Welcome Green Thumb Industries (GTI)

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Green Thumb Industries (GTI), to help us fulfill our mission.

GTI is a national cannabis cultivator, processor and dispensary operator dedicated to providing dignified access to safe and effective cannabis nationwide while giving back to the communities in which it serves and operates. Based in Chicago, GTI operates a medical cannabis cultivation center in Danville, located at 601 East Market St. in the former TRW building, which became fully operational in December 2017. It currently operates cultivation centers and/or retail dispensaries in eight states. All of the cannabis grown and processed in its Danville plant is dispensed in retail centers located in Pennsylvania. For more information about GTI as well as medical cannabis, visit GTI’s website

MePush Sends Cybersecurity Expert to Global Hacking Conference

Michael Frauenhoffer of MePush

From MePush

MePush, a tech services company with locations in Lewisburg and Bloomsburg, sent its cyber security manager, Michael Frauenhoffer, to one of the world’s largest hacking conferences in Las Vegas, Nevada in early August.

The underground hacking conference, called DEF CON, was started in 1992 by Jeff Moss, also known as Dark Tangent online. Moss is a globally respected American hacker and computer and internet security expert

DEF CON is the world’s longest running and largest underground hacking conference.

Frauenhoffer is MePush’s in-house forensic security expert. He graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in Digital Forensics after spending some time using his expertise for good – in the military and cyber defense sectors.

Currently, he uses his hacking skills to assist MePush’s clients with compliance and cybersecurity, PCI and HIPAA compliance in particular, as well as military and Department of Defense compliance.

Michael says it was exciting to experience “the bleeding edge of the cyber security world [at DEF CON] so I can bring the information back to help MePush’s clients.”

DEF CON is a unique mixture of conference workshops, live talks and vendors, but intertwined in the mix is a robust social scene, plus hacking contests and “villages” for focused learning about topics like biohacking, social engineering, the Internet of Things, tamper evidence, data duplication, voting machine hacking, soldering skills, ethics, laser cutting, car hacking, and dozens of other trending topics in the underground world of hacking. 

Conference attendees who wish to compete in hacking competitions at the event were able to compete in pre-qualification rounds earlier this summer.

Registrations are not accepted in advance; they are taken in cash at the door so credit card and personal information are not stored or shared by DEF CON organizers.

Michael says that what’s so exciting about cybersecurity is that “compliance isn’t a once-and-done effort; it takes daily, weekly, and monthly follow-up. That’s where MePush really excels – ensuring that our clients become and stay compliant.”

Frauenhoffer quite literally hacks his way into secure systems to find the gaps that need to be filled and areas where data could be exploited, so additional security measures can be applied.

MePush provides IT support, web design, application development, consulting, and computer repair to local businesses, non-profit organizations, and residential customers. Their cybersecurity offerings include compliance on all levels, phishing and security testing, and penetration services which are an offensive way for businesses to ensure that systems are secure.

For more information on all Columbia Montour Chamber members that provide IT services, visit the computer/IT/internet services category in the online directory.

Roundtable Event with Sen. Toomey Focuses on Impact of Trump Tariffs on Businesses

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

PA Chamber President Gene Barr participated last week in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey for a dialogue about federal trade policies impacting businesses in the Commonwealth.  In addition to Barr, the event – which was held at the PA Manufacturers Association’s offices in Harrisburg – also welcomed PMA President Dave Taylor, business leaders and chambers of commerce. 

Senator Toomey addressed a number of issues, including the importance of maintaining a strong trade relationship with Canada and protecting intellectual property rights. The discussion focused particularly on concerns with the Trump administration’s newly-imposed tariffs, including those imposed on goods from countries with which the United States has traditionally enjoyed a strong trade relationship – including Canada, which is undoubtedly the nation’s closet ally and trade partner.   Toomey mentioned his sponsorship, along with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, of legislation that would require Congressional approval for the president to invoke tariffs against another country under the guise of national security.  

As highlighted in a Pennlive article on the roundtable, the business leaders in attendance had plenty of stories to share regarding how their industries have been negatively impacted by the tariffs – either through the loss of sales, reduced export opportunities, material costs and a growing sense of uncertainty with respect to potential future tariffs or retaliatory tariffs from the countries being targeted.

For its part, the U.S. Chamber is resolved to educate elected officials, business leaders and the general public about the negative economic impact of these tariffs and launched a website, www.TheWrongApproach.com, which highlights the economic losses that each state could experience through the imposition of these tariffs.  The website’s data shows that an emerging trade war brought on by tariffs threatens to undo the good that was achieved through last year’s Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, along with regulatory reforms that have been implemented since the start of the Trump administration.  Retaliatory tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. exports will make American-made goods more expensive, resulting in lost sales and potentially 1.6 million lost jobs. In Pennsylvania, $1.7 billion worth of exports are at risk, including coffee, motorcycles, and steel; along with 1,658,100 jobs in the Commonwealth that are supported by global trade.

Have the administration’s tariff decisions had an impact on your business, or do you foresee a future impact?  If so, we’d like to hear from you. Per our international trade and exporting policy, the PA Chamber has traditionally advocated in support of public policy and initiatives that promote free and fair trade, open investment, and regulatory cooperation.  Our organization also recently signed on to a U.S. Chamber-led letter in support of Toomey’s legislation, and raised concerns that unrestricted use of the laws regarding the levying of tariffs – as has been done with the recent steel and aluminum tariffs – could result in retaliatory tariffs from America’s largest trading partners and allies, which would have serious negative economic impacts on the United States.

Comments can be directed to PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Alex Halper  by email or 717-720-5471. Members are also invited to provide information on any impacts of tariffs to Columbia Montour Chamber president Fred Gaffney at 570-784-2522 or email. Information can be kept anonymous at member request.

Member Spotlight: Boulder Landscape, LLC

“Being a member of the Chamber has been a great benefit. It allows us to engage directly, one-on-one, with other professionals in the business community, and also provides simple, yet effective advertising opportunities to others in our service area.” – Harry Woytko, Owner, Boulder Landscape, LLC

Founded in 1988 by Harry Woytko, Boulder Landscape, LLC has evolved from a wholesale tree nursery and grown into a full service landscape design and building company as of 2006. The company has experienced a significant growth in recent years, allowing it to expand its capabilities into the outdoor living market.

Boulder Landscape offers professional landscape and hardscape design and construction services, with a specialty focus on outdoor living and professional property maintenance. Boulder’s honest and trustworthy approach to client needs, along with its attention to detail with an unmatched focus on customer service, partnered with a team of hardworking and educated professionals dedicated to the industry, allows it to continually provide creative outdoor solutions to both new and longtime customers. 

Over the year, Boulder has assisted in several Eagle Scout projects, and has also donated labor and materials to the Berwick Community Pool at Ber-Vaughn, as well as more recently, the Berwick Community Dog Park. Boulder is proud to be a part of the business community in the Columbia/Montour region and is excited to continue its growth and success in the coming years. 

Member spotlights are chosen via a random drawing from members that submit their business cards at a Business After Hours event. The next Business After Hours is scheduled for Aug. 29 at AGAPE.

Flood Recovery Information

Updated 10:00 a.m. 8/17/18

As flood waters are receding and cleanup and repair efforts are underway across the area, local officials are assessing the scope of damage in applying for federal disaster declarations. With such a declaration, federal assistance programs would become available for businesses and homeowners. Columbia County officials anticipate that the scope of damage to local infrastructure will be sufficient to receive disaster declarations. Therefore, it is not critical that businesses there report damage at this time. Montour County is urging all businesses and residents to document damage and report the information to their local municipality.

Impacted businesses are advised to keep track of time and resources being used for recovery. A Disaster Survey Sheet from the U.S. Small Business Administration is attached to help document appropriate information. Details on assistance programs will be provided as they become available.

In the mean time, members are encouraged to contact the Chamber with any recovery related needs at 570-784-2522 or [email protected].

The Columbia County Emergency Management Agency will be opening a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) for any individual/family or business affected by the recent flooding event. The location will be the Benton High School in Benton Borough on Friday, August 17th and Saturday, August 18th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Columbia County EMA has confirmed that Rt. 487 between Bloomsburg and Benton is open. The following agencies will have a representative present for questions, concerns, and to provide information:
     The American Red Cross
     CMSU
     Columbia County Agriculture Department
     Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
     Columbia County Emergency Management Agency
     Tri County COG Inspection Services
     Other State Agencies

Residents are encouraged to attend and bring their completed Damage Assessment Forms with them.

Update as of Aug. 20 – If you weren’t able to attend the MARC last weekend, please contact your local municipality for more information.