WATSONTOWN — When it comes to business and finance, very few things startle John Moran, president and CEO of Moran Logistics.
But when State Sen. John Gordner, R-27, Berwick, said the state had awarded Moran $2 million through its Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, he visibly gasped.
"This is a complete surprise," Moran said. "My heart right now is pounding."
The $2 million will be only a portion of a $31.8 million project: the construction of a new, modern state-of-the-art logistics facility. The facility will be constructed with a focus on energy efficiency and will allow companies to outsource their supply chain logistics to a third-party provider.
This will not only create jobs in Northumberland County, Moran said, but allow regional businesses to grow by streamlining their focus to their core competencies.
"As a family, we only want the best for Pennsylvania," Moran said, once he caught his breath. "And to make a long-lasting impact through investment in the community. This $2 million state grant will help us to leverage the $31.8 million in private investment in order to build a new distribution center here in Watsontown.
"We are eager to see this project come to life and to provide family-sustaining jobs.," Moran said.
Moran said he has already broken ground on the facility on July 7 and moved about 100,000 yards of dirt.
The facility will be on Eighth Street on a 105-acre site (in Delaware Township) that the company is developing.
"We believe this area is on the verge of something special," he said. "From here, you can hit 60 percent of the population of North America in an eight-hour drive. One of the problems in developing this area has been the lack of modern facilities, it will add a dimension that this area is missing."
This will also mean jobs. Moran will almost immediately seek to hire an additional 40 people, "and that is just the start."
The goal is to complete the construction of the building "by the time we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this year," Moran said.
"It's great to hear the story of this company," Gordner said. "If you look at the footprint of Moran Logistics, it is huge. The state has an incredibly competitive program, RACP. There are bills that have billions of projects in them and every January hundreds of projects make applications; only 10 percent get funded.
"Today has been an outstanding day in Northumberland County," he said, citing funded projects in Shamokin and Point Township.
Governor Wolf officially published the list of funded projects at 3:02 p.m. Thursday, Gordner said.