The massive and complex water compressor (top) brought by Kean Group to Vehicular Career Day was a big hit with students, shown talking to Keane employee Dameon Buxton. Elk Lake students (above, from left) Caleigh Strait, Marissa Horn, Leah Traver, Saige Bach, and Katie McGlynn are dwarfed by a tow truck brought to the career fair by R.L.E. Enterprises operator Dan Sabia. The rig has a 70,000 pound towing capacity and can pull a full, disabled water tanker.
By Rick Hiduk
(Also published in the Susquehanna County Independent)
The Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium (NTEIC) was formed about 25 years ago. Among the unique activities the organization has devised to teach youths about the businesses in the area is Vehicular Career Day, which began about 15 years ago. The event got a big boost when the gas industry moved to town and continues to grow. More than 400 fifth- and sixth-graders from at least five Susquehanna County school districts convened at the Harford Fair Grounds on May 9 to see trucks, rigs and equipment of all shapes and sizes.
“Since the gas industry came to the area, we’ve had more employers involved, and more interesting vehicles,” said Pete Butler (below) NTEIC executive director. As production of natural gas increased, Butler related, so did the number of support industries now also represented on Vehicular Career Day. “Energy is such a big career fair, we’d be remiss not to include them.”
“Cabot looks forward to partnering in Vehicular Career Day every year,” Cabot external affairs coordinator Bill desRosiers explained. “We worked again with our partner Keane to bring out a double fluid pump. The students really enjoy climbing into the control unit, seeing all of the switches and buttons, walking around the large engines, and asking questions about how the unit is used in the field.”
Keane Group site supervisor Nicholas Machusak was on hand to answer questions of the students as they stared up at the massive water compressor. Right next to them was Southwestern Energy (SWN), describing all the gear stored on a production roustabout truck “This is our life support,” SWN’s Tucker Vail told the youths. “This carries what we need to work every day.”
SWN maintenance foreman Anthony Mouro conveyed the importance of giving students a close-up view and explanation of the vehicles and the equipment. “They see these moving down the road every day, and now they have an idea of what it does,” he stated.
“Our operations are visible across the Northern Tier, SWN director of government and community relations Mike Narcavage concurred. “To be a good neighbor, SWN believes it’s important to be active in the community and to also demonstrate the types of jobs that are available in our industry.”
“If they have a parent or family friend who works in the industry, maybe they’ll understand a little more about what they do,” Williams Midstream public outreach coordinator Tammy Bonnice added.
From a practical standpoint, Mark Kozemko of the Johnson College tells the young students that it is common for them to change their minds several times before they narrow their focus onto a particular career. In the meantime, he said, “You give them a taste of the different technologies that are out there.”
“They are never too young to learn what opportunities are available for them to experience. The children are the workforce of our future,” said Bonnice, who noted that career fairs are one of her favorite parts of her job.
“No matter what career they ultimately choose, it’s important for them to see the types of jobs that are right here in their back yard,” Narcavage remarked.
In addition to energy-related equipment brought to the fair grounds, students had an opportunity to climb into ambulances, fire trucks, police cruisers, and tow trucks, and learn about the services offered at a senior living center and how horses can be used for therapy.
The event has gained popularity with the schools too, Butler noted. Attendance by students this year was the best yet.
“You can tell from the level of participation that students really enjoy the hands-on opportunity Vehicular Career Day affords them,” desRosiers noted. “Having this kind of exposure definitely shapes their future career interests.”
Additional Vehicular Career Day Photos by Rick Hiduk
Holcombe Energy Resources owner Matt Austin (left) was happy to show his daughter, Breanna (next to him) and fellow students and teachers from the Lackawanna Trail special needs class a water and vacuum truck. Like all of the youths who attended NTEIC’s Vehicular Career Day, they enjoyed climbing into the rig and blowing the horn. Also participating in the event were (from right) Tenisha Pedro, Sabrina Burris, Sarah Richard, and Samantha Sprague from Lackwanna Trail, and Holcombe HR manager Brandi Ryce.
SWN maintenance foreman Anthony Mouro and production roustabout Tucker Vail show Lackawanna Trail fifth-graders the tools they keep in their daily work trucks.
Satisfied with their lesson about Keane’s double fluid pump water compressor unit by site supervisor Nicholas Machusak (left) are Mountain View students Adam Polovitch, Jarret Ratt, Jason Demanicor, and Caleb Moher.
Harford Volunteer Fire Company lieutenant Gus Ferarra answers questions from students as assistant chief Bobby Zupanovich waits to show the youths the inside of the tanker.
SGFS field operator Brent Reed helps Kian John of Lackawanna Trail down from the drivers seat of a water tanker after Kian had a chance to pull the horn cord.
Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Jeff Burman explains the various gear and instruments he keeps in his police cruiser before allowing the students an opportunity to climb into the car for a closer look.
Among other topics, Tammy Bonnice of Williams Midstream was fielding questions about how the company got started.
Susquehanna Wyoming County Transportation dispatcher and customer service representative Kathleen Snyder demonstrates a wheelchair lift on one of the company’s buses.
Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas representatives (from left) David Oakley, Bill McDonough, and Beth Thompson explain the career path offered by the institution to students attending Vehicular Career Day.
Christopher Oleniacz of JHA Companies explains the importance of surveying and GIS mapping to the natural gas industry.
Bobbie Jo Gamble, director of business department at Meadow View Senior Living Center told students how rewarding it is for her to work closely with people.
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