The Cline Shale oil boom is impacting business operations – positively and negatively – in the Big Country, representatives attending the Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s 30th Business Expo said Wednesday.
The annual event is being held at the Taylor County Expo Center.
“We're making a lot of signs for oil companies and related companies and also people are moving into the area,” said Janelle Dry, a Sign Pro manager. “We have new customers – we have new businesses coming in every day.”
“[There’s a] good economy in the West Central Texas area due to the energy market and lots of remodels – lots of house building going on – just good opportunities for the building trades and energy trades,” said Tim Dickenson, president and CEO of Briercroft Fire and Water Restoration.
“We do a lot of insurance work and insurance calamities are always happening with floods and fires.”
Texas State Technical College, which has several branches within the Big Country, offers oilfield coursework to ensure that future oilfield workers get the proper training they need before signing up for getting involved in oil-related work.
"They can make more money [with the training],” said Jeannette Gist, a TSTC recruiter and admissions adviser. “That's kind of what it's about – providing a better life for you and your family.”
Gist said other TSTC programs, including computer-aided drafting and programs in the medical field, are also doing well in the present economy.
Though the Cline Shale-induced economic boost has helped many businesses, the tempting oilfield salaries have unintentionally caused issues for some businesses.
“I have lost a couple to go to windmill and oil companies,” Dry said. “But others have come into the area, so they're looking for positions as well.”
“We’re having problems hiring people, yes, but the business is really good from the Cline Shale,” said Heath Polasek, owner of CTEX Heating, Air & Electrical.
“Subcontractors are few and far between and so it's very difficult sometimes remotely to find people in certain cities because they're either being pulled into the oilfield or the sub contractors that are left just have more than they can say grace over,” Dickenson said.
“We have a franchise in San Angelo as well and hiring is extremely difficult,” said Randy Davis, sales and marketing manager of SERVPRO Cleaning & Restoration.
Luke Harwell, owner of BAACK’S Florists, said he is having a great year since his business recently began servicing the Hendrick Medical Center gift shop; however, he has some unique hiring needs of his own.
“I don’t know that they're all running out to the oil field, but there's not a lot of experienced floral designers and florists in Abilene, Texas,” Harwell said.