Governor, Others At Expo, Tout York’s Global Business Reach

York Dispatch

Putting on a black Harley-Davidson baseball cap, Gov. Tom Corbett had a clear message to send.

“I know the headquarters are in Milwaukee, but the bikes are made here,” he said, smiling ear to ear.

Ed Magee, general manager of Harley’s York Vehicle Operations, was also smiling.

“That’s the perfect product placement,” he said. “He has Harley on his mind and on the top of his head.”

Of special interest to Magee were Corbett’s words about a recent trip to Brazil.

“That’s a great market for us,” Magee said.

Corbett was in town Tuesday evening to kick off the York County Economic Alliance’s International Business and Workforce Expo.

The Republican governor said he recently visited Brazil and Chile to recruit businesses to Pennsylvania.

“I take my job as salesman of Pa. very seriously,” Corbett said.

While in South America, he said he shared the commonwealth’s three strengths: location, work ethic and energy.

“Sixty percent of North America is within a long day’s drive of Pennsylvania. That we’re centrally located is something to sell,” he said.

A week after a controversial radio interview in which Corbett discussed drug testing in the workplace, the governor applauded Pennsylvania workers.

“Our work ethic is well known around the world. We have great workers,” he said.

Energy: Energy is also among the state’s top strengths, he said.

“We have the best energy prices, second-largest energy field, and we’re the fifth-largest energy producer. I tell my friend (Texas) Gov. Rick Perry we’re coming to get¥’em,” Corbett said, referring to energy production in Texas.

Corbett sold Pennsylvania’s strengths to presidents, ambassadors and chambers of commerce while he was in Brazil and Chile, he said.

“Sao Paulo, Brazil, is the largest city in South America. It’s two and a half times the size of Manhattan with 23 million people. The economy is there to work with, and we want to recruit it to Pennsylvania. The opportunities for trade are there,” he said.

Between 30 and 35 percent of Harleys made in York are shipped all over the world, including Brazil, Magee said. That’s about 264,000 bikes a year, he said.

“We’re changing from an international company to a company with a global mindset,” Magee said.

Shipments for Harley’s Touring bikes have been increasing in Australia and India, he said.

International dealers sold 19, 548 Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the first quarter this year, according to company statement.

Unit sales increased 11.5 percent in the Asia Pacific region and 6.2 percent in the Latin America region, the company said.

Highlighting and growing international trade among York County manufacturers is why the YCEA wanted to focus on international business during the annual expo, organizers said.

International reach: There are more than 170 foreign-owned companies in York and 700 local companies that ship products internationally, according to Wilda Alessi, senior marketing manager for the YCEA. Economic factors make it a good time to shine a light on international trade, according to Loren Kroh, YCEA chairman.

“The stock market is up (to) 15,000 and unemployment is down,” he said.

Kroh scanned the 135 exhibitors inside the newly named Utz Arena and said he was sure of one thing.

“When I look around, I see York County is open for business,” he said.

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