M2M Ethane development conference is spring showcase - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

M2M Ethane development conference is spring showcase

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Fred D. Clark Fred D. Clark
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Fred D. Clark is the corporate secretary and general counsel for IVS Hydro Inc. of Institute. He is chairman of the 2014 M2M Conference. Details about the West Virginia Manufacturers Association can be found at 304-342-2123 or at wvma.com.

For the third year in a row, the Ethane Development Conference 2014, sponsored by the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, will provide a unique forum to highlight the incredible growth and economic benefits provided by the Marcellus Shale for the great state of West Virginia.

This year the WVMA has chosen the conference theme "Building Blocks for Downstream Manufacturing" and once again a diverse group of business leaders will come together for a common goal — creating new infrastructure, facilities and job opportunities in our region. With the group's diverse professional expertise, combined with legal experience and political savvy, great things are in store for West Virginia and future generations. 

In June 2011, an initial group of 28 individuals first met to form the WVMA Marcellus to Manufacturing, or M2M, Committee. The WVMA organized a diverse group of businesses, chemical industry leaders and individuals interested in the development of the Marcellus and Utica Shale to hold its first Ethane Development Conference that spring in the spring 0f 2012. As Karen Price, former president of the WVMA stated at the time, "The goal was to combine a diverse group of individuals who would bring fresh ideas and be the best spokespeople for their specific industry to assist in this committee." 

Last year Steve Hedrick, president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center Inc. best summarized the vision and goal for the WVMA M2M Committee: "Marcellus to Manufacturing is about taking full advantage locally of the opportunities and value presented by the shale-gas ethane in the area. The next step, once a cracker is built in the area, is to attract other manufacturers to produce value-added intermediate chemicals from the ethylene and then still others to use these value-added materials in further manufacturing of consumer products." 

Building on the success of the M2M conferences of the last two years, the objective and theme of the 2014 M2M Conference will again be to focus on the opportunities that businesses and companies can utilize with the development of Marcellus Shale gas and the downstream manufacturing facilities that will be developed in West Virginia. 

Last year Sen. Brooks McCabe stated, "The M2M Ethane Development Conference will assist in reinventing the chemical industry in the state of West Virginia with opportunity and the prospect that has not been seen since the 1950s. Downstream derivative for new chemical processing, inclusive of raw materials as will be derived from Marcellus Shale gas, puts West Virginia in a unique position to change history to diversify the chemical manufacturing industry, to alter the timeline by 50-plus years and to bring world class manufacturers into West Virginia for immeasurable growth." 

The Third Annual M2M Ethane Development Conference will present the opportunity to hear industry experts discuss everything from education and workforce development, upstream build out, and downstream manufacturing opportunities to environmental stewardship. The realization of the goals of the 2014 M2M Conference will result in the creation of thousands of jobs and strong economic growth in West Virginia. 

Rebecca Randolph, the new president of the WVMA, has provided new ideas and a new focus to developing our conference agenda and preparing for the 2014 M2M Conference.

As the corporate secretary of IVS Hydro Inc., a West Virginia-based industrial service company, I am honored to serve again as chairman of the 2014 M2M Conference. My dad retired from Union Carbide in Sistersville in the 1970s. As a "plant kid" where family livelihood and conversation revolved around what went on at the plant, I see a new generation of children and families supported by the new plants and products that will come to West Virginia. The bounty of the Marcellus and Utica Shale and the rejuvenated chemical and polymer industry that will develop from this natural resource is the economic opportunity of a lifetime!