You Just Never Know

Photo courtesy of North Shore Railroad/Joe Kantz

From Joe Kantz/North Shore Railroad

A few months ago, I received an email that appeared to be an invitation to a meeting at the White House from President Trump’s Administration. My first thought was “this must be a scam.”

The next day, I received a phone call from someone at the White House wanting to make sure I received the email. I assured them I did, and that I was excited to join them for this meeting.

Now, to be clear, I received this email in my role as an elected County Commissioner. The President’s team had invited all the County Commissioners from Pennsylvania to attend. This was my first time to our Nation’s White House, and after a quick tour of this historic “home” we headed to the Eisenhower Building for an all-day meeting. We were introduced to members of various departments of the federal government and met a few more noteworthy folks.

I relay this story – not to brag – but merely to remind us, we never know where the next phone call may come from – or lead us.

Now, on to a business example: I recently played in a golf tournament. I really didn’t feel like playing. I had a lot of work to do in the office and customers to visit, but I committed to play, so I did. While at this particular event, I ran into a man, whom I hadn’t see in seven years. A few weeks later, one of his customers called me. The gentleman told me of a project he and my golf buddy were working on, and how this new project could easily turn into unit trains of business for North Shore Railroad.

Resultant of my visit to the White House, I received contacts for many departments in the federal government who can now be a point of contact for me and my constituents. I had the opportunity to share real life experiences on certain issues that were discussed, and I also had the opportunity to talk to key people in the Administration about items related to railroads.

My visit to Washington, D.C. resulted in good things for my county, and this golf tournament resulted in good things for my company.

So, it is my hope that after reading this, you are encouraged to take that opportunity that may be out of your comfort zone. Your next new contact or customer may come from it. You just never know.

Energy Savings Benefit the Bottom Line and Public Health

Al Neuner, Vice President of Facilities Operations for Geisinger, explains the operation of one of the numerous systems used to generate electricity at the Danville campus.

Improving energy efficiencies at your home and business will not only save you money, but also result in a healthier environment. Reducing the demand for traditional power generation lowers emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury, with tangible health benefits.

Opportunities to improve efficiencies can be as simple as replacing older lighting with LED bulbs to generating electricity on-site at a higher efficiency.

The Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy recently worked with Geisinger to host a tour of the Danville hospital’s campus to highlight ways companies can become more energy efficient. Through a variety of efforts, Geisinger has lowered its utility costs system-wide about $10 million annually. Utility expenses in 2016 with eight hospitals were lower than in 2010 with four hospitals. The Danville campus has a EPA Energy Star rating of 100%. The benefits of these energy efficiencies are discussed by Geisinger Vice President of Facilities Operations Al Neuner in the short YouTube video below.

A number of the efficiency improvements at Geisinger have been partially funded through Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency law, Act 129. The legislation requires each of the seven Pennsylvania electric distribution companies to reduce energy demand and consumption within its service territory. Utilities meet Act 129 targets by contracting with third party providers to implement programs. Ideas for improving efficiencies at your home or business are available at energystar.gov.

SEDA-COG Offers Limited-Time, Ultra-Low Interest Loans for Businesses

From SEDA-COG

For a limited time, a 2% fixed interest rate is being offered for Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loans, which are offered through SEDA-COG.

Those interested should contact SEDA-COG (contact info is below) before Nov. 15, as applications need to be received by Dec. 31 to get this excellent rate locked in.

The PIDA board approved this interest rate incentive to encourage businesses to make investments and grow jobs in Pennsylvania. For more information about PIDA and eligibility, click here.

Then, starting on Jan. 1, 2018, interest rates will be set quarterly on Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1 of each year using the current 10-year U.S. Treasury rate as an index benchmark, as follows:

  1. Real Estate Loans: The borrowers will have four options:a. For term loans with a regular amortization, a fixed interest rate for the full term of the loan, set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point, plus 100 basis points.

    b. For term loans with a regular amortization, a fixed interest rate for the first seven years of the loan term, set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point. After the initial seven-year period, the rate will automatically reset to the then-current 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point. The reset rate is limited to a 200 basis point increase/decrease.

    c. For 10-year term loans with a 20-year amortization period, a fixed interest rate for the full term of the loan, set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point, plus 100 basis points.

    d. For 10-year term loans with a 20-year amortization period, a fixed interest rate for the first five years of the loan term, set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point. After the initial 5-year period, the rate will automatically reset to the then-current 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point. The reset rate is limited to a 200 basis point increase/decrease.
     

  1. Equipment Loans: A fixed interest rate for the full term of the loan, set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point, plus 100 basis points.
  1. Working Capital and Account Receivable Lines of Credit: A fixed interest rate for the 12-month term of the credit line, set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, rounded to the closest quarter point, plus 100 basis points.
  1. Pollution Prevention Assistance and Energy Efficiency Loans: A fixed interest rate of 2% for the full term of the loan. 

To take advantage of this ultra-low interest loan, contact SEDA-COG at 570-524-4491 or email one of its senior relationship managers directly!

John Reichard, Senior Relationship Manager II

Ray Haden, Senior Relationship Manager I

The Columbia Montour Chamber also offers its own ongoing low interest loan program, which allows qualified borrows to take out between $5-20K for no longer than five years. 

Williams Receives Final Key Permits for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project

From Williams

Thanks to the continued and dedicated efforts of several key partners, including those of the Columbia Montour Chamber, after a multiyear regulatory process, Williams has received key permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Atlantic Sunrise project.

This critical energy infrastructure project — an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline — will connect abundant Marcellus gas to consumers in the U.S. and is estimated to support 8,000 jobs and inject a $1.6 billion economic impact in the project area during construction, including a projected economic impact of $85.5 million in Columbia County and surrounding areas alone. Williams is also encouraging workers that come into the local area from outside of it to work on the project to buy local through a local app being developed that will feature local businesses, which can be featured on the app at no charge just by registering

Williams received the Chapter 105 (Water Obstruction and Encroachment) and Chapter 102 (Erosion and Sediment Control) permits from DEP on Aug. 30 and the Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Aug. 29. 

The company will immediately commence the process of requesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Notice to Proceed for all remaining construction of Atlantic Sunrise, with a target of beginning greenfield pipeline construction in Pennsylvania this fall.

Williams committed to moving forward with construction in strict adherence with our permits in a manner that protects safety and minimizes impacts to communities and the environment. 

In addition to these key federal and state permits, Williams also received FERC approval to place a portion of the project into service early. Accordingly, it expects to begin partial service today, Sept. 1, providing 400,000 dth/day of firm transportation service on Transco’s mainline facilities to various delivery points. The partial service milestone is the result of recently completed modifications to existing Transco facilities in Virginia and Maryland.

Williams is pleased to have reached these important milestones to move forward with Atlantic Sunrise. This vital project will leverage existing infrastructure to deliver economic growth and expand access to affordable Pennsylvania-produced clean-burning natural gas, to support thousands of manufacturing jobs, and improve the quality of life for all residents of the Commonwealth.

Everyone on the Atlantic Sunrise team and at Williams thanks all those that have provided ongoing support, including reaching out to Gov. Wolf, and for those individuals’ tireless efforts to support the growth of American energy, American jobs and a brighter economic future for Pennsylvania.

Members Learn About the Chamber’s Various Offerings and Benefits

Members enjoyed a hearty lunch from Berrigan’s Subs and learned about all of the various benefits available to them as Chamber members at the Member Orientation on Thursday, Aug. 24, held at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Bloomsburg (pictured) and sponsored by U.S. Gypsum, Kawneer and Bloomsburg University

 

A presentation detailed all of the various opportunities for members and/or their organizations to:

– Increase their business’ exposure
– Build business relationships through networking events
– Learn about various issues of consequence to the business community through the various educational programs offered by the Chamber
– Utilize the Chamber’s many informational resources to assist them in various aspects of their business
– Potentially decrease costs and save money through the Chamber’s affinity programs through ChamberChoice, including the Penn National business insurance program and the OnDemand Energy program
– Use the Chamber to advocate for or against a specific policy, ordinance or piece of legislation that could potentially impact their business, either positively or negatively

If you weren’t able to make it to the event, but would be interested in hearing a customized version of the presentation and learning about additional ways the Chamber can benefit your business that you may not already be aware of, please contact Matt Beltz at 570-784-2522 or by email to schedule a meeting.