Michael Coonley on Growing Investment & the Economy in Armstrong County; Part II of a Bi-Weekly, 10-Part Series

by on April 20, 2016

Part II of a Bi-Weekly, 10-Part Series

NAIOPQuotesMichaelCoonleyNote:  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 Michael Coonley, executive director, Armstrong County Department of Economic Development, shared with us.

Q: Which sector currently is the lead driver of your county’s economy?  What makes that sector a winner?

Manufacturing, without a doubt, and more specifically, advanced or precision manufacturing. Although there are other prominent employers in the service, healthcare and extractive industries, the systemic economic driver is manufacturing. The familiarity between local companies has strengthened the industry and helped to foster supportive, reliable supply chains. This reliability, assisted with the reputation and craftsmanship of the area’s manufacturers, has reopened national and international markets.

Q: Who or what is your inspiration for going into work each day and taking up the business of economic development?

The people whose private property we purchased to develop our county’s office and industrial parks. I sat in their kitchens and living rooms and explained why these projects were important. At the end of the day these people agreed to sell their land and in some instances, their homes. In turn, we promised to develop facilities that would be employment centers for decades.  We’re not done yet.

Q: The region has a solid inventory of business parks, which make decisions to invest here all that much easier. Tell us about one notable industrial park in your county.

Northpointe is the obvious choice. At 925 acres, it is our largest development and one of the few sites in the region with graded pads where construction can commence immediately. Multiple sources of fiber, an integrated storm water management system and an abundant power supply are available on site. All of the permitting has been completed and it is possible to begin construction in as little as 45 days. The pads are also within a Keystone Opportunity Zone.

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.