Appalachian Basin

Women In Energy Summit Highlights Career Pathways for Women in Oil and Gas

Last week, Congressman Bill Johnson hosted a Women In Energy Summit in Cambridge, Ohio. This event was the second of its kind and was held in response to the overwhelming success of the first event last year in the Youngstown area.

WEN Summit Ohio Johnson

Approximately 144 women attended the summit, including over 50 students. The event provided students and attendees with the opportunity to learn about hydraulic fracturing and career pathways in the oil and gas industry. It particularly highlighted the many opportunities in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry, as well as opportunities in manufacturing and the skilled trades.

EID was on hand to provide a “State of the Industry” report, which showcased the enormous job creation in Ohio, thanks to natural gas development, and the opportunities still yet to come as new pipeline and transmission facilities come online.

After EID presented, there was a panel focusing on “Opportunities in Manufacturing and Skilled Trades.” The panel included women from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 395, and Detroit Diesel who recounted their stories of success. Jo Sexton, president and CEO of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, and the emcee of the event asked the panel, “What advice would you give to the students today?” Here are just a few of the responses:

“There’s so many opportunities in the manufacturing world for women.” — Anita Warden, a supervisor at Detroit Diesel.

“There’s so many different careers available to you. I do want to offer you this, the only one standing in your way is you….well that’s a man’s job…no, just go for it and don’t let anybody stop you…We make the exact same amount of money as a man on the job. You do the work, you get the pay.” — Patty Ferri of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can make a change in your career. Give it a chance and see what it has to offer.” –Anita Warden, a supervisor at Detroit Diesel.

“With the oil and gas industry, with the operating engineers, you may need to build a road, there’s going to be excavators, roads, they all need built….there’s all kinds of jobs as far as the oil and gas industry goes.” –Nancy Hanlon, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18.

“We have some apprentices who make over $100,000 a year with the oil and gas work.” — Nancy Hanlon, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18.

Following this panel, a second group of women highlighted “Opportunities in STEM and Energy Careers,” which focused on various jobs directly with the industry. Representatives from Eclipse Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners, Council of Smaller Enterprises, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) of Ohio were on hand to field questions from the audience and provide insight into their personal journeys.

WEN Summit Ohio Panel

During the question and answer session of this panel, a student asked Gretchen Addison, environmental and safety specialist from Eclipse Resources, a former vegetation ecologist, and self-proclaimed environmentalist, “If you are a nature person, why are you working for the oil and gas industry?” Ms. Addison explained her background, and responded, “I work with the industry to make the industry accountable and keep the industry as green as possible.”

The same question was also answered by Leanne Meyer, the Vice President of Environmental, Safety and Compliance for MarkWest Energy Partners. Ms. Meyers responded,

“…working in the oil and gas industry, being a nature lover, these two worlds co-exist because we have great technologies we have developed that are often over and above regulations to protect the environment. We try to leave the area we work in, in a better shape than we left it.”

Rebecca Heimlich from API also addressed this important question, noting that “while oil and gas production has been at record highs, we have also realized 20 year lows for carbon emissions”.

The event was closed out by comments from Congressman Johnson who stated,

“I want to make sure you know that there are many opportunities here in Ohio for you. The gas and oil industry has just begun to tap into our resources. We want you to know we are becoming the nation’s and the world’s most prolific energy producers, and we want you to be a part of it. To have a choice of the many jobs and careers that are available. And, we want you to prosper right here in your home towns.”

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