Jeff Kotula on Growing Investment & the Economy in Washington County; Part 8 of a Weekly, 10-Part Series

by on May 18, 2016

NAIOPQuotesJeffKotulaPart 8 of a Bi-weekly, 10-Part Series

Note:  The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) invited each of its economic development partners from the 10-county region to tell us about what is top of mind for them when it comes to marketing their counties – and the Pittsburgh region – for business investment.  We provided 10 questions and asked our partners to respond to some or all of them, providing fresh insight and perspective at the micro (county) and macro (region) levels. 

Here are some of the responses that Jeff Kotula, president, Washington County Chamber of Commerce, shared with us.

Q: Hands down, what is your county’s biggest economic development advantage?

Washington County continues to be successful by sticking to its three-pronged, long term plan: keep taxes low, strategically invest in the county’s infrastructure and maintain an environment that welcomes business.  Our elected officials recognize that government does not create jobs, businesses do.  The county has been very successful in forming private-public partnerships to attract private investment dollars to the county.

Q: Which sector currently is the lead driver of your county’s economy? Consider investment, employment, export opportunities, impact on county’s profile (locally, nationally, and internationally). What makes that sector a winner?

Washington County continues to be a leader in energy production.  Even in the energy downturn year of 2015, the county led the state in the number of unconventional well permits issued and in the number of unconventional wells drilled.  In fact, more unconventional wells were drilled in Washington County than in any other county in the state since the first well was drilled here more than 10 years ago.  The strong activity in the energy sector led to $37 million of infrastructure investment by First Energy and West Penn Power in 2015.  Construction of the $63 million portion of the Rover Pipeline to be built in Washington County will begin in the spring of 2016.  In addition, the ongoing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ $58 million project in Charleroi will improve the Locks and Dam [4] to support the increased barge traffic.

Q: What is the top accomplishment for your county in 2015 and what about it makes you most proud?

In 2015, Washington County launched a new marketing slogan:  ‘Share the Energy.’ It’s a bold statement that we believe resonates with businesses and leisure travelers.  ‘Share the Energy’ welcomes and challenges visitors to explore Washington County for not only recreation, history and entertainment, but also for jobs and business opportunities.

Read the complete article, “Take 10 [Questions],” featuring responses from all of the region’s economic development professionals.  The piece was originally published in the Pittsburgh Business Times as part of a supplement for the NAIOP Pittsburgh 23rd annual awards banquet in March.

Check back on the PRA Blog every Monday and Wednesday for the next installment of the #Take10Pgh blog series.