MESHOPPEN — Weather-wise, April 30 across northeastern Pennsylvania could have been described as a miserable day. Gray clouds ominously covered the sky throughout the day, soaking the ground with its rain as a chilly breeze whipped through the air. Indeed, the weather seemed determined to make the area feel as dreary as it looked. 
However, it failed to deter the thousands of people that braved the rain, wind and mud to attend the third annual Wyoming County Business, Job and Gas Expo at the Kiwanis Wyoming County Fairgrounds.
Like last year’s expo, interested people began to shuffle in before the official start time of 11 a.m. 
“It’s going great,” Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Getts said during the event. “We had an easy setup despite the weather and the public is coming to see what it’s all about.”
Sticking with its proven three-in-one formula, the expo sought to connect the public with the natural gas industry, businesses with each other and job-seekers with potential employers. 
“We have about 107 vendors here at the expo,” Getts said. “Approximately 50 of them are hiring and with that in mind there are probably approximately 500 jobs available collectively among the booths here today.” 
Linde Corporation, which as been an annual supporter of the expo and offers a number of services to the natural gas industry, was one of the companies offering positions at the expo and looking to hire between 70 to 100 people, according to Linde’s Kevin Lynn. 
“We’re looking for drivers, operators, welders, you name it,” he said. “We’ve done very well here every year and we’ve hired a lot of good people from this expo over the years. We’re delighted to be here again and this is the place to be both professionally and to find quality applicants. We wouldn’t miss it.” 
Sugar Hollow Water Services (SHWS), a family owned and operated business from Tunkhannock, was also looking to hire.
“We’re ready to grow,” SHWS’s Bill Hampton said. “This one of our favorite events.” 
Similar to its predecessors, the expo featured a wide variety of businesses, including trucking, businesses specializing in pumps and flame-resistant clothing, engineers, banks, radio stations, caterers, colleges and more. 
“There are lots of opportunities in the natural gas industry,” Lehigh Career and Technical Institute’s David Fidler said. “Companies are constantly looking for positions like CDL drivers and welders and we can help fulfill those employment requirements.”
“We wanted to promote our academic programs and expose people to the offerings Mansfield University has,” Director of the university’s Marcellus Institute Lindsey Sikorski said. “We even have 10 or 12 of our students here today to experience the expo and take advantage of the job opportunities available.”
Jack Williams Tire Company also had a booth at the expo seeking to capitalize on all three of the expo’s qualities. 
“In addition to our existing locations in Wysox and Tunkhannock, we have a new location opening in Mountain Top, so we’re looking to hire more people as well as get our name out for the new location,” Vice President Tracey Williams said.
Returning as the primary sponsors of the expo were Cabot Oil and Gas, Southwestern Energy and Williams.
“Cabot is excited to take part in the job and gas expo once again,” Cabot’s Director of External Affairs George Stark said. “We’re committed to employing as many locals as possible and we’re not slowing down. There are expanding opportunities and we want to make people aware of what is available. 
“We are further excited to showcase our relationship with Lackawanna College and show parents that their children can go from graduate-ready to career-ready jobs,” he added.
“There are great opportunities at the expo for us as we can interact with landowners and answer questions about our operations and workforce development,” Mike Narcavage of Southwestern Energy said. 
Williams used the expo to showcase the company’s annual Marcellus Barbecue Cook-off, which is set for Sept. 12 at the Nicholson Carnival Grounds. 
“The expo also gives us a good opportunity to discuss our new office and add new positions,” said Mike Atchie, Strategic Outreach for Williams. “We’ve had lots of traffic by our booth so far and we’ve been answering questions and telling people how to apply for a position at Williams as we have a few positions open now and anticipate to add even more in the future.” 
Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 265-1639; email: jwilliams@northeastdriller.com.