SAY CHEESE

Ch­e­sa­peake Gold Farm in­trod­cues new line of cheeses

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By KATIE TABELING kta­bel­ing@ce­cil­whig.com

NORTH EAST — “Not ev­ery com­pany is go­ing to want to be in Philadel­phia. They’re look­ing for the qual­ity of life and tal­ented work­force that Ce­cil County can of­fer.”

That’s the mes­sage Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Matt Cabrey de­liv­ered Wed­nes­day morn­ing to the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (EDC), an ap­pointed body that in­cludes a who’s who of the county’s po­lit­i­cal, ad­min­is­tra­tive and busi­ness lead­ers.

With the sup­port of county ad­min­is­tra­tion, Ce­cil County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Chris Moyer has been doggedly work­ing on es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships in the Philadel­phia re­gion as a way to push the county into a mar­ket that it has never ven­tured into be­fore. Cabrey, who leads a eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment mar­ket­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion that at­tracts com­pa­nies to the greater Philadel­phia re­gion, is one of those new con­nec­tions.

“I’ll be can­did and trans­par­ent with the team: Ce­cil County has not been high on our radar screen,” Cabrey said. “Ce­cil County is in­cluded in the met­ro­pol­i­tan sta­tis­ti­cal area … [but] you are part of the neigh­bor­hood and we don’t want to over­look that.”

Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia’s reach in­cludes the city of Philadel­phia, five Penn­syl­va­nia coun­ties, five south­ern New Jer­sey coun­ties and New Cas­tle County, Del. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s fo­cus is not on con­vinc­ing com­pa­nies to re­lo­cate their head­quar­ters, but rather ask­ing a com­pany to think strate­gi­cally and ex­pand­ing their foot­print — and that the Philadel­phia re­gion is a gate­way to go the dis­tance.

Moyer’s of­fice is fo­cus­ing on how to best tell Ce­cil County’s story this year, and Cabrey pro­vided some in­sight on how to make the county a com­pelling case for fu­ture busi­nesses. Forty per­cent of the United States pop­u­la­tion is within a day’s drive of the Philadel­phia re­gion, and 60 per­cent are within fly­ing dis­tance.

Fifty-four mil­lion peo­ple live in that 200-mile ra­dius, from New York City to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Anec­do­tally, he com­mented that his hour­long drive from his Ch­ester County, Pa., home to Ce­cil County that morn­ing was the same amount of time it took for him to get to Philadel­phia.

The av­er­age salary in the greater Philadel­phia re­gion is $52,000 a year, which is low com­pared to other ar­eas. Cabrey looked at that as ev­i­dence that great tal­ent can be found for a more af­ford­able rate than else­where. In com­par­i­son to the Philadel­phia re­gion, cost of liv­ing is 25 per­cent higher in New York and 23 per­cent higher in Wash­ing­ton.

“The strate­gic lo­ca­tion is re­ally a dis­tin­guish­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic,” Cabrey said. “I ac­tu­ally call it a good luck sit­u­a­tion, be­cause we didn’t re­ally pick this place. It’s where we are and who we are … When I used to go to Rockville [for work]. it was great be­ing able to pop down there for meet­ings, and come back home to a beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity with great schools. The qual­ity of life is re­ally tremen­dous.”

Although Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia does not purely fo­cus on the city, Cabery noted that the sur­round­ing coun­ties do reap the ben­e­fits of Philadel­phia. The city’s pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing for the first time in 60 years. Most of that growth can be at­trib­uted mil­len­ni­als, who look for af­ford­abil­ity as they’re ready to set­tle down and op­por­tu­ni­ties to ad­vance their ca­reers.

EDC Chair­man Michael Ratch­ford, whose com­pany W.L. Gore & As­so­ciates is a mem­ber of Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia, com­mented that Ce­cil County’s ru­ral charm could also pro­vide mil­len­ni­als a fresh, al­ter­na­tive choice for week­end trips out of the city.

Speak­ing to­ward a tal­ented work­force, Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia has 100 col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties un­der its purview that serve as a pipe­line for in­dus­tries. Each year, these schools pro­duce 90,000 grad­u­ates with ei­ther as­so­ciate, bach­e­lor’s, mas­ter’s or doc­toral de­grees.

As Ce­cil County brings ma­jor ad­di­tions like Ama­zon, Lidl and Med­line on­line, mov­ing its sights to north­ern mar­kets could have sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits, as it has a vast trans­porta­tion net­work. Five in­ter­na­tional air­ports are within a 90-minute drive, in­clud­ing a tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled fa­cil­ity at Philadel­phia In­ter­na­tional Air­port for ship­ment of tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive med­i­cal ma­te­ri­als.

Three ma­jor ship­ping ports along the Delaware River are within Ce­cil County’s reach, which could help Amer­i­can and in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies reach new coun­tries. Cabery noted that the Port of Philadel­phia has a 700,000 square­foot tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled ware­house to store pro­duce whether it’s on a cargo ship or on an air­port.

Two new ramps con­nect­ing In­ter­state 95 with the Penn­syl­va­nia and New Jer­sey turn­pikes have also re­cently opened up new path­ways for the Philadel­phia re­gion mar­ket, and hope­fully to Ce­cil County de­spite its own trou­bles with mov­ing the I-95 tolls on the Hatem and Ty­d­ings bridge.

“We talk about us as gate­way from the United States, and it’s the other way around as well,” Cabrey said. “Com­pa­nies based in the West Coast, if they want to en­ter Europe, some­times it’s bet­ter to have a gate­way es­tab­lished here and use it as a launch pad.”

Danny DeMari­nis, pres­i­dent of North­east­ern Mary­land Uni­ver­sity Re­search Park, asked about the process of be­com­ing a mem­ber of Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia. Cabery said that his team would pro­vide the data to tell the county’s story as well as work­ing with Moyer’s of­fice when a project wants to scope out Ce­cil County.

Ratch­ford added that it’s all about ex­tend­ing the county’s voice as a strong eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, as it has a lot to of­fer na­tional and in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses.

“Ce­cil County is not a is­land. One of our as­sets is lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion. We’re right in the mid­dle of a 200mile mar­ket, and we got to think about it how busi­nesses will look at [us] on a re­gional ba­sis,” he said. “We have so much to of­fer.”

Coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Dan Sch­neck­en­burger noted that Datwyler Seal­ing So­lu­tions, which pro­duces sealants and rub­ber ma­te­ri­als for a va­ri­ety of in­dus­tries, was con­sid­er­ing Ce­cil County be­fore mov­ing on to Mid­dle­town, Del., and ques­tioned whether Se­lect Greater Philadel­phia would put them back on the map.

“It’s about aware­ness,” Cabrey said. “When there’s a lack of aware­ness, you may not even know what you’re miss­ing.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

These 8-ounce blocks of Ch­e­sa­peake Gold Cheese are lined up to be la­beled at the Miller fam­ily farm on Dr. Miller Road near Ris­ing Sun. The cheese is made with milk from the Golden Guernsey and Hol­stein cows on Ch­e­sa­peake Gold Farms.

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