Winning: It has started

A few weeks ago, in this column I talked about the importance of taking a vacation. My wife and I just got back from a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with our youngest son and his family. This was different than the 5-day trip we took to Florida in June with our daughter, her husband and our oldest grandson. The Florida trip was for golf, Disney World and to celebrate our oldest grandson’s graduation from Virginia Tech after 7 years and attending 3 schools including WVU. (The WVU story is for another day) The bigger celebration is that he has an engineering job in Virginia where he lives. I needed to rest after that trip.

The Myrtle Beach trip really was the rest and relaxation I needed. We spent time at the beach and pool. We read books and played board games in the evening instead of watching TV. We talked. We got plenty of sleep. I ran and swam every day. We went to the Pirates Voyage Dinner Show one evening. I highly recommend it. Non-stop action and good food. I talked to a business associate just after we got back. He said, “You even sound better and more relaxed.” I didn’t know it showed. If you haven’t done a summer get away there is still time. Check out some of the 2-hour trips from Parkersburg that the News and Sentinel has done stories on.

While I was in Myrtle Beach I did take a call from an Asian company that our Shale Crescent USA Team has been working with. Their manager told me, “We have decided to do our USA expansion in the Shale Crescent USA!” Next, they have to decide on the site. They have looked at sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and will make a decision in the next 2 months. This is another important win for our region.

As a high school soccer coach, I know that success builds confidence and belief. Our region’s successes need to do the same for us. In preparation for our White House trip a few weeks ago, I talked to four large companies in the Ohio Valley to find out how important an expanded I-68 would be for them. In the process, I learned that all have added employees and are continuing to hire. These are the high wage career type jobs we have been dreaming about. One company told me about an expansion they are doing. They are using our local building trades to do the construction and are thrilled with their performance. These are more-high wage local jobs. We also have local people working on the Shell Cracker in Pennsylvania.

The growth isn’t just limited to the Ohio Valley. In the Kanawha Valley, US Methanol has their new plant under construction in South Charleston. I talked to a large engineering firm in the Kanawha Valley yesterday, who has been hiring engineers, technicians and interns for the past year. Their manager told me that they are in the process of hiring 20 additional engineers. They like WVU and Marshall grads. They are also bringing in a new Regional Business Development Manager to be located in the Kanawha Valley. Shale Crescent USA is seen as a growth region.

We are still in marathon not a sprint. We see additional growth coming in several areas. Shale Crescent USA (the organization) is actively working on 8 prospects and 12 leads that we have developed. This doesn’t count support we give to Ohio and West Virginia economic development organizations.

This is a team effort. We need to think regionally but act locally. These wins should give everyone hope and confidence. They are just a few of the wins for our region. The Hino and Solvay expansions have already been reported. Companies and individuals like to be part of a successful winning team and a growing area. A strong team can accomplish anything as long as they focus on the vision and do the required work. Our vision is bringing high wage, career type jobs to this region and raising the standard of living of our people. We can’t worry about who gets the credit. That is a recipe for failure. It is all about the region’s success first. Ultimately everyone will win. This is similar to our high school soccer team. It doesn’t matter who scores the winning goal, as long as someone does.

We are winners. Believe! 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.