Voice of theValley An Advertising Supplement to The Daily Item and The Danville News
Second Century of Prosperity
Celebrating Leaders in the Greater Susquehanna Valley
our Chamber has saved its very best capstone for the twisty and unpredictable year that was 2020: The 99th Annual Member Meeting and Awards Ceremony. This event premiered live on Facebook and YouTube late last month, capturing an audience of nearly 1000 people who tuned in to celebrate the successes for the Greater Susquehanna Valley. During this virtual Annual Meeting we heard from our new Board Chair, Art Thomas, and new Vice-Chair, Aimee Buehner, who told us all about the new Strategic Plan for the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Second Century of Prosperity. Throughout the event viewers came along on our GSVCC Zoom Prize Patrol Parade, as we ‘surprised’ the 2019 award winners and let them in on why a gang of Chamber and community leaders wanted to virtually meet with them. This prize patrol was a hoot. You, too, can enjoy the trip by watching the recording on our Facebook or YouTube Channel. Special thanks to our Annual Meeting and Awards sponsors Geisinger, Susquehanna University, The Daily Item, Leadership Susquehanna Valley, Evangelical Community Hospital, and Foss Jewelers. Additional thanks to ATHENA Award sponsors: Fulton Bank and The Daily Item and special thanks to our producer Stone State Entertainment. Again, congratulations to our 2019 GSVCC Annual Meeting Award Recipients who are:
Business of the Year
Service 1st Federal Credit Union
Service 1st Management Team
Service 1st Federal Credit Union was founded in Danville, Pennsylvania, in 1975 when a group of Geisinger Medical Center employees led by Barbara Criswell identified the need for credit union services and rallied the support and involvement of their colleagues to form a credit union. At the early start, the credit union was called Geisinger Employees Federal Credit Union. It was run by a volunteer staff. These individuals spread the word of the credit union movement among their peers while opening accounts at a table in the hospital cafeteria. These volunteers knew it was not about them, it was about “People Helping People.” In 1995, the credit union had experienced tremendous growth and its service area was expanding. When contemplating naming options, a statement by one of the employees stood out, “The difference about our credit union is that we put service first.” The choice was easy - Service 1st! Over the past 40 years, Service 1st has grown to provide 12 convenient branch locations across a seven-county area serving over 36,000 members with nearly 120 employees. Volunteerism continues to be at the heart of Service 1st with a nine-member volunteer board of directors overseeing the strategy and direction of the organization. Service 1st offerings have grown to a full range of financial services and an ever-expanding array of digital options, making it easier than ever for members to access their accounts and make transactions from anywhere they have internet access. The financial services market is very competitive. What makes Service 1st unique is its commitment to its members and the communities it serves. Among the seven core values this team shares, that ensure their focus is always to strengthen the financial lives of our members and our community, they also believe in having fun. They take their jobs seriously but also take time to have fun while supporting each other and the members. They enjoy volunteering and representing the credit union throughout the community. They are committed to being, “Friends you can bank on.” For more information, visit www.service1.org or call 800.562.6049.
Small Business of the Year
The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) The Northumberland County AOAA Authority leases approximately 7,500 acres of coal lands in lower Northumberland County for the purposes of actively managing a family-friendly motorized and non-motorized recreation facility. The AOAA officially opened in May of 2014 and remains open on weekends and extended holiday hours. In addition to recreation, the AOAA property contains very
unique and attractive features for motorized and non-motorized recreation. The property also is leased to several active mining companies, has many unique environmental features, rich mining history, and varying soils. AOAA also offers a 3.1 mile walking/wellness trail around the welcome center which is open to the public free of charge. For more information visit www.aoaatrails.com.
Dan Foss Heritage Award
Judi Karr, Nottingham Village “Although I was not born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, I have come to love this area and the people. I spent my youth in the Boston suburbs (GO REDSOX!) and now call Lewisburg, which is a little south of Boston, but weatherwise not quite enough, my home.” – Judi Karr Judi came to the Valley from living in Bad Hershfeld, Germany where her daughter Sabra was born. In the 70's she participated in the establishment Villager Realty. In the 80's she partnered in the ownership of two lady's boutiques in downtown Lewisburg, Sweethearts and Peachbottoms. Judi later switched her affiliation as a Real Estate Broker to Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate in Lewisburg. Finally, Judi became Marketing and Public Relations Director at Nottingham Village Senior Living Community in Northumberland. Throughout her career her dedication to the GSV Chamber has been obvious in both business and community. The owners of Nottingham Village, where Judi has been for over twenty years, have always believed in the mission of the Chamber of Commerce and encouraged her to participate with support through Chair's Circle membership, Board of Director's participation, Ambassador Committee chairmanship and various committee participation. Giving back to the community has always been of the utmost importance to Judi and Nottingham Village. “Support for the construction of our beautiful Chamber building was a huge commitment and job. Our then Chamber Board contributed time and financial support to aid in the success of the project,” said Judi. “Then came the years of effort to build the many facets of the Susquehanna Valley Thruway and bridge across the Susquehanna River. Funds seemed to always be directed somewhere else. Finally, we secured the funds for this major addition to our valley. Although the Chamber Board and members have changed throughout the years, our vision has always remained the same. The success of local businesses and communities are the main focus of our chamber. Keeping us competitive with other states and areas is an ongoing challenge. It is one I have enjoyed being a part of for many years.”
Karen L. Hackman Star of Excellence Award
The Robinson Family
The Robinson family at this past summer’s George & Doris Robinson Memorial Golf Tournament, which raised over $20,000 for Camp Mt. Luther and $3,000 for the ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer.
The Robinson family is thrilled to be accepting the 2019 Karen L. Hackman Star of Excellence Award. They are honored to be acknowledged for helping to fulfill the Chamber’s mission of bettering the economy and business environment of the Greater Susquehanna Valley. Their story began with their father, George W. Robinson. He created their family’s legacy 75 years ago starting with Kreamer Feed, which now provides ample employment opportunities for this community and sells its products nationwide. The most special part of the business is that it’s still owned and operated by the Robinson family – the children of George and Doris, and now their kids, too. Family working together does not come without its challenges, but they’ve made it work and still manage to care for one another and this community at the end of the day. The family follows in the footsteps of their mom and dad when it comes to philanthropy, too. When their mother passed away, they started a local golf tournament in her name. 15 years later, that tournament has raised almost $250,000 for organizations in our community that mean a lot to the family.
The Robinson family is passionate about sponsorships and donations through the business and personally because they care about this area thriving and we were taught from a young age to give back all they can. They stated upon receiving the award that they are appreciative for the work the Chamber does for this community, their business, and their family. The Robinsons are also incredibly thankful for our local frontline workers and healthcare professionals during this unprecedented time. They also explained that they are honored to accept this award and will continue to strive to make a positive impact on the Susquehanna Valley for many years to come.
Young Professional of the Year Award
Catherine Kramm, The Coup Agency Catherine started her insurance career at The Coup Agency as a Customer Service Representative and quickly made the move to Commercial Insurance Advisor. She has earned the following designations: Certified Insurance Services Representative, Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist and Certified Insurance Counselor. Catherine takes pride in making sure her clients know the options that are available. “There is no cookie cutter insurance policy that is right for everyone and it takes a conversation to determine what is right for each individual or business,” said Catherine.
ATHENA© Leadership Award
Carol Budd, SUMMIT Early Learning Carol Budd began her career with SUMMIT Early Learning (previously Snyder, Union, Mifflin Child Development) in 1977 as Parent Coordinator when there were four classrooms and a total of 60 children. The agency was called Union County Child Development then. She was instrumental in growing the organization to its present $15 million dollar budget with 22 different sites in 5 counties, serving 1600 children annually. When hired in 1977, she immediately began to initiate and facilitate parent involvement in all of the organization’s Head Start Centers. She conceived and organized a “Fall Festival” in the Mifflinburg High School gym that was well attended by 36 economically disadvantaged families. As the largest event the agency had ever experienced, the turn-out was unprecedented. Carol’s passion and personal interest in the families was the direct motivation for the parents to attend. In the forty-two years since, Carol has planned countless events and has impacted the lives of thousands of families living in poverty. Her humble, yet outgoing and charming personality, as well as her genuine interest in helping mothers and fathers improve their lives, and the lives of their children, is what drives Carol to work endlessly and tirelessly. And the families trust her and reciprocate her kindness and compassion.
Scan QR Code to watch the
99th Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony https://youtu.be/5uMoowejVJ8
INSIDE this EDITION Just A Word by Bob Garrett Leadership Susquehanna Valley Chamber Membership Benefits Chamber Committees Chair’s Circle Member News Member Testimonials
G R E AT E R S U S Q U E H A N N A VA L L E Y CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
January 2021 | Voice of The Valley
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President’s Message | Welcome New Members
Just A Word...
Board of Directors
By: Bob Garrett President & CEO, The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce
A New Year … Yes, Please!
s midnight on New Year’s Eve approached, we opened a bottle of delightfully dry champagne, I carefully poured a bubbly glassfull for my wife, daughter, and son-in-law, and in the spirit of the occasion offered a simple toast: To a New Year. Without skipping a beat, my daughter added—with impeccable timing: “Yes, Please!” Her voice modulation said it all as she blended glee, exasperation, and a touch of desperation into her exclamation. Each of us understood exactly what she meant, ‘the turn of the calendar from 2020 to 2021,’ was a moment that could not come a moment sooner. This got me thinking, was 2020 really that bad? We know that it has been the deadliest year ever recorded in the United States. For many of us, we lost family members and friends to a dreaded, newly discovered virus. Over the course of the year, we experienced new lows in political polarization along with the collateral damage of a very divisive election. Race relations in our country swung widely between desperation and hopefulness. Our
President/CEO Bob Garrett email@example.com
economy was driven off the cliff with the business closures which were necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19. So, yes, this year has included lots of ‘bad.’ However, on balance, the year has included some glimmers of hope. After brushing up our personal understandings of science, we got daily, some days hourly, basic biology briefings from either the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, the PA Department of Health, and from Evangelical, Geisinger, UPMC medical professionals. Some days, we received information from all these sources and quite a few more. Science, served up on a daily basis, is a good thing. More of us went to the polls this year than in any other previous election. The outcome from our collective votes was a mixed bag, in that, I did not hear a single person mention that every candidate which they voted for had won. Participation in democracy is a good thing. Three out of the four counties in the Greater Susquehanna Valley have had
Executive Director of Operations & Workforce Jenny Wentz firstname.lastname@example.org
New Members Rooted Relational Therapy
Contact: Christopher Bowles 743 Mahoning Street Milton, PA 17847 (570) 742-2681 https://miltonhealthpa.com/ Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation is more than a healthcare facility: we’re a community of caregivers that puts your health and wellbeing first.
Contact: Doug Richard, Owner / Clinical Director 400 Market Street Mifflinburg, PA 17844 (570) 884-4662 www.rootedrt.com Facilitating growth, healing, & wholeness for Individuals, Couples, Families, Children, & Adolescents in Central PA through compassionate, professional, & affordable therapy and educational services.
Corbin Audiology & Hearing Aid Center Contact: Lucy Corbin 1214 Line St., Suite A Sunbury, PA 17801 (570) 245-1526 http://www.PaHear.Com
Dr. Corbin is an Audiologist in Central PA. She helps people with Tinnitus and Hearing loss. We offer Telehealth, Hearing Aids, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Personalized Hearing Assessment.
Chad Evans, owner of Stone State Entertainment, producing the GSV Chamber’s 99th Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony from the business headquarters in downtown Shamokin.
How Stone State Entertainment Helped the Valley Pivot in 2020
By: Chad Evans, Owner of Stone State Entertainment
tone State Entertainment is a small business. A really small business. When the pandemic hit, a really small business could very well be swallowed up overnight. It almost was. Stone State Entertainment, located in downtown Shamokin, provides high quality professional videos for businesses and their brands. At the same time, this production company was also offering help to other small businesses to advertise and market their services through the means of social media platforms. At the beginning of 2020, Stone State Entertainment had eight businesses on a monthly retainer contract. Two days after COVID-19 officially hit, and certain businesses were deemed non-essential, Stone State lost seven out of the eight retainer clients. Yes, panic set in. However, with every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Stone State was fortunate enough to produce several digital High School Graduations and an all-virtual talent show for
Aimee Buehner, Bowen Agency
Sue Greene, Union County
Region Vice Presidents Fred Scheller, The Daily Item Jennifer Hain , SUN Area Technical Institute Kendra Aucker, Evangelical Community Hospital Judi Karr, Nottingham Village Senior Living Community Jeff Reber, Susq. Valley Home Services LLC/Union County Brion Lieberman, Geisinger
Directors Greg Zeh, Weis Markets Ken Potter, RHP LLC John Kurelja, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit Jessica Brazier, M&T Bank Gene Welsh III, GDK Development Aimee Buehner, Bowen Agency Sam Haulman, Service Electric Cablevision Malcom Derk, Susquehanna University Phil DeRose, UPMC Susquehanna Leslie Temple, Fulton Bank
Director of Communications Vanessa Venios email@example.com
Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation
Art Thomas, Meck-Tech Inc. & Diversified Construction
the lowest monthly unemployment rates throughout all of 2020. In fact, Montour County has had the lowest countywide monthly unemployment rate for at least half of the months during the past year. Our local economy is resilient, diverse, and strong. Economic resiliency is a good thing. Another winner this year has been shelter pets. Did you know that nearly all pets who end up in a shelter are there because of an issue with their owner? According to The Shelter Pet Project, the two biggest causes for pets to land in a shelter is allergies and divorce. In other words, the pets did not do anything wrong, they are just in need of a new home. New highs in shelter pet adoption is a good thing. A few days late, but here’s a New Year’s Toast to each of you: “My best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2021!”
Executive Director of Membership & LSV Chris Berleth firstname.lastname@example.org
First Columbia Bank and Trust. Then, when high school sporting events were being held with limited capacity, Stone State saw an opportunity to provide Live Streaming services for High School Football. Primarily for Southern Columbia. By doing so, this created a brand-new revenue stream for the company and now has expanded its services. Stone State Sports was born! Stone State had to pivot, and it was a successful pivot, to provide innovative ways to help our Valley experience a variety of events virtually during this pandemic. In fact, Stone State was the producer of two of the GSV Chamber’s premier events that had to be done virtually including the Food and Wine Fest and their 99th Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony. The year 2020 had been a rollercoaster of a ride to say the least. When the deck is stacked against you and the feeling of hope may be gone, just remember to hang on. Perseverance is key. Hold tight to what you believe in.
2859 N. Susquehanna Trail Shamokin Dam, PA 17876 570-743-4100 / 800-410-2880 Hours: M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm gsvcc.org
2020 Chair’s Circle Members 1847 Financial Aloysius Butler & Clark BB&T BJE Poultry Bowen Agency Realtors Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate Contrast Communications Evangelical Community Hospital Fulton Bank GDK Development Geisinger Hummel Generation, LLC Jersey Shore State Bank Keystone Forging Company Kreamer Feed M&T Bank Mifflinburg Bank & Trust Company National Beef North Shore Railroad Company Nottingham Village Senior Living Community Penn State Executive Programs Penn State World Campus PPL Electric Utilities Practical Business Solutions Purdy Insurance Agency Service 1st Federal Credit Union Service Electric Cablevision, Inc. Stahl Sheaffer Engineering SUN Area Technical Institute Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation Susquehanna University The Daily Item The Northumberland National Bank UPMC Susquehanna Weis Markets
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To Order: Contact Karen Renninger (570) 286-5671, ext. 350
Voice of The Valley | January 2021
Chamber partnerships | Leadership Susquehanna Valley
Strengthening the Susquehanna Valley by Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders
Surpassing Expectations By: Chris Berleth, LSV Executive Director
here is a particular type of moment that I love beyond all others and which seems to make its appearance more frequently in the holiday season – the moment of joyous surprise on the face of someone near to me. It may be the eyes of a child lighting up on Christmas morning to the revelation that they’re holding in their hands the gift they’d hoped for all year long; maybe it’s the sneaking smile of your spouse when they realize you’ve done something generous and self-sacrificing. Regardless of context, the signs of that moment are the same across the board: the quick head jerk to catch the eyeline of the giver, the speaker, or the person who should be “in-the-know”; the disbelief which slowly creeps into an uncontrollably smile; the slight gasp of exasperation, or the white-knuckled grip on the object in question. In a professional context, the signs are only slightly different. Folks who were disengaged from a Zoom call suddenly turn on their video or lean forward toward their computer to see a little bit better and to search the faces of those on the call. In person, it’s the anxiety to get physically closer to the person who draws us in – a proximity that we all miss.
In Leadership Susquehanna Valley, I enjoy regularly observing the widening eyes of class members as they receive a gift of insight which they previously did not expect – that’s part of the fun of administering Leadership Susquehanna Valley - we regularly surprise class members with the things going on in their own backyards. But surpassing even that, is that every once in a while, one of the presenters we’ve secured goes a little further, surprising even our staff at the significance and meaning of their presentation, their work, and their impact. This year, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Evangelical Community Hospital, we had an outstanding Healthcare Program Day planned. Every year, as we host healthcare executives from Evangelical Community Hospital (Kendra Aucker), Geisinger (Tom Sokola and Megan Brosious), and UPMC (Dr. David Lopatofsky), for a high-level panel discussion, we expect that their insight will be what impresses us most. This year, the panel was impressive, but it was not the source of joyous surprise I mentioned earlier. Rather, that moment belonged to Andrew Zechman, the Evangelical Community Hospital employee who,
with just three months on the job, led the effort to create a physical operation – the COVID-19 testing site – that previously didn’t exist. For every moment of grace, dignity, and soft-spoken leadership that we received from our panelists, we in turn received a dose of true grit from Mr. Zechman as he described his colleagues and their stories of trial and error, fear, exhaustion, setbacks, hope, problem-solving, teamwork, staffing struggles, and triumph. With his video cock-eyed and barely showing his face, Mr. Zechman’s matter-of-fact manner displayed his humanity and showcased that sometimes, leadership means “getting it done”. He spoke in earnest and with urgency, pleading that we do everything we could to help. In our morning panel, Kendra Aucker said it best – “the healthcare workers are no longer the front line- that classification belongs to the general public now.” In this new year, may your eyes be widened by the stories of the battle against the virus – the hard work and endurance of our heroes, frontline workers, small business owners making heavy sacrifices, and those who are fighting the virus itself. And may you be healthy.
All we learn is not ours to keep A mbition - the eager desire to achieve! For me, I want to read one book every two weeks. Last year my goal was to read one book a month. I achieved this goal, but not without some catching up when my daily discipline did not go as planned. What is it that you want to achieve in 2021? To remove credit card debt? To have the bathroom scale not say “one at a time please!” Or possibly, we want to start the process of “leaving a legacy!” As we reflect on 2020, what will each of us do differently in 2021? Will we set goals? Will we identify what will keep us from reaching them? Will we connect with others who can help us? Each of our goals need to be specific and have a deadline. Admittedly, I am not a natural born reader. In high school, I read zero number of books. Every book report that was written was from the information on the inside jacket cover, on the night before the report was due. Sound familiar? My ambition was to graduate and get a job to make money. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. To read is to know! Ok, to read is an ambition of mine. Whether we read fiction or nonfiction, history books or The Wall Street Journal, comic books or novels like “Moby Dick”, reading stimulates our emotions, thinking and actions. Reading provides information and stimulation like no other conveyor belt to the mind. My brother-in-law, “Coach Doug” shared with me as I began this leadership journey, “Read, associate with those that you can learn from and take action!” Then he highly rec-ommended to me a book entitled “The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle by James C. Hunter. While reading it, I began to grasp many important principles of life and leadership and began to apply them to every area of my life. For 2021, my ambition (eager desire to achieve) is to share what I have learned with every reader and non-reader. Not boastful or arrogant. Just humbled and blessed to have learned so much during my second career. Caz’s Desirable Dozen List of books to read. • The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle by James C. Hunter • Personality Plus by Florence Littauer • One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard • Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Claisson • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell • Born to Win by Zig Ziglar • QBQ by John G. Miller • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell • The Power of Who by Bob Beaudine
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Voice of The Valley | January 2021
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber | Member Benefits
Why Join The Chamber?
Chamber member benefits Professional Benefits
• Access to the Member Information Center (MIC, an online portal)
o Register for multiple events at once via the online shopping cart o Update company/personal contact information o Search/add and review member-tomember deals and job postings o Ability to generate reports which show total views/impressions to your listing/website in the past 12 months o Access to an online payment solution for invoices
• Support for Ribbon Cuttings/ Open Houses/Grand Openings
o Celebrate remodels, new locations, anniversaries o Receive help promoting, inviting guests, and ensuring a successful event o Gain press coverage in Voice of the Valley and through chamber media contacts
• Legislative Events & Advocacy
o Includes relevant topics related to federal, state and local issues o Meaningful access to local officials o Networking opportunities both in virtual formats and in-person o All members are invited to participate in the Governmental Affairs, Transportation, and Agriculture Committees, respectively
• Before-Hours, Luncheons, AfterHours, Premier Events, and More o Chamber networking events are scheduled throughout the year to suit member schedules, locations, and feature strategically important, member-generated content. Don’t miss the Wine Fest, Economic Forecast, Annual Meeting, Innovation Summit, Annual Golf Classic, Women’s Leadership Symposium, Business on Tap, and many more. o Stay tuned for upcoming events on the Chamber website and via our weekly e-lerts
o All members receive access to our weekly electronic newsletter, e-lert
• Advertising Opportunities & Content Delivery in Voice of the Valley
o Reach 64,000 readers online and in print by sharing your content/stories o Members can receive 40% discounted advertising in the publication
• Sponsorship Opportunities
o Market your business through Chamber events and programs in accordance with your company budget.
• Membership Directory – Printed Publication
o Annual publication with 4000+ copies and a reach of five counties and beyond o Free alpha & categorical listing for all members
• Other Benefits:
• Free use of the Chamber’s Haddon Board Room • 5% tuition reduction for members who enroll in Penn State World Campus • Economic development assistance and consultation
• Join Chamber Committees
o Chamber committees cover a variety of topics and events, and all members may attend any committee meeting at any time. Simply contact the staff person assigned to the committee so that you can attend and be introduced! Please refer to our committee list in the Member Directory and Business Resource Guide.
• Greater Susquehanna Valley Young Professionals (GSVYP) Network
o All employees of Chamber members gain access to Chamber benefits and YP events. Members are invited to connect with this large and active network.
Marketing & Promotional Opportunities
Benefits for New Members • One FREE Quarter Page Ad Coupon
o Valued at over $400, each new member receives a coupon for a free ¼ page print advertisement in The Daily Item newspaper
Knoebel’s staff and Chamber volunteers at the GSV Chamber’s Young American’s Golf Classic held in September.
• Chamber Marquee
o New members are showcased for 2-3 weeks along a major intersection of Routes 11&15 in Shamokin Dam, where 55,000 vehicles pass per day. o The marquee is back lit at night.
• Welcome Listings
o New member listings scroll on the Chamber’s home page and are Page 2 of The Voice of the Valley
• Online Directory/Web Site Listing o Your dynamic online listing offers two category selections, keywords for search engine optimization (SEO), a business description, a map to your business, representative information so customers may connect with your team, and links to your email, website and social media o Members may contact other members by email via the online directory
GSV Chamber’s President & CEO, Bob Garrett (Right) and owner of The Sholley Agency, Chris Baily (left), celebrate the agency’s new Selinsgrove location grand opening with an elbow tap.
• Access to Chamber Ambassadors o Connect with volunteer Chamber Ambassadors who will help you maximize your Chamber experience
Questions? Contact Chris Berleth, 570-743-4100 or email@example.com
Join the GSV Chamber Today! Scan the QR Code or visit https://business.gsvcc.org/member/ newmemberapp/ Rick Wible of REW Financial, Ted Strosser of Strosser Baer Architects and Matt Hoffman of Bowen Agency Realtors enjoying Three Beards Brewing brews at GSVCC Business on Tap held last January, during a pre-pandemic gathering.
Owners Nicole Will and Jeremy Gordon cut the ribbon moments before officially opening their doors for business, The Two Owls, in downtown Milton. Joining them from left to right: Jeff Coup, The Coup Agency; Rob Antanitis II, Civil War Cider; Amanda Craig, T.I.M.E. The Improved Milton Experience; Charles Swartz, Milton Borough Council; Richard Specht, Milton Borough Council; Betsy Reichenbach, State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver’s Office; Mayor Ed Nelson, Milton Borough; Nicole Will, Owner; Jeremy Gordon, Owner; George Venios, T.I.M.E.; Joseph Moralez, Milton Borough Council; John Pfeil, Milton Borough Council; Elaine Pfeil, T.I.M.E; Vanessa Venios, The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce. Photo Credit: Steve Gibson, Creature Feature Designs.
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Voice of The Valley | January 2021
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber | Committees
ne of the many benefits of joining the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce is the great volunteer opportunities that are provided. Committee work offers an opportunity to make an impact for the business and communities the Chamber serves, while forging friendships with other like-minded Chamber members.
The purpose of the Community Prosperity Alliance (formerly known as the Downtown Affiliates Committee) is to encourage collaboration and cooperation among nonprofit organizations committed to advance the economic development of the communities in our region.
The Agriculture Committee works to ensure that the agricultural base of the Valley is maintained and helps promote a better understanding of its importance to the Valley’s economy. This Committee also works to see that the community better understands the role of agriculture and agribusiness in the Valley.
Welcomes new businesses to the Chamber and promotes Chamber membership to all businesses and nonprofit organizations in the community. Chamber Ambassadors work as goodwill representatives at Chamber events, assisting members in making the best connections for their business.
The ATHENA® Committee seeks to develop, plan and execute the ATHENA® Award Program for the Greater Susquehanna Valley. This award recognizes individuals who actively assist women to realize their full potential, achieve professional excellence in their business, and improve the quality of life for others in the community.
Business and Education Committee
The purpose of the Business & Education Committee is to work with area public school districts, career & technology centers, private schools, trade schools, career schools and universities to ensure that the workforce training needs of the Valley's employers are being met, and to provide opportunities for students to interact with business people both in and out of the classroom.
Provides enhanced, concentric messaging in order to deliver the Chamber’s value proposition to our members and the communities in our region.
Community Prosperity Alliance
Plans, organizes, and conducts activities and events for Chamber members to help promote education, fellowship and networking opportunities.
Governmental Affairs Committee
The Governmental Affairs Committee connects members with local, state, and federal officials and advocates for the advancement of business in the Greater Susquehanna Valley through an annually developed, member-driven legislative agenda.
Greater Susquehanna Valley Young Professionals
The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce serves as host and supporter to the GSV Young Professionals (GSVYP). Their mission is to strive to connect like-minded individuals with networking, professional development & volunteer opportunities in social settings, making the Valley a better place to live, work and play. Find GSVYP events on our events calendar, or on Facebook and Instagram.
Serving as the platform to address emerging issues, provide and host needed training, and identify opportunities for technology improvements in our region.
This Committee encourages public sector support for improved roads, streets, highways, bridges, airports and traffic flow to enhance the Greater Susquehanna Valley as a place to operate a business.
Women's Leadership Symposium Committee
The Women’s Leadership Symposium invites women to join their peers from the Valley to spend a day with highly experienced professionals. The conference gives attendees dozens of new ideas and action plans to boost their career, their attitude and their life. It is specially designed to give powerful information and profound insights that will make a lasting, positive impact on attendees’ lives.
Young Americans Committee
The Chamber is a leading advocate in the Valley for recognizing and promoting its future leaders. In cooperation with local school districts, media organizations and volunteers, the Chamber recognizes the scholastic, extracurricular and civic leadership qualities of more than ninety students from eleven school districts throughout the Greater Susquehanna Valley. In May, the Chamber invites the Young American award recipients, their parents and relatives to attend the Annual Young Americans Awards Banquet, featuring a guest speaker and a recognition ceremony.
For more information about GSVCC Scan this QR Code or visit
Service 1st Loyalsock Office Collection Supports Deployed Soldiers Project
Advanced Practitioners Join Evangelical Community Hospital
vangelical Community Hospital is welcoming several advanced practitioners to its family of services. Advanced practitioners are a group of medical professionals that include physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses, who have higher levels of training and certifications, allowing them to care for patients in a variety of care settings. Advanced practitioners joining or moving within the Evangelical Community Hospital family of practices are: • Kyle Connaghan, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist— Anesthesiology of Evangelical, January 2021;
• Jessica Deitz, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner—OB/ GYN of Evangelical, December 2020; • Dylan Griffin, Certified Physician Assistant—General Surgery, December 2020;
• Emily Noll, Certified Physician Assistant—General Surgery, January 2021; • Juli Pyle, Certified Nurse Midwife—OB/GYN of Evangelical, November 2020; • John Thompson, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist— Anesthesiology of Evangelical, January 2021.
SEDA-COG hires new executive director
im Wheeler has been selected as the new executive director of SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG). The decision was the result of recommendations by the SEDA-COG Board of Directors’ Personnel Committee and is expected to be officially ratified by the board at their Jan. 27, 2021 public meeting. Wheeler’s first day at SEDA-COG will be Jan. 11, 2021. SEDA-COG Board President Rich Ridgway said Wheeler is the best choice to head the agency with her expertise and laser focus on helping the region. “We are thrilled with Kim’s hiring as she brings years of experience in various realms of government and planning. Her expertise and passion for improving the region coupled with her incredible work ethic is a winning combination. We look forward to working with Kim to ever improve the quality of life in our 11county region,” Ridgway said. Wheeler is a SEDA-COG veteran, having worked at the agency from 2003 to 2007 as senior planner with the former Community Resource Center where she was in charge of rural and urban planning projects and initiatives. She joins SEDA-COG with expertise in the local and state government arenas, as well as in urban and regional planning, strategic planning, and local government policy development. As a leading planning and community development specialist in central Pennsylvania for the last 17 years, she is a well-respected professional and advocate for this region. Her tenure in central Pennsylvania has been characterized by public-private partnership-building, developing innovative initiatives, providing local government leadership, and helping
communities craft plans that lead to impactful results for the long term. “I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead and represent SEDA-Council of Governments. I am thrilled to be able to utilize my combined experience and expertise and return to SEDA-COG to help it grow and adapt to the future and to have an even greater impact on the region. I look forward to working with SEDA-COG’s experienced and respected staff, the Board of Directors, regional stakeholders and partners to advance business and industry and support the region’s communities,” Wheeler said. Wheeler has been the special projects coordinator and grants manager at the Borough of Lewisburg since January 2019. She was the deputy director of planning at the County of Lycoming from 2014 to 2019, along with working there for two prior years. From 2007 to 2012, she was the local government policy specialist and north-central region community planner for the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). She earned her Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She also earned her planning certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
L-R: Maria Forehand, Blue Star Mothers Chapter 12; Tina Cupp, Assistant Market Manager, Service 1st; Mary Jo Martin, Assistant Vice President Williamsport Market, Service 1st; and Mary Ann Goetz, Blue Star Mothers Chapter 12.
ervice 1st Federal Credit Union’s Loyalsock Office, located at 814 Westminster Drive, Williamsport, held a collection to support the Deployed Soldiers Project throughout November. The Deployed Soldiers Project supports deployed members of the military by sending them the essentials they need while serving. The donations collected through this initiative will be distributed by members of the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 12. “It is an honor to work with the Blue Star Mothers on this project again this year,” said Mary Jo Martin, Assistant Vice President Williamsport Market, Service 1st. “The response was overwhelming! Members, fellow Service 1st employees and area businesses were more than happy to help make the holidays brighter for those who defend our freedom. During these times, it just shows how people can join together for a great cause.” In addition to the support received from members and the community, the following businesses and organizations also supported the Deployed Soldiers Project: Blessed Beginnings Preschool & Childcare, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 47, First Quality, Frito Lay, Kellogg’s, Pardoe’s Perky Peanuts Inc., Stine’s Creekside Country Market, and South Williamsport Elementary.
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Voice of The Valley | January 2021
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber | Chair’s Circle
The Chair’s Circle Program
2021 Chair’s Circle Program: 50 opportunities Deadline: March 26, 2021
Chair’s Circle sponsors are featured prominently in the publications of the Chamber, including the Sponsorship Brochure, and the Annual Membership Directory & Business Resource Guide. Each Chair’s Circle sponsor is listed monthly in the Voice of the Valley, but they may additionally take advantage of an enhanced benefit in this publication, by submitting one “Chair’s Circle Spotlight” article to be featured in the publication once per year. Chair’s Circle sponsors are promoted in a series of radio ads run by the Chamber in partnership with the stations of Sunbury Broadcasting in 2021.
hambers like ours depend on the support of members who are willing to invest above and beyond their membership investment. The support of these investors, who we call the “Chair’s Circle”, afford the Chamber the ability to invest in strategic imperatives, as determined by our members, throughout the year. For their investment, the Chair’s Circle receives enhanced benefits for this investment.
Benefits include: Quarterly Chair’s Circle Events
In 2021, the Chair’s Circle will have access to quarterly events hosted by the Chamber Chair and the President/CEO. These events, whether offered virtually or in–person, will emphasize networking and a behind-the-scenes look at elements of the Chamber’s strategic plan.
Chamber Events & Networking Opportunities
Use of Facilities
Sponsors receive registrations to a selection of Chamber events during the calendar year. They may also offer for display any one promotional piece at the Chamber’s Member Luncheons when held in-person.
Chair’s Circle sponsors’ names are displayed for 2-3 weeks on the Chamber marquee during the year.
If you are interested in becoming a Chair’s Circle member or have any questions, please contact the Chamber at email@example.com .
Enhanced Online Presence
Chair’s Circle sponsors have their own page on the Chamber website, which receives over 1,500 views monthly. This page links directly to Chair’s Circle sponsors’ websites. Chair’s Circle sponsors are featured extensively on the Chamber’s social media platforms and have their own “group” on our database system, which may be used by sponsors to communicate with one another throughout the year.
Bi-Weekly Electronic Newsletter
The Chamber’s bi-weekly e-lert features links to the Chair’s Circle sponsors’ page.
Chair’s Circle Sponsors’ logos are displayed at all premier Chamber events, held both virtually and in-person, and scroll daily on the television in the Chamber lobby. The Chair’s Circle logo is available to be displayed by Chair’s Circle sponsors upon request.
Chair’s Circle sponsors are invited to use one of a selection of shadow boxes in the Chamber lobby for one year for display of their marketing materials.
Sometimes, Chamber benefits can seem overwhelming, and businesses seek ways to maximize their use through new initiatives, events, and strategic partnerships. Chair’s Circle sponsors can rely on guidance and strategic support from Chamber staff, namely, the Chamber’s Executive Director of Membership.
— 2020 Chair's Circle Members —
Voice of The Valley | January 2021
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber | Member News
Contrast Communications Helps Businesses Deduct Up to $1M on Qualifying Equipment Expenses
Leading Managed Technology Services Points Out Section 179 Tax Benefit to SMBs
ontrast Communications, a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that it is helping customers take advantage of a substantial tax deduction, outlined by guidance issued from the IRS, also known as Section 179. Section 179 allows businesses to completely deduct the purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or leased during the 2020 tax year. However, the technology or equipment must be operational by the end of the calendar year, December 31, 2020, and with the deadline fast-approaching businesses must leverage its benefits quickly. Contrast Communications is advising its clients about this tax-benefit in order to help businesses cope with the unforeseen and often sizable expenses the pandemic has forced upon them. This comes at a time when many small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are searching for ways to restructure their operations to accommodate for remote workplaces, work-from-home scenarios and/or hybridoffices, and have discovered how important security is to make this transition happen. As business owners have done their best to comply with mandatory work-from-home policies, there are often significant costs in making these transitions work. Contrast Communications is doing its part to keep the business community informed on how they can reduce their tax liability and weather the storm. “Small and mid-sized businesses have taken the brunt of this pandemic,” stated John Uehling, CEO of Contrast Communications. “Section 179 is too good of a deal to ignore. It’s a huge discount. If a business is restructuring itself or making an investment in technology or software, they need to know about this exemption.” Section 179 is affording businesses a golden opportunity to reposition themselves for success, by making investments much more feasible than ever before. The IRS is firmly behind this incentive and has even expanded the maximum expense deduction in the recent years, “For tax years beginning after 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) increased the maximum Section 179 expense deduction from $500,000 to $1 million.” (IRS.gov) As businesses have been confronted with mandates to operate remotely, Section 179 offers a much-needed tax-break to make this transition financially possible. The TCJA also amended the definition of “qualified real property” to mean qualified improvement property and some improvements to nonresidential real property, including roofs; heating, ventilation and airconditioning property; fire protection and alarm systems; and security systems. As a provider of various security-based technologies, Contrast Communications is thrilled that businesses can more easily access the security tools they need making their teams more productive and secure as they work from home, and with the assistance of a government subsidy, business owners don’t have to do it all alone. For example, let’s assume that a business owner wants to invest $125,000 back into their company through qualifying expenses. In the first year, they can deduct the entire $125,000. This means that effectively they would save $43,750 (assuming a 35% tax bracket) on those expenses. This would drive the net cost of the new equipment down to $81,250. Regardless of which equipment the business invests in, Section 179 is a phenomenal program that should not be wasted.
Mifflinburg Bank & Trust makes donations
Swift Kennedy Offers Compliance Guidance
o matter what the future holds politically, business owners know that group health insurance regulations may change again sometime next year. But in the meantime, employers can rely on insurance brokerage firms like Swift Kennedy & Associates to help guide them through the maze of federal and state regulations imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and other laws. “Our job is to ease the burden of business owners so that instead of worrying about compliance with health insurance rules, they can focus on their organizations’ success,” said Jerry Calistri, Swift Kennedy’s President and CEO, who is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist. Compliance Analysis and Documents Swift Kennedy helps companies analyze their benefit plans for compliance with the ACA and ERISA in order to help them avoid time-consuming audits and stiff penalties for violations of these laws. For example, businesses that are plan administrators are required by federal law to maintain and distribute Wrap Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), which wrap around the companies’ certificates of insurance and benefit plan booklets. They must also administer their plans in accordance with a written Plan Document, which they are required to send to plan participants and beneficiaries upon request. To help with compliance, Swift Kennedy generates these documents for clients and provides information on how and when to send them to plan participants. The agency also generates government-mandated Benefit Notices and Distribution Guidelines for clients. What happens when regulations change? “We inform clients about changes and give them guidance on how to comply with the new rules,” said Calistri. Other Services Other services provided by Swift Kennedy include enrollments, terminations, billing support, claims assistance, COBRA administration, payroll services, and virtual open enrollment meetings. The firm also offers clients a virtual benefits administration system and a comprehensive online HR/benefits library that provides forms and information about recruitment, hiring, absence management, performance reviews, state employment laws, and healthcare reform. Swift Kennedy helps businesses find affordable employee benefit plans, including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, and alternative funding options. This full-service agency, which also offers individual and senior insurance products, has offices in Scranton, Williamsport, DuBois, State College, and Virginia Beach. Jerry Calistri is President and Chief Executive Officer of Swift Kennedy & Associates. He has over 20 years of experience in the employee benefits industry, including working at the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund in Harrisburg. Calistri is a Senatorial Member and a PAC Board Member of Health Agents for America, as well as a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. In addition, he is an active member and past president of the Mid Penn chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters.‑He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evangelical Welcomes New Pain Medicine Physician
vangelical Community Hospital is pleased to welcome interventional pain medicine specialist Lukasz Chebes, MD, to Pain Medicine of Evangelical. As a pain medicine physician, Dr. Chebes specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. Dr. Chebes is Fellowshiptrained in interventional pain management and is board certified in both Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine by the American Board of Anesthesiology. He completed his Anesthesiology Residency and Pain Management Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Evangelical, Dr. Chebes practiced interventional pain management at St. Lawrence Health System in New York. To make an appointment with Dr. Chebes, call Pain Medicine of Evangelical at 570-768-3150.
Go Cashless with rabbittransit
Mifflinburg Bank & Trust donated $15,000 to the Pennsylvania Council on Financial Literacy. The Pennsylvania Council on Financial Literacy (PennCFL) helps teach solid financial management skills to students across Pennsylvania. The organization provides training to K-12 teachers, supports local, regional and statewide competitions in personal finance and entrepreneurship, and advocates for standardized courses in economics and finance at each grade level K-12. MBTC's loan officer, Amber Bierly, presented the check to Jennifer Henderson, a representative from PennCFL.
Mifflinburg Bank & Trust Company (MBTC) and their employees held "Casual Banker's Day", to raise funds and donate to Kelsey's Dream. Pictured from left to right are Shelby Hackenberg, Community Office Manager at MBTC and Tina Kuhns, Volunteer at Kelsey's Dream.
abbittransit encourages riders to utilize a contactless fare alternative to paying cash when using shared ride services which helps promote a safe riding experience. Cash is notoriously covered in bacteria and viruses that spread illness as the cash is circulated. Switching to contactless payment is an easy way to avoid a common contaminated surface. Every rider has an electronic account so they can pre-pay for rides. There are three ways to add money to your electronic account: 1. Pay online at rabbittransit.org 2. Complete the order form located on the website and mail in with a check 3. Order over the phone with a customer service representative by calling 1-800-632-9063 Payment is automatically deducted from your account when you board. To check your balance, call customer service or check online at FindMyRidePA.com. For those interested in purchasing transportation for a loved one, you may add funds to their account with simply the rider’s name and address or with their client number. For more information on our shared ride services, visit rabbittransit.org today 1430648213 or call 1-800-632-9063.
Voice of The Valley | January 2021
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber | Member Testimonials
"Every success story that I have heard started off with the phrase "Right Place Right Time". That's what the GSVCC does. They assist in putting you at the right place at the right time. That's really what it is all about. The connections I have made through the GSVCC have helped my business grow and seek new and exciting opportunities. I'm honored to be a member of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce."
"As a young professional returning to the Susquehanna Valley, I wanted opportunities for networking and business development. The GSVCC provides these through participation in Young Professionals and Leadership Susquehanna Valley. These resources in our region are instrumental in maintaining a thriving multigenerational workforce." Kendy Alvarez, Fidelis Mortgage Corporation
Chad Evans, Owner of Stone State Entertainment
"The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce has been a valuable tool to keep me informed with different opportunities and educational experiences to enhance my business throughout our Valley. I felt this past year everyone especially went above and beyond to educate and inform all of us in this new normal world as well ideas on how to still use social networking. I strongly believe in supporting and knowing the needs of the community we live and work in but also being involved in it as well. The Chamber has shown me a variety of opportunities that you can be involved with in your community both business and social networking together to achieve the goal of a stronger community." Stacey Napoli, Isabella’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge
“We couldn’t have done COVID response without the Chamber. Through this crisis, we have seen partnership pay off in a big way. When the chips were down, we learned quickly that our Chamber colleagues are not just colleagues, they are family. Together, we were able to say yes to thousands of our neighbors when they needed us the most.” Joanne Troutman, GSV United Way President & CEO
Already a Chamber Member? Share your Chamber experience! Send your testimonial to email@example.com to be included in our upcoming publications.
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Voice of The Valley | January 2021
The Daily Item's and the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce community business to business publication. #b2b #shoplocal #support...
Published on Jan 5, 2021
The Daily Item's and the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce community business to business publication. #b2b #shoplocal #support...