STEUBENVILLE, OH / ACCESSWIRE / March 19, 2020 / Growing up in Jefferson County, Ohio, local landman Andrew Plesich has always been passionate about the people and prosperity of his community. While he has always advocated for and worked to support the economic vitality of the region he loves, it was through his experience as a teacher that he realized the power of education to empower community growth through entrepreneurship.
Before developing relationships with landowners, Plesich developed relationships with students as an instructor of business at the University of Akron, West Virginia Northern Community College, and Eastern Gateway Community College. While teaching for a state university is certainly a point of pride, Plesich found his most rewarding times during his edifications at Eastern Gateway, where he gained the majority of his teaching experience.
“Teaching business enabled me to give good students — and good people — the opportunity to succeed,” the landman noted. “I found that learning those skills inspires students to get out of their comfort zone, cultivate unique talents, and chart their own futures.”
However, after endowing his students with the tools for success, Plesich realized that they were taking their talents elsewhere — that is, leaving the Ohio Valley and seeking job opportunities in bigger cities. Although the oil and gas industry created opportunity and economic momentum in the county, closings and shifts in other industries have challenged the overall economic trajectory of the area. While some expansion took place, many of the people who could further contribute to the growth of Jefferson County were departing. Witnessing this pattern, Plesich’s job as an educator became two-fold: championing entrepreneurship as well as the economic and social benefits of local businesses.
“Entrepreneurship skills create opportunity and instill confidence,” he said. “It was important for me to encourage my students to use that knowledge to form enterprises locally. Businesses that originate here contribute to community identity and are a reflection of an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Entrepreneurship is especially important in communities that are evolving in the midst of new economic realities. Entrepreneurs can improve a region’s standard of living by creating wealth from their ventures, as well as creating the jobs and conditions for a flourishing society. Rooted in his care for and commitment to Jefferson County, Plesich found it imperative to advocate for investing in the local community.
Teachers often learn from their students as much as pupils learn from their professors. In Plesich’s case, in addition to realizing the value of entrepreneurship, those takeaways were valuable lessons about leadership and fellowship.
“The key to being an effective, inspiring leader is to create strong relationships with the people you’re leading,” the former instructor noted. “It is the responsibility of educators to present information in a way that meets their students’ needs — so it is imperative that they understand those needs.”
Plesich also strived to reinforce the importance of collaboration, believing in the enrichment promoted by partnerships.
“Serving other people enhances your own skills,” he said. “It brings out the best in you, challenging you to discover strengths you didn’t know you had in order to rise to the occasion.”
Plesich’s experience as a teacher translates well into his current role as a landman. Educating and cultivating relationships with students was a fitting precursor to coordinating relationships between oil and gas companies and landowners. It is a similar dynamic of understanding needs, communicating effectively, and facilitating mutually beneficial outcomes. Moreover, after experiencing the potential for economic growth in Jefferson County, Plesich recognizes the significance of building a business there — the value of enabling people to stay where they call home.
“Investing in the next generation is investing in the success of Jefferson County,” he said. “It is my hope that they are empowered to have a long-term, sustainable, positive impact on the community.”
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SOURCE: Andrew Plesich
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