Tis the Season: Investing in Adams County

This column was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, December 14, 2017

By Robin Fitzpatrick

Last year (2016), Americans gave more than $390 billion—yes “billion”—dollars through charitable giving, a figure that was up 4.2 percent from 2015. Who made up the largest segment of givers? Individuals were responsible for 72 percent of those gifts! Corporate giving stood at $18.55 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent over the previous year.*

Tis the season for giving! Many of us, whether individuals or businesses, are compelled to give monetary gifts during the holiday season to support the causes that mean the most to us. Quite often, when you’re donating to national charities with local chapters, you hear the phrase, “Your donations stay local and support your local chapter.” For many of us, it’s important that our dollars make an impact locally on our own community.

Here at Adams Economic Alliance (AEA), we too are in the midst of our giving season, but with several distinctions: Instead of calling it “giving,” we approach financial contributions as “investing.” Gifts from both individuals and businesses are investments in the financial vitality of Adams County—investments that benefit all. Our members are truly “investors” and all dollars certainly do “stay local” to benefit Adams County.

Our latest benchmarks show that since 1996, AEA has generated:

  • $29.7 million+ in public investment via low-interest loans and grants from DCED
  • $80 million+ in private investment via local commercial financing

“Having conversations with different business members or investors of the AEA, what came out was that people were members because they supported economic development. They weren’t members because of a benefit to themselves; they were doing it to help the community. Giving to the AEA is different than other groups where there may be a benefit or reward to you personally,” says Marty Qually, AEA Membership Chair.

“This is a shift in thinking,” Qually continues. “The AEA’s partnerships are increasing. Holding meetings, presentations, and roundtables for the good of the county, are not without expense. Any individuals or businesses that can afford even $100 up through $5,000 are welcome to invest in AEA for the future of Adams County.”

Two businesses have already come forward to invest at AEA’s highest level of given, a category called Advantage Adams, at the $5,000 level. We are honored to salute Adams Electric and GMS Funding Solutions.

“Adams Electric supports business and economic development in all the communities it serves and we have done so for many years. The AEA and partner organizations are advocating for a strategic plan that identifies the strengths of this area and outlines ways that will increase economic opportunities for all ages and skill sets. That is why we support the AEA and is the main reason we upped our support this year,” says Duane Kanagy, Adams Electric.

“Adams Economic Alliance is a valuable partner to GMS. AEA consistently supports our clients and their various economic development endeavors through exceptional advocacy, outreach and professional guidance. AEA is extremely in-tuned to the communities it serves. It nurtures lasting relationships with municipalities, business owners and key communities members, working collectively toward the greater good of Adams County’s economic health,” says Amy Kaufman Kronenberg, Executive Vice President and Director of Economic Deveopment for GMS Funding Solutions.

To learn more about investing in AEA for 2018, call Robin Fitzpatrick at 717-334-0042, Marty Qually at 717-339-6514, or see adamsalliance.org and click on “Become an Investor.”

Many, many thanks to all individuals, municipalities, nonprofits and businesses who have already committed to being 2018 Investors. We appreciate your support of Adams County’s economic development, supporting current and future businesses of all sizes, their recruitment, relocation, expansion and ongoing support services.

Also: Save the date, Thursday, February 1, 2018 for AEA’s Annual Membership Meeting. Detail in next month’s column!

*All figures provided by the National Philanthropic Trust.

Robin Fitzpatrick, President of Adams Economic Alliance, can be reached at 717-334-0042. For additional information, see adamsalliance.org, and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the latest Adams County business news.

 

 

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Budget Season:  How Does Economic Development Fit into the Mix?

This column was originally published in The Gettysburg Times, November 9, 2017.

By Robin Fitzpatrick

Working with the Commonwealth, it feels as though we’ve been in “budget season” for nine months. That’s because we have. Governor Wolf presented his 2017/2018 budget address in February, and about two weeks ago he signed the revenue plan that identifies where the money will come from to pay the bills.

Municipal leaders are engaged in the same process now, and it’s not pretty. Their job is to provide for the public health, safety, and welfare of their residents. Municipalities are important because many of the services they make available are not usually provided by the private sector. Historically, municipalities have been responsible for the upkeep of roads, making sure there is public safety by police and firefighting protection, and by providing planning and zoning oversight.

Local government may also provide sewer, water, and trash collection services. Municipalities operate through local ordinances, which are local laws adopted and enforced to provide for the public health, safety, and welfare of its residents. Examples of ordinances include the removal of public nuisances; rules (called codes) for an improved quality of life (weed control, removal of non-registered vehicles, animal control, and noise abatement are examples); and aesthetic improvements such as land development and zoning ordinances.

Pennsylvania residents have a voice at the local level and can help set a vision for their communities. You can define your community as your borough, township, school district, and/or county. Think about and assess whether your community is meeting your needs. These are YOUR tax dollars at work!  Also know that they are OTHERS’ tax dollars as well.  Not everyone will agree upon how “our” money should be spent.

Residents, through elected officials, are able to have a major effect on services provided to communities. They can also address the appearance and desirability of a community and can urge their elected officials to support cultural activities, parks and recreation, senior centers, museums, and other important services.

Certainly, there are as many different opinions as there are people. It’s often difficult for elected officials to make decisions that reflect the majority of his/her constituents, including all services needed within a community, and within a balanced budget. It’s a tall order at any level of government.

That is the scenario, and the very heart of budget debates and issues. So, how does economic development fit into this process and how can economic development help? I’m glad you asked. We can be a vital link in this process!

Municipal leaders CAN create more value in land use, where it is wanted, by partnering with the Adams Economic Alliance. We are here, poised to assist officials. We are also here, poised to assist businesses in their efforts to expand, relocate, or be attracted to Adams County. In many ways, we are the matchmaker, partnering with both sides—municipalities as well as businesses—to help find the right fit for each specific request and need.

When the pieces fall into place, economic development is a win-win for everyone involved: Municipalities see healthy growth, expand their workforce, expand their tax base, and provide a healthier abundance of services. Residents enjoy those services and a better quality of life, have access to additional businesses and/or employment opportunities, and often see their own property values increase.

What is the common denominator in this entire process, from lawmakers’ budgeting, to determining land use, to offering services to residents, to ensuring a healthy workforce? It’s the human factor; PEOPLE who live, work, and play in our communities. Economic growth and development can embrace communities and connect people. The key is ensuring that it happens with, by, and for everyone involved.

Robin Fitzpatrick, President of AEA, has been meeting and continues to meet with every Adams County municipality and school board, in 2017. For additional information on AEA, see AdamsAlliance.org, follow the organization on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or call 717-334-0042.

 

 

Press Release: Public Invited to “Manufacturing in Adams County” Event

October 31 Event to Highlight Manufacturing Industry’s Value, Challenges, Future

GETTYSBURG, PA (October 18, 2017) – Business and community leaders are invited to a free roundtable discussion including lunch, focused on Adams County’s top industry—manufacturing—on Tuesday, October 31 at the Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC)—Gettysburg campus. The event is planned by “Advantage Adams” partners—Adams Economic Alliance (AEA), the Adams County Office of Planning and Development, Destination Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce.

“Manufacturing employs more Adams Countians than any other industry, and is one of five growth industries in Adams County,” says Robin Fitzpatrick, AEA President. “Our goals for the October 31 event are to educate business and community leaders on the value manufacturing brings to our economy, to share challenges and questions regarding manufacturing, and to generate discussion that leads to a stronger, healthier Adams County economy.”

Nearly 20% of Adams County’s workforce is employed in manufacturing, according to the latest data from Jobs EQ. Continue reading Press Release: Public Invited to “Manufacturing in Adams County” Event

Advocating for a More Robust Business Environment

This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, October 12, 2017:

By Duane Kanagy, Manager of Communications/Community Services, Adams Electric Cooperative

We have been asked why Adams Electric Cooperative supports the Adams County Economic Development Corporation (now part of the Adams Economic Alliance). Here is why.

Part of what the Alliance is doing right now is talking to local municipal officials, and anyone else who will listen, about the economic profile of Adams County. They, and other business organizations, are advocating for a strategic plan that identifies the strengths of this area and outlines ways that will increase economic opportunities for all ages and skill sets. Continue reading Advocating for a More Robust Business Environment

New Ag Business Slated for Historic Gettysburg Farm, Thanks to Low-Interest Financing

Brown’s Ranch, recently purchased by John Boyer

This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, September 14, 2017:

By Kaycee Kemper

Since our last column, our organization has announced a new name and identity, so first I want to address this exciting news! Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) was the lead organization of three partner organizations under the same roof, with the other two being the Adams County Industrial Development Authority and the Adams County General Authority.

Now all three organizations are collectively known as Adams Economic Alliance! We are excited and hope you share our excitement over the simplicity (and lack of confusion!) of our new name. Have no fear, Robin Fitzpatrick and myself are still both here, working as President and Vice President to deliver economic development services to businesses and organizations in Adams County.

One of our newest projects involved the purchase of the 232-acre farm known as “Brown’s Ranch” bordering the Gettysburg National Military Park’s Confederate Avenue. It was our pleasure assisting and welcoming John Boyer of Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, as he purchased the ranch to locate a new agricultural business in Adams County. Boyer, who grew up in the agricultural industry and studied animal science at Texas Tech, was searching for three years, for the perfect Pennsylvania property to launch a cow calf operation, when he discovered Brown’s Ranch.

Financing was a collaboration Continue reading New Ag Business Slated for Historic Gettysburg Farm, Thanks to Low-Interest Financing

Press Release: Adams Economic Alliance: New Name, Branding Unveiled for Three Partner Organizations

GETTYSBURG, PA (September 7, 2017) – Adams Economic Alliance (AEA) is the new umbrella name for three Adams County organizations—the Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC), the Adams County Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA) and the Adams County General Authority (ACGA). A new branding campaign incorporates the new name and logo, and was first unveiled to members and community leaders at an Investor Appreciation Reception the evening of September 7.

“The primary goal for comprehensively branding the three organizations together is to simplify our identity to the public,” says Robin Fitzpatrick, AEA President. “All three organizations deliver economic development services to the businesses and communities of Adams County. Now, we can be known collectively as one organization—Adams Economic Alliance.” Continue reading Press Release: Adams Economic Alliance: New Name, Branding Unveiled for Three Partner Organizations

Press Release: Historic Gettysburg Farm Acquired Via Adams County Economic Development Funding

“Brown’s Ranch” Developing into Beef Cattle Operation

 GETTYSBURG, PA (August 16, 2017) – A low-interest loan facilitated through Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) and Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) helped secure the purchase of a historical 232-acre farm in Adams County that’s being developed into a cow calf operation.

“I’ve been searching for a property in Pennsylvania, looking for a way to get back into agriculture, for three years. There aren’t many cattle farms in PA, but this property has the most character out of any that I saw… it was a natural fit,” says John Boyer, 38, of Elizabethtown, Lancaster County.  Currently a defense contractor, Boyer grew up in the agricultural industry and studied animal science at Texas Tech. Continue reading Press Release: Historic Gettysburg Farm Acquired Via Adams County Economic Development Funding

September 7: You’re Invited to Celebrate Four C’s

This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, August 10, 2017:

By Kaycee Kemper

A lot happens between August and September—harvests are gathered, a new school year begins, and we enjoy our final summer vacations, daytrips, and picnics. After Labor Day, we return to a more regular work schedule, and we know fall is on its way.

This year, we invite everyone to mark their calendars for the Thursday after Labor Day—September 7. That evening, during a wine & cheese reception from 5-7 pm, we look forward to welcoming all community leaders invested and interested in the efforts of our organization, Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC). The celebration will revolve around four words that all begin with the letter C: Continue reading September 7: You’re Invited to Celebrate Four C’s

Help Us to Help You

This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, July 13, 2017:

By Robin Fitzpatrick

We (Adams County Economic Development Corporation staff) are passionate about advocating for Adams County’s businesses, economy, jobs, workforce, and quality of life. “Work Smart. Live Happy.” is the new slogan for the state’s economic development partners of which ACEDC is one. We realize that living, working, and playing in the greater Adams County community requires a balance and blend of business/industry, housing, preservation, services, recreation, etc. Continue reading Help Us to Help You

Economic Development: Focus of June 20 Commissioners’ Forum

This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, June 8, 2017:

The new Adams County Human Services facility, 525 Boyds School Road, Gettysburg

By Robin Fitzpatrick

I have an invitation for all Adams County residents! Whether you use a traditional paper calendar or have evolved to an electronic calendar, be sure to mark, type, text, or otherwise save the date of June 20.

The new Adams County Human Services Building is ready to be unveiled! This is a fantastic example of economic development, adaptive reuse, within our own county government. The former Herff-Jones facility has been revamped to house a multitude of county services under one roof. Continue reading Economic Development: Focus of June 20 Commissioners’ Forum