Appalachian Basin

Marcellus Shale and the Women Who Develop It

The energy industry, especially in the Marcellus Shale region, is not just for men anymore. Women In Marcellus is bringing together the many women who make up the natural gas industry in our region and helping them give back to their community.

I had the privilege of attending the second Women In Marcellus gathering in Williamsport last Tuesday. If you are not familiar with the group, they formed this past April as an opportunity for women to network with other women working in or with the natural gas industry.

The first event brought out over 100 ladies, and the second event was just as successful, despite the snow we received earlier in the day. In attendance were engineers, field sales representatives, educators from local high schools, technical schools, and universities, hotel and hospitality workers, public and government relations representatives, entrepreneurs, and everything in between, and even some wives of industry employees. It was both a fun and fulfilling night of networking and charity.

Giving Back

One of the aspects of this industry that cannot be denied is the incredible amount of charitable giving companies do in the communities they operate in and their employees live in. This event fell right on the heels of Thanksgiving in the middle of the beginning of the holiday season and as such, the one hundred or so ladies who participated wanted to not only express their thanks for the sustainable wages their families are earning and the economic development being brought to their communities thanks to the Marcellus Shale, but also to give back to those who are not so fortunate.


Sandy Spencer Accepting the Donation on Behalf of the YWCA


The group chose the YWCA of Williamsport as the recipient organization for the evening and each attendee brought a gift card to help give the women and children this organization helps a happy holiday. We raised over $1,500 for the YWCA!

A highlight of the evening was a presentation entitled Women In Marcellus Giving Back, highlighting some of the donations of time and money companies have given this year, but when it comes to the YWCA it is rare to see a picture of the benefits. That’s one of the many reasons this donation was so important. Why is that? Well as Sandy Spencer of Patterson and Wilder pointed out when she represented the YWCA at the event, the women and children who use this service are often victims of abuse, homeless, and realistically not in a desirable position to be identified in photographs or in press releases. But, they still need help to get a “hand up” to get their lives back on track, even if the donation goes unnoticed in the public eye.

You can learn more about the YWCA and the services they offer (CASA, Liberty House, and Wise Options), by taking a moment to watch Sandy’s presentation below.

If you were unable to attend the event and would still like to make a donation, they can be sent to:

YWCA of Williamsport
815 West 4th Street
Williamsport, PA 17701

Other Ways to Give

The night also featured an educational component where various charitable organizations from around the county had the opportunity to share what services they offer with the group to take the information back to their companies.

First Community Foundation Partnership

The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania works regionally and locally to bring together people, partners and places to grow local giving and investment, strengthen area organizations and results, and take on the critical issues and efforts needed to build vibrant communities and a thriving north central Pennsylvania region. FCFP serves the communities of Lycoming, Montour, and Union Counties.

Jennifer Wilson, FCF Partnership’s President and CEO, spoke on the many ways her organization helps the local community. And, as a bonus, she selected one business card out of the group to give a $100 grant to a charity of her choice. Other participants tried to talk the winner into giving to their organization in their later speeches, but we’ll have to wait to see what she selected. You can hear Jennifer’s comments below.

United Way

The Lycoming United Way evolved over the decades from raising funds to assessing community needs, and directing funds where most needed. The United Way is continually evolving toward a more responsive and inclusive community caring system.

In April 2000, the Lycoming United Way became Lycoming County United Way, a new name for a community icon.  Formally recognizing the growing support from businesses and individuals from all corners of the county, a formal name change from Lycoming United Way to Lycoming County United Way was instituted. With United Way services used yearly by county residents, the new name more accurately describes both who we are and whom we serve.

The natural gas industry has made donations to United Ways across the Marcellus Shale throughout the last year and previous ones with events like barbeque cook-offs and “Bustin’ Clays for United Way” because of their assessments of local needs and distribution to dependent organizations. Mary Wolf of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation spoke on behalf of the Lycoming County United Way, a board she proudly sits on.

Habitat for Humanity

Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are recycled into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.

Patricia Shipman spoke on behalf of the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity, an organization that seeks to build affordable homes for local residents and help struggling families to become homeowners. It is a great way for people to give back in either time or monetary donations and could be a fun project for local companies to have employees participate in. See Patricia’s comments below.

All in all this was an excellent program and the second of what we hope will be many opportunities for the many women working in the Marcellus Shale to network and give back to their community. If you’d like to learn more about the group or what’s being planned next, be sure to visit their Facebook page, @WomenInMarcellus.


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