Joe Santelli, owner of Santelli Tempered Glass in Monessen, PA, was recently named Pennsylvania’s Small Business Owner of the Year and was honored in ceremonies both in his home state and in Washington, DC.
Joe began his company’s operations in 2006 in a former steel mill, creating 23 jobs in Pennsylvania, which he doubled within a year. In 2010, after achieving $5 million in sales, he expanded his company utilizing a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Joe took advantage of key federal resources that promote business development, such as SBA loans and Small Business Development Centers. Utilizing these tools helps entrepreneurs meet the challenges of starting, sustaining and growing their small business.
Joe is one of 275,000 small business owners in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which combined employ over 3.2 million people. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I will continue to advocate for increased access to capital and key federal programs that help businesses create jobs and grow revenue. I applaud the courage and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by Joe Santelli and millions of Americans in establishing such enterprises.
Yesterday I visited with the Armstrong County Board of Commissioners to discuss how the administration and Congress need to adjust our trade policy with China. Armstrong County has been directly affected by China's trade policies and the Commissioners have done a wonderful job in highlighting China’s currency manipulation and how it leads to job loss. I would like to thank Commissioners’ Kirkpatrick, Fink and Scahill for hosting me and discussing this important topic.
The Commissioners presented me with a copy of the Armstrong County Free Trade Resolution, which reinforces the difficulties United States manufacturers face in remaining competitive amongst companies that simply don’t play fair. By passing this resolution, the Armstrong County Commissioners have shown that the well being of blue collar workers are a high priority. I'll continue to fight for fair trade when the Senate reconvenes in September.
Yesterday I visited DonJon Shipbuilding in Erie with Congresswoman Dahlkemper and saw firsthand the exciting new manufacturing opportunities that are developing there. We not only viewed current construction on a tugboat, but also learned about a prototype energy efficient hydro tug that DonJon is developing with General Electric. These projects hold the potential of bringing many high paying jobs back to Erie and both the Congresswoman and I are proud to welcome DonJon to Pennsylvania and support its efforts.
Later in the day we also visited Fairview Swiss Cheese in Mercer to view an anaerobic digester. This technology converts waste products from the facility into energy to power the plant. This is exactly the type of public/private partnership that we need to see more of in Pennsylvania. It is an excellent example of the type of innovation that will help our country wean itself of its dependence on fossil fuels.
I'd like to commend and congratulate Crayola on the opening of a brand-new 15 acre solar farm at their world headquarters. Joining with two other Pennsylvania companies, UGI Energy Services Inc. of Reading and PPL Corporation of Allentown, Crayola is helping Pennsylvania manufacturing go green with the help of money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The 1.9-megawatt solar farm will generate enough power to make over 1 billion crayons per year! Now Crayola can proudly boast that their crayons are "made with sunshine."
Children came from across the country to help plug the solar farm into the Crayola factory. These children won a nationwide contest to envision a greener world. I am glad to know that Crayola crayons, markers, and colored pencils, helped these children harness their own creative talents.
This project is an example of the change we can make when we all work together. The Recovery Act provided a $1.5 million grant to fund a large portion of the solar project, and the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit, which I voted for, provided tax credits for 30% of the capital investment. Because of these incentives, Crayola plans to expand the solar farm over the next few years and create many more jobs in Pennsylvania.
Just a few hours ago, I spoke to Keith Wandell, the CEO of Harley-Davidson, about the troubling news that Harley may consider relocating the York, PA plant. The plant employs about 2,500 highly skilled workers, who assemble the famous motorcycles. In addition to Harley being an icon Pennsylvania and throughout the world, the plant in York is a major manufacturer and economic engine for the southeastern Pennsylvania region. I told Mr. Wandell that I want to actively work with him and the employees at the York plant to keep Harley in business in PA.
Click here to read the letter that Senator Specter and I sent to Mr. Wendell yesterday.