Recently members of the Pennsylvania House Legislative Manufacturing Caucus toured Penn United Technologies in Cabot as part of a continuing effort to understand the challenges faced by Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry.
“Our goal is to visit manufacturing facilities in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Eli Evankovich (R-Westmoreland/Armstrong), who is co-chair of the caucus. “That is the only way we can really learn what it is going to take for these companies to remain competitive in a difficult economy and create badly-needed jobs. Our discussions with company officials have truly been eye-opening and I am confident they will lead to legislative solutions in the near future.”
Penn United Technologies Inc. was founded in 1971 by three machinists who opened a small tool-and-die shop in Saxonburg. Since then the company has grown into a major contributor to the local economy, manufacturing high precision metal products for a variety of industries worldwide, including the energy, medical, defense and aerospace, and electronics industries. Penn United employs more than 550 people.
“Penn United is one of our area’s key manufacturers and employers,” said Dave Frengel, Penn United’s retiring director of government affairs. “We are actively involved in global commerce with exports comprising almost 25 percent of our business.”
During a meeting with caucus members that took place before the tour, company officials raised several concerns. They said the state’s corporate tax rate is too high and the permitting process is too expensive and time-consuming, making complex business decisions difficult. They also told lawmakers the playing field in the global marketplace, where government-subsidized foreign companies often have an advantage, needs to be leveled.
“We can have trade that benefits everyone,” said Chris Merola, Penn United’s new director of government affairs. “Only a free and fair market can produce the economic growth that we need – now more than ever.”
“Penn United is honored to host this meeting and very pleased that our state legislators realize that manufacturing is important enough for them to form this caucus,” said Bill Jones, Penn United president.
Other caucus members who participated in the tour included Reps. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler), Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), William Kortz (D-Allegheny), Greg Lucas (R-Erie/Crawford), Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong), Brad Roae (R-Crawford), Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington) and Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield). Neil Convery, district office manager for Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler), also attended.
Additional tours of other Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities are being planned for the coming months.
NFIB thanks Andy Briggs, Communications Specialist for Rep. Eli Evankovich, for assistance in providing information for this report