Long-time residents here have always thought of Cranberry as a warm and friendly place. And I happen think so too. But until fairly recently, the Township was off the beaten path for foreign visitors, so our storied friendliness never got much of a workout. However that’s changing.
For the past two decades, our growth has been among the nation’s top 10 percent. An important part of that has come from the emergence of so many multi-national companies in our community. Several years ago, when we were developing our comprehensive plan, our residents recognized those changes and pointed out that it was important for us to ramp up our efforts and demonstrate that we were, in fact, the sort of friendly, loving, compassionate community that really does embrace everyone.
Niceness, for its own sake, was not the primary goal of our comprehensive plan. But it was an important element of a larger strategy to strengthen our community, guide our future growth, and enhance our prospects for success in an increasingly global economy. So, as a result of that plan, several initiatives were launched, including our Sister City Association partnership with Haiyang, China, and W.I.N. – Welcoming International Neighbors. Both of those groups have undertaken a wide range of activities to showcase our community, and to learn more about other cultures.
I think their efforts are paying off. I recently experienced two uplifting encounters that made me feel great about being a resident of Cranberry Township. The first was an email from an Alabama businessman. He had just been in our community for the first time, conducting businesses with one of our companies. He told me that, coming in, his impression of ‘northerners,’ had been that we were rather stand-offish and not especially friendly. But in his email, he said he was really impressed that people made a point of saying hello and greeting him, and how, when he had a question, the response he’d get back was way more than he expected. He said that if we ever entered a contest for the nation’s most friendly community, we would have his vote. Wow!
The other recent experience I had was with two top executives from Westinghouse, which does a lot of work in China. They were returning from a meeting there with some high-ranking government officials. Westinghouse always has a number of Chinese guests at their headquarters here, and one of the officials they met on their trip had made a point of telling the executives how much those citizens enjoy living in Cranberry Township and how welcome they felt here. Double WOW!
Talk about third-party validation. Sometimes it really helps to hear from others just how truly great our residents are. And that made me tremendously proud to live in Cranberry Township.
I’d welcome hearing your point of view about our increasingly international community. You can write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org