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Conference Held to Spotlight Likelihood, Economic Impact of Ethane Cracker Plant in Ohio Valley


Wheeling, W.Va. –  According to WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director John Deskins, Ph.D., the likelihood and timeline of an ethane cracker plant coming to the Ohio Valley and how it could transform our region and create many high-paying jobs will be the big takeaways for those who attend the upcoming Wheeling Area Economic Outlook Conference (WEOC).

A press release states that business and government leaders, as well as community members, are encouraged to attend the conference on October 18th at the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. Presentations will cover a wide array of topics including the cracker plant’s impact on local employment, education, industry, and small business.

“This conference will provide a great deal of in depth information about where we stand in our national, state, and regional economies and it will highlight the challenges and opportunities that we face as we strive to enhance the quality of life in the state and region,” Deskins said.  “This information about the broad macroeconomic context is absolutely crucial for any business or community leader and she leads her organization forward.”

President and Managing Director of McKinley Carter Wealth Services, David McKinley, says the short and long term economic impact of an ethane cracker will be significant for our area.

“It could be the most significant thing to affect our Valley and manufacturing jobs in a generation,” McKinley said. “With this year’s conference, it is our intent to prepare leaders from the business community and government for the new challenges and opportunities we’ll face.”

In addition to Deskins and McKinley, conference speakers will include Javier Reyes, Ph.D., dean of WVU College of Business and Economics; Kristopher Hopkins, executive director of the WV Development Office; and Matt Cybulski, director of Shale Energy & Petrochemicals / Jobs Ohio. The program will also feature a dynamic panel discussion with panelists Joe Eddy, president of Eagle Manufacturing; Mike Jacoby, VP of business development at Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG); Kathy D’Antoni, associate state superintendent at WV Department of Education; and Steve Hedrick, president/CEO at Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC).

Erikka Storch, Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce President, describes the conference as a “can’t miss” event for Chamber members.

“This event will provide business leaders with the most comprehensive package of relevant decision-making data they need to best position their companies to make the most of the advantages presented in the Ohio Valley as a result of the gas and oil boon,” Storch said.  “Maintaining the gas and oil processing in the Valley is critical. While great wealth can be created with drilling, the long-term sustainable second chance for our community comes with the downstream and midstream processing and other opportunities.”

Doors open at 7:30 am with registration and a continental breakfast buffet. The program will start at 8:00 am and conclude at noon.

Space is limited so advance ticket purchase is encouraged by contacting the Wheeling Chamber (304.233.2575 or

Ticket price is $40 per person or $50 per person at the door. This event is certified for 3.5 hours of CPE credits (CLE credit approval is pending).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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