Smithfield Township manufacturer ranked for third time in four years
Vigon International, Inc. has been ranked No. 51 of the 100 Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania for 2014.
Vigon, based in Smithfield Township, has also won the award in 2011 and in 2013, ranking 59 and 36, respectively.
The awards program, created in 2000, is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Central Penn Business Journal.
This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania which are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. Employers are categorized based upon the total number of employees they have in the United States, 25 to 249 employees and 250 or more employees.
To be considered for participation, companies must be a for-profit or nonprofit business, be a publicly or privately held business, have a facility located in Pennsylvania with at least 25 employees there and to be in business for at least a year.
The first part of te Best Workplaces process was evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics, which was worth approximately 25 percent of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75 percent of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process.
For more information on the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania, visit bestplacestoworkinpa.com or contact Jamie Mowery, event coordinator at the Central Penn Business Journal at 717-236-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brooks promoted to plant manager
at Mount Pocono manufacturer
Monadnock Non-Wovens LLC of Mount Pocono, delivering nonwoven polypropylene media to satisfy the increasing demand for materials that provide for cleaner air, protection from pandemic diseases and the conservation of energy, has promoted Ed Books to Plant Manager.
“I am pleased to promote someone of Ed’s caliber to this role,” said Keith Hayward, managing director of MNW. “Ed’s depth of experience in a range of manufacturing environments as well as his superior quality, safety and cost management practices will take MNW to the next level.”
Brooks will be instrumental in managing MNWs melt blowing and calendering operation. He had served as Production and Operations Manager and is replacing Carol Bailey, who is retiring as the longest serving employee of Monadnock Non-Wovens.
Mountain View Vineyard adds 90-acre farmland parcel
Owners of Mountain View Vineyard, Winery and Distillery announced today the purchase of a 90-acre parcel of farmland nearby their current property.
“We are in awe of the amazing growth we’ve had and consider ourselves richly blessed,” owner Linda Rice said.
Since its opening in 2009, the business has grown from a half-acre family planted vineyard with a small sized winery to a 4 ½-acre vineyard, winery with two tasting rooms and craft distillery. The Rices’ focus has always been to grow all of their own grapes, but the demand has quickly exceeded the amount of grapes they can grow. This significant land acquisition will allow them to increase wine and spirits production.
Mountain View Vineyard, Winery and Distillery received the 2014 Bizzy Award for Best Overall Business sponsored by the Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce, the 2013 Bizzy Award for Small Business, and the Save Our Planet Award for the use of its geothermal, solar and sustainability practices.
In September 2014, Mountain View Vineyard, Winery & Distillery, along with six other wineries, launched The Pocono Wine Trail to encourage tourists to stay in the Poconos and explore the sprawling Pocono Mountain wine region. Nationally, Pennsylvania ranks seventh in the number of wineries and produces more than one million gallons of wine annually.
These progressions, community support, and their faith prompted the Rices to seize this opportunity for major expansion to begin in the early spring. Extensive expansion plans include a 50-acre vineyard, a new-3,000 square foot tasting room, a 3,000-square foot winemaking facility below the tasting room, accommodations for wedding receptions and fundraising events and grain crops for the craft distillery. The farmhouse will be converted into a bed & breakfast inn to further enhance the vineyard experience.
Additional plans include partnering with surrounding schools, such as Northampton Community College Monroe Campus and East Stroudsburg University, to establish a viticulture and enology program where students will obtain hands-on training and internships. tudents from Monroe County Career & Technical Institute’s horticulture program will also receive hands-on experience in the organic vegetable and herb gardens for farm to table winery events. A former teacher, owner Randy Rice said, “These partnerships will allow me to teach what I’m passionate about — wine growing and winemaking.”
Student opportunities for job placement will be available both during and after their coursework or internships.
The expansion will mean new jobs and further stimulate tourist revenue.
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate/Wilkins to feature luxury homes, new website
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates in January will launch the Distinctive Collection by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. The Distinctive Collection will feature luxury estate homes and properties throughout the Poconos and Northeast Pennsylvania.
Christine A. Wilkins, exec Vice president and general manager, said in a release, “Our company has been selling high-end homes for a number of years, but beginning in 2015, it’s going to become a permanent part of our promotions and expected to be a big part of our business.”
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates is launching a new website this month as well BHGwilkins.com. “The site is simple, rich, easy-to-use and is expected to be a huge success.” Wilkins stated.
BHG Wilkins offices are located in Stroudsburg, Mount Pocono, Bushkill and the recently opened site in Milford.
Nader named commercial loan officer at Wayne Bank in Marshalls Creek
Linda D. Mader has joined Wayne Bank as a senior vice president, commercial loan officer and will be based in the Marshalls Creek branch in East Stroudsburg. She will work with businesses in Monroe County and the Lehigh Valley area.
Toll Bros. homebuilder announces fourth quarter gains
Toll Brothers Inc., the nation’s leading builder of luxury homes which has been a major developer in the Pocons, announced higher revenue in the fourth quarter for its fiscal year ending Oct. 31 from a year ago at this time. Toll Brothers net income rose 39 percent to $131.5 million, or $0.71 per share diluted, compared to $94.9 million, or $0.54 per share in 2013’s fourth quarter. Its fourth quarter pre-tax income rose 25 percent to $188.5 million, compared to $150.2 million in the 2013 fourth quarter.
Robert I. Toll, executive chairman, has guarded optimism, explaining, “We believe the housing recovery has many years to run. Housing starts, through ups and downs from 1970-2007, have averaged about 1.6 million annually. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, ‘Despite the rebound in the last two years, home sales and starts are still nowhere near normal levels. This was the sixth consecutive year that starts failed to hit the one million mark, (which was) unprecedented before 2008 in records dating back to 1959. “Meanwhile, the country has continued to grow. In 2005, the peak of the last housing cycle, U.S. population stood at 295 million. That number reached 316 million in 2013, an increase of 21 million people. Even with the well-publicized recession-driven lag in household formations (compared to population growth), there were still 4.6 million more households in 2013 than in 2005.
“Against this backdrop of increasing population and underproduction, the luxury market remains quite fragmented.”