GRCA Commerce Quarterly Fall 2022

Page 1

FALL 2022

GREATER READING Chamber Alliance


Plus: Supporting

Berks County Agriculture

Powerful Partnerships. Standout Solutions.

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





Customized Corporate Gifting Holiday Gifts for All Shop Local this Holiday Season Visit Our Store Across From Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market at

215 E. Bellevue Avenue, Reading, PA 19605 to see our full selection of gift items.

1-888-477-5487 • MADE IN IN THE THE


Open M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Sat. 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Closed Sundays. Extended Holiday hours will vary.

EBS Commerce Quarterly ad May 2022_Layout 1 5/16/22 11:59 AM Page 1

Edwards Business Systems has been named one of the Top Work Places 2022! More than just an office technology company, EBS is focused on developing dynamic business solutions, providing the best for our clients and building a dynamic workforce. For cost effective, efficient and secure document management systems, call Edwards Business Systems.

Or better yet, come join our team!

Fast Forward Office Technology • 610-372-8414

Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Leah Fassnacht, Editor 606 Court Street, 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, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance leads the business community, as the economic driver, to a vibrant community.


Taste of Berks


Spotlight on the FBA

Supporting Berks County Agriculture


Protecting the Land

Your Greater Reading Chamber Alliance…


Farming for the Future

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


An Ode to Agriculture

» Enables all businesses to take deliberate and

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

Business & Community Advocacy 20

involvement in education partnerships.

» Operates as a model business and pursues best practices.




Moving Manufacturing Forward 2022 MFG Summit Explores Industry Trends, Challenges


What Do You Really Want Out of Work?


In Your Community Main Street Programs

Far More Than Just a Farm Bill

Events 2023 Event Calendar Preview

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

» Reflects our multicultural community at large. ©2022 All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the expressed written permission of the publisher. 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 4 COMMERCE QUARTERLY FALL 2022


Letter From the Editor


Member News


A Message from GRCA CEO & President


New Members



Member Anniversaries

Greater Together

On the cover: Taste of Berks... (See page 8) Wayne Becker, Zerbe Photography

letter from the editor Although this fall edition of Commerce Quarterly magazine is dedicated to all things food and agriculture, I thought I would use this opportunity to give you a little run down of the fun project we have been working on to add more value to the GRCA membership. GRCA has partnered with Owners and Co-Founders of Bell Media Group Zach Bell and Kyra Denlinger and local photographer Lauren A. Little to tell the story of five GRCA-members businesses and how each has been innovative to grow and thrive.

So far, the project has taken us to America’s oldest hatmaker, a restoration company, a bilingual magazine, a bakery machinery producer and a toy company — all of which exude what it means to be innovative. By the time this edition is in your hands, a few of the stories will already be published, and you’ll be able to see exactly what I mean. While we hope that other businesses see these stories and say they want to join the Chamber, that wasn’t necessarily the main goal. We wanted the community to connect with these businesses, and more importantly, with the stories of the people who run them.

Think your company should be featured in this series? Please contact me at or 610-898-7780 and tell me why and what sets your company apart. I know the GRCA membership base is full of companies which are doing business differently. Those are the stories we want to tell.

Visit our website For the most up-to-date schedule of events, training and webinars, visit and click on the events calendar at the top of the page.

Board of Directors GRCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman Daniel R. Langdon – East Penn Mfg, Co., Inc. Vice Chairman Ernest J. Choquette – The Stevens & Lee Companies Treasurer Jeffrey R. Rush – Fulton Bank Secretary Michael A. Duff – Penske DIRECTORS Gregg A. Bogia – Bogia Engineering, Inc. John H. Gallen, Jr. – EthoSource Jim Gerlach – Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Laura Haffner – Wells Fargo Bob Harrop – East Penn Mfg, Co., Inc. Sara Kuzma-Stump – Suburban Testing Labs Susan D. Looney – Reading Area Community College Jamey Maack – Industrial Metal Plating Debra L. Millman, Esq. – Greater Berks Development Fund Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank David C. Roland – Truist Timothy D. Romig – Customers Bank Peter Rye – Brentwood Industries David W. Stonesifer – Herbein + Company, Inc. Christina L. Weeber – East Penn Mfg, Co., Inc. John Weidenhammer – Weidenhammer GREATER READING CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairwoman Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank Vice Chairwoman Sara Kuzma-Stump – Suburban Testing Labs Solicitor Timothy Dietrich – Barley Snyder Treasurer Laura Haffner – Wells Fargo Secretary Gregg A. Bogia – Bogia Engineering Inc. DIRECTORS Lucy Cortez – Community First Fund Brian Dietrich – Ernst & Young (EY LLP) Jonathan Encarnacion – UPMC for You, Inc. Josephina Encarnacion – SBDC – Kutztown University Becky A. Eshbach – UGI Utilities, Inc. Andrea Funk – Enersys Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz – Mi Casa Su Casa John H. Gallen, Jr. – EthoSource Jim Gerlach – Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Jack Gombach – Community Networking Resources Dr. George Grant – Penn State Berks Dan Gring – D&B Construction Dr. Jill M. Hackman – Berks County Intermediate Unit Bob Harrop – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc. Joey Jurgielewicz – Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd. Daniel B. Laws, Jr. – DaBrian Marketing Group Kristi Gage-Linderman – Gage Personnel Paul Oxholm – Sharpoint Partners, Inc. Ryan Redner – Redner’s Markets Jennifer C. Rivera – FirstEnergy Corp. Rodney Ridley – O’Pake Institute at Alvernia University Peter Rye – Brentwood Industries Alan Shuman – Shuman Development Group David W. Stonesifer – Herbein + Company, Inc. Ira Tauber – Triose John Weidenhammer – Weidenhammer GREATER BERKS DEVELOPMENT FUND BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman Dan Langdon – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc. Vice Chairman Ernest J. Choquette – Stevens & Lee/Griffin President Debra L. Millman, Esq. – Greater Berks Development Fund VP/Treasurer/Secretary Jeffery Rush – Fulton Bank Secretary Michael Duff, Esq. – Penske Truck Leasing DIRECTORS Richard Bashore – Reading Electric Motor Service, Inc. Joseph Butto – Tompkins VIST Bank P. Michael Ehlerman – Yuasa Battery, Inc. Jim Gerlach – Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Scott Hauseman – Fulton Bank Ginger Kunkel – Tompkins VIST Bank Susan D. Looney – Reading Area Community College Jamey Maack – Industrial Metal Plating David C. Roland – Berks BB&T Timothy D. Romig – Customers Bank David Shaffer – EnerSys Joseph Sigle – Santander Bank Sally Stewart – Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance Christina L. Weeber – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc.


a message from GRCA CEO & President

Committed to supporting ag By Jim Gerlach, President & CEO, GRCA


or the past two years, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has continued its robust support for the agribusiness community. Because agriculture is a top industry in Berks County, GRCA launched its agricultural literacy campaign “Grow Together” on the Rebuild Berks website in 2020.

Financial assistance

GRCA is also committed to increasing economic development opportunities for Berks County’s farmers by offering low interest, manageable term financing through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) program. This matching financing The campaign was created to educate the community about the program is open to eligible businesses and farms that retain or local products grown and produced right here in Berks County. create jobs in Pennsylvania. It helps them purchase land, buildings, The campaign has also highlighted our growing “agritourism” construction and renovation costs, machinery and equipment industry, where farmers are opening their farms for consumers to purchases, working capital and accounts receivable lines of credit reconnect with where their food comes from and experience the and other eligible expenses. GRCA works with the business’ other fun of corn mazes, picking out a fresh Christmas tree, sipping local lender(s) to maximize the utilization of this program and give the wines amongst the vines and much more. While the campaign will farm the best chance for future success in the future. still tell the stories of local farmers and their products, the website Farmers across Berks County have successfully utilized this content will have its own home. program to expand, grow, and diversify their operations thereby In the coming months, will launch increasing the diversity of local products and contributing to the as its own microsite. GRCA will continue to partner with Strunk capacity of the global supply chain. To find out more about PIDA, Media Group and local photographer Susan Angstadt to assist in visit populating the pages to add new content and photos. A new, more interactive directory will be built to highlight the agribusinesses of Berks County. Visitors will be able to toggle between a list view and map view of the directory and filter results by desired product and type of business.

Stay connected

Sign up for our monthly agriculture newsletter by visiting This newsletter is full of news you can use, farming financial resources and agriculture-related events. We also use this network to send out important, time-sensitive We’ll also be including an “Ag Events Community Calendar” notifications, such as opportunities for local funding through Berks to serve as a central location to find farm markets and agritourism County during COVID and alerts related to the Avian Influenza events year-round. outbreak this past spring. GRCA also recognizes that not everyone in the agricultural community utilizes the internet. In response, it has been sending out postcards to more than 600 recipients each quarter and plans on doing so into 2023. The postcards contain important information and upcoming events with a phone number they can call to learn more about each item or event.


! u o y k n a h T


Cover Story

ALL IN Taste of Berks provides full bellies, fun By Katie Johnsen, Event Coordinator, GRCA

All photos courtesy of Wayne Becker, Zerbe Photography


he Taste of Berks was back with a bang this year at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in the heart of downtown Reading! More than 500 registered attendees were drawn up to the beautifully restored ballroom by the sounds of The Architects – a local band with big sound who coaxed everyone to dance.

Although the tunes tempted toe-tapping, the real star of the show were the vendors – nearly 30 food and beverage vendors lined the floor, offering sweet, savory and thirst-quenching treats. Just a few of the highlights included fresh shrimp from Adelphia Seafood, creamy cheesesteak over mashed potatoes from Devour Catering, jerky from Gauker Farms, short ribs and polenta from B2 Bistro & Bar, sausage from Konopelski Katering, coconut-chip ice cream from the Great American Creamery, pecan cupcakes from Straight from Heaven Charcuterie, and so much more that it boggles the mind. Between bites, guests stayed hydrated at strategically placed beverage vendors around the room, featuring Sly Fox, Chatty Monks, Folino Estate Winery and Roselawn Bistro. New this year was the Maker’s Market. Across the Abraham Lincoln’s mezzanine glittered beautiful, handmade treasures for sale just in time for the holidays. GoggleWorks featured blown glass, candles, and ceramics while next door Shearer’s Farm showed its goats’ milk soaps. At the end, Riverview Garden & Gifts glittered with books, bags, beauty products and more. 8 COMMERCE QUARTERLY FALL 2022

Herbein + Company, Inc. (Herbein) is a leading Mid-Atlan�c regional CPA advisory firm whose professionals specialize in crea�ng impact for clients. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, we are pleased to again be named to the Chamber’s Top 50 Businesses List. And looking ahead, Herbein is commi�ed to helping Greater Reading businesses succeed with confidence. l 1.855.HC.Today The makers weren’t the only ones selling – many of the food and beverage vendors also had items available for sale either to sip as people walked around, or to bring home with them. Not only was this a great way to kick off the holiday season, but a boon to the local businesses represented in the room. Attendees also went home with a Holiday Gift Guide featuring the vendors so they can continue to support them in the coming holiday season. If that weren’t enough, there was more to take home than good memories, gifts and full bellies. The Photo Booth Lady was there to capture those memories with silly props and hats, and Caricatures by Courtney made quick work of smiling faces all night long. Continued on page 10


cover story continued

WFMZ reporter Jack Reinhard went live from the event floor during the 5:30 p.m. broadcast and interviewed Rachael Romig, Senior Director of Events & Special Programs, who said, “The pandemic really hit hard. I know we’re hopefully coming out of it, and this gave us an opportunity to really bring them back and say, ‘We’re still open, we’re still here and we still have great things to offer the community.’” You can still shop the fantastic Taste of Berks vendors for all your holiday gifts and everyday needs. Check out our Go Buy Berks Gift Card Program It’s a gift card you can purchase that lets you shop locally, and all the vendors who came to Taste of Berks are part of it. With your help, we will continue to support local businesses, in this season and beyond.

Scan QR code for our Holiday Gift Guide! 10 COMMERCE QUARTERLY FALL 2022

More than 120 attorneys across 11 offices with 28 attorneys based in Berks County serving businessses, organizations & individuals.

William Blumer

Matthew Brushwood

Eden Bucher

William Colby

Timothy Dietrich

Susanna Fultz

Thad Gelsinger

Charles Haws

Zachary Griffith

Benjamin Leisawitz

Stacey Lindsay

Matthew Mayer

Sarah McCahon

Michael Mixell

Keith Mooney

Kevin Moore

Frederick Nice

Brian Ott

Charles Phillips

Troy Rider

Rachael Shaw

Latisha Bernard Schuenemann

Allen Shollenberger

John Speicher

Silas Ruiz-Steele

EmmaRose Strohl

Paul Troisi


Happy Holidays! Guiding Clients for Three Decades

ere’s no time like the PRESENT to ank my Customers, Family & Friends for the Support you gave me throughout the Year. Lisa Tiger is that rare combination of passion for her business, sales skill, marketing professional and unwavering care for her clients.

.e ultimate professional, Lisa is the #1 Top Producing Century 21 Agent in the State of PA, and is consistently ranked in the Top 100 in the US., but proudest of her ranking in Berks County. Lisa cares about the communities she serves, and it shows in her commitment to others. In these challenging times, Lisa never waivers in her objective to help her clients reach their objective. It is always about YOU.

Learn how we can help guide you. 610-373-7311

When you are ready to buy or sell, Team up with the Tiger! 955 Penn Avenue Wyomissing, PA Retirement Planning | Investment Management | Life Insurance Services


Grow Your Business in Berks! Reach 75% of All Berks County Adults… Advertise in Berks 1st Magazine The Official Berks County Government Magazine

Published for the County of Berks, PA, Berks 1st is the County’s official full-color magazine, sharing news about constituent services, events and timely and trending topics surrounding county services. Mailed by the County, Berks 1st will be addressed directly to 87,646 residential addresses (60% to 70% of every household within many of the major regional municipalities), and into another 300 high-traffic locations. Spanish and English language digital versions will be available on the County’s website.

Keeping You Connec


Berks County, PA, Go vernment News & Se


Restoring Passenger Rail Service to Berks General Elections 2022: What You Need to Know


Contact today for rates and advertising information. Reserve your space in the Winter/Spring 2023 issue by January 15, 2023.


INAUGU R AL I S S U E! • 610.685.0914 x201


Spotlight on the FBA By Zoe Satterthwaite, Storytelling Intern, GRCA


ince its founding in 2014, the Family Business Alliance’s (FBA) goal has been to provide family-owned and closely held businesses with opportunities to develop and learn alongside each other. The FBA, a signature program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA), also has a variety of resources available to its members, such as its peer groups.

FBA peer groups are designed to facilitate discussion among businesses which may be facing similar problems, as well as create friendships and professional connections with like-minded individuals. This year, the FBA has expanded to include small and closely held businesses within their peer groups since many face the same issues as family businesses. Currently there are five peer groups containing members from a variety of industries. Together, they all share open discussion and both give and receive advice. “The benefit to me for being a member of the FBA and being in a peer group is the relationship that I have with the other members. We can bring any triumph or challenge to the table and know that we will walk away with ideas to bring back to our company to tackle that challenge,” said Kim Loudis, Barbey Electronics Vice President and FBA member.

Many FBA members are grateful for the space that the alliance provides to discuss issues related to running a small business. “I find the FBA invaluable to me as the President, and co-owner with my husband Craig, of VA Productions. The safe environment it offers to share all your challenges with the group is valued as are the relationships formed,” said FBA member Virginia Dodge. One key component of the FBA is the Next Gen Peer Group. The Next Gen group was created to address the issues that family-owned businesses face when dealing with company succession. Participation in this group allows for upcoming leaders to have an open dialogue about generational differences between new and old executives. Though the FBA has been growing steadily since its invention eight years ago, the program continues to prioritize connection and growth between its members.

FBA fosters a great atmosphere for collaboration. In January of this year, Chatty Monks Brewery hosted the January FBA Peer group reception. FBA member Justin Spannuth, COO of Unique Snacks, was introduced to Rajavel Jagadesan, owner of Chatty Monks, during this event. This chance meeting spawned the invention of Split Face, a craft beer inspired by pretzels and created by Chatty Monks in collaboration with Unique Snacks. 13



Protecting the Land Farmland preservation benefits everyone

By Amanda Burkard-Sell, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Coordinator


erks County is an important agricultural hub. Home to some of the most productive non-irrigated soils in the country and within an overnight drive of 100 million people, it is a vital contributor to the regional food and fiber supply. Berks County’s diverse agriculture provides our community with everything from chicken, dairy, and beef to Christmas trees, produce and honey. It contributes $555 million1 of raw agricultural products annually to our economy and enhances our rural landscape. In 1988, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, recognizing the value of its farmland and the need to protect it from irreversible loss, passed legislation to create the agricultural land preservation program with the goal of purchasing perpetual easements on farms so that they must be used for agriculture. Individual counties were tasked with administering the program through county boards. Berks County’s own program began in 1989 with the first farm preserved in 1990. To date, the


county has preserved 801 farms, which total 76,896 acres. Berks County has one of the highest numbers of preserved farms in Pennsylvania and the nation. The Berks County Department of Agriculture supports the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board to administer the Berks County Agricultural C o n s e r va t i o n E a s e m e n t Program and guide participants through the process. Landowners voluntarily apply to the program and their farm must meet certain criteria to have their application considered. Each year, farms are scored, ranked, and then selected based on the available funding, which comes from both the county and the state. Typically, 15 farms are selected each year, but the number of applications is usually several times this amount. Once selected, landowners have the option of preserving their farms through the easement program, the process for which takes one to two years. Landowners

are compensated for the easement, but typically the value is much higher than the amount received. All told, Berks County preserved farm owners have donated over $40 million in their farms’ easement value. The dedication of county farmers is the driver of the continued success of the program. Maintaining our local food supply is vitally important. There is absolutely no comparison between a locally grown, in-season tomato and one that was shipped across the country. Unfortunately, farmland is a non-renewable resource – once paved over, a farm cannot be restored without extreme measures. Farmland preservation ensures that there will always be land available for our food and fiber production in Berks County. This has proven especially important during recent years considering difficulties with shutdowns and the supply chain. Large blocks of preserved farmland also provide economic benefits to the county. In addition to the direct employment and economic contributions provided by agricultural production, farms require support services from local businesses, such as equipment and seed dealers, insurance providers, banks, mechanics and truck drivers. Farmers also reinvest their own dollars earned in the community. Especially once the land is committed to farming, a landowner is more willing to invest in their operation and property, including purchases of equipment or construction of buildings, which employs other local businesses. Preserved farmland also requires fewer public services than housing does – i.e., schools, roads and emergency services, which means that farms require fewer tax dollars. This keeps our taxes lower overall.


Providing compassionate care since 1993


We Have DailyPay


Get Paid Everyday


In-Home Caregivers $15+ No Experience Needed! Paid training, begin your career in Health Services All shifts available

Assist individuals w/ Intellectual Disabilities Vehicle provided while at work, spend your day making someone’s life better: Shopping ,outings, Dr Appts. attending day programs, and more! Some cooking, cleaning and personal care too.

Pt & Ft, flexible schedules $1,000 sign on bonus $250 pt sign on bonus $1,000 referral bonuses unlimited, refer your friends & make extra $$$$$$ unlimited Positions in most counties in Pa- Berks, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lehigh, Allegheny, Juniata, Mifflin, Montgomery


We have career opportunities throughout PA! #makeadifference


Preserving our farmland provides other nontangible benefits, too. It maintains the rural character and history of Berks County’s culture and landscape. Farms are important environmentally, as well. All preserved farms are required to have a conservation plan, which supports soil health and water quality. Farmland provides large areas for groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration, which helps keep our water supply clean and helps reduce global climate change. Open farmland and associated woodland also provide habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife. The preservation of its farmland is an investment by Berks County in both its people and its future. It is not only a permanent commitment to agriculture, but to the economic, social and environmental benefits that our farmland provides. 1

Source: 2017 Agricultural Census. NASS, USDA.




Farming for the Future Financing helps local family By Shanon Sabanos, Community Development Initiatives Coordinator, GRCA


ark Balthaser, a young, beginning farmer, is following his family’s 130-year tradition. He has worked for his parent’s dairy and cropping operation for years. His parents, Randy and Traci, have owned and operated Northkill Creek Farms in Bernville since 2010 when they purchased their three farms made up of 280 preserved acres from Randy’s father, Wilson Balthaser.

Mark and his parents have constructed two poultry houses for Bell & Evans. Mark will be raising ABF birds for Bell & Evans with the intention of eventually transitioning to organic birds. The family worked with TeamAg for the site prep and worked with Zeise Equipment for the construction of the buildings. They included an additional pad in preparation for a third building in the future. These buildings were constructed on a 79.4-acre farm property located at 665 Shartlesville Road, Bernville. The Balthaser’s currently milk about 120 cows. Their herd is primarily Holstein cattle, with some registered Brown Swiss. Randy and Traci also farm approximately 400 acres in crops. This 16 COMMERCE QUARTERLY FALL 2022

new venture with Bell & Evans is their way of providing a new enterprise for Mark to continue the farming operation and begin the sixth generation of the family business. The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) worked with Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit and Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) to finance the $1,300,000 project. Through the collaboration of these institutions, GRCA was able to facilitate the succession planning of these local farmers as well as add to the economy of Berks County. Every five years, the Berks County Workforce Development Board sets its Industry Priorities to identify leading sectors. For the five-year period of 2022-2027, agriculture is listed as a ‘sustaining industry’ as it continues to track with relatively stable employment at approximately 3,600 jobs in Berks County. Location Quotient (LQ) quantifies how concentrated an industry is within an area in comparison to the rest of the country. For example, an LQ number over 1.0 indicate sectors in a region have high concentrations of employment compared to the national average. Strong Ag Sub-

SCORE is currently looking for qualified volunteers to mentor people going into business or currently in business. We have a need for accounting, legal, computer skills, general operation expert. If you have extra time and would like to help us with our request, you can go to our website or call 610-376-3497 or 484-577-9791. Thank you, Co Chairs, Dave Verrill and Pete Kostick

Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE | | 401 Penn Street Reading PA c/o Alvernia University

Poultry Production LQ = 86.92

Chicken Egg Production LQ = 9.16

Over the past several years, the majority of PIDA loans in Berks County have been for agriculture-related projects. PIDA provides low-interest loans for eligible businesses and is directly administered by GRCA’s affiliate organization, the Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF). As the only Certified Economic Development Organization in Berks County, GBDF can assist a variety of different industry sectors to access PIDA financing including manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, research and development, hospitality, defense conversion, recycling, construction, child daycare, retail and service, export, and computer-related service enterprises. PIDA financing can be used for land and building acquisition, construction and renovation costs, machinery and equipment purchases and working capital. For information on the PIDA program or other financing opportunities, please contact me at 610.898.7761 or ssabanos@




We Have DailyPay Get Paid Everyday

P P LY T & A O


Mushroom Production LQ = 106.62




Sectors based on Location Quotient in Berks include:


We Offer: Sign On Bonuses Competitive Pay

Apis Services, Inc. We support 32 highly successful businesses & non-profit organizations throughout the USA!

Flexible Hours Great Benefits PT & FT Positions

Join Our AwardWinning Team!

W W W. A P I S M G T. O R G /C A R E E R S 17


An Ode to Agriculture By EmmaRose Strohl, Esq., Barley Snyder

I am often asked what kind of work I do as a food & agriculture attorney in Barley Snyder’s Food & Agribusiness Group. “It depends on the day, we do a lot of different things,” is my response.


t’s been a tough year for farmers – but how many years can we say that’s not the truth? The families that grow the crops and raise livestock to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs face unique challenges that the rest of the world doesn’t. Take, for example, the recent pandemics. Yes, plural. While our firm was helping the rest of the world navigate a new normal “post-COVID,” Barley Snyder’s Food & Agribusiness Industry Group was also serving as a 24-hour hotline for poultry producers dealing with Avian Influenza. And that’s far from the only extraordinary dilemma farmers face. Corn prices may have been good this year, but it may have been a wash when the change from hot and dry to drowning in rain came a bit too late to support the hay crop. Figuring out how to


fill standing supply agreements is nothing new to our food & agriculture attorneys, even though the lead times associated with all agricultural products create times of both starvation and abundance. Sometimes even when things look good, a disaster wipes out months of planning and hard work, leaving crop insurance and indemnity payments as our only strategy to provide assistance. It’s not always natural disasters – when tariffs burden exports, for example, counseling on available government assistance is challenging but can be the difference that allows a farm to carry on for another season. How does one pay for a large financial emergency when there is no cash flow but instead wealth only in the form of decidedly illiquid land? That’s where Barley’s team of dedicated food & agriculture attorneys must get creative, helping turn dirt into money. Many times, however, turning money to dirt is just as important, and expanding existing operations onto leased or purchased land requires careful consideration and planning. Speaking of planning, the next generation is so critical to the majority of farms, and ensuring a smooth transition calls for solutions that

are exclusively tailored. When the cows come home, whose home do they go to when the farm family splits up? It is questions like that which we approach with compassion and experience. It’s not easy operating in a world that not only doesn’t understand your craft, but sometimes even finds it offensive, especially when it comes to the application of pesticides, but our food & agriculture attorneys understand how important the Right to Farm is; and when the regulatory landscape changes out of nowhere, we helped navigate the flux. The only thing constant about the agencies that govern our food system – especially USDA and FDA – is change. Nurturing connections between farmers and food on our tables presents opportunities to enhance and protect the supply chain. Things that affect food manufacturers have a profound effect on the agricultural businesses that supply them, so every contact we make with food manufacturers, whether it be to negotiate supply contracts or settle a dispute, eventually impacts a farmer’s bottom line one way or another. There is no “get rich quick” in the agricultural world, even in a bumper crop year. As food & agriculture attorneys, we take great care to make sure farmers understand and mitigate the risks of new ventures, like when industrial hemp first came on the scene.

On the other hand, farmers are renowned for bright ideas, like a gourmet yogurt made exclusively from your family’s organic milk or a chicken so good that supermarkets fight to get it on shelves, and we are proud to counsel these committed entrepreneurs. Farmers are now, and have always been, some of the most resilient, generous and creative members of our society. Barley Snyder’s Food & Agribusiness Industry Group recognizes the sacrifices and the contributions they make every day and thank them. Each day presents new challenges and new things to be excited about, for farmers and for the attorneys that serve them. More than anything, we are humbled to be able to serve the agricultural community. Barley Snyder features a team of attorneys dedicated to navigating the unique challenges that the food and agribusiness sector faces. We have experience working with food, beverage and agribusiness clients from family farms to national food and beverage production firms. If you have questions regarding matters related to your food or agricultural business, please contact EmmaRose Strohl or any member of Barley Snyder’s Food & Agribusiness Industry Group.



Business & Community Advocacy

Far More Than Just a Farm Bill By Katie Hetherington Cunfer, Director of Government & Community Relations, GRCA


y the time you read this, the General Election will be over, and we’ll most likely know who has won the races for state and federal offices as well as which party has control of the various chambers. Polls going into the election currently indicate that Republicans are poised to take control of at least the U.S. House since inflation and the economy remain the top issues for voters. The U.S. Senate may also flip or continue to be evenly divided. One of the most important bills that will need to be drawn up and passed by the end of September 2023 is the Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill is an omnibus spending bill that appropriates nearly $500 billion over a five-year period on a vast array of programs related to commodities support, conservation, environmental protection, agribusiness support, supply chain, trade, nutrition, school lunch programs, energy, forestry, specialty crop assistance, rural economic development, credit and financing programs, crop insurance, research and extension, and dedicated support for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. The nutrition title, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was added to this bill in 1973, ballooning the overall cost and adding a much larger and diversified stakeholder base to the process. This bill has direct impact on every aspect of our daily lives and most Americans don’t even realize it.


The key element for the 2023 Farm Bill is Pennsylvania will have a unique opportunity to be in the driver’s seat for this new bill. Should Republicans take control of the U.S. House, Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15) will become the first Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee since the 1880s. Through Rep. Thompson’s leadership, we will have the ability to shape this bill and hopefully include more consideration for diversified and specialty crop production while finding ways to control the costs that have skyrocketed over the last decade. Once the 118th Congress convenes, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee will organize multiple hearings and official listening sessions to gather input from farmers, ranchers, business leaders, community advocates and other stakeholders. Over 100 such sessions were conducted in the process of developing the 2018 Farm Bill and the leaders of the committee are committed to

Residential & Commercial Electrical Service & Repair - Electrical Repair - Electrical Panel Upgrades - Code Violation Repairs - Wiring - Ceiling Fan Installation - Whole House Rewiring - Lighting Design & Installation

New Customers Receive $25 off first invoice of $100-$300 $50 off first invoice of $300-$500

- Safety & Security - Energy Saving Solutions - Parking Lot Lighting - Whole House Generators - Data & Phone Wiring - Smoke Detector Wiring Plus much more….

Get in Touch with an Electrician for a Free Estimate Today! Phone: (844) 747-7357 Website: 120 Prospect St. Reading, PA 19606

continuing that standard for the development of this year’s bill. As these sessions are scheduled and drafts of the bill are released, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) will share those details with members so that they can identify ways this bill might affect their business. The Farm Bill is about far more than just the farm. This bill has importance to any business that relies on raw or value-added products produced by U.S. farms or forests as well as any business that relies on our local, national and international agribusiness economy for customers. In 2023, the Business and Community Advocacy Council (BCAC) will be reestablishing the policy committees process where we will be reviewing the many facets of this bill as well as other state and federal legislation, policies and regulations that will come from the Biden Administration, the 118th Congress, our next Governor’s Administration and the new state legislature. If you are interested in participating in the BCAC and developing GRCA positions on this and other important issues, reach out to me at kcunfer@greaterreading. org. GRCA would love to include your perspective, knowledge and expertise to the council.

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 • 1-866-685-1790 • 21


Moving Manufacturing Forward 2022 MFG Summit explores industry trends, challenges


By Keith Stamm, Director of Workforce Development, GRCA

he Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) hosted “Manufacturing in the Metaverse” focused on the intersection of its annual manufacturing summit Wednesday, Oct. 26 at technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning the Miller Center for the Arts. This year’s summit brought (AI/ML), the internet of things (IoT), augment and virtual reality together manufacturing professionals, educational and community (AR/VR), cloud and edge computing and 5G. He discussed the partners as well as community leaders to celebrate the manufacturing convergence of these technologies and how this will impact and industry. Manufacturing holds the number one spot as both the shape manufacturing in the years to come. largest industry sector based on employment and Gross Domestic “Digitalization will define the 21st century similar to how Product (GDP) in Berks County. Manufacturing contributed the industrialization shaped the 20th century,” Simpson said. largest portion of GDP in 2021, $4,799,310,000, accounting for He explained why it’s so important for companies to understand nearly 20% of Berks County’s economy. these technologies and how they will impact the future of business. This half-day event recognized and celebrated manufacturing His presentation was followed by an expert panel of regional while bringing together manufacturers throughout the area to manufacturing professionals moderated by Alexia Pursley, Human discuss common trends, current challenges and exciting, future Resources Manager, Arkema. The panel shared insights and possibilities. Tim Simpson, Ph.D., Penn State University, was the experiences on how organizational culture plays in attracting critical keynote speaker for the event. Simpson is a Paul Morrow Professor talent and retaining them. The resounding theme from the panelist of Engineering Design & Manufacturing. His presentation titled,


centered around creating a culture that is not only welcoming, but also supports employees and helps them grow personally and professionally. They talked about the importance of investing in your employees’ growth, creating learning opportunities and articulating clear career advancement pathways to help retain top talent. Panelists shared how their organizations approach these strategies as well as lessons they learned along the way.

Anyone who is interested in more information about the Manufacturing Industry Partnership of the Greater Reading region can contact me at or 610-898-7776.

In this tough talent environment with low levels of unemployment and the high rates of quitting, companies need all the information they can get to make informed, strategic decisions. Nic Thomas, from Gage Personnel, presented a local wage and labor market analysis and examined some current trends as well as pitfalls for companies to know. Through an interactive polling activity, Thomas was able to illustrate some patterns between attendees including what businesses they compete with for talent, where the workers are, and the shortcomings in data collection and reporting that attendees are experiencing. He shared which talent metrics companies should be focusing on besides wages and the importance of understanding the true cost of turnover. The event wrapped up with Karen Norheim, President & CEO, American Crane Equipment and Dan Fogarty, COO, Berks County Workforce Development Board, giving an overview of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Competitiveness Playbook, which was recently released by the PA Manufacturing Advisory Council. This report identifies three overarching game changers for PA manufacturing and 10 specific recommendations to turn around Pennsylvania’s economic performance in manufacturing. Some of these include: provide a unified voice to advice the Governor and legislature on the needs of manufacturers, deliver training in automation to upskill incumbent employees and attract new workers, and strengthen regional manufacturing workforce pipelines. This playbook provides strategies to ensure the viability of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector for many years to come. If you are interested, you can review the playbook here: 23


What do you really want out of work? Women2Women’s Evening of Empowerment left attendees asking deep questions By Katie Johnsen, Event Coordinator, GRCA

All photos courtesy of Wayne Becker, Zerbe Photography


re you the kind of person who sends emojis and detailed texts to your friends, or are you the type who just responds, “K”? That’s the question keynote Marissa Orr asked nearly 200 guests during Berks Women2Women’s (W2W) annual Evening of Empowerment Thursday, Oct. 20. The night kicked off with champagne and boozy cider drinks, along with a delicious spread laid out by Catering by John Lowe. Several VIPs had the chance to meet and chat with Orr in the Roosevelt Room of The Abraham Lincoln amidst centerpieces by Saraí Variety Flower Shop.

Keynote speaker Marissa Orr told the crowd of nearly 200 stories of her time at Facebook and Google and how she redefined what it meant to her to be successful at work.

Rachael Romig, Director of Women2Women, invited attendees to think about their walk-up song – the song that empowers you and gets you pumped up – before telling us all about what W2W has accomplished this year. Next, she invited Alison Snyder, Chairwoman of W2W, to the stage, who welcomed our sponsors and shared her 10-year journey as part of W2W before introducing the keynote speaker. Orr, author of Lean Out and former executive at Facebook and Google, navigated the workplace with some success – making early, but awkward, introductions to Cheryl Sandberg. When Orr was up for a promotion that would force her to manage a larger team, she felt dread. After taking a few personality quizzes, and

VIP guests had the opportunity to meet and chat with keynote speaker Marissa Orr. 24 COMMERCE QUARTERLY FALL 2022

really asking herself what she wanted, she figured out why that position wasn’t right for her. Just like texting without emojis, that wasn’t where her strengths were. When she first approached her supervisor with this revelation, it was immediately rejected. This was the way the office worked, and they would not change it for her. She took the promotion but was miserable. Eventually, she was able to communicate with a superior that what she really wanted out of work was more money and a genuine compliment, and she got it! The email she received may have been written by her direct manager and then copied and pasted into an email from a higher up, but it meant the world to her. And she got a bonus out of it!

Rachael Romig, Senior Director of Events & Special Programs, GRCA, got the evening started by sharing her walk-up song, “I AM WOMAN,” by Emmy Meli. She then welcomed attendees and asked them to think about what their walk-song would be — the song that represents them and gets them pumped up.

Through her candid storytelling and deeply personal experience, Orr asked guests to consider what they really wanted out of our work – and their lives – and realize that not everyone should define success the same way. Just because their work environment is set up to appeal to one type of worker does not mean it should be the only way. Everyone has different ways of communicating. Some are emoji people, and some are terse. There is nothing wrong with either! Through the lens of Orr’s experience, she challenged everyone to really get to know themselves by asking some deep questions about what we really want out of work and life.

Catering by John Lowe provided the delicious spread.



GREATER READING Chamber Alliance



ere’s a taste of what the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has been working on in the past couple of months and what’s to come!

Advocacy This fall has been all about the 2022 General Election, and 2023 will be all about introducing the newly elected state and federal officials to GRCA members. In preparation for the new year, we’re working on some major changes for the Business & Community Advocacy Council, bringing back the member-led policy committees. We’re also writing our 2023-24 policy positions that will dictate what and how GRCA advocates on behalf of the Berks County business community. If you have ever had any interest in how government affects your business, now is the best time possible to get involved with GRCA’s advocacy program.

Economic Development GRCA’s Community Initiatives Team has partnered with the Chester County Economic Development Council to launch the Pennsylvania Loan Catalyst Fund. This new program is intended to provide flexible financing to Berks County small businesses, in partnership with financial institutions. Over $2.8 million will be allocated to Berks County over the next three years.

Events & Special Programs September is often slower for everyone, with kids going back to school and everyone prepping for the new budget year. We do the same, but in the events world that means putting dates on the next


year’s calendar! We are excited for you to preview our 2023 event schedule across GRCA, Women2Women and Family Business Alliance. Event planner surveys show that 2023 will be the “new benchmark” for events. How many people will come? What will it all cost? Our members have seen that we won’t stop, and, in 2023, we added 11 new events to the calendar! See page 27 for a preview of our 2023 Events Calendar. We hope to see you soon!

Membership From Flying Drones to Spilling Tea, members are learning and connecting with GRCA! If you haven’t taken advantage of the many events, workshops, conferences, or fun and impactful gatherings this year, please join us in 2023. We are packing the calendar with more than ever before. Stay tuned for monthly Lunch & Learns, Member Mixers (new!), Roundtables and more Networking Experiences. And, if your business has an event or training space available, we would love the opportunity to show it off and partner with you as a host.

Training & Workforce Development GRCA’s training and professional development department continues to meet the needs of our members while bringing new and innovative approaches to professional development. Two recent workshops included a DISC workshop where participants learned their communication and leadership styles and how their styles interact with others who may have different styles. The second workshop had attendees flying drones as a tool to teach critical teambuilding concepts. Continue to fly high with GRCA training and professional development programs.


Mujer a Mujer: 2nd Thursday of the month, 5:30-7 p.m. exceptions: April (Expo), July, August, September (summer), October (EoE) Networking: 4th Thursday of the month exceptions: April (regional networking), May (Dinner), July (summer), moved up a week in November & December for the holidays Penn Street Market: every Thursday, June-September

New Member Events: • New Member Orientations

January (virtual), May, September

Breakfast4Success February, June, October

Signature events are highlighted in blue, and events without dates currently scheduled are listed first. January: • 12: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday) • 13: Commissioner’s Breakfast • 17: Women2Women • 25: New Member Orientation • 26: Networking (4th Thursday) • 31: Family Business Alliance February • 8: Breakfast4Success • 9: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday) • 16: Women2Women • 23: Networking (4th Thursday) March • GRCA Trip Info. Session • 8: Women2Women • 9: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday)

• • • •

15: SHARE 21: Family Business Alliance 23: Networking (4th Thursday) 30: W2W Networking Experience

April • 12: FBA Peer Group Reception • 20: W2W Conference & Expo • 27: Regional Networking Event May • 3: Leadercast • 11: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday) • 16th: Women2Women • 17 or 23: Annual Dinner • 24: New Member Orientation • 25: FBA Spring Symposium June • W2W Regional Networking • Penn Street Market – every Thursday thru September

• • • •

1: Women2Women

• • •

9: State Legislator Breakfast

6: Family Business Alliance 7: Breakfast4Success 8: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday) Awards

• • •

15: Lean In Info. Session 23: FBA All in the Family Gathering 24: Networking (4th Thursday)

September • Penn Street Market – every Thursday thru September

• • • •

12: New Member Orientation 13: Family Business Alliance 14: W2W Networking 28: Networking (4th Thursday)

October • Congressional Conversation • Manufacturing Summit • 11: Breakfast4Success • 17: Family Business Alliance • 19: Evening of Empowerment • 26: Networking (4th Thursday) November • GRCA Trip • Taste of Berks • Local Government Forum • 9: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday) • 14: Women2Women • 16: Networking (3rd Thursday – moved due to Thanksgiving)

22: Networking (4th Thursday)

29: W2W Lobsterfest

December • 5: FBA Ag • 6: Women2Women • 14: Mujer a Mujer (2nd Thursday) • 21: Networking (3rd Thursday –

July • GRCA Night at the Fightin Phils • Penn Street Market – every Thursday thru September

August • Annual Picnic • Penn Street Market – every Thursday

29: FBA Fall Forum

moved due to Christmas)

thru September


in your community

M a i n

S t r e e t

P r o g r a m s

hamburg Businesses are blooming in Hamburg By Deena Kershner, Director of Our Town Foundation


ver the past few months, several new businesses opened their doors or expanded to a larger location in downtown Hamburg. This is an ongoing trend that Our Town Foundation, which is Hamburg’s non-profit community revitalization organization, hopes to see continue.

After several years of being vacant, the Wells Fargo bank building located at 555 State St. now houses two new business: Duran’s Express LLC and Body by You Boutique, both owned by Yeika and Stalin Duran. Duran’s Express is a courier business offering delivery services for anything you need shipped which can be locally or even across the country, excluding certain items such as animals. Something that stands out about Duran’s Express is the ability to offer same day pick-up and delivery usually within an hour of requesting a quote from them. Duran’s can be reached at or by calling 484-347-6983. Lucky Leprechaun Winery first opened its doors in downtown Before moving into a brick-and-mortar shop, Body by Yei started as an online women’s clothing boutique in March of 2021. After Hamburg during the fall of 2019. In addition to offering wine tastings, Yeika and Stalin opened Duran’s Express, they decided to use some it offers several fun activities on a weekly basis to increase its presence of their extra space to open their boutique and expand it to include within the community. After three years of being open, owners Than men’s clothing and accessories. They have even branched out into the Wright and Teresa McCarthy-Wright moved their business to a larger custom print making world, making t-shirts, sweatshirts, pants, etc. property located at 335 State St. in the heart of downtown Hamburg. If you can’t stop in at their boutique, you can visit their online store This new location is great for the business, because it makes it easier at or call 484-240-5808 for additional information. for them to process wine on-site. For additional information on the winery, visit or call 610-554-9189. Rita’s Italian Ice also recently opened its doors and welcomed the Lastly, B’s Sip and Paint located at 332 State St. has expanded to customers who flocked to its grand opening on Oct. 9. Owner Dennis Udicious purchased the property during the summer of 2021 and include the adjoining property. Nancy Boyer, owner of B’s, offers immediately began the process of converting the former attorney’s public and private sessions of Sip and Paint Classes as well as art office into the Rita’s of Hamburg. After many months of renovations classes and camps for children. For additional information, call 484and setbacks the long-awaited franchise finally opened at the corner 506-3188 or email of Windsor and South 4th Streets. Business entrepreneurs who are interested in learning more about According to Rita’s website, Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard is the largest Italian Ice concept in the nation, currently operating in 31 states with over 600 shops. They offer a variety of frozen treats including its famous Italian ice, frozen custard, milkshakes, sundaes, layered Gelati and signature Misto and Blendini creations. Visit for additional information.


downtown Hamburg and the surrounding area can contact Deena Kershner, Director of Our Town Foundation, by emailing otfmanager@ or by phone at 610-562-3106. You can also visit hamburgpa. org for additional information on the town.

in your community

West reading West Reading welcomes new businesses

By Mark Ratcliffe, Main Street Manager, West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation


all in West Reading kicked off with the Annual Fall Fest on Saturday, Sept. 17. On this day the weather was perfect, and there were more vendors than ever this year. We also added a new stage in the 400 block which gave us three stages this year. Thank you to everyone who came out; it was great to see the community on this amazing day. It was also fun to see our new businesses out experiencing their first major event in West Reading. Living their West Life.

Since May, we have welcomed seven new businesses to our Main Street, which includes Ezekiel 47 Cafe, Takkii Ramen, DeLune Boutique, Reiki Balance, The Nest Collaborative Yoga Studio, The Cheese Shop by Say Cheese and Little Lotus Children’s Shop. Be sure to check them out soon and say hello!

#ShopSmall Saturday will be our biggest event of the winter season. Come down to West Reading Saturday, Nov. 26 for music, giveaways and a free shopping bag that will include discount coupons. This is a great way to support your local community businesses, find some unique gifts and enjoy a day on the Avenue with your friends. The holiday season will again be filled with carriage rides and Victorian carolers along with the Annual Tree Lighting Friday, Dec. 2. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @VisitWestReading for daily events and updates from our merchants!


member news: industry & community newsmakers


Reading Bakery Systems (RBS), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of snack production systems, has introduced a new advanced machine called Thomas L. Green WCX Wirecut offering more product flexibility, control, better safety features and easier sanitation than previous designs. This new machine has an expanded range of product capabilities including standard and filled bars, multicolor products, filled and encapsulated cookies, pet treats, frozen dough applications and more. The WCX is capable of producing throughput yields of up to 300 cuts per minute (cpm), while maintaining a high degree of accuracy and consistent piece weight.

Entech Engineering, Inc. (Entech) has announced that Bryon Killian, PE, has been promoted to Business Unit Director of Entech’s Civil Environmental Resources Business Unit. He is replacing Robert Weir, PE, who will assume the role of President later this year. In this position, he will oversee all facets of the Business Unit including engineering/ design, resource management, business development, project management, and client management for the firm’s municipal and water and wastewater clients and industrial environmental services.


Barley Snyder is pleased to announce attorney Rachael Shaw has joined the firm in its Wyomissing office. Shaw will work in the firm’s Business and Real Estate practice groups. She concentrates her practice on business law where she counsels her clients on a variety of business matters such as corporate formation, governance and mergers and acquisitions. In her real estate practice, Shaw helps clients with agreements of sales and leasing matters.

RKL LLP is pleased to announce that firm Partner Timothy Kraft, CPA, has been named one of Lehigh Valley Business’s Forty Under 40 honorees. The award recognizes professionals 40 years of age and younger who are making an impact on the Greater Lehigh Valley through their career accomplishments, community service and commitment to inspiring change.

Omega Systems, a portfolio company of Pfingsten Partners and managed service provider to highly regulated and security-conscious organizations, today announced it has acquired PICS ITech, an IT services company based in Greater Philadelphia. A Top-50 MSP by Channel Futures this year, Omega continues to achieve accelerated growth with the addition of PICS, strengthening its team of technology professionals and bolstering its portfolio of ‘Smart’ solutions. Committed to helping today’s mid-market enterprises traverse the challenges posed by escalating cybersecurity, data protection, and regulatory compliance standards, Omega delivers a premier suite of services to businesses in need of robust, secure and professional support.

The Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) has named Barley Snyder attorney John “J.” Quain its “Light of Liberty Pro Bono Attorney” for 2022. The prestigious award is bestowed annually on the organization’s top pro bono attorney, honoring his/her exceptional service and support. PIRC, based in York, Pa., provides free legal services and education to either help immigrants obtain or to protect their legal status. Quain routinely volunteers with PIRC helping immigrants and their families in Pennsylvania receive legal aid they would not have access to otherwise. Quain dedicated his time to a pro bono program, which helps immigrants obtain their U visas.

Discovery FCU announced that after a comprehensive, nationwide search, its long-time Vice-President/Chief Information Officer Michele Smith succeeds retiring CEO Edwin William. Smith brings 22 years of service and experience with Discovery FCU to her new position. She has been instrumental in leading the organization through the pandemic, countless strategic initiatives, product and service enhancements and the recent renovation of the branch. She is a passionate advocate for the credit union movement and philosophy of people helping people.

In August, Barry Isett & Associates, Inc. opened its newest regional office — a development that will expand Isett’s services to the businesses and residents of the Greater Scranton Area — in Olyphant. The engineering and consulting firm has grown to nine locations across Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. The new facility allows Isett associates to have larger and smart workspaces with several common spaces for meetings and team building; and other modern amenities.

Continued on next page


member news: industry & community newsmakers continued

Fromm, a leading electrical distributor in the Mid-Atlantic Region, named Stephen Miller as Vice President of Information Systems and Strategy. In this role, Miller will be responsible for managing the company’s digital infrastructure and implementing new technology initiatives.

Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC) announced the appointment of Violet Emory to the role of its next Executive Director. In this role, Emory will be responsible for leading and guiding all aspects of the organization’s critical functions including board relations, philanthropy, staff development, execution of the strategic plan, education and skills programming. She also will be partnering with key community leaders and partners to further integrate Berks Tec Centro both in city as well as county economic and labor force development.

Berkshire Investment Group announced Nickolas Crosby has joined the team as Client Services Manager. In the role, Crosby will be working directly with client’s operational inquires along with building and maintaining relationships. He will also be involved in daily operations, compliance and regulations, financial reporting, managing accounts and supporting the team of advisors in the office.


Herbein + Company, Inc. (Herbein), a leading CPA advisory firm, announced it has merged in the Chagrin Falls, Ohio based organizational psychology firm Watterson & Associates, Inc. (WAI). Founded in 1996, WAI strategically partners with companies to manage employees’ development needs. As part of Herbein, WAI will initially operate as a Herbein division called Herbein | Watterson Talent Solutions. In January 2024, the division will operate as Herbein Talent Solutions.

Lehigh Valley Business has named Barley Snyder partner Thad M. Gelsinger to its annual Forty Under 40 list. Forty Under 40 recognizes professionals 40 years of age and younger who have been successful in the central Pennsylvania area. Honorees, chosen by Lehigh Valley Business (LVB) editors, were selected based on their professional accomplishments, community service and commitment to inspiring change.

To support the company’s growth and client success, Barry Isett & Associates, Inc. has appointed three associates to assume new positions across several offices. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and client management, Erin Burke will serve as the company’s Vice President of the Southeast Pennsylvania Region. As Vice President, Burke will focus on providing executive-level communication and oversee the management of multi-discipline projects. Brandon Trate, PG, will assume the role of Vice President of

the Lehigh Valley Region. Trate will provide the company with executive-level project and client management across Isett’s multidiscipline services. Formerly serving as Isett’s Vice President of the Southeast PA Region, Chris Kotch, PG, will assume the position of Vice President of the Field Division. Kotch will oversee Isett’s Environmental Consulting, Forensic Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Survey, and Construction Materials Testing departments and services.

The best reading in Reading

FALL 2022

GREATER READING Chamber Alliance


Hoffmann Publishing Group is the regional leader in print and digital niche publishing. Our publications deliver targeted marketing opportunities directly to the key decision makers in Berks County’s professional, business and community organizations.

Plus: Supporting

Berks County Agriculture

Call today for advertising opportunities. • 610.685.0914 x201


member news: new members & anniversaries JULY 2022 – OCTOBER 2022

New Members Aston Carter Compassus Cornerstone Financial Strategies, LLC Diversified Family Interventions Haven Behavioral Hospital of Eastern Pennsylvania HawkRidge Fulfillment Jireh Cleaning Services, Inc. LGBT Center of Greater Reading Malvern Communications, Inc. Manpower Morgan Truck Body LLC NAMI Berks Offices at Penn Square Plaza Phoenix Physical Therapy (Douglassville location) Phoenix Physical Therapy (Sinking Spring location) Post Precision Castings Reading Pride Celebration T.A. Industries Tailor Brands The Crossroads Group The Poopbusters

Interested in becoming a part of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance? Contact Senior Director of Membership Julie Larison at or 610.898.7785.



 ABLE Equipment Rental, Service and Sales

 Firstrust Bank  Malsnee Tile & Stone, Inc.

 Delaney EyeCare

 Anytime Fitness

 McMahon Associates, Inc.

 Morgan Stanley

 Bell Media Group

 Sigmet Corporation

 Shuman Development Group

 Berks Homes

 Toppan Interamerica

 Spotts Insurance Group

 Boot Barn

 Zee Medical Service

 Vision Resource Center of Berks County

 Brute Athletic Apparel  Caring Concept HomeCare LLC

25 YEAR  Atlantic Energy Concepts, Inc.


 Hubric Resources

 Candlewood Suites

 Hugg Media Group LLC


 Colorfin, LLC

 Bethany Children’s Home

 Keller Williams Platinum Realty

 Go Fish! Seafood

 Cobra Anchors Corporation

 Kemerton Refill & Refresh  Kimberton Whole Foods  Kissinger Associates, Inc.

 Dave Roche Electric, Inc.


 Habasit America, Inc.

 Bally Block Company

 IFS Industries, Inc.

 Planet Fitness - Reading

 Berks County Living

 Timber Tech Engineering, Inc.

 Realty One Group Exclusive

 Classic Harley-Davidson

 SmartCost Incorporated

 Custom Milling & Consulting, Inc.

 Social Clover Marketing


 Custom Processing Services, Inc.

 Berks Arts


 Mid Penn Bank

 M.J. Reider Associates, Environmental Testing Laboratories, Inc.

 Berks Plastic Surgery  Holiday Inn Morgantown


 HonIsT Solutions

 R.M. Palmer Company

 Irish Creek Construction  Pollen Consolidated LLC  Reading Parking Authority  SOLO Laboratories


 The String Tree, Inc.

Human Resources Benefits Roundtable





Some of your most important connections can be found close to home We’re proud to put Berks County first for 30 years, and we’re committed to helping you build on your success with a financial strategy that’s just for you.

Maggs & Associates Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 985 Berkshire Blvd. Suite 200 Wyomissing, PA 19610 610.320.5462

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value © 2022 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.

MAP4264787 | MLWM-245-AD | 470950PM-0322 | 03/2022