Always humble, Ann Fox understands the value of giving back and supporting those around her. It’s a trait she has always had, but became even more pronounced after her military service in the U.S. Marine Corps. Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as Fox, the president and CEO of Nine Energy Services Inc., was recently awarded the Semper Fidelis Award by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation at its Houston ceremony.
Semper Fidelis means always faithful. The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a recurring commitment to an effort that contributes to the betterment of our society. Fox is both the first woman in Texas and the first female veteran Marine to receive the Semper Fidelis Award.
“I don’t want to speak for every veteran but certainly for veterans when you receive an award like this it’s something that you’re accepting on behalf of all of your fellow service members because it’s really such a team effort out there,” Fox told Hart Energy. “I know for any of us who are still here we’re definitely accepting anything we receive in honor of those folks who didn’t come home. I would say it’s not an award for Ann. It’s an award for veterans and their service so it’s very special to me and a very significant honor.”
“This particular award is about service and giving back, and I really think that’s what the country is built on,” she continued.
Funds raised at the Houston Awards Dinner help support 226 scholarship recipients in Texas who attend 61 different in-state colleges, universities and career technical education programs. Annelyse and Mark Frugoni and Cara and Knox Nunnally served as co-chairs for this year’s dinner.
This year’s event raised more than $1 million for scholarships of military children, the highest the organization has ever raised.
Fox was honored for her service to the community of veterans and her fellow Americans though employment opportunities. Nine Energy is a Houston-based oilfield service company, which Fox described as a “very people oriented” sector. She said many companies in the sector employ veterans.
“Yes, they are coming into the upstream but I think you find a preponderance of veterans are on the oilfield service side,” Fox said. “It really blends well with veterans because they are used to operating in extreme environments. When you’re on the well site you are absolutely operating a small unit out there.”
The oilfield services sector also requires a lot of field leadership, something she added veterans are well-trained to handle. “The conditions are often harsh and unexpected so that’s something that veterans have also experienced,” she said. “Veterans can have huge forward progress and momentum inside of the oilfield service sector.”
Fox also pointed out that the sector offers a comfortable place for veterans who may be enduring difficult transitions after separating from the military, especially those coming from a combat situation to civilian life. “I think when you can go into a sector where you’re surrounded by some folks who have been in a similar situation, there comradery and comfort in that as well,” she said.
Fox’s military career consisted of serving in southern Iraq in the early 2000s. she worked with a small team in order to ensure Iraqi Security Force combat operations were consistent with the application of U.S. counterinsurgency tactics. She served two tours, with business school in between.
Her second tour was unexpected, she said. During her second year at Harvard she was asked by General David H. Petraeus, who would become the director of the CIA in later years, to reconstitute the team she had been involved with in Iraq. Fox had previously been a direct-report to General Petraeus.
“He was getting confirmed with the fourth star, so I went to see him and we talked about reconstituting the team and asked if I’d be willing to go back and I said ‘Yes,” she recalled. Fox ended up going back overseas with the surge in 2007.
Fox ended up missing her graduation from Harvard, but she said that was OK with her. “I graduated early and pulled the team I was with out of the civilian world and we all went back,” she said.
Currently based in Houston and successfully running Nine Energy, Fox has received numerous industry honors over the years, including being named to Oil and Gas Investor’s 25 Influential Women in Energy in 2018 and honored in the Hart Energy’s Impactful Veterans in Energy in 2019.
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