Commerce Quarterly Winter 2017

Page 1





OSHA Clarifies Its

“Just Say No”

to Automatic Post-Accident Drug-Testing Rule

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For More Information: Bryan Cole, SIOR or Steve Willems, SIOR 610 779 1400 | or

Greater Reading Chamber


Ellen Albright, Editor 201 Penn St., Suite 501, Reading, PA 19601 • 610.376.6766

The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

As the business voice of Greater Reading, the Chamber leads the business community, as the economic driver, to a vibrant community.

Your Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry…

» Partners with all other economic development organizations in creating an environment for growth.

» Enables all businesses to take deliberate and

6 Cover Stor y

How to Ensure “SUCCESS” Is Part of Your Business Succession Planning Features 10 Business in Your Back Yard

KMX International


Non-Profit Wish List


TED Talks A-Z


Weaver’s Hardware Company A Culture of Helpfulness

HR Issues & Solutions


OSHA Clarifies its “Just Say No” to Automatic Post-Accident Drug-Testing Rule

decided action on issues affecting their welfare.

» Helps small business thrive and entrepreneurs strive.

» Develops employees through training and educational programs/alliances.

» Prepares tomorrow’s workforce with our



Small Business Matters Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

Rising Stars 20 Meet Our 2016 Rising Stars


In Your Community 22 Your Guide to Tax-Smart Year-End Giving 23

Young Professionals Giving Back


State of the Environment Report

Live it up Local 26 TRIOSE Business & Community Advocacy 30 Help Close the Skills Gap and

Become a Workforce Pipeline Partner!


2016 Advocacy Year in Review


What Does the Future Hold?

involvement in education partnerships.

» Operates as a model business and pursues best practices.

» Maintains a five-star rating as one of the best chambers in Pennsylvania.

» Reflects our multicultural community at large.

©2016 All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the expressed written permission of the publisher.


4 Letter From the President

33 Upcoming Events

27 Volunteer Spotlight 28 Entrepreneur’s Corner Levan Machine and Truck Equipment

35 Member News 38 Member Spotlight

Commerce Quarterly Magazine is published quarterly by Hoffmann Publishing Group, Reading, PA • 610.685.0914


For Advertising Opportunities: call 610.685.0914 Ext. 1 Read Commerce Quarterly Magazine Online at

Pictured with their latest drone technology for site surveying, Patrick M. McCoy PE, LEED AP, CSDP, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Lewis J. McCoy, Jr., Director Human Resources, and Brian R. Kelly, President and CEO, are the second generation of McCoy family members now running Spotts, Stevens, McCoy, an engineering and environmental consulting firm.

letter from the president

Board of Directors 2016-17 CHAIRMAN: Robert Firely, Herbein + Company, Inc. VICE CHAIR: Peter Rye, Brentwood Industries, Inc. TREASURER: Steve Horvat, Baker Tilley IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR: Scott Gruber, Tompkins VIST Bank LEGAL COUNSEL: Tim Dietrich, Esq., Barley Snyder DIRECTORS: Marilu Rodriguez-Bauer, Owner, RB Legal Counsel, LLC Karen Baxter, Manager, External Affairs, Met-Ed, A FirstEnergy Company Nicholas Bentley, President, American Polarizers, Inc. Gregg Bogia, President, Bogia Engineering, Inc. Marianne Brown Egolf, General Manager, F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc. Johanny Cepeda, Owner/Manager, Mi Casa Su Casa Harry Dietz, Associate Publisher and Editor, Reading Eagle Robert Firely, Partner, Herbein + Company, Inc. Scott Gruber, President & CEO, Tompkins VIST Bank Tracy Hoffmann, President, Hoffmann Publishing Steve Horvat, Partner, CPA, Baker Tilley Lisa Lavender, Chief Operating Officer, Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc. Brian Levan, President, Levan Machine & Truck Equipment William Long, Administrative Vice President, M&T Bank Carl Marks, Chief Operating Officer, Distributed Systems Services, Inc. (DSS) Don Mikes, Senior VP, Penske Truck Leasing Toni Miller, Senior Executive Vice President - Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Boscov’s Pete Molinaro, President, Adhezion Biomedical, LLC Ann Moll, President, Gallen Insurance Michele Richards, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Group, Fulton Bank David Roche, President, Dave Roche Electric Inc. David Roland, Senior Vice President, Market President, Berks, BB&T Peter Rye, President, Brentwood Industries, Inc. Mark Schlott, Executive VP of Operations/Chief Operating Officer, R. M. Palmer Company Stayce Schlouch, Project Manager, Schlouch Incorporated Nicholas Stoltzfus, President, DESCCO Design Sara Kuzma-Stump, Director, Sales & Marketing, Suburban Testing Labs, Inc. Rich Tinsman, VP, Manufacturing, Carpenter Technology Lauren Tobiassen, Area President, Central PA, Wells Fargo Scott Vaughn, CEO, The Standard Group


ationally, we will swear in a new President of the United States. Regardless of party affiliation or preference, we have the great privilege of living in one of the greatest countries on the globe where the rule of law allows for peaceful transitions among administrations, and that is truly a rich blessing we can indeed be thankful for.

Locally, our new organization (legal name) the Greater Reading Chamber and Economic Development Corporation becomes a reality on January 1, 2017. While the process continues, the leadership of all three organizations are up for the challenges and excited about what this new entity will do to grow the economy of Berks County. This edition of CQ is packed with insightful articles and great stories that feature the diversity of people, companies and enterprises that make Berks a really wonderful place to live and work. I know you will indeed enjoy reading through another stellar issue of our publication! Our cover features a great company with a rich history, and also reflects the story they represent and a topic we are laser focused on here at the Chamber. This important subject relates to assisting businesses regardless of size with the resources and knowledge to succeed by understanding the importance of proper Succession Planning. “How to Ensure that Success is Part of your Business Succession Planning” is a must read! Our center fold shows five really dynamic and talented young professionals – our 2016 Rising Stars. A great article by one of these stars will give you some interesting statistics and insights about how Millennials view their place in society in regards to giving back – or as I say, “paying it forward.” Wow, what a great night we had honoring these amazing young folks. This year we also celebrated a record number of nominations for the award, making me feel so proud of our community – we are truly blessed to have all this talent right her in Berks County! Another company that we’re so pleased to have in our community is Weaver’s Hardware. With two locations, Weaver’s has been serving Berks County for generations – and they do it right. Despite competition from big-box retailers, Weaver’s competes on customer service, quality products, and a knowledgeable staff. Their success proves once again, it’s always about service, quality products and building a great company culture. Finally, I love “Ted-Talks A to Z” for some brain stimulation! This article gives you 26 ways to improve your knowledge on a host of diverse topics. Kudos to our editorial team for coming up with this clever way to get all of us engaged in what some call lifelong learning! Not one for making bold New Year’s resolutions, I do have a real sense of exciting things on the horizon for our new organization. This is in thanks to the remarkable folks that make up our team, the members of the business community who support this organization, and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Berks County great. So here’s to 2017 – success to all of us!

Karen Marsdale Karen Marsdale, President, CEO

Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry


This magazine would not be possible without the collaborative individuals that meet quarterly to discuss business trends, share industry updates, and brainstorm hot topics within our community to share with our readers. The

Chamber is very grateful for the team of Commerce Quarterly focus group professionals that add value to this publication each and every issue.

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cover story



IS PART OF YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING Patricia Langiotti, PMC, President – Creative Management Concepts



ustainability, wealth management, retirement, generational transition, tax planning, business valuation, fairness among family members, transferring ownership, dealing with non-family employees… these are just a few of the topics that come to mind when a business owner starts thinking about retirement and succession planning.

• They may not feel that there is anyone who is qualified to do it.

• They may have more than one family member in the business, and they don’t want to pick a successor and cause bad feelings.

Unfortunately, many of these topics can evoke fear and trepiIn my 30+ years of providing business consulting services dation – and the result is that succession planning gets put on the in and around Berks County, I have encountered a number of back burner (where it often stays until it’s too late). According to real life family business transition situations. Some good – and a recent Small Business Administration publication, it is estimated some not so good. These are their stories. And, in the words of that less than 33% of family businesses survive the transition Dragnet’s Jack Webb, the names have been changed to protect from first generation to second generation. Often times, this is the innocent! because there is no succession plan. Without a well-developed transitional plan to guide you through this complex process, it In ABC company, when one of the original founders passed is highly unlikely that your business will live on from generation away, ownership transferred to his widow – someone who had to generation. never worked outside of the home and who had no knowledge whatsoever of how to run a business. Chaos resulted and she was Here’s the harsh reality: Sooner or later, there will come a forced to engage an outsider to run the company. After many time in every business when someone retires, decides to leave the years of financial and internal struggles, she finally let the ‘hired business, or perhaps when someone passes away – all ultimately gun’ go and transitioned ownership and management to the next resulting in a shift of leadership. It is not just a matter of waking generation – a team of youthful professionals with no managerial up one day and deciding not to go to the office any more. In experience. A good succession plan could have eliminated many addition to making sure that there is enough money to retire on, years of business strife and a plan for helping to prepare the next business owners must also address these questions: “What happens generation for the transition. to the business? Who is going to manage it? How will ownership be transferred?” And, if succession to another generation is not In XYZ company, two brother-in-laws inherited de facto an option, you may need to make plans to either wind it up or management responsibility of a thriving manufacturing firm to sell the business in order to protect your own financial future. when their father-in-law passed away and ownership transferred to his daughters, their spouses. Since both of the brother-inIn addition to being overwhelmed by the process and not laws had been involved in the business for an extended period knowing where to begin, there are other reasons family business of time, this worked well with few exceptions. One played the owners might delay in approaching this very important subject: CEO role and the other played a sales role. There was constant bickering over who deserved to be paid what. This became even • They may not want to deal with their more complex when it was time for them to retire. Each of the own mortality, so they keep putting it off. brother-in-laws had children in the business. After discussing this among themselves, they decided to name one of the children as • They may not have a family member who CEO – but with the understanding that the three cousins would is interested in running the business. ‘jointly’ run the business. This resulted in years of in-fighting and family feuding. When it got to the point that none of the Continued on page 8

Celebrating 100 years of great service, Berks County’s Barbey Electronics Corp. is a leading OEM/MRO distributor of electronic components and services serving the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and South Atlantic regions.   7

cover story continued… family members were on speaking terms, they ended up putting an independent board in place and selling the company to a private investor. The CEO was terminated and only one of the third generation family members continued to be employed there. What a shame! If the owners had taken the time to seek professional guidance and to put a carefully defined succession plan in place – the business would probably still be ‘in the family’ and thriving. There are other situations where people had no choice but to assume ownership responsibilities upon the sudden, unexpected death of a parent or a spouse. When there is more than one family member involved in the business and no succession plan, this can result in a power struggle and hurt feelings that never heal. The other stressful situation that I often encounter is when the founding generation has actually passed on full managerial responsibility to the next generation – without giving away any ownership! And the new generation is required to work to earn sufficient profits so that Mom and/or Dad can continue to be compensated as though they were still working full time in the business! I’ve seen this result in a very competent next generation successor jumping ship and going elsewhere in order to begin accumulating his own wealth. In all of these cases, had there been a good succession plan in place – much of this internal strife (and financial struggle) could have been avoided.


Improving the Quality of Life for those touched by our work – our clients and those they serve. • • • • • • • •

Building Engineering Site Planning and Design Land and Building Survey and Data Capture Building, Infrastructure and Environmental Modeling Infrastructure Planning, Engineering and Design Wastewater Planning, Engineering and Design Water Planning, Engineering and Design Construction Services


If you’re the owner of a family business, don’t wait until it’s too late…start thinking about your succession plan now. Is there a family member who has an interest in running the business who also has the requisite skills and temperament to do so successfully? If so, start defining a timeframe and a process for transitioning. If not, start considering other options. What can you do to get the next generation person ready to assume the role? Should you consider allowing employees to buy the business (an Employee Stock Ownership Plan – ESOP)? Before making any of these decisions, you will need to define your own long-term financial needs. Should you obtain a formal valuation and embark upon a sale of the business? Or should you consider a gifting program over a number of years to the heir(s) apparent to reduce or eliminate taxes? Are you treating non-family members who have been an important part of management fairly? Do you have other children who are not a part of the business, and who won’t be a part of the business after transition, but for whom you desire to provide financially since your business is your primary asset? These are just a few of the questions that a qualified advisor can help you work your way through and then structure a succession plan that addresses your concerns. We have a number of next generation family business success stories right here in the Greater Reading marketplace. Featured below are just a few examples: Brian Kelly, Patrick McCoy, and Lou McCoy, Jr. are the second generation of McCoy family members now running Spotts, Stevens, McCoy, an engineering and environmental consulting firm. Lewis J. McCoy, Sr. started his engineering firm back in 1967. He later partnered with Charlie Stevens in 1969 and then in 1970 he acquired Spotts Engineering, which had been started by Wally Spotts back in 1932. Tracing its roots back to the 1932 date, Spotts, Stevens, McCoy will celebrate its 85th anniversary in 2017. Kelly Graffius Pellicano is the third generation and the fourth family member managing Graffius Burial Vaults, which was started by her grandfather, Clair Graffius, Sr. and later taken over by his son. When her husband, Clair Graffius, Jr., passed away, Sandy Graffius had no choice but to step in and assume responsibility for the business. Thankfully, when Sandy opted for a public service career instead of staying with the family business, daughter Kelly was already actively involved in the business. They developed a plan through which ownership and managerial responsibility has now successfully transitioned to Kelly. Michael Leifer is the third generation of the Kramer family to run Jimmie Kramer’s The Peanut Bar. Started by his grandfather, Jimmie Kramer, ownership transitioned to Kramer’s daughters, Edith Koenigsberg and Beatrice Leifer, and to son-in-law Harold Leifer. Harold and Bea’s son, Michael, now runs this Reading landmark which is enjoying its 92nd year of continuous operation. Klein Transportation was founded in 1957 by John KIein. His son, William, took over operations in the early ’60s until his death in 2000. Bill’s

wife, Mary, then ran the business. Subsequently, her son Wayne Klein assumed responsibility for running the business. When Mary passed away in 2008, Wayne assumed ownership of the business. Another son was not active in the business. Mary had carefully structured a transition plan that would provide equally for her two sons, at the same time that she transitioned business ownership over to Wayne and his wife, Adele, who had been actively running the business for a number of years. Their daughter, Alison Klein Sherman, is also actively involved in the business. In 1978, Ann Gallen-Moll joined Gallen Insurance, the insurance business founded by her father, Joseph J. Gallen, back in 1957. In 1987, when she became President, there were five brothers and Gallen-Moll’s husband also working in the business. In the mid-’90s a decision was made to diversify, and brothers Jack and Chris Gallen now own GMG Bakery on Pricetown Road; Gallen-Moll’s husband, Don Moll, has B&G Glass, and another brother, Mark, owns LMN Janitorial. Brothers Joe and Dave Gallen, and Dave’s son, Ben, are currently active in the business. Many other examples come to mind: Scott Vaughn, son of Charlotte Cooper, is now running Standard Offset and the entire Standard Group organization. Julia Klein is the third generation leader of the C.H. Briggs organization which was founded by her maternal grandmother, then run by her father for a number of years. Scott Light purchased A to Z Vacuum from his father after working in the business his entire career. Kim Loudis shares responsibility for Barbey Electronics Corp., which was founded by her parents, with her sister. Meghan Helineck is currently being groomed to assume responsibility for M.J. Reider Associates when her mother, Barbara Coyle, a second-generation owner, retires. This high volume of business transitions is clear evidence that succession planning should be a high priority for every business – and especially for family businesses. The relationships and emotions involved in a family business, coupled with the fact that most people are not all that comfortable discussing topics such as aging, death and their financial affairs, can make succession planning a real challenge. In many cases, the ‘killer’ issue is either taxes or family

discord – both issues that a good succession plan will address. Don’t be part of the 70% of family-owned businesses that do not survive the transition from founder to the next generation. To ensure the word “success” is a part of your business succession planning, start now and get the professional advice and assistance you need to insure that you have a plan in place that will guide a smooth transition between you and the future owners of your business. Don’t know where to start? The Chamber’s Family Business Alliance (FBA) offers a wealth of resources, peer to peer groups, programs, workshops, and subject matter experts to get you on the right path and in front of others sharing the same challenges and opportunities! In addition, many of our regional accounting firms have departments devoted entirely to succession planning with skilled professionals who can answer all of your tax and financial planning questions. Regional law firms have attorneys who specialize in estate planning and the legal issues associated with business transition. And, many consulting professionals can assist you in addressing the interpersonal issues associated with developing a transition plan that is fair and equitable for all of your successors and they are experts at facilitating such dialogue. Taking no action guarantees chaos. Ensuring success requires action. Get on it!



Business in Your Backyard

KMX International Ellen Albright, Greater Reading Chamber


ecently, I had the pleasure of interviewing father and son James “Jim” A. Vitez, President/ CEO, and Jamie Vitez, Executive Vice President – KMX International. Have you heard of them? Tucked away on 2nd and Grand Streets in Hamburg, PA, this global company operates terminals in Baltimore, MD; Pittsfield, MA; Pittsburgh, Erie, Sinking Spring and Hamburg, PA, equipped with the ability to transport shipments anywhere in the world by land, air, rail or sea. Competing in a global market, KMX provides rigging services, Gantry Systems to 400 ton capacity, export boxing and packaging services, warehousing services, 350,000 sq. ft. of warehousing, heated and sprinkler systems, and 19-Axle tractor trailer hauling equipment with capacity of 150 Tons (300,000 lbs.) – delivering both domestic and international door to door service. But to truly understand their evolution and success in meeting market needs, it is best to start at the beginning.

KMX began in 1964 as a local firm called Kreitz Motor Express, and experienced both growth and transition as its market needs changed. The company was purchased from the original owner in the 1970s by President/CEO Jim Vitez, who remains the acting President to date, celebrating over 40 years of ownership. Under his direction, KMX has truly set itself apart by adapting to economic trends. As time has passed, the company has mastered the ability to manage total transportation, total logistics, and the most important factor of all – total responsibility for door-to-door service and safe, timely delivery whether it be a domestic or international transportation.

and Warehousing. Often referred to as “Project Cargo,” KMX is equipped to supply complete transportation and supervision for large projects that require intense coordination, constant communication, and extreme attention to detail. Jim Vitez has been quoted saying, “Equipment and services can always be added as we grow and change with the market, but it’s our people, experience, and commitment to safety that keep our customers coming back and allow us to be a strong outfit in the Northeast.” Over and over again, Jim credits his talented team for the success and growth of the organization. Not only have they been able to adapt to new demands in hauling and transportation, but they are cross-trained to handle cargo safely and professionally. KMX’s 37 employees are experts in many areas, from machinery rigging to carpentry work, heavy haul, to over-the-road transportation. There is much pride in the team’s ability to provide such a comprehensive menu of services, and the staff fully believes the success is in the details – all with a focus on the utmost customer service experience each and every time.

One huge asset to KMX and its employees is the attention paid to safety as a daily practice. The company follows the Safety Program First strategy. Each month, KMX has safety meetings and employees take turns leading the meeting. Each employee must research in detail a safety subject, and provide a lesson on the topic. KMX provides a safety incentive program for all employees, as well as conducts job site safety meetings. The company also employs a “Risk Control” committee. Other safety measures include: best So what exactly goes into rigging, packaging, and transporting practices agenda, risk assessment scoring system, AER system in heavy machinery, precious cargo and high-value equipment? Often over-the-road vehicles, physical abilities testing, forklift certification there are many steps, which is where KMX has seen its biggest program, as well as additional training and inspections as needed. growth in the industry. Rather than focusing primarily in one service This comprehensive safety strategy has not gone unnoticed. The area, KMX has advanced into a comprehensive logistics provider, Specialized Carriers and Riggers Association has recognized KMX offering seven separate – but often times intertwined – service areas: International with numerous safety awards including: the Million Heavy Hauling, Rigging, Export Boxing and Packaging, On-Site Miler, Fleet Safety, Safety Improvement, Zero Accident, and and On-Pier Export Packing, Heavy Duty Rail, Strategic Locations, Hauling Job of the Year.


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Extraordinary! When Buying or Selling Your Next Home

Not without its challenges, some of the biggest hurdles in the industry come from taxation and being overly-regulated at the local, state, and federal level. In addition, not all states allow uniform size and weights when hauling over-the-road, transporting oversize /overweight cargo, which creates compliance challenges across state lines. That being said, KMX has become very creative in streamlining the process, providing transparency to customers, and allowing for real-time updates. This is done through software that the company developed which tracks cargo through the smallest of steps as it’s warehoused, packaged and shipped across the globe. For example, if something is shipped to KMX and is received damaged – a picture can be taken and sent with a report to the customer immediately, within minutes of arrival. KMX embraces the spectrum of services available to get any cargo job done safely. Examples of these jobs include: transporting a $640 million NASA Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite space shuttle, fragile museum pieces, a giraffe (yes, a real giraffe!), just-intime delivery of 55,115,565 lbs. of imported steel mill equipment, and that’s just to name a few! As the needs of the transportation industry continue to evolve, there is no doubt KMX will be at the forefront. And, while you may not have been familiar with KMX International’s Hamburg headquarters before, it is certain that you will recognize them coming if you ever encounter them on the road whether they’re hauling equipment, space shuttles, or zoo animals! For more information on KMX International, visit: /

Fine Homes & Estates are my her specialty, specialty, & & Extraordinary homes deserve Extraordinary attention. As the premier Realtor in Berks County, Lisa has used her professional eye, marketing savvy, enthusiasm for the business, and her understanding of the process to quickly match buyers and sellers. Her sales and marketing skills have made her the most successful agent in Berks County, and she would like to share that success with you. When you are ready to sell or to buy, pick someone who can give you Extraordinary results!

Lisa Tiger 610.779.2500 • 610.207.6186 (direct)   11


Non-Profit Wish List It is a wonderful time of year to reflect upon and be thankful for all of life’s blessings. The community we live in is one of great giving – through time, talent, and treasure. As you close out 2016, be sure to identify a local organization or two that you can donate to, volunteer for, or help to promote. Your generosity and mindfulness of the needs of the community you live in will provide aid, renewal and ultimately hope to those so desperately in need this season, and year round.

Animal Rescue League of Berks County

Berks Youth Chorus [BYC]

Contact: Liz McCauley, Executive Director,, 610-373-8830 Wish List: The Animal Rescue League of Berks County is the only open admission shelter in Berks County and takes in approximately 6,000 animals each year. To help keep costs down, donations for the animals are greatly appreciated. Much needed items include cleaning supplies such as anti-bacterial wipes, laundry detergent and paper towels. Other items include blankets, towels, Nylabones, cat litter and cat food. To find the complete ARL wish list visit

Contact: Dail Richie,, 610-898-7664 Wish List: BYC parents serve as volunteers to assist singers and directors during concerts and rehearsals. BYC seeks a volunteer who would serve consistently at concerts and Monday rehearsals, 6:00-8:30 pm, GoggleWorks, assisting directors and children, ages 8-14, during the school year.

Reading Bike Hub (Re-Design Reading) Contact: Jason Orth, 610-507-4820 Wish List: Clean out your garage and help a community member get to work every day or a kid stay out of trouble – give us your used bicycles. We also collect new kids’ helmets, which we distribute to kids under 12 at no-cost, as supplies last. Please call Jason to coordinate donation pick-ups or deliveries!

BCTV Contact: Heather Adams,, 610-374-3065 Wish List: Studio volunteers – we will train you to be a part of producing live television! No experience needed! And Committee Members who are excited about an informed and involved Berks County community.

Berks Arts Council Contact: Karen Haver,, 610-898-1930 Wish List: Volunteers for Berks Jazz Fest – ushers, ticket-takers, hospitality, production, transportation, merchandise sales.

Berks Business Education Coalition [BBEC] Contact: Solomon Lausch, Ph.D.,, 610-372-6114 Wish List: BBEC would like five new businesses to assist in hosting a portion of the 3800 ninth graders from across Berks County that participate in the Students Interacting with Business program, September 25-29, 2017.

Berks Women in Crisis

CASA of Berks County Contact: Ashley Frank, Executive Director, Wish List: Gas gift cards for volunteers that drive clients to appointments, track phones, board games, arts & crafts, books/ coloring books, copy paper, envelopes, 1.5” three-ring binders, tab dividers, file folders.

Easter Seals Eastern Pennsylvania Contact: Sue Schamberger,, 610-289-0114, ext. 222 Wish List: Fisher Price Grow 2 Pro EZ Tee Baseball, Fisher Price Grow 2 Pro Super Sound Soccer, MagnaDoodle Deluxe Drawing Toy from Cra-A-Art, Franklin Sport 5 game Beach Bag Combo Set, New color printer with ink cartridges, iPad Pro or iPad Air 2, Pediatric wheelchairs in good condition, Adult wheelchairs, especially basic chairs that fold, Wheelchair cushions (clean and in good condition), KidWalk Gait Trainers, Supine board, adult size by Rifton, Reams of white 8.5x11 paper.

Friends of the Daniel Boone Homestead Contact: Paul Kahan,, 610-582-4900 Wish List: Printer cartridges (Dell 3000CN Black Toner), upright vacuum cleaner, digital camera, mops and brooms.

Greater Berks Food Bank Contact: Doug Long, Manager – Marketing & Development,, 610-926-5802 Wish List: Non-perishable foods throughout the year. Please consider organizing a food drive or dropping off a personal donation. The Greater Berks Food Bank also has a weekly need for volunteers to help pack food boxes and bags. Please consider donating your time to fight hunger.

Contact: Mereliss Colon Ortiz,, 610-373-2053 Wish List: Blankets, twin sheet sets, scarfs, hats, gloves, women’s Habitat for Humanity of Berks County underwear (M – 2XL), Walmart gift cards, BARTA bus passes, over- Contact: Lynn Jusinski,, 610-373-3439 the-counter medications, women’s hygiene products, hair brushes, Wish List: Habitat has a desperate need for mentors for our partner umbrellas, socks, brooms, mops, dustpans, coffee cups, silverware. families. We especially need bilingual (Spanish/English) mentors. 12  COMMERCE QUARTERLY   WINTER 2017

This is a very small time commitment – at most, two hours a month – that makes a huge impact on the success of our partner families.

Junior Achievement of Southeastern Pennsylvania Contact: Ashley Mikulsky,, 610-230-3366 Wish List: Office Chairs, White Boards, Cork Boards (gently used OK), flip charts.

Literacy Council of Reading-Berks Contact: Ryan Breisch, Executive Director,, 610-670-9960 Wish List: Volunteer tutors, single subject notebooks, 1” binders, easel pads, Lysol wipes, computer paper, pens, pencils, dry erase markers and erasers, manila file folders, post-it notes, highlighters, batteries, BARTA Bus Tokens, coffee, creamer, sugar.

Reading Beautification, Inc. Contact: Joan Campbell, Wish List: Rakes, heavy duty extra-strong trash bags, cotton canvas gloves, Lowes/Home Depot gift cards, trash picker/ grabbers, shovels.

Reading Choral Society Contact: Susan Coughlin,, 610-898-1939 Wish List: Reading Choral Society could use Committee members, Board members and Volunteers for our events.

Reading Recreation Commission Contact: Daphne Klahr,, 610-655-6058 Wish List: Personal Hygiene Products for boys and girls including deodorant, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. We currently have over 250 city youth enrolled in our afterschool programs.

Supportive Concepts for Families Contact: Donna Forte,, 484-577-0856 Wish List: Coloring books, arts and crafts, puzzles, games, hats, gloves, scarves, full-size shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, and toothpaste, shaving supplies, sunscreen, gardening supplies.

United Way of Berks County Contact: Darby Wiekrykas, Volunteer Engagement,, 610-685-4574 Wish List: United Way of Berks County compiles a full list of those agency organizations that have needs during the holiday season. These agency items can be anything from material to volunteer needs – view the full list online here, and give back today: article/254/Holiday-Volunteer-Guide.   13




TED is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 110 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. Here are a few that caught our eye. Just visit the link and enjoy!


A Advertising “The Happy Secret to Better Work”

B Behavioral Economics “The Economy of Trust”

C Collaboration “5 Ways to Lead in an Era of Constant Change”

D Decision-Making “Why You Think You’re RightEven If You’re Wrong”

E Education “How to Raise Successful KidsWithout Over-Parenting”

F Finance “Economic Growth Has Stalled. Let’s Fix it”

G Goal-setting “Two Reasons Companies FailAnd How to Avoid Them”

H Health “Your Words May Predict Your Future Mental Health”



“We’ve Stopped Trusting Institutions and Started Trusting Strangers”

J Journalism “The Risky Politics of Progress”

L Leadership “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”

M Motivation “What Reality Are You Creating for Yourself?”

N News “How We Can Predict The Next Financial Crisis”

O Open-Source “This Computer Will Grow Your Food In the Future”

P Personal Growth “Let’s Teach for MasteryNot Test Scores”

R Resources “How to Build a Business That Lasts 100 Years”

S Sustainability “We Can Re-Program Life. How to Do It Wisely”


driving greater success. Ted Lentz, President, Lentz Milling Company

Growing a multi-generation logistics company with help from RKL. Commercial bakeries rely on efficient, on-time delivery of the raw ingredients they need for their day-to-day operations. And Lentz is the distributor that many mid-Atlantic bakeries trust to help them make the products we all crave. While Ted is focused on growing his bakery logistics operations, he needs the help of a knowledgeable advisor to help manage his company’s financial planning, compliance and performance. For more than 30 years, Ted and his family have relied on our high-level business insight into tax savings strategies, succession planning, business valuation, estate planning and more, so Ted can focus…on driving greater success. Are you focused on growing your business like Ted Lentz?

Together, we can help you drive greater success. Contact us today to learn more.

Reading • Lancaster • York • Harrisburg • Carlisle



certified public accountants & consultants

Focused. On You.

T Technology “Machine Intelligence Makes Human Morals More Important”

U United States “America’s Forgotten Working Class”

V Virtual Reality “This Virtual Lab Will Revolutionize Science Class”

Y Youth “What Adults Can Learn from Kids”

W Work-Life Balance “The New American Dream”   15



A CULTURE OF HELPFULNESS Co-Authored: Melissa Achenbach and Ed Shenk, Weaver’s Hardware Company

“Be Helpful To Everyone…It Matters.”

By providing a comfortable, safe work environment, Weaver’s can truly care about its associates and promote the associates to This is our purpose statement at Weaver’s Hardware Company. truly care about each other. This team atmosphere is seen in action Weaver’s and its associates fulfill this mission every day, in the way every day in the Fleetwood and Douglassville stores. This translates we interact with customers and the way we treat each other – it to the customer base – everyone is valued and respected. Many is the culture of the company. How do you promote this culture? associates know customers by their first name and have formed According to Ed Shenk, owner of Weaver’s Hardware Company, friendships with customers. Weaver’s associates treat others how the answer is “our associates” and it’s about providing them 1) they would want to be treated. This seems to be a simple mission, quality of life; 2) fair and competitive compensation along with but one that is purposefully and intentionally at the core of what promoting; and 3) a culture of caring and helpfulness. Weaver’s does each and every day. It all starts with the right associates who are the right fit – we Because Weaver’s Hardware Company provides a balanced take time to make sure that members of the team share our mission and our desire of taking care of customers. Weaver’s helps associates quality of life, strong compensation, and culture of caring, there maintain this level of customer experience by providing tools that is a benefit of consistency – very little associate turnover. Weaver’s allow them to be helpful such as customer experience training, employs 60 associates and most are long term, an average tenure of certification, retraining in customer experience aspects that need 15 years. The associates of Weaver’s Hardware Company appreciate to be refreshed, product knowledge training, and resources such being on the Weaver’s team and enjoy being helpful. According as time to extend to the customer on a daily basis. Our associates to Mike P. of the Douglassville store, “I feel like I’m an important feel equipped with the knowledge to help customers find solutions part of what goes on at Weaver’s, not just a cashier, I’m part of and we feel supported by each other – an area expert is always the success of the organization.” Mary R. of the Fleetwood store there to answer the question or step in to help if the associate is says, “Caring is an action – I see it in action at Weaver’s every unsure of the answer. All of this combines to make our associates day.” According to Tim H. of the Fleetwood store, “We all have genuine expression of thanks to every customer.” And Rick D. of feel confident in working with customers every day. the Douglassville store says, “Everyone works together as a team.” Weaver’s also compensates associates well. The salary of a Weaver’s associate is 40% higher than the national average and the sales per Weaver’s associate outperform the national average by close to 50%. This is a successful business model for Weaver’s. “We need to make a profit to stay in business but not at the expense of our associates,” said Shenk.


Weaver’s Hardware Company is able to create a helpful culture by taking care of its associates on all levels. “Our biggest investment is our team – not inventory, not our building, not marketing,” said Shenk. And, this is why customers experience helpfulness on all levels at Weaver’s Hardware Company.

hr issues & solutions

OSHA Clarifies Its “Just

Say No”

to Automatic Post-Accident Drug-Testing Rule Debra R. Franklin, Esq., SPHR, Vice President – Murray Securus HR Solutions


ow do employers reconcile automatic drug testing required by workers’ compensation laws with the provisions of OSHA’s new Rule saying that automatic testing could be retaliatory? Following our recent seminar with OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist Dale Glacken on that issue, many of our clients had questions. They were not alone; in fact, there was so much debate that OSHA issued a Memorandum on October 19, 2016 clarifying its position and affirmatively stating that it will not issue citations under the new Electronic Recordkeeping Rule for drug testing conducted under a state workers’ compensation law or other state or federal laws or regulations. The agency also delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation portions of OSHA’s new Rule until December 1, 2016 while a challenge works its way through federal court in Texas. Under the new Rule, employers must establish reasonable procedures for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses in a manner that must not “deter or discourage” employees from making such reports. In its original commentary to the Rule, OSHA took the position that automatic, post-accident drug-testing policies may deter and discourage employees from reporting OSHA violations and, as a result, such policies would face increased scrutiny. But most employers require such testing following workplace injuries in order to ensure workers’ compensation coverage, leaving them wondering what to do. In the October 19 Memorandum, OSHA noted that the new Rule “only prohibits drug testing employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses without an objectively reasonable basis for doing so.”

employer only tested the employee who reported the injury or illness, and whether the employer has a heightened interest in determining if drug use could have contributed to the injury or illness due the hazardousness of the work being performed when the injury or illness occurred.” The Memorandum makes clear that drug testing may not be used by the employer as a form of discipline against employees who report an injury or illness, but may be used to evaluate the cause of workplace injuries and illness where appropriate. Under the new Rule, employers are required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting; and incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses. The take-away: employers should note that the new Rule does not ban all post-accident or work-related injury employee drug-testing but rather prohibits the use of drug-testing or the threat of drug-testing “as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses.” Stay tuned for news on the legal challenge to the new Rule. In the meantime, employers should review their existing policies to see whether drug testing is currently required for all workrelated accidents or injuries and, if so, consider revising them to exclude those incidents that clearly are not the fault of the employee (e.g., machine malfunctions unrelated to employee error or employee injuries caused by another employee’s negligence), unless there is an otherwise objectively reasonable basis for requiring testing for all incidents, such as state workers’ compensation law. In addition, regardless of whether the new Rule fully takes effect or is stricken, it is a good idea for the policy to clearly state that retaliation for reporting workplace injuries or accidents is strictly forbidden.

The agency noted that “when evaluating whether an employer had a reasonable basis for drug testing an employee who reported a work-related injury or illness, the central inquiry will be whether the employer had a reasonable basis for believing that drug use by the reporting employee could have contributed to the injury or illness. If so, it would be Murray Securus is an employee-owned company founded in 1930. objectively reasonable to subject the employee to a drug test. As one of the region’s largest independent insurance brokers, Murray When OSHA evaluates the reasonableness of drug testing a Securus offers human resource consulting and HR outsourcing using particular employee who has reported a work-related injury or an experienced team led by an attorney who has practiced in labor illness, it will consider factors including whether the employer and employment law for more than 25 years. Our consultants had a reasonable basis for concluding that drug use could have are committed to providing operational strategies while ensuring contributed to the injury or illness (and therefore the result of a compliant, high-functioning workplace. Additionally Murray the drug test could provide insight into why the injury or illness Securus offers solutions for risk management, insurance, health occurred), whether other employees involved in the incident benefits, third-party administration, and wealth management. that caused the injury or illness were also tested or whether the


small business matters

Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is Christin Kelley, Main Street Manager West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation



est Reading rolled out the red carpet for Small Business Saturday on November 26th with deals and steals up and down Penn Avenue; it was the perfect day to find the special something for everyone on your list. From shop small totes stuffed to the brim with coupons, freshly roasted (free!) coffee from our beloved Benchwarmer’s Coffee Co., a very special visit from Senator Schwank and Santa himself; we made sure to give our community every reason to commune in our borough for a day dedicated to our very merry merchants. Windows were dressed and on display as part of our Annual Holiday Window Competition with the Albright College Fashion Department, making the day more merry and bright! We have pulled out all the stops to show off our charming downtown and its beautiful businesses this holiday season and we invite you to put your money where your heart is! You don’t need a mall to meet your holiday needs. Instead, recognize all that West Reading has to offer from packing your pantry to stuffing your stockings to celebrating the season. Small businesses do it best, with personalized service and a smile! It’s important to remember, as the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) points out, “A thriving downtown is a long-term community asset that must be constantly nurtured, maintained, and promoted.”

No matter the season you’ll find something fabulous (and super thoughtful!) on the avenue for that special someone, adding just one more reason to love West Reading! While finding the perfect gift during the holiday season is important, we recognize how important it is to get just the right fit, food or flavor year round! You can call on our merchants any time – to help you in a pinch or to make something perfect – and they will open the door just for you. They will bake, make, design, brew, perfect, sew or find the exact thing your heart desires because they are at the core of this community. This relationship between small businesses and their community is priceless and worth investing in daily, weekly and monthly. Here’s a quick and easy top ten list, developed by Stacy Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (, to keep in mind when deciding how to spend your dollars downtown: 18  COMMERCE QUARTERLY   WINTER 2017

4. KEEPING DOLLARS IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.

1. LOCAL CHARACTER AND PROSPERITY In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-akind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage. 2. COMMUNITY WELL-BEING Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes. 3. LOCAL DECISION-MAKING Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

5. JOBS AND WAGES Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do. 6. ENTREPRENEURSHIP Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of lowwage jobs and into the middle class. 7. PUBLIC BENEFITS AND COSTS Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls. 8. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers – which

in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution. 9. COMPETITION A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the longterm. 10. PRODUCT DIVERSITY A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. We challenge you to celebrate Small Business Saturday every day! As a vital part of this community it’s so important that West Reading keeps thriving and growing because small businesses are the foundation of a healthy, vibrant, creative community. We put our heart and soul into creating a loveable community full of your favorite shops, restaurants and events because we know that you want to spend your time and your money where your heart is.

We are a full service real estate company representing clients in Berks and Lancaster County. If you are planning to buy or sell your home, please consider Weikel Realty Group.

Chris J. Weikel

Megan Weikel

Broker/REALTOR® (610) 914-3199

REALTOR® (717) 779-3817

12A South Fifth Avenue • West Reading, PA 19611 • (610) 816-7404

First choice For clients seeking integrity and high-value services   19

2016 Rising




ach year, the Chamber celebrates those up-and-coming young professionals who live or work in Greater Reading (Berks County); are age 45 or younger; make Greater Reading a better place to work and live; demonstrate leadership; and are actively involved in the Greater Reading community. Sponsored by Fulton Bank and VA Productions, these organizations recognize the importance of honoring talent in our community through encouraging them to lead by example by giving back to the place they not only work in, but also call home. On November 16, an evening reception was held at Berkshire Country Club to recognize not only the five award recipients,


2 0 1 6

but also the more than thirty nominees that had an application submitted by a mentor or peer in their network. The outpouring of nominations is a demonstration of the supportive management in the community to create the next generation of influential leaders. The 2016 award recipients are pictured from L-R: • Jonathan Zeigler, Baker Tilly • Heather Adams, BCTV • Ellen Albright, Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry • Stephanie Kane, RKL • Wesley T. Stefanick, Reading-Berks Association of Realtors


in your community

Your Guide to

Tax-Smart Year-End Giving


Stephanie E. Kane, CPA, Tax Supervisor, RKL LLP

he holiday season provides many opportunities for us to give back to the communities where we live, work and play, but the overabundance of solicitations can make it hard to focus our charitable efforts. The flurry of year-end giving may also result in donors skipping the important steps necessary to reap the personal tax benefits of charitable contributions. Here are a few things to keep in mind this giving season and throughout the year:

a. Cash donations: Most organizations will provide a letter that indicates how much you gave and what amount of your gift is considered a charitable donation. Keep that letter for your tax records to support your giving. Letters are required to be issued for contributions over $75, so if your contribution is less than that, and you don’t have a letter, a copy of a cancelled check would be sufficient support.

1. Make a budget. The holidays are expensive! Between buying gifts for friends and families, attending or hosting parties and special events and supporting local charities during holiday fundraising drives, the costs can add up quickly. It is helpful to develop a budget ahead of time to figure out how much you can afford to give to charities this holiday season. There’s no need to budget down to the penny, but having an idea of the general amount you plan to give this year helps reduce the stress of making the decisions when each solicitation arrives.

b. Noncash donations less than $250: The bag of clothes you donate to Goodwill, or the box of food you donate to the local food bank or soup kitchen, is a legitimate donation, but you need a receipt or letter from the organization stating the date and a description of the property given. The organization does not have to value the goods received; the determination of value is on the donor. For clothing and household goods, a good resource is the Goodwill Valuation Guide, available online. For food and perishable goods, receipts from your original purchase can be used in combination with the letter from the organization to substantiate your donation for tax purposes.

2. Pick a cause you want to support. It’s no secret that all organizations want to benefit from your philanthropic disposition at this time of year, but you need to be discerning about which you want to support. Remind yourself you don’t have to say “yes” to everything. Your time, treasure and talents are yours to disburse, and you should feel confident and good about where you choose to use them. 3. Research the organization before giving. The Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations have “Charity Lookup” tools you can use to be sure the organization you are supporting is in fact a registered charity, and to know if your contribution to them is tax deductible. Another good resource is, where you can find copies of tax returns and important information about the organization and how much of your money funds their mission. 4. Document your giving. There are different kinds of giving, which result in different types of documentation you need for your tax records.

c. Noncash donations greater than $250: The larger the gift, the more detailed the documentation needs to be. After $250, good faith estimates ($250-$5,000) or appraisals ($5,000 and up) for the items received will be required. Organizations should be aware of what the requirements are, but it’s always best to check with your tax advisor and the organization when giving the donation. It’s much easier to get the documentation in real time rather than going back to the organization months later. d. Stock donations: Stocks are a great way to support organizations and not affect your personal cash flow. Donating stock that you have held for longer than a year and has appreciated in value gives you a larger charitable contribution. Plus, you’ll avoid paying tax on the capital gain. If you have a losing stock, sell it first and then donate the cash. You will get the benefit of the capital loss and the cash value of the contribution. Keep in mind, stock donations can be somewhat more involved and require additional documentation, so contact the organization you wish to support and your tax advisor before making this type of contribution. 5. A commitment to give, or pledge, does not constitute a charitable donation. As an individual taxpayer, you can only take a deduction for the actual amounts you pay out during the calendar year. A commitment in December 2016 to support the 2017 budget with a payment in January cannot be included on your 2016 tax return. Charitable end-of-year giving can have a significant impact on our communities. With the proper planning, research and documentation, it can also have a positive impact on your personal tax return.


in your community

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS GIVING BACK Wesley T. Stefanick, Director, Government and Community Affairs, Reading-Berks Association of REALTORS®

“There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”— Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle


couts learn many lessons while progressing through the scouting program. Having been one myself, one of the key phrases that I remember is “do a good turn daily.” While that phrase has guided much of my life, many young professionals decide to give back to their community for a variety of reasons. Whether it is because they enjoy helping others, they have a talent that provides a benefit to an organization, or they simply enjoy a hobby that they like to share with others, young professionals in Berks County are active and engaged in volunteering for many organizations and causes throughout our community and beyond.

Heather Adams, Executive Director of Berks Community Television (BCTV), may have said it best when she accepted her Rising Star Award at the 2016 Rising Star reception: “Our Berks County community has some tough things said about it sometimes, but I truly believe this is a great place to do good work and to make good things happen.” Young professionals throughout Berks County are dedicated to making our community better—doing good work and making good things happen—but everyone needs to help. Will you?

While many of us as young professionals are not all wealthy, we’re rich in giving time and talent. Take the volunteers of the Reading Bike Hub as a great example of young talent working towards creating a better Reading. This organization was created on the premise of being a “pop-up” bike shop which simply meant it would be a short-term project. After two years, I’m very happy to see that the Hub is stronger than ever due in part to their dedicated volunteers. Volunteers who take time out of their day to mentor children who are just learning to ride a bike, volunteers who teach children and adults how to fix their own bikes, and volunteers who use biking to promote friendship and fellowship. You don’t have to look far to find young professionals doing great work—just visit the friendly faces of the Reading Bike Hub. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, one in five Millennials volunteered in 2015. In Pennsylvania, most volunteering occurred in the areas of fundraising for general causes, collecting, preparing, and distributing food, engaging in general labor, and mentoring youth. Important causes which, little-by-little, improve the quality of life for us all. I personally believe the only way that we will improve Berks County, our state, and our country is through the hands of volunteers. Volunteers who are willing to donate a few hours of their day to help a cause, volunteers who will donate a few dollars to buy essential supplies for an organization to carry out their work, and volunteers who are willing to step up and lead organizations that provide help and support to many of our family, friends, and neighbors in need. These individuals believe that their community is important and that it will be just a little better with their help.

It’s where they help builders.

It’s where we make decisions. Deb and Tom Kearse, Owners Kohl Building Products

Locally focused. A world of possibilities.   23

in your community

State of the Environment Report

Highlights Stories in Sustainability from Berks County Businesses COMPILED BY BERKS NATURE


id you know that RM Palmer project intended to raise awareness and Company gives its unusable appreciation of our exceptional natural chocolate to a local farmer to resources in Berks, and to stimulate feed to his pigs? How about that from action and discussion to protect these every Stonefly IPA you enjoy at Saucony resources. This focus on local sustainability Creek Brewing Company, a portion of business practices has initiated necessary the proceeds goes towards protecting and conversations and awareness around restoring the Schuylkill River watershed? important issues concerning our International sustainability consultant environment, and Berks Nature looks Scot Case conducted dozens of interviews forward to bringing attention to these and prepared an impressive report as part positive actions that local businesses have of Berks Nature’s State of the Environment implemented. in Berks Program. This report puts the The sustainability strategies adopted by spotlight on the green efforts of more Walmart, Unilever, McDonald’s, GE, and than 60 businesses, mostly local. “I’ve others are as different as the businesses spent years helping global companies build themselves. Just as no two businesses strategies to make money ‘going green.’ I operate the same way, no two businesses wanted to see what is happening right here apply sustainability the same way. Some in Berks County,” Case said of his report. companies focus on energy- and water“What I discovered is that Berks County efficiency and others focus on recycling or businesses are doing a lot. They’re just not zero waste. Some see sustainability as an talking about it as much as some of the engine of innovation; others see it as a series global companies. I also saw profitable of cost-saving and efficiency opportunities. opportunities for local companies to do Mirroring the broader global business more, perhaps with some help from Berks community, Berks County businesses look Nature.” at sustainability in a variety of different ways. Berks Nature President Kim Murphy Some of the ways local companies answer said the organization is proud to tell stories the question, “What does sustainability of the “exciting and innovative” ways that mean?” are described throughout the newly local businesses are practicing conservation published Sustainability: Stories from principles and affecting their bottom line. Berks County Business Leaders report. “Ultimately,” Murphy said, “we believe Sustainability means many things that the State of the Environment in Berks including recycling, improving efficiency, needs to be a community conversation responding to retail trends, growing family about setting goals, changing behaviors and thinking of new ways of doing things that business, and drinking better beer! The help conserve the resources that sustain our report explores 27 different topics like these, and references sustainable actions lives.” Now in its 8th year, Berks Nature’s State and/or stories of these 60+ local Berks of the Environment Program is an ongoing County businesses: 24  COMMERCE QUARTERLY   WINTER 2017

Adelphi Kitchens and Cabinetry Albright College Alvernia University Appeeling Fruit B&G Glass Berks Nature Bliss Haven Farm Blue Market Bread Co BMW of Reading Boscov’s Burkey Group C.H. Briggs Cartridge World Cougle’s Recycling Deep Roots Valley Farm Dundore & Heister East Penn Edge Insights Entech Engineering EthoSource Evergreen Community Power FirstEnergy Fleetwood Giorgio Mushrooms Global Libations Hafer Equipment Hitchcock Clean and Restore Irish Creek Excavating Kautter & Kelley Architects Kutztown University Kuzan’s TruValue Hardware L & H Signs Liberty Environmental Manatawny Creek Winery Misco Penn National Gaming Penn State Berks Penske Primordia Farm ProAsys R.M. Palmer Company Radius Corporation Reading Hospital Reading Truck Body Red Earth Farm Redner’s RER Energy Group Saucony Creek Brewing Company Shady Mountain Market Shorty’s Sunflower Café Sun Trap Farm Sunrise Dairy Farm The Nesting Box The Rose Corporation Turnberry Custom Homes United Corrstack Utilities Employees Credit Union Valley Milkhouse Weidenhammer Wild Fox Farm Zwicky Processing and Recycling

A Holistic Approach to Employee Benefits Power Kunkle delivers localized, high-touch services: Dedicated Client Relations Manager • Administration Support Services ACA Compliance Support • Benefits Compliance Review

Human Resource Solutions: Talent Recruitment • HR Compliance Audit • Employee Handbook Review Compensation Analysis • Training • General Human Resource Support

Wellness & Health Promotion: Surveys and Assessments • Biometric Screenings • Education Program Development & Incentive Tracking • Wellness Policy Review Worker’s Compensation & Safety Integration

A must-read for business owners, just released! Sustainability: Stories from Berks County Business Leaders. What does this mean for a business owner LIKE YOU? What’s next? 1. We want to hear from you! The existing report does not attempt to identify all of the Berks County businesses that have embraced sustainability or that are making money “going green.” It does not attempt to identify all of the ways they are doing it. It simply highlights some well-known local efforts as a way of illustrating some of the ways Berks County businesses are prospering in the global green economy, and in turn, we hope to inspire more businesses to do the same. This is just the beginning of the story-telling. Please share your story! Tell our friends at Berks Nature ways that your business is implementing sustainable practices. Local businesses will be featured in articles, enews, newsletters, and websites throughout 2017. Email your sustainable story to info@ 2. In 2017 a Green Business Breakfast Series will be announced with Berks Nature. Attend! Learn more. Indicate your interest in the series by emailing 3. Read the full report online at http://www.berksnature. org and click on Stories in Sustainability…at the bottom of the page. Share the report with your colleagues! • 1-866-685-1790 •

Happy Holidays from your friends at

Berks County’s Only Locally-Owned Community Bank! 610-944-7666   25

live it up local

Live it up Local: Memos from our Members F E AT U R I N G . . . Katie Carpenter, Human Resources Manager TRIOSE

Berks County

is an ideal location for folks in all stages of building their careers and families to live, work, and play! With a diverse set of attractions, sensational outdoor beauty, and experiences for both residents and visitors – there is quite literally something for everyone! The quality of place here is a strong selling point for attracting talent to local companies, as well as retaining employee talent as these professionals build families and grow within their careers. This section is dedicated to celebrating the many ways local companies are creating a culture around community and celebrating the many opportunities to have some fun in Berks!

Every December, the TRIOSE team likes to celebrate a successful year by gathering everyone together and having some fun! We bring our team members from near and far to participate in our annual King Pin Bowling Tournament and Year End Party. We kick off the festivities by holding a “draft” at the office in Wyomissing to pick our bowling teams. It’s a great way for our team to spend time with people they may not get to see or work with often. Then, each team picks a TRIOSE-related costume idea to wear to the bowling tournament. On the third Wednesday of December, we head to Bowl-O-Rama in Exeter for the tournament and costume contest! Which is, of course, followed by a buffet full of great food from Bowl-Grille. The fun doesn’t stop there! We go from costumes to classy – on Thursday night we dress up for a nice evening out at Stokesay Castle for our Year End Party. Here, we recognize our team for 26  COMMERCE QUARTERLY   WINTER 2017

different company awards, mingle, and even hit the dance floor! One of the most fun things about the evening is that we always have a local photographer to take goofy group photos for us. Needless to say, TRIOSE loves to spend a few nights out on the town with our team around the holidays!

volunteer spotlight


SPOTLIGHT Ellen Albright, Greater Reading Chamber

Natasha Manbeck, P.E., AICP

Project Manager McMahon Associates, Inc. Role with the Chamber: Member of Business & Community Advocacy Council and Transportation Committee; Chamber’s Alternate for Susquehanna Regional Transportation Partnership Board. Natasha Manbeck has always had a solid plan to pursue her dreams. When she graduated from Conrad Weiser High School, she knew that she wanted to be a transportation planner and engineer! (WOW!) She followed this path at Georgia Tech, receiving an undergraduate degree in civil engineering. She then continued on at the University of California for two Masters’ Degrees; one in civil engineering and the other city planning. After gaining her robust educational experience, Natasha returned to Berks County to work on improving our local transportation and infrastructure. Natasha has since gained 10 years of experience in planning and engineering, with a focus on coordinating land use and transportation systems. Her broad background includes developing local and regional transportation plans, preparing successful grant applications, managing multimodal improvement projects, and facilitating public meetings. This background is the perfect blend to pair her with success at her current employer – McMahon Associates, Inc. The company delivers innovative transportation engineering, planning, design and technology solutions to both governmental and private-sector clients. McMahon Associates also does planning and design for all types of transportation infrastructure, from roads and bridges to trails and traffic signals. When she’s not busy improving transportation and infrastructure in her realm of work, she also volunteers her expertise on two Chamber committees – the Business & Community Advocacy Council, and the Transportation Committee. In addition, she serves as the Chamber’s Alternate for the Susquehanna Regional Transportation Board. Her vast background and knowledge provides invaluable feedback and contribution to the success of local efforts. She mentions that she chose to volunteer with the Chamber because, “With the Chamber, I thought it would be a great way to meet people, give back, and invest in the Greater Reading community.” While we appreciate all of Natasha’s efforts and time, we are pleased to know that she still balances work with life enough to enjoy spending time with her husband, two daughters, and family that live right here in Berks, while also baking as a hobby for all of them!

Timothy G. Dietrich, Esq.

Partner Barley Snyder Role with the Chamber: Chamber Board of Directors – Legal Counsel.

Timothy Dietrich has an extensive list of work and volunteer experience. Beyond serving as legal counsel for the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Board of Directors, he has held many other titles on varying other boards. A few of these organizations have included: The Highlands at Wyomissing, Reading Health System, Greater Reading Economic Partnership, Alvernia University, Reading Civic Opera Society, and United Way of Berks County. As Tim has said, “The opportunity to live and work in Berks County while having a great quality of life is outstanding.” We believe this quality of life is possible because of volunteers like him, making change and impact for the greater good of the community one volunteer hour at a time! When he’s not tirelessly serving the community, he provides strategic advice for businesses, financial institutions and governments in a number of areas, including organization and governance and the structuring, negotiation, and closing of corporate and commercial financial transactions. In addition, he leads Barley Snyder’s Food and Agribusiness Industry practice. From 2008-2013, Tim served as Barley Snyder’s managing partner and initiated Barley’s process improvement program called Practice Excellence®. His practice areas encompass business, finance and creditors’ rights, and real estate. He has received many accolades for his work, both volunteer and professional, including: Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (2005), United Way of Berks County Doran Award (2004), and the June A. Roedel Legacy of Commitment Award (1999). Tim feels that anyone considering joining or volunteering with the Chamber should consider the following, “As with so many opportunities to get involved in the community, the benefits you will receive from involvement will exceed your investment of effort.” We couldn’t agree more with Tim, and admire his work, as well as that of the many professionals across Berks County leading by example through their volunteer and work efforts!


entrepreneur’s corner

Levan Machine & Truck Equipment

Entrepreneur Update - Brian Levan President|CEO


s a third-generation company celebrating 80 years in business this year, we grew from a small garage to a multi-building facility now known as Levan Machine and Truck Equipment. From general machining and repair services, to fleet management, Levan Machine and Truck Equipment is now recognized as an industry leader. Our machine shop offers custom machining and fabricating, as well as prototyping, and building completely engineered products. We have the ability to repair or rebuild almost any product, part, tool or equipment, and those repairs are done on-site in our facility or we can send our machinists to your business for expedited machine repair. The truck shop installs equipment such as service bodies, dump bodies, snowplows, spreaders, lift gates, central hydraulic systems, and PTO’s, plus we offer general truck repair and maintenance. Our team specializes in van and truck up fitting, van interior products, warning lights and other custom equipment required for commercial use.

Our greatest opportunity for growth was the truck up fit market. We had to expand our service area and customer base, offer a variety of products applicable to daily commercial use, and partner with companies that also have a superior reputation for quality and service. One of the biggest challenges has been the ability to meet the production demands required by the increased volume of work generated by our expanded customer base. With additional buildings, machinery 28  COMMERCE QUARTERLY   WINTER 2017

and employees, we have been able to meet demand and maintain a high level of service. Our primary product lines include Knapheide Manufacturing Company, BOSS, Weather Guard, Van-Air, Sortimo, Air-Flo® Manufacturing Co., and Stellar Industries, Inc., and those partnerships have allowed us to continue to grow our customer base and product offerings. We recently added new product lines including Legend Fleet Solutions and SpitzLift Manufacturing. The Legend line includes wall liners, rigid flooring and rubber mats. SpitzLift Manufacturing offers lightweight aluminum cranes that deliver lift solutions for trucks, vans and military applications. The growth we experienced in the truck up fit market allowed us to double in size in 2015 when we acquired additional land for a new sales office and meeting area. A second land purchase was completed earlier this year and we recently began constructing an 8,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and a 12,000 square-foot warehouse. The expansion allows for new, cutting edge technologies and increased efficiencies. Overall, it’s a great time to be doing business and growing in Berks!


business & community advocacy

Help Close the Skills Gap and Become a

Workforce Pipeline Partner!


t the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, we recognize that our future business leaders and entrepreneurs are learning in the classroom right now. Historically, there has been a disconnect between what students learn in classrooms and what employers are looking for in potential hires. We believe it is important for the business community to connect with educators and students to make a difference. The Chamber is facilitating these connections through our Workforce Pipeline Initiatives focused on education attainment, leadership skills, career awareness and workplace experiences. These programs are supported by volunteers and sustained through partner investments along with funding provided through the Berks County Chamber Foundation.

The Chamber will continue to advocate for policy that will enhance our education system to make certain that students enter the workforce with the skills they need to compete for jobs and incumbent workers are able to obtain the training they need.

Consider the following ways to get involved: • Volunteer as a mentor/facilitator, serve as a classroom presenter, provide internships or workplace shadowing programs by opening the doors for students to participate in real-world experiences on-site at your facility.

• Provide Financial Support: Business Idea Challenge Angel Investors – support the Business Idea Challenge held for our local Institutes of Higher Education and provides cash awards to winning student entrepreneurs. Workforce Pipeline Partner – support other workforce pipeline initiatives throughout the year including Career Prep with Reading High School, County-wide Young Leadership Conference, CHOICES program, STEM competition, and workplace experience opportunities. PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program – administered by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), this tax credit enables companies to support Educational Improvement Organizations (EIO) of their choices like the Berks County Chamber Foundation. EITC provides companies with a 75% tax credit for a one time donation or 90% if there is a commitment for two years. Two of our programs are approved: The Career Prep Workshop and Fair at Reading High School and the County-wide Young Leadership Conference for tenth and eleventh graders. For more information and how to apply, visit, and search for EITC under ‘Funding and Programs.’

For more information on being engaged to make a difference, contact Gail A. Landis, C.P.M. VP Government & Community Relations for the Chamber at 610.376.6766.


business & community advocacy

The Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry consistently provides opportunities to be engaged and informed on policies and issues that impact our businesses and community.

2016 Advocacy

Year in Review

The Chamber intervened to ensure local control in administering the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, ensuring funds are aligned based on workforce skills with local labor market needs. Our Manufacturer’s Workforce Pipeline Roundtable discussed job and career opportunities, education, labor law, and training funding issues with Congressman Meehan and PA Representative Mackenzie.

Dr. G Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics & Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, provided voter education with regards to the Electoral College and the impact of the 2016 Elections.

As the state’s chief fiscal watchdog PA Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale addressed his findings with regards to unfunded liabilities of municipal/local government pensions along with other audits including financial issues in school districts at our Advocacy & Community Leadership luncheon.

The State of Community Leadership Challenge Breakfast examined the current state of affairs for Berks County, City of Reading and municipalities. Discussion focused on how the business community can help Greater Reading & Berks County become more economically vibrant and promote community revitalization.

The Chamber’s Annual Legislative Breakfast, Congressional Conversation event and Berks County Commissioners Update all provided opportunities for direct dialogue with our elected officials on issues of importance to our businesses and community.

PA Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards and Alan D. Piper - Berks County Planning Commission discussed transportation and infrastructure priorities and projects during a 2016 Advocacy & Community Leadership Series Luncheon.

Changes to the Federal Department of Labor Overtime Regulations was one of the most-discussed business issues of 2016. The Chamber provided a webpage with resources and conducted information sessions to ensure businesses were prepared. We also supported legislation that would help to mitigate the impact of federal overtime requirements.

Partnered with the Reading PICPA and Tax Foundation to discuss improving the business tax structure that continues to put the Commonwealth at a competitive disadvantage. Comprehensive tax and spending reforms at the local, state and federal level are necessary to stimulate economic development.

Chamber Vice President of Government & Community Relations Gail A. Landis C.P.M. discussed transportation policy and Berks County priority projects on an episode of Comcast Newsmakers. Our # 1 priority road improvement project 222 North has received funding and projects have begun to improve reliability and safety on that corridor. In addition, the ReadingBridges. net initiative is a public-private partnership monitoring project schedules and provides resources to businesses and commuters on the status of key projects including the Buttonwood Bridge and Penn Street Bridge.

Energy Forum keynote Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy, discussed the need to ensure that America’s supply of fuel and power is adequate, stable, and affordable, while protecting national security, and improving the environment. PPL, UGI and Met-Ed utilities Senior Leadership discuss their company’s plans for energy reliability, saving programs, safety/security of infrastructure and other new technology.

The Chamber’s Business & Community Advocacy Council met with Alex Halper of the PA Chamber to discuss policy priorities, visited with officials in Harrisburg, and also participated in a trip to Washington, DC.


business & community advocacy

What Does the Future Hold? Gail Landis, Greater Reading Chamber


he New Year brings new legislative sessions at the state and federal level, as well as new leadership. There are enormous challenges ahead for our country, state and local community. While businesses have become more confident, they still are concerned with high taxes, rising health care costs, energy independence, overreaching regulations, needed legal reform and our inadequate workforce development/education structure. At the federal level, the Chamber will continue to monitor the impact on business of burdensome regulations including labor and energy along with implementation of provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act. The Chamber will also continue to monitor the impact of the federal budget and related taxes, advocating for our pro-business policy agenda when necessary.

Let our family

SECURE your family

…with all the latest technology to keep you safe!

Uncertainties still remain for the 2017-18 PA legislative session. Only one thing is certain: the worst budgetary crisis in a generation, along with deep political divides within state government, have now presented the General Assembly and Governor Wolf with unprecedented challenges — which will only be met with strong and effective bipartisan leadership. The largest threat to the state’s fiscal health: the rising costs associated with our public pension systems, and their unfunded liability. Meaningful public pension reform was our number one legislative priority last year and continues to top our advocacy agenda. Comprehensive reforms are needed to put the systems on a sustainable path and shift the risk of increasing costs away from taxpayers. Additional items on our agenda included pro-employer tax policy; smart energy policy and improving our regulatory climate; employment and labor issues; transportation infrastructure, and workforce development. Recognizing that all politics are local, we will continue to build networks with the County, City of Reading and local municipalities. We hear from businesses starting up or expanding that they are unclear of local requirements. We will work collaboratively to facilitate better communication, and to bridge gaps in the process. The competitiveness of our business community, as well as the ability to add jobs and create a vibrant economy, will benefit all.

Beth A. Shurr, CPA, MT, CSEP

610.372.8872 •

50 South Museum Rd., Reading, PA 19607 Introducing InTouch – our personal and medical alert systems division. For more information, visit


Locally owned for over 26 years!

ph: 610.678.1220 fx: 610.743.8440 cell: 610.587.7042 email: web:

1020 James Dr., Ste 103 Leesport, PA 19533

upcoming events DEC 21

JAN 11

JAN 12

JAN 17

JAN 18

JAN 18

JAN 26

FEB 01

FEB 09

Power Networking Lunch W2W Women2Know: P. Sue Perrotty FEB 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM 14 Holiday Inn Morgantown, 6170 Morgantown Rd., Crowne Plaza Reading, 1741 Papermill Rd., Reading Morgantown, PA Fees/Admission: $22/person (includes lunch) Fees/Admission: $17/member (includes lunch) - Chamber Member Only Event Berks FBA: Entrepreneurs and Innovation: FEB Creating New Markets and Taking Your Business to the Next Level 15 W2W Path2Personal Development: 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM It’s Not Too Late, Late Bloomers! 2017 Alvernia University Upland Center Room 227 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM The Chamber’s Center for Business Excellence, Power Networking Lunch FEB 49 Commerce Drive, Wyomissing 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 15 Fees/Admission: Free! The Heritage of Green Hills, 200 Tranquility Ln., Reading, PA 19607 Fees/Admission: $17/member (includes lunch) W2W De Mujer a Mujer Chamber Member Only Event 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM Crowne Plaza Reading, 1741 Papermill Rd., Reading Berks FBA Lecture Series: MAR 5:30 p.m. Arrival; 5:45 p.m. Presentation/Q&A What Types of Insurance Protects You and Your Business 8 7:00 p.m. Caliente! 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM Fees/Admission: Free! The Chamber’s Center for Business Excellence, 49 Commerce Drive , Wyomissing, PA 19610 W2W Growth2Go: Developing Emotional Intelligence for Success! Registration 7:45 a.m., Presentation 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading, 701 Penn Street, Reading W2W Path2Personal Development: MAR Fees/Admission: $22/person (includes lunch) Mentoring as a Life Philosophy 8 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM; 4:30-5:15 Networking; 5:15-6:30 Program Berks FBA Lecture Series: Big Data and Predictive Analytics: The Chamber’s Center for Business Excellence, Understanding Data to Drive Organizational Strategy 49 Commerce Drive, Wyomissing 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM Fees/Admission: Free! Alvernia University, Upland Center – Room 227 W2W De Mujer a Mujer MAR Power Networking Lunch 5:30 PM 7:00 PM 9 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM Crowne Plaza Reading, 1741 Papermill Rd., Reading Green Valley Chateau Ballroom, 150 Green Valley Road, Sinking Spring 5:30 p.m. Arrival; 5:45 p.m. Presentation/Q&A Fees/Admission: $17/member (includes lunch) 7:00 p.m. Caliente! Chamber Member Only Event Fees/Admission: Free! Berks FBA Educating the Family Workshop: W2W Growth2Go: How To Get Paid What You’re Worth MAR Understanding Your Business Value 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 14 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM The Inn at Reading, 1040 North Park Rd., Wyomissing The Chanber’s Center for Business Excellence, 49 Commerce Drive, Fees/Admission: $22/person (includes lunch) Wyomissing, PA 19610 Registration: 7:45 a.m., Presentation: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Power Networking Lunch MAR Fee: $20/person 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 15 Jimmie Kramer’s The Peanut Bar Restaurant, 332 Penn Street, Reading Business At Breakfast Please note parking available behind restaurant via Cherry Street. 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM Fees/Admission: $17/member (includes lunch) Crowne Plaza Reading, 1741 Papermill Rd., Reading Chamber Member Only Event Fee: $14 payable at the door - cash or checks made payable to Crowne Plaza Reading NOT GETTING W2W De Mujer a Mujer THE ATTENTION 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM YOU DESERVE? Crowne Plaza Reading, 1741 Papermill Rd., Reading 5:30 p.m. Arrival; 5:45 p.m. Presentation/Q&A If you want customers to see FREE WEBSITE AUDIT 7:00 p.m. Caliente! your business on Google, our SEO packages start at Search Engine Optimization Fees/Admission: Free! $325 per month experts can put you at the top of search results.


Contact Us Today   33

Grow your own It takes great people to grow and develop a great business – let us help you get from good to great! Our Lead Worker Training Program and Supervisor Certificate Program offer curriculum not just for training your employees but developing them to meet your goals and needs for today and tomorrow.


New M!



The Lead Worker program is perfect for those employees who are ready to be a line lead or promoted to a supervisory position. This course provides your new and prospective employees the foundation for excelling in today’s manufacturing environment. It prepares your employees for growth within your organization. TOPICS INCLUDE: Expectations of the Lead Worker; Coaching, communicating and productive feedback; Communicating Up; Improving Work Habits; Conflict and Resolution; Effective Digital Communications; and Generations in the Workplace 12 WEEKS ON MONDAYS beginning 1/9/17; morning sessions 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. OR evening sessions 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

This program consists of three modules, providing new and prospective supervisors the foundation for excelling as a supervisor in today’s manufacturing environment. All three modules must be completed to receive the Series Certificate of Completion. PRINCIPLES OF SUPERVISION (MODULE I): TOPICS INCLUDE: The Supervisor’s Role in Management; EEO & The Law; Understanding Yourself & Others (DiSC assessment); Communication & Listening; Understanding Groups & Developing Teams; Emotional Intelligence, Part 1 & 2; and Managing a Diverse Workforce. 8 WEEKS ON TUESDAYS beginning on 1/10/17 $545 Chamber Members; $595 not-yet Chamber Members


ULUM! MANAGING PERFORMANCE & DEVELOPING CURRIC EMPLOYEES (MODULE II): TOPICS INCLUDE: Motivating & Recognizing Employees; Developing & Coaching Others; Delegating Effectively; Creating Performance Standards & Documenting Performance; Providing Performance Feedback; and Conducting Performance Reviews 6 WEEKS ON WEDNESDAYS beginning on 3/15/17; morning sessions 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. $545 Chamber Members; $595 not-yet Chamber Members

LEVERAGING WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS (MODULE III): TOPICS INCLUDE: Effective Disciplinary Action; What’s Wrong with You? Conflict Management; Communication for the 21st Century; and Problem Solving & Decision Making 4 WEEKS ON THURSDAYS beginning 2/2/17; morning sessions 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. OR evening sessions 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $545 Chamber Members; $595 not-yet Chamber Members

$610 Chamber Members; $660 not-yet Chamber Members

OUR TRAINING PROGRAMS MAY QUALIFY FOR WEDNET FUNDING! Contact Mark Dolinski, Director of Business Services at or 610-898-8386 for additional training information.

register online at 34  COMMERCE QUARTERLY   WINTER 2017

member news: new members

SEPTEMBER 15 - NOVEMBER 15, 2016 CANAL STREET PUB AND RESTAURANT 535 Canal St Reading PA 19602 610.376.4009 Restaurants Contact: Jacob Bausher

INDUSTRIAL ABRASIVES CO. INC. 645 N 8th St Reading PA 19601 610.378.1861 Manufacturers Contact: Sandra Reese

MAJESTIC FLORALS BY MICKEY 554 Lancaster Ave Reading PA 19611 610.372.1775 Florists Contact: Mickey Nagle

CONNELLY LAWN AND GARDEN, INC. 703 Henry Cir Sinking Spring PA 19608 610.678.8949 Landscaping, Lawn Maintenance & Tree Care Contact: Thomas Connelly

JACK WILLIAMS TIRE & AUTO SERVICE CENTER 4427 Penn Ave Sinking Spring PA 19608 484.869.2644 Automobile Repairs & Service Contact: Tracey Williams

MASSMUTUAL OF EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA 3701 Corporate Parkway, Ste 350 Center Valley PA 18034 610.798.2542 Financial Services Contact: Jenny Miletics

COUNTERTEK, INC. 1215 Ridge Ave Ephrata PA 17522 717.336.2371 Manufacturers Contact: Jon Scudder

JDOG READING 101 Mulberry St PO Box 421 Morgantown PA 19543 844.438.5364 Junk Removal & Hauling Services Contact: Tyler Miller

OAKBROOK BREWING COMPANY 628 Park Ave Reading PA 19611 484.755.5289 Breweries Contact: Kyle Neuheimer

DAVCON RELOCATION SERVICES 501 Alexander Dr Ephrata PA 17522 717.629.3869 Moving & Storage Services Contact: David Burkholder GETTIN CRABBY AT THE CRAB BARN 2613 Hampden Blvd Reading PA 19604 610.921.1650 Restaurants Contact: Michael Rhodes

JOHN A. DICASIMIRRO, M.D., P.C. PO Box 326 Bernville PA 19506-0326 610.781.2964 Medical Consultants Contact: John DiCasimirro, M.D., P.C. KGM MARKETING, LLC 1923 Squire Ct Wyomissing PA 19610 610.823.5858 Marketing Services Contact: Kristin Mancuso

RELATIVE CARE / ADVANCE HOME HEALTH 634 Penn Ave West Reading PA 19611 610.685.2960 Health Care Contact: Justin LaFazia SECRETS BAKERY 602 Penn Ave West Reading PA 19611 610.334.7668 secretsbakery602.wixsite. com/secretsbakery Bakeries & Cafes Contact: Jessica Miller STONEY CREEK RENTALS, INC. 872 Park Rd 610.926.4567 Rental Service Stores & Yards Contact: Mike Shirk THRIFTY GYPSY CO. 420 Beacon St Birdsboro PA 19508 610.924.7039 Home Remodelers Contact: Whitney Raifsnyder

PAYCHEX 1100 Adams Ave Norristown PA 19403 610.549.9117 / offices/pennsylvania Payroll Services Contact: Kirk Ulshafer PREMIERCOMM, LLC 415 N Prince St Ste 200 Lancaster PA 17603 717.431.7100 Computer Systems & Software Consultants & Designers Contact: Elaine Willis

YP MARKETING SOLUTIONS Reading PA 610.914.3928 Marketing Services Contact: Wendy Harley

member news: anniversaries SEPTEMBER 15 - NOVEMBER 15, 2016 1 YEAR



American Heart Association  Axiom, Inc.  Central Tire & Auto Service  Combined Insurance  Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa  ID Life  JFC Staffing Companies  Leading People, Inc.  Lorah’s Handmade Chocolates, LLC  MassMutual Financial Group  Peritech Home Health Associates  SeniorLIFE Reading

Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting  Diakon Adoption & Foster Care  RB Legal Counsel, LLC  Skin Care by Alyce  Wyomissing Hair Studio


Anderson Insurance Brokers, LLC Berks Catholic High School  Clinical Research Center of Reading, LLC  Days Inn  Kriegman & Smith, Inc.  National Cleaners/ Yorgey’s Fine Cleaning  NHS of Greater Berks, Inc.  

Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex  Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd.


Integra Business Solutions


Colonial Racquetball & Fitness Center  Instantwhip PA, Inc.  Manor Golf Club, Inc.  Numerical Control Service, Inc. 

30 YEAR 



member news: newsmakers The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/ NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $136,000 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/ NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. Barbey Electronics Corp. is celebrating 100 years of great service this year! Founded in 1916 by George Barbey as “The George D. Barbey Company,” it was originally opened as a supplier of automotive batteries and ignitions. Today, as one of the oldest electronic distributors in the United States, Barbey has become a leading OEM/MRO distributor of industrial electronic components and services, serving the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and South Atlantic regions. Congrats to Barbey Electronics on your 100 years of service to the industry, as well as more than 75 years of Chamber Membership! The Pennsylvania Association of Community Banks holds banks that go above and beyond to ‘grow their community’ in the highest standing. They recognize those banks whose involvement in their towns exceeds normal business practice. The “Grow Your Community Award” program was established to honor those who strive to impact their community in meaningful ways. Fleetwood Bank is excited to be a recipient of the PACB Grow Your Community – 2016 Community Leadership Award! Visitors to Tompkins VIST Bank’s Facebook page voted the Animal Rescue League of Berks County the winner of phase 2 of the bank’s Community Minute Facebook Challenge. The ARL will receive $2,000 for creating the best 1-minute video explaining how it would use the funds to enhance its services. ARL plans to use the donation to build a quiet kitten nursery at its facility at 58 Kennel Road, Birdsboro, PA 19508. Once again, generous communities across Berks County have come together to raise over $1 Million for the American Cancer Society. 285 teams and 3,837 people participated in 8 Relay For Life events this summer, raising a total of $1,051,653. These funds help the American Cancer Society save lives through groundbreaking cancer research, education and risk reduction efforts, and free information and critical services for people with cancer who need them. Diamond Credit Union returned as the Countywide Presenting Sponsor.


RPA Engineering, a leading engineering and design firm, has announced its launch of a Testing Services Division. The newly formed division upholds RPA Engineering’s commitment to offer new services and technology to its clients. Diakon Adoption and Foster Care was nominated by U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey to win the 2016 Angels in Adoption award for excellence in child welfare practices. Each year members of Congress are given the opportunity to select individuals, families or organizations from their home state who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of children in need of permanent, loving families. YMCA of Reading & Berks County has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Santander Bank to support their transitional living programs. The YMCA of Reading & Berks County currently offers transitional living to men, women & women with children who are dealing with drug & alcohol, mental health or domestic abuse issues, who would otherwise be homeless were it not for the YMCA. Weidenhammer, a provider of strategy, marketing, and technology solutions that focuses on transforming businesses, is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with the Cyber Security organization, KnowBe4. Founded in 1978, KnowBe4 is the world’s most popular integrated new school security awareness training and simulated phishing platform. Reading Hospital was named today among the top 2% in the nation for Stroke Care, Critical Care, and Pulmonary Care as measured by volume-weighted performance according to this year’s evaluation from Healthgrades, the leading online resource helping consumers make informed decisions in order to find the right doctor, the right hospital for the right care. Fig Industries, a client of The Standard Group, was awarded a Benny - the highest honor in the 2016 Premier Print Awards, for their Fig Lancaster Holiday 2016 issue. The Standard Group – Fig’s preferring printing partner, nominated the specific issue for its exceptional print quality and special finishing. Levan Machine & Truck Equipment is proud to announce they have been ranked #24 on the list of Lehigh Valley Business’ 2016 Fastest Growing Companies. They were also selected as one of the seven finalists for Lehigh Valley Business of the Year. Levan Machine & Truck Equipment would like to extend a special thank you to their loyal customers and dedicated employees for helping them continue to grow for the past 80 years.

RKL, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, has announced that it has adopted the legal identity of RKL LLP, effective November 1, 2016. Already widely referenced and recognized as RKL in the marketplace, the firm formalized the RKL name as it continues to pursue geographic growth and diversification. Tompkins VIST Bank announced that it will open its 20th branch location in Boyertown in early December, 2016. The branch will be at 101 East Philadelphia Avenue. “We’re in the final planning stages, and we’re excited about the opportunity to bring our strength and our style of community banking to a market that has always responded well to community banks,” said Scott Gruber, President and CEO, Tompkins VIST Bank. MarCom Awards announced winners last week in the 2016 creative competition for marketing and communication professionals. There were 6500 entries from all over the globe. Liquid Interactive was honored with 5 awards - 1 Platinum and 4 Gold. Liquid was the only Platinum award winner in the Lehigh Valley, and won 4 of the 5 Gold awards received by Lehigh Valley companies. Barley Snyder is excited to announce that eight of its attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers® lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere. For many aging veterans, home maintenance and repairs can be a challenge. Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks found a solution for our community. The group formed a partnership with local nonprofits,, government agencies and volunteers to help veteran homeowners in need. Learn more about how “Operation Renovation: A Veterans Affair” is making a difference. American Made Matters (AMM) celebrated the 4th annual AMM Day on November 19 this year. An organization dedicated to educating consumers on the importance of buying American-made products, AMM asks consumers on this day to purchase one U.S.-made product. AMM Day kicks off the holiday shopping season and encourages shoppers to continue to buy U.S.-made gifts for their friends and families. To celebrate American Made Matters Day, events will be held in 17 locations throughout the US. These events will provide information to consumers, and give consumers the ability to buy U.S.-made products. Some locations will offer food and music.


Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight is the Greater Reading Chamber’s forum for telling our members’ stories in their own words—sharing their successes, their challenges, and what it’s really like to be a small business owner in Berks County and beyond!

The Chamber celebrated PA Manufacturing Week during October’s National Manufacturing Month. Mark Dolinski, Director – Business Services with the Greater Reading Chamber, sat down with David Taylor, PA Manufacturer’s Association, to discuss the impact of manufacturing in PA!

Zachary Haupt, Continental Tide Defense Systems, sat down with Mark Dolinski, Director – Business Services with the Chamber, to discuss their growing business with roots firmly planted in Berks! This video was part of a series in celebration of October’s Manufacturing Month!

Terri Lampe is the Business Development Manager of the Manufacturers Resource Center. Hear about her work with the MRC in this interview with Mark Dolinski, Director – Business Services, Greater Reading Chamber.

Connie Faylor, Regional Manager for Ben Franklin Technology Partners - NE PA, is excited about the growth of businesses in Berks and beyond! Hear more in this interview with Mark Dolinski, Director - Business Services, Greater Reading Chamber.

Amy Hendrix envisioned the Elegance Derma Spa as a personalized skin care system to treat the individual! To learn more, watch the interview here!

Barbey Electronics is celebrating its 100th year in business - hear from Kim Loudis on the business’ evolution over the years!

Much more than just doors, Overhead Door is a leader in its industry and a respected brand. John Rohrbach shares the company story in the interview here!

Teen Challenge breathes hope and restoration into the healing process for its clients. Learn more about this program with Amber Didden, COO.


Jim Brickman

Snarky Puppy


Keiko Matsui

March 31-April 9, 2017 Reading, PA

Brian Culbertson

Patti Austin

Marcus Miller

Spend 10 jazz- and blues-filled days and nights in the Greater Reading area! Over 120 scheduled events, plus great shopping and dining in one area, make the 27th annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest your perfect spring getaway. For tickets, call Ticketmaster toll free at 1-800-745-3000 or visit to order online.



Follow us on Twitter @berksjazzfest

Helping you achieve your goals has always been ours Congratulations to Mark A. Maggs for being recognized on the Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors list.

Maggs & Associates Mark A. Maggs, CIMA®, CRPC® Senior Vice President – Wealth Management Wealth Management Advisor 610.320.5462

Merrill Lynch 985 Berkshire Boulevard Suite 200 Wyomissing, PA 19610

Life’s better when we’re connected® Source: Barron’s magazine, March 7, 2016, America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors list. Advisors considered for the “America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” ranking have a minimum of seven years financial services experience and have been employed at their current firm for at least one year. Quantitative and qualitative measures used to determine the advisor rankings include: client assets, return on assets, client satisfaction/retention, compliance records and community involvement, among others. Barron’s does not receive compensation from advisors, participating firms and their affiliates, or the media in exchange for rankings. Barron’s is a trademark of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer and Member SIPC, and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Investment products:

Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed

May Lose Value

The Bull Symbol, Life’s better when we’re connected and Merrill Lynch are trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. CIMA® is a registered certification mark of Investment Management Consultants Association, Inc. CRPC® is a registered service mark of the College for Financial Planning. © 2016 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. AR37CQNC | AD-04-16-1312 | 471003PM-1215 | 04/2016