Carrier Class

Tony Petrello: The Personal Philanthropist

It is not required of the talented or brilliant to be generous or kind, but Tony Petrello fits either bill. He, though an extremely successful businessman and CEO of Nabors Industries (an oil and gas drilling contractor), remains philanthropically centered through his personal connection to Houston and periventricular leukomalacia, or PVL.

Born in New Jersey, Petrello was bright from a young age. He excelled at mathematics and quickly gained the attention of Yale University, receiving a scholarship to attend the esteemed university. Two degrees and a wife later, Tony Petrello joined the Harvard roster to study law, and post-graduation from law school, he joined a law firm where he would meet Nabors Industries.

Some years and latter climbing later, Tony Petrello is a benevolent CEO. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Nabors Industries (and by extension, Tony Petrello) awarded employees paid time off to help those affected by the storm in Houston. After a fundraiser for those affected, employees raised $174k, and Petrello matched those donations.

Probably the most personal of Petrello’s contributions to philanthropy, though, are those which he donated to periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). In the 1990s, Tony Petrello and his wife Cynthia had a tiny, premature baby named Carena. Carena, it became clear, had been born with PVL. PVL is an infant brain injury that causes the “death of small areas of brain tissue around fluid-filled areas called ventricles… ‘holes’ in the brain” ( Petrello donated $7 million to the Texas Children’s Hospital to create a specialized pediatric neurological unit named the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, and he is committed to aiding in the fight to cure these childhood neurological diseases.

Petrello and his wife (an actress and dancer by trade) created the Petrello Family Foundation that strives to improve not only education and medical resources in Houston but also the performing arts. In fact, the Petrello family even hosted Houston native, Tommy Tune, when he returned from Broadway!

It is clear that Tony Petrello is not only talented and brilliant but also generous and kind, and he has paved the way for others to be the same. Maybe, just maybe, giving some the chance not only to live but also be inspired.


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