Kawneer Showcases State-of-the-Art Plant at September Business After Hours

Chamber members enjoyed delicious food and sweets from fellow member Lucy’s Kitchen & Catering and also had an opportunity to go on a tour of Kawneer’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bloomsburg at September’s Business After Hours last Wednesday, Sept. 20. Those that went on the tour saw Kawneer’s massive plant where thousands of door and window frames, both standard and custom, are made each day. Attendees saw how the raw materials are molded into various shapes and sizes to fit all of the various orders that Kawneer receives from architects and builders all across the world, as well as how the frames are painted, welded and put through an automated production line run by robots.

Of course, in addition to the plant tour and outstanding food, attendees also enjoyed a chance to network with business colleagues and several also won prizes, which were provided by Kawneer and distributed to the winners by the Chamber later in the week. Attendees also were able to take home a puzzle of one of Kawneer’s most interesting and unique building jobs – the Museum at Prairiefire in Winona, Minn., for which Kawneer made all of the custom window and door frames at the Bloomsburg plant, as well as other building materials at other plants.

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be co-hosted by the Borough of Danville and SEDA-COG on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the ballroom of the Danville Borough Hall, 239 Mill St., Danville. 

For more photos from last week’s event, check out the Chamber’s Facebook page

Member News – September 27, 2017

Member News

  • First Keystone Bank is lending a hand to support the relief efforts in Texas and Florida due to the recent hurricanes. It is holding collections for the Texas and Miami diaper banks through this Friday, Sept. 29. The goal is to fill a truck with baby items, and the bank will cover costs for the delivery of the items to Texas and Florida. They are currently in need of diapers of all sizes including adult diapers, as well as blankets, bottles, toys, wipes, pull-ups, books and any other baby items. Donations can be made at any one of First Keystone’s 18 branch locations.

 

  • The United Way of Columbia and Montour County held its 2017 Campaign Kickoff event last Tuesday, Sept. 19. Ronn Cort, president and COO at SEKISUI SPI served as the keynote speaker, while Kathy Lowe of Key Partners Realty sponsored the kickoff breakfast. If you or your organization would like more information about running a United Way campaign at your location, please contact campaign coordinator Bryne Lewis at 570-784-3134 or email.

 

  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will host a presentation from the Rural Business Innovation titled “Personal Credit Repair & Establishing Business Credit,” on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 9-11 a.m. at the Bucknell SBDC in the DeWitt Bldg., 416 Market St., Lewisburg. This credit boot camp-type discussion will explore your personal credit, its effects on your business, establishing and keeping good business credit and what all these scores mean. The featured speaker will be John Yoder from the Hutchison Insurance Agency. Cost to attend is $10. Register for either event on the RBI website

 

  • State Rep. David Millard will host a Senior Caregiver Support Forum on Thursday, Oct. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, 725 West Front St., Berwick. Intended for people that help care for aging loved ones, this forum will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn about important resources available to them. It will feature some brief informative sessions, along with a chance to get questions answered. Organizations scheduled to be on hand include the Columbia Montour Aging Office, Commonwealth Home Health and Hospice of Berwick, which is affiliated with Berwick Hospital Center, and an elder law attorney from the Law Office of Lutz & Petty. RSVP to Rep. Millard’s office at 570-759-8734 or on RepMillard.com

 

  • Geisinger Health will hold its inaugural Dream Big Hot Air Balloon Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Spyglass Ridge Winery, 400 Plum Creek Rd., Sunbury. Proceeds from this event will benefit Geisinger’s Comprehensive Breast care Program. Activities include balloon rides (weather-permitting), live bands and food trucks, children’s activities and family fun, professional and amateur photo competitions, performances by local dance groups, a fresh food farmers market and family photo sessions in front of the balloons. Admission is free. For more information, read this flyer.Event organizers are also seeking donations of small items (approx. $10-20 in value) from area businesses and individuals for an auction. If interested in making a donation, please contact Linda Vaji at 570-214-2581 or email

 

  • Co., a social and professional networking group that is run by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County, will hold a pair of events during October. It will host a networking event on Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Capitol Bar & Grille, 45 East Main St., Bloomsburg. It will also hold a fun evening at Can You XCape followed by a mixer at the Wagon Shed on Thursday, Oct. 26, beginning at 6 p.m. Co. was founded to give area residents the opportunity to take advantage of all the great things this area has to offer. This group is for everyone, which means any age, ability, or area of residence. It holds multiple events each month. For more information about Co., including future events, visit its Facebook page

 

  • As part of its 30th anniversary season, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate the legacy, tradition and craftsmanship of Martin Guitars with a full day of events on Saturday, Oct. 14.

    A Martin Guitar

    All of the day’s programming is free except for the 7:30 p.m. performance of the Del McCoury Band. The day includes facilitated workshops including blues slide guitar basics, guitar repair consultations, guitar theory, and a roots music recording session, as well as Martin Guitar displays and merchandise, a community guitar jam, a film screening and panel discussion, and evening performances. Visit here for a complete schedule and description of all events on this day. 

 

  • PPL Electric Utilities and its supply chain division is hosting a Diversity Meet and Greet event on Friday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the PPL Conference Center at Walbert, 1639 Church Rd., Allentown. This event is designed for business owners who are veterans, women, minorities, LGBT and disabled, to have an opportunity to find out more about PPL and its opportunities for suppliers. Attendees will have a chance to meet and speak to PPL leaders and the staff that works with suppliers. There is no cost to attend, but those interested in attending should register online by Friday, Oct. 27. For more information, see this flyer

 

  • PA CareerLink of Columbia/Montour Counties, along with the Innovative Manufacturers Center (IMC), will host a collaborative robot workshop on Monday, Oct. 30, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Pine Barn Inn, Danville. There is no cost to attend and a light breakfast will be served. Around the world, thousands of robots work collaboratively alongside humans with no safety guards and no problems. Come and learn about universal robots, robot programming, end effector solutions, stands and protective covering, and participate in hands-on activities. Visit online to register or learn more about this event. 

 

  • Innotek Computer Consulting will host its annual Technology and Security Expo on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Sand Springs Country Club, 10 Clubhouse Dr., Drums. This annual event, billed as “Northeast Pennsylvania’s biggest technology and security expo,” brings together IT managers, executives and business owners to discuss the impact of technology and security on business. There is no cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit the event page on Innotek’s website, or the Facebook event page.

 

  • Along with the Bloomsburg University Regional STEM Education Center, the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber will co-sponsor the Future Careers Expo on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Kehr Union Ballroom on the BU campus. The annual event allows attendees to explore career in science, technology, engineering and math and it open to all students in grades 7-12, as well as their parents. Participants can receive a BU application fee waiver just for attends, and there will also be door prizes for those that sign up. For more information and to register, visit here. For businesses that are interested in participating as vendors, please fill out this form and return it to the email address on the form by Oct. 20. For questions from businesses, please call the Chamber Foundation at 570-784-2522 or email

Grandfathered Versus Grandmothered Health Plans

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “grandfathered plans” are group health plans (or health insurance coverage) that were in existence on March 23, 2010, and have not undergone certain prohibited design changes since then. Those prohibitions, in summary fashion, are: an elimination of benefits, an increase in percentage cost-sharing requirements, and an increase in a fixed amount cost-sharing requirement other than a co-payment (with some limitations) or a decrease in employer contributions by more than 5% of its established contribution on March 23, 2010.

Needless to say, not many grandfathered plans remain. In the Kaiser Health Organization 2016 Employer Benefit Survey it was noted that only 23 percent of employers nationally, maintain at least one grandfathered benefit option. Grandfathered plans are excused from some of the requirements under the ACA, such as coverage of preventive health services without any cost-sharing and the expanded appeals process and external review.

However, they still must comply with other provisions, including: (1) provide a uniform explanation of coverage, (2) report medical loss ratios and provide premium rebates if medical loss ratios are not met, (3) prohibit lifetime and annual limits on essential health benefits, (4) extend dependent coverage to age 26, (5) prohibit health plan rescissions, (6) prohibit waiting periods greater than 90 days, and (7) prohibit coverage exclusions for pre-existing health conditions.

Employers of grandfathered plans have a notice requirement where the plan must provide, in any plan materials describing benefits for participants or beneficiaries, (a) a statement that the plan or coverage is believed to be a grandfathered plan, and (b) contact information for questions or complaints. Failure to provide this notice can result in loss of grandfather status. Another condition of retaining grandfather status is that as long as the status is asserted documentation must be maintained to show that the coverage in effect as of March 23, 2010 has not made any of the prohibited changes. This requirement reinforces the importance of a plan sponsor having and keeping an updated plan document, which must be available for review upon request. Grandfathered status can be maintained indefinitely as long as no prohibited plan changes are made, however, once lost, it cannot be regained.

In contrast, the ACA did not make any particular allowances for individual and small group plans that became effective after March 23, 2010. It was expected that these plans would terminate at the end of 2013 and be replaced with ACA compliant coverage. However, due to multiple problems for small groups with ACA implementation, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued transitional relief that allowed states to permit non-grandfathered plans to renew their pre-ACA plans.

Therefore, a “grandmothered plan” (also referred to as a transitional health policy) is a non-grandfathered health plan that is subject to a HHS transition policy. This policy allows insurers to extend coverage which are free from certain ACA reforms, basically, they are non-compliant plans. The main insurance market reforms to which grandmothered plans are not required to comply are the premium rating rules, guaranteed availability and renewability and the requirement to provide the ten Essential Health Benefits.

Originally issued in 2013, transition relief for grandmothered plans has been extended several times with the most recent extension permitting insurers that have continually renewed grandmothered plans since  January 1, 2014, to renew such coverage again for any policy year beginning on or before Oct. 1, 2018 (However, the insurance policies must not extend past Dec. 31, 2018). As a reminder whether a plan can be grandmothered is governed by state insurance law, and not all states have adopted the transitional relief. Additionally, an insurer that renews a grandmothered plan is required to provide an annual notice explaining the right to retain existing coverage to affected individuals and small businesses.

Conclusion
If you have a grandfathered plan you can keep it indefinitely, as long as your plan does not make any of the certain prohibited plan design changes which causes the loss of grandfather status. Likewise, if you have a grandmothered plan, you can keep it (at least in Pennsylvania) through Dec. 31, 2018. You should continue to stay updated on the status of the ACA and how your grandfathered or grandmothered plan can be affected.

Atlantic Sunrise Breaks Ground

From Williams

Thanks to the tireless efforts of its supporters during the regulatory process, Williams is pleased to announce that on Sept. 15 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice to Proceed for Atlantic Sunrise mainline pipeline construction. Atlantic Sunrise is a nearly $3 billion investment that will boost Pennsylvania’s economy and expand access to abundant, affordable natural gas.

Williams has worked closely with permitting agencies, including FERC, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to minimize environmental and community impacts, including making modifications to more than half of the originally proposed pipeline route. Project developers have also partnered with environmental organizations to generate approximately $2.5 million for conservation projects located within the project area.

Atlantic Sunrise is estimated to support 8,000 jobs and inject a $1.6 billion economic impact in the project area during construction, including an estimated $85.5 million in Columbia County and surrounding areas.  Local businesses have the opportunity to directly benefit from this economic activity with the exciting, new WILLShop Local App, designed to connect our workforce with local businesses and services. Members can sign up for free to be listed on this app, which is designed to help workers from out of town find the services they need while in town working on the project.

After the approximately one-year construction phase, Atlantic Sunrise will provide enough natural gas to support the daily energy needs of seven million homes. To learn more, read this press release about the construction plans and timeline.

The Atlantic Sunrise outreach team and everyone at Williams thanks all of those that supported the project.

2017-18 Leadership Central Penn Class Begins With Quest to Build Strong Teams, Features Turtles and Lava

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that turtles can swim in lava and have feelings?  The 2017-18 class of the Leadership Central Penn program learned that and much more on Wednesday, Sept. 20, when the group traveled to the Quest Team Building area at Bloomsburg University, where 20 strangers got closer than any could have imagined while solving problems and completing tasks. Leadership Central Penn is sponsored by Bloomsburg University, Kawneer, SEKISUI SPI and USG

This year’s class is comprised of 20 professionals from three nonprofits and 11 companies – including Chamber members PPL Electric Utilities, Geisinger, SEKISUI SPI, Service 1st Federal Credit Union, First Keystone Community Bank, Autoneum North America, Bloomsburg University, Kawneer, Girton Manufacturing and First Columbia Bank. Other class members are from nonprofits the Hope Center, For the Cause and the Columbia Montour Chamber. 

So how do you get such a dynamic group to learn names, professional and personal strengths, and weaknesses – all in a single day? You have the group work a ship in rough seas, flip a capsized life raft (actually a tarp) while all standing on it, race across a lava field (actually imaginary lava on a grass field) on the backs of turtles (actually small squares of plywood), build a house out of rope, and realize that personal space is definitely not part of team building. The group was separated into teams to use their individual skills collectively to solve a variety of problems such as these, each with its own complexities and requirements for an array of talents. Balance, strength, endurance, problem solving, listening, leading, and following was all needed through the day. At times, these were all needed simultaneously to ensure success on tasks.  By the end of the day, the group was hot and tired, but also smiling and grateful. 

During break, the group was challenged to a couple of riddles, and left at the end of the day wondering what a person who pushes their car into a hotel and says “I’m broke and out” could possibly mean. One thing everyone knew for sure was that they were in this program together, and better off because of it.

Individuals learned who in the group were doers, thinkers, influencers and relaters. They deduced what that means for success in professional endeavors and what each group’s strengths bring to organizational success. At the end of the day there were no losers, and everyone won the day. At the debrief, words like “team” and “family” were used by individuals to describe how they felt about these former strangers.

Here are some additional photos from the day via the Chamber’s Facebook page.