Lehigh Valley Hosts Event By Leading Industrial Real Estate Trade Association

By Colin McEvoy on November 14, 2022

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham (left) and Allentown Mayor Matthew Tuerk (right) speaking at the IAMC event at Factory LLC in Bethlehem.

The Lehigh Valley was chosen to host an event organized by the local chapter of the nation’s leading industrial and manufacturing real estate trade association.

The Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) hosted a gathering for industrial real estate professionals on Nov. 10 at Factory LLC in Bethlehem, highlighting topics ranging from industrial development in the region to supporting innovative startups in Pennsylvania.

“We were very excited that IAMC chose the Lehigh Valley to host this event,” said Kristin Cahayla-Hoffman, Vice President of Business Development and Attraction with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “Not only was it a great way to showcase our region, but it also provided an opportunity for real estate professionals to gain insights and learn about trends occurring in the Lehigh Valley.”

IAMC is the leading industrial and manufacturing real estate trade association, offering dynamic professional development, networking opportunities and resources for its members, particularly in the areas of manufacturing and distribution properties.

“Throughout the year IAMC holds ‘local events’ in major industrial markets around the U.S.,” said Heather Blanchard, CAE Director of Professional Development with IAMC. “Our members appreciate meeting in interesting locations such as the Lehigh Valley – one of the most important industrial markets in the country. The right location can add just as much to the educational content as the speakers.”

LVEDC was a sponsor for the Nov. 10 event, and LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham was among the speakers. Cunningham and Allentown Mayor Matthew Tuerk participated in a panel discussion called “Community and Commerce,” about how to balance the needs of residents, commerce, and labor when it comes to industrial development.

“Allentown and the Lehigh Valley continues to capture national attention for a host of reasons,” Tuerk said. “Our dynamic economy has been a regional focus for years and IAMC’s event here shows that those efforts have paid off.”

During the panel discussion, Cunningham and Tuerk provided advice for businesses that are considering moving to or expanding in the Lehigh Valley, particularly in terms of engaging with local communities.

 They also discussed how the companies and citizens in the Lehigh Valley cities Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton are creating opportunities that don’t necessarily exist in the larger U.S. cities in the Northeast. The transformation of Easton in particular was recently highlighted at the LVEDC Fall Signature Event.

At the IAMC event, Cunningham also discussed the industrial history of the Lehigh Valley, how that legacy continues to influence the region, and why Lehigh and Northampton counties have seen greater population growth than the state at large, particularly in the 18-to-34 age group.

Richard Thompson, managing partner at Factory LLC, also spoke during the event about the topic “Investing in Pennsylvania.” He discussed how experience, resources, and relationships play a factor in creating and growing more innovative startups in Pennsylvania.

Located in a converted former Bethlehem Steel mill, Factory LLC is an innovation center for startup food, beverage, and pet health companies. It includes a team of experienced operators with investable capital who acquire meaningful equity stakes in client companies and partner with them to grow. 

The 40,000 square-foot laboratory offers services in everything from food safety, product development, supply chain, and social media marketing. Thompson considered multiple locations around the country when seeking to build Factory LLC, but ultimately chose the Lehigh Valley due to its central location, strong workforce, and wealth of higher educational institutions.

“We always welcome IAMC to hold their events at the Factory because they’re a really smart, talented group of folks, and we love to be in communication with them,” Thompson said. “The Factory invests in companies here in the Pennsylvania region, and we always like to share that information with the IAMC team because they have a very good network.”

The IAMC event also included a discussion about industrial development, moderated by Lisa Johnsto, Real Estate Specialist with Air Products; and featuring panelists James Maneri, Managing Director and Market Officer with Link Logistics; and Joe Petrucci, Project Executive for J.G. Petrucci Co.

“The industrial market is changing quickly, and it’s important to have your ear to the ground and talk to industry experts about what they are seeing and how they are responding,” Petrucci said. “This IAMC event was a great opportunity to do that.”

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