Economic Meeting

BELMONT HILLS Country Club hosted a meeting of economic minds Friday.

State Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) convened a series of roundtable discussions on economic development in Carroll, Harrison and Belmont counties.

The Belmont County Port Authority helped facilitate the St. Clairsville-based forum. It attracted some 50 representatives, encompassing local businesses, governments, energy companies, regional organizations and state agencies.

Eastern Ohio’s economic climate is changing rapidly, and for the most part, in positive fashion. The oil and gas industry has been the catalyst for much of the upward movement.

Rep. Thompson’s summit idea is one that makes sense. Bringing together business and industry leaders from the same region to exchange ideas is a no-lose scenario.

With oil and gas being a burdgeoning economic stimulus, holding such an event as Friday’s can only yield positive benefits. Participants exchanged ideas on their locale’s particular adjustments, accomplishments, concerns and challenges.

Shawn Bennett, field director for Energy In Depth, attended all three of the events, calling the series, “a great snapshot of how the oil and gas industry is affecting the area.”

The more government officials and business leaders get to know about the nuances of the oil and gas industry, the more Eastern Ohio can benefit. Opening the lines of communication is never a bad thing.

Rep. Thompson’s goal was to get local perspectives on how things are going and hear suggestions on improvements. We believe he was successful.