Appalachian Basin

OOGEEP and Chesapeake Enlighten Audience At Shale and Beyond Conference

Yesterday, Ohio University hosted the 2nd annual Shale and Beyond Conference at their Athens campus.  The panelists shared their views across the board at how best to prepare for Utica Shale development as it continues to grow and revitalize eastern Ohio.  In attendance were nearly one hundred community and business leaders throughout the shale developing region, all interested in how to best manage the development taking place in our great state.  Although there was a great turnout, it was Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and Chesapeake that stole the show.

In discussing workforce development, OOGEEP’s Rhonda Reda gave the audience a quick update on all of the exciting work her organization has accomplished over the past couple of years.  Rhonda wowed the audience with OOGEEP’s continued excellence at preparing Ohio’s firefighters (recently training their 1,000th firefighter), teacher workshops, and scholarship programs.

The most interesting portion of her speech was focused on a very important subject: workforce development.  There is a common misconception that the majority of employment is with the major operators in Ohio. Through their expertise, OOGEEP found that contractors actually fill a lot of the roles for oil and gas development in the Utica/Point Pleasant.

“One company here in the state of Ohio, when you really look at that supply chain and just the number of jobs that this one company, and this is just what they track in the last two years.  See those dots there?  They have over one thousand vendors, okay.  So a lot of these jobs may not be with this producer themselves unless it is in the engineering, geophysical, geology, well tending areas, but a lot these are going to indirect jobs primarily in the contractor effort.” –Rhonda Reda

These positions are going to be filled by a skilled workforce.  To achieve this, Ohio must ensure our workers receive the training needed to obtain these well-paying jobs.  OOGEEP has closely worked with Ohio’s schools to audit their programs and find which schools offer the proper training for the many disciplines needed to fill industry jobs in the coming years.  Rhonda took the time to announce to the crowd that today OOGEEP will release some very exciting news.

“Tomorrow there will be a press release. You are first ones to see this stuff and we are announcing now the 70 different Ohio colleges and universities and trade schools here in the state of Ohio that will appear on our industry approved report.  This list will continue to grow.  This is an enormous list and by the way Ohio is the first state to have this type of comprehensive listing of training programs that match their specific institutions in the state of Ohio.” –Rhonda Reda

Following Rhonda’s exciting news (more on that tomorrow), Scott Rotruck ,Vice President of Corporate Development and State Government Relations for Chesapeake, gave an enthusiastic and fascinating keynote speech.  Forgoing a PowerPoint presentation, Mr. Rotruck had a candid conversation about the event and the power of bringing everyone together.

“I had the privilege of sitting in on the whole event here today.  It has been wonderful.  There has been tremendous advice given.  I heard Dale Arnold talk about everybody make sure you’re involved.  Make sure you’re in the conversation, try to be inclusive.  I don’t think there could be any better advice then that.  There is a Latin phrase ‘res ipsa loquitur’, the thing speaks for itself.  I think this convocation here today does speak for itself.”–Scott Rotruck

Mr. Rotruck touted the importance of cognitive diversity and working with communities to solve issues.  He also stressed the importance of innovation, which is what makes the oil and gas industry so great.

“Richard Lester wrote a book called “Innovation– the Missing Dimension.  This is an MIT professor, a guy from the UK who never went home.  Hr traveled around the world helping economies to transition.  And he wrote that book because he felt that innovation was still the strongest thing in this country’s arsenal but in some places it was beginning to be absent.  It is not absent, it is not absent in this industry.  Innovation is what brought us this shale, I will say, opportunities, shale gale or shale revolution.”–Scott Rotruck

Following his rousing keynote, Mr. Rotruck opened up his speech to include a question and answer, in which he was more than happy to answer every single question posed to him until he ran out of time.

These two speakers are only a snapshot of the informative event hosted by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.  It was a well-balanced discussion that helped people learn about the oil and gas industry, while getting the tools necessary to prepare for continued shale development in eastern Ohio.  

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