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OF MANUFACTURING... and the shale industry in southeastern Pennsylvania

By Shari A. Williams Community Outreach Manager, Marcellus Shale Coalition


Although southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) currently is home to few shale rigs, the region is vital to the continued growth of the safe development of natural gas. SEPA—which includes the five-county Philadelphia Metropolitan Area in Pennsylvania along with Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem counties in New Jersey and New Castle County in Delaware—is critical because it is the major population center of Pennsylvania, thus a major center of potential natural gas use. In addition, it boasts facilities for export and import, the refineries that accept natural gas and crude oil from thousands of miles away, and is the home of a cluster of pharmaceutical manufacturers that use many byproducts of natural gas.

As the domestic natural gas and energy economy expands, SEPA is perfectly positioned to prosper. Sixty percent of the United States population is within about a day’s drive. The region boasts world-class transportation infrastructure, including an in- ternational deep-sea port, rail lines and airports. SEPA offers a clear competitive advantage to new, innovative companies that depend on the movement of materials and goods; it’s home to many distribution centers.

SEPA has implemented strong environmental safeguards, but it also is a region searching for new opportunities for landown- ers, families, businesses and qualified workers. The natural gas industry has provided higher and new forms of revenue for SEPA through impact fee dollars and the Marcellus Legacy Fund, and it has begun to spark a manufacturing resurgence. However, to truly reach its potential, the industry needs the sup- port of communities in SEPA that see its significance and will feel the benefits.

To that end, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) two years ago launched a public outreach and education campaign to enhance awareness of the opportunities for manufacturing growth gener- ally and natural gas development specifically. That effort contin- ues, and it includes several important SEPA partners.

Among those key partners is the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC), which, from its Philadelphia head- quarters, focuses on the growth of the region’s manufacturing community through consulting services, training and education, and executive network groups. DVIRC maintains multi-year,

40 Marcellus Quarterly 2014

performance-based contracts with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), enabling the organization to serve the 5,000 manufacturers in SEPA

In 2013 alone, DVIRC helped more than 200 manufacturers generate more than $140 million in sales and cost savings at- tributable to DVIRC’s services, according to William Lauer, direc- tor of business development, and Mark Basla, vice president of marketing & business development. DVIRC already has a small Marcellus footprint, working with such MSC member companies as Schramm in West Chester, National Oilwell Varco (Edlon) in Avondale, and New Pig with our partner organization, the Inno- vative Manufacturing Center, in Williamsport.

DVIRC shares our vision—to see the SEPA region become an internationally recognized leader in manufacturing competitive- ness. In the coming months, the MSC and DVIRC will host an educational outreach event for manufacturers to help them un- derstand the Marcellus Multiplier effect and our robust supply chain.

Also actively working to support the region is the Manufacturing Matters Taskforce created in 2013 by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. The task force includes Philadelphia’s departments and agencies, city council, regional and commu- nity leaders, private industry and public institutions to fashion a roadmap for Philadelphia’s manufacturing future. The task force evaluates issues such as the quality of the workforce in connec- tion with manufacturing, the types of skills needed to promote the growth of manufacturing, opportunities to improve student awareness of manufacturing careers and the impact of current city policies. With this renewed effort from the mayor, DVIRC and other regional leaders, SEPA can better position itself to attract manufacturing.

Finally, MSC is working with the Greater Philadelphia

Energy Action Team (GPEAT), which was formed by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Council for Growth and is championed by Rob Wonderling, president and CEO of the chamber. GPEAT was created to establish the Greater Philadelphia region as an energy hub.

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