MSC Co-Hosts Supply Chain Forums in Clearfield, Butler Counties

Local small businesses gain insight into needs, opportunities in region’s natural gas industry

Canonsburg, Pa. – As responsible natural gas development continues to expand across the region, so too are the growing opportunities for local businesses looking to support the Marcellus Shale supply chain. That was the focus of two recent forums co-hosted by the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and regional economic development agencies this past week in Clearfield and Butler Counties, Pa.

At a forum last Friday in DuBois, more than 100 small businesses owners were on-hand to hear directly from industry experts on the supply chain opportunities available in the growing natural gas industry. Clearfield County native and Pennsylvania Secretary of Community and Economic Development Alan Walker, as well as State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati were keynote speakers at the event, which was co-hosted the MSC, Pa. Independent Oil and Gas Association, Greater DuBois Area Chamber of Commerce, N.W. Industrial Resource Center and the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development.

Commenting on the forums, MSC president and executive director Kathryn Klaber stated:

“The supply chain needs of the natural gas industry translate into opportunities for small and mid-size firms seeking to expand their business. It’s an industry that is growing at a time when the rest of the economy remains stagnant, so there is a natural interest for manufacturers and service providers to find new and lasting revenue streams to keep men and women employed and their businesses afloat. It’s a win-win for the industry, the regional economy, and consumers by further utilizing the talents and expertise of local businesses.”

And while the nation’s economy continues to struggle, many Pennsylvania businesses are experiencing explosive growth, helping to create good-paying, Marcellus-related jobs for Pennsylvanians. This from the Washington Observer-Reporter:

The demand for local people with vocational training to fill everything from entry-level to skilled positions isn’t limited to the big energy-related companies that are working in the Marcellus Shale. Mark Vanistendael has several openings for machinists at his Crile Industrial Park machine shop but said last week he can’t find anyone to help him create a second shift he desperately needs to fill. Vanistendael, owner of Davan Manufacturing Inc. in South Strabane Township, said his challenge comes as he’s gotten more “spin-off” work from the area’s Marcellus Shale drilling and extraction industry, as well as increasing business from the railroad industry and a medical equipment manufacturer.

But this positive economic impact is not limited to small businesses. Our region’s steel industry continues to experience strong growth tied to the natural gas supply chain, and more affordable supplies of American natural gas is bolstering blue-collar job creation. In fact, this week the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance launched an initiative focused on the industry’s critical role in the region’s economy, underscoring the benefits associated with responsible American natural gas production. This from today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The steel industry and its workers are forging a new alliance to press for legislation and policies they believe will help grow their segment of the economy. “Steel companies consume a lot of energy, so having a reliable cost-competitive supply of natural gas really helps the industry,” [United States Steel Corporation’s Manager of Government Affairs Chris] Masciantonio said. “There are a lot of companies tied into the supply chain for natural gas,” he said.

Co-hosted by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, U. S. Steel Tubular Products and the MSC, yesterday’s supply chain forum in Butler County drew nearly 250 area businesses, who learned about the needs and opportunities available throughout the Mighty Marcellus supply chain. Under the headline, “Pittsburgh Area Businesses Learn the Ins and Outs of Marcellus Shale Supply Chain,” local NPR affiliate Essential Public Radio reports: “Some 200 small to medium-sized Pittsburgh-area businesses attended the event and heard from industry leaders as well as some small businesses that have successfully entered the supply chain. Klaber said a big barrier for these companies is a lack of knowledge of the system. She added the ultimate goal is to steer them in the right direction.”

The Marcellus Multiplier, the effect of the natural gas industry’s robust supply chain, continues to expand. These collective and collaborative efforts are “Building a Stronger, More Secure America.” To learn more about upcoming supply chain forums, please contact Joy Ruff at [email protected].