HERMITAGE — Local businesses will see more of Mark Longietti in his hometown after his final term as state representative ends in a few days.
That’s because Longietti will be taking on the newly created role of the city’s director of business and community development, so while many already acknowledge it, he will reintroduce himself and his role going forward.
“I will definitely meet and contact those companies and agencies,” Longietti said. “Get to know them and their concerns, and let them know what I can do for them.”
Longietti’s appointment was officially announced Wednesday and his duties will include business outreach; identify appropriate federal, state, and local resources; coordinate municipal partnerships, shared services, and related community development efforts; establish and maintain working relationships with federal and state officials; and intergovernmental relations, according to a press release.
In other words, Longietti will serve as the business community’s point of contact with the city, Hermitage Deputy City Manager Gary Gulla said.
This could range from sharing grant opportunities with businesses and business-related organizations, such as the Penn-Northwest Development Corp., to answering questions from business owners and forwarding them to appropriate officials at the state or federal level.
“There are so many people here who already know Mark, and he knows who to turn to in Harrisburg,” Gulla said.
In the past, many of these roles were shared with city staff on an ad hoc basis, which is why Hermitage City Manager Gary Hinkson said city officials had discussed creating such a position for several years, even before Longietti was available.
“It’s a need we had in the city, and Mark is a solid guy who I think will do great things at the Hermitage,” Hinkson said.
The timing of the position’s creation was also a factor, as Gulla said the city will face many changes in its business environment.
These include the merger with Wheatland, which will take effect on January 1, 2024. The merger will bring Wheatland’s existing businesses and industrial corridor to the city, creating new opportunities for those businesses and future development in Hermitage, Hinkson said.
Other projects include the FedEx distribution center under construction along South Hermitage Road and the planned redevelopment of the Shenango Valley Mall.
Longietti, who represented the 7th Legislative District for 16 years before announcing earlier this year that he would not seek a ninth term, said he has had many interactions with businesses during his time in office.
In some cases, business owners contacted him directly, while others contacted him through organizations like the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce.
That contact will only increase under this new position, as Longietti and his wife Tina already live in Hermitage and will frequent many of the town’s businesses even when he’s not working.
“I’m going to integrate further into the business community, that’s for sure,” Longietti said.
Although Longietti will frequently visit and meet with business officials throughout the Hermitage area, he said it will be a change from his time as state representative, which required frequent car trips to and from Harrisburg, and various events throughout his district. .
“Sometimes we joke that it might feel like a part-time job for him, even though he still works 40-hour weeks,” Hinkson said.
Duane Piccirilli, chairman of the Hermitage board of commissioners, said Longietti’s appointment to the position would provide more support for the city’s existing businesses and industries, including new Wheatland additions post-merger.
“His skill set, character and experience make Mark the perfect person to take on the duties and responsibilities of this new role,” Piccirilli said.
Longietti will begin as director of business and community development on January 3 and will receive an annual salary of $60,000.
During his time in Harrisburg, Longietti was a Ranking Minority Member of the House Education Committee and served on the Commerce, Tourism and Transportation committees. He graduated from the University of Westminster with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, and is also a graduate of Boston University Law School.
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