Impact Awards Honor Growth in Lawrence County

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce presented its 2018 Economic Development Impact Awards Friday, recognizing achievements in economic development and contributions to the community.

The event bestowed five economic development awards as well as two new awards.

RAR Engineering Group received the Community Development Champion Award for “volunteered time and resources to economic development,” said Linda Nitch, chamber director of economic development. RAR focuses on intuitive design and personalized service for their clients.

The new Transforming Lives Award was given to Jennifer Price, a restaurant trades instructor at the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center. Price has loved cooking since a very young age, she said, and owned her own taco truck in the past. As her skills improved and she gained more experience, she became an instructor and now inspires and trains her students to be independent and efficient chefs, she said.

“I’ve made a positive impact on the students, for sure,” Price said. “You’ve got to put your mind to it. You can get any job you want in the restaurant field if you’re in my class, and you pay close attention, and you’re having fun. It’s all about having fun with it.”

Economic development award winners included EDCOM and Fresh Marketplace at New Wilmington Center. Michael Hando, director of operations, and Matt Denzine, director of manufacturing engineering, accepted the award for New York Blower. Jon Natale, senior operations supervisor, accepted the award for Pennsylvania American Water. The award for UPMC Jameson and UPMC Horizon was accepted by the hospitals’ president, Don Owrey. President Nicholas Neupauer accepted the award on behalf of Butler County Community College at Lawrence Crossing.

“The investment and growth of these six businesses impact the lives of over 1,700 employees and their families,” Nitch said. “Additionally, the impact of the Fresh Market and opportunities have a positive effect on the tourism and education. We are proud of the contributions made by all of our honorees.”

Michael Morgus, president of Quality Steels and Ellwood National Steel, kicked off the luncheon with remarks about the recent developments in Lawrence County. Ellwood Quality Steels is constructing a $60 million, 100,000 square foot facility, and will install five furnaces to remelt material produced at its adjacent plant.

This will improve quality and meet the current demands of the industry, Morgus said. The company is in the process of hiring 25 employees and hopes to hire as many as 50 n the coming years, he said.

Keynote speaker was Augustine Faucher, chief economist of the PNC Financial Services Group, who addressed growth and some temporary declines in the U.S and local economies.

According to Faucher, the country is in the midst of the second longest economic expansion in history. He also touched on the tough job market and low unemployment rates, making it harder for employers to find the workers that they need.

Business investment growth is expected nationally and regionally, he said. In Lawrence County specifically, the acceleration of growth in goods-producing industries has benefited the local economy, he said.

The CEO of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Alex McCoy, hinted at upcoming developments including a new leadership program, Leadership Lawrence County. One billion dollars is invested in multiple upcoming projects and partnerships are in the works to create a countywide vision for the future, he said.

McCoy also emphasized the importance of honoring local businesses that have done so much good in the community.

“By being here, they are creating jobs for citizens and improving the quality of life. We like to remind the community through awards like these of the great things that happen here every day,” he said. “It’s a great sign that we have a positive local business climate when our businesses reinvest in our community. Many of these projects could have gone somewhere else, but they choose to grow here in Lawrence County.”

Pictured: The Lawrence County Regional Chamber honors businesses at a recognition event Friday.

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