Penn-Northwest Celebrates 31 Years at Annual Lunch

HERMITAGE, Pa. – Penn-Northwest Development Corp. and its president and CEO, Randy Seitz, reported growth results from the past year, and recognized companies and individuals at its annual meeting and luncheon Wednesday.

“This is a way for us to communicate to the community at large that there’s an organization in town that focuses their time and energy each and every day on attracting businesses, creating jobs and investment,” Seitz said. “Hopefully this will turn our community into a place where people can live, work and prosper.”

Penn-Northwest has partnered with 97 companies in Mercer County over the past 31 years, Seitz noted.

Its goal for the past fiscal year, which ended June 30, was to convince 20% of all companies requesting information to participate in a site tour in Mercer County, to persuade at least 24% of those that tour to invest; and to create the opportunity for new jobs in the county.

Over the fiscal year, the agency saw 19% of prospects participate in a site tour and 31% of those chose to invest in Mercer County, Seitz said

The staff worked on 141 new leads, 83 prospect proposals, 16 site visits, and obtained five new companies who wanted to “Make it in Mercer County!” he said, echoing the agency’s marketing tag line.

Jim Grasso, chairman at Penn-Northwest, opened the business portion of the meeting by stating the success of the past five years is due in part to the slogan the staff follows everyday: “Recruit, Renew and Reduce”.

Over the past five years, a deficit of $220,000 has been reduced to $80,000, Grasso added.

Penn-Northwest will relocate its offices to downtown Sharon later this year, sharing space with the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce, which will save the economic development agency $30,000 to$35,000 in annual rent, he continued.

David Grande, a member of the Penn-Northwest board of directors, discussed tloans made during the fiscal year. First was a $271,906 loan to the city of Hermitage for the Community Hope Investment Partnership, or CHIP, building project at LindenPointe, which includes construction of a 12,000-square-foot facility on 4.5 acres

A loan of $250,000 for the machinery and equipment was made to Austin Rubber – which announced plans to move to Mercer County. The company specializes in producing recycled rubber products using a patented, devulcanization process. This project entails expansion of Austin Rubber into IIsco’s Greenville facility, where it will take over a 30,000 square foot space.

New Industry Economic Impact Awards were presented to Austin Rubber, CHIP, Cronimet Corp., Mangrove Jack Marine and Nulife Glass.

Local Industry Economic Impact Awards were presented to Boise Cascade, DALKO Resources, East Coast Chair & Barstool, HomeTown Community Rentals, Joshua’s Haven, Laurel Technical Institute, The Primary Health Network and Sharpsville Container.

“The local companies that won awards were in a position where they needed space, equipment, and more people and we helped them find the solution,” Seitz said. Penn-Northwest helped these companies expand either through low interest financing, tax credits, or grant money.

“The Improvement Movement Team Champion Award is presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty throughout the year for the economic development program in Mercer County,” Seitz said, presenting the award to Les Young, Jack Campbell, Doug Riley and Dave Hock.

Ron McCall presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to his father, Ken Faulconbridge. “He always encourages people to get involved with Penn-Northwest and has helped us receive many new members,” said McCall of his father.

Pictured: Receiving the Legacy Award from Penn-Northwest are Beau Dunkley, Boise Cascade Co.; Leonard Grandy, Dalko Resources; Janene DiSanti, East Coast Chair & Barstool; Terence Whalen, HomeTown Community Rentals; Sherry Masotto Swetz, Joshua’s Haven; Doug Decker, Laurel Technical Institute; Drew Pierce, Primary Health Network; and Michael Lewis, Sharpsville Container Corp. 

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