the work I do. We’re helping build a stronger, sustainable energy future for the country and the world.
I’m excited about the addition of The Atlantic Council for this year’s event and the expanded programming and speakers. They are going to build on the strong foundation laid by the Clean Energy Leadership Institute, an organization dedicated to developing a diverse community of experts to lead the transition to a clean energy economy, as well as Bunker Labs, an entrepreneur training group for veterans. I am very much looking forward to this year’s summit and hope to continue to see growing veteran presence in the energy industry.

We greatly appreciate the contributions of Invenergy’s veteran employees and are proud to support the Veteran’s Advanced Energy Summit. We hope to empower those leaving the military to join us in building a more secure, safer and cleaner energy future. To learn more or to sign up to join us, please visit the 2019 Veterans Advanced Energy Summit website.