Local Chamber Helps Eastern Ohio Embrace Benefits of Shale
As we have seen Utica Shale development ramp up in eastern Ohio, many areas have benefitted from companies moving into and becoming part of their communities. Guernsey County has seen this first hand and is appreciative of the industry’s involvement. In an effort to give back, the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce has taken it upon itself to help educate the local community about the increased oil and gas production taking place in the county.
“What we’ve seen over the past three years is an increase in the number of oil and gas companies coming in and getting involved, wanting to get engaged in the community. They’re coming in and wanting to join the chamber, they’re wanting to offer sponsorships for our events, they’re wanting to be involved and engaged in the community and what’s going on here. And they have really done a good job at being good community partners and stewards of the community. It’s been really rewarding for us because they don’t just do it and walk away. They want to get to know you and be your friends and they’re really part of the community. It’s been wonderful.”- Jo Sexton, President of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce
The Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce has taken these interactions and put them to good use. Since 2011, the Chamber has been actively educating its members and the general public through a partnership called the “Guernsey County Energy Coalition.” The coalition has held over 34 monthly meetings to keep the public informed on what is happening in the region thanks to Utica Shale development.
The coalition began as an informational series for chamber members, but as interest continued to grow, so did the outreach efforts.
“We started the coalition meetings three years ago. We’ve had 34 meetings. We’ve had industry experts come, people from ODNR and OOGEEP and lots of people like that coming to talk about the industry and educating. And they’re recorded for television, each one of these sessions and it’s replayed on the local channel so that the general public gets the information too.”- Jo Sexton, President of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce
Thanks to this and other educational efforts, Cambridge has been able to embrace shale development as an economic game changer – but that doesn’t mean the education stops. The Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce is now hosting what they have dubbed “Shale-a-bration,” a friends and family festival to honor the development of the Utica Shale in not only Guernsey County, but across eastern Ohio.
The Shale-a-bration will be held Saturday, May 10th from 9am-7pm at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds in Old Washington. The event will feature educational booths from operators, suppliers and OOGEEP, who will provide the facts regarding oil and gas development as well as family friendly events like a fishing expo, dock dogs and a Johnny Cash tribute. Thanks to donations from organizations and companies, this event will be free to the public.
Good things happen when communities work together. What the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce is doing with the Energy Coalition and the Shale-a-bration is a testament to precisely that.