Over the last decade, at least 100 tropical storms and hurricanes have hit the U.S. causing major damage and affecting our country’s ability to maintain day-to-day operations. Just 4 months ago, the state of Texas declared a power crisis following a severe winter and ice storm leading to 164 deaths and over $195 billion in damages. This power crisis was soon followed by a group of hackers breaching the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S., causing a major disruption in fuel availability in more than 7 states leading to President Biden declaring a state of emergency on May 9th. Disasters like these can bring our fragile economy to a screeching halt. While people are affected and continue to fight to keep their lights on and the house warm, the fuel oil and propane industry stands ready to answer the call. When disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Defense (DOD) look to our great industries to answer the call for help. Mission critical companies like Foster Fuels, Tevis Energy, Broco Oil, and many others deploy to the epicenter of the disaster. These heroes provide the much-needed fuels powering crucial services that aid in the stabilization and recovery of the affected area.
Robert Brown, president of Broco Oil based in Massachusetts, is a local fire captain and U.S. Navy Seabee veteran. Bobby runs the company together with his wife, Angela, and in 2019, Brown was named Veteran- Owned Small Business Owner of the Year by the Small Business Association. This honor is the result of his successful performance on the Merrimack Valley gas explosions managing up to 500 generators 24/7 for 110 days consecutively as a government contractor with designations as a service-disabled-veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB).
I first met Bobby at an association meeting in Neddick, Maine, in 2019, and I was immediately impressed by his drive, focus, and passion for the industry. I found that Bobby was not only attending the meeting to support the industry but while in attendance, he received a call for an emergency fuel request in support of a communications tower more than 300 miles away. The leadership instilled in him from his military service was clearly evident as he coordinated with other energy marketers to uphold the industry standard and complete the mission. Broco Oil received notification in August 2020, that they had been awarded the 4-year contract for Emergency Fuel delivery and logistic services. They now work alongside MEMA and other state agencies to provide emergency assistance to communities impacted by natural disasters through its “Priority One” Emergency Fuel Division. Bobby and his company are an excellent example of our industry, demonstrating the crucial need the country has for our fuels and the industry’s focus on supporting the veteran community. I asked Bobby what advice he would give to those considering employment in the energy industry. Bobby stated, “This industry is a mission critical industry that provides more than a job but a career, when you join our team, you join our family. We want to hire motivated men and women, prepared to answer the call when our customers, industry, or country needs us.” I also asked Bobby what recommendations he had for fellow marketers seeking new employees. Bobby had a lot to say in relation to industry awareness, training, and retention, but these statements resonated with me: “This industry has so much to offer, not just in pay, benefits, and career progression. We have something even greater and more important to the generation we are hiring from, we have a culture and mission that is greater than one individual or company. That’s what we need to show both the veteran and civilian candidates, that is what will separate us from other industries.” Knowing that companies like Broco Oil and many others throughout our industry stand ready to answer the call when our country is in need is something the Vets2Techs team and I are proud of. I am thankful that we are able to offer veterans seeking employment such a rewarding and honorable career path, from one uniform and service to the next.