FracTracker, nonprofit business monitoring oil and gas industry, takes root at Warren incubator
By ED RUNYAN
Ted Auch, the new Ohio program coordinator for the FracTracker Alliance, fills the expectations the Wean Foundation set for its bottom- floor incubator.
Auch, a 36-year-old Vermont native who has a doctoral degree in ecological modeling, is coordinating the nonprofit organization studying the hydraulic-fracturing industry. He works from one of the six offices there as well as visiting other oil and gas locations in the state.
The Wean Foundation took a damp and dingy basement space and turned it into one of the coolest nonprofit-organization incubator spaces possible.
It has 2-inch thick exposed beams and exposed limestone-and-mortar walls dating to the Civil War along with contemporary furnishings and office space.
Auch was hired by the Pittsburgh-based FracTracker to extend the organization’s research of the Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania into Ohio’s Utica Shale play.
But unlike much of the talk about drilling, groundwater and injection wells, Auch says FracTracker’s f ocus is on science.
And he thinks that’s why the Wean Foundation “took us in,” he said in a recent interview.
“They saw that we’re not going to go up on a drilling rig and lock ourself down on it. We’re trying to use data to make that same case that those folks locking themselves to drill rigs are making.”
FracTracker chose Warren to establish its office because of the amenities the foundation provided at the incubator.
The Wean Foundation created the offices at its West Market Street downtown location when it carried out its $2.5 million renovation there last year.
The foundation said the incubator’s purpose is to encourage the growth of nonprofits that can help the Mahoning Valley.
“I see us as giving them the tools to improve the community,” Gordon B, Wean, chairman of the board of the foundation, said at the grand opening of the foundation’s offices last July.