Abby Smith and Lisa Riggs of Team PA spent several days visiting the Erie region, touring, connecting and learning from some of the important businesses and institutions contributing to the competitiveness of the regional and state economy.

No visit by Team PA to Erie would be complete without a stop at Erie Insurance Group. While the deep ties of these two organizations go back nearly three decades, seeing and hearing in-person the impact this stalwart business has on the Erie community is even more meaningful. We toured through Erie’s amazing buildings, including their auto and home training centers, and also learned so much about Erie Insurance’s history and the care the company is taking today to ensure this legacy is celebrated, including the deep impact of Thomas Hagen, Chairman.

Higher education institutions are unique economic drivers in the communities in which they are located. Team Pennsylvania saw that first hand last week in a visit to the snowy campus of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, including: a great tour of several lab spaces where students, faculty and businesses work side-by-side; the integration between technology and manufacturing, and the depth of expertise on campus in plastics; and the planned Center for Manufacturing Competitiveness which will further contribute to the growth of the regional economy.

Team PA also witnessed the collaborative nature of the many partner organizations working to strengthen the Erie region. Thank you to the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, and the FIRE Accelerator Program for fully demonstrating the value of teamwork by sharing impressive updates on their work and by connecting us to some incredible businesses innovating, investing and growing in Erie: International Recycling Group, PSNERGY, LLC, Bliley Technologies, Inc. (a division of KYOCERA AVX Components Corporation), and WaveClear Vascular.

To quote a local phrase, we found “No Wrong Door” in Erie. The power of trusted connections and a shared vision was clearly evident. Thank you to all who helped organize and spent time with us.