Member Company News

In honor of American Heart Month and to make women more aware of the #1 killer of American Women, Schuylkill Health Auxiliary will hold a "Little Red Dress Event" on Sunday, February 9, 2014 (Snow Date - Sunday, February 23) at the WalkIn Art Center, 110 West Columbia Street, Schuylkill Haven, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

This memorable "Ladies Fun Day Out" will educate and empower women to take control of their heart health! Schuylkill Health Auxiliary is committed to celebrating the energy, passion, and power of women. The Little Red Dress Event will help create a better awareness about the risk of heart disease and ways to prevent it.

The "Red Dress Event" will feature heart health education and awareness as well as provide entertainment and fun. The event will feature a Fashion Show, Hair & Make up Trends for 2014, Decorating Tips, A Silent Auction and more. More than 50 vendors will be available for shopping.

George Blum, local Consultant, Appraiser and Buyer will be on hand to buy gold, silver, antiques and collectibles (donating a percentage to Schuylkill Health Auxiliary).

Tickets are $20 per person which will include snacks and hors d'oeuvres from Vito's Coal Fired Pizza and Restaurant. A cash bar will also be available.

To purchase tickets or to become a vendor, please call 570-621-4242 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This event is aimed at building awareness of women's heart disease and keeping women informed and healthy. Join us in on Sunday, February 9, 2014 to celebrate Women's Heart Health! We encourage you to wear something red for this event!

BY Stephen J. Pytak (Republican-Herald Staff Writer)

Published: July 12, 2013

The Pottsville Republican-Herald

PINE GROVE - A manufacturer of custom, eco-friendly building products that moved to Schuylkill County in 2009 is planning another expansion.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced Thursday that Solar Innovations Inc. in Pine Grove will acquire a 62,000-square-foot office building in Pine Grove Township and create 18 more jobs.

"Keeping my administration's commitment to moving our economy forward continues to send a strong message that Pennsylvania is serious about job creation. As a result of this commitment, companies like Solar Innovations are reinvesting and creating jobs in Pennsylvania," Corbett said in a press release from his office.

Solar Innovations Inc. was established in Hellam, York County, on April 15, 1998.

"From Hellam, we moved to Myerstown in Lebanon County and operated from a former food distribution location," Melissa Reinhart, a company spokeswoman, said Thursday.Solar Innovations

In March 2009, it opened its headquarters at the Pine Grove Business Park at 31 Roberts Road, a 150,000-square-foot, two-story facility.

This allowed the company to create 48 manufacturing jobs and bring 68 existing jobs from its former home in Myerstown.

"From that 150,000 square feet, additional mezzanine production was created, expanding operations inside the 31 Roberts Road facility to what is now a state-of-the art, 225,000-square-foot corporate office and manufacturing," Reinhart said.

In June 2011, Solar Innovations expanded by buying a building next door to that facility, 43 Roberts Road, the former Kaytee Products, a 30,000-square-foot building.

Now, Solar will buy 23 Roberts Road, the current StairPak Products corporate office.

"StairPak products, a long-time Pine Grove resident, will continue to operate from a portion of the 23 Roberts Road facility
manufacturing custom curved and spiral stairs as they have for many years," Reinhart said.

All of the company's offices and facilities are located in Pine Grove, she said.

What's the secret to the company's success?

"We serve our customers well," Reinhart said.

Reinhart wasn't certain how many customers they had over the years but said, "Over 15 years, we have 52,000 names in our database.

"Solar's 15 years of continuous growth is based on the successful expansion of product line. From the humble beginnings of aluminum sunrooms, Solar has expanded to provide operable and decorative structure accessories, specialty operable doors and windows, unique overhead glazing solutions, glass railings and many more unique products. Solar's latest building purchase was primarily based on the product line's expansion to include wood windows, doors and curtain walls," Reinhart said.

A loan from the state Industrial Development Authority will make this latest expansion project possible, according to the press release from the governor.

This year, the Industrial Development Authority approved $40.6 million in low-interest loans that have resulted in $70.3 million in private investment and supported 9,500 jobs.

The authority provides capital for building acquisition, construction and renovation work, primarily for manufacturers, industrial
developers, research and development firms, agricultural processors and employers looking to establish national or regional headquarters in Pennsylvania.

The authority will provide a $520,000, 15-year, low-interest loan at 1.5 percent to the Schuylkill Economic Development Corp. on behalf of Solar Innovations, according to the release.

Greg Header, president of Solar Innovations Inc., could not be reached for comment Thursday.

by Mark Gilger Jr. (STAFF WRITER)

Published: June 20, 2013 
 

The Schuylkill Transportation System facility at the Saint Clair Industrial Park will be receiving a $2 million makeover.

The county commissioners approved a motion during a work session Wednesday for capital improvement projects at the facility totaling $2,340,000.

Renovation and expansion of the facility was budgeted for $1,926,300. STS is also buying six 14-passenger small transit buses for $414,000. Mike Micko, executive director at STS, said the purchase is for replacement vehicles.

The project consists of $1,541,040 in federal funds and $735,116 in state funds. The local match from the county is $64,144.

STS has used the Saint Clair facility as a maintenance and administrative building since 1988 and renovation plans have been talked about for years, Micko said.

"Like with any building as you expand employment and technology, we just grew out of it," Micko said.

Micko said representatives from the state Department of Transportation recently toured the current facility. Micko said Michael Baker Jr. Inc., Harrisburg, is in charge of designs. The company provides construction management services for PennDOT.

Micko said the designs will dictate whether the building will be renovated or parts will be torn down and built from scratch. The garage area will remain intact.

There is currently no target date for completion, Micko said. He said STS will probably use a temporary trailer or run the facility at another location during construction. Once there is a design, the project will be placed out for bid.

The county balance has increased by more than $10 million. According to the monthly treasurer's report, the county balance was $63,290,409.14 on Wednesday, up from $52,568,112.59 on May 13.

Jeffrey A. Feeser, director of housing at Schuylkill Community Action, said there is $159,208.97 in affordable housing trust funds available for allocation for affordable housing in the county for the year. There were seven requests for funding totaling $218,000, exceeding the available amount. Feeser said the Schuylkill County Affordable Housing Trust Fund board met June 4 to review the requests and recommend the funding for the projects.

The proposal will be voted on by the board of commissioners June 26 during the public meeting.

In the proposal, three projects were recommended to receive the grants they requested.

They were: Schuylkill Community Action's bridge housing program, $13,000, and senior or disabled housing repair program, $60,000; and Barefield Development Corp.'s independence square, $25,000.

Funding for four projects were recommended to be reduced. They were court of common pleas' Schuylkill County mortgage foreclosure diversion program, from $15,000 to $10,000; Gilberton borough's housing rehabilitation project, from $25,000 to $15,000; Schuylkill Community Action's Schuylkill County housing counseling program, from $20,000 to $15,000; and the Schuylkill County Housing Authority's Minersville high rise energy and ADA improvement program, from $60,000 to $20,000.

The board will also vote to approve repository and judicial sales. Girardville borough had the highest bid for a property at Fourth and B streets, Girardville, for $100. Tremont borough had the highest bids for 50 and 60 E. Main St., Tremont, for $301 each. All three properties are scheduled for demolition.

There were 84 parcels sold to the highest bidder at the May 17 the judicial sale.

 

BY STEPHEN J. PYTAK (STAFF WRITER)

Published: June 20, 2013

The Pottsville Republican-Herlad

CRESSONA - Northeast Prestressed Products LLC is working hard to overcome the lingering effects of federal charges filed in 2009 against executives of its predecessor, Thomas F. Koons, the president and chief operating officer of Northeast Prestressed Products, said Monday.

"It was a challenge getting people to understand that we were committed and dedicated to being in this business and that we were going to do business a little differently than they did it in the past," Koons, 63, of Harrisburg, said of his business, the successor to Schuylkill Products Inc.

Northeast Prestressed builds concrete beams for highway construction projects, as Schuylkill Products did before its executives became entangled in what prosecutors called the largest fraudulent violation ever of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Act.

On April 5, 2012, a jury convicted Joseph W. Nagle, Deerfield Beach, Fla., the former president and chief executive officer of Schuylkill Products, in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg of 26 charges stemming from the fraud.

Nagle has challenged his conviction and is free while awaiting a ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo on his request for a new trial.

In April 2009, Nagle and Ernest G. Fink Jr., Orwigsburg, the co-owners of Schuylkill Products, sold the company to the Hawbaker family, Daniel Hawbaker and his two sons, Michael and Patrick, State College.

That year was a challenge for the new owners since, in April 2009, Schuylkill Products lost its ability to bid on federal projects, Koons said.

"In October 2009, the Hawbaker family got that back. We made some substantial investments in equipment. The business hasn't grown volume-wise since then, but I think it's grown market-share-wise. We're getting our market share back," Koons said.

Nagle was convicted of participating in a scheme which ran from 1993 to 2008, in which he and other executives at Schuylkill Products Inc. diverted more than 300 state Department of Transportation and SEPTA construction contracts to Schuylkill Products Inc. and CDS Engineers Inc. which were reserved for eligible disadvantaged business enterprises, U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith said in April 2012.

Concerning the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Act, Koons said, "we sell products to true DBE contractors listed on PennDOT's website."

The plant superintendent, John Evetushick, 64, of Tamaqua, said Monday he's been working for the company for 25 years.

"It's a great place. We're growing. We're moving forward. We encourage our employees to think about what they do and how they do it and we've got a good management team," he said.

Northeast Prestressed Products is a big business in Schuylkill County in more ways than one, said Koons, who has been company president and COO since May 2010.

"It is a marvel in a way because the uniqueness of the size of our products," Koons said.

Among the bridge beams being assembled Monday at the factory at 121 River St., just off Gordon Nagle Trail, was a "bulb tee" which was 120 feet long and 39 1/2 inches high. It weighed 65 tons. "This one's going to Philadelphia," Koons said.

"It will be part of a pedestrian walkway, a new structure. I think it's going to South Philly along the river. That's a small one. We've made beams double that size," Evetushick said.

The concrete beam-making complex located on a 28-acre site includes 80,000 square feet of production space. A three-shift operation, the company has 145 employees, 95 percent of whom are from Schuylkill County, Koons said.

According to Troy Jenkins, the company's chief engineer, Northeast Prestressed Products is a "manufacturing marvel" because of its commitment to quality.

"We go out of our way to make our products right," said Jenkins, 35, of Lake Wynonah.

For example, the company takes care to prepare the steel "strands" which reinforce its concrete beams.

"We're strict on those tensioning methods, how we pull those cables and how we control those stress levels. Each individual strand is pulled to 33,818 pounds. State and industry requirements say that the tolerance level should be within 5 percent of the target. We hold it to 2 percent," Jenkins said.

The company buys its materials from numerous vendors. Some of its limestone comes from businesses in the county. So does its anthracite coal.

"We use anthracite to create the steam to cure the beams," Koons said.

Annually, the company brings "about $30 million" into Schuylkill County's economy every year, Koons said.

"Northeast Prestressed Products, Cressona, has an huge impact in our community and in Northeast U.S. They are recognized in the transportation infrastructure arena both statewide and nationally. Clearly, any employer has a very important economic impact as a job creator and provider. I am not sure of their employee count but I believe it to be significant and important. Local jobs mean local pay into the commerce of Schuylkill County," Robert S. Carl Jr., executive director of the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, said Monday.

The company was established as Schuylkill Products Inc. by the Nagle and Fink families in 1950, according to Koons.

It manufactures prestressed/precast concrete bridge components, including I-beams, bulb tees, adjacent and spread box beams as well as bridge items not traditionally specified as prestressed/ precast concrete, according to the company website.

The company has its own fleet of trucks to transport its goods to 10 states in the northeast and Washington D.C.

"We have eight Peterbilt trucks and 12 steerable trailers," Koons said.

For more information, visit the company's website at nppbeams.com.

Solar Innovations, Inc., a custom manufacturer of residential and commercial greenhouses; garden windows; conservatories; folding, sliding, and stacking walls, doors, windows, and screens; sunrooms; and skylights; enhances their greenhouse initiative to provide team members with fresh produce.

Pine Grove, PA, June 17, 2013 - Solar Innovations, Inc., a custom manufacturer of residential and commercial greenhouses; garden windows; conservatories; folding, sliding, and stacking walls, doors, windows, and screens; sunrooms; and skylights; enhances their greenhouse initiative to provide team members with fresh produce. Solar Innovations, Inc. has enhanced their greenhouse initiative to provide its employees and their families with fresh produce. The LEED gold certified corporate office and manufacturing facility features numerous working greenhouses, cold frames, and outside gardens that serve as learning tools for potential customers. A byproduct of this learning experience is the greenhouses' production of fresh fruit and vegetables.

In recent years, collective gardens have been transforming communities around the world and Solar Innovations, Inc. hopes its greenhouses are able to provide team members with the same sense of community and connection to the environment. These greenhouses are maintained by Solar team members and the produce that is generated is distributed throughout the company during lunch hours and break time.

In the spring of 2012, a strawberry patch was planted which yielded its first harvest of 4 quarts of strawberries in May of this year. A week later, when the second pick took place, an additional two quarts of berries were harvested. The strawberries were distributed in the cafeteria where employees enjoyed the fruit over lunch breaks and some team members even brought some home to their families.

Lettuce has also recently been made available to the Solar Innovations, Inc. team. The lettuce was grown in a cold frame manufactured by Solar Innovations, Inc. to extend growing seasons. The cold frames are used in conjunction with greenhouses and consist of an aluminum frame with a sloped glass lid which traps heat and encourages plants to grow while protecting them from dew and frost. In early April the Solar Innovations, Inc.'s team members planted broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, artichoke, and flowers in the cold frame. Each week approximately twenty lettuce plants are harvested and distributed to team members to enjoy for lunch or share with their families.

Solar Innovations, Inc.'s onsite greenhouses are the same high quality glazed structures which customers will experience at their homes and are designed to be turn-key projects. Solar can provide a greenhouse for gardeners of any skill level, at any production level, and can create a greenhouse to fulfill any customers' needs.

Solar Innovations, Inc. strives to be an environmentally conscious leader not only within the manufacturing industry, but also within the community. By providing team members locally grown organic produce, Solar Innovations, Inc. not only hopes to reduce its carbon footprint and increase self sufficencey, but to contribute to its employees' personal health.

For more information on Solar's greenhouses and corporate green initiatives, visit Solar Innovations, Inc's website. If you would like information or are interested in receiving marketing materials, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 800-618-0669.