By Leslie Osche, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for Butler County
Butler County believes in INNOVATION. In fact, our county was built on it. Our more than 300 manufacturers supply the rest of the world with innovative solutions in energy, health care, transportation, safety, construction design, defense and aerospace industries. And, Butler County has effectively integrated this innovation and work ethic into the charm, culture and recreational assets of the many communities and small towns here.
Our innovation history crosses the county. From the southeast corner of the county in Saxonburg, John Roebling designed and produced the wire rope used in suspension bridges like the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Up north in Karns City, the Beck brothers developed a refinery plant to go beyond gasoline to the production of petrolatums and white mineral oils used in personal care products, cosmetics and plastics. And from the center of the county, we have Preston Labs, in Butler Township. Dr. Frank Preston, founder of what is now Agr International, uncovered the fundamentals of fracture diagnoses of glass, established glass strength performance characteristics, and developed essential test procedures which are still used today. His lab and nature reserve are now a public park.
The Board of Commissioners is committed to supporting innovation in advanced and precision manufacturing by creating a low-tax environment, outstanding supportive services and a skilled workforce. We welcomed Mark Gordon as our Chief of Economic Development and Planning in 2017. Gordon is the former General Manager of AK Steel’s Butler and Zanesville Works. His leadership and insight have been invaluable in building a collaborative and unified effort for economic development.
The result is that business is quickly connected to building sites and technical assistance through our Community Development Corporation and its financing partners, to workforce training and education through Pennsylvania’s number one Butler County Community College, to quality of life for owners and workforce through Butler County Tourism and to business partnerships through the Butler County Chamber of Commerce. These are just a few of the many resources at your disposal.
Commissioners Kim Geyer, Kevine Boozel and I are aggressively pursuing transportation funding to improve our already great connections in roads, interstates, rail and air assets. With easy access to Interstate 79, the PA Turnpike and Interstate 80, we have become home to several distribution centers, logistics companies and package carriers such as FedEx and UPS. We transitioned transit service from being municipally based to county-wide to make greater regional connections. Our growing regional airport and heavy industry rail connections round out our freight and business travel options.
“The Board of Commissioners is committed to supporting innovation…by creating a low tax environment, outstanding supportive services and a skilled workforce.”
Diverse leaders in energy, such as Westinghouse, have located their world headquarters here and we continue to see growth in the extraction, processing and transport of Shale Gas in our county. We support our municipalities in effectively integrating industry and quality of life. This year, we launched the Butler County Infrastructure Bank to assist municipalities, school districts and authorities with financing for infrastructure and transportation projects, one of very few in the Commonwealth. Our own Cranberry Township is one of the most advanced and fastest-growing municipalities in the state, serving as an anchor and mentor for other municipalities in driving and managing growth.
And finally, our seven school districts are at the heart of each community and continually remain some of the top-performing districts in the state. Their partnership with industry, along with support of an outstanding vocational technical school, connects students directly to the workplace.
Commissioners Geyer, Boozel and I are thrilled to partner with the Pittsburgh Technology Council to highlight our county’s many assets. We believe in innovation and are looking forward to being a partner in advancing the southwestern Pennsylvania region.