Unions Call For Yuengling Boycott After Owner’s Support Of Right-To-Work Law

English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager...

English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager being placed into cases at Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville, PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In response to a statement made Monday by the head of D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. calling for a “right-to-work” law, a local labor union leader is calling for a Yuengling boycott.

“We’re against anyone who’s for a right-to-work law in this state,” Gary Martin, Pottsville, vice president of Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, said Thursday.

Richard L. “Dick” Yuengling, president and owner of the Pottsville-based brewery, made the statement Monday at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon at the Harrisburg Hilton, according to The Associated Press.

Yuengling said Monday the state would attract more business if it adopted a right-to-work policy that would make it more difficult for unions to organize, according to the AP.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-yuengling-boycott-unions-right-to-work-20130830,0,113793.story#ixzz2dTUro2mu
Follow us: @mcall on Twitter | mcall.lv on Facebook

Japanese Manufacturer Moving North American Headquarters To Wyomissing

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Japanese manufacturer is moving its North American headquarters to Wyomissing.

Seibu Giken Co. Ltd.’s North American operation, SG America Inc., Owatonna, Minn., is relocating to 220 N. Park Road and initially creating 15 to 20 skilled jobs in production, logistics, assembly and engineering.

The operations in Owatonna will close.

“Relocating to the greater Reading region from Owatonna was a strategic decision for SG America,” said Ray Suhocki, general manager, North American operations.  “The Mid-Atlantic location provides access to a larger labor pool and allows us to take advantage of greater Reading’s lower cost of doing business.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=505234

Study: Pittsburgh’s Social Mobility Among Best In U.S.

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rags-to-riches, Great Gatsby-esque storyline may be more reality than fiction in the Pittsburgh area, a national study suggests.

Pittsburgh is in the top tier of cities for social mobility, according to a report released this week.  The survey, which incorporated earnings filings from millions of Americans to assess people’s likelihood of moving between income classes, found that Pittsburghers born to parents who make just $30,000 per year typically move further up the income ladder than similar people in any of America’s 50 largest commuter areas except Salt Lake City.

And on a more regional level, Pittsburgh stands out among communities in the Rust Belt for its propensity toward social mobility.

“Pittsburgh does look more like an outlier from the perspective of the general economic situation, from the types of economic shocks that have been hitting that region in the past 20 years,” said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the report’s four authors, who hail from Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley, and are affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/study-pittsburghs-social-mobility-among-best-in-us-696470/#ixzz2Zt4OJRJU

Touting Lehigh Valley’s Benefits, To Locals

When he took over the region’s main economic development agency last year, CEO Don Cunningham promised to refocus the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. on its primary goals, especially marketing the Lehigh Valley.

That apparently includes marketing to the people living here, especially business leaders.

LVEDC rolled out a sweeping billboard campaign this week designed to promote the Lehigh Valley to the Lehigh Valley and its business leaders.

Or wait, just Lehigh Valley. Drop the “the.”

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-lehigh-valley-billboards-20130612,0,3517196.story

Stripped-Down Harley Rebounds From Recession

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some motorcycle enthusiasts feared Keith Wandell might be the outsider who drove Harley-Davidson into the ground.  Instead, he may be remembered as the guy who kept the motorcycle maker on the road.

Wandell grabbed the handlebars at the motorcycle maker in the heart of the economic crisis in 2009.  Harley lost $55 million that year, as buying a motorcycle stopped being an option for many consumers.

“We had to make, quickly, some big, bold, decisions,” he said in a recent interview.

Wandell was the first CEO from outside Harley, so those decisions were watched closely.  Not all were well-received.  He got the union’s approval to use temporary workers, which enabled Harley to time its production closer to the peak bike-buying season, saving time and money.  He relied less on middle-aged men in the U.S. to buy the bikes.  And he focused the company on doing what many say it does best: making big, powerful, premium-priced Harleys.  But that meant getting rid of some popular secondary brands.

The company made $624 million last year, the best annual profit since 2008.  It also boosted profit by 30 percent in this year’s first quarter, compared to the same period in 2012.  With lower costs and more efficient production, analysts say Harley is in a good position to grow as the global economy improves and in better shape to weather any future downturn.

Read more:  http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_23421255/stripped-down-harley-rebounds-from-recession

‘Eds And Meds’ Still Growing In Pittsburgh Region

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh region’s 21st-century economy has often been referred to as one where manufacturing has been displaced by the “eds and meds” sector, but there remain pockets where local residents still lean heavily on the more traditional means of employment.

In nine Allegheny County municipalities, more than twice as many residents are employed in manufacturing as is the case in the county overall, according to new census data. Many of the communities are in the Route 28/Allegheny Valley corridor, where many light manufacturing firms operate — some of them growing and thriving.

The occupational information was just one nugget in a bounty of new American Community Survey data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The data are based on a survey of the national population over a five-year span, from 2007-11, with the government deeming the sample size sufficient to release estimates for wide-ranging characteristics of every municipality.

While Allegheny County and the surrounding region once served as a manufacturing center for the nation, only 8.3 percent of the county’s workforce was employed in manufacturing in the modern era, the ACS data said.  That was down from 9 percent in the 2000 census and was less than the 10.8 percent for the nation as a whole.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/eds-and-meds-still-growing-in-pittsburgh-region-665151/#ixzz2EJ4ATXbo

After Long Wait, Birdsboro Gets Its Bridge Work

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A delayed project to replace the Birdsboro Bridge that carries Route 345 over the Schuylkill River is getting the green light.

PennDOT officials said the work is supposed to start next Monday and take about two years. The span, which connects Birdsboro and Exeter Township and handles about 8,400 vehicles a day, will remain open while a new one is built just west of it.

The $14.5 million project was supposed to start in March but was delayed by the discovery that the area around the bridge is a habitat for red-bellied turtles, a threatened species. That required additional planning.

At the same time, PennDOT also needed to negotiate with nearby property owners to obtain rights-of-way.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=415101

Marcellus Shale Becoming Top US Natural Gas Field

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) — The Marcellus Shale is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the United States, according to new data from energy industry analysts and the federal government.

Though serious drilling only began five years ago, the sheer volume of Marcellus production suggests that in some ways there’s no going back, even as New York debates whether to allow drilling in its portion of the shale, which also lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

The top spot for the Marcellus “doesn’t surprise me,” said Jay Apt, a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University. “But will it lead to industries that spring up to use that gas?” he asked, adding that much of the bounty could also end up being shipped to Canada, the Gulf Coast or overseas.

In 2008, Marcellus production barely registered on national energy reports. In July, the combined output from Pennsylvania and West Virginia wells was about 7.4 billion cubic feet per day, according to Kyle Martinez, an analyst at Bentek Energy. That’s more than double the 3.6 billion cubic feet from last April, and represents over 25 percent of national shale gas production.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/marcellus-shale-becoming-top-us-natural-gas-field-1.1355101

Former Bethlehem Steel Property To Idle

 

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT - NARA...

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT – NARA – 546882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The owner of the financially ailing Sparrows Point steel plant is idling operations there, warning 1,975 workers Thursday that they would be laid off starting next month.

The news, which casts doubt on the future of the Baltimore County facility that was once owned by Bethlehem Steel, came as RG Steel is shopping the steel mill and its other assets to potential buyers.

RG Steel informed the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations that layoffs would begin June 4 and continue through June 18. The state said the company would be laying off 1,714 hourly and 261 salaried workers, losses that would be a significant blow to the economy.

For years, the plant has faced uncertainty before last-minute deals salvaged the mill. RG Steel is the latest owner to try to sustain steel production at the once-flourishing facility.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-sparrows-point-idle-20120525,0,7750660.story

POTTSTOWN AREA INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, INC. ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HIRE

POTTSTOWN, PA, NOVEMBER 2, 2011: Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. (PAID) has announced the appointment of Steven Bamford as its new Executive Director. Bamford’s first day will be November 10, 2011.

A resident of Lansdale, Bamford has over 20 years of economic development experience in local government as well as the private sector – since February 2010, he has been Co-Owner/Vice President of TCB Marketing, a results-oriented marketing, media and management consulting firm.

Additionally, Bamford served as a Manager, then Senior Manager, at Ernst and Young from 2002 to 2010. At Ernst and Young, Bamford was responsible for assisting Fortune 1000 and middle market clients making investment and location decisions in the US and abroad by identifying, negotiating and securing incentives from federal, state and local governments.

Prior to his private sector experience, Bamford worked in various positions in the public sector. From 1997 to 2002, Bamford held dual roles as the Vice President of Operations with the Allentown Economic Development Corporation and served as the Executive Director of the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority. In this capacity, Bamford managed the day-to-day operations of these organizations and their real estate redevelopment projects serving as “developer of last resort” for the most challenging, underutilized and functionally obsolete properties. Bamford also assisted businesses and developers in determining feasibility, site selection, and obtaining funding for projects. Some of these projects included the Bridgeworks, Portland Place, Plaza at PPL Center and Lehigh Landing.

From 1993 to 1996, Bamford served as the Vice President for Special Projects with the New Castle County (DE) Economic Development Corporation where he assisted with site selection and provided support for companies seeking incentives, zoning or development plan approval for projects. Also, Bamford served as the Economic Development Specialist for the City of Reading from 1991-1993 where he performed financial analysis, evaluated development and operating budgets and made funding recommendations to City Council on requests from businesses and developers for assistance through the City’s revolving loan fund.

“Steve’s experience, energy and mix of public sector and private sector experience will be a positive impact to the Borough of Pottstown” said Jason Bobst, President of the Board of Directors.

“We were especially impressed with Steve’s research into the Economic Development Strategic Plan and the most recent Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel Service Plan of 2009. He presented a possible entry plan into this new position from the priorities listed in these documents” added Reed Lindley, Superintendent of the Pottstown School District.

Bamford becomes the first Executive Director of PAID, Inc. since its re-birth as part of the Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel Service Plan recommendation for a single-source entity for economic development in the Borough of Pottstown.

Bamford received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Business Administration from Ursinus College and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Delaware.

PAID, Inc. selected Bamford from a field of 37 applicants.

Editor’s comments:  We thank Jason Bobst and the rest of the PAID Board for their hard work in selecting a qualified candidate to help move Pottstown forward.  We are impressed with Mr. Bamford’s credentials.  Mr. Bamford appears to have the skill sets and leadership qualities that will be needed for the Herculean task of leading Pottstown to greener economic pastures.

We welcome Mr. Bamford to Pottstown and wish him much success.  We hope a new era of cooperation and collaboration will unfold in Pottstown that will enable Mr. Bamford to be all he can be in this position.  He CANNOT do it alone!  This means Mr. Bamford needs our full cooperation and support.

Dana Reports Increased Earnings For Third Quarter

Some good financial news for our area today as Dana announced their 3rd quarter results.  Dana Holding Corp. reported a year-to-date income of $148 million for 2011.  In 2010 that figure was only $24 million.  Sales were up almost 30 percent over the 3rd quarter of 2010 and up $1.1 billion year-to-date over last year.

Dana operates a driveshaft plant in Pottstown which contributes greatly to the local economy.

Pa., W.Va., Ohio Vie For Huge New Shell Gas Plant

Cropped portion of image from USGS report show...

Image via Wikipedia

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Big industry may be coming back to the northeast United States.

Shell Oil Co. is nearing a decision on where in the Appalachians to build a huge new petrochemical refinery — a project that could bring thousands of construction and production jobs and change the face of the region for decades…

To read the rest of this article, click here:  http://hosted2.ap.org/PALAP/d3444c3add384b05a39deb3258f13309/Article_2011-09-03-Gas%20Drilling-Refinery/id-3ff93b9f9fff48e2b50d5b5aca340964

York PA: Home Of The Factory Tour

If you enjoy seeing how things are made then you should take a trip to York.  A number of manufacturers offer guided tours of their facilities.  A Washington Post Reporter visited York as was amazed.

This year, five factories and businesses are opening their doors and giving guided tours of their production facilities.  They include:  Sunrise Soap Company, Sweet Willow Creamery, Modern Landfill and Recycling Center and York County Resource Recovery.  Later this spring a fifth tour will be available at the Turkey Hill Experience (ice cream).  Tours were already available at Martin’s Potato Chips, Bluett Brothers Violins and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles.

Read the entire Washington Post article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/made-in-york-pa/2011/03/31/AFYdeivC_story.html

Lancaster And York: A Tale Of Two Cities

I just read a very interesting article from the York Daily Record comparing York and Lancaster.  I found the article very thought-provoking as a former Lancaster City and suburban Lancaster resident.  I also am somewhat familiar with York.

Of course, I will share my opinion with you since that IS what I do and offer some advice for York in the process.  There is a link at the bottom of this piece where you can read this article for yourself.

I must agree with Sonia Huntzinger, the Director of Downtown Inc. in York.  A comparison is not really fair.  Lancaster and York have some similarities and they are only about 30 miles apart, but that is about where it ends.  There are strategies York can use that Lancaster has already perfected and customize them for York, without reinventing the wheel.   BUT York must also embrace itself and be true to its own history.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that York needs to move on from its past.  Race riots in the late 60’s were 40 years ago and our nation and York have changed since then.  York was not the only city in America to have race riots and bad ones.  Pittsburgh had some humdingers and can anybody remember Watts!?!  But again, that is ancient history and holding on to a negative event from the past is unhealthy!  Let it go!

Secondly, York could be very successful and they are making great strides to that end.  Heritage Tourism in a historic city like York must be fully embraced.  It certainly worked for Lancaster and it will most certainly work for York.  Lancaster has been at this far longer so they are light years ahead of York because of a HUGE head start. 

More than 4 million people visit Lancaster each year as it is one of Pennsylvania’s largest tourist destinations.  York should piggy back on that phenomenon and say to those tourists visiting Lancaster, “Hey! Come on over!  York is only a short car ride away!”  It would enhance the experience for both 18th century cities.  (Lancaster being incorporated in 1742 and York being incorporated in 1787.)  If you take away the Amish factor, there are people who would be interested in touring another “period city” that nearby!

Thirdly, stop looking at each other as “foes” (White Rose vs. Red Rose) and look at each other as business partners.  Frankly, cooperation is a win-win for everybody.  That includes Harrisburg.  These three metropolitan areas are contiguous and should be marketed as a Triad like Winston-Salem, Greensboro & High Point, NC.  Between the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York metropolitan areas (latest population estimates) you have 536,919 HBG + 507,766 LANC + 424,583 YORK = 1,469,268 people!  This is a more accurate picture of what you really have to work with and market to. 

Leveraging all three areas as one tourist destination would totally make sense and everyone would benefit.  Combine resources folks!  Many hands make light work and all that.  From a financial prospective, during a recession, working together makes sense.  Combine budgets, cut costs and everyone benefits.

Fourth, I will disagree with Sonia Huntzinger on this point (no offense, Sonia).  She stated in the article that Central Pennsylvania can not support another arts district like Lancaster’s.  With a draw of 1,429,268 people you certainly can.  Furthermore, Harrisburg is going great guns in Midtown to set up a big arts community there as well (I guess they didn’t get the memo, haha).  Each city should have an individual, size appropriate, arts area.  The “arts” are a huge tool in the redevelopment process.

Fifth – “Eds and Meds” are vital to redevelopment.  I do not care if York Hospital and College are not downtown.  They are large employers and stakeholders whether they like it or not.  As downtown York prospers, so will they.  Scranton and Wilkes-Barre have made their colleges partners in their redevelopment.  A healthy York will help York College attract more students and help the hospital attract more young people as employees.  You want more young people downtown like Lancaster?  You must get the hospital and college onboard.

Sixth – the perceived safety issues in York need to be overcome.  Sorry but there are stabbings/shootings in Lancaster too.  Anybody who says not is delusional.  Lancaster has a lower crime rate than York because redevelopment does that.  In addition, Lancaster has a surveillance camera system in place and a noticeable police presence downtown.  Until York can get those numbers down, they need to beef up police foot patrols in the downtown to make people feel safer.  Those surveillance cameras only cost $9,000 a piece, installed.  They might be something for York to consider going forward.  Saying we have no money is not a solution.  Find money to pay for foot patrols and cameras.  There are grants out there.  You can not afford to not spend money on public safety if you want to be like Lancaster.  You must overcome the crime stigma yesterday!

Lastly, private sector funding is the wave of the future because of budget constraints with our state and federal governments.  There is still money available but finding ways to involve the private sector is becoming increasingly important.  Large employers in York County need to be made to understand the importance of “giving back” and that they will reap benefits by doing so.  Groups like YorIT will also play an increasing role in moving York forward (http://www.yorit.org/).

Here is a link to the article that spurred my post:

http://www.ydr.com/ci_17425140?source=rss_viewed

It is vital that Pennsylvania’s cities be robust and growing.

Community Building In The City Of Chester – An Interview With Delco DA Michael Green

Watch a short but inspiring video with Delaware County District Attorney Michael Green regarding what the DA’s office feels is needed to bring Chester back.

Neapco Moving Headquarters To Michigan – Today’s Mercury Coverage

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

According to a write up in today’s Pottstown Mercury, Neapco is now moving their corporate headquarters to Michigan.  A Neapco VP says this will have a minimal impact on what’s left here in Pottstown.  Still very sad.

Then, as one reads along, a bomb is dropped.  The article is talking about how manufacturing was consolidated in Beatrice, Nebraska and how the state of Nebraska gave Neapco a $1 million dollar loan.  The expansion of production facilities in Nebraska created 70 jobs. (how nice for Nebraska)

The next paragraph made me absolutely sick.  The same VP, Keith Sanford, goes on to say “no financial incentives to consolidate the company’s manufacturing in Pottstown were offered by any organization in Montgomery County or the borough.”  90 jobs were eliminated in Pottstown as a direct result.  Nebraska offered Neapco financial incentives to move our jobs out of Pottstown!

Well isn’t that just special!  If somebody would have called Harrisburg there is money for these types of things.  Ed Rendell, when not busy yelling at Leslie Stahl, has gotten involved with numerous other communities to keep jobs in PA! 

Considering that jobs are hard to come by in Pottstown, other than fast food and retail, we should have at least tried to offer them something.  It sounds like they might have been receptive.

We have a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) in this town with one business in it (that I am aware of).  I bet Harrisburg would have come up with money to expand on Queen Street OR build Neapco a new modern facility in our KOZ, which offers tax incentives to businesses!  

We could have kept our 90 jobs and added more jobs.  Instead, Nebraska added 70 more jobs and we lost 90!

Keystone Opportunity Zones are such a breakthrough idea that Business Facilities magazine calls them “the number one economic development strategy in the nation.” By eliminating specific state and local taxes within specific underdeveloped and underutilized areas, communities within Pennsylvania are experiencing economic growth and investment.  

Here is a link to the website where the above quote is from:

http://www.newpa.com/build-your-business/locate/keystone-opportunity-zones

Detroit Looks To Pittsburgh On How To Revitalize Their City

The Detroit City Council paid a visit to Pittsburgh, PA to see first-hand what transformation looks like and to learn from Pittsburgh’s successes.  Unlike Pittsburgh, Detroit is at the beginning of their process.  Pittsburgh is not sitting back on their laurels as city leaders are continuously making positive changes that have made Pittsburgh the poster child for economic revitalization.  Watch a cool video about this tale of two cities.