YOUNGSTOWN - A CNBC reporter in town to report on how the area is part of a resurgence in manufacturing because of the Utica Shale says he sees a lot more optimism than on his last visit here.
In fact, Phil LeBeau said he can't remember what he was in town for the last time he was here as a reporter, but he said the mindset is vastly different now than what it was then.
''There is a feeling building, there is momentum building for the economy for a long time,'' LeBeau said.
Tribune Chronicle / Joe Gorman
Phil LeBeau, a CNBC reporter, checks his cellphone Thursday from De-Cal Inc. Industrial Contractors in Youngstown. He was in town this week for a series of reports on the shale industry in the area.
LeBeau and his crew have been in the city for a couple days. Thursday, they spent the morning at a house being demolished on Republic Street on the East Side then moved to De-Cal Inc. Industrial Contractors on Ohio Works Drive.
LeBeau said one of the things he wanted to do during his visit was demonstrate how drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, related businesses are growing and fueling the economy. Michael Montgomery, regional manager of De-Cal, said that his company had 20 employees at the beginning of 2011 and has 132 now.
The company has added welders and other skilled workers and has been fabricating pipe systems to be used in shale drilling, as well as also doing some work at the V&M Star expansion.
He said the publicity helps his business and also the area as a whole because it shines a national spotlight on the good things area businesses can provide to help fuel the shale industry, especially for workers.
''I look at it like I want it put out there that you should come here because it will be worth your while,'' Montgomery said. ''This is a market you can retire in.''
Tony Paglia, vice president of government and media affairs for the Regional Chamber, said the visit by LeBeau is a change from most election time visits from the national media because they highlight blighted neighborhoods and abandoned steel mills.
This time, people are getting a look at the positives of the area, Paglia said.
''It's really a new day for our area,'' Paglia said.
Not just national attention, but world attention has been focused on the area, as Paglia said several journalists from different countries have visited the region to report on its resurgence.
''It continues to add to the positive image this area has around the country and the world,'' Paglia said.
Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said he likes that the coverage will show the nation how the area is on the rebound.
''It will certainly show what this community has done in the last couple of years,'' Traficanti said.
Traficanti said more than shale-related industries are responsible for the rebound. He said the area is also blessed with Youngstown State University and other educational institutions, as well as V&M Star's expansion.
''Our area has done a lot, and I believe the national attention can only help us,'' Traficanti said.
LeBeau said he feels the change not just when talking to manufacturers, but also with small business owners and restaurant owners. He did a feature from a downtown cafe earlier this week.
He said the goal of his visit was to focus on people investing in American manufacturing. He said most of those in the shale-related business do not talk in terms of ''booms'' because they often bust.
Instead, LeBeau said leaders in the industry describe the events of the last couple of years as ''slow, steady, progress.''
What makes this area unique is the number of highly skilled workers and institutions that can educate people to work shale-related jobs, LeBeau said.
''You can't get that when you go elsewhere in the world,'' LeBeau said.