president and CEO of Delta Development Group Inc.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your business. And what are its strengths?
A: The name of the business is Delta Development Group. We are an (employee stock ownership plan company). We provide our clients with unparalleled consulting services in community development, public health preparedness, emergency management, transportation services and real estate planning.
The unique strengths of the firm are taking all those services and using them to meet goals. We will develop the plan, and then we will identify all of the funding available at the federal, state, county and local level. We have been at it since 1988, and we currently have 82 employees.
What are the trends today that are helping your business?
The positive trends are increased competition. There are more firms doing work in our service sectors, and it means that clients are making decisions on the basis of quality of products. We do very well in a competitive environment.
With the decrease in public resources, you need to put together more resources for a community development plan.
The third trend I would share with you is increased accountability. People are looking for maximum results with minimum resources. And the experience we have allows us to exceed their expectations.
How has the marketplace changed since you first got into the industry?
The financing environment has changed dramatically. The ability to secure private financing for development projects has become almost impossible.
The other one that I would share … is the reporting requirements. At all levels, the reporting requirements for a small business has become onerous. We have a compliance officer who does nothing but maintain compliance requirements in those levels of government. So even though there are (fewer) resources, the requirements for securing those resources have increased dramatically.
What has been the biggest challenge in your business in the past few years?
The biggest challenge is securing financing to do real estate development projects. There are multiple challenges with that. The appraisal process (is) where appraisers are valuing properties at significantly lower values. There are financing challenges. And then there are challenges when you begin to market (a project).
Fortunately, with the diverse services we have, when the residential development activity is down, the community development business is up because that is what you need to do, grow economic development.
And we created about seven years ago emergency management planning (services). Those opportunities have increased significantly. It is a measure of the world we live in.
What do you like most and least about your job?
What I like most about our job is that we have an opportunity to transform the face of a community. The example I would share is Williamsport, (where) we worked on the Little League stadium, the Trade and Transit Center, the Church Street project, the library renovations, the movie facility and Kohl’s. We’ve been involved in the planning and funding in all those projects.
The second thing I’d say is the growth of our team. We started in 1988 with three people.
The thing I like least about my jobs is the current financing environment, the negotiations with bankers and the increased government reporting requirements.
About LeRoy D. Kline Jr.
LeRoy Kline grew up in Littlestown and received his undergraduate degree in speech communication from Clarion University. He has taken master’s coursework at Penn State University in speech communication and business management.
Kline worked for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and later the executive branch of government before leaving public service to form Hampden Township-based Delta Development Group Inc. in 1988. The business specializes in a two-fold consulting approach of helping clients in various fields plan development projects and then aiding them in finding every possible source of funding.
He borrowed money from an uncle to get the business going.
“It’s one thing when you owe money to the bank; it’s another when you owe money to Uncle Evan,” Kline said. “He was calling every week seeing how we were progressing.”
Kline’s children are 16-year-old Nicole and 13-year-old Anthony. He has previously served as chairman of the Capital Region Economic Development Corp. and Harrisburg-based The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.