Printer Friendly

Governor's Response Team in tune with business needs.

Quality hardwoods, skilled workers and investment incentives are only three of the reasons why Pennsylvania is a good place for wood products companies to do business. Helping to assure that Pennsylvania businesses prosper is the Governor's Response Team.

Coordinating the economic development efforts of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council is the Governor's Response Team. The Response Team was established in 1987 by Governor Robert Casey to handle priority economic development projects in the Commonwealth. The Response Team works closely with all state agencies and local development groups to assist with business expansion projects. The unique feature of the response team is the single point of contact it provides businesses undertaking expansion projects.

Pennsylvania has targeted value-added hardwood manufacturing as an economic development priority. Since 1987, more than $80 million in state financial assistance has helped 91 hardwood manufacturing firms undertake expansion projects. This investment has created more than 3,000 new jobs. The Commonwealth has a number of competitive advantages for hardwood manufacturers. These include:

* A Quality Hardwood Resource: Pennsylvania's 16 million acres of commercial forests produce some of the highest quality hardwood in the world. The most abundant species include red and white oak, black cherry, poplar and maple. More than 1,500 sawmills manufacture 1 billion board feet of hardwood lumber annually, more than any other state. A strong sawmill industry insures an available supply of hardwood lumber for value-added manufacturers.

* An Existing Hardwood Manufacturing Base: Pennsylvania is already home to hundreds of firms which produce furniture, cabinets and other hardwood products. Pennsylvania companies annually manufacture $5 billion of quality wood products.

* An Ideal Market Location: Pennsylvania not only offers proximity to important raw materials but also provides easy access to major population centers in the U.S. and Canada. Forty percent of the U.S. population and 60 percent of Canada's live within 500 miles of Pennsylvania.

* A Well Trained and Available Workforce: There are more than 100,000 people currently employed by the forest product industry in Pennsylvania. Existing firms often cite their workers as their greatest resource.

The Response Team works closely with a company throughout the development process. It has the ability to cut through red tape and pull together state assistance. In addition to traditional economic development tasks such as site selection and financial packaging. The team also assists with such things as environmental permits and utility calculations. The role of the Response Team is to help a company navigate through the bureaucracy so that the company's owners can focus their efforts on what they do best -- running their business.

The Response Team gets involved with all aspects of an expansion project. In the initial stages the team coordinates the search for available sites and buildings and provide detailed information on utilities, labor and other issues affecting the site selection decision. For hardwood manufacturers, the team can arrange meetings with state forestry experts familiar with Pennsylvania's hardwood resource. As a project moves forward, the Response Team helps package the Commonwealth's broad array of financial assistance programs to meet the specific needs of the company.

Some of Pennsylvania's financial assistance programs include:

* PIDA: The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority can provide up to $2 million in low interest loans for land and building costs.

* MELF: The Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund can provide up to $500,000 for the purchase of machinery and equipment used to manufacture hardwood products.

* PCLF: The Pennsylvania Capital Loan Fund can provide low interest loans to hardwood manufacturing firms. The maximum loan amount is $200,000.

* BID: The Business Infrastructure Development Program can provide funds for public and private infrastructure improvements.

* CJT: The Customized Job Training program can cover the training costs of companies which create new jobs.

* SUNNY Day Fund: Major projects that create a large number of new jobs and have a total capital investment of more than $10 million may be eligible for low interest loans from the Sunny Day Fund.

Pennsylvania is ready to aggressively assist hardwood companies considering expansion. For more information on Pennsylvania's Hardwood advantages, contact the Governor's Response Team at (717) 787-8199.

Team case studies

Allegheny Particleboard, located in McKean County, is the third largest particleboard plant in North America. The company has been producing high-quality particleboard since 1990. Working with the Governor's Response Team, Allegheny Particleboard received assistance for building construction, machinery and equipment, infrastructure improvements and job training. This investment has helped the company create nearly 200 new jobs.

When Gutchess Hardwood was looking for a site for a state-of-the-art hardwood dry kiln facility, its owners contacted the Governor's Response Team. The Response Team, assisted in finding a site in Westmoreland County and directed them to an $8.5 million tax-exempt bond issue from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority. A state grant was recently awarded to the local municipality to construct a new access road to serve the Gutchess site.

Oak Hill Veneer is the third generation family business owned by the Cummings family in Troy, Pa. Oak Hill Veneer financed an expansion project using low-interest loans from the state's Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund and the Pennsylvania Capital Loan Fund. Lee Cummings, president of Oak Hill Veneer, is a member of the Hardwoods Development Council.

When the Triangle-Pacific cabinet plan in Juniatta county was destroyed by fire in January of this year, the Response Team immediately began working with the company to rebuild the facility. In order to rebuild, the company needed the air quality permit and new water and sewer lines to serve the site. The Response Team worked with the state and local officials to obtain the necessary permits and funds to be provided to extend water and sewer lines to the plant. Triangle Pacific formally announced their plans to build a new state-of-art facility in September. The new plant should be in operation by next March.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:includes related article
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Previous Article:Hardwood Development Council works to expand Pennsylvania industry.
Next Article:State helps wood firms with exporting.

Related Articles
Hardwood Development Council works to expand Pennsylvania industry.
Arizona Association wins Kudos for efforts. (Government Affairs).
Plan needed to fight terrorism: Public health officials are urging state lawmakers to strengthen a public health system that has been in serious need...
My sweet bore: explaining a former beatle's artistic slide.
The DISAM Journal of international security assistance management.
The "Google Pocket Guide".
Upfront quiz show.
Upfront quiz show.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters