An important safety initiative to acquire emergency notification system services from Send Word Now was discussed at a Humboldt Park Association meeting last month.
Send Word Now provides a service that allows users to receive critical information rapidly via phone calls, text messages and email alerts. The system will be used in the event of an emergency to alert employees in the Humboldt and Valmont industrial parks about situations and the necessary plan of action to deal with it. As an example, the service can be used to alert contacts of impeding dangers such as a road closure due to a traffic accident or worse and provide companies instructions to shelter in place or to evacuate as well as alternate travel routes to take so employees entering or exiting the park can avoid the affected area.
Each company in the Humboldt and Valmont industrial parks will designate company contacts who will receive the messages and they then in turn can alert their colleagues of the situation.
Humboldt Park Association President Brian Poveromo of American Eagle Outfitters said being able to use this system will be a crucial component of emergency preparedness plans.
“There is a vast number of things that we can do with this system to be informed and keep park employees safe. It’s a major step forward in our emergency planning and we are continuing to work on additional plans to keep everyone in the parks safe.”
Another item discussed at the recent Humboldt Park Association meeting dealt with energy efficiency. Lisa Grayson Zygmunt, program manager for the PPL Business Rebate Program, spoke during the meeting about the company’s Clear Result energy efficiency rebate program. Rebates are available as part of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Act 129, which focuses on reducing energy consumption and peak electric demand. The program is currently in Phase 3 of a five-year cycle that runs through May of 2021.
The program covers rebates on new construction or retrofitting projects based on kilowatt hours saved through the use of more efficient equipment ($0.05/kWh), custom projects ($0.06/kWh) and combined heat and power ($0.03/kWh), with rebates capped at 50 percent of the project cost up to $500,000. Projects must be pre-approved for the rebate before any work is started. Rebates are available for lighting; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); food service equipment; refrigeration; controls/occupancy sensors; office equipment; variable frequency drives (VFDs) on pumps and motors; combined heat and power (CHP) and agriculture and custom products.
Poveromo, the senior facility and maintenance manager at American Eagle Outfitters, said their company has saved approximately $530,000 through the rebate program, “cut the cost of lighting based on kilowatt hours by close to 50 percent and reduced the cost of our electricity monthly by one-third.” Humboldt Park Association Treasurer Tony Cortese added that The Nature’s Bounty facility he works at in Humboldt saved $280,000 through the program and said it’s “a no brainer” for companies to consider it.
Tracy Kleban, business services supervisor for Luzerne County CareerLink, spoke to attendees about the potential for a summer internship program at no cost to participating companies. The Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, which operates the Pennsylvania CareerLink facilities, is applying for funding that would enable PA CareerLink, through its partners, to employ and compensate between 30 and 40 unemployed and under-employed individuals ages 16-24 as interns at worksites throughout Luzerne County. Each company will conduct its own interviews of the individuals and make all hiring decisions and interns are compensated through the grant to work between 37.5 and 40 hours per week.
CAN DO Director of Operations Greg Kurtz updated attendees on the ongoing Route 424 and White Birch Road extension project. He said that CAN DO is continuing the application process for permitting and is working out details for necessary tree removal that is expected to be completed by the end of March. Kurtz said CAN DO’s portion of the road construction is expected to commence sometime this summer and will be completed in 2019. PENNDOT is expected to begin their portion of the road construction project in 2020.
Kevin O’Donnell, president of CAN DO, Inc., reviewed current interest rates and terms for business development loans through CAN DO and the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) for the first quarter of 2018. The interest rates for loans for acquisition or expansion of buildings are available from 2.5% to 3.5% based on the term of the loan. Machinery and equipment loans are available at 3.5% interest and pollution prevention and energy efficient loans are available at 2% interest. All loans through PIDA are subject to job creation criteria and financial review.