Appalachian Basin

2012 YOUNG Conference & Expo Expands, Focuses on Businesses

EID-Ohio traveled to Youngstown this week for the Youngstown Ohio Utica & Natural Gas (YOUNG) Conference & Expo 2012.  Like YOUNG 2011, this year’s conference was packed with exhibitors, experts, and attendees from the shale industry, its suppliers, and related industries.  Also like last year, exhibitor space sold out.  The event was sponsored by the Youngstown – Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce and gave businesses a chance to connect with other businesses in the shale chain in hopes of making the Mahoning Valley and Ohio a vital part of the shale industry.

Eric Planey, Vice President of International Business Attraction at the Chamber, took a minute out of his busy day to chat with us about this year’s YOUNG Conference and the benefits it and the shale industry will have on the Youngstown area:

This year it is simply a business to business expo, we have more industry players from around the United States attending and exhibiting—Eric Planey (:42)

Located in the Covelli Centre, the expo included enthusiastic vendors from every aspect of the industry.  There were also two educational stages in the building for attendees to listen to expert speakers. Thursday morning visitors could listen to several sessions including David Mustine, Managing Director of Energy, Chemicals & Polymers for JobsOhio.  He pointed out that all Ohioans are much closer to a major development than most think.  He said everyone in Ohio can benefit from this development.  Attendees also had a chance to listen to Harry Schurr, General Manager of Utica Operations and Hess J.V. for Consol Energy.  Schurr told the crowd of potential contractors, suppliers, and business partners that the highest priority is safety.  If they plan on working with Consol, they must operate safely and strive to be 100% compliant.  As the day continued, many companies echoed Schurr’s emphasis on safety.

In the afternoon, visitors got an introduction from the Mayor William D. Franklin of the City of Warren:

The City of Warren and the entire Mahoning Valley hopes—and we really don’t hope, we know—that this will be the birth of a prosperous future—City of Warren Mayor William D. Franklin (:01)

Following, the conference got a taste of the midstream part of the industry from John Bonn, President of NiSource Midstream Services, LLC:

We see this as just the beginning of our footprint here, we identify probably about a billion to 1.5 billion dollar worth of capital projects that will grow from these first two projects as we continue to expand in this area—John Bonn (1:56)

After sitting in on some of the day’s sessions, EID-O walked around the expo to chat with some folks involved with the Utica Shale play, most of which have recently expanded because of the industry.  First, we talked to Ashley McKenzie and Rachel Van Loan from Minuteman Environmental Services.  The company is based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and recently expanded to Cambridge, Ohio:

Actually some of our retaining customers have come out this way and they’re drilling exploratory wells, so we followed them out and their utilizing our services. Even speaking with the engineers…they’re really excited about the Utica Shale—Ashley McKenzie (:37)

Lastly, EID-O spoke with John DiNunzio, Vice President of Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.  He told us his business has expanded “tremendously” because of the Utica Shale:

Our firm has grown tremendously through the opportunities from the Marcellus and Utica Shale, where we probably added 30% additional staff over the last several years and we just see this growing and growing and continue to develop more opportunities in Ohio—John DiNunzio (:47)

On the way out, we did run into a sole protestor, making it clear that the hundreds of conference attendees and shale supports outweigh the misconceptions and anti-development minority in Ohio.

Overall, YOUNG 2012 was extremely successful.  Chamber representatives, vendors, and attendees all made it clear that they plan to help in the success of Ohio’s shale industry and the incredible investment that has come to the area.  There is no doubt that YOUNG 2013 and similar events like June’s Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Shale Supply Chain Seminar will continue to be successful.

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