Appalachian Basin

A New Situation: Shale Development Bringing New Opportunities to Ohio

My name is Vince Melillo, and I am a senior engineering student at . I am also the founding President of the Buckeye Shale Energy Organization. The development of the Utica Shale has been an area of immense interest for me for quite some time. Being from the Youngstown, Ohio area, my friends, family, and I are located in the midst of the action.

Growing up in an economically depressed area, I always heard stories of the old days and how exciting things used to be. However, my memories consist only of a ghost-like downtown and of enormous steel mills idly decaying to nothing. This is all changing now with the shale industry approaching. New and refurbished mills are popping up along the roads, and finally, people are talking about the future and not the past. The enthusiasm currently sweeping through my hometown is something that my generation has never witnessed before. All of this is particularly exciting for me as a college student.

When my high school classmates and I left for college in 2008, the situation was different. Although I loved being around my family and friends back home, I had the mindset that- if I wanted to reach my true potential, then I would have to move away after college to a more rewarding economy. Now, with shale at our doorsteps in Ohio, we have found ourselves in a new situation. We can stay at home and reach great success while helping to lead Youngstown’s economy to where it once was. We have the opportunity to bring our area back to prominence. Few careers could be as exciting as that.

This past school year, I wanted to find a way to get involved with the oil and natural gas industry. After speaking with a few engineering classmates of mine, I realized that I wasn’t the only one yearning to get involved. Through Clean Harbors’ Director Joe Greco, I eventually was connected to Professor Jeff Daniels of the Subsurface Energy Resource Center at OSU. Soon after, the Buckeye Shale Energy Organization (BSEO) was formed.

Our founding officers consisted of myself (President), Patrick Moore (Vice-President), Dana Rose (Vice-President), Alex Sava (Treasurer), Chris Vasel (Operations Manager), Drew Janek (Technical Operator), and Matt Hawrylak (Secretary). The main goals of our organization are to educate interested students in the forthcoming industry and to connect ambitious young men/women to industry leaders. Our roster spans across several majors including engineering, earth science, business, communications, and more. Throughout the past school year, we hosted several presentations from industry leaders. We also were invited to the statehouse where we met with State Representative David Hall and Ohio Oil and Gas Association Vice President Tom Stewart, and were privileged enough to sit in on a committee meeting regarding Senate Bill 315.

Things look to stay exciting for us in the future as we will be hosting more industry leaders, as well as taking our first field site visits. Also, on the 8th of November, we will be hosting our second annual career fair/ networking event at The Ohio Union. We are expecting approximately 20 companies to participate.

I represent just one of many young professionals with a growing interest in the shale play in Ohio. I realize that, with proper regulation, the development of our state’s natural resources can vastly enhance our future.

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