Making Shale inclusive

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Jim Rodgers, marketing and business development director for minority-owned Dawood Engineering, based in Enola, said the Marcellus Shale Coalition industry group is also committed to diversity.
“Its Marcellus on Main Street outreach program includes an online directory where businesses like ours can show off to the industry,” he said. “The coalition is the best run entity in terms of supplier diversity that I’ve ever seen.”
Alexander “Nick” Nichols, president and CEO of the Western PA Supplier Development Council, reminded the audience that M/WDBE certification with the council means certification with every council across the country and with every federal agency.
“These are the certifications the shale industry looks for and you can take it anywhere in the country,” he said.
Kris Kirk, president of the Mentors Community Wealth Building Initiative, spoke of how the shale industry is supporting her work training young, unemployed African-Americans to work at the production end, on the drilling rigs and in support roles.
Other testimonials included David Velegol, vice president of engineering and technical services for Chester Engineers, whose President and CEO Robert Agbede is a past board chair of the chamber.
“We got a contract to work on two 25-mile, 20” pipelines for EQT,” he said. “And we just got a contract to put in a Bailey bridge for access to a site down in West Virginia.”
Architect Howard Graves also praised the coalition and industry outreach efforts. He said he is getting opportunities to bid on projects he never would have before.
“We just bid on a new office building in Kentucky. We didn’t get it, but it pointed us out to other firms in the industry,” he said. “We have seen the corporate community becoming more involved in securing diverse suppliers. And if you have your ducks in a row, the industry will seek you out. They did with us.”
(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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