Joint Venture Announces Sale of All Columbia County Business Park Lots

Members of the boards of DRIVE, CCIDA and the former Columbia Alliance gathered at the Fairfield Inn & Suites to celebrate the sales of all seven lots in the Columbia County Business Park and honor this accomplishment and the commitment to economic development in Columbia County. 


A Joint Venture between the Columbia County Industrial Development Authority (CCIDA) and DRIVE announced today that all seven lots in the Columbia County Business Park have been sold. In 2007, CCIDA and the Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth began the project with the goal of bringing jobs to the county.

“Job creation is at the heart of our mission,” said Nancy Marr, chair of CCIDA and president of Marr Development. “Providing a location for businesses to grow and expand in Columbia County, and offering employment opportunities for residents is our goal.” 

Members of the boards of DRIVE, CCIDA and the Columbia Alliance gathered on Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites to celebrate and honor this accomplishment and the commitment to economic development in Columbia County. 

DRIVE assumed the Joint Venture when the Columbia Alliance dissolved in 2018. “It became DRIVE’s responsibility to sell these parcels on behalf of the Joint Venture. We’ll continue to work with the property owners and market the Business Park until each lot is fully developed,” said Jennifer Wakeman, DRIVE’s Executive Director. “It is an ideal location for offices or light industrial space with its proximity to Interstate 80.”

Reaching this milestone in the Business Park’s growth is a moment worth celebrating, according to Vic Klein, chair of the Columbia Alliance. “There were definitely some speed bumps along the way and a lot of hours put in by countless people to bring this park to fruition. I’m just thrilled to see it reach this point with all the lots now sold.”

Ed Edwards, former Chamber president, was also President of the Columbia Alliance leading up to the construction of the Park. Responsibility during the construction phase transitioned to Fred Gaffney, current Chamber president, upon Edwards’ retirement in 2010.

Currently, the Business Park is home to Fairfield Inn & Suites and construction is underway on Larry Frace Inspection Services’ Northeast Training Institute (NETI), as well as the Forest & Field design center, part of Tri-County Lumber. Additional development is planned by Marr Development and Mariano Enterprises.

The 54-acre project in Scott Township was developed with assistance from the Economic Development Administration and Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

Important Workers’ Comp Fix Advances to the House Floor

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

In late October, the House Labor and Industry Committee voted along party lines to pass H.B. 1234, legislation that would amend the state’s Workers’ Compensation law in response to a state Supreme Court decision known as the Tooey case. 

In 2013, the Court ruled in Tooey that employers can potentially be sued in civil court for claims involving alleged occupational diseases filed outside the workers’ compensation eligibility window of 300 weeks (or five and a half years) after employment.  This ruling leaves employers at risk for costly civil litigation.

In a memo sent to the committee prior to the vote, the PA Chamber noted that, while our organization does not dispute the Court’s conclusion that individuals in these circumstances ought to have a remedy, as work-related injuries these claims should be directed to workers’ compensation.  House Bill 1234 would do just that by providing an additional window of workers’ compensation eligibility following diagnosis of the condition and preventing these cases from proceeding to civil court.


The bill was voted out of the House Labor and Industry Committee by a vote of 15 to 10.  It now goes before the full House for further consideration. 

Member News – November 13, 2019

  • For their service project this year, Life Skills students at Liberty Valley Intermediate School in the Danville Area School District will be making no-sew tie blankets and donating them to people in need. In support of this project, the program is looking for donations of fleece blanket fabric or money to purchase fabric. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and will go directly toward the student making blankets for the community. All donors will be recognized on a card that will be given to the community along with the blanket. If interested in donating for this project, please submit any donations by this Friday, Nov. 15. Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the school, located at 175 Liberty Valley Rd., Danville. Donations can also be picked up by calling Elise Truax at 570-271-3268, ext. 3675. For additional information, please see the letter.


  • MePush, recently welcomed seven new faces to its team over the past five months: Collin Snyder, Adam Gemberling, Josh King, Brian Eyster, Jason Clarke, Brad Duncan and Jenna Helwig. Since its inception 15 years ago, MePush has grown from one employee to 24 full-time IT professionals focused on four key business service areas: cybersecurity, managed services, hosted services and IT support ranging from business interconnection and automation to compliance and customer data security. For photos and bios of all of MePush’s new hires, visit the MePush website


  • The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) will hold a free four-hour seminar on leadership development on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, 725 Front St., Berwick. This program helps individuals become stronger, more impactful leaders. While joining other managers and supervisors to discuss workplace challenges, attendees will explore topics that include Self-Awareness, Power & Authority, Risk & Failure, and Leadership Style. Using self-assessment tools and experiential learning, attendees will examine their strengths and weaknesses while exploring best practices of exceptional leaders. To register, and for a list of other locations of similar seminars, visit NEPIRC’s registration page

Berwick: The Next Step and Berwick Businesses to Offer $20K Prize Package to Aspiring Entrepreneur

Promotional flyer (pdf)
Official contest rules (pdf)
Application (pdf)

Berwick: The Next Step (BNS) is excited to announce its first Business Pitch Competition. Partnering with Wilkes University’s Small Business Development Center, BNS brings this unique opportunity to aspiring entrepreneurs interested in opening a new business in downtown Berwick.

Entrepreneurs wishing to compete must submit a letter of intent and application by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13. Selected participants will be notified by Jan. 6 and given an opportunity to present their idea to a panel of judges on Jan. 13. Competition finalists will then work with Wilkes University’s Small Business Development Center over the course of six weeks to develop a business plan. That plan will be reviewed for feedback by a panel of judges in March, and final pitches will take place the first week of April.

Competitors will be judged on several criteria, including business innovation. The winner of this competition will receive a prize package valued at more than $20,000 (which will include subsidized rent, access to $10,000 in low-interest loans, a six-month internet credit, a gift card for printing materials, as well as several professional services, including legal and accounting.)

For applications, rules, and more information, email Josh Nespoli or visit

Partnering Businesses include:
Atlantic Broadband
Berwick Industrial Development Association
Campbell Printing
Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce
First Keystone Community Bank
Law Offices of Lutz & Petty
ND Accounting & Consulting PC
Walker’s Jewelers
Wilkes University Small Business Development Center
and partnering agencies for Berwick: The Next Step

Welcome eXp Realty

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, eXp Realty, to help us fulfill our mission.

eXp Realty was founded in 2009 as the first cloud-based real estate brokerage and currently has locations and agents in all 50 states as well as Canada. Locally, the first eXp Realty location was established earlier this year in Berwick by local veteran realtor Marc Nespoli, and has grown to a few handfuls of agents. eXp Realty – Central Susquehanna Valley is located at 106 East Front St., Berwick, and can be reached at 888-397-7352 or visit their Facebook page