Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Pennsylvania makes energy pitch to Texas

It’s not often in Texas that you hear from an outside group who wants to brag about their state’s energy industry. But a team from Pennsylvania visiting Dallas/Fort Worth did just that last week and with pretty good reason.

The group, on a tour that included the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and a Dallas gathering of site selection pros, was led by Alan Walker, Pennsylvania’s secretary of community and economic development. No, they weren’t on a corporate relocation mission like the ones Texas Gov. Rick Perry has undertaken in recent years. But it was corporate recruitment of a fashion.

Aside from the fact that the Keystone State is where the U.S. oil business started — Col. Edwin Drake drilled the first well in 1858 in Titusville — Walker has a pretty good story to tell. Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 4 coal producer and is No. 2 in electricity generation.

But the burgeoning Marcellus Shale has really put the state on the energy map. The natural gas field has zoomed past the Barnett as the nation’s largest. And while the pipeline infrastructure didn’t exist to immediately move that gas, an average of 8.5 billion cubic feet moved out of the field every day in 2013..

And that leads to one of Walker’s best selling points: Pennsylvania, he notes, is within an eight-hour drive of 50 percent of the population of North America. His point is that the customers for all that gas and whatever it’s used to make are pretty close.

Walker’s pitch to Texas companies, he said, was that it’s a good spot for manufacturing and chemicals production. In just about his only dig at the Lone Star State, he politely pointed out that Pennsylvania has plenty of water.

Five are named

to Elite 100

Five North Texas companies have been named to the 2014 InformationWeek Elite 100, a list of top business technology innovators in the country.

Texas Health Resources in Arlington ranked No. 18, LaQuinta Inn & Suites in Irving ranked No. 37, Lehigh Hanson construction firm in Irving ranked No. 43, Six Flags Entertainment Corp. in Grand Prairie ranked No. 59, and Sabre Inc. in Southlake ranked No. 96.

Michael Israel, Six Flags chief information officer, said the company is ecstatic to be included.

“Initiatives such as the redesign of our season pass processing system to incorporate biometric scanning and the electronic distribution of in-park offers are key to enhancing the guest experience” were among the innovations Six Flags was selected for, Israel said.

Hispanic chamber

receives grant

The Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently was awarded a $10,000 grant to support its Bilingual Business Development Certificate Program.

The local business group was among was among seven Hispanic chambers nationwide that received program grants awarded by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Wells Fargo. In all, $100,000 was awarded to support programs that include empowering Latina entrepreneurs, promoting “green” energy and advancing diversity, the U.S. Chamber said.

"These grants are a re-dedication to our Foundation’s critical programs — every dollar of which goes directly toward fostering small-business growth,” Javier Palomarez, USHCC president and CEO, said in a statement.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727