As manufacturing in Oklahoma grows, so must the skilled labor workforce

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: September 11, 2012

IT was two months ago that Robert Armentano, CEO and president of Total Energy, spoke in Stillwater about his company's decision to open a fabrication plant there, eventually employing more than 200. Total Energy, based in North Salem, N.Y., makes storage tanks, custom pressure vessels and towers.

“Stillwater and the state of Oklahoma are business friendly with strong ties to the oil and gas industry ...” Armentano said. “We are well positioned to capitalize on the current energy and petrochemical boom and will expand our operations considerably in Stillwater, providing turnkey engineering and construction services to our customers.”

Similar stories are being written across Oklahoma. Thanks to the strong energy industry, manufacturing jobs — often in fields related to oil and gas — continue to grow.

Indeed in his most recent monthly report about the Oklahoma economy, state Treasurer Ken Miller wrote extensively about the boom. The manufacturing and energy industries created nearly 14,000 jobs over the past year, he wrote, “with the bulk of manufacturing growth in oil and gas machinery and equipment.”

He's talking about companies such as Gefco Inc. of Enid, which makes and designs portable drilling rigs to serve various industries including oil and gas, water well companies and construction. Gefco intends to expand by more than 200 workers.

Miller is also talking about companies such as Ameron International Corp. in Tulsa, which makes materials for chemical, energy and transportation markets and is expanding by almost 130 workers. Cameron International Corp., in Moore, plans to add more than 250 employees to make flow-equipment products for the oil and gas industries. In Davis, Wood Flowline Products Inc. hopes to expand by about 150. The list goes on.

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