Jason Rebrook ’96
It’s been more than 20 years, but Jason Rebrook ’96 still remembers the day he and his mother lost their Clarksburg, W.Va., home.
His father Jerry had recently died and the bills were piling up for his mother Linda, so Jason moved in with his grandparents as he prepared to graduate from Liberty High School. One of the top students in his class, Jason dreamed of college. However, he was realistic about the high cost of a private-school experience.
“I visited Marietta and met with Dr. (Bob) Chase and really got excited about getting into the oil and gas business. He remains a very good friend today,” Jason says. “He really helped frame the industry and its opportunities for me. Also, I was coming from Clarksburg, so I was looking for a smaller school environment.”
Through scholarships and financial aid, Jason and his family made it work. That’s something he has never forgotten, and it sparked him and his wife Erin ’99 to establish the Jerry and Linda Rebrook Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Petroleum Engineering student.
Erin was 100 percent behind her husband’s wish to establish the scholarship.
“I loved it,” she says. “Marietta is where we met and the idea of helping someone make college a little more affordable is important to us. I came from a single-parent home and paying for college was not easy. We know there are students out there who would love the Marietta experience, but may struggle to pay for it. I wish more of our classmates would remember that others helped us.”
Initially, Jason struggled with what to name the scholarship. His mother urged him to name it after himself and Erin. But when she died unexpectedly in December, he chose to honor his parents instead.
“I have a distinct sense that Marietta has done a lot for me. I wanted to make sure when things got to a point that I could, I’d give back,” Jason says. “I go back to my personal situation and money was always tight, so it only makes sense to do something student based.”
Tight is an understatement. Until he returned from a summer internship with Unocal in 1993, Jason rarely had money for a late-night pizza.
“I remember when he would leave for Kansas on an internship with $1 in his pocket,” Erin says. “It didn’t seem to bother him, but I wasn’t sure how he was going to do it.”
His determination and education have set the stage for the success he enjoys today in the oil and gas industry.
“Jason was one of those kids who you just knew would do well in the industry,” Chase says. “Students who come from humble backgrounds often have the strongest drive to prove themselves. They also seem to have the greatest appreciation for what a degree from Marietta has done for them. I’m not at all surprised Jason is honoring his parents and Marietta College in this way.”
Jason’s hard work and ability launched a tremendous career with Chevron, which eventually led him to work abroad in Nigeria. He excelled in engineering, business development and leadership roles for the company—he was on an upward projection that seemed to have no ceiling. But a storm was brewing at home—literally—in August 2005 that inspired a change of plans for Jason.
“It was a highly dynamic job in a challenging location, but in the midst of that I had one of those moments of ‘What am I doing?’ ” he says. “Katrina hits and my wife is eight months pregnant with our second child (Katelyn) and she’s with our first child (Jacob) in New Orleans.”
Erin evacuated with a neighbor, but Jason struggled to reconcile the fact he wasn’t there for his family when they needed him. “It took me two days to get back to them. That makes you take a step back and ask what’s really important.”
Clearly it was family.
Today, he lives in The Woodlands, Texas, with Erin and their three children: Jacob, Katelyn and Justin. He is an Executive Vice President for Hilcorp Energy Corp., one of the largest privately held exploration and production companies in the nation. Hilcorp’s distinctive philanthropy program was a driving force behind Rebrook’s recent donation. Hilcorp developed a culture of giving by supporting its employees’ charitable efforts by initially funding their giving accounts, allowing them the freedom to direct their donations to the organizations they choose, and increasing their giving power by providing on-going matching gifts.
“He has a very demanding schedule at work. I couldn’t trade places with him,” Erin says. “But that doesn’t stop him from being very involved with his children. I know he’s tired, but he coaches Jacob’s baseball team. He fits in four days of practice during the week. When he’s home he’s out throwing the ball and riding bikes. He does a great job of balancing family life with work.”
Not one to forget his roots or his community, Jason is a member Marietta’s Alumni Association and Petroleum Engineering Advisory Committee, as well as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and United Way in Texas.
It comes as no surprise that Jason pushed his generosity to another level by supporting current Marietta College students.
“I think the thing that is great about Marietta—and I tell this a lot—is the base foundation you get there. To be able to clearly communicate and be multi-faceted has helped me. The liberal arts education broadens your mind and broadens your perspective. Combining the technical aspect of petroleum engineering with the ability to communicate ideas in a way people can understand, is very powerful. Both Erin and I had a great experience there,” Jason says. “I don’t know when is the right time or what is the right amount of money. I have no clue. Honestly, Erin and I just want to do the right thing.”