I have been working with the Schuylkill Chamber for over 15 years in many roles within the organization from a committee member through to my current role as Chair. I am honored to serve as Chair this year and I promise to give everything I can to keep the positive momentum of the Chamber going in serving the members. Though I started out serving on the Chamber’s Member Services Committee, I found that I really didn’t know what the Chamber meant to the businesses and other organizations that it serves. This past year and a half going through a pandemic has really put a spotlight on the value of membership in the Chamber. The Chamber plays a crucial role as a ‘middle man’ in getting the proper resources to its members to provide vital assistance.
Many businesses have struggled to wrap themselves around the volume of information that has come out on the ever-changing rules and regulations as they relate to this pandemic. I feel that the Chamber Team has done a great job sifting through all the information and has provided valuable feedback on the items in a timely manner. This has been done through many methods including email blasts, educational seminars, and workshops where experts are brought in to talk to a group that has questions. The Team at the Chamber has also done a fantastic job evolving in ways to disseminate information to the members. Getting answers from many of the governmental bodies has proven to be very time-consuming for a business leader or community member these days with everything going on, and through the Chamber’s connections, these answers have been expedited many times.
I am so proud of all the folks at the Chamber that I have worked with throughout my tenure and really appreciate the current Team. I feel this Team is small, but mighty and can continue to work with the members to get matters resolved when they arise. In addition, the board and committee members of the Chamber that I have worked with over the years are a great group and have vast areas of expertise. By utilizing the strengths of all of these individuals, we work well as a team to assist our members and move the mission of the Chamber forward.
My experience working with the Chamber went from knowing not much when I started to gain extensive knowledge of the community where I work and live. The Chamber really has proven to be the place to build relationships that have helped me in both my business and my personal life and that is why I will continue to be a part of this organization. I further feel that I went from having just acquaintances in the business world to now having friends that I would consider my extended family and that is truly a blessing. I will most definitely be open to taking on different roles with the Chamber after my Chair role, continuing to build my knowledge base.
Finally, there will always be challenges ahead that we have to work through and not all will come out the way we had hoped. However, I am confident that if we all strive to do what is right, we will get through and have a tremendous future.
Mark W. Wiederhold
Chair Person, Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce
CFO, Cougle's Recycling, Inc. (CRI)
For the past century, the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, previously known as the Greater Pottsville Area Chamber of Commerce, has served as the anchor for business and community services. Today, the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce is the recognized hub for business and non-profit activity, associated with nine community affiliate chambers and business associations across the greater Schuylkill County area.
The Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce is honored to be recognized and embraced as the key linkage to our business community. We are proud of our hard working people, representing a cultural "melting pot" of diversity, from many ancestral backgrounds. Our workforce and their commitment to excellence are unsurpassed. We are equally blessed that from this outstanding group of citizens, rises a volunteerism unsurpassed anywhere.
We represent the third largest geographical area by county in Pennsylvania, spanning 778 square miles. We are rural by definition and yet "metropolitan" by our business base, boasting many Fortune 500 companies.
We are conveniently located and traversed by major highway connectors, including Interstate 81 and PA State 61, connecting Interstate 81 and Interstate 78. This connectivity allows us to be within three hours travel to major East coast cities including Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and 20% percent of the U.S. population.
Our rural nature, picturesque mountains and rolling valleys, coupled with our fantastic natural resources, attract many of our area. Those attracted to our area through tourism and unique shopping opportunities may find it a great place to relocate, to raise a family and/or build a business.
We have achieved over 100 years of service to our community, through advocacy, leadership development, networking, education, marketing and advertising for those we serve. Schuylkill County is successful because we work so well in collaboration and partnership. Over the 100 years of our rich heritage, we have been a the core of our nation's Industrial Revolution, based on the natural resources such as anthracite coal and the dedication to excellence in the textile and manufacturing industry of our country. We are now maintaining our prominence in the business world today through transition and the expansion of our business, service and distribution expertise. We are a county who also embraces small businesses and downtown revitalization is underway in many of our communities bringing the best of business and local communities together. Schuylkill County, our businesses and non-profits, have truly survived the test of time, by continuing the best work from the past and evolving our assets for the future.
The Mission of the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce is "dedicated to serving its members and affiliates with value added programs and services, and improving the quality of life and economic vitality of our county." This mission motivates us in representing the interests of business both individually and collectively in order to create and sustain a strong economy and quality of life throughout our region.
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