Commerce Quarterly Spring 2024

Page 1

SPRING 2024 Quarterly
Former running back
P. 8
Brian Westbrook named Annual Dinner speaker Plus:
Economic Conductor

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4 Leah Fassnacht, Editor 606 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601 • 610.376.6766 ©2024 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 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. Your Greater Reading Chamber Alliance… » Partners with all other economic development organizations in creating an environment for growth. » 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 involvement in education partnerships.
Operates as a model business and pursues
Maintains a five-star
Reflects our multicultural
On the cover: Brian Westbrook brings his keynote address about perseverance, teamwork and goal setting to GRCA’s 111th Annual Dinner.
CONTENTS FEATURES: 6 The Eagle has Landed: GRCA’s 111th Annual Dinner & Business Excellence Awards 8 Economic Condutor 10 A Prime Insider’s Look at Troches: Medicinal Innovation for Commonwealth Patients 14 Waterway Work: Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area Celebrates 50 Years of Operation DEPARTMENTS: Business & Community Advocacy 16 Building a Better Reading Events & Signature Programs 24 Ladies Who Lead 26 Ribbon Cuttings & Grand Openings IN EVERY ISSUE: 5 Letter From the Editor 18 Business Spotlights 22 Greater Together 28 In Your Community 32 Member News 38 New Members 38 Member Anniversaries
rating as one of the best chambers in Pennsylvania. »
community at large.
Quarterly COMMERCE

Board of Directors

As the winter season winds down, planning for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s (GRCA) biggest event of the year ramps up. For the 111th time, our local business community will gather at GRCA’s Annual Dinner to recognize Greater Reading’s top growth businesses.

Internally, the GRCA team met to discuss changes that should be made to improve the overall program. We reviewed the survey responses from last year’s event, and know we are listening to the changes you are asking for. First, the event starts earlier and gets a bit shorter. We understand that it’s not easy to work a full day and then attend an event that lasts late into the evening.

The décor will celebrate GRCA’s new branding or as GRCA staff refers to it, “The glow up of GRCA.” Think bold, bright colors filling the room and delighting the senses.

This year the VIP hour and regular cocktail hour will begin promptly at 5 p.m. Then buffet lines will open at 6 p.m. Wine will be available at each table so your team can celebrate together without having to make multiple trips to the bar.

As for our special guest, we have invited Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles’ All-Pro running back and entrepreneur, to deliver the keynote address. Westbrook, about whom you can read more about on page 6, will discuss how teamwork and perseverance led to success both on and off the football field.

After Westbrook’s remarks, it is time for the main event! The top growth businesses in Category 1 and Category 2 will be announced with the top 3 from each category receiving their awards on-stage. Be sure to stay and see where your company ranks.

We can’t wait to see you and celebrate your business’s many accomplishments on May 22 at Santander Arena. Scan the code above to purchase tickets. Interested in bringing a large group of staff members to the event? Contact Katie Johnsen, GRCA’s Event Coordinator, at to discuss the many sponsorship opportunities. CQ

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.


Jeffrey R. Rush – Fulton Bank (Chairman)

Christina L. Weeber – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc. (Vice Chairman)

Daniel R. Langdon – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc./Retired (Immediate Past Chairman)

Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank (Treasurer)

Michael A. Duff, Esq. – Penske Truck Leasing (Secretary)


Ernest J. Choquette – The Stevens & Lee Companies

Jonathan Encarnacion – Community First Fund Credit Union

Jack Gombach – McNees Strategic Solutions Group

Laura Haffner – Wells Fargo

Ginger Kunkel – Tompkins VIST Bank

Sara Kuzma-Stump – Suburban Testing Labs

Dr. Susan Looney – Reading Area Community College

Jamey Maack – Industrial Metal Plating

John Perate – M&T Bank

Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank

Alan Shuman – Shuman Development Group

David W. Stonesifer – Herbein + Company, Inc.

Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance

John Weidenhammer – Weidenhammer


Sara Kuzma Stump – Suburban Testing Labs (Chairwoman)

Laura Haffner – Wells Fargo (Vice Chairwoman)

Alan Shuman – Shuman Development Group (Secretary)

Jack Gombach – McNees Strategic Solutions Group (Treasurer)

Timothy Dietrich – Barley Snyder (Solicitor)

Michele L. Richards – Fulton Bank (Immediate Past Chair)


Stephen Bonner – DoubleTree by Hilton Reading

Brian Dietrich – Ernst & Young (EY LLP)

Jonathan Encarnacion – Community First Fund Credit Union

Alba Fernandez – Community First Fund

Jenn Frees – Comcast

Andrea Funk – Enersys

Kristi Gage-Linderman – Gage Personnel

Joey Jurgielewicz – Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd.

Kristin Kohler – Brentwood Industries, Inc.

Daniel B. Laws, Jr. – DaBrian Marketing Group

Ben Leisawitz – Barley Snyder LLP

John Perate – M&T Bank

Radha Pyati – Penn State Berks

Ryan Redner – Redner’s Markets

Daniel Richards – Berks County Intermediate Unit

Rodney Ridley – Alvernia University

Mike Riley – EthoSource, LLC

Ben Ross – Burkey Construction

Jim Sarro – MG Architects, Ltd.

Brad Stephenson – New Castle Lawn & Landscape

David W. Stonesifer – Herbein + Company, Inc.

John Weidenhammer – Weidenhammer



Debra L. Millman, Esq. – Greater Berks Development Fund (President)

Daniel R. Langdon – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc./Retired (Chairman)

Ernest J. Choquette – Stevens & Lee/Griffin (Vice Chairman)

Michael A. Duff, Esq. – Penske Truck Leasing (Secretary)

Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance (Treasurer)


Charles Barbera, MD – Tower Health

Joseph Butto – Mid Penn Bank

Scott Hauseman – Fulton Bank

Ginger Kunkel – Tompkins VIST Bank

Dr. Susan Looney – Reading Area Community College

Jamey Maack – Industrial Metal Plating

David C. Roland – Truist

Timothy D. Romig – Customers Bank

Jeffrey R. Rush – Fulton Bank

Joseph J. Sigle – Wells Fargo

Sally Stewart – Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Michael Vind – FSL Public Finance

Christina L. Weeber – East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc.

Letter from the Editor
CQ Visit our website Leah Fassnacht

The Eagle has Landed

Brian Westbrook brings his story of perseverance and teamwork to GRCA’s 111th Annual Dinner & Business Excellence Awards

When the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s (GRCA) 111th Annual Dinner kicks off, the Philadelphia Eagles fans in the audience will be treated to a familiar face.

Brian Westbrook, tapped as the event’s keynote speaker, is a former Eagles fan-favorite and All-Pro Running Back. A College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Westbrook was a star at Villanova University where he was a two-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and recipient of the Walter Payton Award. He holds the all-time NCAA record with 9,512 all-purpose yards in his college career. Because Westbrook holds over 30 records for Villanova football, it was no surprise when he was inducted into the Villanova Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

Westbrook was then drafted in the third round by the Philadelphia Eagles and continued his stardom in Philadelphia. Westbrook led the Eagles to six playoff appearances and four NFC Championship appearances. He is ranked in the top three

“I’ve loved football all my life and had the great privilege to play with the best, in front of the best fans in the game, in Philly.”
— Brian Westbrook told Forbes
6 Cover Story

Wednesday, May 22

5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Santander Arena, 700 Penn St., Reading

Scan to learn more and purchase tickets, or visit


The event’s title sponsor is Wells Fargo. Sponsorships are available by contacting Katie Johnsen, Events Coordinator, at or 610-898-7779. Deadline is May 8, 2024.


in career rushing yards in Eagles history and was a two-time Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro with the organization. After his impressive career, he was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015.

After his football retirement, Westbrook shifted his focus to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He founded the Brian Westbrook Foundation, which serves underprivileged youth and provides financial knowledge and leadership skills. He also started the Westbrook Horse Farm, which operated for 11 years. It is now being transitioned into the home of the Brian Westbrook Foundation.

He expanded his work into broadcasting, appearing on “First Things First” on Fox Sports and being a part of 97.5’s The Fanatic’s Eagles coverage. He currently resides in New York with his wife and three kids. CQ

Carries Yds. Avg. TDs Receptions Yds. 1,385 6,335 4.6 41 442 3,940

Economic Conductor

A passenger train connecting the Lehigh Valley to Reading? It’s

possible, a recent study says.

In late March, Allentown released the Lehigh Valley Passenger Rail Feasibility Analysis. Why is this important for us in Greater Reading? It demonstrates that the work that we are doing as GRCA to support the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) efforts to restore intercity passenger rail is VITAL, and we are going places ahead of the curve.

GRCA knows that the demand to bring back passenger rail is real. The economic benefits to our region would be substantial! A connection with the Lehigh Valley would be an invaluable piece of the puzzle to bring more tourism—the great shows at the Santander Arena, the Reading Symphony Orchestra, the GoggleWorks, Reading Blues & Jazz Fests, and visits to the Reading Science Center, the Reading Firefighters Museum, and catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift’s hometown!

More than 70,000 people commute to work from the Lehigh Valley to the Reading and Philadelphia areas. This line could help alleviate the congestion many experience on the 422 corridor to and from Allentown.

We can encourage students of all ages to learn at our outstanding colleges and universities like Reading Area Community College, Albright College, Alvernia University, Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health, Kutztown University and Penn State Berks. The work of Meet Greater Reading by GRCA promotes both talent attraction and retention for the future of workforce development in our region.

We would expect the economic benefits to eventually outweigh the overall cost of the project, which according to the report, will cost the least of all the proposed corridors. The report estimates capital costs to be $450M with annual operating expenses at $2.2-4.3M. Other challenges we are currently addressing are the final


location selection through our Franklin Street Station Work Group as well as participating in the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) overlay planning. We are greater together as we work with our partner in this crucial planning.

The study highlights the simplicity of the Allentown to Reading option utilizing the Norfolk Southern Railway and joining in the existing efforts of SRPRA. Allentown to Reading has the lowest anticipated cost of all rail alternatives being proposed and overall demonstrates low concerns compared to options via Hackettstown, High Bridge, Lansdale and Norristown.

Considerations should be made for the potential of high volume of freight traffic, twice as much as goes through the city toward Philadelphia as well as the longer time frame getting the Allentown to Reading route launched. It’s hard to argue against the fact that this is worth exploring.

Recent population and economic growth have spurred in our region, and we need to encourage more of it. We continue to support and join the efforts of our vibrant main streets in Greater Reading, as well as cultural, outdoor and agricultural experiences that you can discover unique to Berks County. A strong downtown strategic plan for the City of Reading and tools like a City Revitalization Improvement Zone (CRIZ) will continue to keep us moving down the track. Don’t forget that Reading is the fourth largest city in the Commonwealth. We are proud to be a transportation hub and have Allentown join us.

With the release of the study, Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach outlined some of the challenges facing the Lehigh Valley.

“While we wish the Lehigh Valley all the best in their efforts to implement passenger rail service, they are facing a very different challenge. Berks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties are focused on restoring a former passenger rail system on active rail lines that already meet the federal requirements for passenger rail,” he said. “As a result, we are not faced with nearly the capital costs noted in the Lehigh Valley rail study. Our rail lines are in place and fully operational. Additionally, we are working on a single line versus multiple lines going to multiple destinations. The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) is much less complex and significantly less costly.”

If you would like updates or ways to be involved, please visit CQ


A Prime Insider’s Look at TROCHES: Medicinal Innovation for Commonwealth Patients

The Commonwealth’s Medical Marijuana Program has advanced at an astounding rate since being signed into law in 2016, with new patients and new products arriving in dispensaries every day. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro when it comes to medical marijuana, you might be wondering— what is a troche?

Let Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, one of the original grower/ processors in Pennsylvania’s burgeoning program, be your guide into this emerging category in the Commonwealth medical marijuana market. From our start in 2017, we have been laser-focused on our commitment to advancing health and wellness and serving as a premier provider of exceptional products to dispensary partners across the Commonwealth. Join us as we dive into the ins and outs of the Commonwealth’s new troches trend, unpack how this consumption method differs from what consumers might expect from a traditional “ingestible” experience, and take a behind-thelabel look at our growing array of fast-acting and high-potency cannabinoid formulations.

Merriam Webster defines troche (trō-kē) as a “lozenge” or medicated pastille. The troche product category is a relatively new development for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program—only having become an approved form in November 2023. The troches category is quickly ramping up across the state, however, with BDSA GreenEdge—an industry leader in retail sales data tracking and market analysis—observing that over $1.38M in dispensary revenue was generated by troches sales within January 2024 alone.


While troches are consumed via the mouth as one would with a marijuana edible and both forms share similar ingredient lists, the difference between troches and “edibles” lies in the legally allowed consumption method. In this case, buccal absorption by dissolving the troche under the tongue or along the gum line rather than chewing or swallowing as one might a “gummy.” Buccal absorption directly into the bloodstream can mitigate the slight degradation or loss of THC potency which occurs when edibles are digested through the GI tract. Troches may be especially beneficial for patients who cannot swallow pills or lack the digestive enzyme necessary for processing THC via the GI tract. If chewed and swallowed, cannabinoids generally take effect in approximately 30 minutes to two hours, whereas the buccal consumption method may potentially onset effects in as little as 15 minutes. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Health, traditional edibles for oral consumption through the GI tract cannot be legally produced by licensed grower/processors—the medical marijuana organizations who received exclusive certification to cultivate, harvest, process, package and even extract marijuana plants for wholesale to regulated, medicinal dispensaries across Pennsylvania.

Why is the state’s medical marijuana board hesitant to greenlight chewable or “gummy” edibles? According to Dr. Christine Roussel, a pharmacist who serves on the Pennsylvania medical marijuana advisory board, troches can serve as a “more appropriate

Continued on next page >

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pharmaceutical dosage” that might help minimize “confusion in the residential setting” to avoid potentially problematic instances of THC overdoses—what can be an uncomfortable, though rarely fatal, phenomenon, often characterized by anxious paranoia, nausea, vomiting, cottonmouth, and respiratory and/or central nervous system depression.

Roussel also cites a “1300fold increase [throughout] the last five years” in observed cases of children unintentionally consuming marijuana-infused edibles. In helping to reduce the potential for accidental ingestion following the introduction of troches to Pennsylvania patients, regulators will require childproof packaging featuring difficult-to-open seals and no-frills labeling with a clear indication of THC potency of each product.

While 25 Pennsylvania grower/processors are currently operational, and many are actively producing troches, the available products on the market are still relatively limited to 10pk and 10mg options with repetitive flavor profiles and formulations. Inspired by patient-generated feedback about the next generation of troches introduced in the Commonwealth market, Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania has devoted significant resources to research, develop, and now proudly wholesale our innovative high potency and fastacting troches under an all-new line of flower strains, vapes, tinctures and troches for Pennsylvania patients: The Botanist. The Botanist is a brand on a mission to go beyond and discover a new vision for medical marijuana because when you gather talent en-masse you can get to work developing new strains, reexamining grow practices, and unleashing a range of products to match anyone’s lifestyle.

Leveraging the artful science behind Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania’s seed-to-sale process, The Botanist’s troches are crafted

with real fruit flavors and colors in an array of cannabinoid ratios— offering unique combinations of deliciousness, onset timing and potential medicinal benefits. Vegan and gluten-free with a soft jelly texture, The Botanist is proud to present troches, powered by Prime. According to John Watson, Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania’s Director of Production, the potential benefits and consumption scenarios for The Botanist troches are diverse—including diabetic-friendlier options that are carnauba-wax coated, rather than sanded in sugar.

In addition, Watson notes that this process necessitates an additional three to five days of labor hours to ensure the wax is properly cured for optimal troche consistency.

While the process might require extra time and TLC to deliver, their newest troches creation has the potential to cut onset time in half from standard market offerings by leveraging fast-acting cannabinoid technology from Azuca. Crafted by visionary chef and infusion expert Ron Silver, Azuca is the marijuana industry’s leader when it comes to crafting troches with efficient onset timing. The Botanist’s FastActing troches feature Azuca’s TiME™ (Thermodynamic Molecular Encapsulation) formulation that enables cannabinoids like THC to become hydrophilic and begin absorbing into the bloodstream from the moment they are placed along the patient’s gumline for maximum absorption of Delta-9 THC—potentially producing an effect in patients that is more akin to vaping a medical marijuana product than digesting a traditional edible.

As patients seek the right product to provide relief from one of the Commonwealth’s 23 qualifying conditions, Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania is hopeful that patients will consider troches, our latest product innovation. CQ

Feature continued

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Waterway Work

Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area celebrates 50 years of operation

Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area (SRG) is a regional non-profit with the mission of connecting people and communities to the Schuylkill River Trail, the Schuylkill River and the culture and heritage of the watershed. One of the primary ways that SRG achieves this mission is through its work on the Trail. SRG builds, maintains and promotes the Schuylkill River Trail, which will be 120 miles extending from Philadelphia to Frackville in Schuylkill County when it is finished. There are 40 miles yet to be built, and SRG is the organization charged with building the final miles in Berks and Schuylkill Counties.

In addition to working on the Trail, SRG also champions the Schuylkill River through educational programming, recreational activities and conservation investments. Partnering with many community groups in the Reading area and beyond, SRG offers nature-based watershed education to children of all ages and provides many community educational opportunities, such as Riverzilla at the Reading Riverfront. The Schuylkill River Sojourn is another well-loved tradition that has connected the region to the river for over 25 years. The Sojourn is a seven-day kayaking trip during which 200+ people travel 113 miles from Schuylkill Haven to Philadelphia every June. To engage those who are not quite up to the Sojourn, SRG also offers day trips through the Pedal and Paddle programs, a free bike share on the Schuylkill River Trail, a


one-day Ride for the River cycling event in September of every year and a beloved watershed-based art show in November.

In 2021, SRG entered a strategic partnership with Take It Outdoors, a local outfitter, and in the ensuing years SRG’s ability to introduce communities to the river has exploded. Based in Pottstown in Riverfront Park, Take It Outdoors and SRG offer kayak rentals, trips, shuttling, bike riding, camping trips and more. This partnership has enabled SRG to partner with many more organizations and communities and created many more stewards of the river.

Another vitally important aspect of SRG’s work is investing to keep the water quality and ecosystems of the Schuylkill River vibrant and healthy. Through the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund, SRG raises private and public funds annually to fund about 10 projects that directly improve water quality by taking on the issues of legacy coal pollution, agricultural runoff, stormwater inflow and more.

This year Schuylkill River Greenways is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a grand gala celebration at the Reading Public Museum on Thursday, May 2. Join SRG and its many partners in celebrating 50 years of championing this beautiful natural resource that winds its way through trail towns and communities as diverse as the people who live there. Visit our website at to learn more about all these events and more! CQ

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 484-577-9791.

Thank you,

Co Chairs, Willis Kanaley and Pete Kostick

We computer

If you us Co

Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE | | 401 Penn

Co Chairs, Dave Verrill and Pete

Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE | | 401 Penn Street Reading PA c/o Alvernia S CO volunteers business

Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE

401 Penn Street Reading PA c/o Alvernia University


Building a Better Reading

Vacant downtown property set to be restored

Shuman Development Group (Reading Historic Properties LP, SDG) is set to restore the vacant Trexler Mansion/Elks Club with a big assist from Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF), an affiliate of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA).

GBDF has been awarded a $500,000 Keystone Communities Development Grant request that will be used to help offset the exterior work of $1.85 million.

This 27,000-square-foot, French Empire mansion is the anchor building for the south side of Reading’s Callowhill Historic District, which includes much of the downtown Central Business District. This building, built in 1869 as the mansion of the Trexler family, was then converted into Elks Club Lodge 115 in 1908. It remained the Elks Club Lodge until 1978 and has been vacant since that time. Over the last 50 years, at least a dozen groups have attempted to restore the structure, but none have assembled a financing package.

Shuman Development Group is the largest private developer in the City of Reading, having renovated approximately two million square feet of residential, office, and retail space. Over the last 25 years, its development included on-time and on-budget completion of over $60 million of National Parks Service- approved Historic Restoration projects. All projects have greatly exceeded their projected neighborhood impacts in these severely distressed census tracts.

SDG was spurred to action on this project by the public outcry over the deteriorating conditions of the property. Through social media, SDG was urged to take on this challenging project. No other developer in recent memory has undertaken the historic

16 Business & Community Advocacy
Photos by Lauren Little Photography By Deb Millman, GBDF President

renovation of buildings in Reading to the degree that SDG has, including the recently completed Berks Trust building at 6th & Washington Streets downtown. SDG has acquired the property and plans to have it fully restored by the end of 2024.

The restoration of this anchor building in Reading’s Central Business District is expected to have the following impacts:

• Restoration of a significant historic structure listed on the National Register.

• Creation of 8 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) desperately needed entry-level, walk-to-work jobs.

• Create meeting space for downtown job fairs.

• Provide special events space for the Reading Public Library literacy outreach programs.

• Supports 17 construction jobs, many of which pay Prevailing Wages, and includes an awardwinning program with contractors that train parolees so they have the skills to successfully re-integrate back into society as contributing citizens.

• Provide nearly $26,000 annually to the local municipality, the City of Reading, through income, business, real estate and sales taxes.

Total project costs will exceed $4 million. The City of Reading and the County of Berks have committed $300,000 each to help offset the costs of some unexpected roof structural issues, which demonstrates that the project has widespread community support.

Interested in obtaining funding for your business? Contact Kayla Hayick, GRCA’s Director of Lending & Business Outreach, at 610.898.7761 or for assistance. CQ

Help them stay in their homes and keep the independence they cherish. We always conduct regular, confidential in-home quality assurance visitations to go hand-in-hand with a customized care plan specifically for your loved one. We are locally owned and operated, giving us a stake in your community.

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In the latest installment of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s Perseverance and Overcoming Obstacles storytelling initiative, we uncover the surprising, poignant and inspiring story behind Shuman Development Group. Back in 1994, Alan Shuman didn’t set out with grand visions of business ownership; and he certainly didn’t imagine that, one day, he would develop more than two million-square-feet of space in Reading, Pa. Join us as we delve into the story of Shuman Development Group and its unforgettable mark on the bricks and mortar of our community. Scan the code to read the entire story. CQ Your Loved

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Competent Caregiving

Assured Assistance has been providing home care for more than 20 years

Assured Assistance

Assured Assistance is a prominent provider of quality home care in Berks County. It provides a personal, hands-on approach to customizable services that ensure clients’ needs match the services provided. As a non-medical provider, services cover a broad spectrum including transportation, meal planning and preparation, laundry, personal care, companionship and much more. Company caregivers provide these services with skill, grace and compassion.

It doesn’t matter whether our clients need assistance one day a week or 24/7, Assured Assistance staff provides invaluable services to every individual. They provide respite care for family caregivers who want to take a vacation or just get a break for a few days. Caregivers also can be a source of information on options as individuals approach their golden years. The company encourages researching options ahead of time so decisions can be made based on facts rather than at the last minute or in the heat of the moment.

Assured Assistance’s success is attributed to its attention to detail and treating every customer with dignity and respect. Each customer has a unique story and circumstance. It is their job to listen, learn and be certain their services match the needs of the client, today, tomorrow and down the road. The staff prides itself on providing services for their clients’ specific concerns—from detailed issues to simple shortterm visits and everything in between. This success led the company to celebrate its 20th anniversary of business in Berks County. It looks forward to many more years of changing lives, one person at a time. CQ

Sherry Kutz

Hope for the Homeless Opportunity House teaches essential skills for

independent living

Opportunity House

Since 1984, Opportunity House has provided emergency shelter for people in Berks County who have nowhere else to turn. Each year, it provides a bed, meals, access to showers and laundry facilities to those 500+ people experiencing homelessness. The team of case managers provides oneon-one support to help clients get back on their feet, and the life skills program teaches essential skills for independent living and maintaining stable housing.

In addition to the shelter, Opportunity House provides Keystone 4-Star quality early childhood education for over 200 children each year. The Reuse & Recycle program includes OppShop, its retail thrift store and warehouse, creating jobs for formerly homeless clients. Getting clients into permanent housing is very rewarding. Seeing them succeed fulfills our mission of empowering individuals to improve their lives.

The Reuse & Recycle Program diverts over 1 million pounds from landfills. OppShop, its retail thrift store, located at 3045 5th Street Hwy., sells clothing and household items at affordable prices. All proceeds benefit the services of Opportunity House. Items that are not given to clients, sold at OppShop, or at monthly warehouse sales, are recycled and the revenue benefits Opportunity House.

How can the Greater Reading community get involved?

Greater Reading has been a generous supporter of the work at Opportunity House. Every person can make a difference in the lives of those who are experiencing homelessness by:

• Cooking and serving a meal at Opportunity House. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are needed 365 days per year. Call 610374-4696.

• Donating your gently used clothing and household items to OppShop.

• Volunteering at events like Wine, Women and Shoes, the Annual Golf Tournament or to help in our community garden.

• Financially support the work.

• Host a collection of essential items needed at the shelter like underwear and sports bras. CQ


One Hundred Years of History Restored


Time had taken its toll on the grand Victorian, standing for more than 100 years on the corner of S. Elm Street. The structure, older than Wernersville Borough itself, was vacant and deteriorating – a shell of its former grandeur. Now, passerbys can once again admire the beautiful ornate details and charm of the old Victorian – completely restored, renovated, and updated by Bachman’s Roofing, Solar & Remodeling – the total home improvement company.

Bachman’s, the reliable family-owned business, serving Berks County and the tri-state area for more than 50 years, has their main office in Wernersville, adjacent to the Victorian. Dedicated to the growth and success of Wernersville as a thriving community, Eric Bachman,

President of Bachman’s Roofing, felt a passion to preserve the Victorian’s rich history and revitalize its significance to the borough.

A Brief History of the Victorian

In the early 1900s, before there were even sidewalks or streetlamps, residents were working to establish Wernersville as a borough. In 1907, the Hunsicker’s purchased a lot just north of the train tracks, and built their 3-story, grand Victorian family home.

As the town grew, Hunsicker recognized the significance of his home and its central location. He foresaw its potential to play an important role in the town’s future, and endowed it to the borough with the condition it be utilized for community purposes.

In 1923, the Wernersville Public Library moved into the expansive first floor, and the Borough Council set up their offices on the second floor. In those days, every train stopped at the Wernersville Station, so visitors and residents frequented the library – many of whom still remember visiting it today.

Preserving History, Protecting the Future

In 2015, Bachman purchased the deteriorating Victorian with one goal: preserve its history and protect its future.

Project Supervisor Pat Moore and his team were tasked with retaining as much original detail and character as possible. Any upgrades or replacements needed to be thoughtfully chosen to replicate the original aesthetic. Only the most advanced and highest quality materials and craftsmanship were used to ensure the structure stands another 100 years.

20 Sponsored Editorial

Working from the Ground-Up

First order of business: Repair and safeguard the exterior. To ensure structural integrity, the team had to fix decades of mortar decay by reframing and pouring new footingfoundation.

With respect to the project’s history and community importance, the design priority was a thoughtful blend of yesterday’s façade and today’s durability.

The existing roof and siding were beyond repair – everything needed to be replaced and weatherized. Synthetic Slate Shingles were chosen to replicate the original design; new gutters and soffits were installed. An elegant, custom-made, copper “B” for Bachman’s was inlaid on the roof. The same familiar “B” was stamped into the newly poured cement on the repointed sidewalk out front – a stamp of quality.

The team selected Everlast 7-inch lap siding in Antique Ivory. The stunning stained glass windows were professionally refurbished, and the sleek turrets and ornate details, synonymous with Victorian homes, are a show-stopper.

Strands of LED lights adorn the exterior, bringing a soft glow to the property. Playful employees enjoy adjusting the colored light display to commemorate holidays and special occasions.

Taking the Remodel to the Next Level

The spring of 2022 brought an exciting expansion and upgrade to the 2nd and 3rd floors. Bachman’s transformed the top floors into two luxury apartments brimming with character, a modern floor plan, and top-of-the-line amenities.

No detail was overlooked: Walls were reframed and painted, windows replaced, new flooring installed. All mechanical, electrical, and plumbing were updated to current codes and standards; and the historic Victorian was finally introduced to some modern luxuries: central heat and air conditioning, and big closets.

An Exciting New Life

There are exciting plans for the first floor – it will serve as an expansive showroom featuring the broad range of services Bachman’s offers. This customer experience will provide design inspirations, product samples, and friendly customer service. While visiting, customers can take in the beauty of the Victorian’s original hardwood floors and the ornate details that were carefully preserved and restored. After almost nine years of careful planning and execution, this historic renovation project was officially completed in January 2024. Thanks to the effort, vision, and dedication of the Bachman’s team, the Victorian has regained its regal stature, and is ready to welcome community members and visitors once again. You can stay connected with the Victorian and witness its next chapter by following us on social media.

Bachman’s was proud to restore this significant piece of Berks County’s history. The team’s great efforts truly demonstrate that Bachman’s is more than just roofing – they’re a complete home improvement company, with great community pride. CQ



Here’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!


GRCA is working to fill the advocacy position that is now vacant. In the meantime, advocacy events will continue as planned. Join us from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on May 17 at Albright College, South Lounge, for the State Legislator Breakfast. Visit events for more information and to purchase tickets.

Economic Development

Through Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF), an affiliate of GRCA, we provided loan capital to Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, Inc. (NHS) to utilize for its small business lending program. Through funding from the U.S. Treasury, over $430,000 was made available to NHS for requests from its customers. Since late 2022, over $320,000 has been disbursed to businesses, primarily in the City of Reading, in amounts averaging $25,000. Due to the success of this partnership, we are looking at avenues to expand the program.

Events & Special Programs

The GRCA events team is working to bring you a fun and energetic evening at this year’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday, May 22. Changes have been made to the timeline of the event, so guests

can enjoy an evening out, but not be out as late as in years past. We hope membership is pleased with the changes and flow to the event.


The start of 2024 in the GRCA membership department was highly successful and dynamic. The period was marked by robust member attendance at various events, including the popular Coffee&Convo series, Networking@Night events and the inaugural Non-Profit Roundtable.

Additionally, the membership team attended one-on-one meetings and member events throughout Greater Reading. The team was busy onboarding new members, conducting meetings with prospective members, hosting member refresher meetings, participating in ribbon-cutting ceremonies for members and celebrating member anniversaries.

Training & Workforce Development

In March, we held our first Healthcare IP meeting of the year at Berks Career & Technology Center - West Campus. We also had our first MFG IP meeting in March, which was held virtually. Our National Talent Attraction Program rolled out a new Candidate Marketplace portal, which is more user-friendly for employers. This program continues to evolve in support of our local business’s needs.

Spring training is in full swing. Check out events for a full list of our training and professional development classes being offered. CQ

R E A D I N G Chamber Alliance 22 Feature
Roofing Solar Siding & Gutters Skylights & Sun Tunnels Windows & Doors Insulation Remodeling & Additions Years ™ Roofing • Siding • Remodeling & SOLAR! 610-795-2930 PA005647 | NJ HIC# 13VH05911300 | DE-2022-000006261 FREE LEAF RELIEF® GUTTER GUARDS with a Roof & Gutter Replacement Product brand/type could be substituted for a similar product up to equal value. Not to be combined with any other offers. Minimum of 150 ft. of gutters. Excludes insurance projects. Other exclusions and restrictions apply. Expires 06/30/24. ** NO INTEREST & NO PAYMENTS UNTIL 2026! Best Warranty in Berks! Highest Honor Top 1% of GAF Contractors in the Nation! Berks Preferred Contractor quality company that could handle installation of both our roofing and solar together…” - Nancy C. *Limited-time offer. Select products only. Workmanship warranty subject to eligibility. Contact representative for details. **Financing is provided by third-party financial institutions and may change at any time. Excludes insurance projects. Rates, terms, and other restrictions are based on credit factors, income verification, and/or residency verification, if applicable. Expires 06/30/24. Over 748 Reviews 4.7 Star Google Reviews!

Ladies Who Lead

Four female college presidents in Berks County shared their “Visions for the Future” at the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s (GRCA) Breakfast4Success event held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading.

The presidents, Dr. Jacquelyn Fetrow of Albright College, Dr. Glynis Fitzgerald of Alvernia University, Dr. Susan Looney of Reading Area Community College (RACC) and Dr. Radha Pyati of Penn State University, Berks, discussed how they are preparing the next generation for the workforce and how they expect the workforce to change as the new generation enters, to a crowd of nearly 250 people.

Some of GRCA’s newest members were recognized at the event.


& Signature
Lucine Sihelnik welcomed the crowd during her first event as GRCA’s new President & CEO.
Miss this event? Scan the code to read each president’s “Visions for the Future.”
College presidents from left to right: Dr. Radha Pyati, Penn State University, Berks; Dr. Susan Looney, RACC; Dr. Glynis Fitzgerald, Alvernia University; and Dr. Jacquelyn Fetrow, Albright College.
25 CATERING SERVICES Personalized Multicultural Menus 717-475-1914 preservation or progress ELAINE SCHAEFER SCHUYLKILL RIVER GREENWAYS Deposit and loan products are offered through Tompkins Community Bank, Member FDIC. Investments and insurance products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, and may lose value. Tompkins Insurance is licensed to conduct insurance business in all 50 states. 4/24 your bank of choice Schuylkill River Greenways partnered with Tompkins because of our shared commitment to traditional values and economic innovation. | I chose both CREATIVITY IN MOTION Celebrating 20 Years of Making Businesses Shine

Ribbon Cuttings & Grand Openings

(February 2024-March 2024)

We Agape You, Inc.

Congratulations We Agape You, Inc. on the introduction of “The Solutions” to combat veteran suicide, the millions of mental health diagnosis and housing solutions. During the event We Agape You donated a school bus to benefit youth from Reading AAU basketball team and held a book signing of “Breaking Chains: Preventing Veteran Suicide of 26 Per Day.”

Animal Rescue League of Berks County

Congratulations to Animal Rescue League of Berks County for the pawsome milestone of opening its mobile adoption unit. The ribbon cutting took place at Petco in Exeter Commons followed by its first mobile adoption event! Adoption fees were sponsored by fellow GRCA member Hubric Resources.

26 Events & Signature Programs
27 Snap-On Tools Incorporated Happy GRCA-aversary!
Acrisure Insurance Group Berkshire
GRCA is proud to recognize the following members for their loyal membership for 40 years.
Systems Group East Penn Manufacturing Prospectus Berco South Mountain YMCA The Loomis Company White Star Tours

In Your Community

BOYERTOWN Honoring leaders lost and their legacies

In the last few years, Boyertown has lost two of its strongest advocates. Though their names may not be familiar outside of Boyertown, or even too many within their borough, these two individuals not only volunteered much of their time, strength, dollars, and heart to their community but also helped found our Main Street organization. Without Charles Haddad and Marianne Deery, chances are our page in this publication would not exist.

Twenty-two years ago, with Main Street America information in hand, our founders began a journey. The goal was to refresh and revitalize downtown Boyertown, polishing its potential to become a shining jewel in Berks County’s crown. Haddad wrote the bylaws, Deery chose the name, and with a small group of dedicated volunteers, Building a Better Boyertown was born. For years to come these two figures would continue to work, always with the future of Boyertown in mind. Deery would serve as mayor for 20 years, as well as remain the friendly face of the Twin Turrets Inn, before her passing. Haddad still funds our street planter program through planned giving. Their hands leave prints on every inch of town, their contributions too numerous to list. We’re left asking “How do we continue in their footsteps? Who can fill those shoes?”

These community leaders valued hard work and beautiful spaces. We know we must begin by honoring their work. Now, we’re seeking support to put in the work to build more of those beautiful spaces. Our Community Improvement Project Fund was designed to channel donations into two pocket park projects: the Boyertown Community Fountain and the Community Walkway.

the fountain, but the community has readjusted in the last few years, the rail yard improvements have resumed, and so now will the fountain. The project is to be dedicated to volunteers of Boyertown, Past, Present and Future, with a special mention of Haddad and his late wife, Mary-Lou.

The Marianne Deery Community Gateway will be a commemorative upgrade to our Community Walkway. Just as Deery welcomed all who came through her doors as innkeeper of the Twin Turrets, this walkway acts as a front porch, welcoming all from our town center parking lot “driveway,” between Bridget’s Place and The Peppermint Stick Candy Store, out onto our bustling main street. This project will enhance the space with new landscape and hardscape, art and lighting, and be more inclusive and accessible.

The Community Fountain, which will reside adjacent to the Colebrookdale Railroad Station, will provide a place of tranquil reflection, to gather with friends, or simply enjoy the surroundings on a beautiful day. COVID-19 struggles had slowed the funding for

Well-designed places stimulate economic growth, attract businesses and empower citizens to take pride in their surroundings. Proud, caring citizens make the best volunteers. CQ


HAMBURG Spend the weekend in Hamburg

If you are looking for a great place to experience small-town life, look no further than Hamburg! With unique shops, a historic feel, fun things to do, and yummy treats, you can’t go wrong with spending your next weekend away in Hamburg.

Start your weekend by catching a movie Friday night at the Hamburg Strand Theater, a nostalgic one-screen movie theater originally opened in 1920. The Strand has show times at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a 7 p.m. show on Monday. First-run movies are shown so there is bound to be something great playing. Spend the night at the Art Suite at Blue Mountain or Bismarck Bed and Breakfast for comfortable and unique local lodging.

On Saturday, start your day early by enjoying a cup of coffee and a specialty waffle for breakfast at the local coffee shop, Four Twelve. This quaint coffee shop boasts a peaceful atmosphere with smiling faces and great food and drinks. If a hearty breakfast is your thing, enjoy a full hometown breakfast at the 3rd Street Café. You will want to spend some time shopping downtown in the many cozy local shops. If you like antiques, stop at Hamburg Antiques Center and Mema’s Memories for some unique finds. If you are looking for a new outfit, check out New Life Thrift or Body by Yei for great styles. You won’t want to miss the Art and Craft Gallery of Hamburg where you will find a collection of handmade arts and crafts from over 30 local artisans.

you visit. You will also want to visit Blue Mountain Herbals or Know Body Botanicals and Apothecary for an extensive collection of herbal and home remedies, crystals and gifts. When you are ready for dinner, sit down and enjoy one of two local brew pubs in town. Both 1787 Brewing Company and Copperz Brewing Co. have a great atmosphere, great food and even better drinks. Before you check in for the night, grab your bowling shoes and head to State Street Lanes for a night of family-friendly bowling!

For the second part of the day, grab a hoagie or pizza for lunch at one of the popular eateries located downtown. Then take a short walk to the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum to learn the story of the Reading Railroad, one of the world’s largest corporations, made even more famous by the game of MONOPOLY. Continue your trip with some wine tasting at Lucky Leprechaun Winery. Events at the winery are held regularly so check out what’s happening when

Before you leave on Sunday, enjoy strolling through Lazy Dog Vintage for a large assortment of handcrafted vendor goods and gifts. Then take a short walk to the Hamburg Historical Society and learn about the history of the town. If outdoor recreation is your thing, hop on one of the numerous trails for hiking and biking along the Schuylkill River.

With so much to do and experience, you will want to make Hamburg the destination for your next adventure! Visit hamburgpa. org for more information and start planning your weekend away. CQ


In Your Community continued


KUTZTOWN Festival Fun

Are you looking for some exciting events to attend this summer? Kutztown has got you covered! Mark your calendars for several festivals and celebrations happening in town and sign up for Kutztown Community Partnership’s weekly e-newsletter to stay up to date with the latest happenings.

Taste of Kutztown

This annual wine and beer festival hosted by the Kutztown Rotary Club will be held on Saturday, June 8.

Attendees can stroll through Kutztown Community Park while sampling and purchasing tasty food, shopping for products from numerous vineyards and artisans, and sipping on wine, beer, mead and cider while being entertained by live music. As in past years, wine tastings will play a major part in the event, featuring over 25 regional wineries, distilleries, mead & cider vendors and five local craft brewers.

All profits support local community and international causes through Kutztown Rotary.

Day of tasting tickets are available at the registration tent or purchased in advance online at

The Kutztown Folk Festival

The Kutztown Folk Festival was founded in 1950 and is the oldest, continuously operated folklife festival in America. Located at the Kutztown Fairgrounds, 450 Wentz St., the nine-day event will run from June 29 to July 7.

“This year’s Folk Festival is a must-see! We have new offerings

such as our new History Trail honoring our Festival’s rich past, woodworking and blacksmithing demos, Mountain Mary exhibit, onsite workshops and more. Returning this year is our Backroads and Barn Stars motorcoach ride through the countryside with Patrick Donmoyer of the PA German Cultural & Heritage Center as our step-on guide. It is bound to be a great and educational time for visitors of all ages,” said Heather Zimmerman, Festival Director.

The World-Famous Quilt Barn is a popular draw for visitors, from inside and far outside the region, who enjoy the exhibit for days before attending the Annual Quilt & Barn Star Auction. This year, the auction will be held on Saturday, July 6, at noon.

Tickets available at

Dinner on Main

Kutztown Community Partnership is hosting the annual Dinner on Main from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. This community celebration showcases the many local eateries of Kutztown during a community-inclusive, one-night experience. During the event, the 200 block of Main Street is closed to traffic. Local restaurants will set up to cook and serve sample small plates to event guests who can then enjoy dining alfresco while musical entertainment fills the street. This festive event continues to attract a growing crowd each year. Proceeds from the event are reinvested into the downtown community. (Rain date is Saturday, Aug. 3.)

Visit for more details. CQ



Beer, pretzels and art

West Reading has that and more!

When you think of West Reading you think, cool, hip and fun. As we head into spring and summer, you can accomplish all three any day of the week on the Avenue and beyond. Whether you’re looking to see our beautiful cherry trees, or perhaps you’re in the mood for bubble tea, or maybe a crepe, West Reading offers it all. Don’t forget our 2nd Fridays with live music beginning in May at the 6th Avenue Lounge. Enjoy a summer cocktail and stroll the Avenue and beyond, visiting our eclectic mix of retailers.

Are you looking for a larger event? Join us on Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for our Craft Pretzel and Beer Fest sponsored by Unique Snacks, Customers Bank and Chatty Monks. Spanning the 500 to 700 blocks of Penn Avenue, the streets are closed so festival-goers can indulge in craft pretzels & beer, retail vendors, a wide array of food and beverage choices, a ticketed beer tasting and live music!

Don’t forget our 30th annual Art on the Avenue Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. The event, sponsored by Customers Bank, is rain or shine and showcases the work of local and regional artists, crafters, vendors, West Reading businesses, musicians and other talents. The entire festival, spanning four pedestrian-friendly blocks and boasting upwards of 200 vendors, is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Whether you’re looking for a quiet early morning walk or a fun-filled larger event, West Reading can provide the experience you want while “Living Your West Life.” CQ



Advanced Comfort Specialists, a leading HVAC/R contractor known for its comprehensive duct cleaning services, is thrilled to announce a strategic partnership with Maid to Bee Clean, a renowned provider of residential and commercial cleaning services. This collaboration aims to offer customers unparalleled cleaning solutions by leveraging the strengths of both entities. This innovative partnership was inspired by both companies’ recent memberships in the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA), underscoring the significant opportunities GRCA facilitates for local businesses to collaborate and expand their service offerings.

RKL LLP is pleased to announce the admission of Walter Goodfield, Cliff Horst, Thomas Kaizar, CPA, MST, and Stephane Smith, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, to the firm partnership, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Joining RKL in 2014, Goodfield serves as Chief Business Officer for RKL eSolutions. He is responsible for driving customer success and revenue growth through new customer acquisition while managing strategic partner alliances. Horst is the Sage X3 Practice Director with RKL eSolutions and oversees X3 consulting implementations, customizations and support activities. As a partner in the Tax Services Group, Kaizar has developed a skillset in tax planning and compliance services that lends itself well to working with clients across various industries. As Vice President of Workforce Strategies for RKL Virtual Management Solutions, Smith directs the firm’s comprehensive suite of outsourced HR, payroll and compensation analysis services.

Barley Snyder has announced changes to its management committee effective Jan. 1. The firm’s management committee, which is responsible for the leadership of the firm and the achievement of its longrange goals, is led by Jennifer Craighead Carey who has been a member of the committee since January 2021 and became the firm’s managing partner effective Jan. 1. Partners and incumbent management committee members Kimberly J. Decker and Troy B. Rider will serve alongside Craighead Carey and newly elected management committee members John T. Reed and Jeremy D. Frey. Partner Paul W. Minnich cycled off the committee on Dec. 31 after four years of service.

Barley Snyder is pleased to announce attorney George C. Werner has been named General Counsel of the firm. As General Counsel, Werner will be responsible for protecting the firm’s legal interests, maintaining its operations within the scope established by law, and providing guidance on risk management and related liability issues. He will also be responsible for conducting firmwide professional liability training in addition to other duties.

Member News: Industry & Community Newsmakers

The Reading Science Center proudly announced it has received a $25,000 state grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in support of its program, Sisters in STEM (SIS). The Sisters in STEM after-school program was established in 2020 with the goals of breaking societal stereotypes and igniting a genuine curiosity for science among girls. The after-school program is offered for free to girls in grades four through six.

Mid Penn Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Scott Micklewright to president of the commercial and consumer bank and chief revenue officer of the company. In this capacity, Micklewright will oversee all aspects of commercial and consumer banking including loan activity, deposit activity, cash management, interchange and credit card revenue, as well as the regional team structure.

Mid Penn Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mid Penn Bancorp, Inc., is pleased to announce the promotion of Heather Hall to Central PA market president and chief lending officer. With Hall’s promotion, the Bank bolsters its senior executive management team to continue to bring best-in-class community banking to its customers and communities. In addition to her role as Central PA market president, Hall will now serve as chief lending officer of the Bank and assist in guiding each of the regions in the Bank’s footprint in their overall business development, customer service levels and employee development.

Robert D. Hain of Berks Surveying & Engineering, Inc., Fleetwood, Pa., replaced Bruce T. Rader as company Owner and President on Jan. 1, 2024. Since 1998, Hain has held many positions with the firm. Rader will continue with the company. Berks Surveying & Engineering, Inc. has been serving the Greater Berks County area since 1991 and looks forward to serving new and returning clients in the future.

Mid Penn Bank is pleased to announce that Layne Crothers has been hired as senior vice president and regional president of the Lehigh and Scranton/WilkesBarre region. Crothers will be instrumental in the delivery of the Bank’s commercial, treasury, insurance and wealth services in the region.

Assured Assistance is celebrating 20 years of providing excellent home care to seniors in Berks County. It provides a personal, hands-on approach to its customizable services which ensure its clients’ needs match the services provided. As a non-medical care provider, its services cover a broad spectrum including transportation, meal planning and preparation, laundry, personal care, companionship and much more. Its caregivers provide these services with skill, grace and compassion. It doesn’t matter whether clients need assistance a few hours a day, one day a week or 24/7, its staff provides invaluable services to every individual. It can also be a source of information on options as individuals approach the golden years. We encourage researching options ahead of time so decisions can be made based on facts rather than last-minute decisions made in the heat of the moment.

Continued on next page >


Thomas Chaves has been named Vice President for Advancement at Albright College An accomplished higher education information and technology professional with more than 30 years of experience, Chaves is a member of Albright’s class of 1985 and was an Albright trustee from 2018 through 2023, chairing the board’s Advancement and Communications committee.

Signal of Eastern Pennsylvania has been named Signal Franchise of the Year for 2023. This prestigious recognition is the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance and relationship-building for the team at Eastern Pennsylvania and was announced in early January at Signal’s Annual Franchise Convention. Franchise of the Year is awarded to the Signal Franchise that exhibits, among other things, growth in a territory, great performance in the Signal Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a strong commitment to the Signal Core Values.

RKL LLP is pleased to share that Bryan Redding has been named as leader of the firm’s Transaction Advisory Services Practice, which supports clients pursuing buy-side and sell-side middle-market merger and acquisition transactions.

Moselem Springs Golf Club is pleased to announce two new additions to the management team. Chris Walton was named General Manager. Walton brings more than 13 years of experience and has previously worked as the GM at Coatesville Country Club. Crystal Noll was named Membership Director. Noll is a Berks County local with more than 10 years of experience in the sales and hospitality industry.

Comcast announced it is continuing to expand its Xfinity 10G Network in Berks County, delivering its full suite of Xfinity and Comcast Business services to more than 2,000 additional residents and businesses in Birdsboro, Pa. Significant progress has been made in other parts of Berks County, with new customers already enjoying Xfinity services in Amity, Exeter and St. Lawrence.

Ethosource, a leading provider of pre-owned, refurbished, and new office furniture, is delighted to announce two new hires, Jessica Wilkinson and Jack Cossa. Wilkinson, a seasoned sales professional with a background in outside sales, joins Ethosource with a wealth of experience. Her expertise in understanding client needs and passion for delivering exceptional experiences make her a valuable addition to the team. Cossa, a recent graduate from Alvernia University, brings a fresh perspective to Ethosource. With a background in project management and customer service, he is poised to make an immediate impact in his role.

34 Member News: Industry & Community Newsmakers continued

Melanie Manwiller recently joined Fleetwood Bank as a Vice President and Relationship Manager. She adds over 31 years of industry experience to the bank’s already esteemed business banking team. For nearly 20 of these 31 years, Manwiller has succeeded as a Relationship Manager with consistently high production while maintaining a highly extensive portfolio.

FIT4MOM Reading, part of the nation’s leading women’s fitness franchise FIT4MOM, is excited to announce six years of Strength in Motherhood.

“FIT4MOM Reading is on the mission to bring physical and emotional wellness to moms in the Berks County area. This April, I will re-sign my franchisee contract and celebrate six years of fitness in Berks County. I am excited to continue our mission to help moms physically, mentally and emotionally through fitness, and our village,” said Kaitlyn Day, owner of FIT4MOM Reading.

Just Breathe. Weddings & Events is excited to welcome three new consultants to the event planning team in 2024! All started training in 2023 and now into the new year, all three will be planning and executing weddings and events. Well-known in the community, all three women join the team with passion, planning expertise, and knowledge of the community and event vendors to make any event planning process simple for all clients. Welcome Kirsten Truver, Mackenzie Weaver and Samantha Wiley to the Just Breathe. team!

Soma Ghosh, Ph.D., has been promoted to Professor of Economics at Albright College. Professor Ghosh received her doctorate and Master of Arts degree from Clark University and earned her bachelor’s degree from Scottish Church College. Ghosh joined the Albright College faculty as an assistant professor of economics in 2009 and was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2012.

Brian Jennings, Ph.D., has been promoted to Professor of Sociology at Albright College. Since being awarded tenure, Jennings has been actively pursuing scholarship and professional activity that aligns with his teaching — specifically directed at experiential learning and making study abroad more inclusive. This work has led to the launch of Albright’s Global Scholars program, for which he received an IDEAS grant from the Pennsylvania State Department.

Michael D’Errico, Ph.D., has been promoted to Associate Professor of Music, with tenure, at Albright College

Since joining the Albright College faculty in 2018, D’Errico’s research has focused on the convergence of contemporary popular music, music technology, digital media in the 21st century, and how changes in technology and the media shape, and are shaped by, changes in communities.

Continued on next page >


RKL LLP is pleased to announce that Scott Burky, MBA, has joined the firm as a Business Development Manager. In his role, Burky works closely with companies to grasp their financial considerations, prioritize their business goals and address the challenges they encounter. Drawing upon RKL’s technical expertise and extensive industry knowledge, Burky identifies strategies and executes unique, targeted solutions that deliver financial partnership value to clients.

Rhoads Energy has hired Nancy Fisher to oversee the organization’s financial vision, strategy and execution. In her position with Rhoads, Fisher will oversee all financial and accounting functions: providing accurate and timely financial reports, preparing the annual operating budget, and serving as liaison to financial institutions. She will also manage staff responsible for accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, credit and collections, and related functions.

MeeAe Oh-Ranck, M.S., has been promoted to Associate Professor of Fashion Merchandising and Design, with tenure, at Albright College. OhRanck’s scholarly work focuses on sustainability and ethics in the fashion and textile industry. Specifically, she works to discover innovative and efficient ways of design that utilize natural dyeing techniques, upcycling and repurposing sustainable materials, reviving haute couture construction techniques, and digital printing methods that minimize environmental harm.

Bollman Hat Company, a 100% employee-owned hat maker founded in 1868, has chosen Mid Penn Bank, who was also founded in 1868, as its primary lender and banking partner. Mid Penn and Bollman are both Pennsylvania-based companies who have continuously operated for 156 years and have had only seven CEOs in their history.

The Board of Directors of Opportunity House, in collaboration with the Board of Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading & Berks County (BGC), announced the appointment of Modesto Fiume as its interim CEO. This appointment became necessary given the recent departure of the Club’s former CEO. In this role as interim CEO, Fiume will be responsible for leading and guiding all aspects of the Club’s critical functions while the official search begins for the next CEO of Olivet BGC. Fiume will be joined by Dori Bornstein, Opportunity House’s Chief People & Culture Officer, and Alyssa Bushkie, Chief Operating Officer, in oversight of day-to-day operations at Olivet BGC, all while continuing to maintain their respective roles at Opportunity House.

Compass Dental’s Dr. Amanda Sonntag, presidentelect of the Pennsylvania Academy of General Dentistry, recently was chosen as a top ten general dentist to watch, nationwide by the Academy of General Dentistry.

36 Member News: Industry & Community Newsmakers continued

For the second straight year, CPA and advisory firm RKL LLP won a 2024 Best of Accounting Award for client satisfaction. The honor from B2B directory ClearlyRated is based on input and ratings received in the firm’s latest client survey. In the survey, RKL earned a world-class Net Promoter Score (NPS) far surpassing the accounting industry average NPS of 39 percent. Clients were asked to rate on a scale of zero to 10 how likely they were to refer RKL to a friend or colleague. In addition to a high volume of positive scores, RKL also earned a multitude of positive testimonials, which can be viewed on the firm’s ClearlyRated profile.

Upohar is pleased to announce that its unique multicultural catering services are now available in Berks County. Upohar serves authentic food from different cultures, prepared by our partner chefs who are experts in their culinary traditions. It elevates underrepresented businesses and connects them to new markets.

Entech Engineering, Inc. (Entech) is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Rebecca Mason. Mason joins the water and wastewater teams as a Project Manager. She brings both water & wastewater operations and consulting experience from her time as Director of Wastewater Operations at Upper Gwynedd Township, Supervisor of Water Quality & Environmental Compliance at Pennsylvania American Water Company, and as a Sales Application Engineer.

TeamLogic IT, a national provider of managed IT services and technology support for businesses, has opened an office in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. The business is owned by Dan and Jennifer Reber

“Thanks to our nationwide presence and hundreds of technicians around the country, we can offer businesses throughout the Wyomissing area more proactive services than most computer support companies,” Dan Reber said. “All our services are designed to meet today’s fast-changing technology demands, while helping companies anticipate tomorrow’s technology requirements.”

Reading Bakery Systems (RBS), a leading manufacturer of snack food production systems, has promoted Shawn Moye to Senior Vice President of Global Sales to support the continued growth of the business. In his new role, Moye will be responsible for new equipment sales globally and supporting the business as a member of the executive leadership team. Since joining RBS in 1999, Moye has held positions of increasing responsibility, including director of sales, North America, and most recently executive director of sales.


New Members

Safety Group, Inc. Northeastern Pennsylvania Human Services LLC

Paul Davis Restoration

Promise to Perform Industries, Inc.

The Barn at Walnut Grove, Inc.

The Residence at Village Greens

Upohar LLC

We Agape You, Inc.

WRMC and Say Cheese



 Calderone Bullock LLC

 Columbia Cottage Wyomissing

 Commonwealth Commercial Appraisal Group

 FXV Digital Design

 Heartland Payment Systems

 Inperium

 Johnson’s Maintenance Service

 Lala Glam Events LLC

 LCBC Church

 Options Psychiatry

 Our Konnection

 Residence Inn Reading

 Signal of Eastern PA

 Sonlight Services LLC

 Subito Motus Consulting LLC

 Team Lifelong Wellness

 Yeager Supply Inc.


 Kinetic by Windstream

 Penn National Gaming, Inc.


 McCarthy Engineering Associates, Inc.

 Threshold Rehabilitation Services, Inc.


 Landis C. Deck & Sons Site Contractor

 Sam Alley, M.D.


 Assured Assistance

 Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc.

 City of Reading

 EthoSource, LLC

 Highmark Blue Shield

 NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, LLC

 Power Kunkle Group, Inc.

 SightMD Pennsylvania


 David W. Rohrbach

 The Heritage of Green Hills

30 YEAR 

Comfort Specialists, Inc.
Pet Care
Build LLC
to Bee Clean
Clear Dermatology Coexist
DJ H Vidal Events FastBridge Fiber Hope Rescue Mission / LightHouse
& Children’s Center Integrity Services and Solutions, LLC Lucky Squirrel Printworks Maid
JANUARY 2024 -
2024 JAN. 16, 2024 - MARCH 15, 2024
Education Coalition
Brenntag North America, Inc.
& Winery
Hill Vineyards
Insurance Agency,
35 YEAR  Opportunity House
Eastern Pennsylvania
Interested in becoming a part of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance? Contact Jackie Stiles at or 610.898.7785. 38 Member News: New Members & Anniversaries Congratulations! Travel the GRCA way to IRELAND From Blarney Castle to the Cliffs of Moher, experience Ireland with us on this 9-day journey. Scan to learn more and book your adventure. >>>
40 YEAR 
Encore  Easter Seals
Chairman’s Circle Thank you!
Now’s the time to have the bull at your back, with Merrill.

We believe the future is bullish, even in the most unpredictable of markets. Together we can create a plan catered to your goals to see you through uncertainty and help find opportunities. Ready to meet when you are.

Maggs & Associates Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 985 Berkshire Boulevard Suite 200 Wyomissing, Investing involves risk. 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 © 2023 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. MAP5451802 | AD-10-23-0146 | 472866PM-0223 | 10/2023
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