ConocoPhillips sponsors “Portraits of Courage” exhibit to recognize veterans


  • Sponsored by ConocoPhillips, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” features the artwork of former President George W. Bush
  • Sponsorship underscores ConocoPhillips’ commitment to helping veterans
  • Military veterans bring valuable technical knowledge, leadership skills to ConocoPhillips

By Gus Morgan

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Casara and other American military veterans are the inspiration behind “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” an exhibit that runs Feb. 21-April 25 in Houston. 

Sergeant Daniel Casara
U.S. Army 1994-2008
Oil on gesso board, 14"x18" 

Sponsored by ConocoPhillips, the exhibit features colorful likenesses of some of America’s warriors who have served since 9/11.

The portraits are on loan from the George W. Bush Presidential Center, whose Military Service Initiative helps post-9/11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life and addresses issues of veteran wellness, including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

Each of the portraits painted by former President George W. Bush is accompanied by a story that explains what happened to these heroes during their deployments, as well as what they are doing now.

“Our ‘Portraits of Courage’ sponsorship is an element of our longstanding commitment to support veterans,” said ConocoPhillips Government Affairs Senior Vice President Andrew Lundquist. “We’re proud to recognize the many veterans who serve this country and contribute their invaluable leadership and skills to ConocoPhillips and society.”

A workplace where veterans can thrive

Veterans are at work across ConocoPhillips, and the company’s culture creates a workplace where veterans can feel at home and leverage their military skills.

“We value the different backgrounds, ideas and skills veterans bring to ConocoPhillips,” said Heather Sirdashney, vice president, Human Resources. “We’re proud to employ veterans, all of whom contribute to our success.”

 Each year, ConocoPhillips’ Patriot Employee Network honors veterans on Veterans Day. The 2019 event in Houston featured a flag raising, National Anthem, patriotic music, veterans recognition and barbecue lunch.

ConocoPhillips supports veterans through a variety of events and organizations. For instance, the company’s Patriot Employee Network (PEN) provides a forum where employees and their families can support America’s troops, wounded warriors and military families.

And each year, ConocoPhillips sponsors fundraisers such as the ConocoPhillips Warrior Sporting Clays Tournament. The annual clay shoot supports Team Red, White & Blue, a nonprofit organization focused on enriching the lives of veterans through physical and social activity.

In addition, ConocoPhillips actively recruits veterans and has a dedicated careers website to help veterans make the transition to the workplace. Through the website, veterans can use a Military Occupation Specialties translator that will match their military experience to available ConocoPhillips careers.

The positions here are challenging

Phil Miller

U.S. Army veteran Phil Miller, associate, Vendor Relations, who works in Bartlesville, Okla., said veterans bring strong accountability and leadership skills to the workplace.

“Veterans are mission-oriented and are always reflecting on how they can improve their performance. This can-do mindset translates well to the business world,” Phil said.

“The positions here at ConocoPhillips are challenging and give us an opportunity to continue our determined effort to perform at the highest levels.”

 “Veterans from all branches share a loyalty and brotherhood/sisterhood that is unparalleled,” said Phil Miller.
Mark Shulman

Similar values

U.S. Army veteran Mark Shulman, senior production engineer, is the lead chair for PEN in Alaska.

“ConocoPhillips values and rewards their employees who are driven and work hard to accomplish their goals, similar to the values instilled in our U.S. military branches,” Mark said. 

Many of the technical skills veterans acquire in the military transfer to ConocoPhillips and the energy industry.

“I think it’s great that ConocoPhillips is sponsoring the ‘Portraits of Courage’ exhibit,” Mark said.

“Veterans bring a number of great values and diversity to help make ConocoPhillips one of the best E&P companies in the world.”    

Alex and Ryan Lisowski on the day he returned from his tour in Afghanistan. Ryan spent seven years as a pilot in the U.S. Army.

They have a lot to teach us

Alex Lisowski, controller, Norway business unit, is the wife of U.S. Army veteran Ryan Lisowski.

She said military veterans have a level of maturity that is hard to come by

“They’re able to face stressful and difficult situations with calm and ease,” she said. “They’ve also experienced leadership and teamwork that is unmatched. They have a lot to teach us that we can adopt in the business world.”

Sara Pate

Instant connection and credibility

Sara Pate, Operations Performance lead, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1989 to 1996, achieving the rank of captain.

Sara said ConocoPhillips values her military experience. “When I started working on the North Slope, being a veteran gave me an instant connection and credibility with so many people that helped me more quickly build relationships,” she said.

“Our ‘Portraits of Courage’ sponsorship demonstrates that ConocoPhillips walks the walk,” she said. “ConocoPhillips’ support for the military is not just lip service.”

A great fit for veterans

Mike Hazen, Wells Supervisor, is actively serving in the Alaska Air National Guard.

Mike Hazen

Mike, who served four years of active duty in the U.S. Army between high school and college, has been a member of the Army and Air National Guard ever since.

“I’m grateful that ConocoPhillips supports my military service with excellent benefits and opportunities for military leave during training and deployments,” he said. ConocoPhillips is a great fit for veterans because of the commonality in cultures and values."

Mike, who has President Bush’s “Portraits of Courage book, said, “I feel that there is no better way to honor our brothers and sisters than forever capturing them in art.”

ConocoPhillips is proud to be a military-friendly company that recognizes the life experience, technical knowledge and leadership skills that current, transitioning or former military employees may have to share. Visit to learn about our commitment to supporting and hiring veterans. In addition to job opportunities, you’ll find a Military Occupation Specialties translator that will match your military experience to available ConocoPhillips career opportunities.

Want to go?

WHAT: Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors

WHEN: Feb. 21– April 25, 2020

WHERE: Julia Ideson Building, Exhibit Hall, 550 McKinney St., Houston, Texas, 77002 

DETAILS: The exhibit, featuring the artwork of former President George W. Bush, includes 66 portraits and a four-panel mural of service members and veterans. These portraits are on loan through the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a nonprofit organization whose Military Service Initiative helps veterans and their families.

COST: Free and open to the public

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Go to or call or 832‑393‑1313

From his “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors” book, former President George W. Bush said, I painted these men and women as a way to honor their service to the country and to show my respect for their sacrifice and courage."