MIDA, Mon Valley Progress Council announce merger

Rick Shrum
Observer Reporter

Two economic development organizations joined forces Thursday for the well-being of the Mon Valley.

Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association and Mon Valley Progress Council finalized their consolidation Thursday into a body known as Mon Valley Alliance.

MIDA’s board of directors approved the consolidation Tuesday; MVPC’s board did so Thursday.

The impetus behind the consolidation is simple, said John LaCarte, MIDA president.

“The hope is to bind together the communities and have a stronger voice to promote the area – with the ultimate mission of creating more jobs,” he said.

Mon Valley Alliance will have 15 unpaid board members, with two appointed from each of the two bodies that consolidated. A selection committee will interview applicants and choose the other 11 directors. Members of the MIDA and MVPC boards, and other interested parties, may apply.

“We intend to have the board fully seated within two weeks,” LaCarte said. The board then will solicit, interview and select a chief executive officer, who will be paid. A CEO is expected by midsummer, according to a news release from the alliance. It added the respective executive directors, Lue Ann Pawlick of MIDA and Joe Kirk of MVPC, were encouraged to apply.

LaCarte introduced the idea for consolidation about two years ago when he spoke briefly with MVPC board president John Easoz.

“It got momentum about a year ago,” LaCarte said. “He hired consultants to look at it, and it made sense.”

Both organizations started in the mid-1960s when steel and other heavy industries dominated the Valley, from Brownsville to Hazelwood.

MVPC was founded first, in 1965, by business leaders eager to address the closing of USS Donora Works and other economic issues. It was involved in a number of development initiatives, including the Mon Valley/Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway.

The council formed MIDA in 1966 to redevelop the Donora site. A nonprofit, MIDA focused on investment of resources and expertise, including development of business parks in Donora, Speers and Fallowfield Township.