Williams brings mobile STEM education to Pennsylvania students

On Monday, March 13, energy leaders Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas, and Southwestern Energy brought a dynamic STEM education opportunity to students at the state Capitol complex.

The Mobile Offshore Learning Unit (MOLU), created by the Offshore Energy Centers, is a unique and practical way for students to interact with the energy industry. To bring this project to life, the MOLU is presented at various schools and public spaces across the state.


The MOLU features six learning centers with curriculum-based activities that explore the work involved in energy development. Its curriculum, based on state and national standards, challenges students to think about topics in new and interesting ways.

These topics typically range from geology to engineering, as well as encouraging students to consider important issues like environmental stewardship. They get a glimpse into how oil and natural gas affects them personally through the products and appliances they use on an everyday basis.

Students from Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School, as well as other local schools, enjoyed the hands-on learning during the team’s recent Capitol visit.

“We still have many decades of shale development remaining. We are looking to help students understand what we do as an industry and the benefit it brings to their community,” said Mike Atchie, Williams’ manager of public outreach, who was at the Capitol to offer students a helping hand.

The visit was also an opportunity to provide local and state lawmakers a glimpse into the educational outreach that Williams fosters as a partner to the community.

The MOLU will pave a path through 18 Pennsylvania locations throughout March, bringing this STEM educational opportunity directly to over 3,000 fifth and sixth graders. The MOLU schedule includes visits to:

  • Lehman-Jackson Elementary School (Lehman, PA) on March 20;
  • Mid Valley Elementary Center (Throop, PA) on March 21;
  • Wyalusing Elementary School (Wyalusing, PA) on March 22;
  • Wycallis Elementary School (Dallas, PA) from March 23-24;
  • Blue Ridge Elementary School (New Milford, PA) on March 27;
  • The Scranton School District from March 28-29.

To learn more, visit http://www.oceanstaroec.com/edu_molu.htm.

Williams’ Mike Atchie shares Atlantic Sunrise updates at LiUNA Conference

Besides delivering abundant domestic natural gas, Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise project will deliver direct economic benefits to thousands of construction laborers tasked with installing the nearly $3 billion energy infrastructure project.

That was the message delivered by Mike Atchie, Williams Partners’ manager of public outreach, speaking at the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) 2017 Pipeline Conference in Chicago.

The conference, which was conducted March 7-8, featured updates on several planned energy infrastructure projects, highlighting the benefits these projects deliver to communities. It addressed the need for adequate workforce training to deploy the thousands of highly skilled laborers used during pipeline construction.

LiUNA, a trade union organization that has had a global presence since 1903, is championing the call for the expansion and improvement of America’s energy infrastructure. It represents its members — a half-million workers, many of whom are in the construction industry — by advocating for a comprehensive domestic energy plan that will meet the nation’s needs and create jobs while protecting the environment. The organization offers practical support, such as a training program that provides members with the skills for a wide range of energy jobs.

LiUNA’s members support the development of large-scale infrastructure projects needed to help the country achieve energy independence. These projects create a solid foundation of economic opportunities and family-sustaining jobs that are critical to LiUNA members.

One of the most significant is the Atlantic Sunrise project, which recently received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project is anticipated to directly and indirectly support approximately 8,000 jobs during construction, creating a ripple effect that will benefit a wide variety of industries and laborers.

In addition to Atchie, another of the conference speakers — LiUNA’s general president, Terry O’Sullivan — highlighted the thousands of job opportunities that the project will create. These jobs are often referred to as “gold-collar jobs” because of the above-average starting salaries.

Williams’ Mike Atchie sheds light on Atlantic Sunrise during Shale Gas News radio show

Mike Atchie, Williams Partners’ manager of public outreach, made an appearance on 94.3 Shale Gas News Now radio show to share insights into the Atlantic Sunrise expansion and the significant milestones the project has recently reached.

Williams’ Mike Atchie recently talked about the Atlantic Sunrise project on the Shale Gas News radio show.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity in early February, bringing this critical energy infrastructure project another step further in its journey.

Atchie outlined the remaining steps for completion, including approvals from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

When the necessary permits have been approved, construction can proceed, with a full-service start date slated for mid-2018. Williams will be constructing multiple phases simultaneously to bring the project into service as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As Atchie pointed out, Williams isn’t the only natural gas company invested in the project. Industry partner Cabot Oil & Gas is awaiting construction, having recently increased its Atlantic Sunrise capacity commitment by 150 million cubic feet. This will bring Cabot’s total commitment to 1 billion cubic feet — a number that doesn’t include nine more companies waiting to use the line to move natural gas to markets throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Unlocking the glut of natural gas that is currently trapped, due in large part to a lack of pipeline infrastructure, will reinvigorate investment in job growth related to shale development — which has slowed over the last few years.

Atchie called this large-scale transportation of gas a dynamic shift that’s “changing the whole approach to how we move energy in this country.”

Atlantic Sunrise will allow the energy industry in Pennsylvania to grow and consumers to tap into the largest natural gas basin in the country. Moving this resource from the Marcellus Shale to markets across the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, thereby stepping into a wave of American energy independence, requires a widespread network of infrastructure projects like Atlantic Sunrise.

Atchie touched on Williams’ efforts to give back to local communities through the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant Program. Since 2015, the program has invested almost $1.5 million in impactful projects across the 10 counties within the Atlantic Sunrise footprint.

Atchie said Atlantic Sunrise has received tremendous support from locals in the form of public comments and letters of support, but there’s more work to do. He encouraged people to take a stand for energy independence and voice their opinions by sending letters to their legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf, or submitting letters to the editors of local papers.

To learn more about advocacy opportunities, follow this link: action.atlanticsunriseexpansion.com.

Celebrating engineers during national E-Week

Williams’ college recruiters celebrated National Engineers Week at various university campuses this week.

National Engineers Week is an annual event that recognizes the contributions engineers and engineering students make in the world.

Williams employees participating in E-week activities at Oklahoma State University.
Williams employees participating in E-Week activities at Oklahoma State University.

Engineers are vital to our business and are helping us meet energy needs by working on some of the most exciting industry projects in the United States. They are solution-oriented drivers of innovation and critical thinkers.

Williams supports engineering programs at universities across our operating areas, and we were pleased to attend or sponsor several campus-based activities.

Williams employees presenting the Future Energy Engineers Award to the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Houston.
Williams employees presenting the Future Energy Engineers Award to the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Houston.

At West Virginia University, Williams was a corporate sponsor for E-Week professional development activities, including sponsorship of a new program called Career Closet, which provides business professional clothing to students going on job interviews or to career fairs. Williams employees presented a session about how to make good first impressions, resume writing and career fair etiquette.

At Oklahoma State University, Williams employees participated in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology student carnival, judging student organization booths and providing information about Williams.

Williams employees visited the University of Houston, where they presented the Future Energy Engineers Award to the Society of Women Engineers.

Williams sponsored additional E-Week events at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa, and we will sponsor an engineering-related activity next month at the University of Pittsburgh.