Atlantic Coast Pipeline community liaison finds second home in Buckhannon

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline community liaison finds second home in Buckhannon

My Buckhannon

By Katie Kuba

 

BUCKHANNON – You can find him at mid-row at every bimonthly Buckhannon City Council meeting on Thursday nights year-round, and on Friday nights in the summer, he’s in Jawbone Park helping Buck Edwards roast chicken for Festival Fridays.

He’s involved in the elementary school backpack program, Create Buckhannon and with the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce.

In fact, one might say Mike Cozad takes the ‘community’ part of his title as community liaison for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline seriously.

Interacting with people in small groups or one-on-one is Cozad’s favorite part of his job, he told My Buckhannon during a recent interview. Cozad is the community liaison for the 42-inch-wide 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline, construction of which is likely to reup this summer. And although the pipeline is on hold for now, Cozad, whose primary residence is just off the parkway in Pittsburgh, has developed an affinity for the small town of Buckhannon that surprised even him.

On a recent Thursday in December over coffee, Cozad talked about why he likes it here, his wide-ranging employment history, what he does behind the scenes and where he wants to travel when he retires.

Cozad is employed by Environmental Resource Management, an international provider of environmental, health and safety consulting services headquartered in London. Prior to accepting a position with ERM, he worked for Doyle Land Services in the area beginning in 2014, and although he enjoyed the scenic mountain views, he didn’t get much of a chance to make a home among the hills.

After all, he only spent about 25 percent of his time in West Virginia because work duties took him to neighboring states.

“I was spending about 150 nights a year in hotels, and being on the road all the time really started to take a toll on me, so a little over two years ago, when this role – this position of community liaison – became available, I said, ‘hey, you know what? I need to quit running around.’”

Cozad says the community liaison position was ideal. Sure, part of his role is to attend governmental meetings and keep up with community developments, but behind the scenes, there’s much more to it than that.

“Part of my job is what you see me doing, but I also have responsibilities for the workers and what’s going on with them,” he said. “So, I’m working with the hotels, the campgrounds and all the other places our workers have interactions to make sure everything’s going as smoothly as it possibly can.”

He also fields questions from both inside and outside the industry.

“It’s all those aspects, that, in a normal pipeline job, you wouldn’t have any idea where to go or what to do,” he said, “so, it’s really useful to have someone handing out cards and saying, ‘if you’ve got any questions about the pipeline, give me a call.’”

Continue reading the full article here at My Buckhannon.