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Families' industry connection lives on, thanks to recent gift to WVU

A portrait of Mark and Jessie Leidecker

Mark and Jessie Leidecker


Mark Leidecker was looking for a way to forever tie his families' name to the oil and gas industry. On May 8, that dream became a reality with the dedication of the Leidecker Brothers Energy Laboratory in West Virginia University's Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

A 1971 graduate of WVU with a degree in petroleum engineering, Leidecker followed his father and many of his relatives into the industry.

"My dad had 11 brothers and sisters and according to one of my aunts, someone from the family was always involved in the oil and gas business," said Leidecker, president of Jesmar Energy Inc., in Holbrook, Pennsylvania. "I'm the only one left and I was looking for a way to ensure my families' name lived on in the industry."

Leidecker and his wife, Jessie, also a WVU graduate, chose to name the Statler College's drilling fluids laboratory in honor of his father's company, Leidecker Brothers, which owned a number of shallow oil wells in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area.

The drilling fluids lab, housed in the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, is equipped with drilling fluid analysis instruments commonly used in the field. Students are taught standard techniques for preparing and measuring drilling fluids properties. According to department Chair, Sam Ameri, funds from the gift will go toward securing cutting-edge equipment to further outfit the lab.

"The drilling fluids lab is a unique feature of the department that helps to ensure WVU graduates are well-prepared and at the forefront of innovation for the petroleum and natural gas industry," said Ameri. "Our department and faculty work hard to foster strong relationships with our friends and colleagues in industry and we greatly appreciate the support and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Leidecker."

Leidecker has spent more than 40 years in the industry, working with companies ranging from Halliburton to Equitable Gas to CONOCO, where he conducted research in coal gas reservoirs. In 1989, he and his wife formed Jesmar Energy, designing gas gathering systems for extracting methane from coal seams and mined-out areas. He continues to be active in the industry as a consultant.

The gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia's University. The $1 billion comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.



For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:


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