We just got back from a trip to southern West Virginia for a soccer match with Pikeview High School. This was an important match for us since we lost to an impressive George Washington High School team on Tuesday night 0-5. GW dominated us controlling the game and allowing us only one shot on goal. It was our worst loss in over four years and really stung. Tonight’s game was important to get us back on track. Pikeview has a good team. We were flat in the first half and trailed 0-2 at halftime.
Coach Joe talked strategy and what needed to change in the second half. I did my best to make sure the boys’ heads were in the right place. Success starts with belief. I told them the story of another high school team who trailed 0-2 at halftime in the 1999 State Semi-final game years before they were born.
The 1999 team’s dream was to play for the State Championship. It was our first trip ever to the West Virginia State Boys’ State Soccer tournament. Our opponent in the semi-final game was the number one team in the state who started 10 seniors. We had four seniors and only one returning starter. We came from behind to tie the game with just one second left and won in overtime. We wanted the win more than our opponent.
Tonight, I asked the boys, “How bad to you want it?” They said, “Real bad.” I challenged them to show it by playing with passion and doing what Coach Joe told them to do. Our boys quickly scored two goals to tie the game and went on to win 4-2. We dominated the second half the way GW dominated us on Tuesday. We didn’t allow a second-half shot on our goal. It was a big win against a good team.
This isn’t about our high school soccer team. Every success in sports, business or in our personal lives starts with a dream and the belief we can achieve it. It all comes down to, as Tim McGraw sings, “How Bad Do You Want It.” Tonight our boys wanted it real bad.
Our Region is in a similar position. Everything starts with a dream and the decision to do whatever it takes to achieve it. Shale Crescent USA was founded in 2016 with the mission to create high wage jobs and raise the standard of living for the people who live in the Shale Crescent USA region of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The people at Jobs Ohio, the West Virginia Development Office and Pittsburgh Regional Alliance believe and have been working hard to bring companies here and create jobs. Together we are having record success. Companies are coming here from all over the world creating high wage manufacturing jobs.
This week, I met with the leadership of the Parkersburg Marietta Building Trades Council. Their members are busy working locally. PMBTC now has a different problem, attracting more people to become apprentices to “earn while you learn” so they can cover future planned projects with local labor. This is an opportunity for young people who like to work with their hands to have a high wage career and avoid student loan debt.
Jobs are here and more are coming from the many projects already been announced like Nucor Steel, Intel, TCL, BHE, CRDC and Form Energy to name just a few projects in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. New economic development project announcements are routine. People are beginning to believe we can have good jobs and a positive future for our children and grandchildren. Success starts with belief.
American Nitrile in Grove City, Ohio near Columbus manufactures medical and research lab gloves for healthcare, government and industrial use. The company is currently manufacturing over 120 million gloves per month. American Nitrile was founded in 2021 in response to the need for domestic sources for critical PPE products we were getting from places like China. Nitrile’s energy and raw materials come from the Shale Crescent USA region. An Ohio Valley petrochemical company is a major Nitrile supplier creating more jobs in the region.
Nitrile is creating a dependable supply of PPE for the USA reducing dependence on China. They are also lowering global emissions by using U.S. natural gas for feedstock instead of Middle East oil shipped to China. Nitrile reduced transportation emissions for gloves from over 20,000 miles to just a few hundred miles.
It’s not difficult to convince companies from Europe and Asia to come to the Shale Crescent USA region because of our region’s abundant economical natural gas. European and Asian companies must pay 7 to 10 times more for their energy. Europe is struggling to keep factories open and compete globally. They are going back to coal. Foreign companies coming to the USA understand renewables can’t replace natural gas for dependable energy and raw materials.
Coach Joe is a leader. He sets an example our players can follow. He doesn’t micro manage. He expects our players to hustle and work hard when on the field. At half-time, Joe explained the strategy. The boys make their own decisions to apply it to the situation on the field. He wants them to take shots and gives them permission to fail. The creativity of our young men on the field led to four goals and a victory.
The same is true in business. Have a dream, a high goal. Believe you can achieve it and do whatever it takes. Decide how important your goal is. How bad to you want it? Be a leader who inspires others to use their creativity. Give people permission to fail and grow. Our region is succeeding. More manufacturing jobs are coming. The challenge is finding people to fill them. We are capable of solving any problem. It starts with belief of success. Stay positive. All things are possible.
Greg Kozera, [email protected] is Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.