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Blue collar pride and tech life are both alive

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Published: Fri, December 30, 2016 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Kalea Hall


Trends hit the Mahoning Valley arduous this yr.

A change in shopper preferences value the Valley 1,245 jobs at General Motors Lordstown.

Meanwhile, the development of metropolis dwelling stored downtown Youngstown alive.

For both good and dangerous causes, the Valley was thrust into the highlight – making the nation see the modifications occurring right here and a few of the damaging results of a rusty previous.

Our Valley’s enterprise information confirmed this space continues to be blue- collar and pleased with it, however a burgeoning tech scene can also be placing us on the map.


The Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze shouldn’t be solely a logo of Valley pride, nevertheless it has turn into a prime contender within the automotive market nationally. Its success within the first 5 years available on the market pushed the Lordstown identify on the market. This yr, the Lordstown plant was the launch level for the Cruze globally.

The launch has been a bumpy street for the native plant. Supplier points put the plant not on time. Dealers’ provide ranges have been behind what General Motors needed to see, so the automaker determined to usher in Cruzes constructed on the Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, plant to complement the U.S. provide.

The want for extra Cruzes died down because the small-car market took successful nationally. Demand for bigger automobiles took away curiosity for smaller ones.

The day after the overall election, GM introduced it might reduce the third shift on the Lordstown Assembly Complex, costing 1,245 jobs at that plant and lots of of jobs at different native crops that help GM Lordstown. The reduce will grow to be official in January. At the identical time, GM will cease bringing in Mexico-built Cruzes to the U.S.

Union leaders, whereas saddened by the lack of jobs, reminded Valley residents the plant is resilient and will hold adapting to maintain constructing automobiles.

The ending of the third shift at Lordstown comes after this yr’s 50th anniversary for the native plant. In May, the plant celebrated its historical past of constructing automobiles – greater than 16 million – with an open home for the general public.

Lines of individuals waited to get an opportunity to see contained in the plant. Some have been GM retirees who needed to return, whereas others have been simply considering how the favored automotive was made. A complete of 10,000 got here out to see the plant and take a look at the brand new next-generation Cruze.

The Lordstown plant is 6.2 million sq. ft and sits on 1,100 acres. It has greater than 23.5 miles of conveyor, making it one of many world’s largest single-line manufacturing amenities.


One nice Tuesday in March was a occurring night time in Youngstown. At the Covelli Centre, Elton John took the stage, and ZZ Top rocked Stambaugh Auditorium.

Having not one, however two main acts come to Youngstown introduced out the individuals to the eating places and bars.

Dominic Marchionda, chief government of NYO Property Group, a Youngstown improvement firm, noticed the necessity years in the past to have a lodge downtown. Now, with the live shows right here and newfound life, he sees a lodge as much more of necessity. The multimillion-dollar DoubleTree Hilton lodge challenge is predicted to be completed by the top of 2017.

In 2016, downtown noticed the addition of extra flats with the finished renovation of the historic Wells Building by Gregg Strollo Architects. The constructing, at Federal and Phelps streets, will flip 100 in 2017. Early this yr, the constructing opened up as the brand new Strollo Architects headquarters and an house complicated with 12 flats.

An necessary piece to the downtown transformation is the Youngstown Business Incubator. The technology-based incubator has persistently put the town on the map. Late final yr, the native incubator took second place on the earth as a University Associated Incubator and first place in North America. In 2014, the incubator was No. 1. on the earth.

The incubator is now within the midst of renovating the fifth constructing for its prospering campus. The previous Vindicator constructing at 29 Vindicator Square might be residence to the incubator’s additive manufacturing portfolio corporations. It shall be completed in 2017.


After 14 years and not using a every day air service, leaders at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport have been thrilled to announce the arrival of the Great Lakes JetExpress by Aerodynamics Inc. of Kennesaw, Ga. The airline’s Embraer ERJ-145 launched flights from Youngstown’s Vienna airport to Chicago O’Hare International Airport on July 1. The flight additionally was the primary business flight for Aerodynamics, a longtime constitution airline.

But the thrill for the airline was short-lived. Poor ticket gross sales led the Western Reserve Port Authority, the physique that oversees airport operations, to cease funding the flights. On Aug. 24, the final Youngstown/Chicago Great Lakes JetExpress flight made a ultimate touchdown in Vienna.

The WRPA board of administrators believed the ticket gross sales weren’t robust as a result of the airline didn’t have a strong interline settlement for ticketing and baggage with United, a serious legacy service in Chicago.


This yr was an enormous yr for the village of Lordstown.

In June, officers hailed the opening of a $100 million aluminum-billet plant. The Giampaolo Group of Canada constructed the 225,000-square-foot Matalco and Triple M Metal LP plant within the village to have a more-central location for patrons. The plant, which employs 55, was the second U.S. funding for the Giampaolo Group, which additionally has a plant in Canton.

The new plant makes use of “the world’s most technologically advanced fully automated equipment to produce aluminum billets,” in response to the corporate’s web site. The plant is able to producing greater than 1 million kilos of billet per day when in full operation.

Also in Lordstown, development on the $890 million Lordstown Energy Center, a gas-fueled energy plant, started this yr. Clean Energy Future, the developer of the venture, will make use of 20 full-time staff when the plant is accomplished in 2018. Natural fuel emanating from the Utica fuel formation and piped to Lordstown would be the solely gasoline used on the LEC. Dominion East Ohio will present supply of fuel from the gas-pipeline system to the plant. Kokosing of Fredericktown and Columbus is the overall contractor on the challenge. Union labor shall be employed on the location and peak at about 450 to 500 staff, in line with The Vindicator information.


But the Valley’s enterprise information wasn’t all rosy.

Right at the beginning of 2016, Warren Steel introduced it might shut due to “unforeseen business conditions.” Warren Steel, affiliated with Optima Speciality Steel based mostly in Miami, engineered metal merchandise utilized in quite a lot of industries, together with aerospace, mining, development, automotive and agriculture.

The native plant felt the influence of the lagging metal business, which has handled the consequences of a robust greenback, weak international demand and a buildup of stock. A complete of 162 staff have been affected by the closing.

The Valley additionally felt the influence of the ever-changing retail business. Kmart closed the Boardman and Warren Kmart places. The Warren location employed 63, and Boardman employed 81. Back in January, an organization spokesman stated “store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model.” Through the third quarter, which ended Oct. 29, a complete of 140 Kmart shops and 20 Sears shops have been closed.

ValleyCare Health System of Ohio is one other enterprise that made headlines for layoffs this yr. In April, ValleyCare, which operates Northside Medical Center in Youngstown, Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland, and Sharon Regional Health System in Sharon, Pa., laid off 68 full-time-equivalent staff at Northside. In November, ValleyCare laid off extra, however didn’t specify what number of.

This yr, Community Health Systems, ValleyCare’s mother or father firm, introduced it might promote 17 hospitals.

Three Mississippi hospitals and one Florida hospital might be bought to Curae Health Inc. CHS, based mostly in Tennessee, signed a definitive settlement to promote two Washington hospitals to Sunnyside Community Hospital & Clinics. The remaining hospitals to be bought and their purchasers haven’t been named.

The belongings of the 17 amenities account for $2 billion in annual income. Proceeds from the transactions, which are anticipated to shut between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017, are listed at $1.2 billion. The proceeds will go towards debt discount.

Community reported a lack of $79 million in its third-quarter earnings, which in contrast with a revenue of $52 million in the identical quarter a yr earlier.

Another Valley well being care supplier, Southwoods Health, made headlines this yr for throwing a Lionel Richie “Concert for the Valley.”

The live performance was created to rejoice the 20th anniversary of the Surgical Hospital at Southwoods. Ed Muransky, president and CEO of the Muransky Companies and Southwoods Health, noticed the live performance as giving again to the group. The Aug. 27 Covelli Centre live performance, which was the one U.S. cease Richie made outdoors of Las Vegas, was bought out.


Presidential candidates made sure to make stops to the Valley’s blue-collar companies in 2016.

BOC Water Hydraulics at 12024 Salem-Warren Road was visited by Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. In March, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, visited Brilex Industries on Andrews Avenue in March.

With the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this yr, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber determined it will be an excellent time to point out off what the Valley has to supply with Three-D printed life-size bobblehead statues of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for the president, and now President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

The statues have been designed and produced by Freshmade 3D, with help from Youngstown State University and Humtown Products in Columbiana. The bobblehead statues acquired worldwide and nationwide consideration.

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