Adam Larson

Harry Funk / The Almanac

Adam Larson, son of Alan and Sandy Larson, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout among his many accomplishments while attending Bethel Park High School.

One good turn, as Adam Larson will tell you, deserves another.

With a job waiting for him after college graduation in a field he loves, he likes to acknowledge the role of Michael Bruce, his guidance counselor at Bethel Park High School, in arranging for a certain speaker who changed Larson’s career aspirations.

“Going into high school, I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist,” he recalled, until he heard a geologist named Mike Forgione talk about opportunities in oil and gas production. “He gave a good presentation and got me really, really interested in the industry.”

Mike Forgione

Courtesy of Adam Bromley

Mike Forgione’s talk at Bethel Park High School in 2013, as chronicled in the Hawk Eye newspaper, put Adam Larson on his career path.

Now a senior at Penn State and second-year president of the student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Larson returned to his alma mater shortly before winter recess at Bruce’s invitation to share his experiences with today’s students.

“My guidance counselor was really there for me, and I wanted to return the favor,” he said.

He presented to about 400 juniors and seniors in various science courses, promoting careers in engineering and in the oil and gas industry, in which he will work starting in May as a field engineer for exploration and pipeline company EQT Corp. He’ll be based in Waynesburg.

“It’s really nice that I was able to stick around close to home,” Larson said. “I love this area.”

He interned with EQT as a junior and sophomore, following an internship with Chesapeake Energy as a freshman.

Even before enrolling at Penn State, he had plenty of experience in the industry, starting with a job shadowing experience with a co-worker of his father, Alan, a chemical engineer who worked for a pipeline company.

Adam Larson speaks

Adam Larson speaks at Bethel Park High School shortly before winter recess.

He created a LinkedIn profile identifying himself as a “high school student interested in oil and gas,” drawing the attention of Shale Media Group, a Washington-based organization that disseminated news about the oil and gas industry. A representative contacted Larson about participating in the group’s educational arm, the Shale Academy, and through that, he traveled around the state talking about the benefits of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

He also wrote articles for Shale Media Group, drawing on his experience with Bethel Park High School’s newspaper, the Hawk Eye, for which he served as editor-in-chief as a senior.

At Penn State, he joined the Society of Petroleum Engineers as a freshman and soon was promoted to webmaster on the executive board. He also started working toward the organization getting more involved in community outreach.

“Our industry gets a pretty bad rap sometimes, and we kind of wanted to show the positives,” he said. “So we go out and plant trees. We clean up highways. We want to show the community that we all care about the environment.”

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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