Nicholas “Corky” DeMarco, Executive Director of West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), sadly passed away at home July 8th from an apparent heart attack.
DeMarco, a life-long West Virginia resident, did not spend the early part of his career in the oil and gas industry, but often said he accepted the responsibility of leading WVONGA in November 2002 because of the industry’s potential for the state that he loved. During his tenure as Executive Director, DeMarco made significant contributions to the oil and gas industry, beginning with helping producers commit to working together to address their common challenges, as well as the concerns of their stakeholders throughout the state. This commitment helped DeMarco grow the organization from 39 active members in 2002, to more than 225 members at the time of his death.
DeMarco had a tremendous work ethic that greatly contributed to his success as the leader of WVONGA. His two rules for succeeding in his line of work were building relationships, and assembling information that can be crucial to statewide policymaking. "First, you've got to be truthful whenever you're giving testimony or talking to people," he once said. "Second, if you are going to be a leader, you have to understand and be able to work with other people" Known as the “Happy Warrior” by his friends and colleagues, DeMarco was a passionate advocate for the oil and gas industry, yet was able to quickly diffuse tense situations with an easy laugh.
DeMarco believed that more jobs, more revenue, and more people were needed for the Mountain State to thrive and reach its full economic potential, He worked tirelessly to help West Virginia’s policy makers, lawmakers and citizens across the state understand and support the role that natural gas development and new pipeline construction could have for the manufacturing, job growth and revenue boost that was so desperately needed by West Virginia and its citizens. He also believed that some mineral owners were not receiving the maximum amount of profit for their oil and natural gas because of drilling units that must exclude certain parcels of property. So he advocated for legislation to allow for the efficient extraction of shale gas through horizontal drilling.
Although he was strongly committed to supporting the growth of West Virginia’s oil and gas industry, most important of all to DeMarco was his family – wife, Catherine, 2 grown sons, Matthew and Joey (Kate), and stepson Jason Milano (Sohini).
Kevin Ellis, the President of WVONGA, offered the following statement, echoed by all who knew DeMarco: “On behalf of WVONGA's Board of Directors, Executive Committee and its members, we are truly saddened by the sudden passing of Corky Demarco, our long-time executive director. We would like to express our sincerest condolences to Corky's family and will support them in any way that we can during these difficult times. Corky has been the face of our industry for many years. He served the Association and its members with enthusiasm, professionalism and with a genuine love for the work he did on our behalf. Corky will be missed.