Archive for Chamber – Page 2

INTERN INSIGHT: Meghan Flanagan

Meghan Flanagan- Grant Specialist InternMeghan Flanagan is in her last semester at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, working towards a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature. She is the Grant Specialist Intern for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce for this Spring.

What are some are your hobbies?

My hobbies include hiking, exploring local areas, reading, and writing.

Where are you from? 

I have lived in Wilkes-Barre, PA since I was born. I grew up within close proximity to the Downtown Public Square and Kirby Park. I have many memories of spending hours reading in the Osterhout Library and meeting up with friends at local businesses. I attended Holy Redeemer High School. While in college, I have completed an internship at Luzerne County Community College as a Writing Center Intern, worked at Penn State as a Peer Tutor, and held a part-time position at Target.

What are your thoughts on Wilkes-Barre?

My lasting impressions of this area are intricately tied to the memories that I have made with family and friends at locations and in small local businesses. My love of nature, hiking, and animals developed from time spent at Ricketts Glen State Park and Francis Slocum State Parks. A love of small businesses and local produce is the result of family trips to Hillside Farms.

Why Penn State Wilkes-Barre?
I almost went to college in a different part of the state, but chose to stay local and attend Penn State Wilkes-Barre. I instantly fell in love with caring, committed faculty, especially within the English department, and the rural location of the campus.

How did you choose your major?

I chose to be an English major because of a long standing love of reading and writing, which has translated into a deep appreciation for all of the arts and a fascination for the generation of ideas. I am constantly amazed by the diverse employment options available to English major, and how our core skill set is an essential component to a variety of job types.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate?

When I graduate, I would love to work in the non-profit or educational sector as a grant writer. I hope to connect my affection for small business, agri-business, community involvement, and higher education support to my training as an English major. After college, I am open to staying in the area or moving to a new state to pursue employment opportunities.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be writing independently or for an organization that is dedicated to community betterment, local business support, or environmental protection.


Want to become a Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Intern?
Apply NOW for Summer 2015 at!

Presidents of Wilkes University and Kings College Join Together for Distinguished Speaker Luncheon

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ​Rev. John Ryan, C.S.C., Ph.D., President, King's College; Wico van Genderen, President and CEO Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber; Peter Danchak, ‎Regional President, PNC; Michael E. Dennen Senior Vice President, PNC; Patrick F. Leahy, Ed.D.  President, Wilkes University​

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ​Rev. John Ryan, C.S.C., Ph.D., President, King’s College; Wico van Genderen, President and CEO Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber; Peter Danchak, ‎Regional President, PNC; Michael E. Dennen Senior Vice President, PNC; Patrick F. Leahy, Ed.D. President, Wilkes University​

Breaking new ground for the downtown, Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President of Wilkes University and Rev. John Ryan CSC, President of Kings College gave insight into their institutions’ ventures for improving the city of Wilkes-Barre. On Thursday, February 19, 2015, at the Westmoreland club, more than 50 community and business leaders met to hear about the improved relations between the two schools. This dialogue, hosted by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Speaker Series, gave many local business leaders and opportunity to ask the presidents questions in an open panel. The panel allowed both school presidents to make an impact on the businesses in the downtown area. Talking about the improvements and the expansion of the schools allowed the local businesses leaders to see the direction the schools will be going.

It is clear that mutuality and teamwork is a cornerstone to the relationship between the schools leaders. When asked about the event, and what Rev. John Ryan took away from it he happily stated;

“I think this dialogue reinforces good feelings and good ideas. Our destinies are linked. The well being of the city is what brings us all together.”

President Leahy felt that a mutual commitment with Father Ryan will lead to success.

“I am delighted alongside Father Ryan in stating our continued sustained mutual commitment in the redevelopment of the downtown, which can honestly be one of the great college towns in the US.”

President Leahy had spoken on a positive outlook for the area.

“Our efforts in the future will be a benefit to all the residents of Luzerne County and the benefit of our two colleges. It will be much more attractive for the students from our schools to come downtown.”

Moderating the panel was Wico van Genderen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber is excited to connect academic, business, and community leaders to hold important discussions.  We must leverage the capital that exists – right here at home – to bring bold, exciting advancements that improve our region through strategic investment and partnerships.  Dr. Leahy, Fr. Ryan, and their respective institutions are prime examples of this practice,” said van Genderen.

Opening the event was Peter Danchak, Regional President of PNC. PNC sponsors the Distinguished Speaker series and is an active member of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. The Diamond City Partnership co-sponsored the event.

Government Affairs Committee plans survey, workshop series

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee met recently at WBRE-TV.  Elizabeth Graham, 2015 Board Chair of the Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the mission of the committee and her dedication to supporting the committee’s decisions through the Chamber’s board.

Joseph Boylan, Vice President for Economic Development, then spoke about the future collection of data from the Chamber members about what topics are most important to them, so that the committee knows on which issues they should focus. There was a brief discussion about the highlights and improvements needed to be made in planning the Annual Legislative Breakfast held in October.  Boylan then introduced the concept of the Legislative Roundtable Series to the committee.

As the first order of business, Boylan spoke about the future collection of data from the Chamber members.  The committee discussed the use of a short survey to narrow down the legislative interests of the members.  The survey was discussed in great detail as to length, format, topics to be included, and strategies for distribution.  The committee members agreed on a rating-style survey in which Chamber members would rank each issue by the level of importance the issue was to them.

The Chamber hopes to discover which issues affect its members the most, so the Chamber can make better decisions that will help the most businesses in the area. This survey will be the first step to making the committee a better, more member-focused committee seeking to improve the area in the best ways for business.

Also included in this survey will be a question as to whether Chamber members want legislative updates available to them via the Chamber website.  This is a project into which Boylan believes will benefit the members greatly.  Among the information looking to be included in this section of the website are bill texts and summaries, the record of local legislators’ votes, the position which the PA and the Wilkes-Barre Chambers hold, and the legislative calendars.  These sections are believed to be the most pertinent information for local businesspeople.  The sections voted to be important on the survey will be included on the website in the future.


The Annual Legislative Breakfast will be held in October again in 2015 The Chamber is also currently working on the construction of a Legislative Roundtable Luncheon Series.  This series would involve Congresspersons individually speaking to small groups of businesspeople in the Wilkes-Barre area about topics in which they specialize.  The Chamber is currently compiling a list of committees for each Congressperson and a list of businesses related to the committees of which the Congress people are ranking members.  These Roundtable Luncheons will be this spring 2015.

The Government Affairs Committee is comprised of a group of Chamber members who debate current legislative topics to determine the best course of action for the community. The Committee Chairpersons are Robert Bee, Vice President and General Manager of WBRE, and Carmen Magistro, Senior Relationship Manager, Vice President at M&T Bank.  Membership on the committee is open to managers from Chamber member businesses. For more information contact