Seitz to Leave Penn-Northwest at End of Month

HERMITAGE, Pa. – Randy Seitz, longtime president and CEO of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., will leave the organization at the end of the month.

John Thigpen, president of ILSCO Extrusions Inc. and chairman of Penn-Northwest’s board of directors, confirmed Friday afternoon that the board voted Thursday at its regularly scheduled meeting not to renew Seitz’ employment after his current contract expires June 30.

“We’ve been very happy with Randy’s leadership,” Thigpen said. With his contract ending at the end of the month, the board decided to move in a new direction.

“Change is a natural and healthy way for community-based organizations to maintain momentum toward achieving their goals,” he said. 

Seitz said the board’s decision did not come as a surprise to him. “Eight to 10 years is a good time for both the agency and the executive to explore new opportunities,” he said. He was hired by Penn-Northwest in 2012.

Over the past eight years, the Mercer County economic development entity assisted 30 companies with relocating to the area, according to a release announcing the board’s decision. 

“The organization is very grateful for the significant contributions that Randy has made to bring about favorable economic change for Mercer County during his tenure,” Thigpen said in the release. “He introduced a new board structure and an annual program of work at Penn-Northwest that will live on well beyond his departure; he has worked very hard to make the corporation the best it can be and he is leaving the corporation in a strong position.”

He also emphasized that Seitz’s relationship with the board remains good and he has agreed to provide transition services for a period corresponding with the search for his successor.   

“It has been a pleasure working with the board and staff at Penn-Northwest. This is a fantastic community with many great advantages for companies looking to expand and grow their operations,” Seitz said in the statement. “I am excited to begin the new chapter in my career, but will be cheering enthusiastically for your success.”

In a subsequent email, Seitz said he has determined his next move but declined to say what it would be.

Among the things he said he is most proud of during his time at Penn-Northeast are restructuring its board “to be a more active committee-driven organization and getting more leaders directly involved in economic development,” changing Penn-Northwest so it is a performance-based organization, operating with a program of work that lets staff focus on results and convincing local community foundations to support economic development. 

Over the past eight years, Penn-Northwest generated 2,102 new leads, sent out 533 prospect proposals and hosted 109 site tours, Seitz said. “In addition, the efficiency of the program of work allowed for staff to assist over 215 local companies with expansions adding 1,061 new jobs and retaining 3,178 jobs to our community that might have been at risk,” he said. 

Companies assisted included Boise Cascade, Astralloy, Ellwood City Forge Group, Moretto Plastics, Pocono Pro Foods, GE Transportation Re-work Facility and Precision Castparts Corp., “just to name a few,” he said. He particularly enjoyed working with NLMK USA, as well as to keep the Mercer State Correctional Institution and the Polk State Center open.  

A search committee has already begun work with a goal of filling the position in 60 to 90 days.

Penn-Northwest recently moved from downtown Sharon to LindenPointe Innovative Business Campus, providing “yet another new start and excitement that should prove helpful in recruiting its next leader,” according to the release. 

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber occasionally had the opportunity to work with Seitz and his staff on economic development projects, “supporting each other’s needs and working toward success,” said Sarah Boyarko, chief operating officer and senior vice president for economic development with the chamber. 

“We wish him well with his next opportunity,” she said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.