Appalachian Basin

2011 YOUNG Conference and Expo

Yesterday, the EID Ohio team made the trek to Youngstown to attend the 2011 Y.O.U.N.G (Youngstown Ohio Utica Natural Gas) Conference and Expo. The event, sponsored by the Youngstown – Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, packed hundreds of visitors. With 80 vendors ranging from local and national banks to equipment rentals and independent producers, the Covelli Centere was the place to be for those seeking information about shale development and shale opportunities.  It was also the place to be to hear first-hand announcements touting the economic prosperity Utica Shale development is already bringing to the region.

Below is a quick video of the massive crowd that attended the conference and expo.

Here is a short clip of the overflowing size of the audience.

As incredible as the audience and guest speaker list was (and we’ll get to that in a moment) two major announcements topped the ticket in Youngstown.  Joel Mastervich, President & COO of V&M Star stole the show by announcing the opening of a new VAM, USA facility in Youngstown. The finishing plant comes with a $57 million dollar investment, and will create an estimated 100 new jobs. The icing on the cake for Youngstown came from Judson Wallace, president of VAM:

Most of our hiring will be done locally,” (YSU, VAM put wham in chamber shale show, 12/1/11).

This next video is of Joel Mastervich, President and COO, V&M sharing an update from his company.

As one could imagine, the announcement was well received by representatives of the region, including Senator Sherrod Brown:

By partnering with V&M Star and expanding its footprint in Youngstown, VAM USA is underscoring its confidence in the Mahoning Valley’s workers and their commitment to making quality products,” (YSU, VAM put wham in chamber shale show, 12/1/11).

Congressman Tim Ryan, who represents Youngstown, also applauded the move, stating

he is  hopeful that VAM’s decision is just the beginning of the investment in the Valley and Ohio that we need to get people back to work,” (YSU, VAM put wham in chamber shale show, 12/1/11).

The plant is expected to open in 2012, and be fully operational in early 2013. This expansion comes on the heels of V&M’s increasing role in the recently resurgent steel industry – one experiencing a sudden revitalization thanks to the development of the Utica Shale (be sure to stay tuned to EID-Ohio for more on the return of Ohio Steel).

This is a video of a V&M video that shows the progress of their new plant in Youngstown.

In response to the increasing demand for new workers – ones needed to fill the 200,000-plus Ohio shale jobs to come in the next three years  – Youngstown State University (YSU) announced it will be opening a new Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute, with classes beginning as early as next fall. The program is designed to help train students in the skills needed to obtain jobs in shale-related industries. The curriculum will compliment those students studying science related fields, providing graduates with an advantage in understanding shale development. Martin Abraham, Dean of the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is particularly encouraged by the opportunities created for graduates with the creation of the Institute:

We think this is going to put Youngstown in a leadership position,”  (YSU, VAM put wham in chamber shale show12/1/11).

The theme of jobs and workforce development was echoed by other esteemed guest speakers throughout the afternoon.  JobsOhio’s David Mustine and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Michelle Ball who addressed the issues of workforce development and job training. Many of Ohio’s top leaders also took an interest,  including individuals representing the offices of U.S. Senator Rob PortmanGovernor John Kasich and Congressman Bill Johnson.

This clip is of Michelle Ball explaining Ohio’s need for strong workforce development.

Peppered amongst the excitement of the two big announcements, experts and educators provided the attendees with a plethora of information  covering varied aspects of shale development.  Dr. Jeffrey Dick, Chair of Geological and Environment Sciences at Youngstown State University, addressed the audience on several topics such as myth vs fact when it come to the subject of well production. An expert on Appalachian geology, oil and gas exploration and production, Professor Dick has over 15 years experience in the industry and has been involved with many ground water and surface water studies.

Dr. Dick explaining his background and some general facts about shale production.

Professor Dick gives the crowd a lesson is shale development.

Lastly the professor debunks some common myths about production and explains the truth about production.

Ohio Oil and Gas Executive Vice President, and EID – Ohio’s Executive Director Tom Stewart, was able to speak with several members of the media about the strong and detailed regulations and enforcement of Ohio’s laws that protect all Ohioans and the environment.

While Mr. Stewart was able to provide in great detail how regulators will protect us all his words did not calm everyone. Five uninvited guests had to be escorted out by security. Several were later arrested.  I will let my friend and colleague Shawn Bennett provide you with more details about those folks.

This last clip is of our uninvited guests be walked back outside into the brisk Ohio November weather.

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