Oil, gas industry fuels Marietta College expo
MARIETTA — Gathering an estimated 500 attendees Friday, Marietta College hosted both regional college and high school students to showcase technologies, safety measures and career pathways surrounding oil and gas extraction.
“This is our third year hosting and it was entirely the students’ idea–they run it, bring in the exhibitors and contact all of the schools,” said Chair of Petroleum Engineering Ben Ebenhack. “It’s now one of the biggest exhibitions of operations and equipment in the oil and gas industry on this side of the country.”
Student Coordinator William Bates, 23, of Batesville, said his goal this year was to expose local high school students to the multiple career paths open to them.
“I brought in kids from my high school, too,” said Bates, pointing out Shenandoah students sporting their Friday game night school spirit as they filtered between booths and the outdoor setup of machinery. “The ultimate goal really is to bring the oil field to the students. There’s less safety risk here where we can be hands on and teach all of the technology and equipment opportunities in this field. There are so many paths someone can take, not just engineering or welding pipes.”
Bates, who attended Washington State Community College throughout his high school years, said he went down the pipelining track first before attending Marietta College for petroleum engineering.
“We come from an area where we know how to work, many from where I live when they hear oil and gas though only think about the hard labor of it, not necessarily all of the fascinating technology and surrounding safety mechanics that are part of this field, too,” said Bates.
Alex Hogan, of Beverly, said he was excited to be back on campus not only catching up with former classmates, but explaining his connection to the industry through business inventory and purchasing of safety equipment.
“I was a business major here at MC,” said Hogan, while strapped into safety gear representing Malta Dynamics. “So I mostly see the inventory side of these things and defer to our engineers for the more particular questions. But it’s cool to get to come back here with our equipment and explain how if you were on rigging or up high on scaffolding you can be tied into this and if you fall, this will catch you.”
Shenandoah High School students Kenneth Hughey, 16, Trevor Efaw, 14, and Aaron Bragg, were drawn to the equipment demonstrations on different springs and pipe mechanisms throughout their visit.
“I’m interested in working in pipeline welding,” said Hughey. “But that table we learned about how they stabilize the walls of the pipes.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Eberle, an MC petroleum graduate in 2017, worked on demonstrations with Jim Scott for Allied Horizontal Wireline Services.
“I think it’s especially important for us to share with the public that we’re not just here to get oil or gas, but we’re providing employment to your family, your neighbors and we’re looking for all kinds of minds and talent to make what we do safer and more efficient as we extract these resources,” said Eberle. “Showing some of the mechanics of that, making it accessible all in one spot instead of hidden behind a farm hill makes it less mysterious.”
Janelle Patterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.