In 2011, the 10-county Pittsburgh region landed 286 economic development wins – 242 as corporate expansions or new facilities, 44 as real estate deals. That translates to 11,440 new and 5,620 retained jobs, as well as capital investment of $1.5 billion. You can read more about this in my column in this week’s Pittsburgh Business Times. Download a copy of it here, read it online (with subscription) at Pittsburgh Business Times, or pick up the March 16-22 edition on a newsstand.
Underscoring our emerging role as the new center of American energy, there were 79 energy-related wins, including new business or expansions by extracting companies and those in the natural gas supply chain of turbines, pumps and electrical components, as well as wind-energy developers. The growth of financial and business services contributed to these gains, too.
Advanced manufacturing also did well in 2011, as the national trade journal Industry Week recently noted.
You can read my column here, our blog post about our “Wins” day here, our detailed news release with links to growth in individual sectors here, and catch comments about it from our CEO, Dennis Yablonsky, here.
Shell announced today that it has signed a site option agreement to build a petrochemical plant in Beaver County to process natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. The facility will include a “world-scale” ethane cracker, a facility that breaks down large molecules from natural gas into smaller ones. The location is in Potter and Center Townships near Monaca.
The facility is expected to generate thousands of construction jobs and employ hundreds of people full-time after completion. Shell announced in June 2011 that it was looking to build the plant somewhere in the Appalachian natural gas footprint, but until today it was not known if that plant would be located in Ohio, West Virginia or elsewhere.
Shell said in a statement that it looked at various factors to select the preferred site, including good access to liquids rich natural gas resources, water, road and rail transportation infrastructure, power grids, economics, and sufficient acreage to accommodate facilities for a world scale petrochemical complex and potential future expansions.
“This project is the natural next step in the development of the market for natural gas in our region, ensuring that more of the economic benefits of this rich natural resource remain here for our residents and businesses,” Yablonsky said. “But today’s announcement is just the first step; we must continue to work together to make this proposed business investment happen.” Check out the YouTube link below for more from Yablonsky on this announcement.
Dan Carlson, Shell’s General Manager, New Business Development, called the agreement an important step for the project. “We look forward to working with the communities in Pennsylvania, and gas producers across Appalachia, as we continue our efforts to develop a petrochemical complex,” Carlson said.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said he and key cabinet members has been working with Shell officials for many months to reach this point. “Shell now recognizes what we already knew; Pennsylvania is ideal for this project,” Corbett said. “Not only do we sit atop the richest known reserves of natural gas in the world, but we have a world class workforce, an expansive transportation network including rail, roads and waterways, excellent education institutions and a thriving quality of life here in the Pittsburgh region.”
Tony Amadio, chairman of the Beaver County Board of Commissioners, said he welcomes the opportunity this project represents for his county and the broader region. “We recognize that today’s announcement is just beginning the process of turning a plan into reality,” Amadio said. “We look forward to working together with our federal and state officials and municipal and school district leaders to bring this investment home to Beaver County in the months to come.”
Shell said it will now pursue additional environmental analysis of the site, further engineering design studies, assessment of the local ethane supply and continued evaluation of the economic viability of the project.
In addition to an ethane cracker, Shell is also considering polyethylene (PE) and mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) units to help meet increasing demands in the North American market. Much of the PE and MEG production would be used by industries in the northeast.
Click here to read a press release from the Allegheny Conference and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance about the announcement.
Thanks to continued strength across a diverse economy, the Pittsburgh region landed 286 economic development deals in 2011, pushing ahead of its performance in the previous year and maintaining its momentum toward pre-recession levels of business activity.
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a partnership of 50-plus private and public sector leaders and economic development professionals from 10 southwestern Pennsylvania counties, each year collects data on announced investment and development projects, or “wins.” The 286 wins of 2011 represent nearly $1.5 billion in capital investment and are expected to create 11,440 new jobs. The number reflects an increase over the 272 projects logged in 2010, and approaches the 290 wins reported, pre-recession, in 2008.
“Across all 10 counties of the region and all of our five key industry sectors, companies are expanding and growing. Deals increased in the region – an important indicator of investors’ confidence,” said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its Affiliates, which include the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, or PRA. “The region is both attracting and retaining investment because of its stability. Existing businesses in the region are expanding – accounting for the majority of the deals in 2011, but attraction projects also increased over the past year to 58, up from 47 in 2010. This is the highest number recorded since we started tracking wins five years ago. Companies are not only expanding existing operations here, but they’re opening new facilities.”
Cutting across a number of industries, energy – one of the region’s key economic drivers – accounted for a total of 79 wins. These reinforce the depth of the region’s assets in traditional and renewable energy resources, energy supply chain and energy conservation. During 2011, there were 39 investments announced by companies in the natural resources industry – companies involved in the extraction of coal and natural gas, which includes the Marcellus Shale gas play. This is an increase from 32 investments in 2010, 25 in 2009 and only 11 in 2008.
Bill Adams, senior international economist with PNC, discusses the latest developments related to the ongoing EuroZone crisis and Greek debt deal. Adams gives the Greek debt deal a C+, stating that it will keep Greece out of the headlines, but only perhaps for the time being. As for the EuroZone, Adams forecasts moderate recession for Europe in 2012, with a predicted .5 point GDP decline. But there’s positive news for the U.S., as PNC predicts America’s economy will continue on a solid expansionary path.
Nationwide, shale gas may reduce manufacturing costs by a staggering $11.6 billion by 2025. This was one of the most talked about findings from a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the impact of shale gas on U.S. manufacturing. Bob McCutcheon , managing partner of the PwC in Pittsburgh discusses the some of the studies other finding and how expansions in the chemicals, metals and industrial manufacturing industries are being fueling by the nation’s abundant supply of natural gas.
The Center for Energy at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering received a $22 million grant from the R.K. Mellon Foundation. Gerald Holder, dean of the Swanson School, discusses how this remarkable gift will be used by the University to expand energy materials and grid research and continue to position Pittsburgh as the center of innovation in American energy.
“Our Region’s Business” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett joined dozens of community leaders this morning at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to celebrate Pittsburgh’s designation as a “Best of the World” place to visit in 2012 by National Geographic Traveler magazine. The Governor; Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; Greg Babe, vice chair of the Allegheny Conference; and Doris Carson-Williams, chair of VisitPittsburgh announced the formation of the “Best of the World Pittsburgh Partnership,” an initiative to spread the word about the world-class lineup of premieres, openings, conferences and conventions taking place in our region this year.
To hear what Governor Corbett has to say about the initiative, see the video below.
The kick-off coincides with the U.S. premiere tonight of A Streetcar Named Desire by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. It is the first staging in this country outside New York and San Francisco of a work by John Neumeier, director of The Hamburg Ballet. It also comes on the eve of Governor Corbett’s first international business mission as governor. The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and VisitPittsburgh will be traveling with him to encourage, respectively, business investment and tourism in our region.
Beyond spreading the word globally, the “Best of the World” initiative is targeting visitors to our region. Pittsburgh is hosting several national and international conferences this year that will bring thousands of young and diverse people here, including the National Society of Black Engineers at the end of this month, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May, and the One Young World Summit in October. We plan to greet these visitors with signage in the convention center, at the airport and even on the plane, through an in-flight video that will air on Delta throughout May, and a special Pittsburgh supplement that will run worldwide in the June issue of Delta’s in-flight magazine, Sky. The goal is to get a least a few of the people exposed to these message to consider returning here to go to college, look for a job or invest in a business.
In addition to these conferences, Allegheny County is hosting the National Association of Counties this summer, which will bring to Pittsburgh more than 3,000 officials from counties across the country. It’s yet another opportunity to position our region as a thought-leader in the area of public-private partnership and an emerging center of innovation in industry and public policy.
Please help us spread the word about why the Pittsburgh region truly is among the best of the world. You can link to our community splash page from your own website and if you’d like a banner ad or bug to use on marketing collateral, please contact sgaal AT alleghenyconference DOT org.
Pittsburgh’s arts and cultural organizations and businesses are pulling together with the city, county and state to focus attention on what’s “world best” about Pittsburgh in 2012. The initiative – dubbed the “Best of the World Pittsburgh Partnership” – aims to increase visits and economic investments to the region by leveraging attention brought by a National Geographic Traveler article that named Pittsburgh among the world’s 20 must-see places to visit in 2012.
The initiative begins in March and runs through October, as the region welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world for a series of conferences, events and programs highlighting innovation in the arts and industry. Among this year’s major conventions are the National Society of Black Engineers (March 28 – April 1), the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (May 13 – 18), National Association of Counties (July 13 – 17) and the One Young World Summit (October 18 – 22). The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and VisitPittsburgh are collaborating as part of the partnership to encourage attendees to consider seeking career or business investment opportunities in the region.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett kicked off the campaign in a community event March 9 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center by recognizing the unique collaboration as he prepares for first international business mission as governor. He will lead a delegation of Pennsylvania business leaders to France and Germany to help businesses abroad imagine their opportunity here. France and Germany combined represent the state’s fourth largest export market, and leading in foreign direct investors in the state.
“The Commonwealth in general and Pittsburgh in particular deliver a high quality of life and enormous economic opportunity,” Corbett said. On his trip he will emphasize Pittsburgh and the state’s strengths in advanced manufacturing, financial and business services, health care and life sciences, information and communications technology, with a special focus on and energy.
Greg Babe, vice chairman of the Allegheny Conference and president and CEO of Bayer Corporation USA, noted that the Pittsburgh region consistently ranks in the top 10 in business expansions and relocations. “Through this new initiative we are encouraging business leaders and talented professionals coming to Pittsburgh this year to consider our region as a place with plentiful – and outstanding – opportunities for careers and business investment,” Babe said.
Doris Carson Williams, chairman of the board of VisitPittsburgh and president of the African American Chamber of Commerce, said VisitPittsburgh will leverage its presence inside the convention center to highlight the National Geographic listing and encourage visitors to consider Pittsburgh as a place to live and invest.
“Each year, as many as 10 million people visit, attend a convention, conference or meeting here,” she said. “This partnership ‘Best of the World Pittsburgh Partnership’ will present the region in the best possible light, as well as advance the region’s economic development competitiveness and help to fill its workforce pipeline with highly talented and skilled individuals.”
The “Best of the World” effort will also reach out worldwide, including placement of a five-minute in-flight video showcasing the Pittsburgh region to Delta Air Lines’ passengers, beginning in May. Also, a special Pittsburgh region report will be published in the June issue of Delta’s in-flight magazine, Sky. The region will be featured in fDi in the fall. In addition, Pittsburgh will be showcased as “Best of the World” during press tours of the city with national and international journalists in conjunction with the opening of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes in May.