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<a href="" target="_blank">Drilling companies from as far away as Wyoming and Texas are expected next week at the Mack Park fairgrounds, where anyone with an interest in the Marcellus shale gas boom will converge for the Pennsylvania Gas Expo.

The public is also invited to Wednesday's event, which will fill the exposition hall at the fairgrounds.

``It's mainly a business-to-business networking event, all the different businesses that can benefit from all of this that is coming to our area,'' said Carrie Rayko, event coordinator for Renda Broadcasting. ``Also (it's for) the public, to get in front of these people and speak to them if they have land, (learn) how they can benefit. There are so many different angles.''

Renda Broadcasting is putting on the event, sponsored by local radio stations out of Indiana, Johnstown and Punxsutawney as well as other businesses.

With free admission and parking, the event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday. There will be a job fair, though Rayko said the focus is more on networking than job hunting, and local and out-of-state companies will set up booths.

A panel of experts provided by some of the companies will offer seminars in the afternoon on various aspects related to the Marcellus shale.

There is a seminar at 1:30 p.m. called ``Fitting In: A Guide to Being Part of the Marcellus Industries''; one at 2:30 p.m. called ``Getting on the List: How to Become a Qualified Vendor''; one at 3:30 p.m. called ``Acquisitions: Land and More''; and the last at 4:30 p.m. called ``Newfound Money: Making it Work for You.''

There will also be a chance for a question-and-answer period with the panels, Rayko said.

She has been working for about six weeks to put the event together, and said it's become a much bigger event than she expected. More than 120 companies have signed up, she said, and other businesses will be attending who do not have booths.
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