Gov. Corbett tours Manitowoc during county visit

PAT FRIDGEN
State Sen. Rich Alloway, left, Rep. Todd Rock and Gov. Tom Corbett visited the Manitowoc Crane Group Sept. 7. Larry Weyers, right, from the corporate office, explained the hydraulic crane production process at the Shady Grove plant. The governor was in Franklin County to discuss his commitment to future growth and job creation.

Gov. Tom Corbett toured Franklin County last Wednesday, and liked what he saw. After a tour of the final assembly building for hydraulic cranes at Manitowoc in Shady Grove, he held a press conference. It was his final stop of county businesses, which included Schreiber Foods in Shippensburg, Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, and Antrim Commons Business Park in Greencastle.

“It’s been a great day, to see the workforce growing,” he said. “Every success affects the economics of the other 66 counties. When one region does well, the state does well.”

Corbett had accepted a spring invitation by Sen. Rich Alloway to visit the county. Manitowoc Crane Group - Grove U.S. was one example of a business recovering from the recession.

“The downturn was not as long as we normally have,” said Larry Weyers, executive vice president of The Americas. While production was not at the 2008 level, it was up 40 to 50 percent from 2009, he said. The Shady Grove plant had called back employees and hired new, and staffing was at 1,900.

Corbett observed that Grove cranes were sold around the world, which confirmed that Pennsylvania worked not only with state business partners, but with other nations. It meant Pennsylvania had to be competitive.

“We need to work harder and smarter and build on our tremendous resources.”

Weyers said the plant was struggling to hire younger people interested in the welding profession. He encouraged vocational training for youth.

Baby boomers were retiring, Corbett said. While a college education was valuable, Pennsylvania also needed people in the trades.

“They are good paying jobs,” he said. “Interest must be encouraged at the high school level.”

When the legislature returned to session, the governor wanted to focus on transportation, school reform, the Marcellus shale issue, and privatizing the state sale of alcohol.

“And small games of chance,” added Alloway.

Officials met with the media last week during Gov. Tom Corbett's stop in Shady Grove. Pictured from left: Colby Bingaman, director of operations at Manitowoc Crane Group - Shady Grove; Larry Weyers, executive vice president of Manitowoc Cranes for the Americas; Corbett; Sen. Rich Alloway, and Rep. Todd Rock.