Williams donates $1 million to CMC for technology wing | PostIndependent.com

Williams donates $1 million to CMC for technology wing

Williams Production is donating $1 million toward the construction of a technology wing at Colorado Mountain College, reflecting what a company official says is the company’s commitment to making use of the latest advances in natural gas development.Williams, one of Garfield County’s leading natural gas producers, announced the contribution at a dinner with college representatives in Rifle Tuesday night. It’s the single-largest charitable donation the company has made in Garfield County.The contribution brings CMC to $4 million in its fundraising for the building of the West Garfield campus in south Rifle. EnCana Oil & Gas USA, the county’s other top natural gas developer, gave $3 million toward the campus earlier this year.Construction is expected to begin next spring, with the first classes to be held there in the fall of 2007.Williams’ gift will allow the college to add a technology wing housing several computer and science laboratories. CMC plans to name the wing after Williams.Steve Soychak, district manager for Williams in Parachute and also a member of an advisory board that has been working with CMC on its new campus, said Williams has been a local leader in new gas development technology.Over the years, he said, the company has led the way in innovations such as using flowback units to virtually eliminate gas flaring; shifting to computerized monitoring and automation of wells to reduce truck traffic; and cutting back on odors at wells through installation of combustion units. It also has ordered smaller, safer, less-polluting drilling rigs for local use and expects the first to be delivered in December.”We’ve been the first to do a lot of things in the area and will continue to rely on technology to minimize the impact of drilling and production in the county,” Soychak said. “Technology is the key to making sure our development process is the best it can be by minimizing our footprint, assuring the safety of our operations and restoring lands to their original condition or better.”Soychak said CMC plays an important role in providing safety, vocational and technical training to Williams employees and contractors. Williams expects the company’s training needs to grow. This year, Williams’ local work force has gone up from 64 to 96 people, and Soychak expects that number to increase by another 50 in the next few years.In addition, 650 contractors work full time for Williams locally, and probably 300 more contractors will be working for the company within a few years.CMC is helping Williams meet its goal of hiring locally in what is a very technical industry, Soychak said.”I think it’s a credit to them. They’ve been very supportive of helping us train our workers – not just Williams workers but our contractors.”CMC’s existing Rifle campus on Railroad Avenue is an 80-year-old building leased from the Re-2 school district. Lack of space has limited class offerings.The new campus will be built on a 13-acre site next to Airport Road and Mamm Creek Road south of Rifle.”We are so grateful to Williams for their generous support of our new campus, which will provide educational and training needs for residents from New Castle to Parachute and Battlement Mesa,” Alexandra Yajko, chief executive officer of the CMC Foundation, said in a CMC news release.The campus design is still being finalized. Plans include a fitness center and early childhood education area, along with 10 classrooms and interactive video conference rooms.The public is invited to a groundbreaking at the site of the new campus at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 517dwebb@postindependent.com

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