Ready for Takeoff: Announcing the “Mid-Atlantic Opportunity Park”
In 2022, the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport (JST) was expanding its reach to bring new business to the airfield and surrounding community, which has experienced high levels of unemployment and income disparity. In collaboration with the Cambrian Hills Development Group, Curley & Pynn (C&P) was brought in to bring the expansion to life with the Mid-Atlantic Opportunity Park. Tasked with building the brand, announcing to key audiences and framing it as a center for business and commerce, we strategically planned an announcement that framed the benefits of Opportunity Park’s adoption by the local and aviation community for the region’s future.
By centering the growth around establishing a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility with an adjacent corporate park to provide related services, Curley & Pynn needed to deliver a brand consistent with the intermodal nature of the project while making it clear to stakeholders that the goal was to fuel associated industries, develop workforce pipelines and bring new jobs to the region.
Materials and deliverables had to focus on the potential long-term economic impact with the understanding that essential information had to be conveyed in non-specialist terms for the public. We also needed to create an online presence with a dedicated website and social media account to reach our intended audiences in the local community and trade industries.
To build awareness, we started with the basics by developing branding assets, including the Mid-Atlantic Opportunity Park’s name, tagline, logo, letterhead and informational brochure. Leveraging the information available, the Curley & Pynn team drafted a news release announcing the project to generate local and national media attention. To prepare for the announcement, we researched aviation and economic development contacts, developed specific audience-oriented pitches and ultimately secured placements in trade publications serving numerous industries with potential prospects to help fill the Opportunity Park.
The news release also provided an opportunity to recognize key players in the project’s initial success. Providing a compilation of quotes that reiterated the sentiments of growth for the region, including bipartisan government support.
Along with the informational brochure, C&P developed fact sheets to send to decision-makers that outlined what an MRO was and highlighted the economic development opportunities for the region. Additionally, we created a LinkedIn account to help establish a digital platform where we could deliver important news on the project and target MRO operators. Setting up the Opportunity Park’s online presence was a primary tool that created connections with key audiences and helped sell the facility’s potential.
Meanwhile, the Cambrian Hills Development Group worked closely with the state and local government to ensure the availability of various attractive incentives, including state tax abatement and sales tax incentives, as well as job creation and training assistance. These workforce pipeline efforts were bolstered by forming academic relationships between Saint Francis University, Nulton Aviation’s maintenance training program and SkyWest’s Pilot Pathway program, which we wove into the Opportunity Park announcement.
Cambrian Hills Development Group was thrilled with the announcement’s multiple trade placements, including in the Aviation Week Network and Aviation Pros websites, and in local coverage – making the front page of the Tribune-Democrat (local community newspaper) and being featured on the local television station, WTAJ. The news release was syndicated on Yahoo! News and Finance sections, bringing our impressions to nearly 900,000. For our first post on LinkedIn, which included the announcement news release, we had an engagement rate of 30% and a click-through rate of 10% to read the release on our website, not accounting for analytics of the shares on supportive profiles like the JST Airport and Cambria County Commissioners’ pages.
Curley & Pynn’s collaboration on establishing the branding and supporting the launch ignited forward momentum for the Mid-Atlantic Opportunity Park that will positively impact western Pennsylvania for generations to come. With all the attention we garnered with the announcement, opportunity awaits as we secure the MRO and find tenants to fill the park. As the compass in the logo implies, the Opportunity Park is a game changer for the entire region.
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