Work In Central PA
Three Keys to Business Success
What sets Central PA apart?
Infrastructure: From logistics to high-speed internet, the region keeps products and ideas flowing.
Talent: A skilled workforce with a collective can-do attitude paves the way for innovation and productivity.
Community: Central PA’s quality of life encourages employees and businesses to put down roots and grow.
Something in the Water
SEKISUI KYDEX President and COO Ronn Cort has spent much of his career traveling the globe to help companies find the best places to manufacture products.
One of his early tasks was to evaluate whether or not Central Pennsylvania was the right place to continue manufacturing operations for KYDEX, which produces sustainable thermoplastic sheets found in products ranging from airplane tray tables to medical devices. Having worked at plants across the globe, Cort readily admits his initial thought was moving might make the most sense.
“I spent my first six months as president living on the production floor,” he recalls. “What I discovered was a level of passion, commitment and can do that I had not experienced at any other manufacturing facility on three continents.” Cort says he called the home office in Japan and said, “We’d be crazy to pull out of Central Pennsylvania. In fact, we should expand here.”
Since then, KYDEX has opened a second factory in Bloomsburg, more than doubling their manufacturing footprint and number of employees. Cort directly attributes success to the talented employees who never back away from a challenge. “That comes from generations of hard work and ingenuity built into their DNA. No one ever says, ‘That’s not my job.’”
Today, KYDEX routinely wins accolades as one of the most productive units in the $11 billion parent company’s portfolio. “How? It’s Central Pennsylvania,” says Cort. “There’s something in the water.”
From Here to Anywhere
In a community of makers, being able to move product is essential. Central Pennsylvania has a robust, multimodal transportation system utilizing planes, trains, trucks and ships.
Leading the way in logistics, the award-winning North Shore Railroad Company & Affiliates puts the customer at the center of the equation.
“We’re very cost-effective and absolutely in tune with our customers’ needs,” says Jeb Stotter, president and CEO of North Shore. “If a customer needs a car put in at 9:30 on Wednesday, we’re there.”
Adds Loni Martz Briner, media manager for the railroad, “What we provide is more economical for our customers and makes them more competitive. Each rail car is equivalent to four tractor trailers.”
Although short lines, Stotter says North Shore has access to both Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific, enabling them to move products all over North America by rail or in conjunction with another transporter. “It’s not uncommon for us to receive international products and ship out, too,” he says.
KYDEX President and COO Ron Cort says he utilizes truck, rail and ship to meet global demand. “I can produce in Bloomsburg and deliver in Germany before my German competitor can get it delivered,” he marvels.
Being Your Best Self
Offering the best of small-town life, Central PA is rich with the type of resources that support businesses and families.
Called the Brain Belt, premier educational opportunities exist from pre-K through advanced degrees. It’s home to institutions of higher education like research and athletic powerhouse Penn State University, prestigious Bucknell University, and industry leading technical and trade schools Triangle Tech, McCann, Mifflin County Academy of Science & Technology and many more.
“There is high-quality education offered in our community at all levels, and I think it’s one of our strengths when recruiting new families to the area,” says Davie Jane Gilmour, president of Pennsylvania College of Technology, a special mission affiliate of Penn State in Williamsport.
An a national leader in applied technology and STEM education, Penn College offers more than 100 academic programs ranging from nursing, welding and plastics, to culinary and aviation. Students learn to work, problem-solve and lead in a wide range of essential career fields, leading to a graduate placement rate of 98%.
“We are a net importer of people to Pennsylvania,” Gilmour says. “It provides a great economic benefit to the community and region and a richness and diversity, as well.”
Central Pennsylvania is also home to the renowned Geisinger Health System. “You don’t have to go to a major metropolitan area to access world-class care,” notes Jeff Bean, vice president, system and brand for Geisinger.
The health system features the full range of clinical services to care for the sick from pediatrics and genomics to surgical specialties and trauma. Yet, Bean says their reputation for innovation often stems from the work they do to keep patients out of the hospital.
Geisinger 65 Forward, the Food is Medicine initiative, and house calls to manage chronic disease set the system apart. “Our goal is to really help people be their best self and their healthiest self,” Bean concludes.