Easton Area Chamber Chair
I hope you are enjoying the new year! As I write this, the wonders of the Christmas season have turned to wondering where winter is! Above normal temperatures with clouds and rain... is this the great Lehigh Valley or London? We may not have enjoyed a White Christmas, but perhaps February will usher in the predicted cold temperatures and snow for you snow lovers and skiers. Keep the snow blower handy!
Meanwhile, why not take advantage of this mild weather while you can and make a visit to downtown Easton? Valentine’s Day is coming and what an opportunity to take that special someone for a stroll and dinner at one of the great restaurants downtown Easton has to offer. There is something for every palette to enjoy – and don’t forget to enjoy the many varieties of wines and beer made locally. What a great way to top off an evening!
There are certainly enough places to wine and dine for the entire month, and then look forward to the upcoming events the chamber has planned for the month of March and beyond in 2020. Stay tuned... we are excited about what is on tap on our Main Street! Meanwhile, stay warm ?? with the one you love! Be well!
Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp.
The Chamber Executive VP
Affiliate Chambers & Councils
At the beginning of each year, New Year’s resolutions surface and many of us set goals that focus on self improvement as we vow to eat well and get in shape. I often explain that joining the Chamber is just like joining the gym. In order to get your body in shape, you have to go to the gym on a regular basis to see results. In the same exact way, to get the full affect of your chamber membership, you must be active on a regular basis and full take advantage of your benefits.
It’s time to get your business in shape!
First, re-visit all of the great member benefits that are included in your membership and set weekly goals to actively participate, just as you would do upon joining the gym
Attend a networking mixer, educational program or major event - much like taking a yoga or spin class
Meet with a Chamber professional for some one- on-one time to discuss the benefits that will best enhance and strengthen your business - just as you would receive coaching from trainer at the gym
Keep a weekly or monthly log of your Chamber activities, as you would plan to log your workouts
On your visits to the gym, you’ll meet new people and possibly get some new tips on ways to get in shape - just the same, meet with a Chamber Ambassador - we have a number of members who volunteer their time to help others leverage chamber benefits
Just as you would prepare to have all of the equipment and workout gear to have a successful experience at the gym, do the same by gearing yourself with the chamber tools available to you such as enhancing your personal profile on our website, submitting a blog or an ad to showcase in our bi-monthly electronic newsletter. Visit our website for more information at www.carbon- countychamber.org
Meghan Castanaro, Air Products Allentown Chamber Chair
Over the last few years, one can’t help but notice the surge of businesses moving their offices to the Queen City. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Allentown seems to be rebranding itself to become an economic cornerstone on the East Coast and has access to an ex- tensive, quality workforce.
I think it’s equally important to recognize companies that have been in Allentown for a long time contributing towards the city’s economic success as well as new companies entering our great city with the hope of their employee’s patronage of downtown merchants. There are two organizations I’d like to highlight - ADP and PPL. Both are successful Fortune 500 companies who place an emphasis on corporate social responsibility and giving back to their communities.
Although ADP is not new to the Lehigh Valley, this payroll processing company is a new tenant to downtown Allentown, opening a new location at Five City Center on Hamilton Street. The company was founded in 1949 by Henry Taub who developed the idea to create a manual payroll processing service after visiting a company who wasn’t paying their workers on time because the per- son responsible for payroll was out sick. Now ADP has grown into more than 700,000 clients.
PPL, once known as Pennsylvania Pow- er & Light Company (PP&L), was created in 1920 through the consolidation of eight electric companies with 62 power plants serving central and eastern Pennsylvania. Its headquarters has al- ways been in downtown Allentown and this PPL celebrates 100 years of being in business. To celebrate and educate such a milestone, PPL plans to sponsor and participate in various events throughout the year, including community service activities and providing special grants.
It is wonderful to see new and old businesses thrive in downtown Allentown. I can’t wait to witness how the landscape will change over the next few years as the city continues to attract successful companies and organizations.
Young Professionals Council
Sarah Finney-Miller, NAI Summit
You may be thinking, what is organizational agility & why is it valuable?
Experts define organizational agility as an ability for an organization to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment.
Operating and growing a business of any size in today’s digital environment is difficult. This is true from the perspective of business performance and sustainable revenue growth and from an employee engagement, growth and success point of view.
In order to succeed in this kind of environment while managing the pressure of sustainable revenue growth, organizations need to apply a more agile approach to empowering HR leaders, managers and employees. Ultimately, all successful businesses help managers and employees to drive their best performance and growth initiatives that support overall business performance. The A’s of Agility Organizations that strive to embrace agility should follow the formula of the “Three A’s”—anticipate, adapt, act. Together, they represent a formula to make organizations more receptive to change, more prepared to exploit new market dynamics and, ultimately, improve business performance.
Business Owners and Managers can play a key role by helping to create a culture that will:
Anticipate— A workforce deals with change better when it happens often. Ensure that change is viewed as not only expected and manageable, but an opportunity, both within the organization and the industry. Disruption means to induce change regularly, such as by moving talent often and streamlining organizational hierarchy to be more customer-friendly.
Adapt—Break down rigid silos and hierarchies that can inhibit teamwork, Leadership Summit and purposefully instill a collaborative spirit in the workforce. An organization moves much more quickly when it leverages the collective wisdom of its workforce. Create a learning culture in which employees can easily and freely create and share their knowledge, and recognize or reward them for doing so.
Act—Identify specific areas that must become more agile. Restructure to minimize hierarchy and bureaucracy as well as empower individuals and self-directed teams to make decisions and get things done. Explore how to be more productive through smaller teams and also leverage a talent ecosystem of diverse roles. Agile teams are fueling some of the most innovative, fast-mov- ing companies today.
Want to learn more?
Join us for our Leadership Summit on March 5th at Moravian College. This half day workshop will be focused on Organizational Agility and Change Management with tips to keep yourself and your team members motivated, highly responsive to change, and per- forming at your best in any business environment. We hope to see you there.
Lastly, be sure to join us at our monthly Meet and Greet on February 19th at Hop Daddy’s Brewing in Allentown.
Compass Point Consulting
Picture this: You are a small business owner and you’ve been happily running your business with a group of dedicated employees for the last decade. All of a sudden, tragedy strikes in your family. Your spouse has a stroke, and you have to rush to the hospital to be with him or her. How does the business continue running? Who will your employees look to for answers? What will happen to the business while you’re away, taking care of your spouse? My hope is that no business owner ever has to worry about such a situation, but the reality is that many businesses are affected by such events on a regular basis. The good news is that if your business created an Emergency Management Plan before tragedy struck, the answers to all of those concerning questions about the business would be easily found by your employees, and it would be (mostly) business as usual while you take care of your family. An Emergency Management Plan is just that. A plan that details what needs to happen in the business if there is an emergency that takes the owner or other key leaders away from the organization for an extended time. It should be documented and accessible to your leadership team, so when an emergency does happen, the plan can be put into effect immediately.
Here are a few items to get you started putting together your Emergency Management Plan:
1. Contact the business’ trusted advisors. List the organization’s trusted advisors and how to contact them. This may include your business attorney, accountant, and any other key strategic partners.
2. Notify commercial banker. This would pertain to any business that has any outstanding business loans.
3. Notify any key clients or customers. Giving the clients a heads up that there has been an emergency, but operations will continue, is key. This eliminates any assumptions that the clients may make about the organization and its future.
4. Redistribute work to remaining leaders in the organization. With a good emergency management plan, it should be business as usual even with the owner/key leaders away from the business. Advanced determination of how work is redistributed will allow for business operations to continue without too many hiccups. While we hope the Emergency Management Plan never has to be used, it provides needed solace for business owners knowing that it merely exists.
Owen P. O’Neil
Every day there are more things we can do with our phones. Starting this month, LANTA will be rolling out a program that will allow riders to pay their bus fare with their phone. LANTA will be using the services of Token Transit (token- transit.com) to sell bus fares through an iPhone or droid app that riders can use to buy their pass before getting on the bus. Token Transit has been deployed at transit systems throughout the country and has been very popular among riders. The Token Transit app is very easy to use. After downloading the app, the rider can set up an account. Then, before boarding the bus, they simply open the app and purchase the type of pass they want; then board the bus and flash their phone in front of a validator on the farebox which will confirm the pass as a valid fare. Through the app, LANTA will also be providing ways for businesses to buy bus passes or provide discounted passes for their employees or customers and send them electronically to that person’s cell phone. Social service agencies or non-profits will also be able to do the same for their clients. If you are interested in establishing such a program for your organization, please call LANTA at 610-435-4052. Initially, the app will only be available to pay your fare on the bus system, but LANTA will be assessing the possibility of making it available on the LANtaVan paratransit system later in the year.
Energy & Environment Committee
Liesel M. Gross
Lehigh County Authority
Most of us don’t think about what happens when the toilets flush and what it takes to ensure they keep flushing. In Lehigh County, about 40 million gallons of sewage flows nearly unnoticed from our homes and businesses every day through a network of pipes, pump stations and treatment facilities that was conceived decades ago by visionary leaders. The community’s investment in a regional sewer system was certainly needed to support the region’s economic development goals. But you may not realize that the sewer system has also been the region’s single largest investment in environmental and public health protection as well. Imagine one single day without sewer service!
Now, our sewer infrastructure needs serious attention. The Lehigh County system nears design capacity almost every day. When it rains, like it did for most of 2018 and 2019, the system can become overwhelmed by all the incoming additional flow.
The key to solving regional sewer problems will be to bring all municipalities together to develop a Sewage Facilities Plan, known as an Act 537 Plan. Essentially, we must predict future sewer needs over the next several decades, then complete engineering and financial analyses to determine how those needs will be met. The plan will take several years to complete and will include an assessment of more than 900 miles of interconnected sewer lines, over 50,000 individual system connections, and a wastewater treatment plant that includes components that are nearly 100 years old. Future project costs are currently estimated at nearly $300 million.
Public participation, regulatory support and financial investment from the local economy will be required both during the planning phase to ensure growth can continue as appropriate while the plan is being developed, and for many years to come to ensure the toilets keep flushing and the environment is protected.
Riverview Bank Chair
As the economic anchor of the West End Theatre District, The Civic Theatre and the Chamber Foundation partnered to upgrade and beautify the exterior and curb appeal of this historic building. Beautification like this adds to the pedestrian experience, identifies the build- ing as an entertainment destination, and encourages added vibrancy in the District. Projects like this compliment neighbors with added sidewalk seating and greater ambiance. Two 5-foot wide benches, four outdoor planters and added signage in the windows identify the Live Theatre, Arthouse Cinema and Civic Theatre School. The new marquee sign ties into the classic 1927 marquee of the 19th Street Theatre across the street. Fresh paint, double glass door banners and seasonal poinsettias complete the aesthetic. We hope we can continue to inspire our partners on every main street to be creative and bring their communities to life!
Olga Negrón, HGSK Lawyers Chair, Hispanic Chamber
There is so much power when we work together, in alliances. Last month’s workshop “Ponte Pilas” (Start Your Business Workshop) with Community Action Development Corporation Bethlehem was a good start to a great partnership. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, let’s make sure members of our community learn about the great resources our community already has to strengthen our local business and CADC (with all the tools for success) is a great example of learning how to start a business. Let’s continue that partnership.
February is our turn to go to Allentown for our community fundraising mixer “Queremos Cambio Verdadero” (We want Real Change). Let’s continue working together to build a safer Lehigh Valley. Join us on February 20 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at Five City Center, 740 Hamilton St, Allentown. This mixer is in support of Promise Neighborhood
Zero Violence program. Join us to listen community member’s real stories and great music! Next month is our International Women Day event which we are doing in partnership with Women’s Business Council and the African American Busi- ness Leaders Council on March 6th for lunch. We will have an amazing panel of powerful diverse women that you don’t want to miss – stay tuned for more details.
Is your employer a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce? Then that makes you a member of the Hispanic Chamber, too. Join us at our mixers and be part of our familia!
For more details or to sponsor any of our events, please call Azalea Chacon firstname.lastname@example.org.
The African American Business Leaders Group would like to invite you to our celebration of Black History Month being held on February 13th in collaboration with Muhlenberg College. Although, American history naturally includes the many contributions of its citizens and leaders of color, there was a void in the telling of the story which led to the special attention and focus which occurs during the month of February. This month presents us with the opportunity to not only look back in time, but also to assess where we as a society are today and look forward to the future.
The February event will recognize some exceptional community leaders who are making substantial contributions to improving our community and advancing our civic engagement at several levels. This event also allows the AABLC to identify and work with our future business leaders who are making their mark in the academic setting. As evidenced by its current organizational structure and staffing, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber has committed to recognizing diversity and striving for inclusion from all segments of the business community and the AABLC acknowledges their on- going efforts.
As 2020 gets into full swing, this celebration of Black History Month sets the tone for our overall community to recognize that although our communities are comprised of individuals and businesses with both diverse backgrounds and success stories, we are all committed to moving in the same positive direction and seek the best possible for our business enterprises and our community.