Appalachian Basin

Cuomo Delays – New York Residents Leave

Three New York residents have left their home state in search of work.  Their search has brought them to Washington County, Pa., where all three now have good paying jobs in the natural gas industry.  

Recently I received a call from Donald Roessler, who rented one of his properties to three young professionals working in the natural gas industry.  Normally this isn’t anything to write home about, since the natural gas industry provides thousands of jobs to people throughout the United States.  But what’s interesting about these three is that they are from the Southern Tier of New York, where shale development could occur were it not for politics.

If  people leaving New York state in search of work isn’t already a trend, I am sure it is one that will increase as the New York moratorium on hydraulic fracturing stays in place.  This is a true testament that the industry does, in fact, supply not only jobs but good paying jobs — worth relocating to obtain, even.  Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo continues to delay his decision on shale development.

Who They Are

I got in touch with Jorden and Jenna Ohradzanski, and Andrew Benjamin when Roessler, a Washington County, Pa., resident, called and told me there were three people from the Southern Tier of New York renting his house and working in the natural gas industry.  Jorden Ohradzanski is a data document specialist at E.A.R.T.H. Acquisition, Inc.  Jenna Ohradzanski works for Precision Pipeline LLC.  And, lastly, Andrew Benjamin is studying  to be petroleum engineer and is now working on a co-op project just north of Pittsburgh.

Washington County, Pennsylvania

Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Before leaving New York, the Ohradzanski sisters lived in Hammondsport, located in the wine region of New York state, on Keuka Lake.  Something we hear quite often from those opposed to shale gas exploration in New York is that the Finger Lake wine region provides enough jobs to upstate New Yorkers, and there is no need for the jobs natural gas development will bring.  It doesn’t look like these former New Yorkers agree with that message.

Likewise, Andrew Benjamin is originally from Horseheads, N.Y., near Elmira and just across the border from the Pennsylvania gas fields.  It’s clear the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is able to provide jobs not available to those living in New York’s Southern Tier or the Finger Lakes.

Why the Natural Gas Industry?

There are many industries out there to choose for a career, so my question to these three was, why the natural gas industry? Andrew explained:

My father was a land man in New York, he was never in the industry until his 50’s.  My sister rented one of her houses to man from the south who was real big in the industry and he got my dad into it as a land man.  There was a lot more money in this than his other jobs so he loved it.  So, that was the first I had seen of the industry, how well it paid and how big it was.

That intrigued me to get into the industry because I wanted to be where the money was.  This pushed me to get into Petroleum engineering which eventually took me to West Virginia University because of the programs.

My thought was that after I graduated, four years later New York would have opened up to the industry.  It would have been nice to move back and be there right as business was booming. – Andrew Benjamin (6:10)

These three former New Yorkers offer a testament that there are not enough good paying jobs in the Southern Tier of New York to accommodate college graduates, especially women, as Jorden outlined:

Our mother was in the industry for years just over the border in Bardford County, that was how we got involved ourselves.  It would be nice if these types of jobs were available in New York.

When I first started working in the industry the office that I worked out of was located is Owego, New York.  So I had to drive an hour and a half to Owego and back everyday.

I was driving three hours a day just to and from work.   It was definitely worth the drive though. – Jorden Ohradzanski  (4:30)

Below is the full interview –

These three left us with one last piece of advice for anyone looking to get involved with the natural gas industry –

The first thing to figure out for anyone is what part of the industry they want to work in.  Also, it depends on how close you are to the Pennsylvania border.  Being out here in Southwest Pennsylvania, it wasn’t hard to find a job, there are job openings everywhere.  (9:39)

Governor Cuomo, as noted above, continues to delay his verdict on hydraulic fracturing with no apparent regard for the needs of his constituents. Given how long it’s taking, there’s a good possibility there won’t be anyone left to hear his decision.  Now wouldn’t that be ironic?  I guess they refer to Cuomo as “Hamlet on the Hudson” for good reason.

For more information on how to find work in the natural gas industry visit our job page here.

  • fred jones
    Posted at 13:54h, 04 June Reply

    Good grief EID, reading this one would think NYS will be a ghost town if HVHF doesn’t come here. While no one will balk on added jobs for the state, the Southern Tier might be the only area to see any (direct) job growth from drilling, but NYS is not going to become some wasteland of zero population. HVHF is not a miracle, just another industry that could benefit the state. EID doesn’t need to keep painting the dire picture of a non-committal Gov. causing some massive exodus.

    The New York State economy added 23,800 private sector jobs, for a growth rate of 0.3%, in April 2013, according to preliminary figures released in May by the State Department of Labor. As a result, New York reached an all-time high private sector job count of 7,452,100 in April 2013. Since the onset of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, the New York State economy has added 339,000 private sector jobs. The state’s private sector job count is based on a payroll survey of 18,000 New York employers conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Between March and April 2013, New York State’s unemployment rate fell from 8.2% to 7.8%, its lowest level since March 2009. In addition, the number of unemployed state residents fell by 35,700 to 748,500.

    • Joe Massaro
      Posted at 08:04h, 05 June Reply

      Not saying it will be a ghost town, but I do believe ’20’ somethings will continue to have a hard time finding not only a job, but a good paying job.

      Here are some statistics from Washington County where the three people from the article live…

      “The average weekly wage in Washington County rose 12.4 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012—the fastest increase among Pennsylvania’s largest counties and the third-fastest rate of growth nationwide. Luzerne, Dauphin, and Chester Counties also recorded wage growth rates 8.5 percent or greater and ranked in the top 25 nationwide. Montgomery County had the highest average weekly wage among the 19 largest counties in the Commonwealth at $1,294, followed by the counties of Chester ($1,255) and Philadelphia ($1,148).”

      Besides job growth we also have a growth in wages due primarily to HVHF

      • fred jones
        Posted at 08:26h, 05 June Reply

        Joe, I agree that the ST area is in need of some kind of job growth opportunity. HVHF jobs pay very well, no doubt, but just how many materialize all hinges on the NG companies and where they plant a rig or rigs. PA is not NYS as far as NG goes. That state sits over the mother-lode of reserves. Small parts of NYS respectively sit over any possible reserves. That’s just how the Marcellus goes, you can’t hype up geology. Lot’s of “dry”plays too, which is not so desirable at the current price of the NG market. Multimillion dollar investments are gong for the wet plays. You get a lot more bang for your buck. So job numbers mean nothing in NYS until any drilling takes place and the way this State Gov operates…..well…..don’t hold your breath 🙂

  • Observer
    Posted at 16:14h, 04 June Reply

    Cuomo today stated himself that the Tax Free Zones he is setting up in NY will have some effect on slowing down the exedous of NYkers leaving….

  • Tom Botheuser
    Posted at 17:58h, 04 June Reply

    It seems that I hear of another friend or aquaintence leaving the state on a monthly basis…
    Four of them left yesterday(Monday) for South Carolina and last week I was informed that three other people I know have put their houses up for sale… My three daughters have been long gone for the last 12 years… All professionals and their hubby’s couldn’t find meaningfull work here in the Southern Tier…
    In the meantime Princess Andy dithers and dare I say it, he is making Patterson look good…

  • dave
    Posted at 19:57h, 04 June Reply

    New York is “closed for business”. I own and operate four businesses and can state that Emperor Cuomo has done nothing to help my businesses succeed. To the contrary, over-regulation and taxation hold me back. Meanwhile, lets offer tax breaks to outsiders to locate here and get breaks for ten years. Who pays for that? You guessed it, my business and all of its employees. The more logical way to boost NY’s economy is to lessen regulation, including it’s nonsensical fracing moratorium. The governor has no appreciation of what we business owners face and he is nothing but a politician with no practical business savy. Presidential ? That is the humor at its finest.

    • Joe Massaro
      Posted at 08:05h, 05 June Reply

      That is humor at it’s finest. It’s been over four years now, when I vote in the next presidential election I will remember how long it took Cuomo to make a decision.

  • Michael Fitzgerald
    Posted at 08:50h, 05 June Reply

    Well Joe, our votes might cancel each other out – if Cuomo holds the course and keeps hydrofracking out of NY… Then he’ll get my vote…

  • Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Jun 5, 2013 | Marcellus Drilling News
    Posted at 09:35h, 05 June Reply

    […] Cuomo Delays – New York Residents Leave Energy in Depth – Marcellus Three New York residents have left their home state in search of work. Their search has brought them to Washington County, Pa., where all three now have good paying jobs in the natural gas industry. […]

  • Tom Botheuser
    Posted at 10:40h, 05 June Reply

    Fred, take a look at the population numbers for the Southern Tier today and compare to 25 years ago… If it continues as it is, the lights will be turned out in about 50 more years…

    • fred jones
      Posted at 06:21h, 06 June Reply

      Tom, I totally agree with you like I said in my posts. my gripe is the picture EID likes to paint about the whole state. The latest stats do not concur with that kind of accusation. Yes, the ST needs jobs, but there are no guarantees here in regards to NG development if and when it comes top NYS. Leases are not guarantees and it is up to the NG companies where rigs will be placed. I have no problem with ANY community that in in favor of development. If your town votes in a board that favors NG development, then bully for you, that’s how it should work and there are examples of just that across the ST. But that does not guarantee that the NG drillers will 1. come and 2. find sweet spots and big reserves. False hopes along with feeding those false hopes is what riles this old soldier.

  • NY4GAS
    Posted at 23:05h, 05 June Reply

    I’ve heard of many that are preparing to evacuate NY. We are considering a move in next year or so.

  • Meech
    Posted at 21:37h, 27 June Reply

    This is simply a war of attrition against those with little or nothing left to support their families and their lands. As more and more people succumb to the heavy burden of taxes and NO jobs, they will simply walk away. Then the modern day robber barons of which I believe Emperor Cuomo is one, will swoop in and buy the land on the cheap! Then you’ll see a change in the attitude of the state on FRACKING. It’s a fraking joke.

  • Gas Drilling Has Brought Good Jobs to Pennsylvania, Lots of Them - Natural Gas Now
    Posted at 18:14h, 10 November Reply

    […] The workers that come from out of state are the ones who travel with the drilling rigs. As a matter of fact I know several people from Pennsylvania who travel to other drilling states because of their work on the rigs. I also know 3 people who came here from New York for work because of the moratorium. You can read about them here. […]

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