When it comes to economic engines, you can't get much further apart on the spectrum than heavy manufacturing and tourism.
Yet both are driving opportunity in York County, and both could lead to wider markets for a range of products and services produced in the midstate.
On the manufacturing end, York County-based CAM Innovation Inc. announced recently that it had landed $5 million in contracts to manufacture machinery in Hanover for train-repair factories serving Russian Railways.
The company has been working in Russia for about 10 years, but its president sees this particular contract as the first step in a stronger business relationship.
On the tourism end, a unique partnership between the U.S. and China has been forged through the worldwide fandom of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. That, in turn, grew out of an earlier tie between a midstate business with locations in York and Harrisburg and a Chinese company it did business with. When the Chinese contact was asked for ideas on where to take a visiting Chinese delegation, he thought of the York County Harley-Davidson plant.
From there, Knighthawk Tours LLC was born, and a group of U.S. Harley riders road 1,100 miles through China; a few years later, Chinese citizens did a 12-day tour on the East Coast, and this year, their tour will take them from Pennsylvania to Harley-Davidson's headquarters in Wisconsin and back. These well-heeled foreign visitors will be exposed to any number of American people and businesses along the way.
Relationship-building has been at the heart of successful business-building since the first accountant chipped sales tallies onto a stone block. The difference today, of course, is the scope of a business's reach, not just within its market niche but in terms of spillover to other businesses.
Our neighborhood is the world as well as our own backyard here in the midstate. Strong global business connections anywhere in Central Pennsylvania can result in unexpected leads for any number of other businesses — whether that's more visitors from abroad to our many and varied attractions, increased cravings for our snack foods and agricultural products in Europe or Asia, introductions across borders for professional services or demand for unique, high-quality manufactured goods wherever they are needed.
It's always a good feeling to be able to report that local businesses continue to find and profit from such opportunities.
It means more doors could be opening for everyone.