Swales Honored as Pennsylvania Business Central’s Foremost Under 40

Rob Swales (GANT File Photo)

Rob Swales (GANT File Photo)

STATE COLLEGE– Pennsylvania Business Central recently honored 41 young professionals and forward thinkers in their list of 2016 Foremost Under 40.

Each honoree was selected by the editorial board for their grit and determination to keep growing in their chosen field.

Rob Swales, chief executive officer of Clearly Ahead Development, was selected as a finalist from a long list of nominations that had been sent to PBC by chambers of commerce, local business leaders and interested readers.

The selection committee based its final selections on nominees who have made a positive impact on the central Pennsylvania business community by consistently moving their business forward, adapting to major changes in their personal and professional life and giving back to the community through volunteering or mentoring.

PBC asked each selectee how they entered into their career and whether or not it was their first choice.

Many of the answers show that the most successful members of the business community are driven, yet receptive to change. Some had to step into leadership roles unexpectedly, while others grew ideas for their businesses from unlikely inspirations.

Swales began his economic development career working for Clearfield County Department of Planning and Economic Development in the fall of 2000.

In 2004, Swales led the privatization and revamping of the organization, whereby the lead economic roles shifted administration to Clearly Ahead Development, a private non-profit corporation.

Swales’ industrial recruitment efforts in recent years have generated more than $400 million of initial capital investment to Clearfield County, most notably, WhiteWave Foods Inc., Pennsylvania Grain Products, Baker Hughes and the expansion and relocation of TMP Manufacturing.

Swales’ most notable brownfield redevelopment projects over his career include the transformations of the 26.5-acre Howe’s Leather Tannery in Curwensville Borough, the former Dubois Brewing Company in the City of Dubois and the high-profile resurrection of the former Harbison-Walker Brick Refractory and Clearfield Tannery in to a 55-acre Technology Park located in Clearfield Borough.

Since January, Swales has worked on 16 commercial and industrial-related projects that have retained 554 jobs, created 131 new jobs, with a private capital investment of more than $46.3 million in Clearfield County.

Swales resides in Clearfield with his wife, Kellie, two children, Denis and Elli, and has been a volunteer coach for the Clearfield Soccer Association for the past eight years.

Swales continues to volunteer with many local community organizations, including the Clearfield Revitalization Corp. and YMCA.

“As a small child, I always asked by family about the former Harbison Walker Brick Refractory – a dormant Brownfield site, and why nobody was working there or cleaning it up? Ironically, this was my first major project I worked on nearly 20 years after asking those questions and very proud to see the site back on the tax roles as a Technology Park,” said Swales.

Click here to view the full list of 2016 Foremost Under 40. Readers are also encouraged to begin nominating for the next two big issues: Top 100 People and Top 100 Organizations, which will hit the stands in January and February, respectively. To nominate a person or organization, go to the PBC Web site and click on the Top 100 tab or a call 814-278-1323.


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