“I made my living in water, the least I can do is help people who don’t have water”
– Eric Kashdan

K&K Plumbing owner helps African village with water well

A village in the southeastern African country of Malawi has a new water well. A plaque mounted on the well lists the names of five donors who helped finance the project.

The first name on the list is Eric Kashdan, owner and operator of K&K Plumbing in Osnaburg Township.

Last August, Kashdan met California resident Cindee Rood at a seminar presented by Tony Robbins, well-known author, businessman and life coach. Rood explained her work helping charitable groups to provide water wells to needy villages in Malawi and how she wanted start her own organization. Kashdan made the first donation to help her get started.

“I told, I make my money off of water. If I can’t give water to people who don’t have it, who am I?” Kashdan said. “It’s what my heart told me to do.”

Rood combined Kashdan’s contribution with others and formed www.formidablejoy.com. She drilled the first well in Mtambo, Malawi, a village of about 1,000 people. That well is the one with the plaque thanking Kashdan and other donors.

Kashdan was born in Queens and lived in Brooklyn and then Texas. His family was poor and moved often, he said. In the early 1990s, Kashdan moved to Stark County and he’s remained here. He started working as a plumber and opened his own business 16 years ago.

“I don’t require much to live, so why not just help?” Kashdan said of his contribution. “It’s just an amazing thing to give back.”

Finding properties

A local firm is part of Ohio River Corridor LLC, a new company formed to help corporations and developers looking for sites in the Ohio River Valley.

Development of the Utica and Marcellus shale formations in southeastern Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia has drawn petrochemical companies, plastic processors and other manufacturers to the area. Ohio River Corridor will help those companies search for sites in the region.

NAI Spring, with offices in Plain Township, will provide site selection services in Ohio, while JJ Guida Airport Realty, with offices in Weirton, W.Va., and Burgettstown, Pa., will assist companies in those states.

“We are currently working with organizations from the Gulf Coast and internationally to determine if locating a facility in the tri-state area is economically feasible,” Bryce Custer, president, said in a news release announcing the new venture.

Plans call for creating another division to work with development of land and facilities along the Ohio River and in the Appalachian Basin. Investors are beginning to see opportunities for investing in the region, according to the release.

Ohio River Corridor’s goal is to be recognized as the site selection expert in petrochemical, plastics, energy services and other industries that want to locate in the region, Custer said. The company has the networking resources to help clients with logistics and to meet their needs for highway, rail and barge service properties, he said.

Chevron funding helps Stark State program

Stark State College is one of four institutions benefiting from a $630,000 investment Chevron Appalachia is making in ShaleNET education programs in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Chevron Appalachia said the investment is part of its commitment to the region’s workforce development efforts. The company has invested more than $2.1 million in ShaleNET programs at the four colleges since 2014.

The ShaleNET programs help prepare and re-train workers for jobs in the energy and manufacturing industries, said Trip Oliver, Chveron Appalachia manager for policy, government and public affairs. As the energy industry matures, colleges are adapting and offering programs that focus on transferable skills.