AED Vice Chairman Tells Congress: Shale Energy Means Growth and Jobs

Mon May 07, 2012 - National Edition

AED Vice Chairman Mike Quirk warned lawmakers against federal interference with the Shale Energy sector in his testimony on May 2nd.
AED Vice Chairman Mike Quirk warned lawmakers against federal interference with the Shale Energy sector in his testimony on May 2nd.

Shale energy development has been a lifeline for construction companies and suppliers still struggling to recover from the recession — this was the message Mike Quirk, vice president of product support at Wagner Equipment Co. in Aurora, Colo., told a congressional committee May 2. Quirk was testifying at a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee field hearing in Denver on the jobs and energy security implications of hydraulic fracturing.

Appearing in his capacity as 2012 vice chairman of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), an international trade association representing construction equipment companies, Quirk spoke about the effect that shale energy production has had on his business and other local equipment dealers.

“Shale energy development has allowed Wagner Equipment Co. to begin to recover from the recession and start to grow once again,” Quirk said. “While the equipment markets on which we previously depended have still not recovered, demand from nontraditional markets, such as hydraulic fracturing, have helped us get our company back on solid footing.”

An informal AED survey of equipment distributors operating in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico underscores the impact shale energy and hydraulic fracturing have had on the equipment industry in general. Eleven AED members reported combined 2011 equipment sales of $230.5 million associated with shale energy. The average revenue related to this activity was $21 million per company. AED estimates the total direct and indirect economic impact of the equipment revenues from shale energy activity reported by the survey respondents at more than $735 million.

As might be expected, that new equipment market activity is creating and sustaining many jobs. Survey respondents report that, on average, 29 percent of their personnel in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and/or Utah are somehow supporting shale energy.

“Thanks to demand from the energy sector, Wagner Equipment Co. has rehired all the available technicians we laid off since 2009. In fact, we are working with local community colleges to train more qualified workers to meet our hiring needs, an unthinkable proposition just a few years ago,” Quirk said.

Quirk warned lawmakers against federal interference with this booming sector.

“In order for the economy to reap the full reward from shale energy, the federal government must refrain from micromanaging the industry and defer to state regulators,” Quirk said.

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