Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posts tagged ‘GE’
Posted: November 21st, 2013

Lorenzo Simonelli, who led GE Transportation for more than five years, has broken one of his last ties with Erie. He’s sold his waterfront home on Niagara Pier.

Simonelli, who led GE Transportation longer than any other executive in the past 20 years, left GE Transportation, which now has its headquarters in Chicago, when he was promoted in September to lead General Electric’s oil and gas division.

Simonelli, who continued to visit the GE Transportation’s Erie plant frequently after moving its headquarters in 2012, listed his home for sale in June of this year.

Simonelli’s home, a condominium at 37 Niagara Pier, has been sold to Erie Lighthouse LLC for $496,000, according to public records. The asking price was $525,000.

The 2,600-square-foot property, which has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, last sold in 2008 for $475,000, according to a real estate website.

A real estate listing for the property described it as a “gorgeous updated condo with panoramic views of the bay.”

Some business journalists have speculated that Simonelli, who now heads the company’s fastest growing business, is being groomed to one day run General Electric.

GE Transportation, which has its largest plant in Lawrence Park, is now led by Chief Executive Russell Stokes.

– Jim Martin

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Posted: June 17th, 2013

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Posted: April 24th, 2013

The new name of what was the General Electric Federal Credit includes both a nod to its old name and to Erie’s history of building things.

But more than anything, the new name, Widget Financial, is meant to make clear that the credit union isn’t restricted to employees of General Electric.

Gail Cook, chief executive of the credit union, which has six offices and assets of $260 million, said it was a common misperception that membership was open only to employees of General Electric.

That’s why the credit union has been making plans for nearly two years to introduce a new name, she said.
That plan was hastened earlier this year when a letter arrived from General Electric Co. headquarters in Connecticut.
Cook said the letter firmly directed the credit union to stop using the words General Electric in its name.

Credit union spokesman Trent Mason said the credit union was happy to adopt a new name that would reflect membership that is open to anyone who lives works, worships, volunteers or attends schools in Erie and Crawford counties.

Carl Palotas, the credit union’s chairman of the board, said, “Hundreds of names were evaluated with very in-depth criteria in order to find the best name that would pay tribute to our past and propel us into the future.”

But why Widget?

The credit union explained in a statement: “Widget Financial was selected for its tribute to GE Transportation (widGET) and to the Erie Region which certainly produces its share of “widgets.”

The credit union said the name also was chosen for its familiarity in a range of industries, including technology, manufacturing, education and health care.

—Jim Martin

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Posted: April 15th, 2013

The General Electric Co. has put the Erie General Electric Federal Credit Union on notice: It wants its name back.
And the credit union, which has used the GE name for the past 76 years, is ready to oblige.

The request from GE attorneys, asking the credit union to strip the words “General Electric” from its name came in January. But the credit union, which has 36,000 members and six branches, had been working for more than a year and a half to lay the groundwork for a name change.

The new name is set to be announced Friday at the credit union’s annual meeting, being held this year at the Ambassador Conference Center.

For more coverage, turn to Tuesday’s Erie Times-News and

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Posted: April 15th, 2013

Ron Ames figures he would be among the first to go if GE Transportation moves ahead with its plan to eliminate 950 union jobs at the company’s plant in Lawrence Park.

Ames, who lost his job when GAF closed in 2007, said he’s hoping public support for GE Transporation workers can help prevent that from happening.

Ames is among those working to organize the GE Impact Rally for noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday outside the company’s east gate, at the northeast corner of Water and Main streets in Lawrence Park.

A second union rally already had been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in that same location, said Roger Zaczyk, president of Local 506 of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America.

The noon rally, “will be more of a community thing,” Ames said. “We wanted the community to have an opportunity to express their support.”

Ames, who has been making signs for the rally, said he’s been at GE Transportation only two years and ranks near the bottom in terms of seniority.

But Ames said the loss of GE jobs would be a hit for the entire community, not just the displaced workers.

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Posted: August 2nd, 2012

John Krenicki, who led Lawrence Park-based GE Transportation from 2000 to 2003, has left the General Electric Co., but he’ll still be collecting a check.

A pretty substantial one, by most standards.

Krenicki, who was a vice chairman and head of the company’s energy business when he left GE two weeks ago, will receive $89,000 a month for the next 10 years.

The payment, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, is being called a retirement allowance.

This is an allowance that’s paid conditionally, however. Krenicki has agreed not to go to work for a competitor for three years in exchange for a payment of slightly over $1 million a year.

But the former GE Transportation boss won’t be relying on GE as his only source of income.

Krenicki has been named a senior operating partner by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, a private equity firm that buys companies and attempts to improve their performance.

No word what Krenicki will be making in that position, but he will be putting some of his own money into future deals, the Wall Street Journal reported.

At GE, Krenicki collected a salary of $1.4 million. He also received a $3 million bonus, $4.07 million in option awards, $4.5 million in deferred compensation and $192,000 in other compensation for a total of $13.2 million.

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Posted: April 20th, 2012

General Electric Co. profits fell in the first quarter of 2011, but not for a lack of performance by GE Transportation. Revenues from the Lawrence Park-based business unit were up 41 percent, while profits rose 48 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011.
And the future looks good as well.
The company booked $1.6 billion in orders during the first quarter, up 67 percent. That new business includes an order for 43 locomotives from Transnet in South Africa.
“We started strong in 2012 and will continue to capitalize on dynamic infrastructure growth opportunities worldwide,” Lorenzo Simonelli, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.

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Posted: January 19th, 2012

Reporter Jim Martin and photographer Janet Kummerer are in Texas taking a look at GE Transportation’s new locomotive plant. Here is what they saw Wednesday:

FORT WORTH – The sprawling industrial building, more than a half million square feet, was built on speculation, in hopes that the right buyer would come along.
But the developers were victims of timing. The, stucco-walled structure was completed as the most recent recession was beginning.
And for several years, this high-profile investment, the next-door neighbor to the Texas Motor Speedway, sat empty.
All that has changed.
On Wednesday, the building was alive with activity as dozens of construction workers scrambled to transform the plant into a new locomotive plant for the Lawrence Park-based GE Transportation.
Walter Amaya, a 42-year-old engineer who worked for several years at GE Transportation in Erie and Grove City, has been named plant leader, GE-speak for manager.
In an interview Wednesday, Amaya said the company’s timetable calls for producing new locomotives in this plant by the end of the year. He expects to be ready.
To learn more about GE Transportation’s investment in Texas, look for reports on January 29 and in the newspaper’s upcoming Erie 2012 edition.
– Jim Martin

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 28th, 2011

Twenty-three of the 80 union locals that represent more than 15,000 General Electric workers across the country have voted to ratify a tentative agreement with the company.
In fact, no union locals have voted to reject it, said Stephan Koller, spokesman for GE Transportation.
It’s clear, however, that not everyone is enthusiastic about the four-year pact, which will be voted on Wednesday by the company’s two largest union memberships, Local 506 of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers in Lawrence Park and the IUE in Lynn, Mass.
Numerous GE workers have called or written to say they’re not happy with the agreement.
Most of their concerns seem to center around an increase in health care costs for employees and the elimination of a defined benefit pension plan for new employees.
“We are creating two types of classes by doing away with the defined pension,” said Jerry Servidio, a Millcreek Township man who has been with the company for 18 years.
“We should be a ‘we society.’ We should be supporting each other,” he said.
Servidio said he believes that union leadership, which is recommending the contract, did the best that it could.
But he plans to vote no tomorrow when he and fellow union members gather at Iroquois High School.
“I think a company that made $14.2 billion can afford better,” he said.
Others argue that a $5,000 signing bonus — GE calls it an accelerated cash payment — is less than it might seem.
One GE worker said, “Just because GE doesn’t have to pay taxes on the money it earns, the money the members of UE 506 are not immune to the IRS.”
The union worker said he expects to be left with about $3,500, roughly the same amount he expects to pay next year for health care.
“I’m not sure I’d call it a windfall,” he said.

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Posted: January 12th, 2011

GE Transportation and its recent 150-locomotive order to Pakistan was featured in a story in today’s Wall Street Journal about the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
The bank backed the $477 million Pakistan deal, which was crafted with the help of the White House.
The point of the story was less about the locomotives and more about how the deal represents a shift in banking practices because it represented – for the first time – a willingness by the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. to match the cheap financing terms that are often offered by China. Doing so is considered a step toward leveling the playing field in the trade fight with China and is supportive of the Obama administration’s goal to increase American exports.
The story included a picture of a GE locomotive under construction in Erie.

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