That’s a question that we’ve heard a few times. “Why is a company whose business involves warm ocean water located in Lancaster, PA, which is in eastern Pennsylvania and far from the nearest ocean?”
Why Lancaster? is a good question, and one with multiple answers. First, our office location really doesn’t matter. With modern communications and jet planes, we can talk with anyone anywhere in the world, and we can get anywhere quickly. And, Lancaster isn’t our only location. We do have offices in places with warm oceans, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.
The strongest answer is that Lancaster is a wonderful community that’s the adopted home of OTE’s British-born founder, Jeremy Feakins. Jeremy has lived in Lancaster for more than 2 decades, and it’s just too good a place to leave – even if the weather is warmer in places where Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion is a viable source of power.
Lancaster is a historic city and a vibrant one. Our downtown area has enjoyed a beautiful renaissance with the growth of an Art District, the opening of many restaurants, the building of a baseball stadium, and the construction of 4 new hotels. The city is home to the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market, and the Fulton Theatre has been producing stage shows and concerts since 1851. Lancaster is a great place, and we’re working to make it even better by creating jobs and supporting community organizations and events.
Even if you’ve never been to Lancaster, chances are pretty good that Lancaster or Lancaster County, which surrounds the city, has somehow touched your life. Lancaster County’s most recognizable residents are the thousands of Amish people who have become somewhat famous by choosing not to embrace certain aspects of modern technology, such as cars or electricity in their homes.
The Amish are mainly farmers, and they also operate many non-farm businesses. They have a powerful work ethic, and many are entrepreneurs. They’re also tremendously generous. When a tornado hit Lancaster County in 2016, thousands of volunteers, many Amish, had the debris cleaned up and the damaged buildings repaired within a couple of weeks.
Throughout our region, the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation has always been strong. If you’ve ever eaten a Hershey Bar, you’ve had a connection to Lancaster. Milton Hershey, the inventor of the Hershey Bar, got his start in the candy business with the Lancaster Caramel Company, whose factory was less than a mile from the site of OTE’s offices. In 1900, he sold the caramel company for the staggering sum of $1 million and used that money to develop the Hershey Chocolate Company in the community of Hershey, which is about 25 miles from Lancaster.
If you live in the United States and reach into your pocket for a nickel, you’re touching a piece of Lancaster County history. After the Civil War, a businessman named Joseph Wharton convinced the United States government to begin making 5-cent coins from the nickel that he supplied from his mine in eastern Lancaster County. Later, Mr. Wharton would use some of his profits from the mine to found the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia.
The longest covered bridge ever built spanned the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. Cigars have the nickname “stogie”, and that word comes from the Lancaster County village of Conestoga, which was a center of cigar manufacturing in the 19th century. The world’s first electric watch came from Lancaster in 1957. Today, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, headquartered in Lancaster, provides a taste of Lancaster County around the world.
So, Why Lancaster? In short, we think that it’s a wonderful community, and we’re working to make a good place even better.