Pittsburgh Business Times
Date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 8:40am EST – Last Modified: Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 4:47pm EST
We reached out to a number of Pittsburgh businesspeople to get their reactions to Election 2012. Here’s some of what they said:
Kevin Hartford, who we checked in with last month ahead of the election, has grown his small manufacturing company in the last year from 32 to 39 employees. He went into the election supporting the Romney/Ryan plan to reduce corporate taxes, which would help him further invest in his company, Alle-Kiskie Industries:
“To quote the late Jack Buck, ‘I don’t believe what I just saw!’ We have 2 percent growth, over 20 million Americans still out of work, deficits we can’t even fathom, dangerous debt to China and the country said let’s stay the course. Obviously I’m now in the minority because no matter how they try to spin it, I’m still befuddled. The country whose Democratic president once proudly and boldly stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country” isn’t the same country. Now it’s all about what your country can do for you. In other words, we’re rapidly becoming western Europe,” he said via email.
North Shore-based WebKite CEO Eric Silver saw the election as a nod toward the future, and noted the real work begins:
“I’m proud of our nation: Last night brought clear wins for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, transgender, queer) community, greater hope for immigration reform, and the promise of continued economic recovery,” Silver said in an email. “Our business is generally most effected by local politics – not national elections – and yet the coming fiscal cliff is a threat to our business and our clients. We’ve only a short time to begin working together as a nation to reach compromise on the budget, one which will require all of our recently elected officials to work together.”
DeepLocal, a technology studio full of artists, hackers and developers that works with brands and advertising agencies, is growing in the Pittsburgh startup scene. Following the election, founder and CEO Nathan Martin sees a bright future:
“With the re-election of President Obama, there is a direct benefit to small businesses like Deeplocal that have been offering full health care to our employees without legal requirement to do so in the way of tax benefits,” Martin said in an email. “There is also a cultural benefit to entrepreneurs and dreamers who, like me, might see a kindred spirit and passionate leader in the attitude and renegade qualities of President Obama. Four more years is a great thing, and I went to bed last night relieved and hopeful.”
Thomas Bailey, president and CEO of Brentwood Bank in Bethel Park, expressed concern about the impact Obama’s re-election could have on the banking industry, and said Obama must work with, not against the industry, to address key issues such as the fiscal cliff:
“The reelection of Obama could prove harmful to the banking industry if the President continues to make the banking industry the scapegoat for the country’s problems. Although banks cannot lead the economic recovery, the industry can provide financing for the growth that will come with an economic recovery. The first term of Obama’s Presidency was a combination of cumbersome new legislation and stifling bureaucratic regulation. … In order to move forward, Mr. Obama must change his tactics from demonizing the industry to collaborating with it. One of the most important things the president and Congress need to do is take serious meaningful steps to address the fiscal cliff. Like any customer who applies for a loan, the government needs to get its finances under control. The fiscal problem did not occur over night. It cannot be cured by just taxes alone. If not addressed the country’s credit rating could drop again, and that would result in increased borrowing cost for everyone.”
Don Smith, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, weighed in what needs to be done now that the election is over:
“On the economy as a whole, first priority is addressing the so-called fiscal cliff. Companies and investors need a predictable environment in order to choose and make their investments, and the looming changes have investment capital on the sidelines, waiting to see what tax environment will be in place. Massive deficits and debt threaten inflation and the value of the dollar, and we can’t print more money forever (without becoming Greece). So meaningful deficit reduction is critical to maintaining a positive investment and therefore growth climate.
For SWPA, the Obama administration has shown a strong interest in both manufacturing industries and in research and development, and those are two industries in which our economy is well positioned to benefit from those policies. Our existing manufacturing base and the initiatives around expanding advanced manufacturing as a source of quality jobs mesh well. And, our high concentration of research universities and research hospitals should benefit from a relatively greater focus on research. Since RIDC has predominantly industrial properties, the continued or expanded focus on manufacturing should be a positive for us and the communities in which we focus our economic development efforts.”
Steve Guy, president and CEO of Oxford Development:
The national domestic economy is the biggest challenge that we face as a privately held development company. With the re-election of Barak Obama, the uncertainty of policy change affecting our economy has been stabilized. This should strengthen the marketplace from where it is today and give confidence to investors. I believe we will continue to see the availability of institutional capital increase in the Pittsburgh region along with new partners that are looking to commence or expand in our region. As a country we continue to face many challenges including the potential to encounter the “fiscal cliff”. This is a critical time for our country and our region, once again we have spoken by casting our votes and we place our trust in our elected leadership to come together, in a bi-partisan effort, and take the necessary steps to lead us away from the cliff by strengthening our domestic economic base and attacking the national debt and the on-going deficits.