Shale Insight Day 1: Antis in Bed Sheets; Jim Meets Rudy Giuliani

Shale Insight Protesters - Philly Magazine
Shale Insight Protesters (credit: Philly Magazine)

Hopefully you won’t have noticed that MDN editor Jim Willis has been on the road since Tuesday, producing MDN without interrpution, even though he’s doing so remotely from Philadelphia as he attends the Shale Insight conference and trade show. Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first of two days of the show. Jim wants to share a few of his personal experiences from Day One, including a run-in with a group of anti-fossil fuel nutters, and a chance to meet Rudy Giuliani…

In walking to the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday morning, where the Shale Insight event is being held, Jim saw this small band of anti-fracking protesters:

Shale Insight Protesters 1
Shale Insight 2015 Protesters – Click image for larger version


Shale Insight Protesters 2
Shale Insight 2015 Protesters – Click image for larger version

What do you immediately think of when looking at those pictures? The first thing that crossed Jim’s mind–no lie–is that they are attempting to look like Ku Klux Klan members. Honest! What’s with the big head dress thing, and the white bed sheets? We later learned that the head pieces are “pope hats” being sold here in Philly because Pope Francis is visiting this Saturday. So the protesters wore the hats, and the white bed sheets, to signify that Pope Francis also believes in the myth of global warming as they do. Whatever.

As always, this small band of nutters were loud and angry-sounding. These people are never happy–never a smile on their faces.

Going on down the sidewalk and rounding the corner to enter the front of the Convention Center, Jim was greeted by a line of perhaps 15-20 more protesters just outside the front door:

Shale Insight Protesters 3
Shale Insight 2015 Protesters – Click image for larger version

As you can see, a few of them were dressed up in Pope drag like the others we first encountered a block away. Some held signs. Someone of their number had a bullhorn and was nattering on about fracking causes water pollution, fracking causes air pollution, fracking is evil incarnate, yada yada yada. Within an hour they were all gone–after the attendees had arrived for the first morning session, having had to walk a gauntlet of hearing these people hollering at them.

Jim attended three sessions on Wednesday: the early morning welcome session with a top notch panel hosted by Michael Krancer, former Secretary of the PA DEP; a lunch session with an excellent presentation by Jim Ladlee from Penn State; and a stirring afternoon speech given by Rudy Guiliani. Jim will write up his notes and share them next week. It’s nearly midnight on Wednesday and there’s no way for Jim to transcribe his notes in time for Thursday’s batch of stories. This is simply a “here’s how it sometimes goes at events” kind of recap. A personal story.

What did Jim do the rest of the time at the show? He worked at the Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI) booth–the main reason he’s attending Shale Insight. Jim helps NGI with their marketing efforts and the Shale Insight event is one of those efforts. NGI has a great group of people and Jim finds it a pleasure working with them to promote stellar publications like Shale Daily, Daily Gas Price Index, Forward Look and more.

Here’s a story about what turned out to be the highlight of Jim’s day on Wednesday…

After listening to a stirring speech delivered by master storyteller Rudy Giuliani in the late afternoon, Jim headed back to the booth to help with booth duty for the rest of the evening. A short time later who should walk down our isle but America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani! As you can imagine, Rudy was mobbed with people who wanted him to stop and take a picture, sign an autograph, etc. He had two armed police officers at his side for a protection detail. As Rudy got nearer to our booth, I wanted to catch his attention.

NGI has what is a pretty ingenious schtick to get people to stop at the booth–a roulette wheel! (Jim can’t take credit for the roulette wheel idea–the creative brain behind it is NGI’s Barbara Bolen.) NGI offers people the opportunity to spin for a chance to win a $379 NGI Shale Basin & Pipelines Wall Map.

The marketer in me said, “If we can only get Rudy to stop and spin the wheel–and get a picture of it–man oh man, what a PR coup d’etat!”

However, as Rudy passed by, there were just too many people–and he didn’t notice the booth. Jim was somewhat crestfallen. But then Rudy stopped to take a picture with someone, and he turned around and was looking in Jim’s direction. Jim caught his eye and pointed to the roulette wheel–and Rudy took the bait! He walked over and spun our roulette wheel. And we snapped a quick picture:

Rudy Giuliani at NGI booth spinning roulette wheel
Rudy Giuliani spins the NGI roulette wheel – Click picture for larger version

Yes, that’s Jim standing on the right side of the picture, and Jim’s NGI co-worker Brittni McMillan doing the spinning as Rudy dropped the ball in the roulette wheel.

Jim’s not ashamed to admit is was a thrill to meet Rudy and have him stop for a quick spin of our wheel. He’s a class act. He’s also strongly pro-drilling. Our kind of guy.

Check MDN next week for a recap of the sessions Jim was able to attend. In the meantime, check out our roundup of what others wrote about Day One of the event.