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Carbon opening doors to German-based company

Published March 25. 2011 05:00PM

Pennsylvania is one of eight states in the country vying for a German-based automotive manufacturing company's business.

Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Carbon is the only county that is inviting the $40-million company, Quaprotek, to open its first American-based plant in the country in the Green Acres Industrial Park in Nesquehoning.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said they were pleased by the efforts of Dawn Ferrante, executive director of the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation.

She and Brian Ross, development specialist for the Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team, presented a PowerPoint presentation on Carbon County to the German American Chamber of Commerce. Ferrante and Ross traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, for the presentation on Tuesday afternoon.

O'Gurek said the county is excited to be in the running for this potential economic growth opportunity.

The company, which manufactures engine and gear parts for the automotive industry and its suppliers, plans to commit a $22 million investment and create around 120 jobs at the location it chooses.

"Our presentation was well received and we hope that it was enough to make them want to come here and visit," O'Gurek said. "At this point though, it's wait and see."

The county will learn if the automotive manufacturing company, which supplies BMW, Volkswagen, and Porsche automotive parts, chooses Carbon as one of its visit sites sometime next week.

Ferrante said that in addition to learning if the company will visit Carbon County, the chamber will provide feedback on the presentation.

She added that the final decision as to where the company locates is going to come down to the numbers.

"They basically said they're going to look at the distribution and map out all the options (states that gave a presentation), and run the numbers as to what it would take to manufacture the product here and distribute it to where it needs to go," Ferrante said. "That, I think, is going to be a huge factor in their decision-making process."

Ferrante noted that she was very pleased with the reaction she received from the company and the German American Chamber of Commerce on her presentation.

"I feel very confident about the presentation we gave," she said, adding that the video from the commissioners, as well as state Rep. Doyle Heffley and state Sens. John Yudichak and David Argall, was well received and helped the county stand out.

Commissioner Charles Getz recognized Ferrante's work on this project because this is the first time, since he was commissioner, that Carbon County has gone this far out of the county to actively try and attract business to the area.

"This is a smart move on Dawn's part," he said.

O'Gurek noted that even if Carbon does not get chosen by the company, this opportunity has opened doors for possible future business.

He said that Ferrante built many contacts through the German American Chamber of Commerce, which deals with hundreds of companies trying to expand into the United States.

The opportunity for Carbon County to make the presentation to Quaprotek came early this month when Ferrante received a request for proposal from the Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team. The RFP notified all counties that the company was interested in finding a suitable location to create a facility to manufacture its products in the country. Specs included a 50,000-square-foot building with room to expand. The building at Green Acres, which currently houses Liquid Fence, is 40,000 square feet and has additional acreage available for expansion.

Carbon County as well as two other counties in Pennsylvania, submitted proposals to the German American Chamber. After addition information was released, the two other counties withdrew their proposals

Ferrante met with members of the board of commissioners, as well as the Carbon County Industrial Development Authority prior to Tuesday's presentation to show them what she would be giving the company. The PowerPoint touched on many areas that highlight the positives that the county has to offer, including personal messages from county officials and state lawmakers; demographics of the county; and potential incentives, such as tax breaks, grants, and deferred lease payments for moving to the area.

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