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Roundup: UPMC Health Plan buys Erie firm; Baierl adds Ford to brands; more

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

UPMC Health Plan buys assistance provider

UPMC Health Plan purchased an Erie provider of employee-assistance programs as it seeks to expand in that northwest Pennsylvania market. UPMC Health Plan subsidiary LifeSolutions bought “certain assets” of Northwest Beacon, including its 60 customer contracts in Erie, for an undisclosed price, the health insurance arm of health system UPMC said on Tuesday. Northwest Beacon, a subsidiary of Erie-based Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, contracts with companies to provide counseling to employees. Northwest Beacon workers will transfer to LifeSolutions and continue working from Erie, UPMC Health Plan said.

Baierl Automotive adds Ford

Baierl Automotive Group expanded its number of automobile brands to 11 with the addition of Ford, with the purchase of the former Northland Ford in Zelienople. Baierl paid $2.1 million to MSE Land Inc. of Grove City, according to a deed filed in Butler County. With the addition of 50 workers at the Ford dealership, at 540 S. Main St., the company now employs about 500, said Bob Baierl, vice president. Ford joins the 10 other Baierl dealerships, all in the North Hills. They are Acura, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Honda, Kia, Mitsubishi, Scion, Subaru and Toyota. Baierl adds Ford to its commercial vehicles, Baierl said. “We plan to eventually renovate the Zelienople property and building,” Baierl said.

MBA to be offered in Cranberry

Prospective graduate students interested in Penn State's new MBA program in the Pittsburgh area may attend one of three information sessions. Master of business administration degree classes generally will meet four times a semester at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry, and the rest of the work will be completed online. Details will be provided at sessions Feb. 28 at the DoubleTree, 101 Mall Blvd., Monroeville, and on March 18 and April 2 at the Regional Learning Alliance, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive. All meetings start at 6 p.m. Register at

Workshop on natural gas for cars

The use of natural gas to power automobiles will be the topic of a Friday workshop in Oakdale sponsored by Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, a nonprofit that promotes alternative fuels. Fleet managers, automotive technicians and anyone seeking information about technology involved can attend the event from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center, 1000 McKee Road. Register at Other Petroleum Reduction Technologies Workshops will be on propane on April 26 and on electric, plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles on June 21.

Former workers eligible for benefits

About 88 former Hostess workers in Western Pennsylvania are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance job training benefits, among 738 statewide and 18,000 nationwide, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. The agency certified their eligibility following an investigation that showed increased imports of baked products contributed to the company's sales declines and worker layoffs. Bankrupt Hostess Brands Inc. shutdown in November, ending production of baked goods such as CupCakes and Ho Hos snacks. On Feb. 1, two private equity firms agreed to pay $410 million for some of its products and five bakeries, a deal that requires U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval. About 70 former workers in Cheswick are eligible for the TAA benefits, along with former workers in Erie, Monroeville, Vanport, Butler and Washington.

Other business news

• Calgon Carbon Corp., Robinson, was awarded a two-year contract valued at between $16 million and $22 million to supply brominated, powdered, activated carbon to remove mercury from the fluegas of coal-fired power plants. The customer, who declined to be named, is a major utility that operates power plants in the Midwest, said Calgon Carbon spokewoman Gail Gerono. The agreement includes an option to extend the contract through 2015.

• K&L Gates was named “Law Firm of the Year” by Mergers & Acquisitions magazine for the firm's role in middle-market mergers in 2012. Last year, the firm completed more than 160 transactions, with a total value of $39 billion, including 45 deals that crossed borders. Most deals involving the firm, which is one of Pittsburgh's largest, are valued at between $25 million and $1 billion, but it also assisted American Airlines in its $11 billion pending merger with US Airways.

• II-VI Inc. said its Exotic Electro-Optics subsidiary, which makes infrared products for military uses, will supply Lockheed Martin as it builds targeting equipment. One agreement relates to Lockheed Martin's F-35 Electro-Optical Targeting Sensor, used in air-to-air and air-to-surface tracking, Saxonburg-based II-VI said Tuesday. The other deal is for Lockheed Martin's Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, a targeting and surveillance system designed to minimize pilots' exposure to threats. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

• The Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania named Alex Sciulli, chief real estate officer for Highmark Inc., its 2013 William Metcalf Award winner. Sciulli will be honored Wednesday at the society's annual banquet at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. The Metcalf award is presented annually to an outstanding engineer whose accomplishments relate to Western Pennsylvania.

• Attorney Larry Silverman rejoined Dickie McCamey & Chilcote P.C. after serving the Pirates for 10 years as the baseball club's general counsel and senior vice president, the Downtown law firm said Tuesday. Prior to joining the Pirates, Silverman had served the firm for 20 years as a trial lawyer concentrating in contract and employment law.

— Staff and wire reports

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