Appalachian Basin

Minority Business Association Connects With Shale Industry

This week in the heart of Ohio’s Utica Shale play some folks from the oil and gas industry held a joint event with the Minority Business Association in Stark County (aka the Utica Capital). The purpose was to discuss connecting the growing natural gas industry with the strong and diverse minority-owned businesses of Stark  County. The idea for this meeting came from a meeting between API and the Stark County Oil and Gas Partnership. The idea being the oil and gas industry continuing to reach out and make connections in local communities all around Ohio. Connecting with the MBA is a great example of that effort.

Stark County Minority Business Association

The day began with welcoming remarks from Canton’s own Ron Ponder, who is well-known in the community due to his long-standing  popular radio show.

“There is a lot of information but not just information but a lot of opportunity” – Ron Ponder (0:11)

After Mr. Ponder’s opening comments, Rhonda Reda, Executive Director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, took the stage to provide what she calls an “Oil and Gas 101,” covering topics like terminology, technology and the history of Ohio’s industry. Rhonda always grabs and holds everyone’s attention due to her wealth of knowledge and engaging personality. She also has the amazing ability to break down a complex, science-based topic to help the general public get a better understanding and working knowledge of the industry.

Following Rhonda, Energy In Depth stepped up to the microphone to explain the supply chain. The first step in finding a niche for your company in the supply chain is understanding how various elements work together.  EID mapped out the supply chain from exploration companies like BP and Chesapeake to oilfield services companies like Halliburton and Weatherford — all the way down to well pad servicing companies, which is where most local small businesses can find room in the supply chain. Services like excavating, water hauling, landscaping, safety clothing, fuel, tools and other hardware are all places where local businesses can and indeed do benefit.

Next to the podium was Rebecca Heimlich of API and Penny Seipel of OOGA. These presenters discussed the purpose and scope of their respective organizations, as well as the importance of networking opportunities for their members.

Mike Battles of Woolpert and Ron Wilkof of Ron’s Working Man also took the opportunity relay their personal stories about navigating the supply chain in order to become vendors and contractors with the oil and gas industry.

The presenters helped the audience understand the importance of networking and understanding the supply chain, and gave real life scenarios of getting involved in the industry in the process.  As development continues, more Ohio based companies are going to be needed to fill the increasing workload of these operators, but companies need to understand how and where they fit into industry.  That is why this outreach is so important.

Companies will need to learn the oil and gas business to see how their business fits in the supply chain.  With patience and perseverance, those looking to grow their businesses and get involved with the industry will have great success.

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