Verizon Partners with Penn's Northeast To Make Northeastern Pennsylvania a 'Region of Choice'

SCRANTON, Pa. -- With its fine quality of life, skilled workforce and world-class telecommunications infrastructure, Pennsylvania's northeast region offers tremendous opportunities for businesses that want to invest and expand. And Verizon will help local economic developers get the word out, as the company today named northeastern Pennsylvania a "Region of Choice."

Under Verizon's Region of Choice program, the company will work with local economic development organizations to attract out-of-area employers and additional jobs to the region. Verizon is joining with Penn's Northeast and Partners to promote the region that includes Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne counties.

"Verizon has a longstanding commitment to the northeastern Pennsylvania communities where we live, work and serve customers," said Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO of Verizon Pennsylvania. "Through such programs as Region of Choice, we're working hand-in-hand with these communities to foster economic growth."

Northeastern Pennsylvania is one of only two areas selected by Verizon for this year's Region of Choice initiative. Following a nationwide competitive process in 15 Verizon markets, northeastern Pennsylvania rose to the top in meeting key criteria and qualifications to be a Verizon Region of Choice winner. The other is the State of New Jersey.

Criteria for selection as a Region of Choice winner include having an organized economic development coalition in place; business prospects; the primary assets to attract new growth, and a need to foster economic development.

"Naming northeastern Pennsylvania a Region of Choice will further position our area as an ideal location for business attraction and development," said Sandra Russell, president of the board of directors for Penn's Northeast. "It also makes a clear statement that Verizon is committed to remaining a valued partner for the long term, and we're very grateful for that commitment."

"Verizon has demonstrated a significant commitment to this region's economic development by supporting the regional coalition with substantial financial resources, a huge vote of confidence for the integration and collaboration of all of our efforts," said Peter J. Danchak, president of PNC Bank for northeast Pennsylvania. "It is my pleasure to be able to count on and work with such a strong corporate citizen, one who is such an integral part of the community and one who is willing to take this important step, greatly impacting the future of our region."

As part of the program, Verizon will create a promotional "tool kit" that economic developers will use to attract new businesses and jobs to northeastern Pennsylvania. The kit includes a video, CD-ROM and printed materials about the region.

Video production, which is scheduled to begin this summer, will take about six months. The complementary promotional materials will include brochures, new graphics, and direct mail items.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.

Penn's Northeast is a regional partnership of economic development professionals from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Wayne Counties dedicated to assisting businesses to locate and grow in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Penn's Northeast members include Berwick Industrial Plan, Inc. & Spirit Inc., CAN DO, Inc.; Governor's Action Team, Office of the Governor, Northeast Regional Office; Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce; Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry; the City of Hazleton; Luzerne County; Monroe County Industrial Development Authority; Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA); PG Energy; Pike County Industrial Development Corporation; PPL Electric Utilities; The Scranton Plan; UGI Utilities, Inc., Verizon Pennsylvania and Wayne Industrial Development Corporation. Other regional partners include Carbon County Bureau of Economic Development and the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation.