Gas expo big success at targeting job seekers

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Josh Stevens has been out in Montana doing oil and gas work in the Bakken formation for the past two years but wants to come home.

Chris Warfle has worked on the family farm and feels he is ready to take on some heavy equipment operation.

Both liked what they saw Thursday at the Wyoming County Chamber’s Business, Job and Gas Expo and are hopeful about their job prospects for the future.

So, too, was Kevin Lynn of the Linde Corporation out of Pittston who is hiring and ready to fill some support jobs in the gas drilling business.

Lynn said in a typical job fair lasting seven hours he might get 25 applications, if he’s lucky.

In the first hour of Thursday’s fair at the county fairgrounds in Meshoppen, Lynn said he gave out 50 application forms “and, to my surprise, they all came back filled out,” Lynn said.

In fact, so surprised was Lynn that he had to send out for 100 more copies of the application form.

Chamber executive director Maureen Dispenza said a goal this year was to focus on jobs and link people looking for them with businesses, “and we were wildly successful, but I’m afraid there weren’t enough jobs out there to go around.”

The more than 100 vendors not only had a chance to take a pulse of the job market, but also network with local partners.

Stevens, a 2000 graduate of Tunkhannock Area High School, said no one even knew about the Marcellus Shale when he was in school and spent nearly nine years doing landscape work before venturing on his own to Miles City, Mont.

He found a job online in the burgeoning oil and gas world, starting at the bottom and eventually working his way up to be line boss.

Now, wanting to move back to the area, Stevens said he was encouraged that the Marcellus was helping to decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil, and was also hopeful after speaking with Cabot, Williams, Southwestern, and others, that he soon might have a new job.

“We’d like to make it happen for as many as we can,” Dispenza said.