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Pa. governor tours Franklin County businesses

September 07, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, left, and state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, center, tour the Manitowoc Crane plant in Shady Grove, Pa., Wednesday with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, left, and state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, center, tour the Manitowoc Crane plant in Shady Grove, Pa., Wednesday with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

SHADY GROVE, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett made several stops Wednesday in Franklin County, Pa., including the Manitowoc plant, where he saw finishing touches being put on cranes awaiting shipment around the globe.

“Pennsylvania’s business partners are not simply here in Pennsylvania or in the United States; they’re around the world. We need to be competitive,” Corbett said.

Two product upgrades earlier in the year boosted production for the line of rough-terrain cranes, Production Manager Rusty Schellhase said.

“One of our biggest markets is Brazil,” he said.

The crane manufacturer employs 1,900 people at the former Grove Worldwide plant in Franklin County, according to a news release.

Larry Weyers, Manitowoc’s executive vice president of The Americas, said the energy and oil industries are helping the company rebound from the economic downturn. He said the plant called back employees who were laid off.

“It’s not back up to the 2008 level, but we’re up 40 to 50 percent of two years ago,” Weyers said of the work force.

Cranes from Shady Grove are being used in Marcellus Shale natural gas projects in other parts of the state, Corbett said.

Corbett joined Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, and state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, on the afternoon tour. Earlier in the day, they visited Schreiber Foods, Letterkenny Army Depot and the Antrim Commons Business Park.

“For me, it’s been a great day to see the economy of Pennsylvania growing, and the work force of Pennsylvania growing,” said Corbett, a Republican.

“We’re hiring for all positions now,” said Colby Bingaman, Manitowoc’s director of operations at Shady Grove.

Bingaman started with the company 24 years ago as a welder.

“We have a very difficult time finding welders now,” he said.

Today’s young people are turning away from industrial jobs, Weyers said. For example, they often don’t want to work in the heat while wearing a mask as a welder, he said.

“Five, six years from now, it’s going to be difficult to find people who want to come in and work in a welding environment,” Weyers said, noting that Manitowoc is making investments in robotics.

Corbett identified one of his four priorities for the fall’s legislative session as school reform, including encouraging high school students to consider learning trade skills.

“We have a trade population that is aging. ... We certainly have a need for them,” he said.

Corbett listed his other priorities for the fall as transportation, Marcellus Shale issues and privatization opportunities, particularly alcohol sales.

After the Manitowoc visit, Corbett said he planned to return to the state capital in Harrisburg, where severe flooding had crippled traffic and taxed emergency responders. Corbett planned to meet with Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency officials.

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