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Being Prepared for Energy Industry Opportunities

A few weeks ago, my daughter, Dannielle and I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful course running through the battlefield and farm country. The course was hilly.

We expected that and trained accordingly. I had a good finishing time for me. Dannielle is also my trainer. We have been running half marathons together for over 10 years. She knows if I am following the training plan. I call or text her after my weekly long training runs.

A year ago, we ran a half marathon on a road race course in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. I didn’t train for the hills we encountered and missed some training runs. It was my slowest time ever. Even worse, my legs were so sore I could hardly walk after the race. My legs were still sore days later. I was determined not to let that happen again. In addition to my normal training, I ran a half marathon in Charleston three weeks before the Gettysburg race as a training run.

A few days after the Gettysburg race, Dannielle called, “Dad, I compared some of the race courses you ran. Based on elevation differences, Gettysburg was one of the toughest courses you have ever run. It was harder than the eastern panhandle race and you ran it faster.” Dannielle isn’t afraid to tell me the truth. She added, “The difference in Gettysburg was that you trained properly for that race.” She was right. Now I can’t use my age as an excuse.

The late sales expert Zig Ziglar said, “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” If we are not prepared opportunity only frustrates us or can make us look foolish. Thomas Jefferson said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

We see this in athletics routinely when one team becomes dominant late in the game because they are more fit. I see this in high school soccer as a coach. Fitness and preparation is essential to success. In distance running it isn’t the youngest or fastest. It is the person who trained and was prepared to run. I passed a lot of runners much younger than me in the last mile of the Gettysburg race.

Shale Crescent USA had a lot of success at the World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) in San Antonio in March. The success we had in March started months before. We made contacts at other conferences and set up meetings in San Antonio with them. We had a second study done that was ready for release at WPC. We did new brochures and a new video just for WPC. We did our marketing. We worked hard to set up six meetings with high level executive decision makers. We had a plan to get our message out and fill the room at our sponsored lunch. We worked so hard that we had a standing room crowd for our lunch presentation. In short, we didn’t leave much to chance. We prepared.

Joe, a friend of ours, is a hard-working individual with a young family. He goes to our church in the Charleston area. Joe is a Journeyman union electrician. He trained and worked a lot of hours to become a Journeyman. When work got slow in the Charleston area, Joe got laid off and struggled financially. I could see the stress he was going through.

All Joe’s preparation paid off. He will be going to work at the Shell Cracker site in Monaca, Pennsylvania. He will spend a lot of time away from home but will be paid well. If we can get some big projects like PTT in Belmont County or others in the Parkersburg-Marietta area, Joe and other local workers will be able to commute.

Now is the time to prepare for tomorrow. If Joe hadn’t decided to be an electrician and put in all of the training hours, the Shell opportunity would have been meaningless. He would have had a lot of regret and still be unemployed.

What about you? Are you and your business prepared for the opportunities coming our way? Do you know where you can fit in? Are you innovating? Are you continuing to develop you? We should be reading books and attending conferences to stay current and informed. Are you training your people? Technology is constantly changing. We need to do our best to stay informed.

The skilled trades are looking for hard working drug- free people. They can earn while they learn. Our community colleges and technical schools have seats waiting for those who want to learn and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. When I was an adjunct professor at Pierpont Technical College teaching leadership, all of my students had at least one job offer of $50,000-plus to start. It is rewarding to encounter my former students on the job and doing very well. They made the effort to prepare. In my opinion, we need to encourage more young people to consider the building trades or a two- year technical degree.

The Shale Crescent USA is the only place in the world where manufacturers and petrochemical companies can build on top of the feedstock and in the middle of their customers. This is a huge competitive advantage for our region but only if we are prepared to take advantage of it. We have disrupted the petrochemical industry. We are telling our story to the world. We need to be creative, do the work and maintain a positive attitude. Our future will be incredible but only if we are prepared for it.

Thoughts to ponder.

Kozera — gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com — is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a masters degree in environmental engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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