Archive for NEPA – Page 2

America’s Best Communities Update: Innovation

Listen to Joseph Boylan, Vice President of Economic Development at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, speak about how our downtown Innovation District makes us one of America’s Best Communities:

Thanks to the support of Frontier Communications and our local sponsor Scripps Network Interactive, the City of Wilkes-Barre was recently named a Quarterfinalist in Frontier Communications’ competition designed to identify America’s Best Community.

eBay Expands in the Wilkes-Barre Innovation District

eBay roomOn Friday, June 19th, eBay publicly announced the expansion of their space in the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber’s Innovation Center. This development increases their 3rd floor space from 8,500 square feet to 14,000 square feet, and will create 35-40 new jobs in the next 18 months. These jobs will be substantial, with a salary of over $50,000 a year. Mike Jones is actively recruiting recent graduates from our local world-class colleges and universities to fill these positions.

During the press conference on Friday, Mike Jones gave attendees a peek of the space, and revealed a renewed five-year lease in the Innovation Center.

The expansion announcement featured speakers Mike Jones, Head of Performance Marketing for eBay; Wico van Genderen, President and CEO of the Mike Jones eBay ExpansionGreater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce; State Senator John Yudichak; and State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski.

They spoke about eBay’s role in expanding our developing innovation district in the downtown area. With the added eBay space, the Innovation Center has now achieved 92 percent occupancy, with a total of 14 companies and approximately 140 employees.

An innovation districts forms from partnerships between close-quartered educational institutions, start-up companies, established businesses, office spaces, retailers, and incubators and accelerators. These districts become interconnected hubs of economic and entrepreneurial development, driven by collaborative advancement and synergistic networks.

eBay’s expansion and new job creation brings us one step closer achieving our revitalization goal of making downtown Wilkes-Barre an Innovation District, and claiming the City of Wilkes-Barre as one of America’s Best Communities.

Thanks to the support of Frontier Communications and our local sponsor Scripps Network Interactive, the City of Wilkes-Barre was recently named a Quarterfinalist in Frontier Communications’ competition designed to identify America’s Best Community.

For more information on eBay’s expansion, check out WBRE’s coverage of the event at

Welcome to the America’s Best Communities Competition

CSC_0056The City of Wilkes-Barre has recently qualified as one of 50 quarter-finalists in Frontier Communication’s competition designed to identify America’s Best Community. This gives our city the opportunity to compete for up to $3 million in support of a strategic revitalization plan that will spur economic growth and advancement in our region. The America’s Best Communities competition contributes $10 million over three years to support innovative plans for revitalization in small towns and cities across the U.S

Thanks to our sponsors Frontier Communications, DISH Network, The Weather Channel, CoBank, and our local partner Scripps Network Interactive, Wilkes-Barre has received $50,000 towards the development of our strategic plan during this quarter-finalist phase.

We will utilize a GoPro camera provided by our sponsors to document the impact that this competition has had on our community, as well as our progress towards implementing downtown Wilkes-Barre’s five year action plan. Our videos will focus on six core goals that will enhance and transform the downtown. Downtown Wilkes-Barre will be:

A safe, clean, and attractive place to live, work, shop, and visit

The region’s college neighborhood

The region’s “walk-to-everything” neighborhood of choice.

The region’s “Innovation District”: a setting for business growth and entrepreneurship

A great visitor’s experience, enhanced by our historic architecture, riverfront, colleges, and walk-ability

A regional center of arts, culture, dining, and entertainment

This downtown revitalization plan was developed through the support of our committee members, including the Diamond City Partnership, the City of Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes University, Kings College, Senator John T. Yudichak, and Representative Eddie Day Pashinski.

These goals align to form an accessible innovative hub that leverages the arts, entertainment, area businesses, and local colleges and universities.

Check out oCSC_0055ur video, which highlights the Greater Wilkes-Barre area as a great place to live, work, and experience at

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.

For more information or to provide feedback please e-mail