Linde Construction Corp. is looking to hire hundreds of workers over the next few years to keep pace with its growing presence in the natural gas industry, said spokesman Kevin Lynn.

The utility pipeline and construction company has contracts for five years of work in Bradford, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties and is looking for heavy equipment operators, welders, pipe benders, skilled laborers and management positions, said Vice President Bob McGraw.

"Since Jan. 1, we've hired 73 new people with five more going through orientation this week and another nine scheduled for next week, but it isn't enough," McGraw said.

Linde Construction has seen tremendous growth since it began to develop opportunities in the Marcellus Shale region in July 2009, Lynn said. Its workers lay pipeline to transport natural gas harvested from wells, construct drilling pads, complete horizontal directional drilling and repave regional roads.

Amid its growth, Linde is moving its corporate headquarters office from Route 315 in Wilkes-Barre to the O'Hara Industrial Park in Pittston Township. The new four-story facility, as well as 20 acres of related maintenance and support facilities, will combine the current operations in Honesdale, Wilkes-Barre Township and Pittston.

While turnover in the construction industry is common, McGraw said the Marcellus Shale industry is allowing them to hire more people. The jobs offer full health benefits, he said.

"We are very much a traditional company in the sense that we hire locally and nearly 95 percent of our people live locally," McGraw said.

Another plus is Linde's policy of continuous employment, McGraw said.

"We are multi-tasked in the industry with projects in gas, water lines, sewer lines and rail yards," he said. "The result is that we can keep our people active year-round. That sort of stability is an advantage for us, for our workers and for their families."

Copyright (c) 2011, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.