Natural gas producer Range Resources aims to better the environment with its new, unique habitat enhancement commitment. On land that once hosted sites related to natural gas development, Range Resources’ Habitat Enhancement program is working to help animal pollinators in southwestern Pennsylvania like Monarch butterflies and honey bees by covering final reclamation sites with plants that are essential for them to thrive.
“We try to be good stewards in our community by supporting projects like these,” said Jeremy Matinko, Range’s Environmental Compliance Manager. “Habitat enhancement provides something the public can see and benefit from.”
After surface operations have ended at a site, Pennsylvania regulations require the site to be restored to its original state. Range has pledged to exceed those expectations in post-drilling restoration, creating habitats that are more hospitable to wildlife than the previous environment. This project has involved planting thousands of Milkweed seeds, a plant that is vital to the survival of monarch butterflies because it provides a food source for caterpillars, and a seed mix that includes grass and wild flowers that support honey bees and other helpful insects. Beyond bringing pollinators back to southwestern Pennsylvania, the company is also creating aquatic features that can become homes for reptiles, amphibians and waterfowl.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce, but as a result of climate change and human living practices, the habitats of these pollinators have been on the decline. Range Resources’ project aims to reverse that trend. Already, the impact of the program can be seen through the growth of a variety of pollinator plant species and the presence of butterflies, bees and other pollinators across these sites. And while Range Resources is currently implementing the program only on final reclamation sites, it hopes to expand their efforts to include post-drilling restoration.
“Manufacturers across the country are taking proactive and creative steps to improve the environment and enhance their communities,” said National Association of Manufacturers Director of Energy and Resources Policy Laura Berkey-Ames. “The work that Range Resources is doing to build and improve natural habitats in Pennsylvania is an exciting part of that effort. We’re looking forward to seeing continued results as this project grows.”
In September 2018, the National Association of Manufacturers acquired the Manufacturing Leadership Council, an association for manufacturing executives that is dedicated to helping the industry transition to the digital era. Nearly one year later, the MLC wraps up its 15th Anniversary Manufacturing Leadership Summit and continues to provide its members with programs and services around digitization.
MLC’s Co-Founder, Vice President and Executive Director David R. Brousell shares the groundbreaking work of the organization and why it matters to manufacturers today.
What is the Manufacturing Leadership Council?
The MLC is designed to help senior manufacturing executives and emerging leaders define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations and the industry at large by focusing on the intersection of critical business and technology issues that will drive growth today and in the future. We do live events like conferences; we do plant tours that enable members to see firsthand how different companies are implementing the latest digital technologies; and we publish in-depth articles that focus on best practices and cutting-edge ideas on the use of technologies and the leadership requirements of the digital age.
How is leadership changing in the digital age?
It’s changing in some very important ways. There’s a whole new layer of competency that has to be added to the traditional functions of leadership. We call this “digital acumen,” which has to do with understanding the potential of advanced technologies like analytics, artificial intelligence, collaborative robotics, 3D printing and other technologies. It’s not just improving efficiencies, but also offering new business models, ways of doing things and services.
This new era in manufacturing requires leaders to manage organizations that are flatter and more collaborative, with more and more employees having the benefit of information at their fingertips. Managing in prior years was around a top-down structure. That doesn’t cut it in the digital age.
What benefit do companies get from being a part of this group?
The MLC presents the opportunity to be part of a community that is collectively sharing ideas, insights and best practices to as the industry continues its radical transition. The truth is, you can’t do this alone as a company. You can’t make this transition to the digital era by yourself. You need to be with other companies, to learn from them, to learn what’s possible, to see what works and what may not work well in your company and to form that bond. It’s a tremendous learning experience.
What does the future look like for manufacturing—and how does the Manufacturing Leadership Council fit in?
The future looks very, very bright for manufacturing. We’re going to increase efficiency and produce products that satisfy personalized needs—everything from cars to medicine. We’re going to be able to have better quality and create jobs that are fulfilling, exciting and intellectually stimulating. The extent of innovation happening right now in manufacturing is mind-blowing.
But this is not an easy transition. The future offers tremendous opportunities, but only if we make the transition industry-wide. If we’re able to do that, not only will individual companies be more successful globally, but the U.S. manufacturing industry as a whole will continue to lead the world. There’s a lot at stake for manufacturers. That’s why the partnership between the Manufacturing Leadership Council and the NAM is so important.