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Manufacturing Meets Modern Innovation in PA’s Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley’s manufacturing base is welcoming a new generation of makers.

By Livability on May 25, 2023

Woman working assembly at Mack Trucks in Lehigh Valley PA
Courtesy of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation

Manufacturing roots run deep in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Today, offshoots of the region’s historic skill set have opened new opportunities and led to an economic renaissance.

Putting ideas into action is in  Lehigh Valley’s DNA. In the past century, the titans of steel, iron and textiles led the way. As the global economy transformed, regional leaders realized they could stand still or embrace change, welcoming a new generation of makers to Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and the surrounding communities.

“Everyone loves a comeback story when something or someone you thought had run its course gets even bigger and better — that’s the story of manufacturing in the Lehigh Valley,” says Don Cunningham, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.

Cunningham notes “manufacturing 2.0” serves the region well. Life sciences, food and beverage, high-performance manufacturing and professional business services have diversified the 21st century economy. 

With more than 750 manufacturers — from global leaders Mack Trucks and Lutron Electronics to bioscience visionaries B. Braun Medical and OraSure Technologies — Lehigh Valley’s manufacturing jobs are growing at a rate much faster than the nation.

Proximity to major population centers such as New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., plays an important role in product distribution and quality of life. Additionally, the talent pipeline stemming from the region’s 11 colleges and three technical schools attracts companies across all sectors.

Victaulic CEO Rick Bucher links the pipe joining and fire protection solutions company’s recent 400,000-square-foot expansion to the region’s talent, strong work ethic and proven success. 

“We could have put that anywhere around the United States, but we decided on the Lehigh Valley,” he says.

Moravian Book Shop in Lehigh Valley, PA
Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation

Whether it’s making the world a brighter place with Crayola, rocking to the rhythm of Martin Guitars or creating the perfect s’more with Stuffed Puffs chocolate-filled marshmallows, everyone benefits from a business ecosystem that encourages continual innovation. 

“Lehigh Valley Economic Development has the regional partnership connections and staff expertise to help your company succeed in this growth market,” concludes Cunningham. “Connect with us online at lehighvalley.org to explore the exciting possibilities.”

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