Member News- September 16, 2020

Berwick Industrial Development Association (B.I.D.A.) Welcomes New Site Director to Luzerne County Community College’s (LCCC) Berwick Center                                                                                                     

Berwick Industrial Development Association (B.I.D.A.), wants to welcome Kelly Foran as the new site director at Luzerne County Community College’s (LCCC) Berwick Center. Kelly started at LCCC in 2019 as the Director of the Watsontown Center, a role she continues to hold. 

Kelly is a Columbia County native, and she received her bachelor’s degree from Temple University and went on for her master’s degree in international education. Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Berwick from coordinating education and community development in Belize to working in higher education at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. 

“B.I.D.A. and the Berwick community is excited to see growth and success through what Kelly can do to grow enrollment during this new normal,” said B.I.D.A. Executive Director Kelly O’Brien. 

Pennsylvania Manufacturers, IRC Clients Report Strong Sales, Jobs & Investment Levels Over First Six Months of 2020

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) reported that statewide Industrial Resource Center (IRC) manufacturing clients realized $252.4 million in new and retained sales and $15.3 million in cost savings during the first six months of 2020 as results of their recent IRC engagements. Those companies also invested $57.4 million in expansion, capital improvements and technology initiatives over the same period while avoiding 2,550 layoffs and adding 439 jobs to their rosters.

Those results were gathered by an independent market research firm during the months of July and August and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NEPIRC and its IRC counterparts across Pennsylvania continuously worked with small and mid-sized manufacturers to address their sales, operations, workforce, technology, supply chain and workplace safety challenges. Services to manufacturers were provided through a blend of on-site and remote training and consulting platforms. In addition to working directly with manufacturers, NEPIRC and the IRCs played a key role in developing and launching the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Manufacturer Call to Action Portal, which accelerated manufacturer entry into critical medical device and consumable safety item supply chains, and the Commonwealth’s B2B PPE Interchange Directory, which connected manufacturers to providers of masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and similar items.

“We are delighted to see that our advisement, training and consultative services are continuing to yield dynamic results for our clients and their employees despite very challenging times,” says Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s President & CEO. “The engagement impacts and outcomes reported by our clients are testament to the importance of the IRC Program to the Commonwealth as manufacturers continue to rebound from COVID-19 and drive our economy forward,” he added.

NEPIRC and its fellow IRCs are funded in part by Manufacturing PA, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. That funding allows the IRCs to work with small and mid-sized manufacturers that otherwise would not have access to consultative services in the latest manufacturing technology, operational improvement, workforce training and long-term business competitiveness disciplines. Independent studies have confirmed that that IRC Program yields a one-year return to the Pennsylvania treasury in excess of 5:1 on its Manufacturing PA support.

According to the latest reports, Pennsylvania is home to more than 15,000 manufacturers, over 90% of which have fewer than 250 employees. Manufacturing constitutes the Commonwealth’s third-largest private employment sector, with more than 537,000 full-time workers.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) reported that statewide Industrial Resource Center (IRC) manufacturing clients realized $252.4 million in new and retained sales and $15.3 million in cost savings during the first six months of 2020 as results of their recent IRC engagements. Your Resource for Profitable Manufacturing Growth – An ISO 9001 Registered Company

Those companies also invested $57.4 million in expansion, capital improvements and technology initiatives over the same period while avoiding 2,550 layoffs and adding 439 jobs to their rosters.

Those results were gathered by an independent market research firm during the months of July and August and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NEPIRC and its IRC counterparts across Pennsylvania continuously worked with small and mid-sized manufacturers to address their sales, operations, workforce, technology, supply chain and workplace safety challenges. Services to manufacturers were provided through a blend of on-site and remote training and consulting platforms. In addition to working directly with manufacturers, NEPIRC and the IRCs played a key role in developing and launching the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Manufacturer Call to Action Portal, which accelerated manufacturer entry into critical medical device and consumable safety item supply chains, and the Commonwealth’s B2B PPE Interchange Directory, which connected manufacturers to providers of masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and similar items.

“We are delighted to see that our advisement, training and consultative services are continuing to yield dynamic results for our clients and their employees despite very challenging times,” says Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s President & CEO. “The engagement impacts and outcomes reported by our clients are testament to the importance of the IRC Program to the Commonwealth as manufacturers continue to rebound from COVID-19 and drive our economy forward,” he added.

NEPIRC and its fellow IRCs are funded in part by Manufacturing PA, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. That funding allows the IRCs to work with small and mid-sized manufacturers that otherwise would not have access to consultative services in the latest manufacturing technology, operational improvement, workforce training and long-term business competitiveness disciplines. Independent studies have confirmed that that IRC Program yields a one-year return to the Pennsylvania treasury in excess of 5:1 on its Manufacturing PA support.

According to the latest reports, Pennsylvania is home to more than 15,000 manufacturers, over 90% of which have fewer than 250 employees. Manufacturing constitutes the Commonwealth’s third-largest private employment sector, with more than 537,000 full-time workers.

 

Court Rules Wolf’s Business Closure, Gathering Limits Unconstitutional

A federal court has ruled that several of Governor Wolf’s orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are unconstitutional. The ruling by U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV pertains to early stay-at-home and business closure orders, as well as limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings. Governor Wolf has vowed to appeal the decision “as far as necessary” and seek a stay to temporarily block the decision.

Per Pittsburgh’s Action News 4, the key passage of the federal court ruling declared:

“(1) that the congregate gathering limits imposed by defendants’ mitigation orders violate the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment; (2) that the stay-at-home and business closure components of defendants’ orders violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) that the business closure components of defendants’ orders violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

It is not clear at this time how the ruling affects orders related to limited capacity for businesses. The ruling also does not impact other safety orders including mask requirements. The Chamber is encouraging businesses to continue to follow existing orders until clarification is provided.

Welcome Martz Technologies

More than 420 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and the region. Increased membership allows the Chamber to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives. The Chamber welcomes Martz Technologies.

Martz Technologies was founded in 2003, and is located in Berwick. They have grown to become a well-respected Control Systems Integration company and was founded on the principle of helping people solve problems. Their team of engineers will listen intently to the problem and then use technology to develop cost-effective solutions. The solutions are then designed to help increase productivity, reduce downtime and reduce total cost of ownership.

To find out more about Martz Technologies, visit their website, and Facebook page

 

 

Veto Override Vote On Governor’s Emergency Declaration Fails

On September 2nd, in the wake of Gov. Tom Wolf’s quiet renewal of the COVID-19 related emergency declaration, the House took up a motion to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would have ended the declaration. That motion failed by a 118-84 vote – 16 votes shy of the two-thirds needed. Nine Democrats voted with Republicans on the attempted override.

House Resolution 836 passed the General Assembly in July. The resolution aimed to revoke the emergency declaration and the Wolf Administration’s gradual county-by-county phase-in plan for re-opening the state’s economy, in favor of re-opening businesses in accordance with federal law and requiring adherence to health and safety guidance issued by the state and the Centers for Disease Control. Lawmakers contended that the General Assembly had the authority to end the state of emergency declaration; while the Wolf Administration countered that the state Constitution only affords the Executive the authority to issue and later terminate a disaster emergency. While legislative leaders filed their case to the Commonwealth Court, the governor appealed to the state Supreme Court – which has a Democratic majority – and the Supreme Court ruled that H.R. 836 didn’t end the emergency order because it was never presented to the governor for a signature.

With the House’s failure to garner the two-thirds vote required, the Governor’s veto has been sustained.

Member News- September 9, 2020

PPL Electric Utilities Hits Reliability Milestone

Smart grid devices, like the one pictured in this installation on the PPL Electric grid in 2017, are helping to improve reliability across the entire PPL grid. These devices work with an automated power restoration system to automatically isolate an outage, reduce the number of affected customers, and reroute power to keep the lights on for more customers. Without such a system, an outage’s effect is far greater and restoration time is extended.

PPL Electric Utilities’ automated smart grid power restoration network has enabled the utility to avoid one million customer outages since 2015.

The milestone, which PPL believes has no equal among U.S. electric utilities, means its 1.4 million customers have collectively avoided 100 million minutes in the dark. That translates to 190 years.

The smart grid network – a combination of state-of-the-art sensors and switches, coupled with advanced software systems – is part of a significant investment made by PPL in the power grid overall over the past decade. Smart grid instantaneously reroutes power in the event of a problem, keeping the outage area contained to the smallest possible footprint.

Smart grid is in place across our grid and continuously works to support strong reliability for all our customers, around the clock.

Hitting one million avoided outages represents our commitment to using technology to benefit customers and provide superior reliability. Click here to see a video on this achievement on behalf of those we serve.

Meuser Recognized for Pro-Business Record

On Wednesday, August 26th, Congressman Dan Meuser was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the Spirit of Enterprise Award. Since 1965, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has rated senators and members of Congress based on the votes they have cast for or against business priorities. While casting pro-growth votes remains essential, the U.S. Chamber now gives lawmakers credit for showing leadership on positive legislation and reaching across the aisle to get things done.

“The Congressman has been a great friend of business during his first term in Congress. We look forward to his continued partnership and know that businesses in Pennsylvania’s 9th District are better off because of him,” said Ryan Gleason, Congressional & Public Affairs Manager at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the Columbia Montour Chamber will have the opportunity to discuss issues with the Congressman at a virtual event scheduled for Tuesday, October 6th at 12:30. Details are available here.