Office of Transformation and Opportunity aims to be ‘one-stop shop’ for Pa. businesses
Shapiro said the office is designed to shepherd businesses, both big and small, through the development process and speed it up responsibly
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro signs an executive order creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (Commonwealth Media Services)
Hoping to foster economic growth in Pennsylvania, Gov. Josh Shapiro established a new office to serve as a one-stop shop to help businesses cut through red tape and streamline operations.
Shapiro on Tuesday signed an executive order creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity to operate within the governor’s office and the Economic Development Strategy Group, which has been charged with developing and leading growth strategies and implementing economic development projects.
The strategy group — composed of cabinet members and state agency heads and chaired by Shapiro — will advise the governor on economic development projects and ways to attract and retain employers. The recently sworn-in governor named Ben Kirshner as chief transformation and opportunity officer to oversee the office and strategy group.
“If you want to grow your business or invest in Pennsylvania, you’re not going to need to go to five different agencies anymore,” Shapiro said during a signing ceremony. “To get all your permits, your approvals, or your funding, the Office of Transformation and Opportunity and Ben Kirshner, who will lead it, will be your point-person in that endeavor.”
Shapiro said the office is designed to shepherd businesses, both big and small, through the development process and speed it up responsibly. He teased future announcements on reforms to permitting and licensing.
“When you’re a business trying to work with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it’s very rare that you only need help from one particular agency,” Shapiro said, noting overlap in the process with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Kirshner, a former CEO of the performance marketing firm Tinuiti, vowed to streamline processes for businesses and build partnerships to ensure “Pennsylvania becomes a national leader in innovation and job creation.” He added that the office will serve as a hub to facilitate project management and maximize opportunities to attract businesses to the state.
“Together, we will ensure the best outcomes for Pennsylvania businesses and maximize the opportunity to attract economic development projects to our commonwealth,” Kirshner said.
Acting DCED Secretary Rick Siger said that by creating the new office, the Shapiro administration made “a real commitment to growing our economy, fostering innovation, and ensuring every Pennsylvanian has access to good-paying jobs.”
Speaking on behalf of her Pennsylvania-based family business, Grace McGregor said McGregor Industries has survived by reinvesting and re-committing to their workforce, saying the team is “constantly innovating and moving us forward to figure out the best way to get the job done.”
“When small businesses and manufacturers like us exceed and do well, Pennsylvania does well,” she said.
Now in his first full week as governor, Shapiro has made job accessibility and economic growth priorities. His first executive order, which he signed last week, removed the four-year degree requirement for some commonwealth jobs.
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