Siemens USA executive discusses America manufacturing and natural gas industry

Eric Spiegel is the CEO of Siemens USA.  (photo courtesy WVU)
Eric Spiegel is the CEO of Siemens USA. (photo courtesy WVU)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The chief executive officer of Siemens USA was on at least his third visit to West Virginia Tuesday where he attended a shale summit and spoke at West Virginia University.

Siemens USA has a large footprint in the natural gas industry according to Eric Spiegel. He watched with interest at the Tri-State Shale Summit in Morgantown where West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania leaders signed off on collaborative efforts to strengthen the gas industry in the Appalachia region.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest oil and gas regions in the world not just the US. If it’s developed properly and the right investments are made and the right policies are put in place, I think it will lead to tremendous growth, investment and jobs,” Spiegel predicted.

Siemens, with more than 75 manufacturing sites in the nation, provides a number of services in the natural gas industry.

Among them, the company offers pumping and automation technology along with data collection software for drilling sites.

For a company like Siemens to do business locally with Marcellus and Utica shale, Spiegel said a prepared workforce is part of the equation. That’s part of the message he shared at the university’s David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas Tuesday evening.

“I tell students don’t look back at the old jobs, look forward to the news jobs. In 10 or 15 years, half of the jobs that will be out there don’t even exist today,” said Spiegel.

The positions will be significantly different than what their parents were met with coming out of college.

“Things around cyber security and data analytics and mechatronics working in production facilities, those jobs really didn’t exist. So, that’s what they have to think about. Think of the skills that will be required. Think of where the digital world is going,” advised Spiegel who spent 25 years as a global consultant in energy, chemical, industrial and automotive fields before joining Siemens in 2010.

The Dartmouth College and Harvard University graduate co-authored “Energy Shift: Game-changing Options for Fueling the Future”.

From his perspective the state and West Virginia University are set to keep up with industry changes.

“They set up a new energy institute that I think that’s got a lot of opportunity. They’ve got some interesting programs going with the Department of Energy around brining new technology to unconventional oil and gas,” Spiegel recalled. “So, I think WVU is very well positioned as they move forward.”

Spiegel’s Festival of Ideas address focused on “America’s New Manufacturing.”