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Hello Winter

DON’T LET THE COLD WEATHER GET YOU DOWN WITH HIGH ENERGY COSTS! We’ve helped hundreds of members of every size and type save millions of dollars on their electricity costs, and we’re here to help you too! Our energy experts will answer your questions, review all available options and help you develop an effective, efficient energy strategy that manages your risk and maximizes your savings. Consider these helpful Dos and Don’ts when contacted by an electricity representative:







CALL TODAY FOR YOUR FREE ENERGY ANALYSIS! Contact Judy Rosatti at, 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660.



LOOKING FORWARD Why some employers are optimistic about 2017.



ECONOMIC FORECAST Local economist Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie, talks about the outlook for the coming year.




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See photos of the more than 200 graduates of the Association’s Training programs.





Robert Zaruta, newly appointed president and chief executive officer of the NWIRC in Northwest Pennsylvania, talks about the organization and its vision.

READ ON THE GO! For the most current Business Magazine updates, visit

What employers should know about corporate wellness programs and EEOC compliance. Tom Drennan



What 1031 Exchanges are and how they can save you money. Scott Wallen

ON THE HILL | DEVELOPMENT Executive Editor Karen Torres Contributing Writers Tom Drennan John Siggins Scott Wallen

Feature Photography iStock Photography Additional Photography Casey Naylon


Advertising Sales David Thornburg 814/833-3200 Design, Production & Printing Printing Concepts Inc.

Guest columnist John Siggins discusses the Shell Cracker Project and the opportunities that it presents for new and existing businesses.

On the Cover: Are we headed for a strong start or future setbacks? Economist Ken Louie, Ph.D., of the Economic Research Institute of Erie shares his analysis for 2017. For more information, see page 4.

Mission Statement: The Manufacturer & Business

Association is dedicated to providing information and services to its members that will assist them in the pursuit of their business and community interests. – Board of Governors

Manufacturer & Business Association 2171 West 38th Street | Erie, Pa. 16508 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660

© Copyright 2016 by the Manufacturer & Business Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial, pictorial or advertisements created for use in the Business Magazine, in any manner, without written permission from the publisher, is prohibited. Unsolicited manuscripts cannot be returned unless accompanied by a properly addressed envelope bearing sufficient postage. The magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. The Business Magazine and Manufacturer & Business Association do not specifically endorse any of the products or practices described in the magazine. The Business Magazine is published monthly by the Manufacturer & Business Association, 2171 West 38th Street, Erie, Pa. 16508. Phone: 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660. • DECEMBER 2016


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Looking Forward

SURVEY SHOWS MANY EMPLOYERS ARE OPTIMISTIC HEADING INTO 2017 While employers – and the rest of the nation – were on the edge of their seats as election results declared Donald Trump as the next U.S. president-elect, an upbeat and hopeful survey of small-business owners signals a growing sense of optimism heading into 2017.

According to the PNC Economic Outlook Survey, owners of small and mid-size businesses are actually upbeat about the U.S. economy overall. The fall survey, conducted prior to the election, indicated that 71 percent are optimistic about the national economy – the highest since 2005, up from 55 percent in the spring. Approximately 77 percent are optimistic about their local economy, the highest since 2014. About 55 percent of those surveyed chose the word “hope” to describe their feelings toward the business climate over the next months. While 11 percent chose “fear” and 4 percent “despair.” In fact, about 51 percent of those surveyed expected sales to go up in the next six months and 47 percent expect higher profits.

But experts say that doesn’t mean it’s all wine and roses. According to PNC’s chief economist Stuart Hoffman, “The glass for small business owners appears half full instead of half empty, but they aren’t ready to buy a round for everyone.” In this edition of the Business Magazine, we’ll take a closer look at the growing optimism of the 2017 economic forecast from Ken Louie, Ph.D., of the Economic Research Institute of Erie as he explains where the local and state economy stand in relation to the nation and the world.

Shell Cracker Project being developed in western Pennsylvania. Plus, we’ll celebrate the more than 200 graduates of the Manufacturer & Business Association’s (MBA) professional development and computer training classes and employers who are investing and taking their skill sets to the next level. To learn more about the many training and networking opportunities available to your organization in the coming year, visit!

We’ll also hear from Robert Zaruta in his new role as chief executive office at the NWIRC in northwest Pennsylvania, as well as guest columnist John Siggins on the opportunities for new and existing businesses that are being created by the

Leading the Way to a Brighter Future! • DECEMBER 2016




If there is one thing that experts agree on when it comes to economic forecasts, it’s that nothing is a sure bet. And just like “The Tortoise and the Hare,” there is always room for a surprising twist. Is slow and steady going to help boost the economy in 2017? Or is it expected to make a strong start early in the year, only to run into possible setbacks? Here, the Business Magazine talks with Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) at Penn State Behrend, about the 2017 economic forecast and why Aesop’s fable is a good lesson for the current economic conditions when talking about the outlook for Erie and northwest Pennsylvania compared to the state and nation. As Dr. Louie illustrates, the United States and Pennsylvania are clearly the “rabbits,” outpacing Erie in most measures of economic performance, while Erie is the “tortoise,” slower in pace but wise and confident based on years of learning from experience.



“We all know how the fable ends,” says Dr. Louie, “so perhaps that is also a fitting analogy for Erie’s aspirations, namely to (eventually) outpace the state and nation, at least along a few economic dimensions.”

According to Dr. Louie, some of the major indicators to watch in order to gauge how quickly – or slowly – the region is catching up with the rest of the state and nation include measures of labor market performance, such as job growth, labor force participation and unemployment; overall measures of prosperity, such as household incomes and average earnings; as well as other measures

Election Impact

The big wild card for 2017 is the implications from the presidential election, given major changes in tax and spending policies that, if enacted, have a major impact on economic growth. The more substantial impact, insists Dr. Louie, will take place beyond the first year of the new administration, once President-elect Trump’s economic policies begin to take shape and are implemented. “The specific aspects of the national economy that are likely to be most affected are: the distribution of the tax burden, the allocation of public expenditures, the size of the national debt, the extent of immigration and health-care reform, consideration of policies related to climate change and the rate of economic growth,” he says. According to Dr. Louie, the presidential election may also have an emotional/psychological effect that will ultimately translate into pessimism or optimism about the economy. For example, those who voted for Trump will likely feel more optimistic because they believe his policies will boost the economy, while those who supported Clinton will likely feel more pessimistic because they believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. “The distribution of the votes will determine whether, on balance, there will be more optimism or more pessimism about the future of the U.S. economy,” he says.

of community well-being, such as poverty, education, crime and health. But it’s also important to keep an eye on policies at the national, state and local levels and global events that may produce “shocks” to the local economy.

At the global level, Dr. Louie says there also has been a rather significant decline in the volume of world trade. Since 2012, trade in goods and services grew by only 3 percent a year, which is less than half the average rate of growth during the previous three decades.

States Dr. Louie, “A tortoise that keeps its eyes and other senses attuned to these important variables will be more likely to develop a successful long-run strategy to catch up with the rest of the state and nation in terms of economic well-being.”

“Trade can contribute to aggregate economic growth by allowing countries to benefit from comparative advantage, economies of scale and technology transfers,” he says, “so a continued slowdown in trade may also constrain growth.”

Setting the Pace

Despite such challenges, the United States is trudging ahead. Consumer spending is expected to remain stable at the national level, and the U.S. jobless rate is expected to remain below 5 percent.

Although the United States isn’t smashing records like Olympic runner Usain Bolt, it is definitely setting the pace for an economic uptick. In fact, some economists suggest that the U.S. economy will experience a mild cyclical rebound in 2017 and then return to a lower growth rate with long-term potential. Median forecasts by the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) show U.S. real GDP to increase by 1.8 percent in 2016, 2 percent in 2017 and 2018, and 1.8 percent in 2019. Similarly, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters, the oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States, puts U.S. real GDP growth at 1.5 percent in 2016 and 2.3 percent in 2017, but back to 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2019. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank forecast a 1.6-percent growth rate for the U.S. economy in 2016, and a 2.2 percent growth rate in 2017. “I do believe that the United States, as well as the global economy, will continue to grow at a modest pace for the foreseeable future,” notes Dr. Louie. “However, I also think that there are still some potentially significant headwinds that may continue to pose challenges to economic growth.” Within the United States, Dr. Louie notes that productivity growth remains weak, decreasing at a 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter of this year. “Productivity growth is perhaps one of the most important factors influencing worker salaries, corporate earnings and overall economic growth,” explains Dr. Louie. “Therefore, continued lackluster productivity growth will likely constrain growth in the economy as a whole.”

Median forecasts by the Fed’s FOMC for the national unemployment rate are 4.8 percent in 2016, 4.6 percent in 2017, and 4.5 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s most recent Survey of Professional Forecasters projects the U.S. unemployment rate to be 4.8 percent in 2016, 4.6 percent in 2017 and 2018, and 4.7 percent in 2019. “These forecasts suggest that the national employment outlook continues to be positive,” Dr. Louie says. Many employers, especially small businesses, also appear to share this “glass half full” view. PNC’s fall 2016 nationwide survey of small and mid-sized business owners finds that more are optimistic about the U.S. economy than in any fall since 2005. According to results of the biannual survey, one-half expect their sales to increase during the next six months and 47 percent say profits will rise — consistent with the past two surveys. Seven in ten expect to make a net profit this year, and more than one-fifth (22 percent) expect to add employees over the next six months. Asked for a reason, 28 percent of those not hiring say they choose to do more work with fewer employees. “The glass for small business owners appears half full instead of half empty, but they aren’t ready to buy a round for everyone,” stated Stuart Hoffman, PNC’s chief economist, in a press release. “We expect to see moderate economic growth for the rest of this year with enough improvement for a federal funds rate increase at the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting in December.”

State and Local Economy Here, in the Commonwealth, experts believe that northwest Pennsylvania is also positioned to see modest, but still positive economic trends over the near term. According to PNC’s regional fall report, slow inflation this year will be of some benefit to northwest Pennsylvania. The region’s affordable housing, lower prevailing wages, and its position adjacent to the Great Lakes’ shipping and recreation centers will also help attract new business.

World View

The United States is not alone in the political uncertainty that could bring major changes in economic policies. Britain’s recent departure from the European Union is just the latest example of support for policies that could impact global trade. According to Dr. Louie, although the impact of the U.K.’s Brexit vote has so far been less dramatic than some analysts had expected, there is still considerable uncertainty regarding future economic relations between Britain and the EU as the two sides continue to negotiate the terms of disengagement. In addition to concerns over increasing protectionist sentiment that could stifle world trade, the uncertainty about the ultimate impact of Brexit has also generated some volatility in global stock markets. Says Dr. Louie, “Such volatility may, in turn, dampen U.S. business and consumer confidence and, therefore, adversely affect private sector spending with negative consequences for economic growth.” Another effect of Brexit has been the decline in the value of the British pound, which recently fell to its lowest level in over 30 years, and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. “While a strong dollar benefits U.S. consumers by making it cheaper to buy imported products, it hurts U.S. exporters by making American products more expensive to foreign consumers,” says Dr. Louie. Beyond Brexit and Europe, another international issue that may affect global stability and growth is the slowdown and “rebalancing” that is occurring in China’s economy. After growing by 6.9 percent in 2015, China’s growth rate is forecast by the IMF to fall to 6.6 percent this year and to 6.2 percent in 2017. Moreover, China is gradually reorienting its economy by emphasizing greater domestic consumption and shifting from industry to services. “Although this will allow for more sustainable growth in the long run, it may cause China’s economic growth to slow down further in the short run, with potential negative consequences for the U.S. and global economies,” Dr. Louie says. • DECEMBER 2016


“Northwest Pennsylvania’s traditional success in engineering and manufacturing will likely

in ELI indicates that the Erie economy is likely to improve in the near term, although it will

improvement in household incomes may provide a boost to the aggregate demand

make it an attractive location for emerging green energy industries including wind power,” the report states. “Natural gas drilling operations will also likely take advantage of these structural and geographical benefits in the coming decade, lending support to the prospect of the market area achieving muchneeded and long-sought industrial diversity as a stabilizing economic asset.”

be at a very modest rate of growth. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the total number of nonfarm jobs increased by 500 between July and August, although it was still lower than a year ago mainly because of the large number of manufacturing job losses at the beginning of the year.

for our region’s goods. As suggested earlier, improvements in the national economy tend to have positive spillover effects on the local economy, as well.”

According to Dr. Louie, ERIE’s research generally corroborates PNC’s conclusions. Its latest Erie Leading Index (ELI) rose by a modest 0.6 percent between March and June, which is a significant turnaround compared to the 1.1 percent decline in the index during the previous quarter. This upward trajectory

Local Unemployment

According to ERIE, Erie’s unemployment rate is higher than that in the state and the nation. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September was 7.1 percent in Erie, 5.7 percent in Pennsylvania, and 5.0 percent in the United States. Moreover, although jobs grew in Pennsylvania and the nation as a whole between September 2015 and September 2016, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs remained stable at 130,500 during the same period in Erie County. On the income front, Erie also compares less favorably. Real per capita income in Erie, currently at $38,200 (measured in 2014 dollars), is only 83 percent of the level for the nation as a whole. And real median household income is lower in Erie ($45,703) compared to the state ($53,115) and nation ($53,482). The latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that the poverty rate in 2015 was 17.5 percent in Erie County, 13.2 percent in Pennsylvania, and 13.5 percent in the United States as a whole.



“Unfortunately,” states Dr. Louie, “Erie continues to trail the state and the nation along the three important economic dimensions of unemployment, income and poverty.” According to Dr. Louie, job cuts by several large, local manufacturers caused employment in this sector to fall by 8.0 percent (1,800 jobs) year-on-year in August. And, in light of these recent manufacturing job losses and corresponding reductions in household disposable income, the retail trade sector is likely to be challenged by decreases in consumer spending, although the holiday shopping season may provide a brief respite. Despite an increase of 3.6 percent (500 jobs) between March and July, the retail trade sector experienced a year-on-year decline in employment by 3.9 percent (600 jobs) in the month of August. “Perhaps one bright spot is the fact that the rate of local manufacturing job losses appears to be tapering off compared to the first part of the year, although this is certainly no consolation for those who have already been laid off,” says Dr. Louie. “Perhaps a bigger reason for optimism is the robust (5.2 percent) growth in median household income nationally in 2015 as reported by the Census Bureau. Since Erie’s manufactured products are sold across the state and the nation, this

Dr. Louie suggests that the education and health services sector appears likely to remain strong. Employment in this sector grew by 4.7 percent (1,300 jobs) between January and April, although this was partially offset by a slight decline of 0.7 percent (200 jobs) between June and July. With 28,700 jobs as of August, this is the largest sector (by employment) locally, and it saw the largest job gain (5.5 percent or 1,500 jobs) year-on-year in August compared to other sectors of the local economy. Additionally, the plastics and rubber products manufacturing sector has grown since 2013 and 2014, and employment has remained stable since then. But this sector is likely to benefit from a national economy that continues to grow stronger. “The very modest growth in our Erie Leading Index does suggest that the local economy is at somewhat of a plateau,” says Dr. Louie. “We would, of course, welcome more robust growth, but stable (albeit very low) growth is still preferable to negative or no growth at all.” Want to learn more about ERIE’s outlook? Join us for the Association’s annual Economic Forecast briefing at 8 a.m. Thursday, December 8, at the Manufacturer & Business Association in Erie. Register online at For additional forecast information, visit

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New Leadership Brings New Vision Whether it’s to help reduce inventory, develop a new product or size a new market, the Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC) is a key resource for manufacturers in northwest Pennsylvania. Here, Robert Zaruta, newly appointed president and chief executive officer, talks about the organization and its outlook in the year ahead. Please provide us with a brief history of the NWIRC.

yourself and what skills and experience you bring to the organization.

In 1988, the NWIRC and six other IRCs began providing small and mid-sized manufacturers with needed support and resources in their respective regions. As a result of their success in Pennsylvania and similar initiatives in nearby states, a network of “IRCs” emerged across the country. In the early 1990s, these organizations became affiliates of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Today, there is an MEP affiliate in each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico, with the seven IRCs in our Commonwealth making up the Pennsylvania MEP. NWIRC is a public and private partnership consisting of NWIRC’s direct support, expertise and resources as an MEP, along with expertise provided by independent service providers, and the investments made by our manufacturing clients for the services they receive.

Prior to this position, I was on staff at the IRC in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPIRC). During my 16 years at NEPIRC, I was a key member of the management team helping in the development and implementation of the Center’s strategic plans, business models, sales processes, outreach strategies and client engagement management processes. Prior to NEPIRC, I held management positions with Fortune 500, regional and small enterprises. I was also founder and president of a successful start-up company.

What types of services does the NWIRC provide? The NWIRC helps manufacturers improve their competitiveness, grow profitably and create new and expanding job opportunities. Our services begin by understanding the issues and challenges facing manufacturers, by knowing industry trends and emerging technologies, and by offering proven methodologies and worldclass best practices as solutions. Our role is to be thought leaders, trusted strategic business advisers and catalysts for change. You recently were appointed as head of the NWIRC here in NWPA. Tell us about

What changes have you made since joining the NWPA NWIRC? By design, I have not made too many changes, at least not major ones. As part of the transition, I wanted to take some time to meet people, ask a lot of questions and gather different perspectives. I have engaged in conversations with manufacturers, business and civic leaders, education and economic partners, legislators, and, of course, NWIRC staff and Board Members. I am confident the insight gathered, combined with my background knowledge and experience, will prove invaluable to identify and implement the changes needed to achieve the vison and goals for the organization. What is the organization’s vision for 2017 and the near future? By the end of 2017, if my vision is materializing, we will have increased our market penetration and the financial impact our clients realize with our services. The NWIRC has done exceptionally in

several key metrics including working with manufacturers previously not served. We need to continue and expand that success as well as serve existing clients in more ways. To accomplish this, we need to excel as solution providers, identify unmet needs and objectives and bring to market new offerings that yield manufacturers high value and a quantifiable return on their investment. As we enter a new year, what opportunities and challenges do you see for local industry and how can the NWIRC help address them? Manufacturers in our region tell us that their top three challenges are: implementing strategies that improve efficiencies and reduce costs; identifying new market opportunities for growth; and recruiting, training and maintaining a skilled workforce. To help address these challenges, we have the expertise on staff who can identify new technologies that significantly improve efficiencies and reduce costs, assess existing technologies and capabilities, and identify new markets and potential customers. We offer a STEM Internship Program that enables manufacturers to gain affordable access to talented engineering students to address specific projects that can improve systems and significantly reduce costs. We also have a vast network of experts and resources that can address just about any situation a manufacturer needs to address. • DECEMBER 2016


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Refocused: Corporate Wellness Programs, EEOC Compliance not meet the requirements of a welldesigned program. Employers must also tell employees in writing how their medical information will be obtained, used and disclosed. The EEOC has created sample notices for employers to review. 2) Can employers make employees participate in a wellness program? What kinds of incentives are allowable? Participation in wellness programs must be voluntary. However, the EEOC states that in order for a program to be voluntary: • Employers can’t make employees participate in a wellness program. • They can’t penalize employees for not participating. • They can’t make health benefits conditional upon participating.

Tom Drennan is the director of EAP Account Management for UPMC WorkPartners, which provides health and productivity solutions to high-performing companies throughout the United States.

However, there’s been some concern that using incentives to boost participation may violate federal law, relating to Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

There’s a good reason why more employers are offering wellness programs than ever before. The advantages are well documented — a successful wellness program can increase productivity, lower health-care costs and reduce absenteeism among workforce.

1) How exactly must wellness programs be designed, under this final guidance?

In addition, a wellness program can boost employee satisfaction and loyalty, which helps with recruitment and retention. Employer-sponsored wellness programs often involve participating in health risk assessments and biometric screenings to determine risk factors for chronic conditions. Some employers and health insurance plans offer incentives to employees who participate in wellness programs or achieve certain health outcomes.

In May, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final rules to amend the regulations and offer guidance on how to implement them. Here are some key questions that employers are asking in order to offer wellness programs that are compliant with federal law:

Wellness programs must be designed to promote health and prevent disease. Employers can’t collect information simply to have it or to calculate future healthrelated costs. Wellness programs that collect health information — typically through health risk questionnaires and medical tests and screenings — must use this information to create a program that addresses at least one of the employee’s identified conditions. If the wellness program collects information but does not provide advice that helps participants improve their health, it does

The incentives for not participating in a wellness program can’t exceed 30 percent of self-only coverage. 3) How did the EEOC address privacy concerns? Employers generally can’t have access to an individual employee’s health information. The existing confidentiality requirements that are part of the ADA rules haven’t changed. But two new ones have been added: • An employer may not require an employee to agree to disclose medical information or waive any confidentiality protections as a condition for participating in a wellness program. • Any data gathered by the wellness program and then shared with employers must generally be in aggregate form that isn’t likely to disclose the identity of individual employees, except as necessary to administer a health plan. Tracking how wellness programs use personal information can be tricky for human resources professionals. There are many advantages to working with a company that is experienced in keeping your company compliant. For more information, contact Tom Drennan at 412/454-8811 or • DECEMBER 2016


Don’t Sell Your Property; Exchange It! Scott Wallen is a partner at MacDonald Illig where he concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning and administration, corporate mergers and acquisitions, corporate formation, business succession planning, elder law, nonprofit corporations law and health-care law. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and routinely handles matters involving federal and state taxation issues including corporate and individual taxation and sales tax issues. If you are a business owner or a real estate investor, chances are you have heard about “1031 Exchanges” and how they can save you from paying taxes if you sell business or investment property. Most clients I talk to about 1031 Exchanges do not realize they can be utilized for more than just real estate, or that you do not have to complete the buy-and-sell portion of the transaction simultaneously. Put simply, a 1031 Exchange allows you to swap certain business or investment property for other “like-kind” property and realize no taxable gain at the time of

the transfer. The benefit of exchanging property, as opposed to selling it, is it allows your investment in the property to grow tax deferred. What constitutes “like-kind” property is broad. Any type of real property (other than your principal residence) is considered “likekind” to any other piece of real property under Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) Section 1031. Thus, you are able to swap a vacant, unimproved piece of property for property containing an apartment complex or a downtown office building for a country bed and breakfast. In addition


to real estate, business property such as machinery or equipment can qualify as “like-kind” to other types of machinery or equipment. Even if you have not found a replacement property at the time you are ready to sell, Section 1031 permits a delayed exchange. In a delayed (or starker) exchange, a third-party intermediary holds the cash from the sale of your property until replacement property is located. Once the replacement property is located, the third-party intermediary pays for it using the funds from the sale of your property. Thus, you can still take advantage of a 1031 Exchange even if you have not yet found the replacement property. In delayed exchanges, you must follow strict Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines, which include several deadlines and other documentation requirements before you sell the first property. An example illustrates how a delayed 1031 Exchange works: You purchase a run-down office building for $25,000. After purchase you make improvements at a cost of $75,000. You now sell the property for $250,000 and pocket the proceeds. You have a $150,000 taxable gain on the sale. This gain is subject to federal income tax. Instead of pocketing the proceeds, you have the proceeds paid to an intermediary to hold while you locate replacement property. Within the permitted timeframe, you find an apartment building for sale for $250,000. The intermediary purchases the property on your behalf using the proceeds from the sale of the office building. Assuming all of the requirements of a delayed exchange are met, you pay no federal income tax on the exchange. It is important to note, however, that Pennsylvania does not recognize 1031 Exchanges and the gain on the transaction would be subject to Pennsylvania income tax. For more information about 1031 Exchanges, contact Scott Wallen at 814/870-7760 or • DECEMBER 2016


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On the heels of our 100 Year Anniversary, J.H. Bennett Moving & Storage is moving fast-forward into our second century. Consistently recognized as one of the top quality agents in the nation, J.H. Bennett has been consistently recognized as the prestigious Customer Choice Award recipient for quality, winning four times in just the past ve years.

Manufacturer & Business Association


January February March


New Skills!

Learn it today. Apply it tomorrow! As a leader in professional development and computer training programs for more than 25 years — the Manufacturer & Business Association’s expert trainers deliver the knowledge and skills you need to compete in today’s business world.

ENHANCE Your Career!

“The MBA’s Supervisory Skills training course set a foundation that outlines a simplified path to success. We have taken that foundation and have begun to build our people. We are creating a culture of growth, trust, knowledge and achievement with all of them. So, thank you, to the instructors at the MBA!” — Catherine J. Doty, HR Manager The Warren Company

Certified Supervisory Skills Series – The Warren Company

Front row, from left: Fabrication Supervisor Frank Bruno and Office Manager Judy Bernosky. Back row, from left: Maintenance Supervisor Robert DeBernardo, President Robert Warren and Warehouse Supervisor Ed McNabb.











Professional Development

Professional Development

Certified Supervisory Skills Series Course I (Meadville) Course II Course IV Couse IV (Hermitage) Course V (Hermitage) Course V

1/19 and 1/26 1/11 and 1/18 1/5 and 1/12 1/3 and 1/4 1/24 and 1/25 1/3 and 1/10

Certified Supervisory Skills Series Course I Course II (Meadville) Course III Course V

2/7 and 2/14 2/16 and 2/23 2/8 and 2/15 2/2 and 2/9

Leadership for Team Leaders Series Course I

2/21 2/20

Food Safety Certification


Food Safety Certification

Motivating Employees (Half Day, A.M.)


Top Essential Skills for Supervisors (Warren)

NEW! Getting Organized and Becoming More Efficient


Lean Operations (Three-Day Workshop)

1/11, 2/15 and 3/15

Six Sigma (Three-Day Workshop)

1/12, 1/16 and 2/16

HR Essential Certification Series - Level I Effective Interviewing and Hiring Techniques


Computer Access Level I Excel Level I Excel Level II Excel Level III PowerPoint QuickBooks Online Word Level I

(Half Day)


Women in Leadership PR Boot Camp

(Half Day, A.M.)



Marketing Planning (Half Day, P..M.)


Measurement System Analysis


Must-Haves of Effective Communication Presentation Skills

(Half Day, A.M.)

2/22 2/24 and 3/3

Supervisory Safety Course I 1/19 1/25 1/11 1/18 1/24 1/27 1/10

“The training provided by the Manufacturer & Business Association fills a real need for our organization. Our area is fortunate to have a resource like this providing the knowledge and reference materials for the professional development of both up-and-coming and experienced leaders. The soft skills learned in the Leadership program have and will continue to pay dividends to our organization and, most importantly, to our customers. It’s an excellent resource that businesses in the area should take advantage of.” — Ryan Ray, Plant Manager Power Drives, Inc.


HR Essential Certification Series - Level I Compensation and Benefits Effective Interview and Hiring Techniques (Grove City) Terminations – Keeping It Legal (Grove City) Employment Law – What HR Should Know (Grove City) Compensation and Benefits (Grove City) Discrimination and Harassment in The Workplace

2/22 2/23 2/23

HR for Non-HR Professionals


2/16 2/22 2/22

Computer Excel Level I Excel Level II Excel Level III QuickBooks Pro 2015 Word Level II Word: Mail Merge (Half Day)

2/22 2/8 2/15 2/10 2/16 2/7

“Whether it is computer classes or professional development courses, the training provided by the Manufacturer & Business Association has allowed us to provide a cost-effective solution that is critical to our ability to stay competitive.” — Joy Sherry, Human Resources Director Ainsworth Pet Nutrition











Professional Development

Regional Locations

Certified Supervisory Skills Series Course I (St. Marys) Course II Course III (Meadville) Course IV Course V

3/21 and 3/22 3/7 and 3/14 3/16 and 3/23 3/1 and 3/8 3/29 and 4/5

Leadership for Team Leaders Series Course II


Supervisory Safety Course II Course III

3/14 3/28

Food Safety Certification


Finance for Non-Financial Managers Blueprint Reading Writing to WOW!


3/7, 3/9, 3/14, 3/16 and 3/21 (Half Day, A.M.)


Fork Truck - Train the Trainer


NEW! Introduction to Control Charts

(Half Day, A.M.)


Introduction to Social Media

(Half Day, A.M.)

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing


3/28, 3/30, 4/4, 4/6 and 4/11

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation (Williamsport, Half Day, P.M.)


Top Essential Skills for Supervisors (Williamsport)


Time Management (Williamsport, Half Day, A.M.)


Effective Workplace Communications


HR Essential Certification Series - Level I Employment Law – What HR Should Know 3/16 Effective Interviewing & Hiring Techniques (Bradford) 3/29 Terminations – Keeping It Legal (Bradford) 3/29 Employment Law – What HR Should Know (Bradford) 3/29 Compensation and Benefits (Bradford) 3/30 Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace (Bradford) 3/30 HR for Non-HR Professionals


HR for Non-HR Professionals (Bradford)


Computer Access Level I Excel Level I Excel Level II Excel Level II Excel Level III PowerPoint Word Level I

3/7 3/22 3/1 3/29 3/8 3/21 3/16

All courses are held at the MBA Conference Center in Erie, unless otherwise noted. Bradford: Holiday Inn Express 30 Tarport Drive Extension Butler: Fairfield Inn & Suites 200 Fairfield Lane Clarion: Park Inn by Radisson, Clarion 45 Holiday Inn Road Corry: Higher Education Council 221 North Center Street DuBois: Best Western 82 North Park Place Erie: Manufacturer & Business Association Conference Center 2171 West 38th Street Grove City: Hampton Inn & Suites Holiday Boulevard Hermitage: LindenPointe, Training & Workforce Development Center 3050 Prosperity Place Kittanning: Armstrong Educational Trust 81 Glade Drive Meadville: Holiday Inn Express 18240 Conneaut Lake Road Mercer/Grove City: Hampton Inn, Grove City 4 Holiday Boulevard Oil City: Keystone Community Education Council 206 Seneca Street St. Marys: Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties 4 Erie Avenue, Suite 200 Titusville: Towne Square Conference Center 110 West Spring Street Warren: Warren/Forest Higher Ed Council 589 Hospital Drive, Suite F Williamsport: Genetti Hotel 200 W. Fourth Street * Handicap access and parking available at all sites.

Onsite Training Get more flexibility and convenience with our onsite training options ­— one of the most cost-effective choices for group instruction. • Flexible and convenient scheduling • Customized instruction • Eliminate travel expenses

Course Registration Contact Terry Nunez at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or to register or for more information on upcoming courses. Online registration also is available at

How you need it. When you need it. Where you need it.

Considered a leader in professional development and computer training for more than 25 years, the Manufacturer & Business Association offers you the ease and flexibility of onsite training for your group. ONSITE CONVENIENCE: Nothing beats the convenience of training conducted at your facility. Let our expert instructors bring the training you need, when you need it, where you need it. CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMS: From full-day to half-day programs, all of our courses can be tailored to address your organization’s specific needs. FOCUSED INTERACTION: Facilitated by our training specialists, your employees’ experience is further enhanced through group discussion on key topic areas specific to your company’s work environment. For more information about onsite training programs, call 800/815-2660, 814/833-3200 or visit





CLASSES START SOON: ERIE MEADVILLE ST. MARYS VISIT MBAUSA.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION! “I have taken many Supervisory training classes in my 25 years in management. This was by far the best!” — Randy Gray Keywell LLC “Investing in management education for both new and seasoned leaders has not only influenced corporate success, but has contributed to many successful career paths. MBA programs are high quality, accessible and affordable, which translates into great value.” — Gary M. Maras CEO, Medicor Associates Inc.


2016 Training Graduates The Manufacturer & Business Association recently held a series of luncheons to recognize the more than 200 graduates of its professional development and computer training programs. Visit www.mbabizmag. com for complete coverage.

Excel Application Specialists - Erie

From Left: Kim Cambra, Wire Weld Inc.; Shanna Bresee and Christine Hall, Northwest Insurance Services; Mindy McAllister, Rehrig Pacific Company; and, Lillybeth Feige, McCarty Printing.

HR Essential Certification Series – Erie

Excel Application Specialists - Erie

From Left: Kathy Napierkowski, Erie Insurance Group; Sheryl Barner, AirBorn Lake City; Jennifer Strazisar, Modern Industries, Inc.; Joan Timko, Rehrig Pacific Company; and, Shane Thompson, Erie Insurance Group.

From left: Rebekah Merritt, Prism Plastics Inc./Tech Molded Plastics, Inc.; Michelle Campbell and Chrystal Cellon, Erie Insurance Group; Robert Cole, Arrow Electric Inc.; and, Manufacturer & Business Association HR specialist Robyn Hopper.

HR Essential Certification Series - Erie

From left: Debra Ray, Marquette Savings Bank; Barbara Cross, Erie Insurance Group; and, Manufacturer & Business Association HR specialist Robyn Hopper.

HR Essential Certification Series - Corry

HR Essential Certification Series – Erie

From left: Lou Drago, Corry Jamestown Credit Union; Caitlyn Shipton, G.W. Becker, Inc.; Kara Fuller, Medicor Associates Inc.; and, Manufacturer & Business Association HR specialist Robyn Hopper.

Front row, from left: Carla Georgal, Lakeshore Community Services Inc. and Vanessa Silvis, Brownlee Lumber Inc. Back row, from left: Tamara Stoddard, Corry Redevelopment Authority; Jennifer Barnes, FCA Packaging; and, Tami Case, EnTech Plastics Inc.

HR Essential Certification Series – Erie

From left: Anthony Custai, Erie Insurance; Catherine Doty, Warren Steel Products, Inc.; Wendy Wakefield, Homerwood Hardwood Flooring; Danielle Azicri, County of Erie; Stacy Ress, Maple Donuts; Luisa Heifner, Whole Foods Co-op; and, Manufacturer & Business Association HR specialist Robyn Hopper.

Leadership for Team Leaders - Erie

Front row, from left: Daniel Stovall and Jim Kerr, Rehrig Pacific Co.; and, Amber Nelson, Juanita Demchak and Aida Paneto, AirBorn Lake City. Back row, from left: William Dick, AirBorn Lake City; Andy Hanks and Matt West, Betts Industries Inc.; and, Jason Thomas, Molded Fiber Glass Tray Co.



Leadership for Team Leaders – Erie

From left: Steve Kreig and Jason Cali, Ellwood National Forge Company; Jessica Bartges, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition; Rebecca Abramson, Lawrence County Drug & Alcohol Commission; Justin Pfadt, LJ Development Inc.; and, Troy Taraski, BASF Corporation.

Lean – Six Sigma - Erie

From left: Manufacturer & Business Association Training instructor Ray Davis, and Linda Pinnell and Melissa Vanderhoof, Provider Resources, Inc.

Lean - Six Sigma – Erie

Front row, from left: Zack Andrews, Donald Burnett, Deb Coleman, Nerissa Galt, Darla Wile and Dave Leopold, Acutec Precision Machining Inc.; and, Manufacturer & Business Association Training instructor Ray Davis. Back row, from left: Jake Moore and Vic Fuller, Acutec Precision Machining Inc.; Rob Wernicki, McCormick Structural Systems, Inc.; and, Matt Stanley, John Bailey and Tom Stanton, Acutec Precision Machining Inc.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series – Meadville

Front row, from left: Alan Hornstein and Beth Mattocks, Greenleaf Corporation; Dwane Keller, C&J Industries; Courtney Bailey and Luke Ongley. D&E Machining; and Rob Piccirillo, Molded Fiber Glass Tray Company. Back row, from left: Arnold Johnson, Matt Windschmitt, George Sliker, Todd Smith and Dave Garich, C&J Industries.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series - Erie Certified Supervisory Skills Series – Erie

Front row, from left: Sara Kitchen, Conor Dawley, Tara McQuaid, Nicole Wells, Cindy Bonniger, Shannon Wohlford, James Baldwin, Achievement Center. Second row, from left: Manufacturer & Business Association Training specialist Lisa DeFilippo and Laura Plasczynski, Bill Kohler, Caren DiSalvo, Amanda Jenco, Christine Richards, Janet Wittmann, Julie Nye, Christine Colao-Nickson and Executive Director Rebecca Brumagin, Achievement Center. Back row, from left: Robert Gulick, Bob Kraft, Janice Clark, Heather Salter, Cassie Dundon, Adam Bratton, Kevin Miller, Chris Dundon, Abdul Hakim, Achievement Center.

Front row, from left: Chris Deutsch, Corry Forge Company; Bill Banister, ERI; Chris Barber, Franklin Bronze Precision Components; Steve Ellison and Rob Long, Essentra Components; Ed Wolfgong, Franklin Bronze Precision Components; Paul Mierke, American Turned Products; Rick Copley, North Coast Plastics; and, Scott McCausland, Process & Data Automation Inc. Back row, from left: Jerry Cressley, Corry Forge Company; Matt Dennington, Plastek Industries; KC Zimmerman, PCMSI; Christina Colon, Achievement Center; Jennifer Stephany, Community Blood Bank; Faith Wentz, Achievement Center; Sherry Miller, Franklin Bronze Precision Components; and, Dan Huber and Tom Stolarski, Gannon University.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series - Erie

Certified Supervisory Skills Series - Erie

Front row, from left: Scott Field, Industrial Sales & Manufacturing Inc.; Stacey Bruce, Manufacturer & Business Association; Kara Lawson-Henry, Corry Manufacturing Company; Antoinette Ruiz, Armstrong AccuSpec LLC; Gloria Caldwell, Visiting Nurse Association of Erie County; and, Wendy Hasbrouck, Corry Manufacturing Company. Back row, from left: Chris Eastman, Corry Manufacturing Company; James Walker, Advanced Cast Products; Scott Conley, Erie County Juvenile Probation; Kevin Breter, Port Erie Plastics Inc.; Kraig Dilley, Erie County Juvenile Probation; Jeremy Hull, Urban Engineers, Inc.; and, David Ziegler, AccuSpec Electronics.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series – Erie

Front row, from left: Ed Lerch, Reddog Industries; Brad Farster, J. V. Manufacturing Company, Inc.; Tina Burnett, Polymer Molding Inc.; Jeff Enos, J. V. Manufacturing Company, Inc.; and, Rick Benedict, Eriez Manufacturing Company. Back row, from left: Kenny Hollis, Erie County Office of Children & Youth; Jake Wilczynski and Ken Krugger, McInnes Rolled Rings; Alex Rieber, J. V. Manufacturing Company, Inc.; Chris Crays, McInnes Rolled Rings; and, Chris Connolly, J. V. Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Front row, from left: Stacey Kunkle, AccuSpec Electronics; William Ortiz, Plastikos Inc.; Senita Brkic, Community Blood Bank of Erie County; Kelly Chase, Plastikos Inc.; Cindy Boyd, Tech Molded Plastics Inc.; Jennifer Scarpino, ACL; Amanda Donegan, Erie Water Works; and, Paula Patton, Rehrig Pacific Co. Second row, from left: Chris Epperson, McInnes Rolled Rings; Mark McManigle, Plastikos Inc.; Jason Gabbard and Dustin Drake, McInnes Rolled Rings; and, Preston Ross, McShane Welding Company Inc. Back row, from left: Steve Odom, ACL; Pat Jones, Erie Water Works; Charlie Olinger, Lawrence County Drug and Alcohol Commission; Mark Kircher, Tech Molded Plastics Inc.; Morgan Clever, ACL; Eric Heaven, AccuSpec Electronics LLC; and, Brandon Fiesler, Corry Manufacturing Company.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series - Smethport

From row, from left: R.J. McDowell, McKean County Department of Human Services (DHS) Independent Living; Linda Abbott, Warren County Housing Authority (HACW); Kim Gallup, McKean County Redevelopment & Housing Authority (MCRHA); Linda Thompson, MCRHA; and, Jen Landmesser, DHS Family Engagement. Back row, from left: Dave South and Damian Sipko, MCRHA; Tracey Kranak, HACW; and Pat Westerburg and Walter Wilcox, MCRHA. • DECEMBER 2016



Plastikos Inc. and its sister company, mold-maker Micro Mold Co. Inc., earned recognition for engaging students in manufacturing. Micro Mold & Plastikos recently were honored with third place as part of the 2016 Educational Outreach Awards presented by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP). The awards highlight manufacturers throughout the United States who strive to engage younger generations in the manufacturing industry through various community involvements. Micro Mold & Plastikos were declared one of the top 16 nominees that were selected from more than 50 nationwide submissions to go through an online surveying process. After a week of collecting nearly 500 votes from plastics professionals, the final results were announced on October 7. Based in Erie, Pennsylvania, Micro Mold & Plastikos specialize in precision mold design and fabrication as well as tight-tolerance injection molding. For more information, visit or



From left: Tool Room Manager Steve Carr talks with freshman and sophomores from General McLane High School and Gary Astorino, General McLane counselor for Special Programs.


Erie Federal Credit Union (Erie FCU) has been rated one of the top 15 credit unions in Pennsylvania by AdvisoryHQ, an independent online news source that provides extensive research, independent reviews, and top rankings of financial institutions across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. “We are honored to be recognized by AdvisoryHQ on their list of the best credit unions in Pennsylvania,” said Tom Brennan, chief marketing officer of Erie Federal Credit Union. “We are committed to providing our members with quality financial solutions and

outstanding service, so receiving this accolade means a lot.” AdvisoryHQ based its rankings on a number of factors, including advantages, benefits, and value-creating products and services provided by these financial institutions that benefit the consumers they serve. It delves deeper than the obvious fees, ratios and metrics, also looking at the quality and value of products and services, creating a more personal examination. For more information about Advisory HQ’s top PA credit union rankings, visit http://www.advisoryhq. com/articles/top-credit-unions-in-pennsylvania/

ERIEBANK INVESTMENT ADVISORS WELCOMES ASSISTANT VP ERIEBANK recently announced the appointment of Barbara Macks, CFP, to the position of assistant vice president of ERIEBANK Investment Advisors (EBIA). EBIA was formed to fill a niche for clients looking for a financial services provider with the ability to partner with clients on their entire financial portfolio. EBIA provides options regarding an overall investment strategy, debt management, retirement savings and other areas of personal finance. A native of Youngsville, Macks is a graduate of Gannon University with a B.S. in business administration. She has more than 30 years of banking and investment experience. ERIEBANK, a division of CNB Bank, is a $2.5 billion bank that has been and will continue to be developed by local business and community leaders. The local decisionmaking provided by ERIEBANK offers a high level of dedication and service to the communities within Pennsylvania and Ohio.


ERIE DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP HIRES ASSISTANT DIRECTOR The Erie Downtown Partnership has announced that it has hired Emily Fetcko as its assistant director. Fetcko will be working on implementation of the new downtown master plan and the new I Care About Revitalizing Erie (I CARE) campaign. Fetcko, who is from Oil City and most recently was owner and creative director at Moxie Media for nine years, has worked with nonprofits and businesses across the region and state to develop public relations strategies, as well as has been involved in many business advocacy initiatives working closely with many top leaders at the state and federal levels. The Erie Downtown Partnership is a nonprofit designed to revitalize the Erie, Pennsylvania downtown by improving its image, business climate, physical environment and design.

NORTHWEST NAMES VP OF COMMERCIAL LENDING Leah Manino has been named regional vice president of commercial lending for Warren, Pennsylvania-based Northwest Bank. Manino, who works at the Northwest office at 800 State Street in downtown Erie, is responsible for business development, extending client relationships and serving customers throughout the Erie area. Manino began her career with Northwest in 2002 as a lender in training and has since worked as a commercial lender serving Erie and the surrounding area. She received her bachelor’s degree in management from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.



HAPPY CLIENTS: “Team-building day was FUN day!” “Exactly what we were looking for.” “Working together allowed us to see areas where our co-workers excel.” For more info: or call us at 814/580-8929 to book. • DECEMBER 2016


HR CONNECTION | WORKPLACE TRENDS CDC TOOLKIT HELPS EMPLOYERS FIGHT THE FLU Every year influenza, or the “flu,” affects employers and businesses. In the United States, the cost of the flu is estimated to add up to approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single, best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine, but good health habits and antiviral medications are other measures that can be used to fight the flu. To help employers and their employees learn about these strategies for preventing and responding to seasonal flu in the workplace, the CDC is providing a “Make It Your Business to Fight the Flu” Toolkit, with flyers, posters, and other materials to post and distribute in the workplace. The Toolkit can be found online at

‘Tis the Season for Employee Benefits and Notice Requirements Federal law imposes numerous requirements on the group health coverage that employers provide to their employees. Many federal compliance laws apply to all group health plans, regardless of the size of the sponsoring employer. It is important to familiarize yourself with the health plan notices required under the Department of Labor (DOL), Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA), Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Many companies minimize the administrative burden of sending some of these notices by including them with the health plan enrollment materials that are distributed each year. However, yearly distribution is not required for some federally mandated health plan notices. Here is a list of some of the notices you may be required to provide to employees. Requirements can vary by the type of health plan offered, as well as the size of your company.


• COBRA • Medicare Part D Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage Notice • CHIPRA (Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act) • WHCRA (Women’s Health & Cancer Rights Act of 1998 Notice) • HIPPA Special Enrollment Rights Notice • HIPPA Privacy Notice • Availability of Health Insurance Marketplaces Notice • Grandfathered Plan Status Notice • Summary Plan Description (SPD) • Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and Uniform Glossary • Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) and Notice of Modification

A new study finds that sarcasm, insults and other rude behaviors can be contagious in the workplace, according to As part of the study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers found that workers treated with disrespect are likely to lose self-control and behave in rude or offensive ways themselves. “Basically, incivility begets incivility,” said study author Chris Rosen, a professor of management at the University of Arkansas, in a press release. “Estimates are that workplace incivility has doubled over the past two decades and on average costs companies about $14,000 per employee annually because of loss of production and work time,” Rosen continued. Researchers asked 70 employees a series of questions for 10 consecutive workdays. The employees also completed tasks that allowed the researchers to assess how rude behavior affects their productivity and corporate culture.

*Many notices can be delivered electronically if the DOL’s electronic disclosure rules are met.

According to experts, corporate executives and managers can minimize rudeness in the workplace by providing clear feedback in daily interactions or performance evaluations about the types of behavior that are considered acceptable and preferred.

For more detailed information, visit the Association’s website at

Melissa Damico is manager of Client Services for the Manufacturer & Business Association Insurance Agency (MBAIA) and a licensed insurance agent. Contact her at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or • DECEMBER 2016


HR Q&A | GET ANSWERS WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR WHEN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA) LEAVE YEAR IS TO BEGIN AND END? Figuring out when the leave year begins and ends can be a challenge. The parameters of the leave year will depend on the method an employer uses to define the 12-month leave period. Employers may choose one of four options: 1) A calendar year — Measured as the 12-month period that runs from January 1 through December 31; 2) Any fixed 12-months — Any 12-month period such as: • a fiscal year (for example, October 1 through September 30), • a year starting on an employee’s anniversary date (for example, September 22 through September 21), or • a 12-month period required by state law; 3) A 12-month period measured forward — Measured forward from the first date an employee takes FMLA leave. The next 12-month period would begin the first time FMLA leave is taken after completion of the prior 12-month period. For example: Lisa, an employee, began FMLA leave on July 6, 2016, so her 12-month period is July 6, 2016 through July 5, 2017; or 4) A “rolling” 12-month period measured backward — Measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the “rolling” 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 weeks that has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months. For example: Lisa requests three weeks of FMLA leave to begin on July 31st. The employer looks back 12 months (to the previous August 1st) to see if any FMLA leave had been used. Lisa had not taken any previous FMLA leave, so she is entitled to the three weeks she requested and has nine more weeks available.

WILL EMPLOYEES ON FMLA LEAVE BE ELIGIBLE FOR HOLIDAY PAY? When it comes to holiday pay, your company policies should govern your decisions. In the simplest terms, treat employees on comparable leaves in the same manner: Unpaid FMLA leave should be handled similarly to unpaid non-FMLA leave; FMLA being taken in conjunction with paid leave should be handled the same as employees on paid leave.



Make-Or-Buy Decisions: What’s Best for Your Business? One of the most frequent and important questions in HR and talent management today is whether to “make or buy” — developing in-house or going outside the organization for assistance. For example, HR managers have to decide whether they need to hire permanent staff or contract staff for particular jobs. If they hire a permanent resource, in addition to the basic salary and other allowances, they would have to pay Social Security, health-care benefits, paid leaves and other perks. However, hiring a resource on contract means that they would simply have to pay the agreed amount to the agency that is responsible for placing him or her. Increasingly, HR managers prefer to hire contract resources rather than fulltime employees because the ongoing economic downturn means that there are more workers in the market for even premium skills, as well as the firms hiring such workers are also under cost pressures. Indeed, the fact that firms are doing everything possible to cut down on additional costs means that the make-or-buy decisions are increasingly being skewed in favor of the buy side. In addition, hiring resources on contract is useful to tide over temporary shortages in demand, which means that in the place of a full-time resource who cannot be fired at will, the firm can simply cancel the contract or not extend it in case of the contractual resource. Further, they do not have to worry about paying health care, Social Security and other benefits that full-time resources have to be paid. Make-or-buy decisions also are important where HR processes are concerned. In recent years, many firms have outsourced their payroll, hiring, event management and public relations functions to external agencies to keep costs down. The fact that one can save time by outsourcing means that more time can be spent on other areas within the organization. The beginning of a new year may be a good time to explore which investment is right for your business. For more information on the MBA’s Part-Time HR consulting services, call 814/833-3200 or email

Stacey Bruce is the director of HR Services at the Manufacturer & Business Association. Contact her at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or

Thank You, Roar On The Shore & MBA!

(814) 455-4577

Mercy Center for Women is so excited to be the 2017 ROAR Charity Recipient - we can’t wait until July 2017!

1039 East 27th Street Erie, PA 16504

Joey and Sadie on Bikes

You can start now to help! Just like families everywhere, the women and children who live at Mercy Center for Women are excited about Christmas. For some, this will be the first time they are able to celebrate the kind of Christmas that creates happy memories. With your help, Mercy Center is able to offer our women an opportunity to ‘shop’ for their children at no cost, wrap the gifts and place them under the tree in our living room. We also need gifts for women. Please bring unwrapped gifts to Mercy Center at 1039 East 27th Street by Friday, December 16th!

Terry & Jasmine

Case Manager Megan Fogle & Client

Alumna of the Year 2016

Roar on the Shore Announcement

1039 E. 27th Street. Erie, PA 16504

















Katie with Ruby the Therapy Dog

8500 Oliver Road • Erie, PA 16509

Discover new career opportunities through industry specific and customized training. The Regional Career & Technical Center is a leading provider of quality career and technical training programs for adults. We offer a variety of courses, affordable tuition and convenient class schedules. ISO 9001:2008 Certified

*NEW! CAREERLINK APPROVED COURSES Term III classes begin the week of January 17. Register for classes December 5 – January 6.

Visit for a complete course schedule or call 814.464.8601 for more information.

NOW! RIDE the e, TAKE ROUTE 3! The RCTC is a division of the Erie County Technical School, an equal opportunity educational institution. • DECEMBER 2016


A better way to look at energy. As the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available, natural gas is not only an efficient way to heat, but also cleaner, too. By producing a significantly smaller amount of greenhouse gases compared to oil, electric or propane, you can take advantage of a safe, reliable and abundant resource that’s better for your bottom line and our environment. Any way you look at it, the choice is clear. Take a closer look at natural gas for a cleaner tomorrow.

Here We Grow Again The acquisition of Thomas Lee Printing & Mailing has grown our company, expanding its capabilities with quality pieces of production equipment and a group of talented employees sharing a wealth of knowledge of the print and mail industry. These additions grow our services offered: • • • • • •

Art department with complete layout and design assistance services State-of-the-art 6-color and 4-color printing presses HP Indigo digital color press for short run and variable printing Complete bindery, die cutting, foil stamping and embossing Comprehensive mailing and distribution systems SFI®, FSC® and PEFC™ certification that provides a sound commitment to preserving our environment

Happy Holidays! 4982 Pacific Avenue, Erie, PA 16506 814. 833. 8080 | 800.540.7805 Focusing on innovative cross media solutions with an environmentally responsible mindset.


Shell Cracker Project Presents Opportunities For New, Existing Businesses John Siggins is the assistant director of the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC), which focuses on identifying promising nascent technologies that can benefit the shale energy space and providing industry knowledge to stakeholders in the space. A degreed chemical engineer from Penn State, Siggns has a career that spans more than 30 years, including expertise in the private sector focused on the energy, environmental consulting and waste management sectors. In June 2016, Shell announced its decision to build the ethane cracker plant and petrochemical complex in Beaver County. This announcement has been referred to as a “game changer” by Governor Tom Wolf and is viewed as a significant economic development catalyst for Pennsylvania, especially for small businesses and manufacturers.

cracker (average annual capacity of 3.2 billion pounds of ethylene), and three polyethylene units (annual production of 3.5 billion total pounds). Shell will also operate a 250 MW power and steam generation plant on the site, as well as cooling water and water treatment systems, an emergency flare, plus storage buildings and warehouses.

Project Scope The Shell Cracker, located in the heart of the Marcellus/Utica, is the first step in the buildout of an entire petrochemical industry in the region surrounding where the natural gas liquids (NGLs) are being produced. But it is important to note that a much broader geographic region that includes significant portions of the Northeastern and Upper Midwestern United States will benefit from the buildout of this petrochemical industry. Three additional cracker plants have been proposed in the region, and the Shell Cracker is not likely to be the only regional cracker.

The Shell Cracker is what is referred to as a “World Scale” petrochemical plant. The budget for building the entire complex is projected to be $6 billion, projected to be operational in early 2021. The complex itself will provide an estimated 600 full-time jobs when operational and an estimated 6,000 construction jobs at peak construction.

The Shell website,, refers to the Beaver County project as the “Shell Appalachian Petrochemical Project,” noting it is the first major U.S. project of its type to be built outside the Gulf Coast region in 20 years. Company officials conclude that locating the facility close to both supply and markets will reduce economic and environmental transportation costs and provide regional plastic manufacturers with more flexibility, shorter supply chains and enhanced supply dependability. The complex will include an ethane

What It Means to You Based on the volumes of economically recoverable NGLs in the region, along with the level of interest multiple major petrochemical industry companies have shown in investigating additional cracker plants in the region, it would appear that the Shell announcement is just a first in a series of projects to be announced. Thus, it is important for regional planners and the existing industries in the region to understand what the possibilities are and to develop strategic plans to maximize the opportunities that will present themselves. Uday Turaga, president of ADI Analytics, a boutique consulting and advisory firm that focuses on the oil and gas, energy, and chemicals sectors, provided the following comments regarding the

exciting opportunities the Shell Cracker brings to the state: • “Polyethylene (PE) production spawns a wide range of large (PE derivatives manufacturing) and small businesses (PE processing, e.g., blow mold processing) that will drive employment in a more sustainable manner…. It is important to emphasize that it will create both small and large businesses driving a big economic resurgence.” • “Several other industries will expand or come in the vicinity, e.g., fabrication shops, equipment (pump/compressor) service centers, industrial cleaning and waste management facilities, etc.” • “It will lay the basis for the development of a new industrial logistics and transportation system on the East Coast and make further cracker or petrochemical plant additions / expansions much cheaper and easier.” • “Finally, the plant will train a new generation of workers, create opportunities for entrepreneurs and drive research dollars in the neighborhood.” These are truly exciting times in the state! A manufacturing renaissance has been launched as a result of this opportunity, with certainly the opportunity for existing and new companies to benefit in the northwestern sector of the state which has a history of plastics manufacturing. • DECEMBER 2016




Pictured Left to Right:

John VanTassel, Carla Higgins, Bill DeLuca, Betsy Bort, Tim Roberts, Allison Hodas

Experience Better Business Banking with ERIEBANK The ERIEBANK Commercial Banking team is comprised of seasoned, Commercial Banking Division

local professionals with diverse and extensive financial experience.

Main Office • 2035 Edinboro Road • Erie, PA 16509

Customer satisfaction is at the heart of what we do, striving to earn

Phone (814) 868-7523 • Fax (814) 868-7524

trust and respect by putting our customer’s needs first. ERIEBANK is a valuable resource to businesses, large or small, offering commercial banking services to companies seeking a comprehensive financial relationship delivered at a local level. We are accessible and offer everything you need to grow your business and bottom line. Contact us today.


Full in-network access to UPMC. Another reason we’re the fastest growing health plan in the region. You and your family deserve only the best care. So when your employer gives you a choice of health plans, choose the one that includes full, affordable access to the top-ranked care of UPMC doctors and hospitals, plus other exceptional doctors and hospitals in your community.

To learn why more and more people are choosing UPMC Health Plan, visit

Chadwick Martin Bailey, January 2016 Nondiscrimination Statement UPMC Health Plan1 complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. 1 UPMC Health Plan is the marketing name used to refer to the following companies, which are licensed to issue individual and group health insurance products or which provide third party administration services for group health plans: UPMC Health Network Inc., UPMC Health Options Inc., UPMC Health Coverage Inc., UPMC Health Plan Inc., UPMC Health Benefits Inc., UPMC for You Inc., and/or UPMC Benefit Management Services Inc.

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December 2016 Business Magazine  

Local economist Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie, talks about the outlook for the coming year.

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