Jon Scott's picture

Why would a business headquartered on the West Coast or abroad want to do an expansion of its operations in Berks County? 

To start, we have over 100 million people within overnight drive; we have a significantly lower cost for doing business than nearby East Coast metro areas, which includes the cost of real estate and labor; and we have a multitude of quality of life amenities. However, the site selection process is extraordinarily intricate, and every project takes on twists and turns throughout its evolutionary process to the point where a final determination is made. 

The phrase “site selection” is, in fact, an anomaly: it is really a site elimination process. Many site location searches begin by looking at multiple states and multiple communities within those states. Greater Reading has been in this “site elimination” situation many times over the last several years and frequently, confidentiality is paramount. 

Some, additional core ingredients that impact the process is the availability of a property or a site that can accommodate the company’s needs: this is particularly important with existing or new large manufacturing projects requiring heavy infrastructure needs. After meeting the physical requirements, a talented workforce pool is always next on the list. Furthermore, overall costs for infrastructure and utilities play an incredibly important role. 

Over the last year, Greater Reading has lost projects to other communities for these following reasons: 

• A lack of available and suitable buildings and/or shovel-ready sites in areas zoned for commercial and industrial use; 

• Other states out-gunned PA state incentives by significant ratios; and 

• The recently escalating costs of what little available ready-to-go-sites are in Greater Reading has deterred several companies. 

So why have various projects actually successfully landed in Greater Reading? As a community, we put forth one of the highest levels of overall customer professionalism and delivery of services. In fact, our region is currently on a short list for two large companies because of the team and our partners at Greater Reading Economic Partnership. Secondly, the companies are firmly convinced we have the workforce to meet their needs. The overall business costs are favorable. Being nimble and agile in the site selection process is absolutely critical. 

At the end of the day, siting a company in Greater Reading is an extremely complex business. In a number of instances, entities such as Greater Reading Economic Partnership do not have control over many of the critical components that a company uses in its evaluation process. However, we, along with our economic development partners, do everything we can to respond as quickly and accurately as possible; and 

make sure that everyone involved in the decision–making process knows that our community is open for business and that Berks County is a great place to live and work. 

Jon C. Scott, President and CEO, Greater Reading Economic Partnership 

At Greater Reading Economic Partnership, Jon uses his leadership skills and management experience to mobilize the multiple resources of the Greater Reading economic development community. His goals are to retain existing business, attract new industries, and foster a competitive business environment through aggressive marketing aimed at creating sustainable and diverse employment opportunities for current and future generations. 

Contact info: or 610.376.4237