Congressional Hearing: Shale Energy a “Game Changer” for Small Biz

Dennis Heller is a small business owner—president and CEO of Stephenson Equipment in Harrisburg, PA. Stephenson Equipment employs 120 people selling and renting construction equipment and crane services, parts, and operator training at seven locations in Pennsylvania and New York. Heller recently testified at a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee field hearing in Steubenville, Ohio, on the impact of shale energy development and what it means for small businesses (a copy of his testimony is embedded below).

According to Heller, “Equipment distributors in Ohio and Pennsylvania overwhelmingly believe that the shale energy sector has the potential to be an economic game-changer.”

Appearing in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), an international trade association representing construction equipment companies, Heller spoke about the effect that shale energy production has had on his business and other local equipment dealers.

“Energy companies have invested substantial resources in building and expanding roads and highways for hauling sand, water, pipes, and other materials to and from sites in the Marcellus Shale formation,” all of which has driven equipment demand, Heller told lawmakers.

Heller said that his company was not unique in having benefited from the shale energy boom and described an AED survey of equipment companies in the Marcellus and Utica shale area.  Fourteen out of the fifteen companies responding to the survey said some portion of their 2011 revenues was directly or indirectly attributable to energy production.  The total aggregate revenue from energy production reported by respondents was $356 million, an average of $25.4 million per company.

AED estimates that shale energy is supporting more than 570 jobs at those member companies in Ohio and Pennsylvania and that the ripple effect of the $356 million spent on equipment and related services is more than $1.135 billion.  Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents said that the continued growth of shale energy production would permit expansion and hiring in the construction equipment industry.*

*Associated Equipment Distributors (Feb 27, 2012) – Shale Energy: Good for the Economy, Good for Small Business, Good for the Equipment Industry