Bill Flanagan

I arrived in Pittsburgh 30 years ago this year as a young TV news reporter, covering an economy in freefall. At that time, it was hard to imagine this region would re-emerge as an engine of manufacturing in America.

Suddenly, though, that’s exactly what seems to be happening.

I wrote about this welcome transition in a column in the April 13-19 edition of the Pittsburgh Business Times. Check it out via this link, or read it on the PBT’s website.

Ben Kamber

Bill Adams, senior international economist with PNC, discusses the latest developments related to the ongoing EuroZone crisis and Greek debt deal. Adams gives the Greek debt deal a C+, stating that it will keep Greece out of the headlines, but only perhaps for the time being. As for the EuroZone, Adams forecasts moderate recession for Europe in 2012, with a predicted .5 point GDP decline. But there’s positive news for the U.S., as PNC predicts America’s economy will continue on a solid expansionary path.

Nationwide, shale gas may reduce manufacturing costs by a staggering $11.6 billion by 2025. This was one of the most talked about findings from a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the impact of shale gas on U.S. manufacturing. Bob McCutcheon , managing partner of the PwC in Pittsburgh discusses the some of the studies other finding and how expansions in the chemicals, metals and industrial manufacturing industries are being fueling by the nation’s abundant supply of natural gas.

The Center for Energy at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering received a $22 million grant from the R.K. Mellon Foundation. Gerald Holder, dean of the Swanson School, discusses how this remarkable gift will be used by the University to expand energy materials and grid research and continue to position Pittsburgh as the center of innovation in American energy.

Our Region’s Business” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV.  Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.

Bill Flanagan

A key economic benefit of western Pennsylvania’s shale gas boom is the growth it is spurring for companies that supply equipment and services to the industry. Among the 750 energy companies in our region is Elliott Group, a century-old manufacturer in Jeannette, Westmoreland County.  A unit of Ebara Corporation of Japan, Elliott supplies and services turbo-machinery for the full spectrum of oil and gas, refining, LNG, petrochemical and other process and power applications. And it’s growing.  Elliott has doubled in size over the past five years, with hopes to do the same in the next five years.

Last year the company broke ground on a new, $16 million administration building adjacent to its factory. Currently, Elliott accommodates about 420 office workers in several older buildings, one dating all the way back to 1914. When it’s completed later this year, the new Centennial Building will accommodate 500 people in an open office environment designed by Kingsland Scott Bauer Associates of Pittsburgh.

After the groundbreaking, Tony Casillo, then the chief operating officer, talked with me about Elliott’s bright future in our region and its need for skilled workers to keep up with global demand for its products and services. Check out the video below.

As the second-largest proven natural gas reserve in the world, the Marcellus Shale offers unique opportunities for economic growth in the greater Pittsburgh region.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance wants to both help local businesses tap into these economic opportunities and attract investment into the region and its energy supply chain.  The PRA commissioned Taimerica Management Co., an economic development firm with experience in studying how “clusters” of business can grow around strategic locations, to study the opportunities and challenges.

Taimerica analysts Ed Bee and Charlotte Baton presented early findings from their study, including an assessment of the region’s competitive position for shale gas supply chain opportunities, the community and site prep requirements related to those opportunities, and identified seven areas of the natural gas supply chain that the region is uniquely positioned to leverage for economic growth.


Consultants Ed Bee and Charlotte Baton discuss regional supply chain opportunities and the importance of training programs like ShaleNET to develop a skilled workforce.

Natural gas isn’t just about heating homes or running power plants. The Marcellus Shale boom has opened opportunities to innovate new uses such as “clean diesel” and fuel cells to power electronics.