CLAYSBURG – Business owners, nonprofit organizations and community leaders from around Blair County brought their concerns, questions and challenges to members of the House Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest), at the Sheetz Claysburg campus on Tuesday.
The roundtable discussion was hosted by Reps. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) and Louis Schmitt (R-Blair) and consisted of a wide diversity of businesses and organizations throughout the area. The roundtable was preceded by a tour of the Sheetz campus and the Altoona Curve ballpark.
“Pennsylvania is a great place to live, work and play, but what can we do to make it better?” said Oberlander. “We’ve met with research institutions, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, business incubators. We want to hear from you and understand more about the challenges and opportunities you face.”
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to welcome some of my colleagues to Blair County,” Gregory said. “We were able to learn about the innovation at Altoona Curve’s ballpark and the Sheetz operations center, while also hearing about the concerns of area business leaders. I want to create a strong business climate through my work in Harrisburg.”
“The biggest reason for our success is our people, and our people are our corporate culture,” said Ryan Sheetz, assistant vice president for brand strategy at Sheetz. “The most important point is that we think of everyone at Sheetz as part of the broader Sheetz family. As a result of our people, we have grown to 600 stores across six states, over 20,000 people strong, with over half Pennsylvanians. More partnership and more collaboration bring more success to the region.”
Some of the topics discussed were the legalization of recreational marijuana along with the negative impact and unintended consequences that would have on businesses; municipal government cooperation; predictability in the state’s liquor laws; retainment and recruitment of young talent in the workforce; prevailing wage laws; tax structure; diversity of housing needs; environmental issues causing unfunded mandates; and education partnerships among businesses, government and schools.
Most all of the businesses attending the roundtable indicated they have current job openings and are recruiting differently than they did five years ago.
“Hearing from constituents is a key part of being a lawmaker. Their opinions shape how I represent them in Harrisburg.” Schmitt said. “We heard from various business owners about the potential for growth in our area that would impact the lives of all residents. I look forward to what’s in store for Blair County and will continue to work to ensure the people of the county, and the state, have a bright future.”
Representative Donna Oberlander
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton