FirstEnergy Named Top Utility for Economic Development by Site Selection Magazine
AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 5, 2019 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has been named by Site Selection magazine as one of the nation's leading utilities in promoting economic development, helping to attract nearly 11,000 new jobs and $3.9 billion in third-party capital investment in its six-state service area in 2018.
The award recognizes utility companies that complement reliable power delivery to their customers with a hands-on approach to encouraging business development in their operational areas. Recipient utilities are chosen based on a mix of objective and subjective criteria, including what the utility does to help create jobs and facilitate investment in its area, website tools and data that can be used to help business development, and survey responses from customers and potential customers.
"Site Selection magazine's award demonstrates that our results-oriented efforts to promote job creation continue to enjoy success and recognition in the industry," said Patrick Kelly, director of economic development at FirstEnergy. "While much of our economic development activity involved projects in the West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio shale gas regions, we also had economic success stories in all of our utility service areas."
Some of the larger projects fostered by FirstEnergy's collaborative economic development activities in 2018 were:
- Nearly $600 million in investments by MarkWest and Antero for shale gas facilities in Doddridge County, West Virginia.
- A $700 million Cleveland Cliffs hot-briquetted iron facility in Toledo.
- Pilkington's $265 million floating glass plant to support First Solar's thin film photovoltaics facility in nearby Wood County, Ohio.
- Two Amazon fulfillment centers being built in the Cleveland area and one recently announced in Akron. Ironically, all three are on the sites of former shopping malls.
- Nearly 40 million square feet of proposed, under construction or just completed speculative distribution center projects in the company's eastern Pennsylvania service area.
In addition to working closely with state and regional economic development organizations, FirstEnergy also established an office in Europe to help attract overseas business to FirstEnergy's areas.
Kelly says the best economic development assistance his team can provide is being an active liaison with one of FirstEnergy's own utilities. "Recently, a company named Silfex approached us to see what could be done to help them meet a very aggressive timeline in building a new facility in Springfield, Ohio," said Kelly. "We immediately engaged the customer support representative for our Ohio Edison utility, and she was able to provide exceptional customer service to ensure Silfex could meet their deadline."
Along with expertise in business development relationships and programs, Kelly says FirstEnergy is a trusted advisor to customers and communities in helping to meet their energy needs and sustainability goals. The company also is investing heavily in grid modernization to provide world-class infrastructure capable of powering energy-intensive industries.
FirstEnergy's greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion also is being applied to economic development.
"While FirstEnergy is placing greater importance on economic inclusion, it is very challenging to ensure all demographics of a region or community share equally in economic growth or business expansion," says Kelly. "Whether it be in our hometown of Akron, or other cities we serve, our goal is to encourage growth, opportunity and equity for all our customers."
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
CONTACT: Mark Durbin, (330) 761-4365