The Keystone Energy Forum 2017 Shale Summit was held at Westmorland County Career and Technology Center this year on Thursday, March 30th. The panel discussed the impact Utica and Marcellus shale activity has on local businesses, communities and educational institutions.
Westmorland County Commissioner Ted Kopas hit home with his opening statement, “We really can maximize this great opportunity. There are jobs galore out there and there are ways to do this responsibly, there are ways to do this right.”
The Shale Summit comprised diverse panels of local and national business leaders in natural gas, as well as advocates of the Pennsylvania shale industry. They included:
- Dave Pinster, Director of Workforce Development
- Steve Columbus, Administrative Manager Operating Engineers Local 66
- James Norris, President of Dura-Bond industries
- Mike Storms, Director of Operations Engineering Products Elliott Group
- David Taylor, President of PA Manufacturers’ Association
- Mike Hillebrand, Executive Vice President & Principal of Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration
- Chris Koop, Community Liaison of Sunoco Pipeline
- Lauren Parker, Principal of Civil Environmental Consultants
- Frank Kordalski, Dean of Workforce Development Westmoreland County Community College
- Kevin Pahach, Treasurer of Operating Engineers Local 66
- Brad Elwood, Central Westmoreland Career Technology Center
- Andrew Kicinski, Chief Executive Officer of Reserve Environmental Services
Discussion during the event turned to the influence that the construction of an ethane cracker in Beaver County is having on the community. Mike Storms from the Elliott Group stressed that they purchase approximately $120 million worth of goods and services every year out of Jeannette, Pennsylvania. With the addition of thousands employees they have working for them, the Elliot Group gives about $200 million back into the community, according to Storms.
The panels spoke about the large contributions that shale gas has made to our regions. Storms mentioned that natural gas not only powers our homes and factories, but many of our everyday items, including our cell phones, starting with ethylene. They reiterate that the production of this ethane cracker is an opportunity that should be capitalized on.
James Norris, President of Dura-Bond Industries spoke of the importance shale gas growth has on him, and his employees, “As an owner, I feel personally responsible to keep people gainfully employed.” The Summit echoed the great potential shale gas has not only for our present, but our children’s future in the workforce.
Click below to see more from the 2017 Shale Summit.