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Editorial: Showcase brings dollars and positive exposure to our region

June 5, 2019
In The News

The annual Showcase for Commerce trade show brings exposure and connectivity to our region’s business community.

The defense industry expo also brings a lot of dollars for local companies.

As our Mark Pesto reported, among the contracts announced Friday were these:

• $7.5 million for JWF Defense Systems to produce support equipment for strategic defense program for Lockheed Martin Space; and $1.5 million award from BAE Systems to JWF Defense Systems for work on an armored-vehicle project, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Increased Crew Protection Cab program.

JWF Defense also announced a $12 million extension of its pact with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems on the Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 to produce vehicle chassis and body panels for a fifth year, along with a Full Rate Initial Production contract for $20 million for JWF Industries to generate support equipment. JWF Defense Systems is also partnering with Allentown-based Mack Defense, a subsidiary of Mack Trucks, to help build the U.S. Army’s M917A3 Heavy Dump Trucks.

• More than $25 million for ejections-seats producer Martin-Baker America – $18.5 million on a fixed-price contract for Seat Survival Kits for the U.S. Navy’s Enhanced Emergency Oxygen System, used in F/A-18 combat jets, and $7 million to supply seats for the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

• More than $93 million in contracts for Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace related to its ongoing Army common remotely operated weapon stations (CROWS) program; and a $1 million agreement from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to make radiation shields for the NIST’s Center for Neutron Research.

• $6.2 million for Concurrent Technologies Corp. to provide support equipment for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Facility Related Control Systems, which coordinate various functions at military installations. CTC also announced a $7.6 million contract modification with MCICOM for an ongoing project to support the Marine Corps’ energy security requirements.

Showcase featured visits by both of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senators – Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey Jr., who is the event’s Congressional liaison. U.S. Reps. Glenn Thompson and John Joyce also attended, with Thompson delivering remarks at the John P. Murtha breakfast gathering on Friday.

Showcase, now through 29 years, ties back to Murtha’s influence through the House defense appropriations committee and efforts by Johnstown Area Regional Industries and the Cambria Regional Chamber – formerly Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce – to bring jobs to the region in response to the decline of coal and steel.

Showcase even provides training for local businesses on how to engage with and pursue contracts through the defense industry.

Toomey called Showcase a unique event that has significant benefit for western Pennsylvania that he hopes our region can maintain and grow – but not necessarily share.

“It wouldn’t kill me if we didn’t have a lot of competition for Showcase all around the country,” Toomey said.

“Let’s just keep concentrating it here. It’s got a great reputation. ... I think we want to continue to encourage vendors, and senior DoD folks and government officials generally to come in and visit. That’s part of why I want to come in and wave the flag and make sure we put all the spotlight we can on a really good thing for Johnstown.”

Thompson called Showcase “a nationally renowned event that puts Cambria County’s talented workforce on display. ... We know that Cambria County is hard at work and the Showcase is our opportunity to show the rest of the nation.”

The nation is taking notice.

The contracts that come out of the event are evidence of the expo’s impact, and those contracts are the product of relationships developed before and during the event at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, at the Pasquerilla Conference Center and other sites around Johnstown.

David Hartzell, president of Mack Defense, lauded his organization’s growing relationship with Johnstown’s JWF Industries, and added: “Showcase is becoming a very special event for Mack Defense.”

With its 30th anniversary on the horizon, Showcase for Commerce has always been a special event for the Johnstown region.