Chamber hosts Marcellus info program

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Will Marcellus Shale drilling in the Punxsutawney area be an asset to area businesses?

That’s the question the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce hopes to answer when it hosts a program, “Marcellus Shale Development: Maximizing the Benefit for the Local Economy,” 7 p.m. Wednesday at the IUP Fairman Centre’s second-floor auditorium, 101 West Mahoning St.

Chamber Executive Marlene Lellock said at its January meeting, the Chamber board officially formed a Marcellus Task Force, with a mission statement “To encourage and support the development of Marcellus Shale related business in the greater Punxsutawney area.”

Lellock said that the task force’s mission is two-fold: First, to encourage those businesses to locate to Punxsy, and second, to answer questions about what existing businesses do to support the Marcellus industry.

Lellock said presenters for the program include Jim Cassidy, a 30-plus- year veteran of the oil and gas industry and a member of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, and Chuck Allen from Penn State’s Cooperative extension office.

“The program will present an an overview on what residents can expect from the Marcellus Shale industry in our area,” Lellock said. Information will also be presented on how local businesses can benefit from it.

Lellock said business owners can learn about certain needs — such as catering and laundry services — of the drilling industry when it sets up drilling sites in an area.

“The drilling companies also put these services out for bid,” she said. “You have the opportunity to bid on going to the drilling site and providing various services, such as serving meals.”

Lellock said because the drilling sites are located far from town, it requires contractors to come to the site and provide everyday services.

Lellock said in addition, the Chamber will have information for businesses that want to be included on a Web site and possible publications geared toward informing Marcellus Shale-related companies about the opportunities and assets in the Punxsy area.

“If a company is looking to locate somewhere, it’s most likely to go to the Web to obtain information,” she said. “If we can have this information out there easy for them to access, that would be a good thing.”

Information will also be available on workforce training programs available through North Central Regional Planning and Development’s Workforce Investment Board and Jeff Tech Adult Education training opportunities.

In addition to Lellock, other task force members include Jeff Curtis, Chamber board president; Joe Ferrara, Katie Laska, Brian Smith and Bob Cardamone, Chamber board members; and Cassidy, who is a Chamber member, but is not a member of the Chamber board.

Those who plan to attend should enter the Fairman Centre through the South Findley Street entrance and take the elevator up to the second floor.

For more information, call the Chamber at 938-7700.