Bringing jobs back to MOV: Be a team

Since this is West Virginia State Soccer Tournament weekend, as assistant coach of one of the participating boys teams I was thinking about what we had to do just to get there. Talent is helpful. But there are some very talented teams that won’t be in Beckley for the State Tournament. I believe that it all comes down to leadership and teamwork.

I tell my players and leadership students that I would rather have an All-Star Team than a team of all stars. I was part of West Virginia’s Veterans Cup Team (over 50) a few years ago. We lost all three of our games in the national tournament. Shortly after that a group of young guys from our soccer club who had all played high school or college soccer wanted to play us. Most of us “veterans” were coaches but some of us had never played college. We certainly weren’t as fast or as skilled as the young guys. But the veterans were a team. It turned out to be not much of a game. The “old guys” won handily 5-0. It got so bad that with 10 minutes to go our captain told us, “Don’t shoot any more just pass. They are getting mad.” That is the power of team. We see this in athletics from professional to high school. We also see it from successful businesses and organizations.

Every team has a leader or leaders. Leaders inspire. They encourage. They influence people. They develop people. They set the vision. Our 2012 boys high school team was ranked 11th in the nation by Max Preps (part of CBS Sports). The vision of our captains was to win the state championship. One of our captains, Sam was leading West Virginia in scoring half way through the season. I noticed that in the second half of the season Sam was passing the ball and shooting less. He was developing the underclassmen. In the state championship game our freshmen combined for four goals. Sam finally got the 5th goal in a 5-0 win. Sam wasn’t worried about who scored or got the glory. He was worried about the team achieving its dream of a state championship.

This is exactly what Shale Crescent USA is all about and what our communities on both sides of the river need to be about. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit. What is essential is for us all to work together to achieve the vision of bringing industry and high wage jobs back to the Mid- Ohio Valley. We have plenty of talent (economic advantages). We have cheap abundant natural gas and feed stocks. We have a prime location close to U.S. and Canadian markets. We have the Ohio River and a great workforce. We need to be an All-Star Team not a team of all stars.

It doesn’t matter which state or which community gets the cracker or other large petrochemical or manufacturing facility. What is most important is for the Shale Crescent Region to get a facility and everyone will win. It is essential that leaders of all community organizations be on this same page and focused on the vision of bringing back high wage jobs and manufacturing to the MOV. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit publicly because we all know that it is a team effort. If we can do that we may even get Ohio and West Virginia to work together.

All things are possible. What is happening here is unique. We are having other communities as far away as Texas looking at us as an example of how this can be done. We are beginning to see success. We need to continue to find creative ways to work together. We need to also find ways to celebrate our successes as a team of communities. We will face challenges. Stay focused on the vision. It works in athletics. It can work for us.

Thoughts to ponder.


Greg Kozera is the Director of Marketing for Shale Crescent USA . He has over 40 years of experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and the author of four books and numerous published articles.