The Secret Sauce

Greg Kozera

My mother made an incredible barbeque sauce. Growing up, we loved it when Mom made ham barbeque sandwiches for dinner. Mom’s ham barbeques were awesome. She found a way to make them spicy but sweet. Mom didn’t share her secret ingredients. Her sauce was unique and different than any barbeque I have had since. Sometime before her death at age 92 Mom shared her recipe with one of the daughter-laws who shared it with the rest of the family. My youngest son’s wife, Mary made them most recently. It was just like Mom was still alive.

At Thanksgiving, most families have special recipes. My daughter learned how to make Mom’s broccoli bake when she lived with Mom for a semester during college. Dannielle will make it for our Thanksgiving dinner this week. Lynnda is going through recipes tonight. I have eaten her mother’s special poppy seed cake and Gramma Clara’s cucumbers and sour cream. All of these recipes have their “secret ingredient(s)” to make them unique. Professional chefs have a “secret sauce” to make their creations different/better than their competitors and memorable for their customers.

We are blessed Mom, Lynnda’s mother and Gramma Clara shared their secrets and didn’t take them to the grave. When we eat their secret recipes, it is like having them here with us again.

In business, successful organizations have a unique selling proposition (USP) which is that product, service or way of meeting their customers’ needs separating them from the competition. Their USP makes them different and memorable. It is their “secret sauce.”

Shale Crescent USA (SCUSA) was founded six years ago to bring manufacturing jobs back to the region. We believed our USP was abundant water, cheap natural gas, experienced workforce and location within a day’s drive of 50% of the U.S. population. We did multiple studies with organizations like IHSMarkit and were able to develop hard data to confirm most of what we believed was true.

Our “secret sauce” is why companies around the world want to come here. Other places have abundant water and an experienced workforce. In the USA, regions like the northeast or southeast are within a day’s drive of 50% of the U.S. population. Regions in China and India can make the statement they are within a day’s drive of a large population.

We hear a lot about energy transition and renewables. Renewables are a useful part of our energy mix. Anyplace on planet earth can choose to produce energy from solar panels. The polar regions can and do use solar energy. They run into problems during the long winter nights. A backup is needed for solar energy and that is fossil fuels or at the poles maybe nuclear power from a ship. There are many places where wind power can be used. The wind doesn’t always blow. A back up power source is required. Europe learned the hard way. When wind power produced below plan, oil was used to produce electricity increasing gasoline and diesel prices creating fuel shortages and long gasoline lines.

Europe was dependent on Russian natural gas as a backup for renewables. Russian’s natural gas isn’t dependable anymore because of politics. Two couples we know just returned from separate river cruises in Europe. Both were surprised by the number of coal barges on the Rhine River. Much of that coal probably came from West Virginia. Germany is using coal, oil and wood to replace Russian natural gas and back up their renewables. There is concern about energy shortages in Europe this winter. We discovered the most Googled term in Germany is “firewood”. Energy is serious business. Without it people die.

Some European countries are in better shape than others. France did not shut down their nuclear power plants. SCUSA is working with companies throughout Europe who we met at Select USA in June. They want to come to the Shale Crescent USA region because of our economical and abundant natural gas. Recently we were on a Zoom call with a company in Romania. As the call was ending I asked the CEO, “How is your country going to make out this winter?” He responded, “Greg, understand Romania was under Russian control during the Cold War. We know what it is like to have cold weather and no heat. After the Cold War we drilled our own oil and gas wells. We don’t have enough gas for both industry and residential customers. But we didn’t go “Green” like the rest of Europe. Our people won’t freeze.”

We now know the Shale Crescent USA region’s “secret sauce” is abundant, economical natural gas when used with our water, workforce and location advantages. The Marcellus and the Utica are two of only three mega giant natural gas fields in the world. Natural gas prices in Europe are approximately 10 times more than the USA. Asia is 7-8 times more expensive than the USA. Natural gas isn’t just a source of energy it is the feedstock for thousands of products people need every day.

Our region is the ONLY place in the world a company can build on top of their energy and feedstock and in the middle of their customers. We explain to foreign companies, if they want to sell into the U.S. market they should locate in the United States and reduce their carbon footprint, energy, feedstock and transportation costs. They can be more profitable and more sustainable here. Companies located in SCUSA have these advantages. They can increase sales and profits by manufacturing products currently imported. European companies want a renewable energy component. In the Shale Crescent USA companies have 100% backup for renewable energy.

Cooks and chefs like to keep their “secret sauce” secret. SCUSA is telling the world about our region’s “secret sauce”. Companies here need to understand what the Europeans and Asians now know. Like my Mom’s barbeque recipe, the secret of the “secret sauce” can benefit everyone.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (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.

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