WE-LEaD Networking tonight at Marzoni’s
The Chamber’s Women Encouraging: Leadership, Education and Development (WE-LEaD) will hold a networking reception tonight, March 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Marzoni’s in Duncansville. The cost to attend is $12 for Chamber Members and $20 for non-members. To register, contact The Chamber at 943-8151 or register online.
Sustainability Coalition to hold Green Drinks
Any Chamber Member with an interest in environmental issues or just living green will feel right at home when you attend Green Drinks. This month’s event will be held tomorrow night, March 15 from 6:30 p.m. until everyone leaves at Jack & George’s, 2400 Fourth Ave. in Altoona. Green Drinks is sponsored by The Chamber’s Coalition on Environmental Sustainability. No
need to register; just show up. No charge to attend. Just pay for what you eat and drink. To get on the email circulation list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chamber, Members honored by PA Business Central
The Blair County Chamber was recently honored by Pennsylvania Business Central newspaper as one of the top 100 Organizations for 2010 in the 16 counties covered by the publication. “When you consider the number of organizations represented in that geographic area, it’s a great accomplishment,” admitted Chamber President Joe Hurd. Other members of The Chamber listed among the Top 100 are:
1st Summit Bank; Altoona Regional Health System; American Eagle Paper Mill; Blair Companies; Concurrent Technologies Corporation; First Commonwealth Financial Corporation; First National Bank of Pennsylvania; General Cable; The Hite Company; Home Nursing Agency; Homewood at Spring House Estates; Hoss’s Steak & Sea House; Juniata College; Keller Engineers; Kranich’s Jewelers; L. Robert Kimball; McLanahan Corporation; N.E.W.; NPC; Penn State Altoona; S&T Bank; Sheetz; Shirley’s Cookie
Company; St. Francis University; Stel-Tek Graphics; Wessel & Company; and Wolf Furniture.
Foundation Board seeking help to overturn tax bill
The Blair County Chamber Foundation is seeking help from Chamber Members to overturn an effort by the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee to redefine the types of organizations that would receive priority status under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. (Click here to view the bill and summary.) The
Education Committee’s recommendation would make it virtually impossible for programs like BASICS or Leadership Blair County Youth to be funded with future EITC monies. "We would be the lowest priorities,” explained Cindy Cessna of The Chamber who serves as secretary/treasurer of the Blair County Chamber Foundation. "Despite our history of complying with the expressed intent of the EITC program, we were completely blindsided
by this attempt to exclude non-school foundations. It’s important that our Chamber Members contact our elected officials in
to seek their support in getting this redefined.” Click on the following links to access draft letters that you can send to our state senator or representative, your board of directors,
a letter for your directors to state legislators, an email draft to send to your donors, or a form
letter for your donors to send to legislators.
Sustainable Strategies Lunch 'n' Learn set for Thursday
Too many businesses have the opinion that measures of sustainability result in too much cost and too little benefit. At the next Chamber Lunch 'n' Learn program, three of the region’s most knowledgeable experts on the subject will show evidence of why the opposite is true. Dr. Richard Flarend, Associate Professor of Physics at Penn State Altoona, will discuss the potential for local
businesses to capitalize on alternative energy; Donna Fisher, District Manager of Blair County Conservation District, will explain what new environmental regulations will mean to local businesses; and Colin Lennox, CEO of EcoIslands,LLC, will identify cost-cutting solutions that are in compliance with the regulations. The Lunch 'n' Learn is Thursday, March 17 from noon to 1:15 p.m. at Park Hills Country Club. The cost
is $22 for Chamber Members and $30 for non-members. Corporate sponsor for the program is Intermunicipal Relations Committee Council of Governments. To register, call The Chamber at 943-8151 or register online.
Chamber Board may play more active recruitment role
Two subcommittees of The Chamber’s Board of Directors will recommend that the Board takes a more active role in new member recruitment when the group meets Thursday morning at the
"The feeling is that the Board has a great advantage in at least providing the first contact of a prospective member," explained Chamber President Joe Hurd. "At a time when our membership recruitment efforts are becoming essential to our organizational growth, we’re hoping that our Board will see the opportunity of taking a primary leadership role." The Board of Directors meeting
begins at 7:30 a.m. Any member who would like to address the Board should contact Hurd at 943-8151 by Tuesday at noon.
GRYP St. Patty's Day networking
event this Thursday
The Growth and Relationships of Young Professionals group will gather this Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the downstairs of the Altoona Hotel. "The steering committee actually moved last year's event to a Wednesday so we could have a St. Patty's Day event," said The Chamber's Mike McMullen. "This year it works out real well since the holiday falls on a Thursday." The event will feature some great food from the Altoona Hotel, a large variety of beverages (many of the green variety,) and great networking opportunities. To sign up, call The Chamber at 943-8151.
Elected officials to address Executive Roundtable
How Governor Corbett’s first state budget will impact local businesses will likely be the key point of discussion Friday when The Chamber’s Executive Roundtable meets with a group of elected officials at The Blairmont Club. Scheduled to attend are state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. and state representatives Rick Geist, Jerry Stern and Mike Fleck. "We appreciate their willingness
to listen to our concerns and to suggest ways that our business community can assist in getting our Commonwealth through this difficult time,” acknowledged Marty Marasco of ABCD Corporation, who serves as the Roundtable’s Vice-Chair. For more information on the Executive Roundtable, contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151.
Don’t confuse energy program, Blue Cards
Judging by the phone calls that are coming into The Chamber Office, many of our members are somehow connecting The Chamber’s Electric Energy program with the Blue Card program and becoming confused. "These are two separate and distinct components of what The Chamber offers to its members," explained Chamber President Joe Hurd. "They just happened
to be introduced at about the same time. I guess we should have been more specific about where each program fits." The energy program is a way for The Chamber to offer a discount on electricity for commercial and residential purposes. The Blue Card is a membership card that all Chamber Members are entitled to that makes them eligible to purchase products and services from other Chamber
Members at a discounted rate. "You don’t need the Blue Card to access the Energy program," Hurd emphasized. "We’ll provide the link for that program directly to the member-businesses to provide to their employees. As far as the Blue Cards, we’re still delivering them to each business for distribution." Hurd believes that
much of the confusion is the result of businesses distributing Blue Cards and energy information at the same time. "We should have anticipated that happening and asked that some time elapse between promoting the two." Still confused? Call The Chamber at 943-8151.
Blue Card offers still being accepted
There are currently 66 Blue Card offers listed on The Chamber website. Are any of them yours? If not, this might be a great time to establish a new customer base by placing an offer (or two) on the list. There’s no cost to post an offer and the offer can expire whenever you stipulate. The
Chamber is in the final stages of delivering Blue Cards to 44,000 Chamber Members. Can you really afford not to take advantage of having access to such a large group of consumers? To place a Blue Card offer, visit The Chamber website.
Safety presentation focuses on workers' comp investigations
The next Chamber Safety program will be held on March 25 from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at Holiday Inn Express in Altoona. Robert Schirf of Gittings Investigations, Inc. will present, “WCI: Workers' Comp Investigation.” The presentation will cover new investigative techniques and trends, criminal insurance fraud issues, pre-surveillance tools and investigative methods that can be useful to business. The
cost is $15 for Chamber Members and $25 for non-members. To register, call 943-8151 or register online.
Chamber’s trip to
Sign-ups continue for The Chamber’s China Trip which will take place from Nov. 3-11, 2011. A $200 non-refundable deposit is all that is necessary to hold your spot! Space is limited and the level of interest is extremely high, so don’t delay. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," noted Yvonne Martin, Executive Director of the Huntingdon County Chamber, who took the same
tour last Fall. "You will never again have the chance to experience such a first-class trip at a ridiculously inexpensive cost." For more information, visit the Blair County Chamber Office, located in the
for Business Development.
Transportation is topic of next "Issues" program
With transportation such a major issue in
future, how does
stack-up in terms of infrastructure, public transit, air travel and other modes of moving people around? That question will be the focus of the next Chamber “Issues” program that will be taped on March 29 and aired on the Altoona Public Access Channel throughout April. Panelists for the program, titled, “Moving People Around: Blair County’s Transportation Challenges," are: Patrick Miller of Altoona-Blair County Development
Corporation, Chuck Pillar of Altoona-Blair County Airport, Tom Prestash of PennDOT District 9, Jamie Van Buren of New Enterprise Stone & Lime Company and Eric Wolf of AMTRAN. The program will not only be informative but will be an incredible sponsorship opportunity for any business that would like great exposure at the low cost of $100. Sponsorships at that price are limited so contact The Chamber at 943-8151 to secure yours.
Congratulations . . .
. . . to Roaring Spring Department Store which was one of 13 True Value hardware stores named as winners in True Value’s Fourth Annual “Best Hardware Store in Town” nationwide recognition.
. . . to The Park at Morrisons Cove which will celebrate its 90th birthday on April 9.