Range Resources Director of Operations Rodney Archibeque wasn't born in southwestern Pennsylvania. But like so many other transplants who have discovered this region, he now proudly calls Washington County home. Opportunities in tech jobs, manufacturing and Marcellus shale drilling have made it possible for more young people to not only stay in southwestern Pennsylvania – but also to choose to move here from other parts of the country.
Rodney moved to this area in 2010 to work on the Marcellus. He initially joined the staff of Range Resources as a Completions Engineer, leaving behind similar work he'd done in Texas and Louisiana with a company called Encana. What Rodney refers to as his first “real” oil and gas job was as a roustabout in the late '90s – performing maintenance and whatever else was needed as an entry-level worker in the oil and gas field. But Rodney set foot on a well pad long before that.
“I went to my first completions job when I was about five years old,” Rodney recalls. Born in Wyoming, where his dad worked for Texaco at the time, he would regularly accompany his father on job sites. “Basically, when I wasn't in school and when he could take me, I was out in the oil field with my dad.”
From a very young age, Rodney remembers his father encouraging him to pursue a degree that could take him farther in the industry. “He was always telling me, you need to be an engineer. And, as a little kid, when you hear “engineer” you think of one thing – so my reaction to my dad telling me that was, I don't want to drive a train!”
When Rodney did begin his pursuit of a degree, it wasn't in engineering. “I started out wanting to be a weather man. I was very interested in meteorology. But, well, you have to know my dad -- he told me I have a face for radio. So I took that first job in the oil field in 1999.”
Rodney went on to pursue and receive a degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M. “Basically I went to college when I could. I'd go to class and then as soon as my classes were done, I'd go to work.”
In 2010, Rodney got the call from Range Resources, asking him if he'd like to come to Pennsylvania for an interview. He accepted, and made the move to the Keystone State.
And while Pennsylvania was new to Rodney – he had family who'd made the trip before him. His father and mother had already moved to Pennsylvania in 2008. His sister ended up moving to Pennsylvania as well, after turning down a job in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that would have put her square in the sights of a devastating tornado had she been there.
“It's kind of amazing,” says Rodney. “We all ended up here in the end. When I first moved to this area, I would say 'I can't wait to get home' – and that meant Texas. But now when I say 'I can't wait to get home' it's when I'm down there visiting – and I'm ready to get back to Pennsylvania to see my family.”
And it's in Washington County that Rodney really feels at home.
“This is the longest I've ever been in one spot. I've lived and worked in Wyoming, Colorado, different towns in Texas – I've worked in ten different basins around the country. Being here with no plans to leave is nice. I think I finally unpacked my last box last year.”
This article is brought to you by Range Resources.