Archive for CEO’s Corner

America’s Best Communities Update: Downtown Assets and Walkability

“[Wilkes-Barre’s] deep rooted history on the banks of the Susquehanna and natural mountain beauty created a walkable downtown sprinkled with architectural gems, a great Public Square and beautiful waterfront park system, and has created a great downtown vibe with over 40 restaurants, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts that attracts diverse national entertainment and cultural events, and a strong business core driven by innovation and academic centers of excellence.”-Wico van Genderen, President/CEO of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

CEO’s Corner: Chamber part of Energy Task Force Initiative

gasdrillingAs a Chamber we are taking a more active position on partnerships and advocacy.   A focus area has been to work with the Institute of Public Policy and Economic Development for grounded data analytics and our partners in Scranton, Hazelton and Pittston for area growth partnership initiatives.   One successful partnership has been in a joint Energy Task Force with local business leaders.   We will be positioning our joint efforts at the upcoming Institute Advisory Board Forum this week.  On behalf of the Chamber, Chairman Troy Standish, Vice Chairman Bill Sordoni, Jr., and Chamber of Commerce Chair Elizabeth Graham, we wanted you all to be aware of what we were doing, our current status and address any questions or thoughts you may have.

Here is a quick synopsis :

The Energy Task Force was founded by a group of local business leaders to develop a strategy for the Greater Wyoming Valley to leverage our proximity to the Marcellus Shale play in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Specifically the mission of the Task Force is: “To convene community resources to strategically plan and promote the sustainable economic development of regional natural gas resources across business, education, political and community stakeholders.”

The Task Force members come from multiple industries and collectively represent various economic development entities.  They held an Industry Roundtable that narrowed the focus of strategic priorities.  A research study was then commissioned and funded by the Task Force and gas industry partners to develop an Economic Development strategy.  This research was conducted by the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University and based on learning how we can best leverage the assets of the Greater Wyoming Valley specific to an abundant supply of cost effective natural gas.

Based on the research study a regional brainstorming effort recently began between the combined Economic Development agencies of the Greater Wyoming Valley, specifically Penn’s Northeast, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, the Can Do organization of Hazelton and chaired by Bill Sordoni.  These partners are focusing on 4 distinct components (Policy, Education, Supply Chain and Marketing) and are currently brainstorming how to work together in developing a regional plan of work to implement the findings and strategies within the research study.

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