The Marietta Times
JAN 28, 2017
A group of successful business people and community leaders here in the Parkersburg-Marietta area figured out that this area now has the cheapest natural gas in the industrialized world. Not only is the natural gas in this area cheap, it is abundant. We have a supply that will last over 100 years based on today’s technology. In addition we are close to 50% of the markets in the USA and Canada. They also realized how our abundant economical natural gas coupled with the Ohio River for process water and transportation, an extensive rail network, an experienced workforce and a community that has a great quality of life is a unique combination that exists in very few places in the world. The problem is, do people in Asia, Europe or even Chicago know this?
This combination created prosperity here in the Mid-Ohio Valley in the late 1800s and again after World War II. Industry left when the local oil and gas industry declined and oil and natural gas had to come from outside the area. The same pipelines that brought natural gas into the region are now carrying natural gas out of the northeast and to places like the Gulf Coast and Virginia. These leaders asked the question, “Isn’t it time to use our abundant cheap natural gas to bring industry and prosperity back to the Mid-Ohio Valley?”
These leaders took action and formed Shale Crescent USA, a nonprofit organization to promote the Mid-Ohio Valley as a premier place for businesses to grow and relocate. The mission of Shale Crescent USA is to encourage business growth in the Mid-Ohio Valley based upon the lowest natural gas prices in the industrialized world that allows manufacturers to operate more efficiently while producing products more economically with access to fresh water and half the population of the United States and Canada. The ultimate goal is to bring in high wage permanent industrial jobs so that people don’t have to leave the area to find work.
These business and community leaders didn’t wait for government or industry to make something happen. They took action. That is what leaders do. Shale Crescent USA (SCUSA) introduced their initiative to the community last June with a kickoff event in Marietta. Over 800 people attended. Jim Tressel, former Ohio State football coach and current president of Youngstown University opened the event. But it was the panel discussion that got the public excited about the potential of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Currently SCUSA has been making progress in publicizing the benefits and creating interest in the Mid-Ohio Valley for business. SCUSA has been reaching out using the internet and traditional media like radio and print. SCUSA also will get face to face with the executives of potential new business at events like the World Petrochemical Conference in Houston, Texas in March and the Marcellus to Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Morgantown in May. This is just the beginning.
Bringing a company to the Mid-Ohio Valley is a lengthy process. It starts with creating awareness. SCUSA wants to make sure that the Mid-Ohio Valley is on the radar screen of petrochemical, glass and other industries as a place grow or relocate. Government can do a lot to help bring in business but typically doesn’t do a very good job of staying focused on marketing and sales. SCUSA can help. SCUSA doesn’t care which side of the river an industry chooses to relocate. Every win is a win for the region by providing jobs. Prosperity is contagious.
Shale Crescent USA (SCUSA) is an example of how leadership can bring people together to achieve a common goal. A group of people formed into a Team can achieve far more than individuals or individual organizations and that is what is beginning to happen.
For more information on SCUSA go to www.shalecrescentusa.com. You can also follow Shale Crescent USA on Facebook. Activity updates are posted regularly. We know that we now have the power to bring high wage, permanent jobs back to this area. SCUSA is one vehicle that can help bring about that change. But it is a total team effort. Everyone has a role. We need to continue to be that well maintained, vibrant, welcoming community that businesses will want to become part of. It is time to use the gift of our abundant natural gas and the Ohio River to bring industry and high wage permanent jobs and prosperity back to the Mid-Ohio Valley. Everyone can pass that message on to their network. It starts with a vision of what can be and the belief that anything is possible, if we work together and take action.
Greg Kozera is the director of marketing for Shale Crescent USA.