Joe Sisley’s fingerprints are all over the economic development of Westmoreland County.
“Joe has sold or leased all of the properties in the Westmoreland County industrial park system,” said Jason Rigone, executive director of the county’s Industrial Development Corp.
There are more than 170 companies occupying 1,200 acres of land and – until the coronavirus pandemic – employing up to 10,000 workers in the county’s 18 industrial parks. Sisley, 66, from Hempfield, was instrumental in it all. After 43 years of career as marketing director for the departmental economic development agency, Sisley is retiring at the end of the year.
He was present during the construction of the county’s first industrial park in the early 1980s and made the last deal in his long career this month with the sale of 6.23 acres of land to Westmoreland Business & Research. Park in Washington Township and Upper Burrell at WAB Associates. LLC.
The company represents the New Jersey-based Weiss-Aug Group, which plans to build a 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility with offices in the park. The Weiss-Aug Group is a current tenant of the park with its JK Tool operation, which expanded earlier this year. Details of the new manufacturing operation were not disclosed, but county officials said the company’s total jobs in the park are expected to rise to 75 over the next three to five years, against 25 currently.
Westmoreland Business & Research Park was built in 1992 and is now home to 21 companies employing more than 2,580 people. It generates about $ 1.9 million in county and local taxes each year, county officials said. A single lot and approximately 3.6 acres in the park remain unsold or leased.
In total, the county’s industrial park system generates approximately $ 7 million in property tax revenue for the county.
Rigone said the success of the county’s industrial park program and the near completion of the Westmoreland business and research park are due in large part to Sisley’s efforts.
“If you know of people who work in Westmoreland County and in industrial parks, Joe probably played a part in that,” Rigone said.
Sisley, a soft-spoken man who usually seeks to avoid the spotlight, was honored by county commissioners earlier this month for his long career.
“It was kind of a bait and switch. I went there thinking someone else was recognized. It was a real surprise, ”said Sisley.
Rigone called Sisley “the moral compass of our office” and a man whose work ethic is unparalleled.
The latest sale ends a productive year for the business development association and for Sisley. More than 52 acres in three industrial parks were sold in 2021.
In February, WCIDC sold 19.92 acres at Industrial Park I-70 in South Huntington to Wyatt Inc., and in October finalized the sale of 25.9 acres to Commerce Crossing in Westmoreland to Al Neyer.
Watt Inc. has announced plans to build a 120,000 square foot facility and a 250,000 square foot distribution center is expected to be built at the Commerce Crossing site in Sewickley.
In August, the agency leased more than 55,000 square feet at Jeannette Industrial Park to new tenant FC Meyer Packaging.
Space leases at South Greensburg Commons and the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center were also leased earlier this year and are expected to support 500 new and existing jobs when they reach full capacity.
The success of the county’s industrial park system and its importance to Westmoreland’s economic development efforts are a source of pride for Sisley.
“It meant I was part of a great team,” said Sisley. “It means I did my job.”