Marcellus Shale

Marcellus Shale Just for Men? Not So Fast

Over the past week a primary topic of conversation in the Marcellus Shale region has been…women. Yep, that’s right. We’ve seen a lot of focus on the women who make up this industry and the wives, mothers,  and others who support it. The saying “Behind every great man there is a great woman,” is true for the many women supporting their family members working in the natural gas industry, but for those women working in this industry we’re hoping to change the wording just a bit.

For starters we could say “alongside” or in some cases even “in front of”, as women take on the historic perception of the industry being 99 percent male dominated. The many women who work alongside their male counterparts are ready to change this image and celebrate the diverse workforce that is the Marcellus Shale industry.

Women in the Marcellus “Ladies Night”

Women in the Marcellus event

Last night over 100 women (and two husbands actually) met in Williamsport for an evening of networking and celebrating the women who make up the natural gas industry. Hosted by Rene Rhine of Folse Land Services, the event brought together women from every facet of the industry.

There were reps from local educational outreach groups like Career Link, ShaleNet, Marcellus Shale Center for Education and Training, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, and even Williamsport Area High School. Exploration and production companies like Anadarko, Chief, Range Resources and Talisman were present. Services companies such as Halliburton, Lundy Construction, Patterson & Wilder, Stallion, and Whitco Supply and pipeline companies like Williams were also there. Organizations and companies working indirectly or those which have benefited by donations from the Marcellus Shale industry also turned out like White Knight Productions, KBF printing, the YWCA, Lycoming United Way and several law firms.  There were also trade associations like the American Petroleum Institute (API) and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) on hand. And of course Rachael and I were there to represent Energy in Depth.

It was truly an amazing group of women representing such diverse interactions and positions with the natural gas industry.

Stallion took the prize of most women in attendance with 10 plus women (3-4 tables!), with Halliburton in a close second. Anadarko had a sign displaying all of the women at their Williamsport office, which comprised nearly a third of their 75 employees, most of which are local residents. These included petroleum engineers, government relations personnel, land services women, and office support to name a few areas of their expertise. It was an enlightening evening and I hope we can continue to gather in these ways to bring to light just how many of us are out here working in this industry.

“Women of the Marcellus” Video

I had the opportunity to showcase the recent video we released  “Women of the Marcellus,” with the pleasure of having the three women, Amy, Laura, and Mindy in the video, as well as Elin Barton of White Knight Productions, present for the first public showing. They all received very heartfelt accolades for the video, and their willingness to share their stories with the world. For those of you not familiar you can watch it below. It highlights a growing trend  in the Marcellus Shale region where economic gain from leasing and royalty monies, employment opportunities and business growth are keeping families together and bringing people back to the region. It is a trend we often do not discuss, in part because its difficult to measure the significance of a mother watching her children and grandchildren thrive and grow nearby in data sets and dollar signs, but which is every bit as important as the figures we speak of daily.

“The Roughneck Wives of NEPA”

As we move to the other women so important in this industry, the wives and mothers who support family members working in the Marcellus Shale, we are also seeing a trend to share stories and experiences with others. These women, who represent the backbone of the industry through their commitment to their families, have created a group on Facebook, the Roughneck Wives of NEPA, for other women in this situation and those working in the industry.  Their goal is to work together and provide a different voice for the industry.

They’ll be sharing their stories with each other and speaking out about the misinformation spread about the men they love who develop our natural resources.  As a woman who’s future husband works for a hydraulic fracturing company, I am excited to both meet other women with similar experiences, as well as to see the direction the group will take. The organizers invite all Women of the Marcellus to come join the discussion.

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