John Hayes, New Tripoli Bank
Chair, The Chamber Board of Governors
It’s official, the Veterans & Military Council, the formation of which has been facilitated by Member Relations & Operations EVP Alison Pickel, is an official business council of The Chamber!
Bylaws have been approved and officers elected. Thanks to Ron Jerdon, Jerdon Construction Services, for stepping up as the Council’s chair, Andrew Lawler, West Side Hammer Electric, as vice chair and Marilyn Kelly-Cavotta, Moravian College, as secretary. Volunteers truly make this Chamber both special and work well.
The Chamber and the VMC are committed to support, honor and empower the men and women who have served or are serving our country in the United States military, and to build a strong network of the region’s veterans and active military in business, and to promote the contributions and competitive advantage that military members bring to any business.
Objectives of the council are to help veterans and those who serve develop and grow professionally, to create network building opportunities for veterans and military personnel, and to promote the attributes and the advantages of hiring veterans and military service personnel.
Military veterans are extremely capable and eager to excel as employees, but there are many companies who don’t even give them a chance. This both is a missed opportunity for those businesses, needs to change as it’s the right thing to do.
When hiring, consider that Veterans value teamwork, are unbelievably resourceful, are the best at taking constructive criticism, and take tremendous pride in their work.
This Spring, the council will present the first of their Veteran Smart Series events; “My Battlefield, Your Office” with Marine combat veteran Justin Constantine on May 20th (see the display ad on page ___) and we’ll follow-up in June with “Now Hiring!” a leadership panel discussion on finding, hiring, training and retaining a veteran workforce.
Both of these events will provide vital information and insight for HR professionals and recruiters and offer SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification credits provided by Equinox Benefits Consulting.
When the going gets tough, Pennsylvanians band together. At PPL Electric Utilities, we’re taking several steps to look out for our customers during these challenging times.
We’re working day and night to continue safely and reliably delivering electricity to our customers.
We won’t cut service to any customers for unpaid bills until further notice and we have waived all late payment fees, effective March 16.
We also have several programs available to help customers who are having a hard time paying their bills:
OnTrack offers a lower, fixed monthly bill and debt forgiveness for customers who make 150 percent of the poverty level or less.
Operation HELP is funded by our company, employees and customers, and can assist customers who make 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less. Grants help pay customer heating bills, including oil or gas heat. PPL Foundation recently donated an extra $500,000 to Operation HELP. To apply for either Operation HELP or OnTrack visit www.pplelectric.com/billhelp or call 1-800-342-5775.
CARES can help customers who are experiencing a temporary hardship. Learn more or apply by calling 1-800-358-6623.
No matter what your situation is, if you’re having trouble paying your bill contact us and we’ll see what we can do to help. We’re all in this together. Stay safe and healthy.
Written by Carol Obando-Derstine, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities
PPL celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, marking a century of service that helped nurture the experiences, growth and progress of hundreds of communities we continue to have the privilege to power across central and eastern Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., as we were known at our founding in early June 1920, was formed from the merger of eight smaller, local power companies in eastern Pennsylvania. PP&L’s founders eyed development of a modern regional utility capable of serving as a catalyst for further economic and industrial growth.
Today, PPL Corporation is one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector. PPL Electric Utilities — one of the family of PPL companies — grew quickly after its founding as additional, smaller local power companies were acquired. Today, we serve 1.4 million customers in all or part of 29 Pennsylvania counties in a service territory with a land area larger than New Jersey.
Line workers and engineers during the Great Depression, World War II and the turbulent 1960s would hardly recognize today’s technologically advanced smart grid that can automatically reroute power with the help of software and sensors. They’d surely be impressed with a system that can safely and automatically cut power to a downed power line. They’d probably even marvel about 3-D design and virtual reality, paying a bill by text message and more.
Hitting the century mark certainly is a time for reflection, but it’s also a time of excitement and promise as we work to make the power grid smarter and more reliable and resilient. We want to make the second century as memorable as the first. To do that, we’ll continue to innovate with you, our customers, as our focus.
From Scranton to Strasburg, from Williamsport to West Rockhill, we know you depend on us to power your life. And we’ll continue to deliver.
Interested in more PPL history? Visit PPL’s anniversary website at pplweb.com/100years.
Written by guest blogger Coleen O'Hanlon, CNC
If you have given up animal products, chances are you have been asked the age old question, “Where do you get your protein?” Most people believe that consumption of animal products, such as meat, milk, and cheese is the only way to get adequate amounts of protein in a healthy diet. However, it is not only a myth that those eating a plant-based diet struggle to eat enough protein, but it has been shown that most Americans eat almost double the amount of protein they need. Even worse, studies have demonstrated that large consumption of animal protein may lead to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. According to web MD: The average protein requirement for men is 56 grams a day and the average protein requirement for women is 46 grams a day.
It is certainly not difficult to find protein-packed plant foods. All plants, be it legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, or fruits, have some protein, but if you are concerned with your protein intake, there are certainly plenty of powerhouse plant-based protein sources. Some great options include hemp seeds, spinach, broccoli, tofu and other soy products, asparagus, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, whole grains, beans, quinoa, avocados, peas, and sesame seeds. A word of caution - any soy products you eat should always be organic and non-GMO.
I logged a standard American diet and a plant based diet on cronometer.com and these are my results:
SAD diet consisted of: breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 slices bacon and 2 slices whole wheat toast with butter, lunch: white roll, 1 slice American cheese, 3 slices turkey, slice of tomato, lettuce and 1 tsp mayo, dinner: 6 oz steak, baked potato with sour cream and peas, snack: bag of Doritos single serve.
Plant based diet consisted of breakfast smoothie: Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder, spinach, banana and blueberry, lunch: tossed salad with romaine, tomato, cucumber, peppers, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, dinner: stir-fry with brown rice, frozen mixed veggie of corn, lima beans, peas, green beans and carrots cooked with vegetable broth and soy sauce and tofu, snack: 3 celery stalks with 2 tablespoon almond butter.
SAD diet - Protein 111 grams, Fat 87.8 grams, Calories: 1,788.2, Fiber 16.6
Plant based - Protein 92.4 grams, Fat 49.5, Calories: 1,677.9, Fiber 45.9
As you can see, these 2 menus easily met daily protein needs, actually more protein than you need in a day. More importantly, look at the fiber results 16.6 vs 45.9. The plant based diet wins every time.
Only plant foods contain fiber, meat and diary do not. On average, we only get about 15 grams of fiber per day. The minimum daily requirement is 31, so we get less than half of the minimum. Soluble fiber such as oatmeal, peas, nuts, chia and apples helps bile acids to get exceed in the stool which can lower cholesterol levels. It also helps excrete excess hormones such as estrogen. Insoluble fiber found largely in leafy greens and vegetables skins add bulk to the stool and ensure regular bowl movements. The benefits of fiber are: increases transit time, minimizes exposure to toxins, removes heavy metals, removes excess hormones from the body, slows absorption of glucose, controls rate of digestion, satiety - keeps you full, increases weight loss and lowers risk of colon cancer. Eating a plant based diet you can easily meet your daily fiber requirement.
Plants contain thousands of antioxidants that contribute to our good health by providing the vitamins and minerals we need to consume on a daily basis. One of these phytochemicals is the carotenoids, which include about forty different varieties that we consume. Most of us have heard of beta-carotene from carrots and sweet potatoes, but there are others such as alpha carotene, lutein, lycopene, canthoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Diets poor in fruit and vegetables deprive us of these vital nutrients. Eating a plant based diet fortifies the body's antioxidant defenses against free radicals.
EAT THOSE FRUITS AND VEGGIES:
Your diet should consist of seven to ten servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day - as much in raw form as possible. 1 cup is considered a serving size. How am I going to eat this much you ask? Smoothies are my favorite way to get those fruits and veggies in. You can load up your blender with spinach, kale, pineapple, mango, strawberries, anything you like. Make enough for 2 servings so you can drink one when you make it and take the other one with you for a snack. You can add coconut water, plant milk or plain filtered water and enjoy. A large salad loaded with veggies, nuts, seeds, avocado and beans will keep you full all afternoon while a quick stir-fry with veggies and tofu with rice for dinner will keep you fully satisfied.
This is the one supplement everyone should take but especially when eating plant based. B12 is made from the soil plants are grown in and the bacteria in our gut. With today's processing and washing of our produce, we don't receive B12 in our diet. We are told we need to eat animal products to obtain B12 but in reality the animals are given B12 shots because they are not eating grass to obtain natural B12. A lot of food is fortified with B12 but it is just easier to take a B12 supplement. A typical dose is at lease 25 micrograms a day.
SAVINGS FOR YOUR WALLET
Eating plant based is less expensive than buying animal products. To show the difference in cost, I went on Wegmans website and this is what I found:
ground beef - $5.39 lb, chicken breast - $5.19 lb, whole chicken - $3.49 lb and bacon $7.29 lb compare that to plant based foods: tofu - $2.89 lb, dry lentils - $2.09 lb, dry black beans - $1.59 lb. A savings that adds up with every shopping trip.
Use lentils in place of chopped meat for a yummy bolognese, beans in place of chopped meat for veggie burgers, tofu in place of chicken in things like stir fry and sesame chicken. There are also good non-gmo meat alternatives on the market which make the transition easier. Change the way you look at meals, instead of meat being the center of the plate, veggies and starch like sweet potatoes and squash should be the main focus. Things like vegetable chili, soups and stews are so satisfying. Experiment in the kitchen, look up plant based recipes online and have fun with the process. Get your kids involved in preparation and cooking meals. Make it a family endeavor - your result will be good health and feeling good.
In the United States, more than 9 billion livestock are maintained to supply the animal protein consumed each year. This livestock population on average outweighs the US human population by about 5 times. Some livestock, such as poultry and hogs, consume only grains, whereas dairy cattle, beef cattle, and lambs consume both grains and forage. At present, the US livestock population consumes more than 7 times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population. The amount of grains fed to US livestock is sufficient to feed about 840 million people who follow a plant-based diet.
According to Thom Hartmann in The Prophet’s Way, it takes 16 pounds of grain/soy and 5,214 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of edible beef (the same amount of water one American uses on showers in a year, on average). Tomatoes, for comparison, only need 23 gallons of water per edible pound. You can produce 30,000 pounds of carrot on an acre of farmland, but only 250 pounds of beef. It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of protein from beef, while only 2 calories of fuel to produce a calorie from soybeans. Meat production strongly contributes to global warming.
TOP TIPS TO THRIVE
Eat only plant-based foods and opt for organic when you can. Include at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Aim for at least 35 grams of fiber per day. Minimize processed food, especially those containing refined carbohydrates. Rely on whole foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados for sufficient essential fatty acids. Include raw foods and sprouts daily. Flavor foods with spices and herbs and make water your beverage of choice and include green tea and fresh vegetable juice.
In conclusion, eating a plant based diet provides you with the necessary nutrients needed to thrive, is better on your wallet and better for the environment.
Article written by Gary Miller
Co-chair of events, Ambassadors Council
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy which can be described as a form of judgement.
There are four basic types of communication, reading, writing, speaking and listening. Of these, listening can be the most vital to effectively communicate and often receives the least training throughout our lives. Dr. Stephen Covey in his best-selling book “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” suggests that the key to interpersonal relations is to “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. This is at the heart of empathic listening.
Empathic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference, to understand their paradigm and how they feel. Empathic listening is far more than registering, reflecting or even understanding the words that are said. Communications experts summarize that only 10 percent of our communication is represented by the words we say, 30 percent by our sounds and 6 percent by our body language. Empathic listening requires an individual to listen with their ears, their eyes and their heart. Through this practice you engage empathy by listening for feeling, for meaning and for behavior.
When empathy is displayed through our empathic listening actions with another person we make a deposit in their emotional bank account and give them psychological air. It is at this time that we can focus on influencing or problem solving.
Liquid Interactive was chosen among hundreds of agencies across the globe to compete in the Wix SEO Battle as the “Wix SEO Haters” against the “Wix SEO Lovers”. The Wix SEO Battle is a 6-month competition to see who can outrank the other for the search term “Wix SEO”. The “Wix SEO Lovers” must build their site using Wix and the “Wix SEO Haters” must build their site with anything but Wix.
What is Wix? Check it out for yourself here.
The contest is judged by renowned SEO and Social Media Marketing expert, Lukasz Zelezny, from London. The competition will conclude on December 19th, 2019 with an incognito search from New York City for the search term “Wix SEO”. Whichever team outranks the other in search results will be crowned the winner and receive 25K! The opposing team will receive 10K.
Liquid is incredibly excited to take on the challenge and duke it out for the top-ranking spot! As a local Lehigh Valley business, we are looking forward to competing in a global competition to show off our search engine optimization and web design skills!
Visit our Wix SEO Haters website here.
Learn more about the Wix SEO competition here.
Article written by John Hayes
Chair, Board of Governors, The Chamber
If you go back about 25 years, before the chambers of commerce in the Lehigh Valley partnered, each chamber had its own individual annual meeting, celebrating business and the local community. Local borders were rarely crossed, and attendance at the largest chamber event was never more than a few hundred people. Our affiliated chambers continue this tradition today and their annual meetings are wonderful celebrations of unique communities and excellent businesses. And they even cross borders on occasion. On Every Main Street!
Thanks to the power of our long-lasting partnerships, members also have the opportunity to get together under one roof to connect with business contacts, customers, prospects and competitors from across the Valley at The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber Annual Meeting, taking place on Thursday, November 7th at the Wind Creek Event Center. The Chamber Annual Meeting is the biggest and best opportunity to promote your business, raise your profile, connect with the leaders of the Lehigh Valley business community, and to be entertained, enlightened and informed by fellow Chamber members and volunteers as we celebrate 2019 and look forward to 2020.
Over the years we have recognized organizations that demonstrate successful business operations, display broad interest and involvement in the community, and bring a notable measure of pride to the Lehigh Valley. This year we recognize the following milestone achievements: Zator Law for 25 Years, The Yurconic Agency for 50 Years and Saucon Valley Country Club for 100 Years! We will also recognize the 2019 Chamber Champion, Barb Green and Blue Mountain Resort, the Volunteer of the Year, Bill Erdman, and the Organization of the Year, Lehigh Valley International Airport (also 90 Years)! And back by demand, Rob Vaughn presents 69 WFMZ-TV Business News Highlights from 2019.
With more than 1,200 members expected, this fast paced 90 minute extravaganza will sell out again this year. Please click here to view all the details or check out page 5 of the October issue of Connections magazine!
By Don Wenner, Forbes Real Estate Council Member. As published in Forbes
Everyone seems to be discussing work culture these days. Cue the quintessential startup workspace, consisting of pingpong tables, beanbag chairs, free snack carts, and cold brew on tap. Most businesses are great at acting the part, but time and again, we see a concerted effort put into developing a culture program that ultimately wanes to give way to traditional financial priorities. Incorporating a long-lasting culture in the workplace is paramount and provides innumerable key benefits, including increased productivity.
A Firm Rooted In Core Values
Early on, being part of a business that embraces core values definitely struck a chord with me since they clearly define a firm's brand, character and even behavior. So many offices are filled with disengaged employees who work what they believe to be 9-to-5, day-in and day-out drudgery. Leaders should be reading books specifically around the topics of leadership, business development, marketing, and autobiographies of notable leaders, all of which can help determine specifically the kind of company you wish to grow.
Next, you should concentrate on the development of your company's core values (we have nine), which should reflect who you are as a company and the kind of team you want to build. Embrace your core values, and more importantly, believe in them, allowing continued, exceptional growth as individuals and as a team. The most significant core value to my firm is the 20 Mile March, a concept developed in Great by Choice by Jim Collins. It’s a concept that has had a long-lasting effect on my approach to business.
The 20 Mile March means that we as a company continue to march consistently, each and every day, hitting targets regardless of the prevailing conditions and favorable or unfavorable economic climates. Too many organizations do the opposite by allowing the outside world to dictate their activities.
The Elite Execution System
The Elite Execution System is my operating system that drives a cohesive integration of the four quadrants of a business: strategy, operations, people and acceleration (sales and marketing). This coordinated system helps everyone speak the same language through clear communication focused on keeping all parties aligned with the organization's top priorities through accountability, issue solving and providing clear alignment. The center of this operating system is culture. At my firm, we focus on building a culture of leadership with a mantra of “leaders made here,” and a culture of execution that is simply “getting things done.”
Center your operations around your compass, which is the vision and direction of the organization and should include purpose, mission, core values, three-year target and one-year bull's-eye. This allows for acceleration and execution in order to meet and exceed your goals. I fully believe in a concept I call “right people right seats,” which means not only attracting, training and retaining employees, but also encouraging them to further develop as producers and leaders. The right people are those whose behaviors match your core values.
Growth And Development
Another integral asset of thriving company culture is continuing to share what team members have learned. Leaders and staff read books on leadership, personal growth and a positive mindset, and team members take part in active discussion and share their takeaways with each other (think of it like book club, but in a much more meaningful aspect when it comes to productivity — both individually and as a team). Groups can meet on a regular schedule, in person and/or by way of technology, for a powerful discussion. In our firm this is part of the Driven For Greatness program, which also entails a health component — members receive activity trackers to incorporate everyday healthy living, and participants pair up for discussion and introductory sessions.
It’s imperative that businesses help their communities, and that they do so in a tangible way. Giving — monetarily, physically and spiritually — will help others in need and create a positive environment that encourages paying it forward. Doing good for others simply feels good, and keeping that positive energy front and center will continue to drive productivity and promote strong company culture.
Create New Traditions
Learning and growing, not standing still, are what will keep a company’s culture going. Recognize your rock stars with various team member awards, and host annual parties and picnics. Maintain an evolving culture that will spark new interest, new ideas and an energized momentum in any company. Great culture and results come when your consumers and team members are aligned with who you are. In other words, there is a fusion of brand and culture.
Culture has and continues to play a pivotal role in any company's current and future success. Building and maintaining culture requires tremendous effort and a continued focus. It must be intentional and a top priority of the organization, or great culture can quickly become toxic culture. Leaders must be focused on continuing to attract, develop and retain gritty, driven, positive people who exude humble confidence and will help to achieve your firm's goals of providing amazing, innovative real estate solutions.
Article written by: Carol Obando-Derstine,
Regional affairs director for PPL Electric Utilities
We can’t choose when a disaster is going to strike. But knowing what to do when an emergency happens—and having a plan ready—can make all the difference. September is National Preparedness Month. PPL Electric Utilities recommends using these tips to develop a plan for your home so your family is ready for action in the event of an emergency.
When disaster strikes, know the warnings
Alert systems operated by government agencies can provide life-saving information when disaster strikes. Know the types of warnings and be prepared for an emergency.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs)
WEAs are sent directly to your cell phone by state or local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the president of the United States.
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
The EAS is a national public warning system that requires all satellite, cable and radio broadcasters to provide the president with a capability to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency. EAS also may be used by state and local authorities.
NOAA Weather Radio (NWR)
NWR is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office. For more information and resources on emergency preparedness, visit www.ready.gov. If you experience a power outage, don’t forget to report it online, call 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL-PPL) or text “Outage” to TXTPPL (898775).
Written by guest blogger Marissa Perez
It’s no secret that big retailers like Amazon are challenging small business owners. How do you compete directly with a powerhouse like that when your business is more of a pipsqueak? Read on for insights that will help your business shine, even in the shadow of the retail giants.
Spruce up your space
Even if websites like Amazon have changed the world of retail, The Balance points to statistics indicating brick-and-mortar sales are alive and well. Even shoppers who research online are more apt to make purchases in a physical store. With that in mind, consider making upgrades to your space. Four walls gives you a solid advantage over major online retailers, and the more attractive and well-designed your store is, the more you’ll catch shoppers’ eyes - and their business. For layout ideas, check out this smart infographic from Napier Marketing Group.
Funds might keep your ideas in check, but there are a couple of agreeable types of SBA Real Estate Loans worth considering in order to make improvements. The SBA 7(a) loan program and the SBA CDC/504 loan program are both designed for real estate, but thanks to the 7(a) line, they can potentially fit your circumstances. These loans can be hard to qualify for, but the payoff is their excellent rates, and the facelift could strengthen sales in the long run.
Level the playing field
Big dogs like Amazon have one obvious advantage over brick-and-mortar establishments: e-commerce. A website is a chance to stay open 24/7, letting customers shop whenever and wherever they choose. In order to level the playing field, a top-notch website is a must-have. Don’t fret if you’re not a computer guru, since there are plenty of ways to get a store online without knowing computer coding.
The best place to start is with a reliable website hosting service. Do some research to ensure you’re choosing a service that will be professional and dependable, since the last thing you want is your site to crash when customers start shopping. For instance, in reviews of InMotion, you can see they offer reliable and secure hosting, provide excellent customer support, and offer a 90-day free trial. Explore your options to ensure you get the best bang for your buck! And if you have a current website that is clunky or outdated, consider investing in bringing it up to speed.
If you build it, they will come
The website itself is one of the biggest factors that can make or break a business, so you want to make sure yours is as attractive and easy to navigate as possible. You can DIY a website using a website builder, which is essentially a drag-and-drop creation. These tend to be easy but lack flexibility, and might not look polished on all types of devices. Ideally, your new site will look great on laptops, tablets, and smartphones alike, so keep that in mind as you explore possibilities.
If you know a bit of coding, you can create a more tailored-looking site using a content management system (CMS). Business.com explains some are more e-commerce-friendly than others, so if you go that route, weigh the pros and cons carefully, and examine the features associated with each option.
Of course, you can always pay someone to build a website for you. Top web designers can ensure that your website engages its visitors and keeps them coming back to do more business with you. When you’re searching for an expert to hire, look for key skills on their profile, including experience with creating an effective user interface, knowledge of web fundamentals, and familiarity with web-design platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Squarespace.
Small businesses still have certain advantages over mega retailers like Amazon. Capitalize on your brick-and-mortar experience, and invest in a competitive website. With the right strategies, your small business can outshine the big dogs!