Fay-Penn Economic Development Council – 25 Years Strong and Going “Gangbusters” for Even More Business Climate & Quality of Life Improvement in Fayette County

by on June 1, 2016

Bob Shark

Bob Shark, executive director, Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, is the guest author of this blog post.  Fay-Penn works with its staff and partners to build a better and more competitive environment for businesses and life in Fayette County, providing comprehensive business development services and initiatives to aid in the growth of its economy.

As a relative “newbie” in Fayette County, I may not be the best person to capture all the nuances of Fay-Penn Economic Development Council’s 25-year legacy. Yet, I am continually hearing and learning more about Fay-Penn’s deeds over the last quarter century as our organization celebrates it silver anniversary this year.

faypenn25Looking at the big picture, I can see that the organization has had an impact to the tune of 9,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in business investment over these years. The meaning in those types of numbers is sometimes hard to grasp, but Bill Blaney, a former Fay-Penn board chair, puts it in a human perspective: “Fay-Penn helps businesses, which put people to work. The money the businesses and workers earn not only circulates through our economy, but also improves infrastructure, provides government services, adds recreational amenities and develops a host of other comforts that improve the quality of life in Fayette County. Our residents are significantly better off because of what Fay-Penn has done and what it continues to do. We’ve made a difference.”

To me, being able to make a difference means the Best. Job. Ever. I’m sure any economic developer would tell you the same; improving the lives of others in our communities is what gets us going. In the same breath, we’ll also tell you that it takes more than a single individual or group to make that difference.

Since 1991 when Robert E. Eberly, Sr. founded Fay-Penn, we’ve been blessed with generous support in performing our mission. With the support and efforts of our staff, members, board, committees, donors, elected officials, federal, state and regional agencies, and other partners such as the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, Fay-Penn has provided second-to-none business development services throughout Fayette County. We couldn’t have made a difference without these individuals and organizations. I thank them all, because I wouldn’t be in a position to continue to lead the charge here if we didn’t have their help.

My task is to continue Fay-Penn’s previous successes as we grow into our next 25 years. It’ll certainly be a tough act (those first 25 years) to follow, but we’re already going gangbusters. We’re opening a new business park this June with a dozen or so pad-ready sites. A revitalized business center saving 50 jobs in downtown Uniontown is coming this summer. Our Fayette Leader’s Academy, which helps to train the next generation of leaders, starts in September – welcoming its second cohort of talented and passionate men and women. We’re adding capital to our business loan programs and expanding our financing services. An exhaustive workforce training schedule is in the works. And . . . well . . . I should save a few surprises. Stay tuned.