Appalachian Basin

Local Communities Bracing for Flurries of Jobs

Counties across Ohio are preparing for a flurry of business heading their way.  This week, representatives of two organizations focused on regional economic development – the Jefferson County Progress Alliance and the City of Canton Community Improvement Corporation (Stark County) – attended events looking to prepare their communities for the growing influx of new business opportunities and jobs headed to their communities thanks to the Utica Shale.

Under the direction of its Executive Director Ed Looman, Progress Alliance has been very active, working tirelessly to make sure Jefferson County’s economy benefits from the ongoing development of the Utica shale. The group has been courting businesses looking to expand their operations in the region, has been seeking businesses from out of state who may want to relocate in Ohio and has been helping local entrepreneurs get in front of some of the new businesses coming to the area.

In pursuit of these goals, Mr. Looman organized a business-to-business expo in Steubenville this week. The purpose was to create a speed-dating type of event where local businesses could spend a little time with each producer or midstream-company to better understand the services local businesses can offer for their operations. What started as a seemingly small event in the beginning blossomed into a luncheon and expo with over 185 attendees and with Joe Barrone, founder of, serving as the keynote speaker.

During the luncheon, Mr. Barrone offered tips on how to prepare to do business with these large companies offering 5 simple steps for local entrepreneurs in expanding their business to benefit from the Utica Shale:

  1. Get out of you comfort zone
  2. Know your skills and refine your message
  3. There’s no silver bullet
  4. It is all about networking
  5. Follow up means success

Following the luncheon and throughout the day, businesses were able to network with Chesapeake EnergyHess Corporation,  Wagner Industrial ElectricShale DirectoriesOhio Oil & Gas Association  and Eastern Gateway Community College.

Jefferson County is looking to mimic the business expansion that Stark County has already seen.  Last spring, Chesapeake Energy chose Canton as the location for their Ohio headquarters. With this move, the county quickly positioned itself as the one of the epicenters for business growth brought on by ongoing shale development.

Just this year, Canton has already hosted the inaugural Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) Expo in October and this week’s Fall Technical and Special Issues Conference at the Kent State Stark Campus.  Both events were heavily attended.

Linda Barnes, Director of the City of Canton Community Improvement Corporation, has been aggressively courting new opportunities and has met with many businesses looking to either move to the region or expand existing operations due to recent shale activity in Ohio.  Canton’s CIC is working hard to ensure businesses are looking toward Canton to capitalize on the Utica Shale.

Be sure to watch EID-Ohio’s interview with Ms. Barnes below:

All across Ohio people are anxious for the economy to turn around.  Fortunately, after years of unsuccessful attempts at stimulating our economy Ohio now has shale development which is helping our communities get back on track –one at a time.  These economic development organizations are aiding this progress tremendously and deserve our applause for their efforts to get hard working Ohioans back to work.

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