Students Help Local Businesses Connect with Gas Industry
Studies show that the Marcellus Shale Industry could bring the most significant economic impact to Central Pennsylvania that the region has seen for decades. Officials at the Clearfield County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) say that means more than the development of new industry and businesses; it could also mean a boon for businesses already established in the area. The challenge is helping those business owners and leaders find where they fit in the Marcellus Shale boom. That's where a group of business students from Penn State DuBois came in.
For a class project, under Senior Instructor of Business Laurie Breakey, the students did a four month study of the oil and gas industry, focusing on opportunity for local businesses. They compiled the results of their research in easy to use literature that will be utilized and distributed by the CCEDC. Titled, "Join the Boom"; their informational pamphlet will serve as a guide to local business leaders.
"It's an outstanding resource for the community and the region," said CCEDC Executive Director Rob Swales. "No one has brought this information together in any form, especially not a pamphlet like this."
The students presented their work at the CCEDC annual luncheon at the Fort Worth Restaurant in DuBois. They explained that opportunities for businesses and professionals in retail and service industries are plentiful as they relate to the oil and gas industry, as long as members of those industries are willing to adapt.
"Hardware stores, grocery stores, auto parts stores, gas stations, they all just need to adjust their inventory to fit the needs of the industry," said student Ryan Wehler. He explained that the oil and gas industry has specific needs that may differ from the needs of the existing population, and keeping the shelves well stocked with the things gas company workers will need is a key to success.
The students also shared tips on advertising and targeting companies within the industry. They even mentioned that providing stickers that workers would place on their hardhats can be a savvy marketing tool that would get their name on the jobsites.
Overall, the research the students conducted shows that many business leaders, who thought they didn't have a place in the Marcellus Shale industry, might just have a niche after all.
"We've tried to show them that their products or services are worthy of selling to the Marcellus industry," said student Cori Bus. "We want to give them that confidence and that insight."
For the students, each of them aspiring business leaders, the project and presentation also gave them a look into what they might be doing in the future. As Breakey said, "I like doing service learning like this. It shows the students real-world scenarios at the same time that it helps the people we work with understand that the campus is a resource; that we're always available to help."
"It's a great opportunity," Bus said of presenting her work to the local business community. "I would like to be one of these people sitting here some day in my career path. So, while it was a little intimidating, it was exciting at the same time."
To view literature compiled by the students, visit www.clearlyahead.com