Prominent New Kensington man, Murrysville mayor honored for community works
Prominent community leaders from New Kensington and Murrysville were honored Tuesday night at the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland's annual dinner.
David Hanna is a lifelong New Kensington resident and former Southwest Region president of First Commonwealth Bank. He is past chairman of the Economic Growth Connection's board of directors.
After retiring from the bank in 2010, he continued to serve the institution through last year as an adviser.
Economic Growth Connection President James L. Smith said Hanna's volunteer efforts serving on boards for numerous human service and cultural organizations have bolstered the county's quality of life.
Hanna has served on the boards of Penn State New Kensington; and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg; the Greensburg YMCA; the Westmoreland Arthritis Foundation; Westmoreland Historical Society and Westmoreland Symphony.
He played a key role in local fundraising campaigns for the United Way, March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.
The night's other honoree was Murrysville Mayor Robert J. Brooks, who officials said has helped his community develop the assets that can attract residents and employers.
“Murrysville sets a phenomenal example for us all to follow,” Smith said.
In a tribute video, community officials praised Brooks' contributions, initially as a councilman, to development of parks, a library and a new shopping plaza in Murrysville.
Murrysville “used to be a place you come from. Now it's a place you go to,” said Brooks, who also was praised for being among investors who have kept the Penguins and Pirates teams in Pittsburgh, adding to the region's economy.
Attracting skilled workers
Economic development involves more than attracting employers.
Smith said the organization and its local partners have taken steps to provide the skilled workers that employers need and the places that those workers will want to live.
Smith introduced Jane Heiple of Ligonier, who is starting the new role of director of the Westmoreland Forum for Workforce Development. It's a position made possible by contributions from other county agencies and from area school districts.
Heiple has worked for school districts in the Somerset, Bedford and Philadelphia areas, including as a school public school administrator.
“If we can't supply companies with the things that they need, then they'll move,” Smith said. “How do we find that next generation of workers? We've got to offer them the kinds of things they want. If we don't, they'll go somewhere else.”