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Pa. businessman heading for Far East

November 26, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Greencastle businessman, one of 31 from Pennsylvania leaving Friday on a trade mission to Japan and the Far East, said he sees opportunity in the financial turmoil that is ripping through the Pacific Rim nations.

John Moran, owner of Bio-Oxidation Inc., maker of the Bio-Oxidizer, a machine that safely disposes of medical waste, is seeking a joint venture deal in Japan.

Moran developed the Bio-Oxidizer to recycle medical waste. He sold one of the locomotive-size machines to Chambersburg, Pa., Hospital in 1994. He has since bought it back and moved it to his new plant in Harrisburg, Pa., he said.

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Trends in the health care industry are changing, Moran said, and he's had to change his business tactics to keep up. Now instead of selling Bio-Oxidizers to hospitals, he collects medical waste from them and disposes of it in his own facility in Harrisburg. He is opening a 115,000-square-foot plant there, he said.

Moran said he has been trying for several years to start a similar business in Japan, one that would use his Bio-Oxidizer in a joint venture. He has been to Japan twice and Japanese businessmen have visited here twice, he said.

He said he expects to make more progress on this trip.

"These things take time," he said.

When times are good and money readily available, a business is more likely to develop its own facility, Moran said.

"A joint venture has more appeal in bad times, when there is a shortage of capital," he said.

Nell McCormack, an aide to Gov. Tom Ridge, said she, too, sees opportunity in the Far East crisis.

"We can't be short-sighted. We're looking for the long haul," she said.

Ridge's goal is to improve the state's Asian export business long after the current financial mess is over, she said.

The mission goes to Japan, Singapore and South Korea to cultivate relationships with distributors and customers, she said. Ridge also will try to recruit foreign businesses to locate in Pennsylvania, she said.

Pennsylvania has a trade office in Tokyo. McCormack said another will soon open in Singapore, she said.

Each of the 31 business participants will pay $8,000 to cover airfare, hotel and other trip expenses, McCormack said.

Moran said he will go to Singapore with the governor's tour, but not to South Korea.

"There is no opportunity for me there," he said.

The governor's entourage, including aides, four cabinet secretaries, their staff members and others come to 21 people, she said. Their expenses, paid by the state, will be $112,000, she said.

This is Ridge's first trade mission to Southeast Asia, she said.

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