Government Affairs Committee

The Government Affairs Committee did not meet in July 2019.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, September 5, 2019 at the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce at noon.

A recap was given of the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce 2020-2023 Strategic Plan summary and objectives.  A copy of the plan was provided at the previous meeting for committee members to review.

A review of the 2019 legislative priorities for the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee was given.  Those priorities include:

  • Responsible state spending and smart government- Budget Reform.
  • Healthcare Reform--- Association Health Plans (AHP’s Advocacy)
  • Workforce Development/Enhancement of Technical Career Paths
  • Civil Justice Reform--- Legal Reform Lessing Lawsuit Abuse; Overreach
  • Transportation/Infrastructure--- Federal, State, County, Local.
  • Community Revitalization
  • Pension Reform
  • Opposition Advocacy to Legislation Threatening Business and Economic Growth i.e. Unnecessary Taxation (Severance Tax Add to Impact Fee); Minimum Wage.
  • Grow PA

Transportation Committee

The Transportation Committee met on July 11, 2019.

The committee was called to order by chairman, Tom Yashinsky at 9:30 a.m.

Darkwater Intersection Update - On July 15, 2019, the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to PennDOT on behalf of the committee, advocating for safety enhancements to the project schedule for 2020-2022.  A responding letter was received from Christopher J. Kufro, P.E., assistant district executive – design for PennDOT. A copy of the letter was provided to all committee members, which included a copy of the plan showing the updated conceptual design of the intersection.

The district press officer for the PA Department of Transportation stated that there is nothing warranting a signal being put in at that location. If a signal is put in without anything warranting it, the involved parties can be held liable. The committee requested a bigger, clearer copy of the plans for this project. The final consultant will do a 3D model with very specific sight distances. The final design is to phase will begin in October 2020.

PennDOT Update – The district press officer relayed some upcoming projects

  • 209 between Broad Street and Market Street in Tamaqua
  • Patch work on 443 in Schuylkill
  • Oil and chip the northern part of the county
  • Pug mill operation to begin on SR43 on Ringtown Road

Northeast Pa Alliance – The senior transportation services manager stated that the strategic plan has been finalized and was adopted in June.

The Steering Committee for the Long-Range Transportation Plan will hold a meeting on July 23. They will be kicking off their TIP update. NEPA’s MPO and RPO are meeting next week in Harrisburg.

The Focus 81 truck parking roundtable was held. There were 25 people in attendance from a variety of sectors. There have been solutions identified; however funding is not available for parking stations. They will be putting an action plan together.  NEPA would also like to inventory private truck stops and find out what truck drivers are looking for when they are planning their routes.

Commuter Services of PA – They have been attending new hire and new student orientations to present their services. 

Blackwood Trail – The plans have been finalized and submitted. They now need funding for this project.

Senator Argall’s chief of staff shared that the 183/901 bridge on the Gordon Nagle Trail is underway. They have not been getting a lot of complaints about traffic congestion.

With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, August 8 at 9:30 a.m. in the SEDCO Conference Room in Union Station.

*Committee Update The August 8 meeting has been canceled. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in the SEDCO Conference Room in Union Station.

Member Services Committee

The Member Services Committee was held on July 9, 2019. 

The meeting was called to order by chairman Mark Wiederhold, at 8 a.m.

Strategic Plan – The Chamber’s president and CEO reminded the committee that the staff continues to focus on the elements of the strategic plan. The newly appointed chai of the Board of Directors, John Powers, will focus on members doing business with members during his year serving as chair of the Board.

Member Dues Renewal – A summary sheet was prepared by the Chamber’s finance and administrative coordinator to outline members who have submitted their dues for renewal. This year, invoices were also sent via email, which was hugely helpful.

Website/Business Directory – The analytics of the Member Directory are very favorable. We are seeing a boost with our new website.

Step Up to the Mic – The president and CEO continue to appear on Step Up to the Mic. Albert Evans appeared on the last episode with the Chamber’s president and CEO.

Energy Update – Education videos were made to promote the energy program. These videos will be shared on our social media outlets and linked to the blog.

YEA! Update – The organization will be receiving $1,500 from an organization that is new to Chamber membership. 

Schuylkill Young Professionals Organization (SYPO) Update – The next board meeting will be held at noon on July 9, 2019.

Member Services Director Update – An update was provided to the committee. The president and CEO, along with the Executive Committee, continue the hiring process.

Events – The events and development director expressed the need for volunteers for the upcoming golf outing, which will take place on Friday, July 12 at Mountain Valley Golf Course.

Upcoming Events: 

*Education Seminar – Burnout: The Enemy of Professional Growth

*New Member Orientation – July 17 at 3:30 p.m., Providence Place in Pottsville

*Business After 5 O’clock Mixer – July 17 at 3:30 p.m., Providence Place in Pottsville

*Business Executive Forum – July 24 at the Schuylkill Country Club

Chamber Committees – The upcoming committee meetings were outlined.

Ribbon Cuttings – 

          *MedExpress Urgent Care – July 16 at 4:00 p.m.

          *Phoenix Rehabilitation in Pine Grove – August 8 at 6:00 p.m.

With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. in the SEDCO Conference Room in Union Station.

Education Committee 

The Education Committee did not meet in July 2019.

The Education Committee is currently scheduling and finalizing seminars for the remainder of 2019.  Topics will revolve around marketing and human resources at the request of Schuylkill Chambers members. Any interested participants or presenters please contact the Chamber for more information.

The next education meeting will be held Thursday, August 15, 2019 at the Schuylkill Chamber beginning at 8:00 a.m.

Nonprofit Committee

The Nonprofit Committee met on July 15, 2019 at 9 a.m.

The marketing and communications director of the Chamber called the meeting to order in the absence of co-chairs Amanda Campbell and Liz Tuturice.

The committee started by discussing details for the next Learning Over Lunch on August 9, 2019. The event will be a panel discussion by Tiffany Cresswell-Yeager, Doug Long, and Trey Hook discussing the topic “Work Smarter, Not Harder.” The event will be moved to a breakfast event starting at 7:30 a.m.  The committee confirmed that Helping Harvest will be the sponsor for the breakfast. Possible catering options were discussed for breakfast.

The committee discussed more detail on an event-planning seminar giving more information on what it takes to run an event as an organization.  They brainstormed possible speakers, sponsors and times for the seminar.  There is a possible interest in having a donor event at the end of the event similar to a vendor show.  The idea is to give more insight to nonprofit companies as to who has the resources to donate to their events.

With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned. The next committee meeting will be held on Monday, August 12 at 9:00 a.m. at the SEDCO Conference Center in Union Station.

Schuylkill Women in Business Committee

The Schuylkill Women in Business Committee met on July 18, 2019.

The SWIB Mission is “To create an environment where women inspire women to achieve success in business through education, networking and building relationships.”

The Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce marketing and communications director called the meeting to order.

The committee started the meeting by choosing a topic for the 2019-2020 year. The topic will be “20/20 Vision – Women in Leadership.”  This topic will be executed by asking different women from the community to give their insight on where they stand in their leadership roles and their journey to get there. The committee discussed many women for the year as possible speakers and the marketing and communications director will be reaching out. 

There is no luncheon in August.  The next lunch will be on September 25, 2019. The sponsor for the event is The Arts Barn.  A panel of committee members will discuss the topic “There really is an I in team – how you fit into the bigger picture.”

With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.  

Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

A meeting of the YEA! Schuylkill Committee Meeting was held on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. I

Finances -- The YEA! committee reviewed current revenue receipts for the new program year.  A grant from the Snayberger Foundation was received, 2 scholarship sponsors were pledged and EITC applications are being submitted.  The renewal cycle for Education Improvement Organization (EIO) status for EITC funding is shifted to fall 2019 with letters of support from 10 public school districts being requested now.

YEA! Class of 2019 -- The deadline for the YEA! Class of 2019 to claim investor awards has passed.  The committee reviewed the outcome of the 15 businesses that were awarded $8,210.  Ten student businesses claimed the entire award while the other 5 claimed a portion.  Unclaimed awards are reverted back into the Schuylkill Chamber Foundation for future use by students of the YEA! program.  The Schuylkill Saunders Scholar Kaiah Heisler continues to work on expanding his business of making and selling smoked cheese.  His business, Heisler’s Coal Cracker Creamery, has been featured on Penn Live along with Savas Logothetides and Wheel.  In a next step, Kaiah is working to increase capacity and setting up a certified kitchen on his own property.  The committee discussed student outcomes that stretched beyond the mechanics of launching a business with YEA!, including networking into fields such as Art Class and mentorships, securing a job to develop work ethics, and moving into other competitions such as Lion Launch at Penn State Schuylkill. 

Recruiting Participants – Session 2 Instructors Eric Prock, esq. who served in the inaugural years of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, and Brock Stein who instructed and co-instructed with Eric in the past 3 years, will both retire from the position.  We are grateful for their combined service of seven years and will call on Eric and Brock in other capacities to participate in the Academy.  Denise Klinger who served as a mentor for the past 3 years will step up as instructor of Session 2: The Pitch.  We are very fortunate to have a strong group of instructors serving YEA! students.  There is currently an opportunity to share instructor responsibility in Session 3:The Launch.  Volunteers may contact the program manager.

Recruiting Students – Four interviews are set up for early registration to the YEA! Class of 2020.  Applications were placed in public libraries in Pottsville and Shenandoah.  The final deadline for registration is October 1, 2019 with a $10 non-refundable application fee and tuition of $495.  The maximum class size is 18.  A new application is being used to help smooth out the application process and clarify payment plans for tuition. 

Program – The committee had an extensive discussion about new ideas for the program.  Additional curriculum will be devoted to presentation skills, parent engagement will be increased, and mentors will be brought in later in the 2nd session.  The Mock Investor Panel will become a checkpoint with criteria required for students to advance to the investor panel.   The 2019-2020 Schedule includes Orientation on 10/15/19 at 6pm; Kick Off Class 10/22/19; CEO RT 2/20/20 (snow date 2/27/20) at 6pm; Investor Panel 3/26/20 at 6pm; Trade Show 5/9/20 4-7pm; and Graduation 5/19/20 at 7pm.

Publicity and Advocacy – The Pottsville Republican’s Vicki Terwilleger is working on a feature article on YEA! alumni who are still in business. It is slated to be published in July.  The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will have a promotional table at the Schuylkill County Fair inside the midway on Day 1,2,3 – July 29, 30, 31.  YEA Schuylkill Chamber Facebook page continues to gain followers.

The YEA! Alumni email group has been updated.  

The next meeting is August 13, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.

Agribusiness Committee

The Agribusiness Committee did not meet in July 2019.

The purpose of the Agribusiness Committee is to help promote agricultural education among the general public and to help agricultural businesses in the county thrive.

The Agribusiness Committee has finalized details for the “Pour Tour” scheduled for Saturday August 17, 2019. The outlined agenda includes a 9:30 a.m. start time beginning at Union Station and heading to Yuengling Brewery for tour and tasting, the gift shop and museum will be open.  Second stop will be Pioneer Evergreen Farms for a locally sponsored lunch and wine tasting.  The tour will conclude at Jersey Acres Farm and Winery, with tasting included before traveling back to Union Station.  Porcupine Pat, Schuylkill Conservation District, will be attending adding a fun, educational element to the tour. Goodie Bags will be sponsored courtesy of Mauch Chunk Bank.  The Agribusiness Committee will also be seeking additional sponsorship opportunities for any interested organizations. Cost for the event will be $35 per person and is all-inclusive.

All participants must be 21 years of age or older and valid I.D. must be made available throughout the day at all stops.  Closed toe shoes must be worn.

Committee members have been assigned various tasks to finalize details of the “Pour Tour” and updates of those assignments were presented.

The next committee meeting will be Friday, August 2, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.