PA Chamber Urges Wolf Administration to Reconsider Overtime Expansion

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The PA Chamber issued a statement following the Wolf Administration announcing its plans to move forward with an overtime eligibility expansion proposal that would harm employers and employees at a time when they can least afford it.

The federal overtime annual salary threshold increased to $35,568 on January 1. Under the Governor’s plan, the threshold for Pennsylvania employees will increase to $40,560 on October 3, 2021 and $45,500 annually on October 3, 2022. Beginning in 2023, the threshold would be adjusted automatically every three years.

Pennsylvania’s Overtime Rule also allows up to 10 percent of the salary threshold to be satisfied by nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions, paid annually, quarterly or more frequently.

In addition to the salary threshold update, Pennsylvania also updated the duties tests to more closely align with the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulations. Paying an employee a salary does not automatically make them exempt from overtime. The employee must also perform duties specified under the Rule.

Additional information is available on the Department of Labor & Industry’s website

“This proposal has been controversial since a federal version from President Obama was opposed by a large and diverse coalition and ultimately struck down by an Obama-appointed judge. An equally broad coalition of Pennsylvania employers spoke out when Gov. Wolf advanced a similar proposal,” PA Chamber President Gene Barr said.

“We urge the Governor to recognize that this policy cannot be considered in a vacuum: many employers most adversely impacted, including nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, restaurants and small retailers, are also among those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, business shutdown and economic fallout.  Imposing additional costs and removing workplace flexibility is detrimental to employers already struggling and just adds one more obstacle on Pennsylvania’s path to economic recovery.

“Given these factors and the unprecedented economic challenges the state is currently facing, we urge the Governor to consider the true impact of the proposal and stop it from moving forward.”

Welcome Preferred Portables

More than 420 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and the region. Increased membership allows the Chamber to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives. The Chamber welcomes Preferred Portables.

Located in Danville, Preferred Portables offers portable restrooms and hand washing stations for a variety of events or projects. They provide service within a 45-mile radius of Danville. All of the units are serviced and sanitized on a weekly basis (additional service can be provided upon request), to ensure a safe and healthy environment. 

Preferred Portables can be reached by phone at 570-293-4921, or visit its Facebook page 


Member News- September 30, 2020

Berwick Industrial Development Association (B.I.D.A.) donates to Berwick Health and Wellness Fund through the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation                                                                

The Berwick Industrial Development Association (B.I.D.A.) is committed to the economic development, growth, and sustainability of the region. Local nonprofit organizations play a vital role by providing services and resources to meet the needs of our community. B.I.D.A. made a recent donation to the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation to support the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund. 

 The Berwick Health and Wellness Fund is the original and largest component fund of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, created through the sale of the Berwick Hospital in 1999. The Berwick Health and Wellness Fund seeks to enrich the lives of the residents of the hospital’s service area by using its investments to promote individual and community health and well-being. 

  A few of the priority areas include:    

  • Ensuring children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.
  • Promoting oral health for residents who lack access to regular dental care.
  • Reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease through nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles.
  • Improving mental and behavioral health through community awareness, support, and treatment

B.I.D.A. is pleased to support the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund’s efforts which awards more than $1 million annually into the greater Berwick area through grants and scholarships. To learn more about the Foundation or to donate, please visit

Free Cleaning Supplies to Stay Healthy from CSO

Central Susquehanna Opportunities (CSO) knows how important it is for you and your family to stay healthy and would like to help by providing cleaning supplies. Limited supplies, first come first served.

  • Wednesday, September 30th from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. at LCBC Church 2421 Columbia Blvd. Central Rd & Rt. 11, Bloomsburg, PA.
  • Tuesday, October 6th from 10 a.m.- noon at PA State Rep. David Millard Market St. Plaza 1000 Market St., Bloomsburg, PA

Bloomsburg Children’s Museum Announces Fall Programming

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, 2 West Seventh Street, Bloomsburg is pleased to announce its fall programming which includes clubs, programs and events for all ages. Clubs include Nerf Modification, Robotics, and Girls Who Code.

The Museum is offering a new preschool program that is free with admission and runs every-other Wednesday. Ready, Set, Grow is designed to help develop executive function skills in your preschooler to make sure they are kindergarten ready! 

Homeschool Hangouts start again in October. This popular program provides parent/child activities designed to complement concepts taught in homeschool curriculum, grades K-12.

Upcoming events at the Museum include Super Hero Saturday on October 17th and Turkey Day on November 21st. 

Discount days at the Museum are $2 Tuesday, every 3rd Tuesday of the month and Fall Fun Fridays, every Friday in October, which features free adult admission and a special fall-themed craft. 

Guest favorite Saturday art classes, Meet the Masters and Paint Me a Story return to offer art classes for PreK-12th grade students. 

Virtual offerings include PreK nature camp, Painting and Drawing Camp, and virtual field trips.

For a complete listing of all programs, visit or see the attached fall programs brochure.

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Museum will be closed from September 25th-October 5th for an annual construction and renovation period. They will re-open on Monday, October 4th. 

In order to maintain a safe public space for our guests and comply with our community standards, masks are required for entrance to the Museum.  The Children’s Museum has increased sanitation of all touchable surfaces, removed many loose exhibit pieces to reduce touchable surfaces, instituted “Discovery Bags” to still allow hands-on participation for individual learners, and increased air exchange in the Museum. 

NEPIRC to Host Free Virtual Manufacturing Day

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) will host its annual Manufacturing Day event on Friday, October 2nd, 2020. This year’s Manufacturing Day is free to all manufacturers and will be streamed virtually thanks to our partner, Coal Creative. When registering, attendees will have the option to select from a number of different sessions, each of which addresses a specific manufacturing best practice or technology.

NEPIRC’s event will feature David Beurle, CEO of Future iQ, as the keynote speaker. Mr. Beurle, a worldrenowned strategist, researcher and practitioner, pioneers and applies innovative tools and approaches that assist countries, cities, organizations, regions, tourism destinations and industries to shape their economic and community development futures. As the keynote speaker at NEPIRC’s 2019 Manufacturing Day, Mr. Beurle captivated the audience, and so NEPIRC looks forward to hosting him again in 2020.

In addition to Mr. Beurle, NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Day agenda includes the following presentations: Talent Succession Planning, presented by Leo Gilroy, Director of Strategy & Innovation, NEPIRC; Do Your Part #BECYBERSMART, presented by Marc Gonzalez, Site2; Problem Solving, presented by Gerry Giza, Director of Lean & Continuous Improvement, NEPIRC; Industry 4.0, presented by Brian Matyjevich, Lean Enterprise Consultant, NEPIRC; and ISO 9001:2015 Overview, presented by Brian Matyjevich and Ray Kryeski, Mechanical Engineer, NEPIRC. For presentation descriptions or to register, please visit the Training and Events tab on NEPIRC’s website by visiting or by calling 570.704.0018.

Each year, Manufacturing Day is recognized nationally on the first Friday of October with events taking place all month to celebrate the manufacturing industry and is contributions to local, regional and national economies. Additionally, Manufacturing Day serves to bring awareness of the industry to students, parents and educators to help bolster interest in manufacturing jobs.


Welcome Gray Builders

More than 420 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and the region. Increased membership allows the Chamber to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives. The Chamber welcomes Gray Builders.

Established in 1991, Gray Builders provides complete design-build solutions for commercial or residential projects. Some of the services offered include: New Construction, Remodeling, Renovations, Restoration, and Interior “Fit Outs” where an interior is completely re-configured, within the existing structure. They also have a complete wood working and paint shop, on-site, which allows for any type of custom millwork.

Learn more about Gray Builders by visiting its website, or Facebook page.


Tri County Lumber & Truss is SBA Eastern Pennsylvania’s 2020 Entrepreneurial Success of the Year

Forest & Field, a kitchen & bath showroom and design center, will open at the Columbia County Business Park in Lightstreet in 2021 as an expansion of Tri County Lumber & Truss.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized Tri County Lumber & Truss in Berwick with its Eastern Pennsylvania Entrepreneurial Success of the Year Award for 2020. The Chamber of Commerce was part of the presentation ceremony with John Coates, Tri County President, held Tuesday, September 29th.

Tri County Lumber & Truss, formerly Fahringer Lumber, has a 30-year history in the Coates family. The business is under the management of the second-generation with John as President. During John’s tenure, he overtook the operations of a truss manufacturing plant in 2008 and in 2010 developed a Kitchen and Bath department. The business offers building materials; design and remodeling services for kitchens, baths, decks, and outdoor spaces; lumber products; contractor educational courses and events; tools and tool maintenance; and services for contractors and homeowners.

“It’s a privilege to recognize the achievements of leading Pennsylvania entrepreneurs like John,” said Steve Dixel, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Director. “Small businesses like Tri County Lumber & Truss, that are able to thrive, diversify, and anticipate their customer needs for the long-term, are essential to our nation’s economy. SBA, our resource partner Wilkes University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and our lending partner SEDA-COG are proud to play a role in helping them expand and continue to succeed.”

John O. Coates has been a client of Wilkes SBDC since Spring 2017. He worked with Business Consultant Ray Haden to realize a business plan and financial projections replete with heavily researched financial assumptions for the design center construction project. The firm plans to open a 10,000 sq. ft. kitchen and bath showroom and interactive design space, called Forest & Field, in January 2021. Located at the Columbia County Business Park in Lightstreet, it will be a destination center for the region.

Coates worked with Fred Gaffney, Chamber President, to discuss options at the Business Park and consider financing options. “John has taken a very deliberate approach in utilizing resources in the region to evolve his business,” said Gaffney. “It is gratifying to see his ideas coming to fruition, as well as being recognized by the SBA.”

“One of the biggest frustrations in taking the operation to the next level is also a source of pride for Mr. Coates; specifically, in getting the expansion project absolutely right,” said Ray Haden, Business Consultant, Wilkes SBDC. “Initially, the expansion was massive, and John reflected on the purpose of the expansion – which was essentially showcasing designed kitchens and baths, appliances, window and door displays, and a working kitchen for chef demonstration. This strategy enabled a level of authenticity to realize the true needs related to the expansion and ultimately realize an expansion project that best served the operation and the local and surrounding areas.”

The Wilkes SBDC is a member of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers’ statewide network which provides quality, no-cost, confidential business consulting and training to small business owners and entrepreneurs thinking about starting a business, contemplating expansion or change in a current business, or are developing a new product.

Tri County Lumber & Truss worked with SEDA-COG’s SBA 504 Loan Program Certified Development Company (CDC), to structure the financing package for the expansion project through an SBA 504 Loan. CDCs are nonprofit corporations promoting economic development within their community. CDCs are certified and regulated by the SBA, and work with SBA and participating lenders (typically banks) to provide financing to small businesses, which in turn, accomplishes the goal of community economic development.  The SBA 504 Loan program is a powerful economic development loan program that offers small businesses another avenue for business financing, while promoting business growth, and job creation.

“Despite its high level of visibility and ease of access, the rural location selected for the design center has been underutilized for many years,” said Tina Showers, Principal Program Analyst, SEDA-COG. “It will be in an area that has been designated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as distressed. Mr. Coates’ strategy to expand at this location exemplifies a sense of commitment and contribution to the Columbia County area. In an era where there are big box stores in almost every neighborhood, it is refreshing to see a small business not only serve the community in this capacity – but expand and grow.”

“Mr. Coates’ deliberations with the expansion project also took into consideration what would work for his employees, so they would not be overwhelmed,” adds Dorothy Lane, Director, Wilkes SBDC. “COVID-19 slowed them down for two months, but with SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, EIDL Advance, and Paycheck Protection Program Loan, they were able to maintain payroll, prevent layoffs, and continue to purchase inventory and stay current on their existing debt.”

“It’s wonderful to be recognized as SBA’s Entrepreneurial Success of the Year,” said John O. Coates, President, Tri County Lumber & Truss. “We’re honored that Wilkes University SBDC nominated us and that SBA selected our business. The support from the SBA, Wilkes SBDC and SEDA-COG enabled us to expand and construct a state-of-the art kitchen and bath showroom and design center that will become a destination and revive the local economy with job creation and sales revenue.”

Whatever the situation, John’s contributions tend to have one thing in common: the community in which he calls home for himself, his family, and his business. He donates to the local Rocky Boxing Club and Berwick Christmas Boulevard. Mr. Coates retired as past President and Board Member of the Central Columbia School District. He is presently on the Board for Berwick Hospital and serves on the Berwick YMCA’s Fundraising Board.

SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Entrepreneurial Success of the Year award winner is selected annually from among nominees located across the 40 counties of eastern Pennsylvania. National Small Business Week recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy. Learn more about National Small Business Week at