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WVMA Winter Conf 2019 1040x150 2

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Proving that manufacturers can adapt to any challenge, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association held its ninth annual Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference (MMDC) in the midst of a global pandemic – thanks to video conferencing technology.

The conference, originally slated for April 20-21 in Morgantown, instead was staged via video conference over a three-week period that concluded May 5.

“When the coronavirus emergency really hit the U.S. in March, we had to find a new way to make MMDC happen. Thankfully, the WVMA leadership and our sponsors were committed to this event,” said WVMA President Rebecca McPhail. “It is vitally important for us all to continue focusing on West Virginia’s natural gas industry and the downstream development and manufacturing opportunities it presents.” 

Hundreds of manufacturing and oil/gas industry professionals were able to get updates on policy, legal, environmental and economic developments that affect West Virginia during three two-hour video conferences that took place April 21, 28 and May 5. 

Speakers from the U.S. Department of Energy, American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute and other national oil/gas trade associations joined legal experts to present a thorough update on all facets of developing West Virginia’s natural gas and manufacturing industries.

“This year’s MMDC also gave us the opportunity to highlight what manufacturers are doing to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Kathy Beckett of Steptoe & Johnson, who presented on corporate sustainability efforts. “The creators in our economy really have stepped up to transform their operations and produce things like hand sanitizer and personal protective gear that are critically needed at this time.”

West Virginia Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch spoke during the May 5 MMDC session, and he said West Virginia is poised to attract new residents in addition to industrial developments.

“What you’ll see soon is a new promotional effort aimed at those who now, in light of the COVID-19 emergency, are seeking more spacious areas to live, work and raise a family,” Gaunch said. “We’ve got room to grow in West Virginia.”

Maribeth Anderson of Antero Resources moderated a panel discussion on opposition to pipelines and to energy development generally. 

“The panel of national experts offered perspective that helped the virtual audience understand the remarkable opportunity that comes from this challenging environment,” Anderson said. “The opportunity comes as Americans see that the industry provided essential services to homes in the midst of a pandemic. And when it’s time to restart the economy, the natural gas industry will be a huge part of providing products and services that bring people together again.”

The WVMA has made all materials presented during the three MMDC sessions available to those who were registered to participate. For more information, contact the association at (304) 342-2123.