Business leaders peer into crystal balls for 2018

At least a few people in the Crossroads Business Journal area are pretty optimistic about what 2018 will bring.

Some business leaders contacted by email and telephone shared their views about the year to come. While a few expect 2018 to begin slowly, most say they’re looking forward to a more prosperous year.

‘New access’

Joseph P Ross, President and CEO of Meritus Health.

“Patient-centered care continues to be a driving factor in (Meritus Heath’s) investments, so in 2018, the community will see new access to primary health care in downtown Hagerstown, reaching vulnerable populations; construction of a new outpatient center just off of I-81 near the Pennsylvania line for urgent care, primary care providers and specialists; and the launch of a single, electronic health-records system throughout the health system that allows patients to access all of their medical test results and other important health information in one place. All of these investments will allow Meritus Health to provide the right care at the right time and in the right locations for our community.”

— Joseph P. Ross, president and chief executive officer, Meritus Health, Hagerstown, Md.


‘Very promising’

“The last two years have been very good for us as a business. Our work load has been consistent over those years, and we do not see any changing in the near future. Bidding has actually picked up in the last quarter of 2017 and continues to be strong. Our greatest challenge is to find new employees. There just doesn’t seem to be as many candidates for the positions we are looking for. Overall, 2018 looks very promising for us, and we are excited for what is to come.”

— Kirk Martin, president,
David H. Martin Excavating Inc.,
Chambersburg Pa.

‘Positive momentum’

Mark Harrell, president and chief executive officer, CNB Bank, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

“As we move into another new year, we are encouraged by the continued positive momentum we’ve experienced in the banking industry. We see the strengthening national economy as a driving force for the corporate, consumer and government investment activities. Regionally, there are strong indications businesses and consumers have the confidence it takes to move forward with exciting new ventures and personal fiscal growth, a sign of a strengthening local economy. We believe 2018 has the potential to be an exciting year for many and we’re humbled to play a vital role in that growth.”

— Mark Harrell, president and chief executive officer, CNB Bank, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

‘Set us apart’

“I believe the opportunities for 2018 will be to continue to evolve E.L.M. Shoes to be unique and different to set us apart from the competition, both online and bricks and mortar. The challenge I see is communicating with potential customers. I believe they have been so bombarded with marketing messages that they are beginning to tune them out.”

— Loren Martin, president and owner, E.L.M. Shoes, Greencastle, Pa.

‘We are hopeful’

Rob Ferree,
president of Bowman Development,
Hagerstown, Md.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the level of economic activity in Washington County will continue to improve in 2018, especially in the areas of transportation/warehousing, construction and tourism. To mention a few of our 2018 projects, Bowman will be investing in the construction of a 355,000-square-foot expansion to its large Newgate distribution center on Hopewell Road, a complete renovation of the building at 18400 Precision Place into commercial flex space and a 105-room Home2Suites hotel. Bowman remains committed to downtown Hagerstown and will be renovating the historic Masonic Lodge into Class A office space adjoining the beautiful Potomac Walk. The greatest challenge we continue to face is the lack of a sustainable demand for commercial space, especially office space in and out of downtown. The low demand level is keeping leases low and hindering investment. As mentioned, we are hopeful the rate of improvement in the local economy grows at a faster pace in 2018.”

— Rob Ferree,
president of Bowman Development,
Hagerstown, Md.

‘Planting a seed’

“I think 2018 is going to be a really good year. I think it might start out a little slow. … We have so much repeat and referral business. This is not about getting one sale. This is about planting a seed and cultivating it. … Our biggest challenge in the car industry is having the right mix of inventory.”

— Greg Weaver, president,
Antrim Way Honda, Greencastle, Pa.