From the Chairman of the Board
Michael J. Baxter, Chairman
Michael J. Baxter, Chairman
Before I begin my comments on the state of the PMEDC, I want to thank my predecessor, Chuck Hannig of Spread Eagle Development Corporation. Chuck spent 17 years helping to lead the organization, the last two as board chairman, and played a significant role in improving Monroe County’s economic position.
Though his departure may have surprised a few people, it’s important to note that Chuck isn’t leaving economic development behind. He is merely spearheading the battle on a new front, continuing to focus on the development of Northampton Community College’s Monroe Campus.
NCC Monroe will play a key role in improving the area’s future economic development by providing important programs that prepare Monroe County’s students for the jobs of the future. On behalf of our staff and board of directors, I thank Chuck for his many years of service and support.
I would also like to recognize the distinguished service of outgoing board member, Karl Weiler of Weiler Corporation. Mr. Weiler has been a board member since 1996 and acted as the liaison between PMEDC and the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport Authority. He represented the interest of business and industry and his dedicated service is appreciated by the board and staff.
We’ve also added two new members to our Board of Directors. Mark Sincavage of S.I.D.E. Corporation and George Strunk of Dein Properties. They both bring to the table a wealth of experience in local and regional business economic development issues and a willingness to work that will well serve PMEDC as the organization evolves to tackle new challenges facing our local economy.
And challenges we have had, but we’re coming out of the box strong in 2011. The former Liz Claiborne distribution facility in Pocono Mountains Corporate Center South was recently purchased by Silagi Development and they are already negotiating with potential tenants, who will bring jobs back to our community.
We’ve also improved our technology. As part of an overhaul of our Web site, PMEDC.com, we developed the area’s first locally focused mobile broadband app, optimizing both our Web site and – more importantly – our fully searchable industrial and office property database for easy smartphone viewing. Please visit us online with your smartphone and add us to your app menu.
We’re also making progress on regulatory issues. You may be interested to learn that it isn’t necessarily the content of the regulation that causes the greatest problems. Rather, it is the extended timelines and escalating expenses associated with regulatory delays.
Last year, our board of directors approved Monroe Citizens Against Regulatory Excess, or Monroe CARE as an ad-hoc committee of Pocono Mountains Industries. Its first act was development of the Monroe Action Plan, or MAP, to clearly state its positions and set out its path to help enact change.
Monroe CARE made significant inroads in its first year, holding meetings with everyone from newly elected Governor Tom Corbett, to bureaucrats from the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, to local municipal officials. The committee wants to bring to light problems in the regulatory review process and work with legislators and the aforementioned state agencies to improve regulatory efficiency and timelines, improvements that will lead to more job creation here at home.
The group is interacting with its membership, the public, and interested stakeholders via its Web site, MonroeCARE.org. We invite you to become a member of Monroe CARE and to join us in our mission to bring more businesses, employers and jobs to Monroe County.
We would also like to announce Pocono Mountains Industries, a key part of PMEDC’s organizational mix, revised its bylaws in 2010, opening up the opportunity for public and business memberships. This change ensures that PMI can continue to serve as the conduit for key funding initiatives that improve our regional economy.
PMI, and its sister organizations, the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority and PMIPA, facilitate a number of funding initiatives, including grant, loan, and infrastructure improvement programs, along with the Local Share Account provided by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing and Gaming Act.
This is your opportunity to join in supporting Monroe County’s economic development plan and add your voice to hundreds of others seeking to bring new business and new jobs to the area, improving the business climate and quality of life for all of us. You can visit the membership section of our Website at PMEDC.com to learn more and to select a membership level that fits your organizational goals.
I look forward to joining with our staff, board of directors, and our new members to make this a successful and profitable new year.
Michael J. Baxter