The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 9, 2013

Showcase gains bipartisan support

Senators, Rothfus back defense expo

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Organizers and supporters of the 23rd annual Showcase for Commerce touted the across-the-aisle support this year’s event has received from federal politicians during a luncheon on Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, has signed on as the exposition’s congressional lead sponsor. His Republican colleague in the upper chamber, Sen. Pat Toomey, along with a fellow GOPā€ˆmember, U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus from Pennsylvania’s 12th district, have not only worked closely with Casey, but also plan to attend the business, manufacturing and defense contracting trade show when it is held May 29 to 31 in downtown Johnstown.

“We’ve got good bipartisan political support, which is nice,” said Linda Thom­son, president of Johnstown Area Re­gional Industries, a co-host of the event.

Bill Polacek, president and CEO of JWF Industries, a company participating in the Showcase, added, “The stars are lining up. We have the bipartisan support here between Sen. Casey, Sen. Toomey and congressman Rothfus. That’s the first time we’ve had them all collectively together working the Showcase. I think it shows some of the big defense companies that Johnstown has bipartisan support. I think that’s important.”

Along with Casey, Toomey and Rothfus, individuals and organizations on the local, county and state levels are working together to produce the Showcase.

It will be co-hosted by the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce.

Elected officials from Johnstown, Cambria County and Somerset County attended the lunch reception at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena to help promote the upcoming event.

“The Showcase is an absolutely fantastic regional opportunity,” said Cambria County Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder. “You not only have opportunities for Cambria County, but you’ve got all the surrounding counties. As everybody knows, what this does is actually expand our defense impact. Defense often brings technology, technology spins off other industries, so you start winning in so many different ways with something like this.”

More than 150 regional, national and international organizations, including major defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and 2,000 attendees are expected to participate. Although defense industry attractions will highlight the Showcase, information will be available concerning the medical, Marcellus Shale natural gas and agriculture fields, along with other business sectors.

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