The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Gary Grossman

June 2, 2013

The Big Swoop

When they got to speeches in February last year, Gov. Tom Corbett and Brian Bolus were on a first name basis, or at least the governor was as he plugged the gumption-to-riches Life of Brian into his administration’s fracking-friendly narrative.

Twenty-two years ago, the governor related, Brian was just a college kid driving a tow truck, with an American dream in his heart and an eye out for opportunity.

Gov. Corbett, who was whacking public education money from his budgets, seized the occasion to spotlight how many certified teachers Pennsylvania state universities produce every year compared to how few of them were actually needed.

What Pennsylvania needed, the governor explained, were entrepreneurial job-creators like Brian here, owner of Minuteman Environmental Services.

Minuteman Environmental Service’s rise was at full meteor then ­– $5 million and climbing with 158 employees and a sparkling garage in the Milton Industrial Park full of heavy-duty capital investment in tank trucks, vacuum trucks, roll-off trucks, frack and mud tanks, and hazmat and emergency response capabilities – including, outside somewhere, a helicopter.

Minuteman trucks water to Marcellus Shale drilling sites and hauls off frack gunk. It specializes in spill cleanup, waste disposal and site restoration.

Minuteman has the services. But Tom Corbett created the environment.

The possibility and profitability of Minuteman flourished in the political economy shaped by a first-term governor with unemployment in double digits and only shale gas in his pocket.

Gov. Corbett wanted job-creation on a fast track, uninhibited by extraction taxes, impact fees, zealous inspectors or bothersome regulation. Drilling had a four-to-one ratio in downstream jobs like those Brian Bolus was creating.

So when the big swoop happened early Wednesday morning and armed, black-uniformed agents from all over the alphabet plowed through Minuteman’s offices, Brian Bolus’s home and Brian Bolus’s tech services in search of evidence, we asked if the Governor knew what was happening to his partner.

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Gary Grossman
  • A grip on the bottom rung

    Every once in a while, someone will tell me that we do not know the real story the way they do and that we have painted a distorted picture for the reading public.
    We mostly know the available story, the accessible story and, occasionally, a little more than the average Joe or Jane about the true story.

    July 26, 2014

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    Although we manufacture and deliver a product, newspapering is a service industry. It is appropriate for people in service to show deference and respect for customers.

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    July 6, 2014

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    Here is the thing about newspapers: We do not yet know what we will become, only what we can no longer be. That is unnerving at times for people who like routine, pattern, tradition and predictability. And who doesn’t, dagnabbit!

    June 29, 2014

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    June 23, 2014

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    Once upon a time, I worked in a cubicle farm amid doctors and nurses who greatly admired the Veteran Health Administration for its innovative approach to patient safety.

    June 1, 2014

  • Promises to be kept

    Long after the bugles played and the flags were folded, there was the apology. It was 20 years in coming.

    The man was old, 79. It was time.

    May 25, 2014

  • Things weren't picking up

    I once belonged to a Rotary club that adopted a few miles of busy highway in an anti-litter campaign. Wearing luminous vests and work gloves, we would wander the roadside, wrestling Styrofoam cups from brambles and pitching cans and bottles into giant orange plastic garbage bags.

    May 11, 2014

  • Thirsty boots, no more

    Generally, business people steer clear of the big divide, which is race. The same is true of gender, age, religion, political preference and sexual orientation.
    If there is a sure lose-lose proposition for making a buck in America, it is a headlong dive into our national neuroses. We all realize the “one nation, indivisible” is more of a prayer than an oath and always has been.

    April 27, 2014