What People Are Saying About Governor Shapiro’s Office of Transformation and Opportunity, A One-Stop-Shop for Bringing Business to Pennsylvania

“From the campaign trail to the start of the administration, Governor Shapiro has demonstrated a commitment to creating real opportunity and spurring economic growth right here in Pennsylvania.”

“By launching the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, Governor Shapiro has underscored his commitment to accelerating Pennsylvania’s competitiveness as a destination for businesses and entrepreneurs.”

HARRISBURG, PAGovernor Josh Shapiro is already delivering on his campaign promise to spur economic growth, create jobs and foster innovation in Pennsylvania through the signing yesterday of Executive Order 2023-05, officially establishing the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity within the Governor’s Office as well as the Economic Development Strategy Group. This new executive order follows the Governor’sother transformativeactions during his first week in office that opened the doors of opportunity for more workers and ensured the highest level of ethics and integrity in his administration.

This newly created office will make it easier to do business in Pennsylvania, acting as a one-stop-shop for companies looking to grow and thrive in Pennsylvania’s economy. As part of this announcement, Governor Shapiro named Pennsylvania business leader and entrepreneur Ben Kirshner to the role of Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer.

The creation of this new office and the decision to bring in a proven business leader to run it collectively underscore how building an economy that works for all is a key priority of the Shapiro Administration. Both the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, and the Economic Development Strategy Group, will work to create a unified strategy for economic growth and development, with a special focus on disadvantaged and underserved communities.

Read what people are saying about Governor Shapiro’s Office of Transformation and Opportunity.

Quotes from business, academic, and labor leaders:

“From the campaign trail to the start of the administration, Governor Shapiro has demonstrated a commitment to creating real opportunity and spurring economic growth right here in Pennsylvania,” Luke Bernstein, PA Chamber President & CEO. “Today’s step is important as we continue in that journey, as Governor Shapiro sends a clear message that Pennsylvania is open for business, we’re going to be a leader in economic growth, job creation, and innovation.”

“Our team is constantly innovating and moving us forward to figure out the best way to get the job done. We believe that when you invest in people and in family sustaining jobs, you are making the best possible investment in your company’s future,” Grace McGregor, Director of Strategy and Operations, McGregor Industries. “Governor Shapiro shares that vision and has a plan he is putting in action today to help businesses like mine continue to grow and thrive. When small businesses and manufacturers like us succeed and do well, Pennsylvania does well.”

“It’s energizing to see economic development paired with quality job creation. To me, that means union jobs,“ Angela Ferritto, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President. “Just one week into his administration, Governor Shapiro has affirmed that his priorities are the peoples’ priorities. We applaud the governor and his team for coming out of the gates with vigor and values.”

“At this this pivotal moment for society, we are faced with a once in a generation opportunity to carve out a distinctive leadership for Pennsylvania as the frontier for innovation and job creation,” Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University. “By launching the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, Governor Shapiro has underscored his commitment to accelerating Pennsylvania’s competitiveness as a destination for businesses and entrepreneurs. Pennsylvania has all of the core assets of a dynamic innovation ecosystem and through the visionary leadership of the Shapiro-Davis administration, we will be better positioned to leverage these resources to expand the geography of innovation and bring opportunities to both urban and rural areas across the state. The higher education community is energized to support the Governor’s bold vision for shaping Pennsylvania’s future.”

“Governor Shapiro is a proven national leader for the working men and women of Pennsylvania, Tony Seiwell, Business Manager Laborers’ District Council of Eastern Pennsylvania. “With his recent executive order, Governor Shapiro is making Pennsylvania one of the best states in the country in terms of streamlining the navigation of complicated economic incentives and a permitting process that impacts new economic development to Pennsylvania. Making it easier to invest and easier to create jobs, means more construction projects that support Pennsylvania’s working families.”

In the news:

WGAL: Gov. Josh Shapiro signs executive order creating office to lead efforts to recruit, retain businesses

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order Tuesday that he says will help make it easier for businesses in Pennsylvania to keep doing business in the Commonwealth.

Shapiro said businesses already face a lot of challenges just opening their doors, and bureaucracy doesn’t help. His order aims to make the permitting process even easier.

“Pennsylvania needs a government that works more quickly, that is able to figure out a way to get to yes,” Shapiro said.

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Pennsylvania Capital Star: Office of Transformation and Opportunity aims to be ‘one-stop shop’ for Pa. businesses

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.

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PoliticsPA: Shapiro Signs Order Establishing Office of Transformation and Opportunity

There’s a new Cabinet position in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order on Tuesday creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity and named Ben Kirshner as the Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the “newly created office will be a one-stop-shop for businesses looking to grow and will work to aggressively reignite Pennsylvania’s economy – fostering innovation, supporting transformational economic development, and creating real opportunity for businesses and workers alike in our Commonwealth, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind.”

“I’ve heard from business and labor leaders across the Commonwealth – government needs to work more quickly and figure out a way to get to yes,” said Shapiro. “Today, we are making clear that Pennsylvania is open for business, and that we are going to be leaders in economic growth, job creation, and innovation.”

Kirshner and his staff will help develop and lead an overall growth strategy and implement economic development projects – coordinating with Commonwealth agencies, expediting permit reviews, and ensuring the speed of business review and approval of key incentive programs.

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PennLive: Shapiro creates new economic development strike force in governor’s office

Continuing to tick off campaign promises he can control, Gov. Josh Shapiro on Tuesday signed an executive order that he hopes will bring Pennsylvania more success when it comes to landing “big fish” economic projects.

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“Pennsylvania can be a leader,” Shapiro said. “We just need a strategy and an administration that’s ready to lead.”

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Those are the kinds of job-creation fish Shapiro has vowed to do a better job landing, and he called the creation of the new Office of Transformation and Opportunity, to be led by digital marketing pioneer Ben Kirshner, his first down payment on that promise.

The new office isn’t intended to relax existing regulations or licensing requirements.

Rather, Shapiro’s office said, it is designed to serve as a “one-stop-shop” to streamline those reviews.

“We are planting a flag here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today and saying: ‘We are open for business, and we are ready to compete,’” Shapiro said.

Shapiro was flanked Tuesday by a who’s who of business, industry and academic leaders who called the governor’s move an important signal to the business community though, some, like Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Luke Bernstein, said it can’t be the last.

Bernstein said state leaders need to stick to or even accelerate planned reductions in the state’s corporate net income tax – now scheduled to drop from 9.99 percent in 2022 to 4.99 percent by 2031; and to further reforms to speed state permitting and licensing decisions

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The Daily Item: Shapiro: New executive office will cut red tape on economic development projects

Gov. Josh Shapiro authorized the creation of a new executive office on Tuesday toward fostering large-scale economic development projects and serving as a go-between for entrepreneurs and public sector agencies to make such developments more efficient.

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At a press conference announcing the move, Shapiro said Pennsylvania government must act more quickly and be more responsive as economic developments are considered and carried out.

Shapiro cited environmental permitting as one area in need of faster action.

He referred to the choice by Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel to build a $3 billion mill in Arkansas rather than Pennsylvania which, according to Bloomberg, will employ fewer, nonunion labor than its mills in Western Pennsylvania.

That state’s former governor, Asa Hutchinson, quipped that it takes less time to build a steel factory in Arkansas than it does to get a permit for one in Pennsylvania.

“I recognize that time is money and that government needs to act quickly to respond,” Shapiro said. “I plan to be personally involved and engaged in this work. You will have the governor’s ear.”

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Contact: ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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