Bank’s ‘Emerald Tower’ Tallest Building in Hermitage

HERMITAGE, Pa. — With its 80-foot-tall office building, operations center, education center and three branch offices within this city, First National Bank of Pennsylvania is, with 650 workinghere, its largest employer.

Another 75 work out of its other offices in Mercer County. “These are our roots,” says the president of the northwest region of the bank, Frank R. Krieder. Krieder, a graduate of Penn State University, has been a banker 27 years, the last 17 at First National Bank.

The bank is the largest subsidiary of F.N.B. Corp., which has $16.1 billion in assets and more than 3,000 employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The four First National Bank buildings within city limits, what Krieder calls “our total professional campus,” occupy 240,000 square feet. One of those buildings is the Gurgovits Education Center, named in honor of the nonexecutive chairman of the F.N.B. board, Stephen J. Gurgovits, who was instrumental in its growth and expansion.

The F.N.B. operations center, three-quarters of a mile east on East State Street, is easily seen from the sixth floor of the “Emerald Tower,” One FNB Blvd., at the intersection of state Route 18 and U.S. 62. The building that houses operations is the nerve center that connects the 289 branches of the bank in four states and processes their transactions.

The bank, which boasts the 10th oldest national charter, was founded in Greenville in 1864. President Abraham Lincoln’s signature is on the document.

Warren Glass & Paint Co., Warren, Ohio, provided the 1,100 panes of glass in The Emerald Tower, so named because of their greenish tint. The president of Warren Glass, Bill Casey, is proud that his workers installed the glass between Nov. 1, 1996, and the end of February 1997 “in the cold of winter.”

The largest panes, on the first floor, weigh 450 pounds each and it took six men to install each one, Casey says.

The design of the building is such that the precast concrete and the glass – the exterior panes are one inch thick – support the building. A firm in West Middlesex provided the concrete.

The art inside the building was furnished and framed by Framing Loft Inc. in Hermitage, says Jennifer Reel, senior vice president of corporate communications, and the furniture was bought from Hicks Office Plus, also in Hermitage. Masterpiece Painting Co., Warren, Ohio, hung the wallpaper and painted the interior.

The Emerald Tower itself “was built
on the site of an old abandoned gas station,” Krieder says, opening its doors in early 1997.

While the windows, manufactured by PPG Industries, look a light green, the tint is “azure light,” Casey says, azure meaning blue. Between the thicker panes that faces outside and the thinner panes inside is a thin layer of argon, an inert colorless gas.

For most of its history under the name First National Bank of Greenville, it was a small community bank that served Mercer County. Its success led it to expand beyond the county. When in 1992 it acquired First National Bank of Pennsylvania, headquartered in Erie, the bank adopted that name.

The bank gives back to the Hermitage community by employees volunteering their time in behalf of the Salvation Army, Rotary, Kiwanis, United Way and American Cancer Society. “We’re well-represented,” Krieder says, and then mentions senior officers who sit on the boards of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and Penn-Northwest Development Corp.

A philanthropic effort Krieder especially enjoys is “Denim Day,” held once a month. For $5, an employee “pays for the right to wear blue jeans to work,” the regional president explains, “and all proceeds are donated to a local [nonprofit] organization.”

Four months of the year, a regional president chooses the cause, Krieder says, the other eight the employees designate where the proceeds will be directed.

Krieder always pays his $5, he says, and wears blue jeans himself unless he has an important meeting with a customer where decorum dictates the banker’s uniform. When customers passing by see him in jeans, he says, “It spurs conversation” and affords him the opportunity to tell about the employees’ civic involvement.

“They [customers] walk away seeing it as a good thing,” Krieder says.

PICTURED: Frank R. Krieder oversees the bank’s northwest region.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.