The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 24, 2013

Casey joins with Showcase sponsors

Dave Sutor

— Cultivating sponsorship is an important part of the Showcase for Commerce’s development.

So, in one of his first acts as the event’s congressional sponsor, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey met with representatives from some of the expositions’s primary backers during a reception and dinner Wednesday night in Washington, D.C. The guests included Concurrent Technologies Corp. President Ed Sheehan, Johnstown Area Regional Industries President Linda Thomson and major figures in the defense contracting industry from Flagship Government Relations, DRS Technologies, BAE Systems, Kongsberg Protech Systems USA and Boeing Co.

“It was a good start of the preparing and planning,” Casey said.

Those in attendance responded positively, according to Sheehan and Thomson.

“It was a great success. His message resonated with potential sponsors. ... It created a lot of energy and interest in the showcase,” said Sheehan, the showcase’s chairman. Thomson added, “The sponsors were very pleased. ... They really felt the senator was really serious about his involvement. They were very pleased and excited.”

This year’s Showcase for Commerce will take place May 29-31 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in downtown Johnstown. It is expected to attract more than 150 organizations and 2,000 attendees, including military officials, defense contractors and politicians.

DRS has agreed to host the opening reception. BAE will sponsor the accompanying golf outing.

Those companies have been involved with the expo before.

“(The showcase) has a strong foundation, and we have to just make sure we keep it going,” Casey said.

Casey became the congressional sponsor earlier this month. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, developed the expo, which now is in its 23rd year. He died in 2010. U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johns­town, replaced Murtha in the House and took over his role with the expo. Critz lost in the 2012 general election, which left the congressional sponsorship uncertain until Casey came on board.

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