RAYLAND - Express Energy, the Texas company leasing a former auto dealership in Toronto, figures to eventually buy property and build a super-center to service job sites in Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, District Manager John Evans said.
But Evans told Progress Alliance partners, meeting Thursday at Valley Hospice in Rayland, that he's only in the "infant stages" of setting up shop in its leased quarters, the old J&J dealership, and said the hiring process has been difficult thus far. He said his goal is to hire local workers, but the individuals he's interviewed so far haven't been able to pass the background check.
"I'm trying to staff my shop with local people, that's my goal, my commitment," he said. "When I came here, I said I wanted to hire as many local people as I can. That's what I intend on doing. The thing about the oil and gas industry is they have stringent hiring practices, you pretty much have to be squeaky clean."
OUTLINING FUTURE — Express Energy District Manager John Evans told Progress Alliance partners Thursday that while he’s in the “infant stages” of setting up shop in the old J&J dealership in Toronto, down the road the Texas-based company likely will build its own operations center to service drilling sites in the three-state region. The company expects to hire 30-35 people initially, with the potential to more than double that number. Evans said job applicants must be able to pass a stringent background check.
Evans said his company does extensive background checks, and they'll pass on anyone with a felony record, a history of drug abuse or violent crimes, more than two speeding tickets over a three-year period or a drunken driving charge within three years. The candidates he's interviewed so far haven't been able to pass the check, though Evans said he will continue to interview.
"(It's) because of all the safety issues," he said. "Those are standards that (the companies we work for) have set, and we have to follow them if we want to work for them."
Express Energy leased the property in April, figuring to hire 30-35 people initially, though that number will grow as their market develops. The site had housed the J&J auto dealership prior to its closing in 2008.
Valley Hospice hosted the meeting, and Cynthia Bougher, its chief executive officer, told the Progress Alliance partners her company has roughly 125 full-time employees, plus a number of part-timers as well as nearly 250 volunteers.
Founded in 1985, the nonprofit organization's service base extends through Jefferson, Belmont and Harrison counties in Ohio, and Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties in West Virginia.
"We see between 240 and 250 patients a day, either in their home or a nursing home," she said, pointing out that works out to "about 90,000 patient days in a years' time."
She said the company's annual payroll is in the $6 million range. Most of their funding is through Medicare reimbursements, but Bougher noted the nonprofit Valley Hospice will not turn the uninsured away. She said they have a very active foundation that typically raises about $150,000 a year to support its programs.