Pittsburgh’s dynamic neighbor to the east, Cambria County, continues to expand opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship and increase employment. Here are some highlights of recent activity seen there.
Center for Metal Arts at Cambria Ironworks
A forging and blacksmithing portion of the former Bethlehem Steel site in Johnstown will begin its transformation into the Center for Metal Arts at Cambria Ironworks in 2018, under the leadership of noted forging expert Patrick J. Quinn. Quinn will relocate his current Center for Metal Arts from New York State to Johnstown later this year. Additional funding, employment and attention are anticipated to be drawn to Johnstown by the new facility. The project presents a strong component of community development by bringing a high-quality educational resource in heritage-related metalworking arts. It also will offer economically accessible technical and skills-based training to the regional community. Planners expect that the Center for Metal Arts will attract significant media attention due to its unusual mix of arts, heritage and reindustrialization.
Lemieux Treehouse Project
In January, the Mario Lemieux Foundation and Small Town Hope, Inc., a small non-profit located in northern Cambria County, announced plans for an 800-square-foot Treehouse, a collaborative project designed to make a positive impact on the health of children living within rural communities. The Treehouse – a standalone structure modeled after the Austin’s Playrooms placed in a number of regional hospitals – will be built starting in this spring and completed by the end of summer. Small Town Hope founder and CEO Mandi Paronish said the goal is to provide free health-related programs and services for families at the Treehouse year-round. For more information, visit www.smalltownhope.org.
Convergys Customer Contact Center
Last April, Convergys Corporation announced plans for a new customer management contact center in Johnstown, citing the area’s strong workforce. The center, which handles service calls for Intuit’s flagship QuickBooks software, has since hired more than 200 people. Both Convergys and Intuit are dedicated to helping improve the communities they operate in and will be working with community leaders on making a positive local impact.
CTC and Enterprise Ventures Corporation Add Quality Standards
Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) and its affiliate Enterprise Ventures Corporation (EVC) recently earned re-certification under the AS9100D:2016 Quality Management System, which applies to the design, manufacture, production, assembly and test of aerospace-related products. Companies maintain certification through rigorous and comprehensive audits by a third-party certifying body to ensure compliance with the standard. The CTC and EVC certification process was conducted by ABS Quality Evaluations, Inc. The AS9100 standard supplements the ISO 9001 requirements with conditions needed for work with the Department of Defense, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Chamber Hires New CEO
The Cambria Regional Chamber (formerly the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce) has a new president/CEO, new name, new look and an increased focus on regional collaboration.
Amy Bradley, the newly appointed President and CEO of the Cambria Regional Chamber, began her tenure in March of 2018. Prior to the Chamber, Bradley served as Director of Marketing Communications and Public Affairs for the Conemaugh Health System, the largest health system between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg with three community hospitals in northern Cambria, southern Somerset and Blair County and a large tertiary care medical center in Johnstown. In this role, Bradley received numerous regional, state and national awards, including four Emmy nominations by the National Television Academy.
In a changing economy, a regional approach creates larger opportunities for our members, leveraging resources and making a greater impact on the business communities. Business does not stop at the county line and we want to be sure that we’re serving the needs of businesses throughout the region. Because the region is so diverse with so much to offer, partnering with other organizations is the best way to complete initiatives that will move us forward.
Current efforts include a Bridge to Pittsburgh speaker series—so far the Chamber welcomed Rich Fitzgerald, Audrey Russo and Dan Gilman to talk with local business leaders. Additional speakers will be announced for this year. Growing connections with the Ebensburg Main Street Partnership and Northern Cambria Community Development Corp., along with government entities, will provide the opportunity to accomplish goals that may have been cost prohibitive without collaboration.
The Chamber also sees tremendous opportunity in building outdoor recreation through a regional approach. Pete Eshelman, Director of Outdoor Branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership in Roanoke, Virginia, spoke to area businesses at November’s Cambria Regional Summit about using natural resources including rivers, mountains, lakes and trails to bring more people and jobs to the region.
“We think our region is special in that we have whitewater, numerous Class 3+ waterways, lakes, more than 40 trails for mountain biking and over 300 miles of Rails to Trails, along with ski resorts and an ATV park. We think of our region as where adventure lives,” says Jennifer Tiffany, Communications Director for the Cambria Regional Chamber. “A regional focus on outdoor assets will grow awareness of the reasons that make this a great place to live, work and play.”
The name and logo change are reflective of this new vision. The Chamber will continue to support its members through education, connection and advocacy, but the focus is on regional opportunity, not lines on a map.
Annual Vision Celebration
Vision 2025’s Annual Celebration is an event that turns the spotlight on the amazing volunteers and members of the community who strive to create a better Johnstown for generations to come. Without the efforts of these selfless individuals, there would be no Vision2025, so making sure they receive the recognition and support they deserve is a top priority.
Record attendance of more than 200 people really illustrates how much the community cares about moving the region forward. This year’s celebration featured 50 displays showcasing Vision 2025 Capture Teams, community organizations and completed projects throughout the area.
After getting to know the key change makers in Johnstown, Bill Flanagan, Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, took the stage to serve as the keynote speaker for the night.
While Flanagan has spent most of his time working in Pittsburgh, he immediately made one observation about Johnstown, “I have been following online what you all have been up to over the last couple of years. You’re moving at lightning speed compared to the way things have unfolded in Pittsburgh over the last 35 years.”
Flanagan then took us through his journey of working in Pittsburgh to turn it into the city we all know today. Throughout the speech, he made several correlations between Pittsburgh and Johnstown, and finished by offering parting advice.
“Keep up with the competition, work together, invest in technology and your people and finally don’t fight change. The workforce is going to change over the next 5 to 10 years in ways that [none of us] can even begin to imagine. Keep an eye on the inventions coming out of the universities right here at home. They are going to give you the tools and knowledge to put Johnstown in the position to prosper.”
For more information, visit Johnstown25.com.