Meet Greater Reading Magazine 2021

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Powerful Partnerships. Standout Solutions.

A platform of affiliated professional services firms, The Stevens & Lee Companies together provide a full range of legal, investment banking, financial advisory and government consulting services. Headquartered in Berks County and with 18 offices nationwide, we work closely with clients to solve their most complicated problems with a commitment to exceptional client service. Learn more at

WWW.STEVENSLEE.COM Meet Greater RDG 2021 1

Join the Alcon Team! Come grow your career at a company that helps others see brilliantly! Alcon is a global company dedicated to helping people all around the world see brilliantly! Worldwide we have over 20,000 associates and 6.8 billion in sales. We currently have openings for 2nd and 3rd shift associates at our clean, climate controlled facilities on Columbia Ave in Sinking Spring and on Old Fritztown Road in Spring Township. At Alcon your job can become your career with many development opportunities and a tuition reimbursement program. Apply for a full-time opening at 2 Meet Greater RDG 2021

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13 26 10


GREATER READING More affordable than our neighbors.


LIVE An introduction to calling Greater Reading home.


TAKE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD QUIZ Narrow down to your perfect neighborhood!


WORK Learn about our local employers and the perks of working in Greater Reading.


PLAY Enjoy paging through our favorite go-to spots!


FROZEN TREATS + MORE! Don’t get brain freeze following along our list of local sweet shops!


LEARN Our future workforce is getting the skills they need to succeed right here in Greater Reading.


CULTURE IS KEY Get to know what makes our advertising companies so exciting! (cont. on page 48).

2021 EDITION EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ellen Albright ASSISTANT EDITORS Leah Fassnacht Audrey Krupiak ADVERTISING Rachael Romig



CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Susan L. Angstadt Photography, Heidi E. Reuter Photography ART DIRECTOR + PUBLISHING Erica Montes / Innovative Designs + Publishing ON THE COVER Illustration by: Craig Schaffer ABOUT MGR The Greater RDG Region is a premier live, work, play + learn community with a strong focus on embracing our diversity and celebrating our biggest asset – it’s people. Meet Greater RDG provides an edgy, story-driven look into our vibrant community, encouraging the attraction and retention of talent to our region.

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New York


100 M I

200 M ILE S






New York City Newark

Harrisburg READING

New Jersey

Philadelphia Baltimore

Maryland Washington, D.C.








85.0 4 Meet Greater RDG 2021









Select Greater Reading. Grow Here. Thrive Here.TM


Did you know the Greater Reading, PA community is home to more than 400,000 people, with access to over 6 million people within a 50-mile radius? Our growing community offers a lower cost of living, while providing big-city amenities. Few locations on the East Coast offer a more central location with easy access to markets like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and New York.


people within an overnight drive

Our strategic, centralized location is just the beginning. With Greater Reading’s rich history, captivating natural beauty, cultural vitality and talent pipeline it is easy to see why people have always been attracted to our unique community. It is our thriving business network, ambitious, skilled workforce and strong sense of community that set us apart.


The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) drives economic development in our community and has played a role in bringing many new businesses to the area in addition to working with existing Greater Reading companies to provide them with the resources that allow them to become bigger, better and more efficient.


The GRCA works to bring the necessary tools and resources to the table for businesses and their employees’ success. Whether a company is seeking information to better understand its customer, looking for a property to accommodate relocation or expansion, requires assistance with local municipalities or needs financing, the GRCA economic development team has the resources to make it happen. Select Greater Reading. Grow Here. Thrive Here.TM

Median Home Prices

Talent Pipeline



Reading, PA Allentown, PA Philadelphia, PA

Labor Data May 2021 • Labor Force 204,100 • Employment 191,400 • Unemployment 12,800

Baltimore, MD Washington, D.C. - N. VA Boston, MA New York, NY - NJ Source: DLI

Top 8 Employers*


East Penn Manufacturing Co., Inc. Tower Health Imperium Management Services, Inc. Berks County Government Penn State Health St. Joseph Carpenter Technology Penske Truck Leasing Boscov’s Department Store



414,491 Cost of Living Index Q3 2020

$219,000 $251,500 $280,000 $296,000 $685,000 $680,000 $657,000


Transportation Drive Times

• Baltimore, MD: 106 miles / 2:00 hours 339 miles / 6:00 hours • Boston, MA: • New York, NY: 124 miles / 2:30 hours • Philadelphia, PA: 62 miles / 1:00 hour • Pittsburgh, PA: 260 miles / 4:00 hours • Richmond, VA: 256 miles / 4:30 hours • Toronto, CAN: 452 miles / 8:00 hours • Washington, D.C.: 147 miles / 2:30 hours

• Reading, PA • Pittsburgh, PA • Allentown, PA • Baltimore, MD • Philadelphia, PA • Washington, DC • New York, NY

97.9 105.1 106.3 110.1 112.9 159.5 248.6

Source: COLI


IN 2019:

OVER 4600 DEGREES were awarded OVER 1200 CTC CERTIFICATES were awarded

*Does not include goverment or education institutions

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Visions has a career for you! We really take care of our employees: • Competitive pay • Full-time, part-time, and 30-hour part-time plus positions • Employer-matched 401(k) plan, Roth and Traditional IRA options – even a pension! • College tuition assistance • Student loan reimbursement • Medical, dental, and eyecare packages • Opportunities for growth and upward mobility

Are you fluent in two languages (or more)? Tell us on your application! With a positive and community-based company culture, Visions is committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of employment and in the communities we serve.

Apply for a position with Visions today and invest in a career that will invest in you!

Federally insured by the NCUA. EOE, including disability/veterans.

For more information, or to apply today, visit us at to #ClaimYourSeat!

Join today & become

GREATER TOGETHER The Chamber Advantage:  Build

relationships that have long-term impact on your business and in the community  Expand your networks of prospects, contacts and investors  Maximize resources to keep employees engaged and ready for advancement  Gain expertise in areas critical to business growth  Save on operating expenses with exclusive member discounts

To learn about membership opportunities, contact Julie Larison JLARISON@GREATERREADING.ORG | 610.898.7785 | GREATERREADING.ORG

Developing women leaders by connecting women from diverse backgrounds to learn, share ideas & mentor each other.


Monthly Events De Mujer a Mujer

Lean In Circles Conference & Expo

Joining the network is open to all who support women. Meet Greater RDG 2021 7

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The Greater Reading area boasts a wide range of affordable urban, suburban and rural housing options with excellent regional connectivity. Recently, named Reading as the number one city in Pennsylvania for buyers! In analyzing the median income level divided by the median home value by county, data shows housing is more affordable in the Greater Reading area than the surrounding counties throughout the southeast region of Pennsylvania. Young professionals and other first-time buyers can easily transition into homeownership without being priced out of the competitive real estate market. Greater Reading communities are vibrant, diverse and flush with amenities. Residents enjoy outdoor recreation, unique community events and festivals. Whether you’re looking for a place within a lively and walkable downtown, a home you can grow into with excellent schools, or the remote tranquility of a more rural setting — Greater Reading has a home for you. BRITTNEY BAKER-SHURR Associate Executive | Reading-Berks Association of Realtors®

You are at the heart of our impact.

Invests in 80+ programs, initiatives and grants


people helped every year Meet Greater RDG 2021 9

g in d a e R r te a e r G h ic Wh Neighborhood Fits Your Lifestyle?

FOR DINNER, YOUR FAVORITE MEALS ARE... A. Paired with a cocktail, glass of wine or beer B. Delivered to your door C. Home-cooked with local and fresh ingredients D. Consumed at a local family owned business E. Found at a popular chain restaurant


Are you ready to relocate to Greater Reading but unsure which neighborhood is the right fit for you? Take this quiz to learn which Greater Reading area fits your lifestyle.

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A. Further your education B. Start a family C. Move into your forever home D. Advance your career E. Travel to new places

THE BERKS COUNTY NATIVE YOU’RE MOST ALIKE IS… A. John Updike B. Jillian Murray C. Daniel Boone

D. Lenny Moore E. Taylor Swift

WHICH TRAIL SOUNDS THE MOST FUN TO YOU? A. Wine Trail B. Hiking Trail C. Historic Trail

D. Mural Trail E. Covered Bridge Trail

THE LIVING SPACE THAT BEST FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE IS: A. A fixer upper that I can make my own B. A cozy townhouse C. A historic home with a yard D. A hip apartment downtown E. A new build in a development

YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED IS MOSTLY MADE UP OF... A. Your favorite meals #foodstagram B. Artistic landscape photography C. Snapshots from inside your home D. Exciting events and activities you attended E. Your latest shopping finds

WHEN YOU MOVE TO A NEW CITY, THE FIRST THING YOU’LL WANT TO DO IS: A. Find the hidden gems when it comes to restaurants B. Meet new people C. Get a history lesson of the area D. Explore the area’s attractions E. Shop for new home decor to complete your house

WHEN RELOCATING, THE COST OF LIVING IS… A. The main factor B. Very important C. Something to consider D. Not taken into account

HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY COMMUTE TO WORK EVERY DAY: A. I drive myself or carpool B. I work from home and don’t commute C. I rely on public transportation D. Walkability is important to me E. I’m open to various modes of transportation

ON A TYPICAL SATURDAY, YOU CAN BE FOUND: A. Trying a new restaurant B. Enjoying the great outdoors at a nearby park or walking trail C. Exploring your local art scene D. Watching your favorite sports team E. Shopping current trends in your neighborhood’s boutiques

See next page for answers.

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ANSWERS Mostly A's Congratulations! From your answers, it looks like KUTZTOWN, PA will be a great fit for you.

Mostly E's

Mostly C's

When it comes to the variety of restaurants, Kutztown offers something for every craving. In need of a relaxing girl’s day? Head to the award-winning Tuscany-styled Folino Estate Vineyard & Winery. Want a restaurant that will be a crowd-pleaser among your kids? Pop’s Malt Shoppe offers a fun environment and delicious food. Looking for a place to unwind after work? Try a brew and listen to live music at Saucony Creek Brewing & Gastropub.

Congratulations! From your answers, it looks like CENTRE PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT, READING, PA will be a great fit for you. The historic homes and buildings fill this neighborhood with charm and class. Will a four-legged friend be moving with you to your new city? You’ll be pleased to know that many dogs and their owners call Centre Park home and take advantage of the local parks.


Congratulations! From your answers, it looks like BOYERTOWN, PA will be a great fit you.

Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat, art for your home, or a new outfit, Boyertown’s quaint shops have everything you’re looking for on your shopping trip. End a successful shopping day with a ride on the historic Colebrookdale Railroad. All aboard!

Do you want more

Mostly B's

Mostly D's


Congratulations! From your answers, it looks like HAMBURG, PA will be a great fit for you.

If getting outdoors and becoming one with nature is your favorite pastime, you’ll never run out of trails to explore. Lace up your hiking boots and head to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for spectacular views. Fuel up at 1787 Brewing Company afterwards.

information on Congratulations! From your answers, it looks like WEST READING, PA will be a great fit for you.

As a sports fan, you’ll appreciate its close proximity to FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Reading Fightin’ Phils! There’s nothing quite like root, root, rooting for your home team alongside the bases. When your team isn’t playing, take a visit to the Reading Public Museum’s rotating exhibits and browse the one-of-a-kind gifts at MADE Jewelry Boutique and Studio.

Greater Reading’s jobs, educational opportunities, neighborhoods and available properties, or things to do? Visit

Service | Stability Strength Schatz Electric has been in business for 45 years. To keep the business growing, owner and president Jeff Schatz focuses on mastering new technologies and supporting customers 24/7— so he’s always on the go. That’s why he works with the teams at Tompkins VIST Bank and Tompkins Insurance Agencies, who proactively offer products and services that increase efficiency, such as remote deposit.

“I feel confident that Tompkins VIST Bank will be with us in the future and help us grow even more,” says Jeff. “And that’s a good feeling.” 12 Meet Greater RDG 2021

SCHATZ ELECTRIC, INC. Jeff Schatz, Owner/President

Visit or Insurance and investment products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value.


As Chair of the Berks County Workforce Development Board and owner of a local staffing and recruitment firm, I take pride in being able to help connect our local workforce with successful employers right here in our community. In today’s market, it is important to place a strong emphasis on talent attraction, retention, development, education and innovation—especially as we continue to see an increase in demand and job growth in nearly every sector. Employees are our company’s greatest assets, and we recognize the need to provide clear pathways for them to develop and thrive. With employers and organizations partnering together to focus on important economic and workforce development initiatives, Greater Reading is able to continue to build a stronger and more sustainable future. Enjoy reading the following stories that capture our community’s talented workforce and the many reasons why they enjoy working in Greater Reading!


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Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, Inc. (MCAM)

HOWIE DAUBENSPECK, Training and Development Manager

WHY DAUBENSPECK LOVES WORKING FOR MCAM: Howie Daubenspeck found out about MCAM by accident. He was working for another company when a friend encouraged him to apply. Since hired, the opportunities within the company have continued. The company has paid for his bachelor’s degree, certifications, trainings and seminars. Within his role, Daubenspeck believes that the greatest accomplishment one can achieve is to bring to light another person’s potential through development. Recently, an innovative partnership occurred between MCAM and the Hamburg Area School District (HASD) to develop opportunities for students to explore careers in manufacturing. Doubenspeck recognized that there was a pending crisis for talent, as many long-term employees were nearing retirement. At the same time, Chris Spohn, Dir. of Operations at HASD, was struggling with data that stated only 58% of students graduated college within five years of starting studies. Furthermore, only 23% of those who graduated were working in their area of study. The skills gap plaguing many economic sectors was partly because students were unaware of good-paying, entry-level positions with career growth opportunities. The two paired up to create “Professional Field Experience (PFE)” in manufacturing, including mechanical aptitude assessments and retraining with RACC’s Schmidt Training and Technology Center, while also participating in on-the-job training at MCAM. Students then receive manufacturing-focused curriculum and projects that require them to provide public displays of learning. Those who complete PFE are offered positions at MCAM and mentored throughout their first four years. Does Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials sound like a good fit for you? Visit www. to learn more.

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Arkema Inc.

PAT PAPOUTSIS, Senior Health Environmental & Safety Specialist

WHY PAPOUTSIS LOVES WORKING FOR ARKEMA INC.: Pat Papoutsis came to Arkema Inc. after working for a larger organization where he worked long hours and struggled to find a good work-life balance. “The Birdsboro Arkema plant was just the right size and had a very good safety culture. I felt that the opportunity was too good to pass up. It allowed me the opportunity to meet many wonderful new people who wanted to get better and progress on their safety journey,” he said. Arkema’s culture makes it a great place to work. Managers listen to their employees and respond to provide appropriate assistance, and the pay and benefits give employees the means to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Arkema offers employees web-based learning programs in addition to tuition assistance, a job perk that Papoutsis has taken advantage. “I served in the U.S. Army and had an opportunity to visit many different areas of the United States and other countries. I chose to return to Berks County because of the diversity, climate and activities available within an hour drive or less from the area. The way we experience the four seasons is like no other,” he said. Does Arkema Inc. sound like a good fit for you? Visit www.extremematerials-arkema. com/en/ to learn more.

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Brute Athletic Apparel JAMES HEIN, Sales & Operations

WHY HEIN LOVES WORKING FOR BRUTE ATHLETIC APPAREL: James Hein began his career with Brute Athletic Apparel right after he graduated from Alvernia University. Having earned an undergraduate degree and MBA in sports management and being a college athlete, he was drawn to the sports apparel manufacturer. Not only does his job allow him room to grow professionally, it also has what he calls a “cool factor.” “We make products that are comparable to companies such as Nike and Under Armour; however, we are a small, privately owned local company that has the ability and agility to move with the current trends,” he said. When Hein is not working on the company’s overall sales strategy, he can be found at FirstEnergy Stadium serving as the Reading Fightin’ Phils Public Address Announcer. Additionally, he announces Alvernia football games and local basketball games — activities that Hein said Brute’s leadership support him in. Does Brute Athletic Apparel sound like a good fit for you? Visit www. to learn more.

MICHELE PHARAND, Company President

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Met-Ed First Energy

ARTEASE GIBSON, Substation Distribution Technician

WHY GIBSON LOVES WORKING FOR MET-ED - FIRSTENERGY CORP.: Artease Gibson was drawn to her role at Met-Ed FristEnergy because she wanted to learn more about the infrastructure of our electrical system. It helped that they offered great benefits, a competitive salary and opportunities to advance within the company. Another reason Gibson loves working for Met-Ed FirstEnergy is the professional training and tuition reimbursement she is offered as an employee. “They have offered me professional training and opportunities to participate in programs such as Blueprint for Leadership. The Tuition Reimbursement Program has allowed me to obtain my bachelors degree from Alvernia University,” Gibson said. Met-Ed - FirstEnergy allows employees volunteer time off (VTO) to volunteer their time during work hours. In addition to providing VTO, Med-Ed FirstEnergy offers a variety of volunteer opportunities to its employees. Most recently Gibson volunteered for the United Way Spruce Up Event at Aulenbach’s Cemetery. Does Met-Ed - FirstEnergy sound like a good fit for you? Visit to learn more.

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DR. ANKIT SHAH, Emergency Room Physician DR. VINTI SHAH, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician

WHY DR. ANKIT SHAH AND DR. VINTI SHAH LOVE WORKING FOR TOWER HEALTH: Dr. Ankit Shah was drawn to Tower Health during his time as a resident. He was drawn to the culture of collaboration here, and noted that this massive hospital functioned as a small community hospital in terms of the congenial relationships with physicians. He knew he wanted to work here and encouraged Vinti to explore it as well. Dr. Vinti Shah shared that her favorite thing about working in Greater Reading is the way in which everyone is somehow connected to each other. “It is nearly impossible to go somewhere, be it work or social environment, and not see a familiar face. There is a genuine sense of community here, which extends into the workplace as well," she said. Citing the incredible mentorship opportunities here, Vinti specifically shared, “Dr. Charles Barbera was the Chair of 18 Meet Greater RDG 2021

the Emergency Department when Ankit started. He soon learned that I was a physician as well and worked to help bring me here. After I started here, he became a mentor and to this day continues to help mentor us.” Leading a Palliative Medicine section had also been a goal for Vinti. The Chair of Medicine, Dr. Cecilia Smith, noted that goal and helped pave a path for her to do so. Reading Hospital is great at cultivating and growing leaders within the house. When asked about one hidden gem in Greater Reading, Vinti noted how close everything is to one another — everything is literally 15 minutes away! "I never realized how delicious fresh-picked peaches are. In the summer, I eat about four peaches a day," Vinti said. Does Tower Health sound like a good fit for you? Visit

Berks Latino Workforce Development Board

DARLEEN GARCIA, Executive Director

LEARN MORE ABOUT BERKS COUNTY’S NEWEST WORKFORCE PROGRAM: Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC) is seeking to bridge the skills gap and reduce poverty in Berks County, PA. BLWDC offers culturally minded workforce and economic development interventions by implementing national industrycertified training in both non-biotech and biotech, professional development, job readiness, employment services and wrap-around services to economically disadvantaged residents in Greater Reading. Its main objective is to help participants reach sustainable living wages and address socioeconomic limitations related to unemployment and underemployment. BLWDC utilizes a technical center that offers National Industry Certified training, adult literacy and career services. All occupational training programs offered by BLWDC allow participants to obtain role-based training and advanced certifications while also bridging participants to either English as a Second Language (ESL), high school equivalency, soft skills, job readiness, computer basic literacy, professional development and college readiness. All program tracks are expected to be offered in English and Spanish. Nonetheless, some tracks will be limited to the English language depending on state, federal or corporate certification requirements. BLWDC prioritizes empowering local community residents, particularly within the city of Reading, as well as supporting local businesses and institutions. "I have been impressed by the diverse approaches to business development from entities including GRCA, Berks Latino Chamber of Commerce, and the Berks County Workforce Development Board. There are countless ways to network, collaborate, and connect in the Greater Reading region." Darleen Garcia said. To learn more about the Berks County Workforce Development Board, visit

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Misco Products Corporation ALYSSA FRANCIS, Human Resources Specialist

WHY FRANCIS LOVES WORKING FOR MISCO PRODUCTS CORPORATION: Alyssa Francis started her career at Misco as an intern during her senior year in college. Her internship allowed her to find her passion in human resources. She still feels even after five years of being employed at Misco that everyday is different but provides her with new opportunities to learn. Misco has helped to develop Francis from the ground up. The Human Resources Director has taken time to personally train her from intern to specialist! Francis is provided the opportunity through Misco to participate in the local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter and attend various human resource conferences and trainings. This support from Misco and her Director allows Francis to stay up-to-date on the many legal changes that impact human resources professionals. Francis feels Misco’s leadership is rare in that they go out of their way to get to know their employees. “Misco has a phenomenal family culture and truly cares about its employees. I’ve developed personal friendships with many of my coworkers at all levels of the company,” Francis said. Does Misco sound like a good fit for you? Visit to learn more. 20 Meet Greater RDG 2020 2021

Reading Truck Body

STACEY A. MILLER, Director – Human Resources BRUCE SKIPPER, Welding Trainer



Stacey Miller was drawn to Reading Truck Body/ Reading Truck Group for the amazing people and the many opportunities to grow and be challenged.

Bruce Skipper was drawn to Reading Truck Body immediately after graduation from high school. After 50 years and many opportunities, Bruce calls Reading Truck Body home and considers his peers family. When asked what one fact someone might not know about his employer, Skipper said, “opportunities, opportunities, opportunities."

“When you have the chance to work for a company that gives you the freedom to create, you wake up every day with a smile. Reading Truck Group has been a part of our community for over 65 years. Living in Berks County, you grow up seeing the READING tailgate on trucks with a feeling of pride,” Miller said. One thing you might not know about Reading Truck Group is how large it is! The organization includes two manufacturing plants and 14 retail/upfit locations across the country. It has a portfolio business of JB Poindexter & Companies; a $1.3B business that services the commercial trucking industry. The Welding Training Center is a unique gem that was created initially to teach technique. It's since expanded this Center into a mini-assembly line that provides an incredible opportunity to learn a skilled trade! Reading Truck Group supports and encourages training and development for all Team Members, both formal and informal.

People should be made aware that not only does the company hire for many unique positions, but they will also train employees to be skilled laborers, allowing for career pathways within the company in the future. Skipper himself benefitted from training and development, and has seen many promotions since he started out as a material handler. He has been instrumental in training over 500 people! Skipper considers Greater Reading the ideal place to call home sharing, “I’ve lived in the Reading area all my life, and often think back on the great time I spent at Blue Marsh Lake, the Reading Pagoda and other area parks. I enjoy the hiking trails, the farm lands and the people of our area.” Does Reading Truck Body sound like a good fit for you? Visit to learn more. Meet Greater RDG 2021 21

US Anodize


WHY THE MAACK'S LOVE LEADING US ANODIZE: US Anodize is a third generation family business where both Greg and Jamey Maack have worked and learned every position within the company. US Anodize is the single source for custom aluminum anodizing projects working on products ranging from medical, military, automotive, flashlights and fishing reels. “We take a lot of pride in our business, our team and the Greater Reading community in which we live,” Jamey Maack said. US Anodize has a company philosophy of giving back to the community. They are constantly giving the company’s time and money to charities in their community. The Maack’s say that US Anodize is highly focused on the safety and well being of their team. While always striving to be No. 1 in their industry, they understand that professional development and training is key. When asked what if you train your employees and they end up leaving to work somewhere else, Jamey replied, “What if you do not train them and they stay?” Does US Anodize sound like a good fit for you? Visit to learn more.

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Custom Processing Services HECTOR RODRIGUEZ AMADIS, Chemical Mill Operator


Services are producing here in Greater Reading are being consumed around the world,” Amadis said.

Hector Rodriguez Amadis enjoys working for Custom Processing Services (CPS) because of the growth opportunities it provides as well as a stable work environment to provide for his family. He began his career with CPS after being contacted via Indeed. CPS was looking for quality workers at the time it reached out to Amadis.

CPS provides a lot of opportunities for its employees to grow. Amadis completed a training program that has helped him succeed in his role.

CPS is a leading provider of sophisticated air-jet milling, micronizing, blending and testing of powdered materials on a contract and toll basis.

Does Custom Processing Services sound like a good fit for you? Visit to learn more.

“In my role as an operator, success means I need to know every type of skill such as troubleshooting, quality assurance, station setup and leadership,” Amadis said.

“Not many people know the products that Custom Processing Meet Greater RDG 2021 23


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU. East Penn Manufacturing impacts markets around the world as a global leader in energy-storage solutions, including the production of more than 160,000 vehicle batteries each day. We support more than $2.8 billion in annual sales revenues—and the dreams of career seekers with opportunities in all of these areas and more:

• • • • •

Manufacturing Maintenance Logistics Engineering Professional

WHY PEOPLE STAY: CAREER ADVANTAGES AND BENEFITS Why do 35% of our team members have more than a decade of service? We have been honored as one of the Best Places to Work in PA repeatedly and offer advantages that make your life easier. As part of our growing organization, you’ll enjoy exceptional benefits, including health insurance, 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, competitive base wages and production bonus.

Start building your future. Apply now. Equal opportunity employer

24 Meet Greater RDG 2021

To learn more about us, and your future with a world leader, contact us today at:

Meet Greater RDG 2021 25


Discover a place like no other — a beautiful place bound by mountains and lush farmlands; a place that feels urban yet rural, offering the excitement of our city and the charm of our small towns. We are home to art, antiques, festivals and craft breweries — living among biking trails and North America’s first raptor sanctuary. In the middle of it all is the City of Reading sharing its events, museums, art center and stunning architecture. At its edge sits the Schuylkill River, with waterways to paddle and trails to hike. And, we never tire of rooting for the Reading Fightin’ Phils and Reading Royals Ice Hockey teams. Let’s not overlook the festivals filling the calendar with celebrations that honor our culture. The smooth sounds of Berks Jazz Fest kick off spring with 10 days of concerts. In June, we honor our veterans at the largest WWII reenactment in the country, and in July, our PA Dutch culture takes center stage at the Kutztown Folk Festival. In the fall, traditional Oktoberfest fun is in full-swing across Berks County. Before year’s end, Koziar’s Christmas Village twinkles and shines for all who love the holidays.

CRYSTAL A. SEITZ, President Pennsylvania’s Americana Region

We are proud of our authentic hospitality. We invite you to enjoy life just a little more! Great stuff happens here!


“Top National College” - Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2021 • BA/BS degrees for traditional and adult students, MA/MS in education 26 Meet Greater RDG 2021


Develop your professional brand right here in Greater Reading — encompassing not only your work portfolio but also your personal style and your community impact. Professionals need to feel empowered, mentored and supported. And they need to feel trusted and challenged. The resources in Greater Reading paired with a close-knit community create the seeds for success. Here, we give you the tools to grow your roots and flourish.


(GRYP) Greater Reading Young Professionals


Distinguished continuing education resources at our local colleges and universities are minutes away and at your fingertips. Connect with mentors, community leaders and changemakers right here in Greater Reading. You’ll learn, develop and stand out. Greater Reading Young Professionals (GRYP) works to make an impact in the community, partnering with local nonprofits to offer our members an opportunity to do good. Whether it’s using your professional talents to plan, promote, and execute a fundraising event — or getting your hands dirty to build a house — you can grow your skills while helping others.


Building your network expands your experiences and takes you out of your comfort zone. GRYP is one spot to find like-minded peers and friends. We are a group of diverse, driven, passionate and community-minded individuals from a wide range of industries, employers, and positions. From themed galas with a twist, to nature hikes and casual happy hours, to sports leagues, and exclusive networking nights out on the town, you’ll find your people. You’ll build relationships and you’ll grow together. From networks to mentors to the best in community leadership, you’ll have unrivaled opportunities to grow. “GRYP is a resource for young professionals to make meaningful connections. By offering educational, philanthropic, and civic engagement opportunities to our members, we are fostering the next generation of community leaders.”

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Womelsdorf, the family run business of Twilight Creamery & Bakery provides an assortment of both refreshingly delicious ice cream flavors and satisfying homemade bake goods. 77 Main St., Womelsdorf, PA (484) 930-5908


YOGO CRAZY FROZEN YOGURT If you want to take a break from ice cream but still want a frozen treat Yogo Crazy Frozen Yogurt may be the stop for you. Located in Wyomissing, this spot allows its customers to self-serve, giving you options of 16 distinct flavors and an array of delicious toppings. 2733 Papermill Road, Wyomissing, PA | (610) 985-0761


Found in Wernersville, The Cone ice cream shop is nearly impossible to miss. Known for its tasty ice cream and unique cone shaped building, it is the perfect place to stop. 55 W Penn Ave., Wernersville, PA | (610) 678-4548

Way-Har Farms in Bernville provides the full cow-to-cone experience. With a wide variety ice-cream flavors, milkshakes, floats and more, this familyowned shop spares no details when creating their unique taste.


7701 Bernville Road, Bernville, PA (610) 488-1281

PLUM CREEK FARM MARKET A unique variety of ice cream flavors isn’t the only type of treat Plum Creek Farm Market: The Creamery provides. Italian ice, gelatis and milkshakes are also delicious options found on the menu of this Bernville destination. 5035 Bernville Road, Bernville, PA | (484) 772-8271 28 Meet Greater RDG 2021

The Kwik Shoppe a family owned, and operated business located in Shoemakersville has plenty of soft serve options such as peach, teaberry and mango and offers the fan favorite Cho-Chos. 555 Shoemaker Ave., Shoemakersville, PA (610) 562-8833

CANDY’S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM Candy’s Homemade Ice Cream shop also found in Shoemakersville, has delicious homemade ice cream flavors and are best known for their waffle ice cream sandwiches. 1085 Pottsville Pike, Shoemakersville, PA | (610) 562-1620


Found in West Reading, Sweet Ride Ice Cream has something for everyone. Carrying over fifty homemade flavor options it’s impossible to leave this store unsatisfied. 542 Penn Ave., West Reading, PA (484) 987-7338

BOEHRINGER’S DRIVE-IN In Adamstown you’ll find Boehringer’s Drive-In, an ice cream shop perfect for the summer months. This shop not only has great flavors but is a great spot to relax and enjoy your frozen treat outside.

WILLY’S ICE CREAM SHOP Two dozen soft serve flavors and Italian ice isn’t the only reason to visit Willy’s Ice Cream Shop. This Fleetwood business also has delicious hot dogs and pulled pork too! 3700 Pricetown Road, Fleetwood, PA (610) 944-0637

3160 N Reading Road, Adamstown, PA (717) 484-4227

THE GREAT AMERICAN CREAMERY Calling all Penn Staters and ice cream lovers! The Great American Creamery proudly serves Penn State Creamery ice cream right in downtown Reading. Test one of their cones, sundaes, milkshakes, or malts for yourself why its College Gameday’s favorite treat! 645 Penn St., Reading, PA

THE CHERRY ON TOP The Cherry On Top caters to your every need, literally! By using a mobile desert truck, The Cherry On Top provides an ice cream catering service, aside from having their permanent location in Exter Township. 25 Shelbourne Road, Reading, PA (973) 270-4585

SUNSET MEXICAN ICE CREAM Sunset Mexican Ice Cream is a gelato shop found in Reading. Nowhere else will you find such delicious choices and unique frozen treats perfect to beat the summer heat.

THE NESTING BOX MARKET AND CREAMERY Located in Kempton, The Nesting Box Market and Creamery makes its ice cream homemade with irresistibly flavors of Chocolate-covered Strawberry and Black Forest. This must visit stop also includes a large shop selling products from other local producers. 230 Snyder Road, Kempton, PA | (760) 981-9518


Pop’s Malt Shop is a blast from the past. Located in Kutztown, their store is fashioned to look straight from the fifties. Not only will customers be experiencing a unique atmosphere they will also be able to enjoy all the favorite ice cream classics. 208 W. Main St., Kutztown, PA (484) 646-9509

JENN AND JESSIE’S ICE CREAM PARLOR From Italian Ice to ice cream in a homemade waffle cone Jenn and Jessie’s Ice Cream Parlor located in Oley is a great place to stop to beat the heat and enjoy some frozen treats! 798 Memorial Hwy., Oley, PA | (610) 987-0295

835 Hiesters Lane Unit 9, Reading, PA | (484) 755-5128

HERMAN’S DRIVE-IN SCHELL’S DAIRY SWIRL Mini-golf and ice cream, there is no better summer combination. After putting a few hole-in-one’s you can stop by Schell’s Dairy Swirl located in Temple to cool off and enjoy an ice cream cone or sundae. 4625 5th Street Hwy., Temple, PA (610) 929-9660

A fan of dole whip? The Herman’s Drive-In in Topton has got you covered. With weekly special flavors and a great variety this ice cream bar is a great place to stop. 50 W Weis St., Topton, PA (610) 682-2128


Scoupe DeVille is a classic ice cream shop in Birdsboro that offers over forty flavors, soft serve ice cream, banana splits and much more making it a great place to visit time and time again.

Serving both hot food and delicious ice cream Longacre’s Modern Dairy bar in Barto is a familyowned operation pleasing its customers since the 1920’s. They have more than 40 flavors of hard ice cream and frozen yogurt. Be sure to try the “Garbage Sundae” and don’t forget to take friends to help finish it!

3365 Main St., Birdsboro, PA | (610) 582-5259

1445 Pennsylvania 100, Barto, PA | (610) 845-7551


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Rivertribe Outdoors opened in mid2018 after its founding owner and local native, Jed Wright, purchased the former Schuylkill River Outdoors outfitter, based out of the Monocacy-Douglassville area. Wright began operations quickly after his acquisition, but had some false starts along the way, due to inconsistent weather and water levels, limited resources and, of course, the pandemic’s impact. Along the way, Wright entered into talks with another local, and friend, Peter Bird, about a potential partnership. Then in the spring of 2021, the two entered into a new partnership. They resumed Rivertribe’s operations together, along with the help of friends and family — Bird’s wife, Karen, and sister, Esther. River trips, including canoeing, kayaking and tubing, are currently limited to weekend warrior hours, along with holidays and some weekdays by reservation and/ or special events. Rivertribe also offers education and entertainment-based activities out of its base of operations. A good portion of the Schuylkill River, specifically the most frequented stretch that runs between Kerper’s Landing at Riverfront Park to Ganshahawny Park (Douglassville), is located here as well. The Schuylkill River trail and associated community is another amazing asset to the region that’s recognized nationally. Rivertribe welcomes those who enjoy and respect nature and the outdoors. Whether local or otherwise, Wright and Bird enjoy connecting with others who share their love of the outdoors, particularly riverbased activities, including canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. Additionally, they enjoy building relationships with their patrons and the more local they are, the better, as they can build stronger relationships with them and their community. Many of their patrons have become repeat visitors, some returning weekly because of the great service and location. Greater Reading is a diverse and extensive community. Its rich history, especially around the Schuylkill River, dovetails neatly with company values and goals.

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Fightin' Phils are a hometown team, community champions The Reading Fightin' Phils offer affordable family entertainment from early April through August at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Fightin' Phils are well-known for creating a festive, fan-friendly atmosphere from the time the gates open until postgame. While parking is always free and the concessions remain affordable, every game is a unique experience. Giveaways and fireworks keep things entertaining throughout the season. The team works with work with United Way providing tickets to local area schools so students can attend games. It also teams up with Truist Bank to provide 22 complimentary tickets to charitable and non-profit organizations. It is a great way to invite children to an event that they may not otherwise have an opportunity to attend. The Fightin Phils also have a Neighborhood Champions program. This community-based program gives the opportunity for your team or organization to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and achievements. For each of the 60 Reading Fightin Phils home games, one team or organization is honored with a pre-game ceremony on the field. Celebrating Diversity: More than 64% of the city of Reading is made up of Hispanics/Latinos. The Los Luchadores uniforms on Fiesta Friday nights embrace the Hispanic culture of the city. The mask logo brings out many great elements of the city of Reading. The Luchador’s mask is the Reading Pagoda surrounded by 23 sun rays representing the Latin American countries and Puerto Rico. There are other features on the mask like the Reading fire tower as the nose and train tracks as the chin to represent the historic Reading Railroad.

Reading Royals roar together in Reading The Reading Royals have been a fixture of Berks County for 20 seasons. From participating in community events all around the Greater Reading area, to putting on an energetic entertainment product in the heart of the city, there is no shortage of what the team provides to residents. As one of the longest tenured ECHL teams in one city, the Royals have created an atmosphere that revolves around their fans and what is most important to them. A connection has been forged between anyone from the diehards to casual attendees, and with the affiliation between Reading, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Philadelphia Flyers, anyone on the eastern side of Pennsylvania has a reason to follow along with the team. These reasons are why in the 20th anniversary season the Royals have decided on #Roar20gether — roar together — as the season hashtag. The Royals’ fanbase has stuck with the team through its two decades of success, culminating in a 2013 Kelly Cup championship. As the club looks to play for the first time in a year and a half, it will rely on its fans to bring the energy and help lead the way to more championship glory! Meet Greater RDG 2021 31


Where Yoga & Beer Meet

JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN BLDG. 7 YOGA AND SAUCONY CREEK BREWPUB OFFER THE BEST IN BREWS, CITY VIEWS AND OMS Greater Reading offers many unique places to perform yoga — warehouses, farms, rooftops, wineries, breweries, on top of Hawk Mountain or next to Blue Marsh Lake. BLDG. 7 Yoga, located in the heart of Wyomissing, offers multi-dimensional yoga classes for every skill level and age group. BLDG. 7 Yoga was created in 2015 by Linda Zogas after having a desire to teach and practice yoga in one location in many different styles. Zogas began rooftop yoga in downtown Reading while her studio at 220 N. Park Road #7 was being built. Zogas approached Saucony Creek Franklin Station Brewpub to spark new interest and expose her clientele to a great downtown restaurant. Every Wednesday and Sunday yoga and beer meet on the rooftop of Saucony Creek Franklin Station Brewpub’s parking garage at 692 Franklin St., Reading. An hour of yoga is performed while listening to Jazz music. After class, attendees head to the Brewpub for a beer and farm-to-table style eats. If you attend yoga on Sunday, it is recommended you stay after for Saucony Creek’s Sunday brunch! They offer

everything from eggs to shrimp & grits to tacos and burgers. Greater Reading is home to many craft breweries. Saucony Creek Brewing Company has figured out a way to stand out from the rest. It is a forward-thinking, independent brewery fashioning hyper-local adventurous beers. It has a large network of brewers, farmers, craftsmen and adventures that have inspired its farm-to-table food menu and beers. Saucony Creek Brewing Company is named after the creek and water source that runs through Saucony Creek’s production grounds in Kutztown. Its 15-barrel brewhouse system supplies beer for its two locations Kuztown Brewery + Pub, Kutztown and Saucony Creek Franklin Station, Reading. Both locations have a full events schedule with not only yoga, but also live music, cornhole, bike nights, etc. Greater Reading is chock full of activities and good eats. For the full Greater Reading experience, we suggest you wind down with rooftop yoga followed by Saucony’s Kutztown Lager, a true Pennsylvania Dutch crafted lager.


Every year since 1991, an impressive array of jazz musicians, a dedicated staff of presenters from the nonprofit Berks Arts, thousands of fans and an army of volunteers gather to create Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest. After the success of its first three-day weekend, the festival has evolved into a 10-day extravaganza attracting visitors from all over the country and beyond to the Reading area. The Jazz Fest has become a major event, known for the high quality of its artists, who range from local and regional to national and international. Virtually every genre of jazz, including contemporary, straight-ahead, fusion, Latin, blues, gospel and much more, is represented in intimate clubs and larger venues throughout the county. Household names like Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck and his sons, Chick Corea, Nancy Wilson — the list goes on and on — have performed at Berks Jazz Fest. And fans have watched a younger generation — Esperanza Spalding, Mindi Abair, Anat Cohen, Eldar, Joey Alexander, and many more — take up the torch and put their own stamp on jazz. Area high school music students get to rub elbows with established artists in workshops, and hone their chops in jam sessions held by the Get JazzED program, supported by funding from the Reading Musical Foundation. It’s all part of an ongoing effort by the Berks Jazz Fest education committee to ensure the future of this music. What makes the festival truly one-of-a-kind is that it has never lost its hometown feel. Berks Countians know how to treat their visitors right, both artists and fans, many of whom keep coming back year after year. And local restaurants, hotels and shops are eager to show their hospitality with delicious, diverse cuisines and unique wares. In the words of Brian Culbertson, a headliner at the festival for years, “If I were to sum up Berks Jazz Fest in just one word, it would simply be ‘family.’ That’s what it feels like to return every year.” Contributed by Susan Peña Meet Greater RDG 2021 33


Pollen Consolidated is an arts and entertainment event production company based in downtown Reading. It brings Pollen great pleasure to share its talents with clients and partners in its own backyard! Greater Reading is an ideal location for Pollen due to the network of artists, partners and vendors. The city's close proximity to all mid-atlantic metropolitan regions makes it convenient when taking the show on the road. Pollen attracts a great deal of talent to Reading through its arts and entertainment bookings. Its client base and event audience both reflect its strong sense of artistic identity and passion for supporting the culture. Its premier summer events, First Friday Downtown Beer Garden & West Reading Concerts in the Park series stemmed from a desire to share local and regional music and performances at events that celebrate the area. First Fridays take place in the city at Penn Square and highlight Reading's downtown appeal while showcasing the best of urban culture. The West Reading series, set in a suburban park, offers more room for vendors and programming with a vast green space. Greater Reading has beautiful downtown architecture and a bustling business district for First Fridays. It also has beautiful parks and recreation areas all throughout the county making it ideal for outdoor events. Pollen’s events attract a diverse crowd from all over the region. It works to highlight all art from the traditional to the avant-garde. Pollen is intentional when planning its events so that programming is specific to its audience. Pollen is always excited to connect with friends and family from outside of the area and share the wonderful gems the area has in its not-so-secret garden. There is nothing quite like taking a friend out for a delicious meal and a show downtown before driving them up to the Pagoda to share some perspective!

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Berks County, like most communities, has embraced a major shift in learning throughout the past year and a half. Faced with an overnight reality of blended learning approaches, virtual curriculum, and unprecedented safety protocols, our school districts, nonpublic schools, colleges and universities have reinvented themselves to accommodate a new normal in education. Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU), in partnerships with school officials and community leaders, has been a part of conversations centered on innovation, creativity and capacity for change. While safety is always the number one priority, providing access to educational opportunities for all county students continues to be an important focus of education. Educators in Berks County have remained flexible and prepared to adjust to the challenges of the pandemic. Our higher education institutions have all pursued new projects, expansions, and programming goals, while our community partners have forged creative partnerships between business and education to ensure workforce gaps are narrowed. BCIU serves the community as a premier education services provider in the county and state. We are dedicated to ensuring students obtain the skills necessary to be successful. We remain focused on preparing workforce-ready students for local businesses.

DR. JILL HACKMAN, Executive Director, Berks County Intermediate Unit

Some of the nation’s BEST schools are in your own backyard!





610-607-6224 Meet Greater RDG 2021 35

Albright College sparks STEM thinking in K-12 students As the oldest college in Berks County, Albright College is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the future. Today, key structural projects are being designed to connect all of the different ways that students learn in the 21st century.

summer programs and director of SRI at Albright. HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: • Cell culture facilities • Materials and glass science laboratory • Advanced imaging equipment (electron microscope, confocal and fluorescence imaging)

One of those projects involves the expansion Albright’s Science Research Institute (SRI) — an elite program for K-12 grade students to create self-directed research projects in biomedical, genetic, environmental, agricultural, biotechnology and materials sciences. Within the program, students can also explore dance, art, music, the humanities, culinary arts and fashion through SRI projects.

• A greenhouse to incorporate horticulture and agricultural sciences

Located in northeast Reading, 25,000-square-feet of open space within the Leo Camp Building on Albright College’s campus is earmarked to become the innovative program’s new home.

Later phases will expand Science Research Institute’s footprint within the building and add spaces to support other Albright programs, for more synergistic SRI collaborations. These projections include a flexible theater performance area, classrooms, laboratories and studio spaces for music industry studies, fashion and digital communications.

“SRI is one of the most exciting projects driving the reinvention of Berks County as a hub of innovation and creativity,” said Kevin Murphy, president and CEO of the Berks County Community Foundation. “Making the Camp Building into a home worthy of that effort will accelerate our progress and allow us to expand the number of students who can participate.” The renovation will include state-of-the-art science and technology laboratory and research spaces designed to create an environment that encourages innovation, complemented by access to research-grade equipment, exposure to cuttingedge technology and introductions to modern sciences by skilled mentors. “A unique combination of industry-grade equipment — and safety features designed specifically for middle and high school students — will make this facility a one-of-a-kind in the United States,” said Adelle L. Schade, dean of pre-college and 36 Meet Greater RDG 2021

• Laboratories dedicated to computer science, 3D printing and design, histology, etc. Large common areas to encourage interaction and • collaboration

“As the oldest college in Reading, Pa., Albright College’s longstanding commitment to science and workforce development continues today,” said Karen Campbell, Ph.D., provost, senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty. “We are committed to educating students of academic promise and to enhancing Reading’s reputation as an innovation center.”

Reading CollegeTowne awaits student arrival Alvernia’s brand new Reading CollegeTowne reconstruction at 401 North Penn St. in downtown Reading welcomed its first incoming students in August of 2021. This exciting extension of Alvernia’s campus is designed as a strategic champion of economic redevelopment, partnering with the City of Reading and local businesses and organizations. Local market demand and community workforce needs will be met with Alvernia’s three new Bachelor of Science degrees in electrical, mechanical and industrial engineering. The engineering program is housed at the university’s new downtown location and will include state of the art labs and research facilities. “These engineering programs and the programs that follow will offer experience that rival programs at much larger schools because of the partnerships we have established with some of the largest businesses in the region," said Alvernia President John R. Loyack. A new trading floor and business lab is used for a variety of learning experiences over a wide range of upper-level business courses, lending to the growth of the enhanced business majors. The lab supports simulations, research and a wide variety of other business applications. It will also support granting the Microsoft Certification for Excel.

Community Television (BCTV), one of the oldest and longestserving cable access managers in the country. BCTV moved their operations to a new studio and office setting at the Reading CollegeTowne campus and works with the Communication Department and the O’Pake Institute developing experiential learning opportunities for Alvernia students and local businesses in the student-powered entrepreneurial lab. Reading CollegeTowne has been designed to provide not only state-of-the-art learning facilities, but also community gathering space and lounge area, modern student residences, and high-tech space to serve the new esports program. “This building is designed to be a superior teaching and learning space with flexible, modular classrooms integrated with the latest technology,” said Glynis Fitzgerald, Alvernia University Senior Vice President and Provost. “Students will benefit greatly from the collaboration with faculty members in these new learning spaces including the trading floor, a state-of-the-art media studio, podcasting stations, the internationally recognized student literary journal, Zephyrus, and the university’s student-run newspaper, The Alvernian.”

The expanded communication major has new experiential learning opportunities through a collaboration with Berks Meet Greater RDG 2021 37

BCTC provides cost-effective learning opportunities For more than 40 years, the Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) has been providing career training options designed to help adult students meet their career goals! Adult students can enhance their current skills or train for a new career during the day or in the evening with BCTC’s flexible program offerings. With over 30 day-time programs, adult students are integrated into secondary programs to receive hands-on career training taught by industry experts in state-of-the-art labs. In less than two years, students can earn nationally recognized certifications and industry credentials needed in today’s competitive job market. Federal financial aid is available for most daytime programs. BCTC is now offering daytime training in Heavy Equipment Operations. Gain experience in the proper use of construction equipment, basic maintenance of the machines, and receive field practice in earth moving, site-preparation, construction site layout and excavation. Experience the real world by applying the knowledge learned in the classroom at our offcampus quarry. Our evening courses provide a cost-effective way to learn new skills on a part-time basis. Classes include theory and hands-on learning opportunities with experienced trainers in a casual atmosphere. Courses are generally shorter in length and are offered in the spring and fall. Program offerings include Apprenticeships programs, Certification Courses and

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Trade Prep classes. BCTC is now a sponsor for the Electrical Registered Apprenticeship program. This designation allows us to oversee training development, provide handson learning and technical instruction, while handling the administrative responsibilities for an Electrical Apprentice. The brand-new state-of-the-art Welding Training Center, located at BCTC’s West Campus, includes 36 welding booths, a fabrication area and a robotic arm. Adults can choose from several training options, from basic to advanced training in MIG, TIG, stick, pulse and aluminum tig welding. Upon completion, students are prepared to take several certifications offered through the American Welding Society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 10,870 Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) job openings projected annually through 2028. This staggering number ensures that earning a CDL provides endless career opportunities. The BCTC CDL training program includes 114 hours of classroom theory, 44 hours of one-on-one instruction at the range and on the road and a two-hour road test. Students are well prepared to take and pass the CDL test and begin a career in commercial truck driving. For more information about Berks Career & Technology Center’s Adult Continuing Education programs, visit:

Career Ready Berks Alliance Shines a Light on Superstars Providing access to career awareness and exploration opportunities for the more than 70,000 students in Berks County continues to be a top priority for the Career Ready Berks Alliance. The Alliance is a coalition of the 18 Berks County school districts, the two career and technical centers, nonpublic schools, the Berks County Intermediate Unit, and local business and industry which includes the support of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce, the Berks Business Education Coalition, the Berks County Workforce Development Board, and all five of the post-secondary colleges and universities in Berks County. Career awareness and exploration at the local level provides students in grades K through 12 a door to more informed decisions about their future, allows business and industry to keep talented youth in Berks County, and fills the economic need for a skilled workforce in our community. The Alliance strongly believes that career development equals workforce development which sustains economic development for Berks County.

Over the past year, the Alliance has bolstered the Career Ready Berks (CRB) platform at The digital platform continues to offer Berks County educators access to over 200 businesses that have agreed to provide information, insight and experiences to students. New to the platform is “Career Ready Berks Superstars.” These Superstars have all progressed into successful careers after graduating from Berks County schools. Their role is to share their individual stories, including what influenced them to choose their specific career pathway. Superstars will be designated with a special “CRB Superstar” icon next to their name, allowing educators and students to easily find and connect with them. The “Career Ready Berks Superstars” initiative is another way local professionals can share their stories and help students discover the endless possibilities available to them. Additionally, showcasing the superstars provides a great example of the teamwork and cooperation that makes Berks County unique, shining a spotlight on the bright future for those who choose to live, learn and work in Berks County.

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Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health Opens for Inaugural Class Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health welcomed its inaugural class of 40 first-year medical students to its Wyomissing campus on Aug. 2, 2021. The new, state-of-the-art academic building houses standardized patient exam rooms, an anatomy laboratory, small-group learning areas and simulation labs that promote interdisciplinary education. In addition, the building was designed to enhance student life, promote student health and wellness, and encourage immersive learning experiences. Students have access to a fitness center, information commons (library), lounge areas and a game room. “Our students have been receiving their clinical education at Reading Hospital through a long-standing academic affiliation agreement and have been making an impact on medical care in Berks County for decades,” said John Fry, president of Drexel University. “Our new campus will increase their engagement with both patients and the community and provide greater opportunities to train and go on to be leaders in medicine, especially in areas in need of more physicians.” The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects a nationwide physician shortage of up to 139,000 primary and specialty care physicians by the year 2033. The AAMC also reported that more than half of residents who completed 40 Meet Greater RDG 2021

residency training are now practicing in the state where they completed their training. “This facility would not be possible without the dedication and support of our community and business leaders including Sen. Judy Schwank, Rep. Mark Gillen, Berks County Commissioners Christian Leinbach, Kevin Barnhardt, and Michael Rivera, the Borough of Wyomissing, Equus Capital Partners, Ltd., and the leadership teams at Tower Health and Drexel University,” said P. Sue Perrotty, Tower Health President and CEO during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the building in July. “Because of their foresight and commitment, our community now offers future physicians the opportunity to learn and train in a state-of-the-art medical school and, at Reading Hospital. We are building both the future of our healthcare and a positive economic impact for the entire region.” The addition of the school is expected to have many benefits for the Berks community by bringing faculty, staff, students, and families to the Reading area who will patronize stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses in the community. It will also increase job opportunities in health care, education and other related areas.

Kutztown University Launches Internship Program For Employees Of Local School Districts Pursuing Certification Kutztown University is proud to be the first Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institution to offer a special education PreK-12 internship program for individuals who are employed in a school district surrounding Kutztown and who have passed their PRAXIS exams. This allows individuals to pursue their certification while maintaining their current employment — an incredible way for talent to grow their careers further right here in Berks County. The internship program is part of KU's post-baccalaureate special education preK-12 certification. To be qualified to student teach while employed, students must meet the following requirements: • Have an intern certificate in the certification area being sought. • Be currently employed in a one-year/full-time teaching position that includes the semester of student teaching as the teacher of record in the certification area being sought. • Passing score on the special education PreK-12 certification test is required in order to be eligible for the Intern program. • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in an undergraduate program and post-baccalaureate coursework.

• The employing district must be willing to appoint a mentor to conduct observations during the semester, provide mentoring and feedback, and provide evaluations of the clinical experience in the Special Education PreK-12 setting. Teacher candidates enrolled will achieve all PDE and CEC competencies to teach students with disabilities, prekindergarten through grade 12, or up to 21 years of age and complete various courses that will benefit their focus in the field of special education. This certification does not require certification in an additional content area. With the addition of the 30-credit special education postbaccalaureate preK-12 certification program, Kutztown University enhances the already robust and award-winning selection of graduate education programs and courses that are offered in a flexible format. This program may be completed in 18 months by taking winter and summer courses. All courses are completed online with exception of the final clinical experience in special education. This cohort-based model builds professional and personal networks between students as they begin coursework together during the same fall semester and collaborate on various projects throughout the program. Learn more about this program at the Kutztown University Special Education website.

• Employed in a school determined by the department to be a reasonable distance from Kutztown University.

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Penn State Berks prepares students for in-demand careers

technical sales and management. Graduates enter a wide variety of industries such as health care, energy, military, transportation, consumer products and sports/recreation.

Penn State Berks is preparing the students of today for the in-demand careers for tomorrow. With 20 baccalaureate degree programs, and the first two years of more than 275 degree programs that can be completed at other campuses, students have a wide variety of choices.

The B.S. in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations (CYAOP) program prepares students to protect digital information from attack through cyber-defense strategies. Whether it is the hacking of critical datasets by a nation-state, the theft of personal information by cybercriminals, or cyberattacks by terrorist groups or other aggressors, students will analyze security issues from the perspective of human and information systems. They’ll learn to anticipate and identify threats through the mastery of technology, articulate potential impacts to stakeholders and ensure the safety of online information.

Two degree programs that are very popular among students, and in-demand with employers, are Mechanical Engineering and Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations. Both degrees lead to a wide range of career opportunities with higher than average growth and salary rates. The B.S. in Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET. ABET is the global leader in accreditation of engineering, engineering technology, computing, and applied science programs, and it is well recognized by employers. Mechanical Engineering is one of the largest and broadest engineering disciplines, involving the study of mechanics, fluid/thermal systems and system dynamics. In fact, Penn State Berks has the only teaching fluid dynamics lab in the Penn State system. The Mechanical Engineering program includes both a strong design emphasis and hands-on laboratory experience. Mechanical engineers have tremendous flexibility, working in every type of industry, in jobs ranging from research and development to manufacturing and operations. Mechanical engineers also work in product design, procurement, 42 Meet Greater RDG 2021

CYAOP graduates are in high demand by top companies and government agencies. Their technical expertise combined with interpersonal skills and business savvy means they have the versatility employers want. Many jobs in the security sector have higher than average levels of flexibility and job satisfaction. For more information on any of the degree programs offered by Penn State Berks, visit

GET TO KNOW THE CULTURE OF OUR ADVERTISERS The impact of Visions Federal Credit Union At Visions, we’re more than banking. Our employees make a difference in their communities, and we work to make a difference in their lives. The true benefits of becoming a Visions team member extend far beyond those listed in our employee handbook, and our impact extends far beyond the walls of our branches. When considering a job with Visions, it may help to know what we are. A lot of people assume that credit unions are just like banks. Sure, we offer banking services, but we are so much more! Credit unions are not for profits owned by their members, which means we work for them (and not for stockholders). And, because we’re not for profit, we return our earnings back to our members through higher dividends, lower interest rates and fewer fees than your standard fees. Giving back is what we do, from our supportive employee

Tompkins VIST Bank Builds Relationships When people ask what sets us apart from other banks we point to our culture. Throughout our long history as a community bank, our team members have focused on building relationships by listening to customers and responding to their needs. We believe that when our clients succeed the entire community thrives. Being customer-oriented means providing services that make banking easier. This has served our customers well especially in the last year and a half. For example, our digital and mobile banking services were highly valued at a time when access to branches was restricted. And our staff worked hard to help familiarize customers with these options. During COVID, staff also called customers to check on their welfare and to explain our temporary loan assistance and other relief programs. As a

The Heart of Community is at the Heart of East Penn Manufacturing, Co. The Greater Reading area is thriving, filled with opportunities, hope and a bright future. What’s the secret to our region’s success? One overwhelming factor — its incredible people. Their strength, grit and fortitude have built this area into a place where residents can work, play and raise their families. It is the people of Greater Reading who are at the center of East Penn Manufacturing's local operations.. In fact, East Penn’s story began in 1946 with two Berks County natives, DeLight Breidegam Jr., his father, DeLight Sr., and their big dream of going into the battery business together. They didn’t have a lot of money to start, but an entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity, and a strong work ethic. In 75 years, what began as a two-man team has grown into Berks County’s largest employer with more than 10,600 employees in 34 states and five countries. The company has drawn from the region’s strong base of manufacturing, technical trades and schools, diverse communities, and unique talents. East Penn’s open-door management policy,

culture and member service standards to our volunteering efforts and outreach programs. Visions gives over $1 million annually in sponsorships, grants and in-kind donations through our Visions Cares program. We help out businesses and nonprofits, host fundraising events for local causes and offer educational resources for financial wellness. Visions is committed to caring for their employees, not only through comfortable benefits packages and retirement plans, but also through perks including: career-building and educational opportunities, a unique job shadowing program to explore roles in all departments, tuition assistance towards college degrees in your professional field, student loan reimbursement, access to industry-related courses and lots of potential for upward mobility. Invest in a Career that will invest in you! #ClaimYourSeat For more information, or to apply today, visit us at visionsfcu. org/careers. Or, stop in to one of our local branches between Reading and Allentown!

result of our outreach effort, we were able to help businesses retain approximately 7,000 jobs in our region. Our customer-oriented culture comes from support from within. Over the past year and a half, we have focused on keeping our employees safe and giving them the tools needed to operate in a difficult environment. This has included training on our new digital capabilities to make connecting with customers easier. We also have continued to recognize and reward staff, including promoting from within the company. The result of these efforts is a team that is excited to work together to help clients through the challenges of a new economy. At a time when other banks are merging and closing branches, we remain committed to our marketplace and especially Greater Reading — a place where our company began. To learn more about careers with Tompkins VIST, visit: comprehensive benefits package, bonus program for all personnel, and career advancement opportunities are just some of the ways East Penn shows employees how incredibly valued they are. East Penn is also very passionate about making a difference in lives throughout Greater Reading. Each year, East Penn and their employees volunteer, donate to and support community programs including United Way and the Miller-Keystone Blood Center. They also support Women2Women, a special program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance with the goal to develop more women leaders in Berks County. In addition to empowering people, the company also wants to take care of the place we live. As part of their environmental stewardship, East Penn is committed to minimizing waste at every step, to create a sustainable future. East Penn might make batteries, but they’re really in the business of helping to power and empower people. If interested in joining the East Penn team, check out their newly launched Facebook page at DekaCareers. Continued on page 48 Meet Greater RDG 2021 43

RACC Marks 50-Year Milestone Fifty years ago, Reading Area Community College (RACC) was founded on Oct. 1, 1971. Classes were held for the first time on Oct. 13, 1971, with an enrollment of 265 students. The college operated from several buildings throughout Reading during its early years until it acquired the Holiday Inn (the current Berks Hall building) in 1978. In 1996, the college completed a campus expansion plan that transformed it into an attractive city-based campus. Now, RACC has graduated 13,771 students and awarded 14,516 degrees, including associate’s degrees, certificates and diplomas. Training programs include career-focused training, transitional coursework, skills training for business and industry, personal enrichment programs and public service activities. Students from every age, race, religion and many different countries throughout the world have chosen to study here. Those who are seeking degrees are attracted to programs like nursing, respiratory care, criminal justice and business. Others pursue certification in a variety of subjects. The Community Education/Workforce Development Division offers programs like dental assisting, home health aide, veterinary assisting, lab technician and GED preparation. 44 Meet Greater RDG 2021

The college has had a deep impact in the business community as well. Founded in 2006, the Schmidt Training and Technology Center on the RACC campus, provides training in senior leadership, manufacturing technology, information technology, workplace readiness and workplace literacy. RACC also collaborates with other community organizations to enhance the economic vitality of the city and county. As we look forward to many more years, RACC remains committed to our four, key "hallmarks" which we believe are at the core of a comprehensive community college: access, opportunity, excellence and especially hope. Our mission ultimately offers hope to all persons, and we will continue to work diligently to sustain, and ultimately fulfill, that hope for all students.

MRC Programs for Hands-on Career Awareness and shared nationally through the Manufacturing Institute and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership platforms.

PA Dream Team Program

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing program provides middle school students a unique opportunity to connect directly with local manufacturers as they use their curiosity and creativity to research, develop, edit and produce a “cool” video to document their experiences. Student teams partner with manufacturers to create a video that features the products, processes, services and career pathways of the manufacturer. Employers value the community engagement, connection with their future workforce, and the employee morale that WSCM instills. The educators value the experiential learning of what modern, cool manufacturing looks like and the peer to peer opportunities that the program provides county-wide.

The Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is working collaboratively with schools, industry and area stakeholders to create innovative programs that feature technical careers, STEM and CTE education to students, parents and educators. With the assistance of the Berks County Workforce Development Board and United Way Berks County, and in partnership with Berks County Intermediate Unit, MRC is launching the PA Dream Team pilot program in Berks County. Ten members representing regional manufacturers are being trained to share their career stories with K-12 students in the classroom using presentation materials, hands-on activities and lesson plans that align with academic standards. The purpose of the PA Dream Team Program is to improve the talent pool of students pursuing technical skills and increase the number of students interested in STEM careers so that projected workforce demands at area manufacturing companies are filled with skills-ready employees. PA Dream Team members are employees mostly under the age of 30 working at area manufacturing companies. By serving on a collaborate and innovative ambassador team, they help unlock interest among students to consider similar STEM careers. To learn more about the Berks County program or schedule a classroom presentation, visit the PA Dream Team Website, What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? (WSCM) Developed by Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing (WSCM) program is a video-based educational competition that increases awareness of career paths in manufacturing. MRC developed this innovative career awareness project to serve as “peer marketing” (kids telling kids about “what’s so cool” about manufacturing jobs). The contest is showcased on the website:

The WSCM program is kicking off its sixth year in Berks County in the fall of 2021. The release of a comprehensive manufacturing video library in 2020, funded by a Manufacturing Training-to-Career Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, is a library of the “who’s who” in Pennsylvania manufacturing. The library can be accessed through the WSCM website and contains almost 900 manufacturing videos featuring over 500 unique Pennsylvania manufacturers. Student teams utilize the newly created WSCM video library that will serve as a digital asset for years to come and show viewers just how important manufacturing is to our region. With 36 teams, the Berks-Schuylkill WSCM program has been the largest in the state. The program’s continued success and growth can be attributed to the efforts put forth by MRC and its many partners organizations.

Meet Greater RDG 2021 45

Heritage lovers. Brew buffs. Thrill seekers. Foodies. Art makers.

Come home to Pennsylvania’s Americana Region.

Great living happens here! 46 Meet Greater RDG 2021 • 800.443.6610

Read it. Love it. Live it.

Read it. Love it. Live it.

This high-end monthly publication is compelling and attractive in design, as well as thought-provoking and entertaining in concept. Berks County Living was created to be the signature publication for Berks County, and to provide advertisers the opportunity to reach the hottest demographic groups in the area through a truly upscale, full-color format. Berks County Living readers This high-end monthly publication is compelling and attractive in design, as well as thought-provoking and entertaining in concept. Berks County Living was created to be the signature publication for Berks County, and to provide advertisers have the income to support luxury items, finer homes the opportunity to reach the hottest demographic groups in the area through a truly upscale, full-color format. We are a niche magazine that reaches high-end consumers big-business Berks County Living readers andBerks’ interiors, regularand dining outspenders. and active lifestyles. Ithave is the income to support luxury items, finer homes and interiors, regular dining out and active lifestyles. Engaging editorial pleasure to open tolifestyle Berksmagazine County. paired with high-quality our production and a generous use ofthe color door makes this your link to the most affluent, distinct members of Berks County. It is our pleasure to open the door to Berks County.

Together we can make Berks County Living the tool you’ve been looking for Together we can make Berks to increase your business’s profitability.

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26 Meet Greater RDG 2020


Cybersecurity is your best defense between your business and the malware, ransomware attacks and data leaks in the news every day. That’s why organizations rely on Stratix Systems to keep their networks—and their information—safe. Learn more at or call 610-374-1936.


Meet Greater RDG 2021 47

GET TO KNOW THE CULTURE OF OUR ADVERTISERS Berks County offers a variety of higher education options, right here in your backyard! ALBRIGHT COLLEGE

The oldest college in Berks, Albright College offers close faculty mentorship and experiential options designed to help students exceed their own expectations. Learn to relate to people at one of the most diverse colleges in the country, and be encouraged to create an individualized academic program.

ALVERNIA UNIVERSITY Ranked a top 100 best regional in the North, Alvernia is a private university guided by Franciscan values that offers a unique blend of a rigorous liberal arts core, strong technical training in high-demand majors, experiential learning and community engagement through service.

KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY Kutztown University provides the benefits of a large university with a small community atmosphere. We offer 130 programs of study, 21 NCAA Division II sports teams, more than 200 student clubs and organizations and 24/7 dining, all on a beautiful 289-acre campus. Major in discovering yourself at KU.

PENN STATE BERKS At Penn State Berks, students can complete the first two years of more than 275 degree programs or earn one of the college’s 24 degrees. Students have access to all the resources of a major university while enjoying the closeknit feeling of a small campus. And a Penn State degree is recognized worldwide.

READING AREA COMMUNITY COLLEGE Through its affordable tuition, convenient location and extensive program offerings, Reading Area Community College has been providing Berks County students access, opportunity, excellence and hope for over 50 years.

Sweet Street offers sweet desserts, and sweet opportunities! The Power of Good Food Shared™ inspires all of us at Sweet Street to innovate and create the finest, indulgent foods served globally. Since 1979, our brand is known for wholesome desserts, with pure ingredients, that are enjoyed by countless consumers around the world every day. As a woman-owned business, there is a heartfelt commitment to our people and community, and we are dedicated to creating a safe, dynamic and gratifying environment for our employees and neighbors. At Sweet Street, our employees are an important ingredient to success. We invest in our employees with a variety of Health and Wellness Benefits: • Health and Dental • Life Insurance • Prescription Plan • Paid Time Off • 401k and Profit Sharing • Safety Education and Training Our close relationship with The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, RACC and AIB (American Institute for Baking) provides a variety of Opportunities for Advancement: • Progressive Wage Program • Pay-for-Skills Program • Tuition Reimbursement Plan • Leadership Courses • Employee of the Month Bonuses • Scholarship Program for Employees Children But we aren’t all work and no play. Sweet Street hosts regular employee and family appreciation events, such as annual summer picnics, sports outings and holiday parties. We invite everyone to relax and have fun with family and co-workers. Oh, did we forget to mention those SWEET Café Sweet Street discounts?! Equally as important, is our Community Involvement and giving back to the area in which we live. Sweet Street regularly offers desserts for a number of fundraising efforts for various causes. We also contribute to food banks and a range of local missions. We are especially dedicated to issues concerning children and community, including the Olivet Boys and Girls Club and Opportunity House locally. So what are you waiting for? Join the Sweet Street Team today! Stop by our office for an application weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: 722 Hiesters Lane, Reading, PA 19605. Complete an online application at the Careers Page of or email your resume to resume@ “Desserts open doors, hearts Sandy Solmon, Founder/CEO

48 Meet Greater RDG 2021



Helping businesses thrive is important. At M&T Bank, we understand that small business is the lifeblood of any thriving community. Which is why we are committed to providing our support and keeping our lending decisions local. See what we can do for your business at your neighborhood branch or today.

John Perate Group Manager 610.378.3938


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