With more than a few dozen Pittsburgh-area business leaders sitting among them, Indiana County officials delivered a simple, but direct, message on Thursday.
“We want you,” Indiana County Commissioner Rod Ruddock said, “to come here and set up your business because we will take care of you.”
Officials and business leaders from the two areas were brought together by the Pittsburgh Business Times and the publication’s ongoing Corridors of Opportunity networking event, held at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
The publication has organized more than 40 of the events over the years, and for Indiana County, Thursday’s installment it was a chance to show Pittsburgh area business leaders what the county has to offer them.
IUP President Michael Driscoll, who gave a few opening remarks, told attendees that what the county has is promise and a high quality of living.
“This is a wonderful place to live and learn and work and play. Life is good here, and we want you to know it,” he said.
Of the roughly 210 people who attended, about half were from outside of the county, judging by a quick show of hands.
They heard from Robert Kane, the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce board chairman, who pointed out that the county has excellent public schools, affordable property and a stable tax structure. And, he said, the county is poised for growth, as its population is projected to grow 17.1 percent by 2040. At the same time, neighboring counties are expected to see population declines, he said.
Attendees also heard from Michael Donnelly, president and publisher of Indiana Printing and Publishing, who touted the county’s Center for Economic Operations, the umbrella organization that represents the county, IUP, the county tourism bureau, the chamber and Indiana County Development Corp. Donnelly is publisher of The Indiana Gazette.
The organization gives the county a unified voice with which to speak, he said. The people in those organizations are tenacious problem-solvers who will work to help the county and the businesses in it, he said.
And Ralph Resnick, president and executive director of the nonprofit National Center for Defense Machining and Manufacturing, pointed out the natural beauty of the area, explaining that it was a factor that helped persuade the organization to relocate to Burrell Township from Latrobe.
During the event, the chamber debuted a new marketing video highlighting various aspects of the county. The video, about six minutes long, is on YouTube and can viewed below. The video was produced by Gazette Marketing & Media.
The video highlights IUP, the airport and Indiana Regional Medical Center, among other things.
It also features Creps United Publications and its rebuilding effort.
Viewers hear from Jake Creps, managing partner, who talks about the November 2012 fire that destroyed the company’s former plant and about how the county’s assistance was key in rebuilding.
Kane said the chamber plans to make the video a key part of its marketing effort.
He said he thought the county was able to make an impression on the outsiders who attended the event.