Friday, October 29, 2010

Daily Briefing, 10/29/2010

Hello everyone, and happy Friday!  Here is your final Daily Briefing of the week.

Former President Clinton was in the Valley yesterday, campaigning on behalf of John Callahan and Dan Onorato.  Wine kiosks have arrived in the Valley, with a new one now available at Wegman's in Allentown.  A new economic survey by The Chamber and Kamran Afshar Associates shows good news - the Lehigh Valley economy is slowly improving, and the improvement may become more apparent in the next six months.  Good news for National Penn Bank, which showed a profit in the 3rd quarter of 2010.  The Chamber held a President's Roundtable with Kostas Kalogeropoulos, one of the leading hotel owners & managers in the Valley.

Not all that much news to report on this Friday - but hey, this is the last weekend of seeing political ads - and that just can't be a bad thing.  We leave you with this video today: remember the cheesy music video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler?  Here's a literal version.  It's hysterical.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Social Media Boot Camp

Every month, we hold at least one  Social Media training.  Just yesterday I was in Emmaus, conducting one for Chamber Members and the Emmaus Main Street Program.  Need any convincing that Social Media is important?  Consider this:

  • Facebook has more than 500 million members and is the 2nd most trafficked website in the world.
  • Twitter has over 145 million members.
  • LinkedIn has over 80 million members and is growing at a rate of 1 member per second.
  • YouTube has over 2 billion videos and is the 3rd most trafficked website in the world.
  • Over 77% of internet users actively read blogs.
  • Social Media is the most popular activity on the internet - 22% of all time spent on the internet is spent on a Social Media site.
At the trainings that I hold, we have been asked if we would be able to hold a one-day, Social Media Boot Camp.  I am pleased to now say that the answer is yes.  Check out the flier below, and if you have any questions, E-mail me at  

Social Media Boot Camp Flier

Some good economic news

Good economic news comes too rarely these days, and there are three pieces of good news that were worth sharing today:

  • First, unemployment claims dropped sharply last week to 434,000 - a drop of 21,000, and the second drop in a row.  Pennsylvania unemployment claims dropped as well, as did Lehigh Valley claims, which fell for a third straight month.  This is the 2nd best numbers seen this year.
  • There was good news for National Penn Bank, the parent company for KNBT - its profits rose in the 3rd quarter, with the company earning $10.3 million.  National Pen is the 2nd largest bank in the Valley.
  • PPL reported profits of $248 million in the 3rd quarter, a massive ten-fold increase over its profits the same time last year.

Job Openings - Northampton Community College

If you are a Chamber Member, we are happy to help you advertise any job opening. Please E-mail a description and contact information to Mike Schlossberg at We publish job openings every Thursday and are happy to help you find the talent that you are looking for!

Fitness Instructors
NCC’s Monroe campus is seeking fitness instructors for non-credit classes during the spring 2011 semester. Deadline: 10/29/10. For questions, please call 570-688-0836. NCC is EEO/AA.

Pilates Instructor
Teach at Northampton Community College, Main Campus, October-December, Thursday evening class; 1 hour each week. NCC is EEO/AA.

Math Instructors
Seeking instructors to teach Math for the Spring 2011 semester at both our Main and Southside campuses. Master’s degree in Mathematics required, PhD preferred. College teaching experience preferred. NCC is EEO/AA.
Clinical Adjunct Faculty
Seeking adjunct clinical faculty to guide, instruct and supervise nursing students in a variety of clinical settings. Opportunities are available in maternity, mental health and critical care. Applicants must have current PA license and at least 3 years clinical experience. BSN is required, MSN preferred. NCC is EEO/AA.
Digital Photography Instructor
Teach one section of Digital Photography on Monday and Wednesdays, 4 – 6:50 pm, January 18 through May 9, 2011. This course is an introduction to digital photography using Apple computers and a variety of digital software and peripheral devices. The course presents an overview of best practices of digital photo capture (camera work), file organization, image manipulation, and storage and output devices. Bachelors degree (Masters degree preferred) in graphic design, photography, or related field; working knowledge of best practices of digital photograph, processes and techniques; strong knowledge of Adobe CS5 Photoshop software; prior college teaching experience or professional work experience in digital photography considered a plus.
Package Design Instructor
Teach one section of Package Design on Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30 – 5:30pm, January 18 through May 9, 2011. Bachelors degree (Masters degree preferred) in graphic design, package design, or related field; working knowledge of best practices of 3-D package design, processes and techniques; strong knowledge of Adobe CS5 Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign software; prior college teaching experience or professional work experience in package design considered a plus.

Lead STARS TA Consultant/Professional Development Presenter
FT immediate start, grant funded position. Responsible for providing direct consultation services to child care programs in Berks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Assist infant, toddler and preschool programs participating in Keystone Stars to meet quality standards focusing on learning environments. Design and provide professional development and facilitate study groups. Must have knowledge of and experience with child care consultation and mentoring, environmental rating scales, and NAEYC Accreditation Standards, and excellent interpersonal and organizational skills. Bachelor’s degree and PQAS required; Master’s degree preferred in ECE or related field with appropriate experience and skills. Send letter, resume, and information on 3 references to Human Resources, Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020, or email to by 10/11/10, or until a suitable candidate is identified. NCC is EEO/AA.

Daily Briefing, 10/28/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Lehigh County, County Commissioner Dean Browning split with Republicans and voted to increase taxes by 16%.  Both Charlie Dent and Joe Sestak were campaigning in Allentown yesterday, each touting their support for business.  The Sands Casino in Bethlehem has received approval to add 11 new poker tables to the casino.  Former Governor Tom Ridge was at DeSales yesterday, where he spoke on a variety of issues.  Former President Clinton will be in the Valley today, campaigning on behalf of John Callahan.

Two new polls have Pat Toomey ahead of Joe Sestak - one by 4% and one by 2%.  In national news, a story from WFMZ notes that banks are on pace to foreclose on one millions homes this year.

We have two Chamber events this year: a mixer at the new Mack Customer Center and a President's Roundtable with Kostas Kalageropolous.

That's it for now!  We'll be back later today.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Volunteers wanted!

Hi everyone,

We received this E-mail from our friends at the McCann School of Allentown.  They have students who are interested in volunteering in certain areas.  I have copied those below.  If you are interested in having student volunteers (from my experience, I can tell you that this is really useful!), just comment below or E-mail me at

McCann School of Business & Technology has students in the following programs:

Medical Assistant
Surgical Technology
Professional Massage Therapy
Health & Medical Records Management
Medical Billing & Coding
Criminal Justice
Business Administration
Business Administration-Accounting
Network Administration & Security

Our students are looking for volunteer positions in any of these above fields.
This may include:

Medical Programs & Massage Therapy
Assist patients and visitor’s-greeting, escorting, patient transport, non-clinical patient care
Clerical/Secretarial support
Checking inventory/Restock supplies
Activities with patients
Organizing, maintaining files
Phones, faxing

Clerical/Secretarial support
Entering data/Spreadsheets
Social event coordination
Small business projects
Filing, Typing, Photocopying, Phones Faxing
Organizing, maintaining files

Criminal Justice

Front Desk: Greet clients, answer phones, schedule/assist with scheduling appointments.
Demonstrate effective note–taking skills for the purpose of investigation.
Assist/shadow/observe during interviewing
Observe some aspects of court proceedings including jury section, preliminary hearings, sentencing hearings, and trials.
Assist in the process of detainees by fingerprinting, photographing.
Filing, faxing, Photocopying
Shadow a school resource officer
Learn daily operations
Assist with complaints

Network Administration & Security

Entering data/Spreadsheets
Designing spreadsheets
Assist Help Desk Analysts/support
Network & Technical support assistance
Assist field service technicians

Teens and Cell Phones

I was with my niece and nephew yesterday (ages 15 and 12), and neither of them could put down their cell phones.  My wife and I teased them about it - I even tried texting my niece to get her attention.  It was kinda funny, but it also got me thinking.  I'm pretty sure that my niece and nephew are the norm when it comes to cell phone usage among teenagers (something I'm sure those of you with teenagers can attest to), but is that really the case?

Oh, yes it is.  75% of American teenagers own cell phones - up from 45% in 2004.  72% of all teenagers use text messages - in fact, text messages are the favored method of communication among teenagers, more so than land-line phones, face-to-face communication, E-mails, instant messaging or anything else.  This blows me away: 1 in 3 teens send more than 100 text messages a month.  Another survey by Harris Interactive showed that 47% of teenagers believe that their social lives would end, or be worsened, without their cell phones.  57% of teens view cell phones as the keys of their social lives.

Alright.  So teenagers are addicted to cells.  The more important question, of course, is what sort of impact this will have on society.  Many have argued that the rise of the digital age, and cell phones in particular, has ruined the ability of the next generation to communicate.   Proponents of this argument say that teenagers have lost the ability to spell, interact face-to-face, and function in the business world they will enter in about a decade.

Then again, others note that every generation has had a new communication tool that people said threatened to negatively impact the way humans communicate.  There has been the internet, social media, phones, television, radio, etc.  Communication has been changes by all of these tools, but society still exists.

What do you think?

Daily Briefing, 10/27/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has agreed to a $10.1 million settlement with C.T. Fuller regarding the development of land that was once set for the development of 1,500 homes.  As the Election nears, local papers are doing their summary articles of races that we will vote on here: the Express-Times reviews the Sestak/Toomey battle, as well as the race between State Senator Pat Browne (R) and challenger Rick Orloski (D) for the 16th Senate District.  Local business leaders held a rally yesterday for Tom Corbett, who promised to make the state more business friendly.  Congrats to Chamber member Mack Trucks, who officially opened their new Customer Service Center.  In Lehigh County, County Commissioners could vote to send their budget back to County Executive Don Cunningham with no tax increase.  In Allentown, the city is moving towards implementing a new energy program whereby sewer waste will be turned into electricity.

There are two conflicting polls in the race of the Senate.  The Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracking poll has Toomey with a 48-40% lead, while the Reuters/Ispos poll has the race at a 46% tie.

We have one Chamber event today: our introductory Social Networking Strategies and Tactics Seminar.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back soon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Six Tips for Reducing Debt

America is a debt-ridden society.  In America, there are over 600 million credit cards.  The average American family with a credit card has nearly $16,000 in debt on those cards.  The average college graduate has over $20,000 in debt, mostly from student loans.  As of January 2010, the average credit card default rate is about 28%.

Alright.  We all have debt, and like it or not, it is a part of life.  How do we reduce our financial obligations?  No one has all of the answers, but we did a little digging and came up with a few tips that we wanted to pass along.

1.  Use a debt calculator:  Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of calculators available that can help you determine your debt load, calculate pay-off dates, interest rates, monthly payments, etc.  Check out this page for a list of some great debt calculators.

2.  Use the Snowball method:  Calculate all of your debt and how much your monthly payments are.  Start by using extra income (what a concept, extra income) and use it to pay off your lowest balance.  Once that loan is done, take your monthly payment from that loan and use it to pay down the next lowest balance.  Rinse and repeat.  The biggest problem with this method is that you target your lowest balance - not your highest interest payments - so you may rack of some additional interest charges that you wouldn't have otherwise.

3.   Track Your Spending:  It may seem simplistic, but far too many of us don't even really know where our money goes every month.  Tracking your spending is the best way to empirically determine what you do with your money - and where you can make improvements.  Again, thanks to the Internet and sites like, keeping track of your budget is a relatively easy thing to do.

4.  Make Your Minimum Payments:  Paying only your minimum payments is not a good long-term strategy, because it will keep you in debt (and paying heavy amounts of interest).  That being said, at a bare minimum, make your minimum payments.  Failure to do so is one of the biggest ways that Americans damage their credit score and rack up additional interest and penalties.

5.  Debt Consolidation:  Consolidating your debt into less loans can simplify your budget, lower your interest rate and your monthly payments.  It will usually result in you paying more (in the long-term) because it typically extends the life of your loan, but it is a good way to free up additional cash for your monthly budget.

6.  Get help:  There is no shame, particularly in this economy, in taking advantage of debt counseling services.  These services (often run by non-profit organizations) are designed to help the average citizen climb their way out of debt.  They usually have financial planners and advisers that can help you create a blueprint to get out of financial trouble, as well as access to programs that can help rebuild your credit score.

So, what are we missing?  How have you reduced your debt?

Additional Sources:

This Week with Tony

Below is the latest in our, "This Week with Tony" series.  Tony talks about our upcoming Annual Meeting (tickets are still available!), I talk about our Chamber Member Benefits, and Tony makes fun of me.  A lot.  Which really makes him like the rest of the world, but at least now we have video evidence!

Daily Briefing, 10/26/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The region's two Daily Papers both saw decreases in subscriptions between March 2009 - March 2010 - the Express-Times saw a 3% drop, while the Morning Call saw a 5.7% drop.  The final debate was held between Charlie Dent, John Callahan and Jake Towne at the State Theatre in Easton.  A proposed Tax Increment Financing for the redevelopment of Martin Towers in Bethlehem was rejected by the Bethlehem Area School Board.  Good news for Lehigh Valley International Airport, which saw a significant increase in traffic during the month of September.  Northampton County awarded grant funding to Hellertown, Lower Saucon and Freemansburg have been awarded the first casino impact grants, with funding that has come from the Sands Bethlehem.  The Valley housing market dropped again in September, decreasing nearly 35% from the same month last year.

In state-wide news, Governor Rendell appears ready to sign a moratorium on any additional leasing of state lands for the purposes of Marcellus Shale drilling.

We have one Chamber event today: a joint speed networking event between the Small Business Council and Young Professionals Council.

That's it for now!  We leave you with this hilarious parody of my favorite subject: Social Media.  Have a good one!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Work smarter: Five productivity tips for your career

Many of us are now obsessed with productivity.  And why not?  It seems that, particularly since the recession has dawned, we all have to work twice as hard to accomplish half as much.  Everyone of us needs to work harder than ever before in order to stay on top of our game - the pressure to crank out new ideas, increase revenue, cut costs, and do so with less resources than before is enormous.

No one has all of the answers, but we do our best to help!  So, how can you be more productive?  Here are five tips that I thought were helpful that you can hopefully use in your professional life.

1.  Don't Let E-mail Dominate You:  Between Microsoft Outlook's notification features and the ever present smartphones, it is easy to let your life be completely dominated by E-mail.   Answering your E-mail as it comes in can completely take over your day, but letting an important E-mail go can certainly create problems as well (this is why I don't think its a good idea to turn off Outlook's notification feature - doing so can cause you to miss something urgent).  So, what's the balance?  One method: batch your response time.  Personally, I spend a few minutes once every hour responding to E-mails.  Microsoft Outlook has no shortage of ways that you can prioritize E-mails, so try checking out those settings.  More to the point, be disciplined.  Check your E-mail once an hour (or another appropriate time period) and respond accordingly.

2.  The Little Things First:  Everyone has their own prioritzation method.  One popular one, however, involves the little things.  Do the little things first - print that document, send out that invoice, write those three checks.  Scratch the smaller things off your to do list first, and give yourself momentum to start taking care of some of the bigger tasks.

3.  Stay Organized:  In this day and age, it is almost impossible to keep organized without some sort of written system.  Thankfully, there is no shortage of tools that can help you keep track of what you have to get done.  If the pen and paper isn't enough for you, then check out some of the more popular electronic To Do lists - Microsoft Office has a tasks manager, as does Google.  A variety of services are also available online, including Remember the Milk, Evernote (which is much more than just a tasks manager), Toodledo, TaDaList and many, many more.

4.  Close those extra windows:  Computers make it far, far too easy to get distracted (my wife refers to my computer and iPhone as the "shiny boxes" because of the way they have destroyed whatever was left of my attention span).  To that end, minimize your ability to get distracted by shutting any extra windows and programs that you don't need open. Leaving them open leaves one more thing for you to be distracted by.

5.  Conduct an audit...of your time:  It is far too easy to look back at the end of a day and think, "Gee, where the heck did all of that time go?"  The question is rhetorical, but its also a vital one:  where does the time go?  Fortunately, there are tools that can literally give you an answer.  Time Trackers can help you determine how you spent your day - and from there, you can analyze the results and determine ways that you can work more efficiently.

So, what are we missing?  How do you keep track of your time?

Last entry from China!

Here is the final blog entry from Deb Walters of Priority Bracelet.  Again, Deb is in China with a contingent of other Chamber members.  Deb, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!
Our last day in China was spent in Shanghai.

Most of our group took the option bullet train trip where they traveled at more than 400 miles per hour. Many remarked that they could feel the speed and were surprised that the view of the outside was not a blur.

We visited a silk rug mill. The items were beautiful and expensive.

Then we spent three and a half hours at the bazaar in Shanghai, also referred to as Chinatown. It was massive. Most of the items I had seen all over China but I did manage to buy another black pearl ring and some black pearl earrings just because the saleswoman would not let me leave the store until I did. It was worth the money just to haggle and see her skills ...and to think she wasn't even using her native language. I admire her greatly and think we should get her over here to run a sales seminar for us. I managed to get my jewelry for 15 percent of the list price...not bad. She'd have you believe she lost money on the transaction and did it because she knew I would send our group back to her for their purchases -- which I did. She got at least four more sales from that.

That night we saw ERA, a Chinese acrobat show. The highlights were a man who juggled an enormous and heavy pot, four dancers who somehow came out of that pot, and a eight motorcycles in a cage, yes 8!

Our return trip from hotel to my door took 30 hours...sixteen for the flight and then our bus from JFK overheated in Chinatown -- sense the irony here -- and we had to wait for another bus to be sent for us. Luckily it broke down right in front of a pizza parlor and we didn't have to endure another Chinese meal. We laughed that our tour guides repeatdly apologized for the traffic jams in China and we kept thinking "This is nothing. It's so much worse in NYC where there are millions less people."Once we arrived in NYC's Chinatown it took a half hour to go two blocks and that's when the steam came off the engine.

All in all, everyone had an incredible time and enjoyed each other's company so much that we are planning a reunion on Chinese New Year. Haven't decided if we'll meet at a Chinese restaurant or not. We will share photos and recall our favorite things about the trip and give awards to the person who ate Chinese food first after our return, the one who ate it last, and the two women (one is me) who managed to get through the entire trip without using an Eastern toliet. If you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky.

Some parting observations: the Chinese serve several dishes at every meal, they have little idea what Americans truly like to eat (We think they base this on what Germans eat for breakfast), it's amazing the translations aren't better considering how long we've been communicating with them, they only translate things into English and other languages are rarely represented on their signage, paper products are scarce including toliet paper, don't expect to find soap in a public washroom, their water is undrinkable, and given all of that -- I'd return in a heartbeat -- well, once I finally get over my jetlag and forget about the 16-hour flight!

Daily Briefing, 10/25/2010

Good morning everyone!  The weekend is over, and its back to work time.  Try and contain your excitement.  Anyway, here is today's Daily Briefing.

Lehigh University has been awarded a grant to ultimately help it increase the number of female faculty members in science, technology, engineering and math.  Former President Bill Clinton will be back in the Valley this Thursday, campaigning for John Callahan.  A rally was held in Northampton County by opponents of the plan to sell Gracedale, the county-owned nursing facility.  Supporters of keeping Gracedale in county hands will be seeking to place the sale of the home on the ballot in the 2011 primary election.

If you've been to the pump, you may have noticed: gas prices have increased by five cents over the past two weeks, bringing the national average to $2.82 per gallon.

Business Matters airs today, featuring a debate between State Representative Robert Freeman (D) and Ron Shegda (R) in the race for the 136th Legislative District.  The show airs at 8pm on WFMZ-TV.

That's it for now, so we leave you with this: little kids trying to make sense of viral videos.  Adults can't even figure it out, so this is just awesome.  Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Latest from China!

Here is the latest from Deb with Priority Bracelets on the Chamber's China trip!

The day began with a visit to a Buddhist Temple. The buddha statue was at least sixty-feet tall. His temple was guarded by 18 disciples. Our guide told us that there are three buddhas: past buddha, present buddha and future buddha. The future buddha is the smiling, happy buddha. Each buddha rules for 5 billion years. The place was overrun with tourists. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the actual temple or take photos of the monks. Our guide said many Chinese "believe in nothing" but others are Buddhists. Many Chinese tourists were there buying incense. Most seemed to be just looking around and relatively few were praying. I was struck by the devotion shown by those who were praying.

After the temple, we went to Dragon Well Tea Company. It was gorgeous. We saw the tea bushes growing in row after row along the mountains. Occasionally we would spot someone in the field tending the bushes with the pointed hat and it looked like something out of my World Culture's textbook from 10th grade. Just beautiful. We headed inside to drink and learn about tea and why Dragon Well Tea is proclaimed to be the best tea in the world. We drank a couple cups and enjoyed our guide who is a member of the family who owns the company and majored in tea, yes tea, in college.

After yet another Chinese lunch, we took a boat ride where we saw urban China on one side and rural China on the other. Looking over one shoulder, we saw skyscrapers as far as the eye could see and over our other shoulder, beautiful lush green mountains.

Then, we boarded the bus for a three-hour drive to Shanghai where we had yet another Chinese dinner and went to The Bund which in German means muddy shore. The mud has been covered by concrete and the skyline view is amazing. Take the NYC Skyline and Vegas Skyline and I don't know...a couple of other US cities...put them together and you might come close to Shanghai's skyline. Remarkable.

Some interesting facts we picked up recently about China and the Chinese -- they don't like the number 4 because its pronunciation sounds like the word for death; they love the number 8 and believe it is lucky; gambling is illegal in China except for in Macao; they appear to be more capitalist than we are; bumping into people here is commonplace and now even I have stopped saying "excuse me" and "I'm sorry" because it's just expected; the Chinese are good at line-jumping and have made it an art form. BTW, at the expo on the shuttle bus, I found myself getting angry about the line jumping and the josling and then felt sorry for them because of how they have to do that just to survive -- like New Yorkers on steroids -- ha! ha!. Just then, an older woman tapped my side,  smiled and moved over to share a seat on the bus with the girl next to her and pointed that she was giving me her seat. That small gesture is a treasure I will be taking back with me to the Lehigh Valley!

Daily Briefing, 10/22/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is your sorry-I'm-late edition of the Daily Briefing.

Lehigh Valley municipalities that are engaged in a cooperative buying agreement for insurance purchasing are seeing cost savings this year.  In Northampton County, County Council voted 5-2 to allow County Executive Stoffa to begin to talk with federal officials about bringing a detention center for illegal immigrants to the Slate Belt.

In another policy difference between Tom Corbett (R) and Dan Onorato (D), Corbett favors privatizing the state's liquor stores; Onorato opposes the move.  The latest pull for that race shows Tom Corbett with a 49-44% lead.  The latest poll for U.S. Senate shows Pat Toomey with a 2% lead over Joe Sestak, within the poll's margin of error.  Governor Rendell has said that a deal to tax Marcellus Shale "clearly is dead." 

Depressing news about American poverty: more than 1 in 8 Americans are on food stamps.

We have two Chamber events today: a debate for the 136th Legislative District, sponsored by the Easton Area Chamber of Commerce, and a free Webinar on the seven threats faced by business owners - and how they can be avoided.

That's it for now!  See you later!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Member to Member Discounts

We offer many member benefits for joining The Chamber.  One of the ones we are most proud of is our Member-to-Member discounts.  Over 200 Chamber members offer exclusive discounts that are available only to other Chamber members.  If you are a Chamber member, before you ever go out and buy anything, check out this list to see what sort of discounts you may be eligible for!

For more information on joining The Chamber, or if you are a Chamber and want to update your Member-to-Member discount, please E-mail me at

Member to Member Discounts

PPL offers Energy Assessment Program for Small Businesses

Our friends at PPL are offering a great program to independent small business honors.  100 small businesses can get a free energy efficiency checkup.  The program is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In an era where all residential and business properties are struggling to pay increasing energy bills, a program like this is very useful.

See the press release below for more information.

Live from China

I really like these blog entries. It is fascinating to see what our Chamber members are doing in China, and these entries certainly give us a bird's eye view. Thanks so much to Deb from Priority Bracelet for putting these together for us!

It's 2 a.m. in China and I'm up -- again. I wonder how many of my travel mates are awake as well. In the morning we say "hello" or "knee how" or "zhou" pronounced with a down and then up tone and then proceed to ask or offer how many times one or the other was awakened during the night and at what times. We then express amusement that we were up at about the same time.

We are staying at a Holiday Inn in a smaller city which to me appears like New York with its signage and offerings. We ate pizza from Pizza Hut in the hotel lobby last night and were thrilled because as good as the food is, Chinese food day after day, meal after meal has become tiring. I do have to say that I was thrilled with my noodle soup at breakfast yesterday. Many of us are aware of the omelette station or waffle station manned by a chef at a typical American hotel breakfast buffet. Well in China, his job is to cook whichever noodles you specify and put them in a bowl and then ladle a light broth over them. Then, your job is to add anything from dried shrimp to cucumber and parsley to it. I couldn't bring myself to add the shaved dried shrimp but did add the vegetables, a bit of chili paste and sesame oil and loved it. The Chinese believe that soup for breakfast warms the stomach and helps digestion. For other meals though, they eat the soup last as they don't want the liquid filling their bellies so they can eat more and again think that the hot soup aids in digestion. It reminds me of how my Italian grandparents always served the salad last -- something we eat first. Dessert is something that is missing from the Chinese dinners here. Watermelon, cantalope and apple are their dessert.

I was remarking that in these cities I don't see Italian or other ethnic restaurants or any evidence that people from other countries immigrate set up shop here.

In this city however, I did see a sign for an eastern/western restaurant offering Chinese food and steaks and there are several coffee houses.

Tomorrow, or should I say later today, we are headed to see and drink the national tea of China. We are also headed to a Buddhist temple among other  things.

Question: Who are the rock stars of China?
Answer: Embroiderers.

I couldn't believe it either. Yesterday, we went to an embroidery shop where we learned and saw master embroiderers who are treated much like rock stars here. Only a handful of women can do embroidery where no knots show on either side of the silk and both sides show a completely different picture. Imagine a work of embroidery that has a very life-like photographic quality lion on it. Turn it, and you'll find a tiger of the same quality on the back. It's stunning, bewildering. Our mouths were hanging open as we looked at piece after piece...each one took a year or more for a woman to complete...working eight hours per day.

One of the most spectacular was a portrait of Chairman Mao. It was just one-sided but as you walked from the left of it to the right, his face changed to reveal a man at least 20 years younger. We walked back and forth in front of the painting, oohing and aahing like children at a magician's show. The Mona Lisa is there too and it is an incredible reproduction and yes, in silk, her eyes follow you as you move about. Absolutely amazing.

To be quite honest, I wasn't looking forward to the embroidery visit. I figured we were in for some long, boring factory tour. Once inside, I didn't want to leave. I had the feeling of being somewhere I was standing in the presence of greatness....similar to the feeling I have had looking at Niagara Falls or at a tree in the Muir Woods. Some of the  pieces sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars and we could all see why. I hope my words do this justice. You really have to see it to believe it. (I bought a beautiful tiny one-sided piece for $36 depicting cranes in tall grass. I was drawn to it because of how it seemed to light up from the back or the inside-- as many of these pieces do. The tour guide showed us that the embroiderer uses a silk thread so thin you can't even see it (an eighth of a human hair) to obtain that effect). AMAZING!

We also took a boat tour through the canals of the Venice of Asia and toured the local market. It was remarkable.

Another striking thing about China is in cities bustling with people, you see very few children. I know many of them are in school but with the country's one marriage--one birth rule, there are six adults to every child. Our tour guide was explaining that one child has two parents and four grandparents to look after him. He said that the country's children are quite spoiled, don't share, etc... These children will also have six aging people depending on him. It's really a Catch-22 because if they change the one marriage--one birth rule, which has been in effect since 1980, the country's population would swell from its 1.3 billion to a number that scares the entire world.

In a country where children are scarce, cranes are not. On a single road trip you could not count them all. There is construction, enormous high-rise construction, everywhere you look and as far as you can see. It is mind boggling to try to comprehend the amount of construction here.

Oh, there's so much more I want to share with you and so much I've seen that I haven't even had time to process it all yet. But, it's 3 a.m. and the wake-up call occurs in just three hours.  Time to catch a few more ZZZs!

Debra Walter | | |

Daily Briefing, 10/21/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

For the third straight month, first time unemployment claims dropped in the Lehigh Valley.  Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak held their first Senate debate yesterday, using the opportunity to label each other as extreme.  The city of Bethlehem is potentially looking into getting into the towing business in an effort its budget gap.  All is not yet well in Macungie, with the police chief and Mayor still fighting over issues related to the operation of the police department.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was in Pennsylvania yesterday, campaigning for Congressman Charlie Dent.  Northampton County Council President Ron Angle has presented his 2011 budget to Northampton County Council.

In national news, a new survey shows that the US ranks 90th out of 186 nations for female representation.  A government report shows that the U.S. government earned a 8.2% profit on the government bailout of the banking system.

We have one Chamber event today: a free after-hours mixer at the Steel Ice Center.

And today, we leave you with this: puppies.  Everyone loves puppies.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Live from China

Hi everyone - here is the latest post from Deb Walter of Priority Bracelet.  Again, Deb is with a contingent of Chamber members that is currently exploring China.

Yesterday we left Beijing for Shanghai -- a nearly two-hour flight. Shortly after arrrival, we headed for the World Expo which reminded of Epcot Center in Disney World -- without the fun. The architecture of the pavillions sponsored by each country is interested. The lines or queues here, as they call them, are so long for the US, China, Japan,that we found ourselves just visiting a couple -- Slovakia and Serbia. Servia apparently has found a new way to mark time with much less error than our current method and used its pavillion to convince the world that this method should be adopted. It was interesting and educational.

We had lunch in a Bulgarian restaurant which was very good and then took the shuttle bus to the see the architecture of the other exhibits. We did not foresee that we would be required to leave the bus in order to return to our starting point and had to stand in line with a thousand people. (There were a million people at the expo at one time). Our group had to wait an extra half hour for us to arrive back and I experienced a cramp in my calf from the hurried return.

Then, it was off to Tiger Hill in Suzhou a beautiful round pagoda set atop a hill. Many of our group climbed the 350 steps to the top while I admired it from below. It leans slightly to the north supposedly because there is an emperor's tomb buried beneath it. It is called Tiger Hill because three days after his burial, a white tiger was seen atop the hill and the Chinese believe\believed that it was his spirit in the tiger. Regardless of what one believes, it is magnificent.

The streets of Suzhou are interesting with hundreds of bicycles and mopeds navigating around cars and enormous tour busses. I try not to look but can't help myself as small children are sandwiched between their parents on bicycles as they try to pass our enormous tour bus around a turn.

Everyone is in the lobby waiting for me now as we head to the silk mill. More Later!

Debra Walter | | |

Daily Briefing, 10/20/10

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The Express-Times runs profiles on two State House races: Joe Brennan (D-Inc) vs. Dave Molony (R) in the 133rd Legislative Dstirict, and Charles Dertinger vs. Joe Emrick in the 137th Legislative District.  In Northampton County, supporters of keeping the Gracedale nursing home in county hands are seeking to hold a referendum on the subject - but they'll need to get 20,000 signatures in 90 days to get the issue ballot access.  Our friends at Discover Lehigh Valley have revamped their website to help increase tourism in the Valley.

Two new polls shows a major tightening of the Pennsylvania Senate race: a Public Policy Polling poll shows the race at 46-45% in favor of Joe Sestak, while a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows Sestak with a 44-41% lead.

We have two Chamber events today: a debate between Doug Reichely (R-Inc) and Patrick Slattery (D) in the race for the 134th Legislative District and a haunted mixer at the Hellertown Grist Mill.

We leave you with this today: American politics is strife today with division, dissent and disagreement.  But, there are some things we can all agree on, and I firmly believe this is one of them: the rent is too damn high.

Wait, what?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Group Buying & the Lehigh Valley - What is it, and what does it mean?

As some of you may be aware, Groupon has officially made its services available to the Lehigh Valley.  The popular company is literally the fastest growing business of all time, and its entrance to the Valley could have big ramifications for your business and your wallet as a consumer.

So, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, what is Groupon?  The service is relatively simple.  After registering for the site (not a complicated process at all), you can purchase a daily coupon.  The site shows you what the coupon will get you, how much its value is, what the discount is and how much savings that means for you.  Now, that being said, a certain amount of people have to buy a coupon in order for the deal to be valid - so there's an incentive to you to get your friends to buy a coupon as well (hence the "group buying" aspect of the website).   There aren't a lot of options here, since there is only one coupon a day.  In many cases, a company will actually lose money on the deal (there is already a steep discount, plus Groupon takes a piece of all revenue), but in many cases its worth it for a business since they are banking on gaining additional customers in the future.

Group buying sites like this have become all the rage (other sites, like Living Social, are available), though so far Groupon seems to be the most popular/successful.  Don't be surprised if you see more sites like this in the near future....

This week with Tony

If you read this blog, you are no doubt aware that we are using every technological service possible to help advance the interests of our members.  At The Chamber, we are committed to helping the Lehigh Valley business community take advantage of every useful technological tool possible, and we want to lead by example.

To that end, we are very pleased to launch our newest venture via YouTube:  "This Week with Tony."  It's a brief video featuring Tony Iannelli, our President & CEO.  We'll launch this once a week, and you can expect Tony to discuss whatever topic is prevalent in the Valley this week.  This is just the introductory version: you can expect to see one every Monday/Tuesday in the future.



Daily Briefing, 10/19/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Northampton County, family members of Gracedale residents are seeking to place an initiative on the ballot that would put the sale of Gracedale up for a county-wide vote.  Vice President Joe Biden returned to the area yesterday, holding a fundraiser and rally for John Callahan's campaign for Congress.  News has broken that the Democrats are pulling ads in the Philadelphia market, which includes the Dent/Callahan race and the race between Patrick Murphy and Mike Fitzpatrick.  In Bethlehem, city officials have presented a new parking plan that ads about 24 parking spots to the center-city downtown.  In Easton, city-wide revenues are down, but the city should still finish ahead of its budget.  Don't plan on parking illegally at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury; guards now have the power to issue parking tickets.

If you are on Facebook, be careful: a story yesterday revealed that some Facebook apps had transmitted the personal information of users.

We have two Chamber events today: a joint mixer with the Bethlehem and Easton Chambers of Commerce at General Supply Company and the 2010 Athena Celebration.

We leave you with this: if you like the 80s, you're gonna love this video.  Love is, indeed, a battlefield.  Have a great day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greetings from China

22 Chamber members are, as we speak, in China.  They are on an incredibly Chamber-sponsored trip that will tour China, including some of its top cultural and business attractions.  Deb Walter of Priority Bracelet has been kind enough to agree to blog for us, live from China, and I just got this E-mail from her that is her first blog entry.  This is really interesting stuff!  Enjoy!
Hello Lehigh Valley, I am sorry I haven't written but I and the 21 others on this trip  are exhausted. We left Allentown at 9 a.m. on Friday and arrived at our hotel in Beijing 2 a.m. Sunday their time and 2 p.m. Saturday our time. Many of us (myself included) are waking at 1 and 2 a.m. because of the jet lag even though they let us sleep until 6 a.m. so we get some rest before our more than 12 hours straight of sight-seeing.
We have now spent two entire days in Beijing and what strikes me the post is how enormous the city is. Although 19 million people live in this city and it does take a great deal of time to travel in the traffic, it does not seem congested like NYC with people filling every inch of sidewalk space. If I understood our tour guide that is because there are eight subway lines under the city.
We have visted a jade outlet. I am wearing my bracelet now. The Chinese believe that jade can keep them safe from evil and therefore many (girls especially) wear jade from the time they are 12 years old and never take it off. I didn't know Jade could come in so many beautiful colors. I thought it was just green.
We have stepped over many thresholds here. They are a tripping hazard and vary from just a few inches to almost a foot. Buldings have thresholds to keep in the good and keep out the evil spirts. The Forbidden City has many such thresholds.
Did you know there are 30000 Chinese symbols and not even the brightest among them can memorize them all and that each word in Chinese can be pronounced four different ways giving it four entirely different means. "Ma" can mean mother, horse, scold or linen depending on the tone that used in its pronunciation. When I return, I'm sure I will think of the Chinese when I scold my teenage sons for their tone.
We also visited a Cloisonne factory and saw what time-consuming work it is and visited a pearl outlet run by the Chinese government. Several women prayed for strength there as the manager knew what he was doing when he put $6000 necklaces on the ladies matching their skin tones with the colors of the pearls. I indulged just a little and bought a beautiful purple pearl ring. Once again, I had no ideas the colors that are available.
The street vendors are an experience all in themselves. Persistant is a word that leaps to mind.
The Great Wall  is magnificent and many of us climbed to the stop. The steps are uneven on purpose so Mongolian horses would fall as they attempted it. Luckily, Lehigh Valley tourists were more adept than Mongolian horses and no one fell.
The food has been quite good. The Peking Duck dinner was delicious. We we told to fold the duck and some onion in a tiny flat pancake and add some Peking duck sauce --  sauce that to me tastes like a combo of soy sauce and duck sauce. It was very good. We also had lunch in a family's house and that was by far the best. The dumplings were extraordinary. 
In the Forbidden City gift shop, several of us were delighted to find Snicker's bars and enjoyed them.
In addition to bottled water, the Chinese like to give us bottled Chinese beer, fire water (in college we called that grain) and of course, the universal beverage Coca Cola!
That's all for now. It is midnight here. I am awake again. We are leaving at 5 a.m. to catch a flight to Shanghai for the Expo and the Silk Road. I will look on the bright side and take advantage of the time to enjoy my 5-star hotel room for the first time. I plan to return to the Lehigh Valley exhausted, bejeweled and spoiled!
Deb Walter of Priority Bracelet

Five Tips for Great PowerPoint Presentations

It happens to all of us who are in a professional field: at some point, odds are great than not that you are going to have to make a presentation with PowerPoint.  Considering recent surveys which have shown that people are more afraid of public speaking than death, this can be a very nerve-wracking experience!  Throw in PowerPoint and you can have a recipe for disaster.

Bad PowerPoint presentations are something that we have all likely had to sit through at some point.  How can you make yours better and effective?  Here are five tips:

1.  Bullets:  There is a reason they are there.  By default, most PowerPoint presentations appear in bullets, and there's a good reason for that: they are effective.  Bullets ensure that you keep the information in short, digestible bites.  In a world where you are fighting to keep someone's attention (against iPhones, Blackberry's, etc), being quick and to the point is critical.  Bullets can help you get there.

2.  Keep your animations fast:  Using animations can help give pizazz to an otherwise boring presentation.  You should always try an incorporate text animations to keep your presentation moving.  That being said, you should always keep your animation speed on "very fast."  This ensures that the speed by which your words/bullets/pictures appear won't be noticeable.  If an animation is too slow, it can completely alter the flow of your presentation and have people concentrating on the animation itself - not what you are saying.  Obviously, this is the last thing that you want.  By the same token, don't use animations that are so flashy (Pinwheel or Bounce come to mind) that they are distracting.

3.  Incorporate many forms of media:  Text enough isn't always enough to keep a listeners attention.  Don't be afraid to incorporate many forms of media, including pictures, audio, video and websites.  Just make sure that you can easily restart your presentation if you visit a website that winds up temporarily shutting down the slide show.  There aren't many things more awkward in a presentation than stopping a slide show and not being able to get back to the point that you started at!

4.  Don't use too many words:  Don't use paragraphs in PowerPoint.  Don't use long amounts of text or insanely small print.  If you have to significant shrink your text to make your words fit on a slide, odds are you are saying too much.  There is no "set formula" for how many words/bullets to use - just make sure your slide isn't too cluttered!

5.  Be different.  PowerPoint has become so prevelant in today's workplace that you may very well be able to recognize popular templates/formats.  Accordingly, don't be afraid to be different with your presentation.  Use different formats and fonts - do something to break the mold!

So, what about you?  How do you create an effective powerpoint?

Business Matters schedule: Not just on Monday's (for now!)

With the elections rapidly approaching, our TV program, Business Matters, will be airing this Saturday and Sunday (in addition to our usual 8pm slot on Monday).  This week's program is Gay Marriage in America.  From there on, it's all election shows.

Check out the upcoming schedule:

Monday, October 18, 2010, 8:00pm
Gay Marriage in America
·         Rev. Beth Goudy, Metropolitan Church of the Lehigh Valley
·         Chris Freind, FreindlyFireZone
·         Liz Bradbury, Pennsylvania Diversity Network
·         Gloria Carlineo, Attorney

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 9:00pm
One-on-one interview with Tom Corbett.

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 9:30pm
One-on-one interview with Dan Onorato.

Sunday, October 24, 2010, 10:30pm
134th District Debate:  Doug Reichley (R) vs. Patrick Slattery (D)

Monday, October 25, 2010, 8:00pm
136th District Debate:  Robert Freeman (D) vs. Ron Shegda (R)

Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:00pm
Who will be your next United States Senator?  An interview with Pat Toomey (R) and Joe Sestak (D).  

Daily Briefing, 10/18/2010

Good morning everyone, and a happy Monday to you all!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Northampton County, open space advocates are concerned that this year's budget may ultimately slash funding for open space preservation.  In Easton, City Council will be reconsidering up to five CDBG applicants after learning that they may not qualify for open space funds.  For the first time, the Bethlehem Sands is the 2nd highest grossing casino in Pennsylvania, behind only the Parx Casino in Philadelphia.  The Morning Call runs an interesting story about how many retail stores are closing their storefronts to concentrate on internet business.

In national news, voting for the 2010 elections has officially begun in some states (Nevada & Florida), with early voting kicking off today.

Some breaking worldwide news: a NATO official has announced that Osama Bin Laden is living in a house in northwest Pakistan.

Business Matters airs today, and this will be a good one: a debate on the current status of Gay Marriage in America.  The show airs tonight at 8pm on WFMZ-TV.

It's Monday.  We could all probably use a laugh, so I leave you with some game show bloopers.  Have a great day, and we'll see you later!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Daily Briefing: What sites do we look at?

Many of you who read this blog likely read our Daily Briefing.  The Daily Briefing is a look at what news we think would be of interest to Chamber members and supporters.  It typically highlights the major business or political stories of the day; some of you have even been kind enough to write nice things about it (thanks Jeff).  I've also gotten this question over the past few days and thought it was worth answering:  what websites do we typically cultivate the Daily Briefing content from?  It's a good question, so here are the answers:

Of course, I'd love to hear your suggestions about other sites to include in the briefing!

Daily Briefing, 10/15/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Foreclosures in the Valley jumped 44% in the 3rd quarter of 2010 (compared to the 2nd quarter of 2010) and doubled from the previous year.  In Allentown, the school board approved most of Superintendent Zahorchak's moves to reorganize the district.  Congressman Charlie Dent and Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan held their fourth debate of the year at Muhlenberg College.  The Chamber was a participant in the debate.  State Representative Doug Reichley (R) and challenger Patrick Slattery (D) also debated yesterday. The Express Times profiles the race between State Representative Robert Freeman (D) and challenger Ron Shegda (R).  In Allentown, the city's pension obligation has increased $2.1 million (19%) for 2011.  There is good news for Allentown, however, as the Cosmopolitan Restaurant has officially opened downtown.  In Bethlehem Township, developer Abe Atiyeh has cancelled his plans to build a 102 apartment assisted living center.

A new poll shows Tom Corbett with a 48-38% lead on Dan Onorato in the race for Pennsylvania Governor.

In national news, the federal government is set to release a report that will announce that the federal deficit has exceeded $1 trillion for the second year in a  row.

We have two Chamber events today: our annual Health Care Summit (which will stream live on WFMZ) and a free webinar on how to make sure you are getting the most out of your Chamber membership.

And we leave you with this today: we have all seen a lot of negative advertising, especially right now.  But, have you ever seen an ad like this one below?  Politicians beware - don't kick children in the face.

Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Financial problems facing America's cities

This article from the National League of Cities caught my eye and I thought it was worth sharing.  The article reviews an annual report on the fiscal condition of America's cities.  The results are depressing:

  • 79% of the cities surveyed said they were being forced to lay off workers.
  • 69% said they had to delay or cancel capital improvement projects.
  • 25% had engaged in across the board service cuts.
  • 25% had engaged in public safety cuts.
The research brief itself painted an even more depressing picture: 9 out of every 10 cities said that 2010 was worse than 2009, with property and sales tax revenues declining.

Of course, all of us are probably thinking the same thing: how will this affect us in the Valley?  Lehigh County is proposing a tax increase this year, the first since 2005, and some tax hike seems likely.  Northampton County is currently facing a $14 million budget shortfall and serious questions remain about how that gap will be closed.  Easton will not raise their taxes this year, but will be offering early retirement incentives and furloughs.  Bethlehem and Allentown haven't released their budgets yet, though Allentown will in November.

This isn't a good time for governments, and pension burdens continue to present a serious threat to the long-term fiscal health of every governmental unit.  A recent report found that many cities, including Philadelphia, have an even greater pension liability than initially believed.  In Allentown, the minimum municipal obligation to the cities various pension funds has actually increased over 130% in the past five years.  That is an astounding number.

How are governments supposed to solve these problems?

Daily Briefing, 10/14/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa spoke at a Chamber breakfast yesterday, reviewing his proposed 2011 budget.  The event ended with some heated words between the Executive and County Council President Ron Angle.  Charlie Dent, John Callahan and Jake Towne debated yesterday - the debate aired on WFMZ-TV.  Lehigh County Commissioners took another look at their current budget yesterday - and it seems that no one is happy.  In Easton, problems with eligibility may force the city to reconsider how it spends its federal CDBG money.

The third quarter of 2010 saw more homes seized due to mortgage failures than any year since 2006; however, as a result of ongoing questions regarding the validity of these seizures, many will likely be challenged in court.  A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that a lack of cell phone inclusions in polls may be skewing numbers slightly in favor of Republicans.

Today is a busy day for us, with three Chamber events: a mixer at the Woodstone Golf Course and Lodge, a webinar on new technology that is available for offices and a grand opening at BSI's new facility in Bethlehem.

We conclude with this: live video of the first miner being rescued in Chile.  Try and watch it without tearing up.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We need interns at The Chamber!

Hi everyone -

If you (or a college student that you know) is interested, we need interns!  Internships are a great way for local college students to gain invaluable experience in the business world, and we are looking for them in the next semester.  Below is a description of the internships we have available, as well as their contact information.

Allentown Initiatives Intern:
The Allentown Chamber of Commerce is an association of businesses and individuals having partnered together with the Chamber for the purpose of stimulating economic activity within City of Allentown. It is the Council's mission to create, maintain and expand an environment conducive to the economic growth and benefit both the Council's members and the City of Allentown as a whole.

An intern in this position would assist with in planning and executing activities and events to further the growth and development of Downtown Allentown.

Contact:  Miriam Huertes,

Regional Chamber Intern:
The Chamber is widely recognized for its commitment to regionalization, its progressive philosophy of establishing partnerships with other like-minded organizations and its ability to continually provide members with relevant tools necessary for them to compete and succeed in this ever-evolving economy.  An internship position in this position would include:

Coordination of Regional Chamber board meeting items
Event planning assistance
Create flyers for various Chamber events
Compile historic statistics and create Excel reports
Outbound phone calls to members or potential vendors for events
Basic office duties including photocopying, typing meeting minutes, etc.
Attend Chamber events; some evenings possible

Contact:  Ellie Passman,

Mission Councils, Marketing Intern:

Description of duties include the following but not limited to:

Majority of duties will focus on Chamber’s Business to Business Expo slated for March 16, 2010
Contacting former participants to get them to sign up this year
Prospecting potential exhibitors
Outreach to both potential exhibitors and attendees
Research on entertainment for event
Event planning assistance
Coordination of Regional and Mission Chamber board meeting items
Create flyers for various Chamber events
Compile historic statistics and create excel reports
Outbound phone calls to members or potential vendors for events
Basic office duties including photocopying, typing meeting minutes, etc.
Attend Chamber events; some evenings possible

Contact:  Danielle Joseph,

Downtown Bethlehem Association Intern:
This exciting internship will provide the student with many unique opportunities not available in the average office setting. The Bethlehem office of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce works directly with the City of Bethlehem on their marketing and community redevelopment initiatives. With the economy slowing down individuals’ spending downtown, our new marketing initiatives are vital and particularly exciting to our merchants. The intern will not only network with members of the City’s administration, but with owners of small and large businesses in the greater Bethlehem area. The experiences and relationships gained through this unpaid internship will certainly equip any student with desirable professional qualities and set them apart in an ever-increasing difficult job market. Below is a list of duties:

Meet and build relationships with the small business owners of the Historic & Southside Districts.
Data entry into excel documents of information and email addresses gathered during events that add to our e-newsletter mailing list and e-promoting.
Learn how to put together a marketing plan for event strategies in the two downtowns of Bethlehem.
Travel within Bethlehem to different locations to promote with flyers, posters, rack cards..etc…
Make calls to potential sponsors, business owners and others to inform them of event information, possible sponsorship opportunities and to build a strong professional relationship.
Design and create flyers and posters for events
Be apart of the “street team” of the DBA
Learn how to answer messages, take minutes, and partake in assistant work with the manager.

Contact Person: Samantha Schwartz,
Phone: 610-841-5831, Fax: 610-758-9533

Daily Briefing, 10/13/2010

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Unhappy with the budget as proposed, Northampton County Council President Ron Angle will be presenting his own 2011 budget.  At a press conference yesterday, Congressman Charlie Dent, CEOs and union representatives protested a use of federal stimulus dollars that imported cement from Peru.  Lehigh Valley home sales continue to drop, declining nearly a third from a year ago.  In an effort to gain federal funding, the principles of four Allentown schools have been transferred to other locations.

In national news, President Obama has lifted a federal moratorium on deepwater drilling.  A federal judge has also ordered the military to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military.  In world-wide news, the miraculous rescue of the Chilean mine continues; as I type this, seven have been rescued, with 26 to go.  The men have been trapped over 2,000 feet underground for 66 days.

We have three Chamber events today (its a busy one): the Southern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce is holding their monthly breakfast and will be discussing ambulance service, Northampton County Executive John Stoffa will be delivering the Northampton County Financial Address and the Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce will be holding its Annual Meeting and Community Awards.

I'm going to start a new thing here: leaving with amazing videos that I can find, regardless of their relevance to the business world, because let's face it, all of us can use some entertainment!  So, who remembers yo-yo's?  This guy does.  As you watch, I also want you to keep in mind that I know I can do everything that this guy does (okay, really, I'd probably hit myself in the head and knock myself unconsious, but that's completely besides the point).

Have a great day!