PPG Industries is keeping the Pittsburgh in its paint business, and that's good news locally.
The business that got its start as Pittsburgh Plate Glass has been de-emphasizing its glass and chemical units and expanding its coatings units, which include applications for industrial, automotive, aerospace and packaging uses. The architectural paints division will have its North American headquarters in Cranberry.
In selecting that setting, PPG is committing to real growth in southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition to 200 employees now assigned to offices Downtown and in the North Hills who will move there, 300 workers will relocate from facilities in Ohio, Kentucky and Delaware. They previously worked for the Dutch paints maker AkzoNobel, whose North American decorative paints unit was acquired by PPG earlier this year for $1.05 billion -- the second-largest acquisition ever for the Pittsburgh firm.
PPG has deep roots here, but Pennsylvania's gain was not based on history alone. Gov. Tom Corbett said that PPG is the beneficiary of a package of financial enticements from the state that includes a $1.25 million grant, $618,000 in tax credits for job creation, a $42,750 workforce training grant and a $2 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
Critics who complain that such deals are a form of corporate welfare miss the new reality that these incentives have become essential tools in the tight competition for jobs. Fortunately, the region is the winner this time.