Business Magazine December 2022

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ADVERTISING OPTIONS FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Chris Peterson at or Frank Mehler at 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660 February 2023 Health & Wellness Advertising Offer Full-page Ad $1,300 Quarter-page Ad $525 Half-page Ad $790 Business Card Ad $210 Ad Space Reservation Due: THURSDAY, JANUARY 5 Ad Materials Due: THURSDAY, JANUARY 12 Promote the best ways to help employers keep their teams healthy and engaged by showcasing the many health and wellness resources that are available in our region: hospitals and health-care facilities; assisted living and retirement communities; alternative medicine and specialty practices; rehabilitation, dental, behavioral health and fitness centers; plus, so much more! All for Health At Highmark, we’re dedicated to keeping the heart of your company healthy and happy. We’re here to help you find the right coverage for your employees. To connect them to the right care. And to make both of those as simple as the truth: your business is only as good as your people. Learn more at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. EVENTS & EXTRAS | NETWORKING & MORE The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) strives to keep its members informed on the most current business issues affecting employers in the region. For more information about upcoming events or to view the MBA’s photo gallery, visit The Association recently held its January Eggs ‘n’ Issues briefing to provide members with an energy update for 2019 at the MBA’s Conference Center in Erie. Geoffrey Bristow shared information on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Ken Lawton spoke on Distribution Corporation. Marybeth Smialek of FirstEnergy addresses attendees at the January briefing. United Way of Erie County MISSION: BORN & STAY HEALTHY WE’RE ON A MISSION TO CRUSH POVERTY IN ERIE COUNTY. At United Way of Erie County we recognize the importance of children and families having the resources they need including those suffering with addiction. That’s why United Way was an early funder of the Women’s Recovery Center at Magee-Womens, UPMC Hamot through the Hamot Health Foundation. 21 FEBRUARY 2019 A smile is a powerful tool... Delta Dental can help protect yours. Delta Dental of Pennsylvania 800-471-7091 Workforce CPR and AED Training Ensure your employees are prepared for onsite emergencies. Our location or yours. Flexible scheduling Schedule a training session for your employees today! 814-870-1040 IN EMERGENCIES, SECONDS MATTER. 2017 Health & Fitness Guide The new year is a good time for employers and their employees to focus on wellness and fitness solutions that can help lower health-care costs while improving overall health. Here are some options that you may want to consider to give yourself and your team a healthy and competitive edge: 20 FEBRUARY 2017 For more information, visit!
In this season of thanks, we extend our warmest wishes for a Christmas season filled with joy and a New Year filled with promise!


Executive Editor Karen Torres Contributing Writers Eileen Anderson Tracy Daggett Kyle Gallo Tammy Lamary-Toman 12 13 19 20



For the most current Business Magazine updates, visit

& Business

Headquarters: 2171 West 38th Street Erie, PA. 16508 Pittsburgh: 600 Cranberry Woods Drive, Suite 190 Cranberry Township, PA 16066 814/833-3200 |800/815-2660 |

Feature Photography iStockPhoto Addtional Photography Casey Naylon Karen Torres Patty Welther Design, Production & Printing Printing Concepts Inc. Advertising Sales Frank Mehler 814/833-3200 FEATURES WHAT’S INSIDE | FEATURED STORY 3 Special Announcement MBA Pittsburgh office moving to new location. COVER STORY | LOCAL PROFILE 4 Economic Roundup A bright light in an uncertain economy, area employers — representing banking, health care, education, logistics/transportation and manufacturing — share their outlook for the year ahead. COMPANY PROFILES | INDUSTRY 8 Logistics Plus 9 MFG Tray 14 Northwest Bank 15 PennWest University 17 Saint Mary’s Home of Erie SPOTLIGHT Q&A | OUTLOOK 7 Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) and associate professor of economics at Penn State Behrend, talks about growth estimates, as well as the statistics and trends that are expected to impact the economic outlook for 2023. EDITORIAL LEGAL BRIEF | CONSIDER THIS 11 A closer look at wealth planning in a high interest environment. Kyle Gallo ON THE HILL | AGENDA 16 Why the governor-elect must address the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission debt. Eileen Anderson INSERT | TRAINING CATALOG Save your seat for the upcoming computer, HR and professional development training courses available at the MBA. SPECIAL EVENT | CONFERENCE 21 See exclusive coverage of the MBA’s 10th annual HR & Employment Law Conference. 1 DECEMBER 2022

See the latest happenings at the MBA and with members in the region! Manufacturer
© Copyright 2022 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. Association
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 On the Cover: What’s ahead for 2023? Area employers share their take on the economic outlook and their industry. For full story, see page 4.

The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) is excited to announce that it has started a Holiday Giving Tree Program to help its members and the general public give back to the community this holiday season. This year, the MBA Conference Center in Erie will display two Christmas trees with special ornaments in the front lobby for those wishing to give gifts to seniors and children in northwest Pennsylvania.

The 2022 donation program benefits two MBA member organizations – one is Home Instead’s “Be a Santa to a Senior” and the other to benefit deserving students at the Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School.

Please stop in the MBA Conference Center, 2171 West 38th Street in Erie, to select and sign out an ornament and spread some cheer for those in need. You may even get treated to a carol or two by the MBA’s talented receptionist Pam Durst!

Unwrapped donations with ornament tags for the Be a Santa to a Senior recipients and Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School students are due back to the MBA Conference Center by no later than Monday, December 12

If you are interested or want to learn more, contact the MBA at 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660. Any MBA member that wants to be considered for the 2023 Holiday Giving Tree Program should also contact the MBA as space is limited.

Happy Holidays!




As we look forward to the holiday season and the promise of a new year, the Manufacturer & Business Association’s (MBA) is excited to share a special announcement that will enhance our services in the Pittsburgh region.

Beginning January 1, 2023, the MBA Pittsburgh Office will move from the former SMC Business Councils location to the state-of-the-art Regional Learning Alliance (RLA) Learning and Conference Center in Cranberry Township, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Suite 224. The 34,000-square-foot RLA facility, which features 28 meeting rooms, is centrally located at the hub of Interstates 79 and 76.

Why Now?

With the MBA’s current lease ending, the Association wanted to remain in the same area for convenience and ease of our members but wanted something more conducive to who we are as an organization and the services we offer.

The MBA has found the perfect place and partnership with the Regional Learning Alliance. The RLA’s mission is to provide comprehensive facilities and support services to enhance learning and collaborative experiences that drive economic, educational, community and workforce vitality. The Alliance’s vision is to create excellent lifelong learning experiences (visit

That closely aligns with many things the MBA provides. The MBA initially plans to offer professional development training and computer training at the new location and expects those offerings to increase and grow. The MBA also will continue to offer programs and offerings from its HR, Legal and Government Affairs Divisions.

We have always been impressed with the RLA facility and what they do there. There is an energy and excitement that seems to exist that creates a very positive environment. Many of our members are already familiar with RLA from attending meetings there or for continuing education purposes. We can’t think of a more perfect place for the MBA to be. We will be completing the move during the month of December and look forward to seeing you there very soon!

More Impact

In this special economic outlook issue of the MBA Business Magazine, we’ll also highlight some of the other important topics and trends impacting the economy as we look toward 2023.

Be sure to check out this month’s outlook roundup to hear from peers within various industries about what they are experiencing at their own organizations. Plus, see our Spotlight Q&A with Ken Louie, Ph.D., a well-respected regional economist and director of the Economic Research

Institute of Erie at Penn State Behrend, on some of the key economic indicators to watch for in the new year.

We also hope you’ll join us for a more in-depth look at the economy in 2022 and what’s ahead in 2023 when we host the 2023 Economic Outlook IMPACT Luncheon at noon Thursday, December 8, at the MBA Conference Center in Erie. The event will feature Louie and Oluwaropo A. (Abbey) Omodunbi, Ph.D., assistant vice president and senior economist for The PNC Financial Services Group. To register, visit !

Exciting things are happening at the MBA, and there’s certainly more to come. On behalf of the MBA Board of Governors and staff, we wish you and your teams a happy and healthy holiday season!



Economic Outlook

Area Employers Shed Light on What May Be Ahead

Facing higher inflation and rising interest rates, experts have indicated that economic growth is expected to decelerate, suggesting a recession is just around the bend.

But how mild or severe it may be remains uncertain, given the resilience of other market trends.

“One sign that the national economy remains fairly robust is the tight labor market, as reflected by the low unemployment rate and continued job growth, and this is certainly a reason for cautious optimism,” explains Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) at Penn State Behrend. “However, consumer spending, which is a major driver of the economy, has been slowing down recently.”

In fact, recent data suggests that household savings, which were accumulated during the pandemic are now declining, which may further dampen consumer spending.

“Expenditure trends experienced by small businesses in the upcoming Christmas shopping season may provide additional clues as to whether the cautious optimism will persist into 2023,” says Louie.

One of the best gauges to get a pulse on the economy is from area employers representing different industries, including banking, health care, education, logistics/ transportation and manufacturing.

Banking and Finance

“The Fed has stated its intent to continue to raise interest rates — which makes the cost of borrowing more expensive — as a strategy for bringing down the rate of inflation. As a result,” states Anita M. Kuchcinski, senior vice president, Erie Commercial Market executive for Northwest Bank, headquartered in Warren, PA, “we anticipate a slowdown in borrowing among consumers and businesses due to rising Fed interest rates. Other impacts to consumers that are likely in 2023 as a result of inflation and associated rising expenses include a decrease in personal liquidity and an increase in unsecured debt. It’s important to keep in mind that inflation will eventually decline with Fed action and the idea that one of the best cures for inflation is inflation.”

“In addition to the impact of inflation,” Kuchcinski adds, “2023 will see a continuation of the digital transformation in the banking industry as banks place greater reliance and emphasis on digital platforms. The trend of consumers moving toward online banking and other digital solutions grew during the global pandemic and will increase in the year ahead.”

According to Kuchcinski, the business outlook for Northwest Bank in 2023 is strong as it continues proactively adjusting to the changing times and economic challenges described above. Examples of how Northwest plans to do that include rolling out additional digital platforms in response to ongoing customer interest in these technologies, focusing on growth and diversification of its commercial banking business, and expanding product offerings as it grows.

In Kuchcinski’s opinion, one of the most significant challenges for the banking industry in 2023 is the same one that will continue to affect practically every industry: employee recruitment and retention. “At Northwest Bank, finding, hiring and keeping great employees will remain a primary goal in the year ahead. We’ve developed a number of strategies to intentionally support that effort and create new opportunities for our people, including the introduction of employee resource groups (ERG) recently. ERGs bring together people with a common identity to share experiences, foster engagement, and otherwise contribute to an inclusive, positive work experience.”

Northwest Bank 4 DECEMBER 2022 •
“2023 will see a continuation of the digital transformation in the banking industry as banks place greater reliance and emphasis on digital platforms…”
— Anita Kuchcinski,

Health Care

Health care too had to re-adjust and adapt. According to Allen Bonace, president and chief executive officer of Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, “the health-care industry is still responding to the COVID-19 crisis, but the dynamics are beginning to shift in a way that allows the industry to re-focus on growth and innovation to ensure that we are providing the best care possible and meeting the needs of those we serve.”

“In particular, “ he continues, “the long-term care and senior living sector is doing this by preparing for the continued aging of the Baby Boomer generation as demand for services is expected to grow.”

For Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, Bonace believes the outlook is promising. “We have focused our energies on the continuous enhancement of our Asbury Ridge campus. By investing in construction and renovation projects that will improve services offered, we’re taking steps to better meet the lifestyle needs of seniors today and in the future. One of the reasons Saint Mary’s still exists 140 years since our founding is because we adapt, and will continue to adapt, as we head into 2023 and beyond.”

Still, challenges do exist, especially when it comes to the workforce. “Health-care workers are facing burnout and quitting or retiring faster than replacement rates. It requires action on a lot of fronts,” says Bonace. “Having a talented, engaged and diverse workforce is vital for providing high quality care to our residents and for the well-being of our team.”

That’s a major challenge for those in other areas of the service sector as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth over the next 10 years is expected to be highest in service industries such as health care and social assistance; leisure and hospitality; and educational services.


Yet, according to Angela Burrows, associate vice president (AVP) and chief marketing officer of the newly integrated PennWest University (California, Clarion and Edinboro universities,) higher education has faced a number of headwinds in recent years due to challenging demographics, cost and public skepticism. “The pandemic exacerbated some of these challenges, but also paved the way for new approaches to course delivery and program offerings,” she says. “At PennWest, we’re all about agility and finding ways to meet the evolving needs of students and employers.”

For instance, at PennWest’s newly integrated university, “We had a nearly 2-percent increase in first-year student enrollment this year, which is an indication that awareness of PennWest is beginning to take hold and students are confident about the university’s future,” says Burrows. ”We have heard from students who already are reaping the benefits of living on one campus and taking advantage of course offerings on the other two.”

And online offerings also added to its curriculum. “Our Global Online division provides even more opportunity, especially for those who are balancing pursuit of a degree or a certificate with other responsibilities,” says Burrows.

To stay ahead, “we will have to continue to demonstrate our value to students who are wise consumers,” states Burrows. “That is not so much a challenge for us, but an opportunity to tell the story of all of what we have to offer as the second largest public university in Western Pennsylvania.”

for nearly 20 percent of the Erie economy, producing almost $2 billion of annual output — a vital part of our economy.

At MFG Tray, an industry leading composite manufacturer, the Linesville, PA-based company is cautiously positive about the next fiscal year.

“Suppressed demand driven by supply chain issues of 2022 are driving this growth short term,” explains John Thompson, MFG Tray’s president and general manager. “The duration of this short-term experience is targeted to be enhanced by new product introduction to our existing markets.”

Thompson sees opportunities in new product introduction for MFG Tray’s confectionery market, product acquisition increasing the company’s offerings for its industrial market, and new product introduction in food service and pharmaceutical markets. Challenges include raw material pricing stabilization and other supply chain inflation factors, labor market shortages and utilities’ inflation.

“Supply chain stabilization is our biggest challenge for 2023,” says Thompson. “If we continue to successfully navigate this challenge to the level of 2022, our business will continue to be strong.”


According to Louie, industries expected to face challenges in terms of job growth include manufacturing, retail trade and the government sector. These national trends are broadly similar to what researchers have seen in the local economy in recent years.

However, Louie points out that one silver lining is that the manufacturing sector is still fairly strong in terms of its output, both nationally and locally, despite the employment challenges. Nationally, manufacturing output is expected to grow over the next few years. Locally, manufacturing accounts


Logistics/transportation is also one of the best indicators of a strong economy, and for Logistics Plus (LP), headquartered in Erie, the outlook for 2023 means “full speed ahead,” according to Founder and CEO Jim Berlin.

“We’re not a crystal ball here, but most experts following transportation and logistics believe the economy will see some contraction in Q1 and Q2, and then a return to modest growth the remainder of the year,” adds Scott Frederick, LP’s chief marketing officer. “Hopefully, that means transportation capacity will be more widely available and rates will hold steady. We still have some headwinds due to lack of truck drivers, high expense of operating trucks/fleets, new safety and labor regulations, carbon emission guideline updates, reductions of ocean sailings and air flights, extremely tight warehousing capacity and more.

“And that’s assuming we don’t have any more events that disrupt supply chains, like hurricanes, droughts, and wars,” Scott continues. “We view the slower first half of 2023 as a great time to enhance collaboration with your 3PL and/or carrier partners, consider investing in TMS technology if you haven’t already, and re-segmenting your business to better determine how best to cover it through dedicated, contract or spot market activities.”

Frederick says LP continues to see great opportunities to expand its services with both current MBA members across the region, and with nonMBA members around the world.

“Challenges continue to be helping our customers find affordable transpor tation capacity amid a myriad of weather, economic and geopolitical supply chain disruptions,” he says. “However, we have cultivated a great workplace with over 1,000 talented and caring professionals around the world using cutting-edge technologies; so, we feel our CEO’s goal of ‘humbly conquering the world from Erie, Pennsylvania’ is still something we can aspire to.”

According to Louie, a key trend to watch is the degree to which Erie can sustain all the positive economic development initiatives that have been taken across the region over the past several years. “Many of these initiatives have been the result of broad collaborative efforts across our community,” notes Louie. “If we can sustain the momentum to move Erie (and PA for that matter) continuously in a positive economic direction, we are likely to see a much more prosperous and dynamic regional economy in the years ahead.”

To learn more about what’s in store for the economy in 2023, register for the MBA’s Economic Outlook IMPACT Luncheon, starting at noon December 8 at the MBA Conference Center in Erie at

“We feel our CEO’s goal of ‘humbly conquering the world from Erie, Pennsylvania’ is still something we can aspire to.”
— Scott Frederick, Logistics Plus
“Supply chain stabilization is our biggest challenge for 2023. If we continue to successfully navigate this challenge to the level of 2022, our business will continue to be strong.”
— John Thompson, MFG Tray
“We will have to continue to demonstrate our value to students who are wise consumers…”
— Angela Burrows, PennWest University
“The health-care industry is still responding to the COVID-19 crisis, but the dynamics are beginning to shift in a way that allows the industry to re-focus on growth and innovation…”
— Allen Bonace, Saint Mary’s Home of Erie
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ERIE Economist Identifies Key Challenges for 2023

As concerns mount about a looming recession, many people are looking to economists to see if there is any silver lining expected in the year ahead.

Here, Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) and associate professor of economics at Penn State Behrend, talks about growth estimates, as well as the statistics and trends that are expected to impact the economic outlook for 2023.

How would you describe the outlook for the U.S. economy as we begin 2023?

The U.S. economic outlook for 2023 has become somewhat gloomier in light of the stubbornly high inflation rate and the Federal Reserve’s attempts to bring it back down to the desired 2-percent target by nudging up interest rates. As of September, the U.S. labor market remains fairly robust, with nonfarm payroll employment increasing by 263,000 and the unemployment rate declining slightly to 3.5 percent. However, the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy stance has stoked fears that the higher interest rates will tip the economy into recession in 2023.

Looking ahead, U.S. economic growth is expected to average 0.7 percent and 1.2 percent in 2023 and 2024, respectively. What does your research show? Those estimates are consistent with the economic forecasts by major institutions like the U.S. Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their latest forecasts suggest that U.S. economic growth will remain sluggish (below 2 percent) for the next two years. The median forecast by Fed policymakers is for U.S. real GDP to grow by 1.2 percent in 2023 and by 1.7 percent in 2024. The IMF expects U.S. real GDP to grow by 1.0 percent in 2023 and by 1.2 percent in 2024. What about the regional economic outlook? How does it compare with the state and nation for 2023?

Since the U.S. national economy tends to lead the regional economy, the Erie regional economic outlook for 2023 is likely to be similar to that for the nation as a whole. Based on the national forecasts noted above, Erie is

likely to experience sluggish growth in 2023, along with Pennsylvania and the aggregate national economy.

From a historical perspective, the regional economy was fairly stable prior to the pandemic, with Erie County’s real GDP growing modestly by 1.4 percent in 2019. This was lower than the 2.3-percent growth rate for the nation as a whole, and only slightly below the 1.7-percent growth rate for the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, as a result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, real GDP in 2020 declined by 5.8 percent in Erie County, 4.5 percent in Pennsylvania, and 3.4 percent in the United States as a whole. Data on the growth rate for the regional economy in 2021 and 2022 are not yet available, so it’s too early to determine the post-pandemic rate of growth in the Erie economy.

Experts also project unemployment rate to reflect the slower growth, roughly 4 percent in 2023 from 3.6 percent in 2022. What is your assessment of the employment rate? What are you seeing at the local level?

The national unemployment rate is expected to increase due to the Fed’s tightening of monetary policy and the resulting slower rate of economic growth. The Fed’s latest median forecast suggests that the U.S. unemployment rate will increase from 3.8 percent in 2022 to 4.4 percent in both 2023 and 2024 before dipping slightly to 4.3 percent in 2025. At the local level, gradual recovery from the pandemic has lowered the unemployment rate to 5.0 percent in August compared to 7.0 percent a year earlier. However, the local labor market remains somewhat lethargic,

with nonfarm employment growing by less than 1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis since January. Also, Fed policy as well as slower growth may add further pressure on the local labor market in 2023.

What key areas/current issues should we be keeping our eyes on when it comes to the economic forecast for 2023?

One key thing to watch is the degree to which the Fed continues its aggressive monetary tightening to fight inflation, and the impact of that monetary policy on inflation, unemployment and the performance of both the national and the local economy. In other words, we should focus on gauging the degree to which the Fed is achieving the elusive goal of engineering a “soft landing” for the economy so that it fulfills its dual mandate of promoting maximum sustainable employment and price stability.

Of course, other issues we should continue to keep our eyes on include the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has continuing economic repercussions around the world, including significant impacts on global food and energy markets. Domestically, the U.S. midterm elections are also important since the results may affect the nation’s fiscal policy in the next few years.

To learn more about the 2023 economic forecast, register for the MBA’s in-person and virtual Economic Outlook IMPACT luncheon on December 8 at


Global Headquarters: 1406 Peach St. Erie, PA 16501

Phone: 1-866-564-7587 (1-866-LOGPLUS)



21st Century Logistics Supplier Moves Full Speed Ahead


After a 20-year career in the trucking industry as a driver and terminal manager, Jim Berlin founded Logistics Plus, Inc. (LP) in 1996 with only three employees, one customer, and a $120,000 purchase order. Jim has invested heavily in the Erie community’s economic development. In 2003, he renovated the 80-year-old former train station and made it the company’s global headquarters. In 2019, he purchased the Erie Times-News building for additional downtown warehousing and office space. In addition to many company awards, Jim has been honored as a Most Admired CEO by the Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA), and Ernst & Young (EY) recognized Jim as Western Pennsylvania’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2004. Berlin is also a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Global. Integrated. Logistics. Logistics Plus is now a 21st Century Logistics Company™ and a leading worldwide provider of transportation, warehousing, fulfillment, global logistics, business intelligence, technology and supply chain solutions. Today, LP has annual global sales approaching half a billion dollars and over 1,000 employees in 35 countries worldwide. LP is consistently recognized as one of the fastest-growing privately-owned transportation and logistics companies, a top 3PL, a top freight brokerage and warehousing provider, a leading project cargo manager, and a great place to work. With its trademark Passion for Excellence™, its global employees put the ‘plus’ in

logistics by doing the big things properly, plus the countless little things that ensure complete customer satisfaction and success.

3PL, 3½PL or 4PL Solutions Logistics Plus offers a breadth of reliable and affordable services. Working as a 3PL, 3½PL, or 4PL partner, they’re the company known for saying YES, not NO, to unique supply chain challenges. LP handles projects from start to finish by doing what other logistics companies can’t or won’t do — and you won’t be waiting on them. They are lean, agile and responsive to customers’ needs, yet they are large enough to have a network of solutions spanning the entire global supply chain.

A Global Network of Resources

The Logistics Plus® network includes offices, warehouses, and agents located in Erie, PA; Aurora, CO; Buffalo, NY; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Chino, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Colton, CA; Dallas, TX; Dayton, NJ; Des Moines, IA; Haslet TX; Honolulu, HI; Houston, TX; Laredo, TX; Lexington, NC; Los Angeles, CA; Meadville, PA; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Norfolk, VA; Olean, NY; Ontario, CA; Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco, CA; Tulsa, OK; Vancouver, WA; Australia; Belgium; Brazil;

Canada; China; Colombia; Czech Republic; Egypt; France; Germany; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Libya; Malaysia; Mexico; Netherlands; Poland; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Africa; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; UAE; Uganda; Ukraine; and Vietnam; with additional agents around the world. Find all its people and locations online at

The Future

“I do not doubt that we will continue to grow and get through whatever the world continues to throw at our customers and us, just as we have for over 26 years now,” says Berlin. “We continue our mission to ‘humbly conquer the world from Erie, Pa.’ And now from many other places, too.”

Jim Berlin is the founder and chief executive officer of Logistics Plus. Berlin is shown here in front of LP’s warehousing and office space at the Erie TimesNews building in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania.
8 DECEMBER 2022 •

Headquarters: 6175 U.S. Hwy 6 Linesville, PA 16424

Phone: 814/683-4500


MFG Tray Now Employee Owned

Molded Fiber Glass Tray Company, or MFG Tray, headquartered in Linesville, Pennsylvania, is the leading manufacturer of high-strength, glass-reinforced composite containers, trays, boxes, flats and totes. MFG Tray containers support businesses serious about material handling in the metalworking, plastics, electronics, food service, confectionery, farming and pharmaceutical industries. MFG Tray is one of the 10 entities within the Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG).

After 74 years of private ownership, the Morrison family sold 100 percent of its shares to the MFG Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), transitioning it to a 100 percent employee-owned company — an exciting move for the employees and a beneficial move for the local economy.


Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG) was founded in 1948 by entrepreneur Robert S. Morrison (1909–2002) and has grown to be one of the largest local employers in the area. MFG has prided itself on being an innovative, family owned enterprise spanning four generations of the Morrison family for the past seven decades.

When they opened their doors, a small creative team worked diligently to figure out the best way to mass-produce the first polyester resin and fiberglass products. In 1953, MFG was selected to manufacture fiberglass body parts for the new Chevrolet Corvette. This move put MFG on the map as a significant player in the market and launched a sequence of other “firsts” — including the creation of the first fiberglass boats, high-volume truck and tractor parts, bakery trays, concrete forms, and satellite dishes, to name a few. These early successes allowed MFG to spin off specialized divisions, like MFG Tray, to support the ever-growing popularity and demand for fiberglass.

“It’s not common knowledge that fiberglass containers outperform and outlast plastic, metal and wood containers or that fiberglass containers

integrate seamlessly into existing material handling operations,” said MFG Tray’s General Sales Manager Celena Davis. “’The material matters in material handling’ isn’t just our tagline — it’s an anthem. Our team takes great pride in arming our clients with a new lineup of containers, knowing it will immediately up their game and let them kick the competition to the curb.”

An Exciting Future

More than 70 years after MFG Tray opened its doors, the enduring entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to customer satisfaction and integrity in business — which Robert Morrison reinforced in the very fiber of the products he created — lives on through MFG Tray’s dedicated employees. The change in share ownership from Morrison family members to the ESOP does not change contractual relationships or business operations but rather benefits and rewards the entire team directly dedicated to producing the highest quality fiberglass products in the market.

John Thompson, MFG Tray’s president and general manager, noted that any discussion on the transition to an ESOP must first begin with a heartfelt expression of gratitude:

“Our team is incredibly grateful for the Morrison, Warner and Raffa families’ support over the past seven decades. Under their ownership, MFG Tray teammates became a part of their extended family — a rare thing in today’s competitive business world. We sincerely appreciate all they have done for our operation, and we wish them a blessed future. Looking ahead, we are excited to begin the transition to an ESOP and for its potential. Robert Morrison wove spirit, commitment and integrity into MFG and now it is up to us to keep those principles in the forefront. Fortunately, we have the best team in the industry. They are not only ready for the challenge but talented enough to grow and expand MFG Tray’s operations and footprint for generations to come.”

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Wealth Planning in a High Interest Environment

to a trust. It is a useful strategy to transfer the Grantor’s personal residence to a family member while lowering the taxable value of the gift.

Kyle E. Gallo is an associate at MacDonald Illig Attorneys. He is a member of the firm’s Trusts & Estates and Business Transactions Practice Groups.

a younger relative purchase a home, start a business or to invest.

Experts are currently predicting the Federal Reserve rate could reach as high as 5 percent during 2023, a rate not seen since 2007. Now that we are no longer enjoying lower interest rates — and interest rates continue to rise, it is important to examine some tax strategies that are better suited for a high interest rate environment.

Intra-Family Loans

Intra-Family Loans are an effective way to transfer money to family members without using your annual gift tax exclusion ($16,000 per person in 2022 and scheduled to increase to $17,000 per person in 2023) or lifetime gift tax exemption ($12.06 million in 2022 and scheduled to increase to $12.92 million in 2023). This strategy can help

To be a valid loan, the family member must be legally obligated to repay the loan as they would with a loan from a bank. The note must charge interest of at least the applicable federal rate (which is the lowest rate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows), but also can have flexible terms that favor the borrower. If desired the lender can use his annual gift tax exclusion to forgive loan principal. The lender is required to recognize the interest income it receives from the borrower’s payments each year.

In a high interest rate environment and volatile market, the lender relative may prefer a guaranteed rate of return in the form of interest rather than investing in the market. When interest rates are lowered in the future, the loan can be refinanced to adopt the lower rate if that is desirable to the family’s situation.

Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT)

A QPRT is a trust where the Grantor transfers his or her personal residence

With a QPRT, the Grantor retains the right to reside in the personal residence for a set term. At the end of the term, the personal residence will be distributed to the remainder beneficiary. If the Grantor survives the set term, he or she can then pay rent to continue to live at the personal residence if desired. The rent payments can further reduce the Grantor’s estate. Each year, the IRC 7520 rate determines the value of the right to reside in the personal residence. Each year this value is deducted from the value of the personal residence at the time it was contributed to the trust. As interest rates continue to rise, this strategy is an effective way to reduce the taxable amount of the gift of your personal residence. It should be noted, however, that the Grantor is required to survive the term of the trust. If the Grantor dies before the end of the trust term, then the date of death value of the personal residence will be included in the Grantor’s estate.

Keep in mind that the lifetime gift tax exemption was drastically increased in 2017 with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In 2026, the lifetime gift tax exemption will decrease to $6.4 million. By creating a QPRT before 2026, it allows the Grantor to use the larger lifetime gift tax exemption amount when the personal residence was contributed to the trust rather than the reduced lifetime gift tax exemption amount on the date the remainder beneficiary receives the personal residence.

It is important to remember, however, these are personal financial strategies that depend on your individual circumstances and the goals you wish to accomplish.

For questions about legal matters please contact MacDonald Illig Attorneys at 814/870-7600 or

11 DECEMBER 2022



Logistics Plus, Inc. (LP), a leading worldwide provider of transportation, logistics and supply chain solutions, re cently announced it has been named one of America’s Top 50 best third-party logistics providers (3PL) by Global Trade magazine. It is the third time in the past four years Global Trade has recognized Logistics Plus as one of its leading 3PL providers.

The 2022 leading 3PL providers list was announced in the September-October edition of Global Trade magazine. The article states “Each company recognized on our list has been placed in a specific award category. This is not to suggest that it is the only ability or service that 3PL nails for its customers. For instance, we have Logistics Plus under the 4PL/LLP (Lead Logistics Provider) category this year, but the Erie, Pennsylvaniabased company would have fit just as worthy of our E-Commerce or Technology awards.”

Said Jim Berlin, founder and chief executive officer of Logistics Plus. “As a 21st-century logistics company, staying nimble and providing modern solutions to today’s supply chain challenges is what we do. So, being recognized for that is very gratifying.”


VisitErie, Erie County’s official destination marketing organization, recently announced that it has partnered with Zartico Destination Operating System®, a national research company that uses cell phone geolocation data to track

Zartico combines the geolocation data with information from hospitality industry benchmarks, visitor behaviors, travel trends, and other market analytics into one complete platform that VisitErie can use to develop marketing campaigns that will target and attract the right audiences. VisitErie can set the reports


For 50 years, L’Arche Erie has provided family style homes for our Core Members (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and Assistants. Participating in daily life is at the heart of L’Arche communities We live, work, pray, and celebrate together, sharing our joys and struggles as a family Our model of sharing life gives priority to relationships of mutuality, which sets us apart from agencies that provide similar services.

Logistics Plus, headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, was recognized for the third time in four years as a top 50 leading third-party logistics provider by Global Trade magazine.)
12 DECEMBER 2022 •
TRAINING @ THE MBA LEARN IT TODAY . . . APPLY IT TOMORROW! JANUARY  FEBRUARY  MARCH 2023 Harness the true potential of your workforce with professional training @ the mba!


All courses are held at the MBA Conference Center in Erie, unless otherwise noted.

Cranberry Twp. MBA Pittsburgh Office NEW! RLA Learning & Conference Center 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Suite 224

Erie MBA Conference Center 2171 West 38th Street

Corry Corry Higher Ed Council 221 North Center Street

St. Marys Community Education Council 4 Erie Avenue, Suite 200

Warren Warren/Forest Higher Education Council Curwen Building, 2nd Floor 589 Hospital Drive

* Handicap access and parking available at all sites.



Course I 1/17 and 1/24 Course II 1/5 and 1/12 Course III 1/4 and 1/11


GETTING ORGANIZED (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) 1/6 DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) 1/13 CUSTOMER SERVICE (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) 1/27 HR ESSENTIAL CERTIFICATION SERIES — LEVEL 1 (In Person and LIVEOnline)





* A.M. classes run 8 a.m. to noon, and P.M. classes run 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Let our expert instructors bring the training you need, when you need it, where you
it. CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMS: From full-day to
programs, we will tailor any program to fit your
needs. FOCUSED INTERACTION: Group training discussions focus on the key topic areas specific to your company’s environment. REGISTER TODAY! VISIT: MBAUSA.ORG CALL: 814/833-3200  800/815-2660 EMAIL: MLESNIEWSKI@MBAUSA.ORG
Policy: If notice is four business days
full refund will be made.
If notice is less than four business days, or if you do not show up for the class, no refund will be made. NOTE: You may substitute another individual from your organization at any time and at no cost.
The BIG 6 SERIES Our new HR for Non-HR Manager training series, THEBIG6, addresses the top issues for managers dealing with employment law in a series of one-hour “live” interactive online sessions to educate and encourage more effective and positive outcomes. Each session can be taken individually or as a series to maximize each participants knowledge and skillset. Held every 1 to 2 p.m. every Tuesday. 1. Guide to Interviewing: What you should and shouldn’t ask — January 10
(9 to 11 a.m.
1/11 EXCEL: TABLES & PIVOT TABLES — VIRTUAL (1 to 3 p.m.) 1/11 WORD III 1/31






Course I (Cranberry Twp.)

2/7 and 2/14 Course I (St. Marys) 2/15 and 2/16 Course II 2/14 and 2/21 Course III 2/9 and 2/16 Course IV 2/1 and 2/8


Course I (Warren) 2/23 Course II 2/15


WRITING TO WOW! (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) 2/10

EMOTIONAL & SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) 2/24


(9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m ) 3/10



CUSTOMER SERVICE (p.m. only) 2/3

DIGITAL MARKETING & SEO (a.m. only) 2/15

INTRO TO SOCIAL MEDIA (a.m. only) 2/22 MARKETING & PLANNING (p.m. only) 2/13

USING OUTLOOK FOR ORGANIZATION (9 a.m. to noon) 2/6 WORKPLACE CIVILITY (Cranberry Twp., p.m. only) 2/13 WORKPLACE CIVILITY (p.m. only) 2/20

WRITING TO WOW! (p.m. only) 2/27


CERTIFIED SUPERVISORY SKILLS SERIES Course II (Cranberry Twp.) 3/7 and 3/14 Course II (St. Marys) 3/15 and 3/16 Course III 3/14 and 3/21 Course IV 3/16 and 3/23 Course V 3/1 and 3/8







EXCEL I – VIRTUAL (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) 2/8



EXCEL: CHARTS (p.m. only) 2/28 ONENOTE (a.m. only) 2/28


2. ADA & FMLA: Know the ins-and-outs — January 17

3. Time Worked: Key basics on manager break and pay practices — January 24

4. Harassment & Discrimination: Manager obligations — January 31

5. Employee Performance: Effective procedures for performance improvement — February 7

6. Conducting Terminations: How to say goodbye — February 14


WRITING TO WOW! (p.m. only) 3/27



3/9 and 3/10








EXCEL: DASHBOARD BASICS (1 to 3 p.m.) 3/14

EXCEL: DATA ANALYSIS (9 to 11 a.m.) 3/14


MAKE MBA TRAINING PART OF YOUR GREAT RETENTION STRATEGY! DIVERSE TRAINING CLASSES (17) Leadership & Management (13) Human Resources & Legal (11) Marketing & Communications (11) Computer & Social Media (9) Quality (6) Safety REGIONALLY RECOGNIZED MBA CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Supervisory Skills Supervisory Safety Skills Leadership for Team Leaders HR Essentials HR Essentials Advanced Marketing & Communications Lean & Six Sigma One-Day Food Safety Visit to view our current training schedule or to register online anytime! PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTORS (4) MBA On-Staff Training Specialists
Daggett, PHR Manager of Professional Development Training Services
DeFilippo Senior Professional Development Trainer
Computer and Digital Media Specialist
Tserkovniak, SPHR Human Resource Consultant and Trainer

Taking Care of Your Banking So You Can Take Care of Business

Northwest Bank is deeply rooted in its communities, supporting them by providing best-in-class banking solutions and by giving back to make a positive impact. Whether the Northwest team is volunteering, organizing donation drives or providing customers with holistic financial advice, they take pride in finding ways to make a difference.

“Though we’ve grown over the years, our approach to banking hasn’t changed,” said Northwest Great Lakes Region President Rick Hamister. “We’re big enough to provide all the products and solutions necessary to compete effectively with any financial institution in the market, but small enough to deliver those products and services in a customer-centric, community-oriented manner.”

A Committed, Local Partner

Northwest veteran and Erie native Anita Kuchcinski serves as Erie Market executive, raising awareness about Northwest’s local team of experts along with the variety of services and solutions it offers. “Northwest is a growing bank, allowing our customers to benefit from all the perks that a larger bank offers, while keeping the relationships local. Our team in Erie brings years of knowledge to our clients and prospects over a wide range of industries. Some of our key employees have been working

Erie Main Office:

800 State Street, Suite 300

Erie, PA 16501

Phone: 814/461-6992



at Northwest for over 20 years! At Northwest, there’s a team of trusted advisors ready to help you find the financial solutions to fit your needs and we can make it happen all right here, face to face,” Kuchcinski has stated.

Actively involved in the community, Kuchcinski is co-founder and treasurer of Women Inspiring Women, treasurer and founding board member of the White Pine Center for Healing, a member of the United Way Strategic Planning Committee and Voices for Independence Erie Development Committee, board member and past treasurer of Erie DAWN, treasurer and member of the Erie County General Authority Board and Erie County Community Services Financing Authority. In addition, she is a new board member of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, Erie Downtown Equity Fund, and Erie Downtown Development Corporation.

The Next Step to Success Northwest Bank can help employers take their businesses where they want to go. The bank offers attractive rates, competitive closing costs and flexible payment terms to help you guide your business to success: Lines of Credit. Whether you’re looking to expand your business or manage your cash flow, Northwest’s

easy, efficient loan process provides a line of credit that fits customers’ needs.

Equipment Loans. Having the right equipment to run a business is essential. When a company needs to upgrade or purchase new equipment, Northwest has loans with up to 100-percent financing so there is no need to tap into operating cash.

Commercial Real Estate Loans. Looking to purchase property for a business? Northwest offers financing that provides up to 25-year payment terms to fit a company’s cash flow.

SBA Lending. Northwest offers a variety of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to fit your specific needs. SBA loans provide greater flexibility than traditional financing, with longer repayment terms and low down payments. You’ll be able to use funds to expand, finance your next project or make renovations to your existing property.

Let’s talk about how we can help your business. To connect with Kuchcinski and her team to explore custom financing solutions that meet your needs, call or visit your local office, which can be found at www. For more information, visit commercial

Member FDIC
14 DECEMBER 2022 •

Pennsylvania Western University made history July 1 when it integrated three State System universities into one, combining the resources, programs, professors and expertise to create a new way to educate.

Integrating California, Clarion and Edinboro into PennWest University blends more than 480 years of educational excellence and gives students the opportunity for more. At PennWest, students have the support of three campuses behind them.

PennWest students have access to top-notch learning opportunities in high-demand fields, including education, health care, art, sciences and so much more. PennWest students also are taught through action and immersion. That’s why so many of PennWest programs are built around lab work, field research, externships and work experiences.

With more than 100 degree programs in high-demand fields and a network of 186,000-plus alumni, students create their own unique path and prepare for a career they’ll love.

Support to Succeed

Every step of the way, students have access to resources and support to succeed not only in the classroom, but also outside of it.

At PennWest, students have access to a wide range of activities including more than 300 student clubs and organizations. Students also cheer on and participate in 48 intercollegiate teams competing at the highest levels across three campuses.

With superior academics and activities, PennWest’s nearly 13,000 students don’t just go to school, they build their lives on the campuses of their choosing, which cover more than 1,080 acres in western Pennsylvania. From rolling hills to lush riversides to a campus lake, we are nestled in quaint college towns.

PennWest California is located just 35 miles from Pittsburgh, on a beautiful 294-acre riverside campus that includes top recreation facilities, best-in-class housing options, green space and an on-campus farm used for experiential learning and extracurricular activities.

PennWest Clarion rests near the forest but also is a convenient oneminute walk from Clarion’s charming college town. The stunning 201-acre campus features a cutting-edge Fitness Court, innovative learning facilities, diverse housing options and countless opportunities for outdoor fun.

PennWest Edinboro is situated just south of Erie, in a bustling college town. The picturesque 585-acre lakeside campus offers state-of-the-art learning facilities, suite-style housing options and incredible outdoor recreation opportunities for every season.

Edinboro Campus: 219 Meadville Street Edinboro, PA 16444

Phone: 888-8GO-BORO 814/732-2000

California Campus: 250 University Ave., California, PA 15419 Phone: 724/938-4000

Clarion Campus: 840 Wood Street Clarion, PA 16214 Phone: 800-672-7171 or 814/393-2000 Website:

PennWest: Bigger and Better Than Ever EDUCATION PROFILE

Global Connection

While the university’s physical locations offer a literal place to call home, PennWest’s Global Online program is designed to help students get where they want to be, from wherever they are.

Faculty from California, Clarion and Edinboro campuses — not teaching assistants — provide rich content and engaging discussions to ensure the degree students receive is the same quality as the one offered at PennWest’s brick-and-mortar institutions. Supported by state-of-theart instructional design services and access to the latest online learning technologies, PennWest’s online faculty is dedicated to student success.

Dale-Elizabeth Perhrsson, Ph.D., leads all of PennWest University’s physical and online locations as its chief executive. As founding president, she oversees an executive leadership team representing the university’s major divisions, including Academic Affairs; Advancement; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Finance and Administration; Institutional Effectiveness and Student Affairs; University Affairs; and Virtual and Global Education.

Built on tradition and focused on the student’s future, PennWest’s approach means opportunities for fresh and diverse experiences that are no longer confined to a single campus; they’re open to the imagination.

15 DECEMBER 2022

Anderson is the director of Government Relations at the Manufacturer & Business Association. Contact her at eileenanderson@ or 412/805-5707.

Dear Governor-Elect Shapiro, Since you are new, I wanted to take the time to welcome you and also alert you to a huge problem — the elephant in the room — to add to your “to do” list. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s debt is a whopping $13.2 billion. That’s greater than Pennsylvania’s total debt of $11 billion, meaning all other outstanding obligations lumped together. That figure was revealed by Auditor General Timothy DeFoor’s audit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission released September 9, 2022.

General DeFoor noted annual toll increases to meet the Commission’s debt obligations place a heavy burden on turnpike users. One of the legislative recommendations included in the audit is to address the debt by eliminating or reducing the $50 million annual payment the turnpike commission makes to PennDOT, shifting the burden away from travelers.

DeFoor cited the PennDOT payments as the main driver for the commission’s debt. Apparently, the debt problem has been known for many years. My Google

Governor-Elect MustAddress PATurnpike CommissionDebt

search found “articles about PA Turnpike Commission debt” back to 2008. Did you know that according to TransForce (in June 2022), “The Pennsylvania Turnpike is the most expensive toll road in the United States”?

The MBA’s Government Affairs Division advocates for a pro-business environment in Pennsylvania, thus we consider the turnpike debt part of employer and employee transportation issues that funnel back to worker shortages. This is what I find most troubling: For how long will businesses who receive and ship goods via the turnpike withstand the high price of gas and ever-increasing tolls without cutting back elsewhere? How long must workers who commute via the turnpike cope with the high price of gas and ever-increasing tolls before saying,“I can’t afford to do this any longer.”

A colleague who commutes from Plum to Cranberry said her roundtrip costs around $22 per day, $9.20 per day for tolls with EZPass, ($19 per day without EZPass) and roughly $12 per day in gas. In EZMath, that adds up to more than $400 per month!

How did the commission arrive at this debt crisis?

It’s important to go back to Act 44 of 2007. We are not playing a blame game here; that’s unproductive (but the governor’s last name did start with an R and ended with an L). It was designed as a way to help fund PennDOT which, unlike the turnpike commission, does not have the ability to issue bonds without the approval of the General Assembly. His goal was to convert Interstate 80 into a toll road and create a

lease agreement between the commission and PennDOT. That part of the plan fell apart when the Federal Highway Administration denied the I-80 tolling plan.

A default clause in Act 44 kicked in and required the commission to pay PennDOT $450 million annually for highways, bridges and public transit. To get the money for those payments the turnpike commission had no choice but to borrow and hike tolls. As a result, tolls have increased every year since 2007 and the commission’s debt has risen to $13.2 billion.

Another governor helped provide some relief when Act 44 was amended by Act 89 of 2013. It modified the Act 44 payments to remain at $450 million through June 2022. Starting in fiscal year 2023, the commission’s Act 44 payments drop to $50 million per year to PennDOT, paid from its cash receipts until 2057.

According to DeFoor, based on current traffic and revenue projections, the commission’s plan calls for toll increases of 5 percent through 2025, 4 percent in 2026, 3.5 percent in 2027, then 3 percent annually from 2028 to 2050!

The January 2023 General Assembly session will have more than 40 new lawmakers and an executive branch headed by you. I know you have a lot on your list. We citizens are eager to see if you can get both groups to work together to solve the commission’s debt problem. After all, isn’t that why we send you to Harrisburg?

Best, Eileen Anderson

16 DECEMBER 2022 •

A History of Excellent and Compassionate Care

Saint Mary’s Home of Erie is a nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Community that serves primarily seniors and their families on a beautiful 34-acre campus in Millcreek Township that is home to Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge and the Carriage Homes at Asbury Ridge. Since its founding in 1884 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, a great number of families in Erie have been touched by Saint Mary’s providing care to elderly family members.

Saint Mary’s serves residents in a range of life circumstances — from those able to live independently to those requiring skilled nursing or rehabilitation care to those needing memory support. Its history is one of compassionate care and respect for the dignity of those served — continuously meeting its mission of “Loving to Care.”

Today, Saint Mary’s cares for over 500 seniors and their families annually while employing nearly 200 individuals and serving as a clinical and educational site for nursing students from surrounding educational institutions.

Investing in the Future of Caring for Seniors Through a dynamic and ever-changing response, Saint Mary’s service to the Erie region has excelled and endured for nearly 140 years. In looking to the next century of caring, that response involved paying close attention to the needs of seniors today and in the future. After witnessing an increase in demand for more Independent Living options, the organization embarked upon two major construction projects. This past spring site work began on the Asbury Ridge campus in preparation for the addition of eight new Carriage Homes. There are currently 26 Carriage Homes on the campus, which offer independent, maintenance free living in one-story homes ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 square feet. The eight new homes are expected to be completed within the next year.

Renovations began inside the Residential Living and Personal Care portion of the facility this past fall. The 74 apartments currently offered at Asbury Ridge have private baths and kitchenettes but are limited to studio style and one-bedroom floor plans. The renovations will convert eight of the studio apartments to four two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments. The newly renovated apartments, which will offer 800 square feet of living space and a full kitchen, are nearing completion. The Board of Trustees approved these projects as part of the continuous improvement and development of the Asbury Ridge campus,

Main Campus: Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge 4855 West Ridge Road Erie, PA 16506

Corporate Office: Saint Mary’s Home of Erie 1781 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16508

Phone: 814/836-5300 Website:


“We have a large number of people on a waiting list, wanting a Carriage Home, and many people inquiring about more spacious apartments,” stated Bonace. “These enhancements will help meet the needs of seniors who desire an independent lifestyle while having the support that comes from being part of a retirement community,” Bonace said. “We want the Erie community to know that Saint Mary’s is continuing to grow and that we are not going anywhere.”

furthering the mission of Saint Mary’s Home of Erie. Allen Bonace, president and chief executive officer of Saint Mary’s, is excited to see them completed and offer the high-quality service Saint Mary’s is known for to more seniors. The first phase of renovation to the existing Residential Living and Personal Care Apartments, which began in October 2022, involved demolition of interior walls to expand the footprint of the floor plan.
17 DECEMBER 2022
Christopher Coughlin, Board of Trustees Chairperson; Sister Mary Drexler, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of NWPA; Allen Bonace, President and CEO of Saint Mary’s; and, Robert Orton, vice president of Operations of Saint Mary’s, are shown here at the May 2022 groundbreaking for the Carriage Home expansion project.

To learn more about upcoming


A global leader in separation technologies, Eriez®, headquartered in Erie, is celebrating 80 years of continuous operation. The Eriez® story began in 1942 when founder O.F. Merwin installed a permanent magnet in a grain mill.

Congratulations on 70 years! Locally owned and operated in Erie, Niethamer & Owens has been selling wholesale meats and cheese since 1952. The Manufacturer & Business Association is proud to showcase our members’ accomplishments and regularly hosts a variety of informational and networking opportunities for them in the region.
events, This fall, the MBA hosted the Under Secretary of International Trade Administration Marisa Lago (second from left) shown here with MBA Board member Matt Clark, MBA Assistant Vice President of External Relations Jezree Friend and MBA Board member Jon DeArment. The roundtable discussion included manufacturers and businesses that export internationally. Congratulations to Clayton Engineering on 75 years in business! Headquartered in Bridgeville, PA, the company is a specialized electrical distributor of more than 30 different product lines. Boyer RV is celebrating its 40th year in business in 2022. The Center is Erie area’s largest RV dealer, family owned and operated since 1982.
18 DECEMBER 2022 •
In partnership with the Manufacturer & Business Association, David Leng, Chief Risk Officer of Duncan Financial Group (shown here) and Aaron Black, vice president of East Coast Risk Management, LLC (not pictured) delivered a seminar to help employers slash worker’s compensation costs and improve their Risk Profile, during a recent seminar at the MBA Conference Center in Erie.

Turn ‘The Great Resignation’ Into ‘The Great Retention’ of 2023

If the past two years has taught us anything, it should be that if employees do not see a future for them at your company, they may walk. According to a 2021 survey from Gartner, just 29 percent of workers worldwide intend to stay in their current roles over the next year.

Large sign-on bonuses, splashy wellness benefits and paying for interviews are some ways companies are trying to attract new talent, but those efforts may be misplaced. Rather than investing so much in attracting new talent, leaders should focus on nurturing the employees they already have. One of the best ways to do this is through training and development opportunities.

Workers crave professional development opportunities across all industries, and research has shown that more than one-fifth of Americans want their employers to invest in their training and development. If you’re not providing an environment that supports workers in their continuous development, don’t be surprised when members of your team leave for a company that does. After all, any time spent at a company unconcerned with enabling professional growth is a step backward in an employee’s career.

The answer: Invest in training and professional development! Training is not only good for individual workers; it also helps companies boost employee retention and spur innovative thinking. A professional development program sends the message that you want employees to thrive, which helps them see themselves at your company long term. When employees are engaged, well-trained and proficient in their roles, you’ll see higher-caliber ideas emerge. According to research by Deloitte, the largest professional services firm in the world, companies with a strong learning culture are 92 percent more likely to create unique processes and products.

Whether you call it “The Great Resignation” or “The Great Reshuffle,” more than 31 percent of workers are actively job searching, and that trend has hardly slowed. Business leaders are scrambling to stop the tidal wave of resignations, but to improve employee retention in 2023, think less about flashy perks and more about rich development opportunities for employees.

Visit today to learn more about the training resources that can help your business achieve success in the new year.

Tracy Daggett, PHR, is the manager of Professional Development Training Services at the Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA). Contact him at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or


Flexible schedules appear to be more important to employees than the ability to work from home, according to the latest State of the Workplace survey from digital payroll solutions firm Deluxe. One in five employees at small- to mid-size businesses said flexible scheduling that allows them to adjust their work hours is the No. 1 action their employer should take to improve their working environment. Paid time off still wins out as the most valued benefit.

In addition, the survey found that lack of mental health benefits emerged as a “missed opportunity.” Mid-size companies are most likely to offer such benefits: 36 percent of companies with 51-100 employees and 36 percent of those with 21-50 employees provide them, compared to only 21 percent of companies with one to 20 employees.

Researchers also found that an employee’s stage in life affects which benefits they say they want to retain. Younger employees want familyfriendly benefits; older workers appreciate retirement/401(k)s and health care.


Hiring and retaining staff is the most difficult task facing chief financial officers (CFOs) over the next 12 months, according to a survey from Gartner, Inc. The tight labor market is part of a trifecta of factors including persistent inflation and supply chain disruptions that are set to continue challenging corporate profitability through 2023.

Gartner polled 234 CFOs in July 2022 and asked them to indicate their top three most difficult tasks over the next 12 months. Hiring and retaining staff was the only task selected by a majority of respondents. Forecasting, selected by 36 percent of respondents and cutting the right costs, selected by 35 percent of respondents, made up the top three challenges facing CFOs.

“The data from CFOs align with what we are hearing from HR leaders, namely that competition for talent is expected to become fiercer over the medium term, and retaining that talent will become more challenging,” said Marko Horvat, vice president of Research, in the Gartner Finance practice. “CFOs will need to deploy a variety of strategies to ensure critical roles remain filled while also protecting margins.” :



If a Form I-9 was never completed or is missing, the current version of the Form I-9 should be completed as soon as possible. Employers should not backdate the form, but clearly state the actual date employment began in the certification portion of Section 2. Employers should attach a signed and dated explanation of the corrective action taken. Employers should consider conducting regular internal I-9 audits to ensure compliance. Please note that the MBA offers HR consulting services for improving Form I-9 compliance and can assist with auditing of existing I-9 Forms.


Employers who complete and retain Form I-9 in paper format only must retain the Form I-9 with the original handwritten signatures.

Employers must retain Forms I-9 for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date the individual’s employment is terminated, whichever is later. Photocopies or faxed copies of completed Form I-9 are not acceptable to meet this retention requirement.

Employers may choose to scan and upload the original, signed forms to retain them electronically. Once these Forms I-9 are securely stored in electronic format, the original paper Forms I-9 may be destroyed.


Form I-9 regulations allow employers to choose whether to keep copies of documents employees submit to complete their Form I-9. Therefore, you may choose to begin or end the practice of keeping copies of documents at any time, as long as you do so for all employees, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, or you may be in violation of anti-discrimination laws. Please note: You should not shred previously retained copies of documents. DHS regulations state that once you make copies of documents, you must retain them with the Forms I-9 or store them with the employee’s records.

DHS Extends Form I-9

Flexibilities Until July 31, 2023

On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it is extending updated flexibilities for Form I-9 due to the continued safety precautions related to COVID-19 until July 31, 2023.

Federal law requires every employer that recruits, refers for a fee or hires an individual for employment in the United States to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9). To comply with Form I-9 requirements, employers must, within the first three days of employment:

• Complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 for each new hire; and

• Physically examine the documents each employee presents to prove his or her employment eligibility (documents must come from the form’s list of acceptable documents).

Since March 19, 2020, DHS has adopted various temporary policies to provide employers flexibility in their employment eligibility compliance efforts. DHS has reviewed, renewed and updated these Form I-9 “flexibilities” to allow employers to:

• Review Form I-9 identification documents remotely; and

• Accept some expired identification documents when the expiration was caused by COVID-19 disruptions.

Employers should review the original DHS guidance on remote document verification for details. Employers can access additional information about updated flexibilities on the DHS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Temporary Policies Related to COVID-19 webpage.

Finally, the DHS released an I-9 alert on the same day directing employers to continue using the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, after its expiration date of October 31, 2022 until further notice, noting that the DHS will publish a Federal Register notice to announce the new version of the Form I-9 once it becomes available.

For the latest updates, visit or contact the MBA’s HR and Legal Services Division at 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660.

Tammy Lamary-Toman, JD, PHR, is vice president/employment law counsel at the Manufacturer & Business Association. Contact her at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or



The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) hosted its 10th annual HR & Employment Law Conference — in person and virtually — on Wednesday, September 14, at the Bayfront Convention Center. The daylong event brought together one of the largest HR audiences to date. Premier sponsor was ECCA. Event sponsors included: Steptoe & Johnson, Knox Law, Widget Financial, Vision Benefits of America, Allegheny Health Network and the Erie County Community College of PA. For more information or to become a sponsor for the September 6, 2023 conference, contact Stacey Bruce at



The MBA’s HR & Employment Law Conference marked its 10th anniversary this year. Shown here are the Association’s HR and Legal Services

Exhibitors showcased the latest tools and resources available to HR professionals and their teams. Team: Rose Bruno, Tammy Lamary-Toman, Stacey Bruce and Rachel Tserkovniak.
MBA thanked premier sponsor ECCA and event sponsors for making the conference possible. Guests enjoyed a hearty breakfast and lunch, and some special snacks, thanks to sponsors VBA, Widget Financial and the MBA. The 2023 conference was the largest to date with guests attending in person and online. Vonda Caldwell of the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission was the grand prize winner at thIS year’s conference.
21 DECEMBER 2022
Participants enjoyed a new addition to the conference, wellness break sponsor AHN.

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