By: Deb Eckelberger, Development Director
Thus far in 2019, FICDA is experiencing business growth, building upgrades, and new tenants.
Early this year, in the Franklin Industrial and Commercial Development Authority (FICDA) big Main building, manufacturing space was created to support the expansion of Wolbert Welding. This FICDA tenant is partnering with a Kentucky company to build Grove and Manitowoc crane outriggers here. Several employees have been hired, and have traveled across the state for training on this new product line. Mid-summer, a large robotic welder will be installed at Wolbert Welding. The jobs created by this expansion, along with the new robotic technology are part of the growing advanced manufacturing process—one that is changing the look of manufacturing as we know it.
As you enter Howard Street, the Pattern Shop building is to the left. In that building, Liberty Electronics is expanding, to support their growing customer needs. A former machine shop space is being repurposed into light manufacturing space. Sprinkler, lighting, and HVAC systems all were upgraded, with new flooring throughout.
Together, these two expansion projects will bring close to 40 new jobs to Franklin. In addition, local contractors have been busy working on these projects. All the building trades are involved. Skilled workers are here daily, committed to these business growth projects.
New IT equipment has been installed in the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) building Training and Conference rooms. With financial support from the USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program, these rooms now offer large monitors, lecterns, sound systems, conference calling equipment, video conference equipment, and ease of use. Scheduling of these rooms has increased greatly with this new equipment. Workshops, board meetings, customized trainings, employment interviews, group meetings, are just a few examples of their use. Following the goal of the USDA Rural Business Development Grant program; this new equipment is in place to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The Training and Conference rooms are truly a community asset, fulfilling that goal.
The ETC building has three temporary highway contractor/PennDOT field offices that support the summer construction projects in the area. Awareness of highway projects, traffic changes, road detours, and then sharing that information with businesses and individuals is helpful information for everyone. Having them as tenants increases safety awareness for all.
As we move into the second half of 2019, we look to the completion of these FICDA economic development projects, to see their manufacturing processes fully operational. We look for new and innovative ways to continue to work closely with the valuable resource partners that exist to help businesses grow, and we look to continue the mission of FICDA: “to nurture economic and commercial development and growth, foster the creation and retention of jobs and assist in the planning and implementation for new and existing businesses.”
This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.