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.

Danville Council Hopefuls Share Thoughts on Business, Taxes and Traffic

Seven of the eight candidates for Danville Borough Council participated in a public forum on Tuesday, Sept. 19 to share their thoughts on a variety of issues. Topics addressed included job growth, taxes, and traffic concerns. The candidate forum, held at Danville Ballroom, was sponsored by the Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau.

The registered candidates who participated in the Forum were:

1st Ward: Steven Finn and John S. Rodman

3rd Ward: Betty Ann Moyer and Byard Woodruff

4th Ward: Edward A’Zary, Kevin J. Herritt, and Joseph Stigerwalt, Jr.

The only registered running for the 2nd Ward seat is Jeremiah Walter, who could not participate due to a work commitment.

Audio from the forum is available here. Candidate responses begin with the following order: Herritt, Stigerwalt, Finn, Rodman, Moyer, Woodruff, A’Zary. Responses to the second question begin with Stigerwalt and following the same order.

Member News – September 20, 2017

Member News

  • Students enrolled in a web design class in the mass communication program at Bloomsburg University are offering to provide website design services free of charge during the current fall semester to businesses in need of a website or a redesign of their current website. Students will arrange a meeting with clients during the week of Oct. 23 to discuss the project and will then complete the website in about five weeks. Last year, this class redesigned or designed from scratch websites for the Coalition for Social Equity, McBride Library, Ponduce Farms, Zarm Farm and Nannycakes. If interested in the services being provided by this class, please email Professor Dennis Frohlich or call him at 701-541-3608. Please contact him by Sept. 25 if you are interested.


  • The Montour County Historical Society will open its newly renovated Boyd House Museum this Sunday, Sept. 24, from 2-4 p.m. Two rooms – the Military Room and the Parlor – will be open for viewing. This event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend. The Boyd House Museum is located at 5 Bloom Rd. (Rt. 11), right next to the Montgomery House in downtown Danville. It was closed earlier this year for renovations. Both the Montgomery House and Boyd House Museums will be open on Sundays 2-4 p.m. throughout the month of October. 


  • After the devastation and widespread power outages that came about throughout Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma, numerous power and utility companies from across the country have sent personnel to help Florida’s utility companies restore electricity to their customers.

    A PPL crew helps restore power in Fort Myers, Fla. recently (photo from PPL Electric Utilities Facebook page)

    PPL Electric Utilities was one of those companies that sent personnel and equipment to assist in the recovery. One of the PPL crews sent the photo at right from Fort Myers, Fla. PPL is proud to be supporting one of the largest storm recovery efforts in U.S. History while also providing strong service to its customers in Pennsylvania.


  • Knoebels Amusement Resort is once again the recipient of some prestigious industry awards. Amusement Today recently announced the winners of its 2017 Golden Ticket Awards, which annually recognize the “best of the best” in the amusement industry and are calculated from an international poll. The results come from a survey that is sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world asking the to rate the “bests” in 25 categories. The Grand Carousel again received the Golden Ticket for best carousel, a distinction it has received every year the award has been presented. The Phoenix also retained its ranking as the second-best wooden roller coaster in the world, missing first place by just 29 points. Knoebels also placed in several other categories, including: best food (#2), best Halloween event (#3), best dark ride (#3 – for the Haunted Mansion), best park (#4), friendliest park (#4), best indoor roller coaster (#4 – for the Black Diamond), and also had two additional rides ranked in the Top 50 wooden roller coasters (#35 and #44, respectively, for the Twister and Flying Turns). For more information on these awards, visit here.


  • SEKISUI SPI hosted its annual ECO Week Aug. 13-19, which is a dedicated initiative to be more environmentally conscious above and beyond the company’s and individuals’ day-to-day commitments.

    SEKISUI SPI associates participate in the company’s ECO week last month (photo from SEKISUI SPI LinkedIn page)

    With 100% participation of more than 350 associates, activities took place both in the Bloomsburg area and in the area surrounding SEKISUI SPI’s plant in Holland Mich. Activities included a clean up of Kocher Park in Bloomsburg and of Ottawa Beach in Michigan, Adopt-a-Highway, tree planting, electronic recycling, shorter showers, turning off lights and electronics and many other activities. 


  • Co., a social and professional networking group that is run by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County, will host a networking event on Thursday, Sept. 28 at Three Dogs Vino, located at 129 Hidlay Church Rd., Bloomsburg, from 5:30-7 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


  • 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 next 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 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


  • 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

October is Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (left) has officially declared October 2017 as “Local Chamber of Commerce Month” in PA. The below proclamation was issued by Gov. Wolf in recognition of the efforts of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry and the many local Chambers around the state, such as the Columbia Montour Chamber, in supporting business and economic growth and development. A PDF of the proclamation can also be viewed here.


It is my pleasure to join with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry to support October 2017 as Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Pennsylvania.

Since its inception, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry has served and advocated for Pennsylvania businesses. By helping its members understand federal and state workplace regulations, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry helps to create a more prosperous future for the commonwealth and its citizens. Our local chambers of commerce play a critical role in supporting the needs of our vibrant business community, and are essential to the commonwealth’s continued economic growth and advancement. As my administration works hard to retain current and create new family sustaining jobs by supporting business and industry throughout the commonwealth, I am grateful for our local chambers of commerce for providing the invaluable role that they play in ensuring that businesses new and old can continue to prosper in Pennsylvania. I commend Pennsylvania’s local chamber of commerce for representing thousands of businesses, and I am certain their efforts to enhance our communities will serve as an inspiration across the commonwealth for years to come.

As Governor, and on behalf of all citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I am honored to support October 2017 as Local Chamber of Commerce Month. Please accept my best wishes for continued success.

Tom Wolf
October 2017

House Approves No Tax Increase Revenue Plan

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Budget negotiations took on a new dimension last week after the House approved a counter revenue proposal that would balance the 2017-18 spending plan through a series of special fund transfers, securitization of the Tobacco Settlement Fund and yet-to be enacted gaming and liquor expansions.

The proposal does not include any tax increases and limits borrowing. The specifics of the plan call for: a $20 million transfer from legislative reserve accounts; $630 million in Special Fund transfers; $400 million in multi-year agency lapsed funds; a $200 million transfer from the nonprofit Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association; a $15 million transfer from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s New Venture Account; and borrowing $100 million from the Underground Storage Tank Indemnity Fund. The proposal would also sell a portion of the annual payments from the Tobacco Settlement Fund over a 10 year period – which is expected to bring in $1 billion. Finally, the plan banks on revenues from yet-to be enacted gaming expansion – which could include allowing for “mini casinos” and limited video gaming terminals – as well as additional reforms to the state’s alcohol laws.

The Wolf administration was quick to state its opposition to the plan late Wednesday night. In a written statement to Capitolwire, Gov. Wolf’s spokesman J.J. Abbott said: “Gov. Wolf and bipartisan members of the House and Senate understand that recurring revenue is necessary to solve the structural deficit and avoid a credit downgrade. The House Republican proposal does neither. After leaving bipartisan negotiations in July, House Republicans have demanded to go it alone. Hopefully, now, they can get serious about funding the spending they passed two months ago, fixing the structural deficit and avoiding further consequences.”

Meanwhile House Republican leaders viewed the vote as the next step in the negotiation process. Prior to the House vote, Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “We’re going to move forward with this with the expectation we get to 102 votes and then we’ll enter into the next round of negotiations and hopefully finish that in a very timely fashion.”

The House approved the proposal by a vote of 103-91. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.