MIDA honors late president
A Mid-Mon Valley development group recognized a late and great friend Friday afternoon.
The Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association presented its prestigious Chuck Chattaway Award in honor of Rudy Simko.
Simko, the longtime president of MIDA, was killed when he was struck by a car as he was walking through South Park in March.
The awarded was presented to Simko's widow, Patty, at MIDA's 35th annual meeting at the Mon Valley Country Club in Carroll Township.
"There's no doubt, no question, who this award goes to this year," said MIDA President Chuck Muia. "It is someone who re-established the economic base of the Mid Mon Valley region. No one is more deserving than our friend, our cohort - Rudy Simko."
In accepting the honor, Simko thanked the organization and commended its progress in moving forward on the new industrial park in Fallowfield Township. She said Rudy Simko was devoted to his work with MIDA.
"To us, he was a husband and a father, but Rudy clearly had a second family, and that was MIDA," said Pat Simko.
Muia said the association has enjoyed an exciting year, having rebounded from a less- than-perfect 2000 to make Rudy's dream become a reality. Muia said he is impressed with the amount of work done from week-to-week at the 256-acre site located off the Interstate 70 Bentleyville Exit in Fallowfield Township.
Dennis Dachille, MIDA general manager, is also proud of the park's progress.
"I welcome you to tour the new park," Dachille told the afternoon crowd.
"I'll even drive you out there. I want you to be a part of it."
The luncheon program also included a design map and an overview of progress at the industrial park,
"It seems like yesterday, but two years ago, in September 1999, we came aboard," said Alex D. Lapinsky, project engineer for H.F. Lenz Company of Johnstown.
Lapinsky said Phase II of the 23-parcel-development should be completed by the end of 2002.
He said a timetable for Phase III will depend on the release of government funds that have been frozen since the Sept. 11 events.
MIDA Executive Director Lue Ann Pawlick said the former plant fulfilled its mission to preserve jobs in the area. She said the association is approaching the new project with the same excitement and commitment.
"It's a lot of work and a lot of fun," said Pawlick.
Keynote speaker for the annual program was Donora native Joseph Rongaus, vice president of investments at UBS PaineWebber. Rongaus addressed the market impact and investor considerations in wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The current slate of MIDA officers and board members were retained for another year.
In addition to Muia, officers include Milt Kubic as vice president, Judy Morrison as secretary and John LaCarte as treasurer.