Episode 136 – Featuring Dave Spigelmyer (Marcellus Shale Coalition) & Jim Futrell (Pittsburgh Regional Alliance)

More Capital Is Being Invested Into Pittsburgh Business Than Ever Before!  Who’s Getting It…..Who’s Giving It….and Why?

We here at “The Raja Show” aren’t really big into breaking news about business and the economy.  Rather, our bread and butter lies in taking the headlines that we see in print, in broadcast, and online, and taking a deep-dive look behind the scenes, through the perspective of one of the most successful, seasoned, innovative leaders in Western Pennsylvania’s business community.

But in this case, we’ll make an exception to bring you some breaking news:  there is still turmoil rampant in both the U.S. and global economies.

And while there is clearly nothing “new” about this news, it seems that by and large, Pittsburgh’s business community did NOT receive this message as clearly as other markets.

According to the latest groundbreaking report from the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, purveyors of an annual business scorecard that details how the region’s business climate holds up to benchmark cities from around the country, as well as its OWN past, $2.9 billion in capital was invested in Pittsburgh businesses in 2015, a jump of almost 30 percent from the year before, and the ninth consecutive year the number hit the elusive “three comma” mark.

While this growth relative to its past is remarkable in its own right, these numbers, relative to their benchmarks around the country, are truly staggering, opening the eyes of many that the Western Pennsylvania region is fast becoming a true hub for economic growth.

On this edition of “The Raja Show, Raja goes inside the numbers of this report, including how they came to be, and what they mean for the present and the future of the region’s business identity, as he goes one-on-one with Jim Futrell, the Vice-President of Market Research for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.   Not only can Jim “walk the walk” when it comes to crunching the numbers that drive this scorecard, but he can also “talk the talk”, breaking down the results in ways that make sense to anybody who wants to keep his or her finger on the pulse of the economic drivers pushing Western Pennsylvania business forward.

-Also, we take a look at the current state of another significant driver of Western Pennsylvania business, Marcellus Shale.

While it’s kind of odd to say that something that has been lying underneath our feet for centuries (if not longer) has “burst on the scene”, that’s pretty much what happened over the course of the past decade in Western Pennsylvania. As the global cost of energy sources such as oil and gas rose dramatically, the push to “drill, baby, drill” to find domestic sources of these resources escalated in the U.S.,

Enter Marcellus Shale, one of the top targets noted by energy experts as a potent source for these resources.  Once the target was in the sights, business opportunities soon followed, encompassing every step of the process from harnessing the energy to hashing out the legal ramifications for landowners sitting atop Marcellus territory to training for Marcellus workers, among many additional avenues.  The Marcellus boom was on.

Now, in 2016, with energy costs lower than they’ve been in years, where does that boom stand?  Is there still room for growth in the region’s Marcellus economy?   To help us answer these (and other) questions, Raja talks with Dave Spigelmyer, the President of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Western Pennsylvania’s foremost advocacy group for all things Marcellus in the region.  Dave joins Raja to talk about how the Marcellus boom came to be, and the challenges that the Marcellus economy continues to face, thanks to regulatory and industry-related struggles.

For those in the Pittsburgh area who want to keep tabs on the local economy, this discussion of what’s fueling (no pun intended) the region is a MUST for you.  And even if you’re NOT in the region, Sunday’s show will provide a crash course in “Economic Growth Management 101″.