For some people, the word “futures” may evoke images of stock market pits crowded with traders gesturing, scribbling on notepads and yelling numbers related to pork bellies, orange juice and other global commodities. But the energy “futures” that ABARTA Energy is investing in are far closer to home – they involve our local communities, schools, children and our industry.
Because we believe that energy education is so important, ABARTA Energy has presented Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania (JA) with a donation of $10,000 to enable them to continue their very successful “Careers in Energy” program, designed to teach middle school students about different types of energy, the economic and environmental impact of each, and careers in the industry and related fields. The investment earned ABARTA Energy the JA 2014 Bronze Leadership Circle Award. JA’s leadership circle includes many other local oil and gas companies, among them Range Resources.
Presenting the award to Jim Taylor on July 11, 2014, JA’s STEM Initiatives Manager, Krista Myers, stated: “ABARTA Energy was awarded the Bronze Leadership Circle Award in recognition of their tremendous support of the JA Careers in Energy Program—a middle grades program that educates students about the energy industry and the vast opportunities available within the field.” This year alone, JA’s “Careers in Energy” program served more than 2,000 of our western Pennsylvania students and several hundred in West Virginia. Topics range from the importance of energy in our everyday lives and benefits and drawbacks of all energy sources, to natural gas exploration and environmental activism and are covered in the seven lessons featured in the curriculum. The program provides a factual foundation of the science, engineering, business and societal aspects of the petroleum industry, and a peek into the career opportunities that reflect the current needs of our local, growing energy economy. Jim Taylor welcomed the invitation to sponsor this important effort: “We support the goal of the JA ‘Careers in Energy’ program, educating future generations about possibilities in the energy industry that promise to bring economic benefits and certain energy security to Pennsylvanians for decades to come.”
Interested in becoming more personally involved with the JA mission, Ken Fleeman ventured into the eighth grade classroom at Burgettstown Area Middle/High School and instructed six classes. Ken’s lessons for the day focused on the environmental footprint of our daily activities and the liability of every energy type, including solar, wind, geothermal and hydrocarbons. The classes viewed an animated film of horizontal drilling, which led to candid discussions on oilfield practices and modern frac technology. Although the lesson was based on the JA-prepared curriculum materials, Ken also drew on his own expertise and observations, including workplace expectations of employees. From his day in the classroom, Ken is gratified to know that “we have bright, inquisitive young people who are interested in the energy industry; the future will be in good hands.”
As part of their JA Energy packets, each student also receives a bookmark featuring the ABARTA Energy logo on one side, and the basic geological stratigraphic column on the other. It is a useful tool to note the age of the various oil and gas producing rocks, their relative depths, their rock types – and it does a fine job marking a page in a book!