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The gas and oil boom in eastern Ohio, while still in the exploration phase in many counties, has provided newfound wealth in the form of bonuses and royalties for the lucky landowners, but more important to the general population, it has provided jobs.
While the male-dominated industry offers entry level jobs requiring basic education, those jobs require physical stamina and long hours and days or weeks in the oil fields, which most women would find too challenging. But there are also many jobs or positions for those with higher levels of education, available to both sexes.
Jessica Baker is a community advisor for the EQT Corp. She earned her corporate level position through education, opportunity and networking.
After graduating in 2007 from Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, she went on to continue her education earning a Master of Business Administration in 2009.
I knew I wanted to work with the public sector ... I really enjoy interaction with people. After graduation, I began working for a large industrial supply company in outside sales. Towards the middle of my four-year career I noticed that although aspects of my business, which had always been thriving, started to cut back and slow down. But, another part of the business was dramatically growing due to the gas and oil industry. I was intrigued at how busy they were, never seeming to slow down even with the economic downswing, and I enjoyed the relationships that emerged with the customers, said Baker.
In the spring of 2011, Baker received an offer from a large company in the Pittsburgh metro area for an inside sales position.
I thought this was a logical career move, so I accepted the offer, she said. I was selected to start a pilot project in October of 2011 that targeted the gas and oil industry within southwest Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio. The more time I spent on the project, the more interesting it became. One year later I started looking for a position in the gas and oil industry, and in August of 2012, it was my pleasure to accept the position of community advisor for the EQT Corp.
I am primarily responsible for managing the risk and opportunities associated with engaging and informing stakeholders in the regional operating communities where we live and work. I make sure any questions, concerns or issues are handled properly and in a timely manner. As any industry is sure to have its pros and cons, our goal at EQT is to make sure we are not interrupting a communitys everyday activities any more than absolutely necessary.
Baker said her favorite part of her job is being able to work within a community and develop an open line of communication.
I love being able to give back, to help different organizations within a community reach their goals through EQTs local giving and support. It is extremely easy for me to speak about our company because I truly believe in the gas and oil industry and in EQT, because we are doing things the right way and fairly, she said.
The most important part of my job is creating a strong relationship within a community and with local elected officials so they have someone to reach out to if there are any questions or concerns. Creating an open line of communication is extremely important for both parties.
Bakers job also requires a lot of traveling. In Ohio, she covers Guernsey County, in addition to Allegheny, Green and Washington counties in Pennsylvania.
I grew up in a small, rural village in southwest Pennsylvania. During the past five years I have seen my hometown transformed [because of the gas and oil industry]. The jobs are plentiful and the restaurants and convenience stores are filled with customers. Farmers, who have struggled for years, are now purchasing new tractors and making improvements to their farms and equipment, she said.
My advice to women who are considering a career in the gas and oil industry is to network with others within the industry and get involved any way you can. I am a member of both Young Professionals in Energy and Young Professional Women in Energy. I found it extremely beneficial to make these connections when I was trying to enter the industry full time. It is important for women to be aware of the broad opportunities within the gas and oil industry. The possibilities are endless!
EQT is a major player in the production, midstream and commercial operations of natural gas in the Appalachian Basin.