Central Susquehanna Oil and Gas Expo

Based on a successful Business to Business Oil and Gas Expo in 2009, the Lock Haven University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) once again took the lead in organizing a follow up event in May 2011. Lycoming County has seen an increased level of activity not only in the drilling and production phase, but with businesses locating in the county due to its centralized location. It was felt the timing was right to hold another event to help local businesses interact with the industry and show off their services and products.

Many SBDC clients had already benefitted from this industry and new clients had started successful business ventures as well. The event was once again held at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds with more exhibitors than the first. There were over 10 SBDC clients exhibiting and many more attended on the day of the event to network.

The Lock Haven University SBDC took the lead on organizing and marketing the Central Susquehanna Oil and Gas Expo. Partnering with the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and Penn State Cooperative Extension representatives from each organization actively pursued sponsors for the event. Efforts were successful as the B2B expo featured 12 Silver Sponsors, 5 Gold Sponsors and Chief Oil & Gas as the Platinum Sponsor. The committee also had a “Think Natural Gas Sponsor” which was geared at educating the business and general community on the many uses and opportunities available with natural gas.

The event featured a networking dinner on Friday May 6th where local businesses had a chance to meet with industry representatives. The event was the hottest ticket in town with standing room only at DiSalvo’s Restaurant in Williamsport – an active SBDC client. Key sponsors of the event spoke on their future plans for the region. Many business transactions were started during the evening and new business ventures formed. This was a great kick off for the business expo that was held the following day. The evening featured Pennsylvania’s Energy Executive from Governor Corbett’s staff giving an update on a view from Harrisburg on natural gas development and energy in general.

The business expo held on Saturday May 7th was held at the Lycoming County fairgrounds. A total of 200 exhibitors filled up 3 buildings and numerous outdoor vendors displayed water trucks, heavy equipment, drilling rigs and various other machinery. Two additional full size tents had to be erected to accommodate the demand from vendors. An estimated 900 people attended the expo with an additional 100 businesses attending to visit the energy companies and discuss potential fits for their company.

Local and regional media coverage highlighted the event which sparked even more interest from local businesses in how they could benefit from the gas industry. The Lock Haven University SBDC continues to work with local partners on dealing with this emerging industry and developing programs and resources necessary to assist existing and start up businesses start, grow and prosper.