Annual Awards Nominations Being Accepted

The Chamber recognizes outstanding organizations and individuals each year at its annual meeting. This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, February 18th at Frosty Valley Resort. Nominations are now being accepted in five categories: Outstanding Citizen, Community Progress, Small Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, and, new this year, Non-Profit of the Year. The following is a list of prior award recipients.

  Outstanding Citizen Community Progress
2018 Linda Brown Community Strategies Group
2017 Denise Stone LCBC Church Columbia-Montour
2016 Daniel Jankowski Geisinger Woodbine
2015 Mary Clapp Pump House Weddings & B&B
2014 Mike Monico &
Travis Petty
Art of Floating
2013 Tim Wagner First Keystone Community Bank
2012 Bette Grey Turkey Hill Brewing Co.
2011 Eileen Chapman Service 1st Federal Credit Union
2010 Ramona Alley Towne Camera
     
  Small Business of the Year Large Business of the Year
2018 For the Cause Knoebels
2017 Steph’s Subs SEKISUI SPI
2016 Freas Farm Winery Central Columbia School District
2015 Key Partners Realty Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital
2014 Bloom Bounce Danville Child Development Center
2013 InnoTek Computer Consulting PPL Electric Utilities
2012 Old Forge Brewing Company CSS Industries
2011 Walker’s Jewelers Kawneer
2010 Fuel Fitness Columbia Montour Home Health

Free Workshops on ISO 9001:2015 Requirements Offered

From NEPIRC

Smart companies are gaining a competitive edge through ISO Certification, boosting profits and augmenting efficiency in the process. The Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) is offering a half-day (1/2-day) overview of the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 to show employers how to gain this competitive edge.

Pre-requisite: Currently NOT certified to ISO 9001:2015

Topics Covered:
• Context, issues and strategic direction of ISO 9001: 2015 Certified Organizations
• Commitment required by organizational leadership
• Planning requirements for implementing a Quality Management System
• Planning, Implementation and Control of production processes
• Performance evaluation and measuring the effectiveness of a Quality Management System
• Opportunities for process improvements

The program is being offered on two dates:

1/22/20 – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at NEPIRC
2/5/20 – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Wellsboro

Thank You 2019 Holiday Open House Major Sponsors

The Chamber extends a big thank you to the major sponsors of this year’s Holiday Open House. For the second straight year, we set a record for number of sponsors of this event, and it is the continued support of these businesses, organizations and individuals that helps the Chamber fulfill its mission of offering programs, benefits and events to its members, giving them a stronger voice and advocacy and being involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. Thank you again to our sponsors for their generosity and support of this event. 

 

Event Sponsor
Geisinger




Holiday Cheer Sponsors
M&T Bank

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodrick Realty

 

 

 

 

Gold Star Sponsors
Service 1st Federal Credit Union

 

Century 21 Covered Bridges Realty

 

 

 

Red Reindeer Sponsors
BIDA

Key Partners

 

 

 

 

LIVIC Civil

 

 





Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP










North Shore Railroad

 

 

 

 

The Women’s Center

 

 

 

Green Tree Sponsors
Atlantic Broadband



Century 21 Mertz & Associates

 

 

 

First Columbia Bank

 

 

First Keystone Community Bank







McTish, Kunkel & Associates






Susquehanna Valley Limousine

 

 

PTO Donation Policies can Boost Work Environment

From JRG Advisors

Many employers and fellow employees want to help their employees and co-workers when there is a situation where they need to be away from work for an extended period of time but do not have paid time off (PTO) days left. These situations could range from natural disasters to an employee’s or employee family member’s serious illness. When times like this occur, having a PTO donation policy in place allows the donation of accumulated PTO from employees from a general pool. This allows employees to help their co-workers in a time of need, avoids “wasted” PTO, and could boost a positive work environment.

There are a few steps that an employer must follow in order to create a PTO donation policy. The first step is to decide when donated PTO is made available. Per IRS guidance, this should be limited to federally-recognized natural disasters, medical emergencies, or both. The employer should clarify and make clear the definitions of what exactly constitutes a medical emergency or natural disaster and compare this with IRS guidance. This will alleviate any confusion in the future. Complying with IRS rules is important to avoid unwanted tax implications on behalf of employees who donate PTO.

The next item for the employer is to take into consideration is the PTO “budget” for this policy. An example of this would be thinking about setting a limit on the amount of donations one can use or donate based on job titles. This will help with making sure that certain employees with the same job titles are not off at the same time. It also makes sense to establish maximum limits to the amount of PTO that can be donated, what happens is donated PTO is not used, and basic eligibility rules (how long must an employee be with the company before they may use donated PTO, for example).

The third step is to create and finalize the PTO donation policy or program. There needs to be a tracking mechanism for the donated and used PTO. Whomever is keeping track of the PTO needs to guarantee confidentiality of medical conditions of those who use the PTO for medical emergencies. When creating the policy, the employer also needs to set criteria in order to make sure that there is no discrimination within the policy. The last step is to execute and administer the plan. This may need to be announced during a staff meeting or during open enrollment for the employees in which it applies to so that they are notified that this policy exists. Employers will want to create request forms or applications for the PTO donation policy to know when PTO is needed or being given to the general pool.

Infrastructure Projects Support Local Businesses

Andy Keister of McTish, Kunkle & Associates reviews areas along the Rt. 11 corridor that are increasingly experiencing storm water issues.

Two projects announced recently will support businesses in Columbia County by investing in infrastructure and mitigating future risks of flooding. 

On December 12th, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of 26 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility across Pennsylvania. SEKISUI SPI was among the projects which will assist the company in constructing two spur tracks and install unloading equipment. The company expressed its appreciation to the Governor’s office as well as North Shore Railroad and SEDA-Council of Governments Joint Rail Authority for their support of the project. 

Also in December, a storm water management study for a portion of the Rt. 11 corridor between Bloomsburg and South Centre Township got underway. With funding secured by Senator John Gordner and Representative David Millard, as well as contributions from the municipalities and several local businesses, the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority held a kick-off meeting with local stakeholders to identify problem areas. The study, expected to be completed by McTish, Kunkle & Associates by Spring, 2020, will identify priority areas along both sides of the corridor for repairing, upgrading, or installing infrastructure to better handle runoff from storms. The firm may also suggest ordinances and policies to reduce future risks.

The Chamber of Commerce helped organize meetings in South Centre Township following flooding of several major employers, including SEKISUI and Smucker’s, in the summer of 2018.