Friday, April 29, 2011

Job Openings: Knowledge Management Ventures & Moravian College

Hello everyone!  We have two job openings for your viewing pleasure today - Knowledge Management Ventures & Moravian College.  Please see the openings below for more information.  As always, if you are a Chamber Member and want to advertise a job opening that you have, please E-mail it to me at

Moravian College
HR/IR Assistant - (part-time; no benefits)
Department: Offices of Human Resources and Institutional Research
Classification: Support Staff
FLSA Class: Non-Exempt

Moravian College’s Offices of Human Resources and Institutional Research has an immediate opening for a part-time assistant. The HR/IR Assistant provides clerical and research support to the Chief Human Resource Officer and the Director of Institutional Research by performing a variety of tasks that are highly confidential and require specialized knowledge.  Independent judgment is required in the application of policies, procedures and laws. The regular schedule for this position is approximately 15 hours per week and is ineligible for benefits.

QUALIFICATIONS: A high school diploma or the equivalent is required. Some college preferred with at least 4 years related human resources and/or institutional research experience. The position demands excellent organizational skills as well as superior interpersonal skills (verbal and written), and an ability and desire to work closely with all constituencies of the College and Seminary including students, staff and faculty, in addition to the general public.  Requires a team player who can multitask and work under firm deadlines while maintaining strict confidentiality. Computer literacy as well as specific experience with Microsoft Office, particularly working with more complex database applications, word processing and spreadsheets is essential. Web design knowledge is helpful.  Must have the ability to demonstrate fairness, diplomacy and discretion with all persons.  Prior experience in higher education a plus.
If your experience qualifies you for this challenging position, please send your resume and a cover letter along with specific salary history and three professional references as instructed. Candidates should submit their qualifications electronically.

Email your qualifications to Please combine cover letter, resume, and references into one (1) electronic document formatted as a PDF file - include 'HR/IR Assistant' in the email subject line.


Review of Applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Click on the following link for position details and application instructions. Call 610/861-1459 if you have questions:

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until filled. Questions about the position may be directed to extension 610-861-1459. Moravian College is an equal opportunity employer valuing diversity and encouraging individuals from under-represented populations to apply.
Knowledge Management Ventures

Bethlehem based PeopleForce is a service provider that helps its customers with key business processes, undertaking the complete life cycle from process design to implementation, execution and reporting.

Most of our customer engagements are heavily data oriented and involve tasks from data cleansing to matching and coding of millions of records. All involve complex data challenges that our customers typically cannot undertake themselves. We apply technology as well as our distributed workforce to the tasks.
We are looking to expand our team with an experienced data analyst.

Responsibilities Include
•             Taking raw data supplied by customers and transforming it into user-friendly databases that can be accessed by non technical people.
•             Creating web forms for access.
•             Creating new databases that can be used as dictionaries for matching to correct new raw data.
•             Data parsing, including non-standard character strings from international addresses and product descriptions.
•             Move data between customers, cloud servers and work platforms and transform format as required.
•             Create quality control functions to verify accuracy of data post PeopleForce work (automated and manual).
•             Help design and implement customer reporting.
•             Stay current with software tools and applications used and source new ones.
•             Participate in workflow design from a data automation perspective.

Skills Needed

•             3-5 years experience as a data analyst.
•             Self starter who can work independently and take initiative, but also work well within small teams.
•             Expert knowledge of MS Access and MS Excel, including coding macros.
•             Expert knowledge of databases including MySql, Sequel Server etc.
•             Experience with MS Project and similar planning and management tools
•             Familiarity with data related software tools such as Pervasive, Talend and Lucene/Solr.
•             Knowledge of Open Source applications such as Alfresco (document management), Bonitasoft (Workflow), Jaspersoft (BI) and Sugar (CRM).
•             Willingness to learn new applications.

Send resumes to

The economics of the Royal Wedding

As much as I didn't want to, at 6am I couldn't help but turn on YouTube and watch snippets of the Royal Wedding.  It was very beautiful, of course, and as historic as you get when it comes to the British Royal Family.  That being said, we are a business blog - and there are some very interesting economics behind today's Royal Wedding.

  • Today is a national holiday in Britain - all offices are closed, costing an estimated 5.8 million Euros.
  • Additionally, because of the Easter holiday and a bank holiday in May, as many as six million workers may take eleven days off - by using only three vacation days.  This can lead to as many as five billion Pounds removed from the British GDP. 
  • The Royal Family has not released information on how much the royal wedding cost, although it is being paid for by the family itself, not British taxpayers.  The 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana cost an estimated $50 million, and this wedding is more toned down.
  • Between tourism and souvenir sales, the wedding is expected to generate somewhere around $1 billion for the British economy.
  • 5,000 police officers are on hand for security at the event, costing around 10 million Pounds.
  • The City of London is expecting to have an additional 600,000 as a result of the Royal Wedding.

Daily Briefing, 4/29/2011

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

State Senator Bob Mensch has been cited by state police for disorderly conduct after allegedly showing a gun to a motorist on Route 78.  The Easton Area School Board did not vote on teacher layoffs yesterday, delaying the vote by a week to give both sides more time for negotiations.  In Bethlehem, a City Council committee voted to create a human relations committee that would ban discrimination in a variety of areas, including sexual orientation.  In Nazareth, the Colonial Regional police gave a presentation to the Borough of Nazareth on how the regional police department works; Nazareth is considering joining the Colonial Regional police department.  Two pieces of Gracedale-related news.  First, the Coalition for Alzheimer Families has accused Northampton County of illegally funding private challenges to the petitions which put Gracedale on the ballot in the first place.  Second, one of the unions representing Gracedale employees is considering filing an unfair labor practice against Northampton County.

Senate President Pro Tem Joseph Scarnati has introduced a proposed impact fee for the drilling of Marcellus Shale.

We have one Chamber event today: a Grand Opening at Verizon Wireless on Macarthur Road.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and if we don't have another entry today, a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some of the funniest websites on the internet

The economy is tough - unemployment is stubbornly high - and the weather isn't the best.  We can all use a laugh right now.  Fortunately, we are here to help.

In the past, I've shared my blogroll and discussed some of the most useful, informative and educational websites that I read in the hopes that some of the knowledge would rub off on our readers.  Today, I'm going to take the totally opposite tack and share with you some of my favorite funny websites in the hopes that they will bring a smile to your face.

  • The Onion:  You haven't read satire unless you have read The Onion.  Filled with cuttingly-accurate assessments about our turbulent times, The Onion manages to skewer...well, everyone (Warning - the language can get a bit, shall we say, salty, so read with caution at work).  
  • Fail Blog:  One of my favorite words is schadenfreude - it's a German word that roughly translates to "taking pleasure in someone else's pain."  If you're into that sort of thing, don't feel bad, there's a blog for you.  The fail blog is filled with pictures of people having accidents or just being idiots.  
  • LOLCats:  If you like animals, this is the site for you - filled with adorable pictures of cats (or puppies on its companion site) with captions that makes sense...sometimes...this site will likely put a smile on your face.
  • Today's Big Thing:  As the name implies, this site changes on a daily basis, loaded with the funniest video on the internet at any given moment.  It's good for a quick laugh - and the site is basically guarenteed to change on a daily basis!
  • Very Demotivational:  Remember those fun motivational posters that plastered the walls of your 8th grade guidance counselors?  Yeah, this is that...on crack.

Daily Briefing, 4/28/2011

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

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa said yesterday that the county will need an additional $3 million for Gracedale operations if a referendum passes that bands its sale.  As noted in the Express-Times, The Chamber filmed a Business Matters episode on that very subject - the show will air May 2.  In the Easton Area School District, the teachers union and administration are meeting again to try and renegotiate their contract.  Mack Trucks has announced that it will add 50 workers to its manufacturing facility in Lower Macungie.

A new poll shows that Governor Corbett is less popular, with his approval/disapproval rating now at 37% - 39%.

In national news, President Obama released his long-form birth certificate yesterday, showing that he was, as he had always said, born in Hawaii.  Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that the Senate will vote on Congressman Ryan's (R-WI) proposed budget.  President Obama announced national security appointments yesterday: CIA Secretary Leon Panetta will replace Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, and General David Petraeus will replace Panetta as the head of the CIA.  Storms and tornadoes blew across much of the South yesterday, killing at least 159.  Crude oil prices have reached a 33-month high of $112 a barrel.

We have two Chamber events today: a free webinar on enhancing your local SEO and an East Penn School Board Debate, hosted by the East Penn Chamber of Commerce.

That's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll see you later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daily Briefing, 4/27/2011

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

Property taxes in the Bethlehem Area School District will rise 1.7% under a budget passed yesterday.  The Saucon Valley School Board will not raise taxes.  The Lehigh Valley International Airport, board members argued whether or not to begin a search for a new Executive Director.  UGI has paid Allentown just over $200,000 for the immediate aftermath of the February explosion that killed five.  Congrats to Discover Lehigh Valley, which has opened a new visitors center at America on Wheels.

According to a new estimate by the IMF, China will eclipse the U.S. as the worlds largest economy by 2016.

Today is a busy day for us at The Chamber, with three events: a mixer at Martin Guitar in Nazareth, a Business Matters taping with a live studio audience and our annual Employee Appreciation luncheon.

That's it for now!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

State pension gap widens - Now at $1.26 trillion - highlighting the need for pension reform

New figures available show that the cumulative state pension gap grew to an astounding $1.26 trillion - a leap of more than 25% in 2009.  This is based on a report from the Pew Center on the States.  According to the report:

  • As of 2009, state pension funds had amassed $3.6 trillion in obligations - but had only $2.34 trillion to pay for those obligations.  
  • The gap was $1 trillion in 2008 and is now $1.26 trillion.  This is also a conservative estimate - some believe that the gap could be as high as $3 trillion.
  • Much of this gap can be attributed to the Wall Street collapse during the recession.  During 2009, funds lost 19.1% of their value.
  • 31 states are below the 80% funded level (which is the recommended level by the General Accounting Office).  Pennsylvania is funded at 81%
  • Virtually all states have cut benefits or increased contribution requirements for new hires - however, this does not apply to those who have already retired or are near retirement.
  • Those many states Governor's have expressed a desire to switch to a defined contribution system (including Governor Corbett), only Alaska and Michigan have done so.
Almost all public pension plans are defined benefit plans, meaning that the government (in other words, the tax payers) is responsible for paying a set amount each year to its retirees, regardless of any investment shortfalls.  This stands in contrast to most private sector pension plans, or defined contribution plans, in which the pensioner is responsible for any shortfall.

These plans, and the accumulating funding gap, represent a clear and present danger to the tax payers of America, and in our case, Pennsylvania.  At The Chamber, we have taken a strong stance that calls for pension reform.  Among the reforms that we feel are needed:
  • Switch to a defined contribution plan and allow municipalities to do the same.
  • Adopt & ensure appropriate actuarial principles.  For example, many states assume an 8% rate of return on their pension plans - a rate that is unrealistically high.
  • Adopt new contribution rates for new hires.
  • Prohibit including overtime and/or longevity in pension calculations.
  • Consider a municipalities ability to pay in binding arbitration.
  • Better ensure neutrality of arbitrators.
You can read our entire stance below:
Third Class City Policy Packet

Daily Briefing, 4/26/2011

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

A new Lehigh Valley jobs report contained mixed news; the region added jobs and unemployment dropped, but that drop was driven largely by people leaving the work force.  Lehigh County saw a budget surplus last year when revenue collections beat anticipated numbers.  Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg has announced that it will merge with the St. Luke's Health Network.  Lehigh Valley International Airport reported a 15.4% increase in air traffic when compared wit the same time last year.

Governor Corbett signed his first law yesterday, repealing a law passed last year that required all new home construction to have sprinklers.

There were two items of note in the slowly-shaping field of candidates for President in the Republican Party - Governor Haley Barbor (R-MS) announced that he would not run for President, while Congressman Ron Paul has said that he will.  A new report shows that states have an astounding $1.26 trillion hole in their various pension funds.

We have one Chamber event today: the Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce is holding an event on Social Networking 101.

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Five tips for an effective E-mail signature

If you are working at a job that requires E-mail usage at all, you are probably painfully familiar with an E-mail signature.  That little block of text can be exceptionally helpful to those who you connect with digitally - or, conversely, can make you look like an unprofessional buffoon if done poorly.  How do you make sure that your E-mail signature is best reflective of your professional skills?  Here are five tips:

1.  Standardize:  Regardless of if you have a company of two or 100, make sure that all employees use the same format for their E-mail signatures.  Doing so helps create a consistent image an can make life much easier for those who get E-mails from you or your company members.

2.  Don't overdo it:  Nothing is more annoying than a signature that is crammed with too much information.  Don't put in quotes or marketing figures - just stick with your contact information.

3.  Don't forget your Social Media info:  Standard contact information (phone, address, website) is a given in a signature.  But, don't forget to include links to your Social Media sites, particularly if Social Media is a big part of your overall marketing efforts.

4.  Don't forget your smartphone:  By default, if you use a smart-phone, it will have a signature at the end of all E-mails that read, "Sent from my iPhone" or something along those lines.  That's important (particularly if you are prone to spelling errors when writing from a phone - people tend to give you a little more slack).  However, if you use your phone frequently, it may not be a bad idea to create a more in-depth signature.

5.  Long signatures - once per thread:  Microsoft Outlook allows you to utilize different signatures when replying to an E-mail than when you are first creating one.  As such, try to only use your long signature once per E-mail thread - otherwise, the information gets repetitive and annoying.

What do you think - do these make sense?  What tips would you add?  Let us know in the comments!

Daily Briefing, 4/25/2011

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

In Easton, City Council will be cutting its CDBG allocations, possibly by as much as 16%, as a result of federal cuts to the program.  In national news, major investors are advising against long-term investments in the dollar, saying that the currency is weakening.

That's literally it.  Wow.  I've never seen such a slow news day - no real surprise, considering that yesterday was Easter.  Anyway, have a great day, and we'll see you later!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Daily Briefing, 4/21/2011

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

In Allentown, City Council withdrew a special Economic Development Liquor license after learning of the property owner's financial history and lack of a lease for the property.  Lehigh County is seeking to privatize its yard waste collection services.  The Chamber and Workforce Investment Board held a workshop yesterday to discuss the importance of job training and needs communications for the unemployed.  As reported by the Express-Times, The Chamber is also surveying its members to gauge support on the proposed Allentown hockey arena.

In state-wide news, former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D) declared his candidacy for state Attorney General yesterday.

In national news, the Federal government is on track to hit the debt limit in less than a week.

We have one Chamber event today, and its a big one: our annual Commercial Real Estate Outlook & Awards.  To follow the event live, check us out on Twitter under #CommRE.

See you there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How can we help you help yourself?

At The Chamber, I have two primary job responsibilities: Social Media is one of them, but the other one is Member Relations.  Accordingly, I work to bring new businesses into The Chamber and keep our members satisfied.  One of my biggest job responsibilities is to make sure that you, as a Chamber member, are getting a maximum return on investment.  As such, one of the things I am constantly striving towards is making sure that our members are happy with there membership.

That leads me to the subject of today's post: how can we help you help yourself?  One of the things I hear from time to time is that people join The Chamber and expect there business to instantly pick up.  It doesn't work that way; nothing does.  Like virtually any other marketing/networking/promotional effort, passivity won't get you anywhere.  In business, any networking and marketing special is only as good as you invest time and money into.  Just joining The Chamber probably will yield some results (you'll get an instant marketing boost via our website, listing in our print directory, announcement as a New Member on the radio and in our print materials, etc), but not nearly as many as if you actively take advantage of your membership.

Did you know, for example, that joining The Chamber entitles you to $4500 in marketing value at no additional cost?  Or that joining The Chamber entitles you to enroll in a variety of discounted insurance and purchasing programs, including health insurance, business insurance, office supply purchasing, energy purchasing and many, many more?  Or that we have dozens of events every month that provide you with a great opportunity to network with our Lehigh Valley businesses?

Do some of these events take time and money?  Yes, absolutely.  But there is no way to improve your business without investing either of those things.

When helping a Chamber member, I never ask how I can help them.  I ask how I can help them help themselves.  That's what we are here for - to help you grow your business.

If I can help any Chamber member, or if you have questions about your Chamber membership, please contact me at or 484-809-1796.

Commercial Real Estate Outlook & Awards - This Thursday (tomorrow)!

Tomorrow, we have one of our bigger events of the year - our annual Commercial Real Estate Outlook & Awards.  The event will be held at the Holiday Inn Route 100 from 10am - 1:30pm.  As always, the event is presented with of our friends at NAI Summit.

On the agenda for this year's event are:

  • Northampton County award winners, presented by Northampton County Executive John Stoffa
    • Spillman Farmer Architects - The Sigal Museum - Joseph Biondo AIA, Design Principal 
    • St. Luke’s - Wind Gap Medical Center - Bob Martin, Senior Vice President, Network Development
  • Lehigh County award winners, presented by Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham
    • Serfass Construction - Oral Dynamics – David Serfass
    • Matador Development LLC -  Plaza on 8TH – Dennis Benner, Esquire
  • Featured Presentation on the State of Commercial Real Estate - presented by Frank Smith & John Crampsie of NAI Summit.
If you are at the event, or just want to follow along, we will be live tweeting, as always, under our Twitter account and under the hashtag #CommRE.

See you there!

Daily Briefing, 4/20/2011

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

Lehigh Valley home sales continued to slow, with sales and the price of sales dropping.  In Allentown, local business owners in the prospective arena district met with city officials to work out how the sale of their property will be handled.  In Northampton County, the county's law firm worked with Bernie O'Hare and Ron Angle to strengthen a petition challenge in an attempt to have the Gracedale vote removed from the ballot.

At a meeting with Chamber members yesterday, State Secretary of Education Richard Tomalis spoke about the importance of merit pay for teachers and school choice.  There is good news in terms of unemployment, which dropped from 8% to 7.8% in Pennsylvania.

A plane carrying Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden had to abort its landing yesterday after air traffic controllers inadvertently brought it too close to a military aircraft.

We have one Chamber event today:  the Small Business Council is beginning their annual golf league.

That's it for now!  Have a good one and we'll see you later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

State Tax Revenues on the Rise

Hold on, state governments: finally there is some good news.

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, state tax revenue is on the rise.  Among the articles highlights:

  • 45 states have reported their tax revenues so far.  In aggregate, the revenues have indicated that tax revenues are up 9.5% in January/February 2011 than the same time last year.
  • The trend differs for local governments, however - since local governments rely primarily on property tax revenue, which takes a greater time to have recession affects felt, tax revenue is starting to dip.  
  • For states, tax revenues are up across a variety of categories - personal income tax (14.2%), corporate income tax (11.5%) and even sales tax (5.2%).  
  • Taxes remain well below their peak revenue period of 2008.  
  • While the economic recovery certainly played a role in the recent revenue increase, tax hikes also have helped to fill state governments coffers.
Pennsylvania went through the recession without a tax hike - for better or for worse, this is largely the reasoning behind Governor Corbett's austere budget proposal.  In Pennsylvania, our revenue collections remain on target.

Daily Briefing, 4/19/2011

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

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood held an industry-wide summit in Washington D.C. yesterday, focusing on pipeline safety in the aftermath Allentown gas explosion.  The Bethlehem Area School District voted yesterday to eliminate 175 jobs and cut programs in the wake of funding cuts.  The Nazareth Area School Board also made staffing cuts yesterday.  There is good news in Bethlehem, however:  the mall at the Sands will open on November 1, with the conference facility possibly set to open by the end of 2011.  In Easton, funding cuts may mean the closure of the Easton Area Public Library.  In Northampton County, Councilman Ron Angle has said he will appeal a decision that threw out his father's will.

At a meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors yesterday, Governor Corbett said he would protect the environment from the possible negative side-effects of Marcellus Shale drilling, though he reiterated his pledge to not tax its extraction.

The Obamas released their federal tax returns yesterday, showing income of about $1.7 million, the majority of which was from the sale of the President's books.

We have two Chamber events today: a reception with the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Ron Tomalis, and the annual Building Your Pipeline event.

That's it for now!  Have a great day and we'll see you soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Daily Briefing, 4/18/2011

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

The Express Times ran a story over the weekend, highlighting the effect that budget cuts will have on local residents.  In downtown Allentown, a chunk of the Americus Hotel broke off and landed on a nearby car.  Also, as you may have seen in the Express Times, The Chamber is organizing a trip to China.

According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, Senator Casey has relatively weak approval/disapproval numbers (38-35%) - but leads any potential opponent from 12-23%.

If you are a procrastinator, remember, today is your last chance to file your taxes - the deadline is today!

We have two Chamber events today: the Greater Northern Chamber of Commerce is holding their annual Spirit Awards Banquet later today.  We also have a training workshop of emergency response.

Business Matters airs tonight at 8pm on WFMZ-TV.  Today's show is Will Pennsylvania see a replay of the Wisconsin protests?

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you later.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daily Briefing 4/15/11

Good morning everyone, here is today's Daily Briefing:

-ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem dedicated by state, local dignitaries. 

-Northampton County Council votes against contract for court appointed professionals

-Congress sends $38 billion budget cut bill to Obama. Bill clears way for broader debate on spending priorities in era of soaring deficit

Lehigh Valley Schools Update

-Easton school cuts 'devastating'. Still, official warns, school board would ax all athletics and extracurricular activities if necessary.

-Salisbury School Board plans budget session. School directors also pass resolutions opposing Corbett initiatives.

-Whitehall-Coplay consider cuts to libraries. District says it can't afford Whitehall, Coplay public libraries.

Today's Chamber Event

-Webinar: Join us for "Member Benefit Webinar" – Learn how to make the most of your Chamber membership!" begins at 11am

It has been a please bringing you the Daily Briefing this week! That is all for now.

Happy Friday, have a great weekend :) 



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daily Briefing 4/14/11

Good morning everyone, here is today's Daily Briefing:

-SteelStacks arts venue to prime economic pump. An estimated 750,000 visitors to come each year, landing a $39 million punch to the regional economy.

-Bethlehem Township to present plans for park, mansion. Trails, biology study areas envisioned for Housenick estate and adjoining tract.

-Obama: Cut spending, raise taxes on wealthy. President's speech salted with calls for bipartisanship, but also bristled with GOP attacks.

Lehigh Valley Schools Update

-Hike tax if you must, petition says. Residents group in Nazareth Area School District is willing to pay to save programs.

-Easton board lists teacher cuts, opts for more talks. Directors say which 160 jobs that would be dropped unless a deal is reached with union. It also appeals 'Boobies' ruling.

Today's Chamber Events:

-Davinci Science Center Open House/Meet and Greet

That is all for now, enjoy the beautiful day...finally some sunshine! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Daily Briefing 4/13/11

Good morning everyone, here is today's Daily Briefing:

-Voters will decide Gracedale's fate. Court ruling affirms that home rule charter allows ballot question.

-Govt Begins Push To Improve Hospital Safety. Goal is to cut hospital-caused harms by 40 percent.

-Obama Pivots, Eyes Medicare Changes, Tax Increases. President To Speak On Budget

Lehigh Valley Schools - latest news

-Loss of education jobs will have ripple effect. The $20 million cut from school payrolls in 2011-12 would actually mean $60 million is drained from the region, economist says.
-Deep pockets behind school choice. Supporters, organization and cash drive Corbett-backed push for vouchers.

-Northern Lehigh schools unscathed. District faces no tax hike, no major program cuts, no layoffs under 2011-12 budget.
-East Penn teachers offer to take pay freeze. Proposal calls for a two-year contract extension through the 2014-15 school year.
--Easton area could reveal its hand on budget cuts. The vote comes as the district, teachers remain apart on concessions.
-Judge: 'Boobies' bans OK :) . Easton Area middle school students' bracelets are ruled not lewd or disruptive.

The Chamber event of the day:
-The Phillipsburg and Easton Area Chambers Present the Golf Academy at Infini-Tee Golf Center

That is all for now, have a great day!! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daily Briefing 4/12/11

Good morning everyone, here is today's Daily Briefing

Bethlehem Police Commissioner Stuart J. Bedics to retire after serving over two decades with the Bethlehem Police Department. 

Georgia company to buy Tastykake, $165 million deal ends debt woes for historic Philly brand.

Japan nuclear crisis on same level as Chernobyl.Aftershock sparks small fire at crippled plant, workers extinguish blaze.

Where is Mike?? Well I am happy to announce that Mike and his wife Brenna have welcomed a healthy baby boy: Auron Connor Schlossberg, born 12:21pm on Sunday, April 10, 6 pounds 11 ounces, 20 inches. Congratulations to both of you :) Mike will return next week!

Chamber event today:

Easton Area Chamber invites to attend an Easton Hospital Update with CEO Brian Finestein.

That is all for now, enjoy your day and stay dry! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Daily Briefing, 4/8/2011

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

Northampton County College President Arthur Scott has announced his retirement at the end of the next academic year.  The IronPigs held their season opener last night and won, beating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 7-2.  In national news, consumer spending was up in March, beating analysts expectations.  Negotiations last night did not yield a budget agreement, setting up a likely government shutdown today.

We have two great Chamber events today:  the annual Hellertown-Lower Saucon banquet and Phillipsburg Comedy Night.

Hmm,. slow news day today.  Anyway, that's all for now - have a good one!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What does a Government shutdown mean to you?

It appears very likely that no budget deal will be reached by tomorrow; this means that non-essential operations of the federal government will shutdown.  To many of us, this seems pretty removed - after all, how does the federal government really affect our lives on a day-to-day basis?

Obviously the situation is different for everyone, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Tourism related to the federal government?  Gone.  All federal sites (national parks, museums, etc) will be shut down.  This won't affect us much in the Valley, but in bigger cities, like Philly...that won't be pretty.
  • If you get Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, you are okay - those payments will still go out, though newly eligible recipients would not be able to apply.  However, tax refunds (paper tax refunds only - electronic would be okay), government-backed mortgages, loan paperwork, etc?   That will be stopped during a shutdown, and that can have a very problematic affect on housing and business.
  • 800,000 "non-essential" government employees would find themselves temporarily out of work.  This will obviously affect not only the lives of these employees, but the lives of the thousands of businesses that rely on revenue provided by these employees (think of the corner cafe next to the federal building or the gas station that is on the worker's commute).  
  • Visa/passport processing will be suspended - so if you need one right away, you are out of luck!
  • Military members would not be paid past Friday (though they would be paid any lost wages once the government reopened).

Welcome, New Members!

We are pleased to welcome March's crop of New Members to The Chamber!  As always, if you are interested in Chamber Membership, check out our website or reach out to me at    

A-1 & Janitorial Supply Co.
(610) 437-7040
732 North 16th Street
Allentown, PA 18104

Abilities of NW Jersey Inc.
(908) 689-1118
264 Route 31 North
P.O. Box 251
Washington, NJ 07882

Accents Floral & Home
(610) 282-4034
202 South 3rd Street ( Rt. 309 )
Coopersburg, PA 18036
Business Category:  FLORISTS

Advantage Engineers
(610) 366-7120
6520 Stonegate Drive, #110
Allentown, PA 18106
Business Category:  ENGINEERING

Applied Motion Technologies Inc.
(610) 691-2375
1368 Santee Mill Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017

ART Productions
(484) 716-4119
618 4th Avenue
The Loft
Bethlehem, PA 18018

(484) 903-8281
1132 West Union Boulevard
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Bethlehem Memorial Cemetery
(610) 867-4294
1851 Linden Street
Bethlehem, PA 18017

Blair Custom Homes, Inc.
(610) 865-4200
Route 378 South & Walter Street
1412 Walter Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Boscov's Travel
(610) 370-3409
4500 Perkiomen Avenue
Reading, PA 19606

Chick-fil-A at Trexlertown
(484) 664-2907
6379 Hamilton Boulevard
Trexlertown, PA 18106
Business Category:  RESTAURANTS & CAFES

Comprehensive Chiropractic, PC
(610) 351-8297
2200 West Hamilton Street
Suite 215
Allentown, PA 18104
Business Category:  CHIROPRACTORS

Div. M B World Enterprises, LLC
(610) 253-1099
30 Barron Circle
Easton, PA 18042
Business Category:  ENERGY

(717) 260-0102
1414 North Cameron Street, Suite A
Harrisburg, PA 171-3

Executive Auto Sport, Inc.
(610) 217-6140
140 Applewood Drive
Easton, PA 18045

Gettins, Christina
(610) 509-8360
2809 Saucon Valley Road
Center Valley, PA 18034
Business Category:  INDIVIDUALS

Glen Anthony Designs LLC
(610) 882-3590
310 East Third Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Business Category:  INTERIOR DESIGN & DECORE

Haydenfilms Institute
(323) 337-6868
9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Suite 230
Breinigsville, PA 18031

(610) 730-8246
1885 Dartford Road
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Jay Miller General Contractors Inc.
(610) 253-4244
30-32 South Sitgreaves Street
Easton, PA 18042
Business Category:  CONTRACTORS

Joseph R. Fenstermacher Financial Advisor
(610) 428-7272
5388 Vera Cruz Road
Center Valley, PA 18034
Business Category:  FINANCIAL SERVICES

Ju-Ju Monkey Inc.
(818) 219-7711
P.O. Box 489, PMB#118
Schnecksville, PA 18078
Business Category:  ECOMMERCE

Julabo USA Inc.
(610) 231-0250
754 Roble Road, Suite 180
Allentown, PA 18109
Business Category:  MANUFACTURING

KeneK Photography
(484) 553-1862
PO Box 1514
Allentown, PA 18105

Knowledge Management Ventures
(610) 419-0892
205 Webster Street
Suite 205
Bethlehem, PA 18015

The Lakes
(610) 395-0922
3218 West Cedar Street
Allentown, PA 18104

Landmark Gardens & Nursery
(610) 502-1550
902 Mud Lane
Northampton, PA 18067

LaRose Boutique
(610) 882-4400
91 West Broad Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Business Category:  RETAIL SALES

Lehigh Commons
(610) 530-8089
Gensis Healthcare
1680 Spring Creek Road
Macungie, PA 18062

(610) 758-4783
516 Brodhead Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Business Category:  ASSOCIATIONS

NTX  Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer/Trexlertown
(484) 223-3100
West Valley Market Place - Wal-Mart Plaza
1042 Mill Creek Road
Trexlertown, PA 18106

NTX Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer/Allentown
(610) 820-7000
Shoppes at Cedar Point
355 South Cedar Crest Boulevard
Allentown, PA 18103

NTX Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer/East Stroudsburg
(570) 213-0560
Lincoln Plaza - Wal-Mart Plaza
107 Brown Street
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301

NTX Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer/Easton
(610) 330-2800
Northampton Crossings Shopping Center - Wal-Mart Plaza
3730 Easton-Nazareth Highway
Easton, PA 18045

NTX Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer/Quakertown
(215) 804-0700
Trainers Station Corner Shopping Center
42 North West End Boulevard
Quakertown, PA 18951

NU Housecalls
(610) 393-3966
P.O. Box 490
Coopersburg, PA 18036
Business Category:  PHYSICIANS & SURGEONS

(610) 559-7211
235 Ferry Street
Easton, PA 18042
Business Category:  RESTAURANTS & CAFES

Pistachio Bar & Grill
(610) 435-7007
The Shops at Cedar Pointe
341 South Cedar Crest Blvd.
Allentown, PA 18103
Business Category:  RESTAURANTS & CAFES

Pocket Protector Games
(484) 809-1796
944 N. 19th Street
Allentown, PA 18104

Presidential Mortgage Group
(610) 419-1802
One East Broad Street, Suite 520
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Business Category:  MORTGAGE BROKERS

River Grille
(610) 923-5110
243 Northampton Street
Easton, PA 18042
Business Category:  RESTAURANTS & CAFES

Robert M. Gordon, Ph.D., ABPP, PC
(610) 248-9648
1259 South Cedar Crest Boulevard, Suite 325
Allentown, PA 18103; www.rewarding

Ruhmel Contracting Inc.
(610) 366-0910
9905 Old 22
Breinigsville, PA 18031
Business Category:  CONTRACTORS

Ruk Chisty Global Sourcing Consultant
(610) 965-3320; (484) 571-6304
5221 Buss Drive
Emmaus, PA 18049
Business Category:  IMPORT & EXPORT SERVICES

S. Chism's Candle Bakery & More
(484) 284-0888
3440 Lehigh Street #113
Allentown, PA 18049

Significa Realty LLC
(610) 681-2712
Route 209
Kresgeville, PA 18333

Silpada Designs - Shelly McCann
(610) 390-2001
6743 Rutherford Drive
Macungie, PA 18062
Business Category:  JEWELERS

(610) 737-1523
1247 South Cedar Crest Boulevard, Suite 300
Allentown, PA 18103
Business Category:  PHYSICIANS & SURGEONS

Step By Step Inc.
(610) 867-0688
623 West Union Boulevard
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Business Category:  THERAPISTS

Sustaining Support, LLC
(610) 967-1782
1815 West Minor Street
Emmaus, PA 18049

T&D Investments Inc.
(484) 357-0370
1874 Catasauqua Road #512
Allentown, PA 18109

The Tally - Ho Tavern
(610) 865-2591
205 West 4th Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Business Category:  RESTAURANTS & CAFES

The Pidcock Company
(610) 791-2252
2451 Parkwood Drive
Allentown, PA 18103
Business Category:  ENGINEERING

United Friends School
(215) 538-1733
1018 West Broad Street
Quakertown, PA 18951

Universal Institute Inc.
(610) 625-4959
314 East Third Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Job Openings - kgb USA, abec, 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!

kgb USA


The kgbdeals business is growing! Group Buying is here! Be on the ground floor of the daily deals business that is sweeping the nation. Businesses across America are now taking part in daily promotions where they offer their service at a 50% discount or more. As an Inside Sales Representative for kgbdeals, a leading daily deal website you will build a robust sales pipeline and generate interest and excitement among both local and national retailers about group buying with kgbdeals. Successful candidates will be able to clearly and convincingly articulate all the benefits that merchants enjoy when they partner with kgbdeals.

At kgbdeals you will work in a fun, competitive, and exciting telephone-based sales environment. You will be assigned to prospect specific businesses and areas in cities across the U.S., as well as specific business types, such as Salons, Spas, Restaurants, Travel, Entertainment, and more. You will research the businesses in the areas you are assigned and make initial contact, conduct presentations, and secure orders with our automated authorization system. You will have the chance to earn commission on every sale you make, and when the deal runs, you can earn commission based upon how well it performs.

We are looking for positive, enthusiastic, dynamic employees with a solid work and/or educational background. One year of sales experience required (B2B preferred). Excellent communication skills are a must.

We offer a competitive base salary and monthly uncapped commission plan enabling Inside Sales Agents to earn over $40k per year at target. Our Agents are also eligible to participate in a top-notch benefits plan, including medical, dental, vision, prescription, matching 401(k) and more.
To learn more, visit our website at or our parent company at Interested candidates, please email your resume to


For those who don’t know ABEC, we design and build production scale systems to produce cell based drugs such as vaccines, insulin, etc. and we are a world leader.
Our services range from conceptual design work through turnkey installation, training and ongoing service. Clients are around the world.
Positions include:

Electrical Draftsman/Designer

Strong understanding of schematics and ability to read specs and scope reports required. Design wiring diagrams, select components and panel design layouts using Autocad 2 D. Understanding of BUS, NEC, UL, PLC and conduit design preferred.

This is an hourly position with paid overtime with access to an outstanding and valuable benefits plan and 401k plan regarded as one of the best.

Member of electrical and mechanical design team. Position interfaces with engineering, design, project management, automation, procurement and assembly in designing and creating an integrated solution to our client’s needs.

The position is located in Bethlehem, Pa. at ABEC headquarters. Project environment designing world class production systems for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. See for more information. The position need is created by continued growth at ABEC due to strong international and domestic project activity. Direct resumes to or

Project manager-experienced with third party clients for engineering and capital projects. Mandarin skills strongly preferred. Pharma or similar experience desired. 15% to 20% travel.

Project engineer-Mandarin skills strongly preferred. 10 to 20% travel.

Automation manager-experienced in controls platforms and software. Will manage automation engineers and others to design and create control systems. Experience required in project management, staff development and various software platforms such as Siemens, AB, Delta V, Intellution. 15% travel.

Mechanical and / or electrical assemblers-second shift position. Ability to read prints and follow meticulous instructions. Orbital welding, hand welding and cross training preferred. Travel required.
Resumes to or

Northampton Community College

Listed below is a listing of our current job openings. Please visit our website at for additional information. NCC is EEO/AA.

FT – Tenure Track Funeral Services Education
PT – Fitness Instructor MONROE County
PT – Adjunct Instructor - Social Work
PT – Adjunct Instructors – Early Childhood Education
PT – Instructors – Basic Life Support for Healthcare Provider and American Heart Heartsaver
PT – Camp Coordinator – Main Campus
PT – Instructor – Non-Credit Occupational and Adult Education
PT – Adjunct Instructor – Microbiology

Daily Briefing, 4/7/2011

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

Some bad local economic news, as J.C. Penny announced yesterday that it will be laying off 325 at its Upper Macungie distribution center.  In Allentown, City Council moved to revoke a previously granted Economic Development Liquor License additional information was revealed by the applicant.  In Parkland, the district will be eliminating sixty positions next year - some of those positions will be layoffs.

In national news, President Obama was in Bucks County yesterday, discussing renewable energy.  A budget shutdown still looms, however, with no deal being reached as of last night; if the government does shutdown tomorrow, at least 800,000 could find themselves temporarily out of work.

We have two Chamber events today: a President's Rountable with the CEO of Capital BlueCross, Bill Lehr, and  a Grand Opening/Open House at First Star Bank in Palmer.

That's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll see you in a bit.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Using your Chamber website

As we have frequently discussed, The Chamber recently launched a new website.  The website comes replete with multiple new features that are designed to make sure that any Chamber member gets a maximum value out of their membership investment.

Two new features are particularly noteworthy:
1)  Our new Community Calendar, which allows you to submit events to a Community Calendar that can then be viewed by anyone on the internet.
2)  Our revamped Coupons page, which allows any member to submit a coupon (and use the coupons of others).

To make sure that all of our members know how to use these features, we create two quick videos that walk you through the process of submitting and event to the Community Calendar and creating/modifying a coupon.  If you have any other questions that you need answered, just E-mail me at

I hope this is helpful!

Submitting an event on the Community Calendar:

Submitting a Coupon:

Daily Briefing, 4/6/2011

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

In Nazareth, Roe Seiple, Chief of the Colonial Regional Police Department, is going to give a presentation to Nazareth Borough Council that will detail what police service would be if Nazareth joined the regional police department.  Northampton Community College students joined others in Harrisburg yesterday to protest proposed cuts to higher education funding in Governor Corbett's budget.  The Catasauqua Area School District teacher's union has voted to freeze their pay, although there could still be layoffs. LANTA held a public meeting yesterday to discuss proposed route revisions.

In state-wide news, the legislature is considering a mileage tax to help replenish rapidly shrinking transportation funds.

In national news, a federal government shutdown now appears more likely, as President Obama rejected a proposal by House Speaker Boehner to sign another temporary resolution that would keep the government funded for another week.  Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) has been picked to serve as the new head of the Democratic National Committee, replacing Tim Kaine of Virginia, who announced that he'll run for the Senate.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you in a bit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Proposed pipeline safety enhancements

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Allentown yesterday, touring the sight of the February gas explosion and announcing new and strengthened regulations for gas pipeline safety in the United States.  I had the privilege of attending the press conference - other speakers included Senator Casey, Congressman Dent, Mayor Pawlowski and the survivors of the explosion.  The press conference was held at the Gross Towers Senior Center, about a block from the explosion site.  The towers were evacuated that night.

Here are some of the proposals being put forth to strengthen pipeline safety:

  • A pipeline safety forum, to be held April 18 with national, state and local stakeholders.
  • Additional federal inspectors and increased penalties for violating regulations.
  • Requirements that pipeline operators be aware of the age and type of all of their pipes.
  • Strengthening reporting rules and requirements.
  • Making information about gas pipelines accessible to the public.
  • Require all new pipes to have shut-off valves.
  • In total, the Obama Administration's budget would increase pipeline safety funding by 15%.

Daily Briefing, 4/5/2011

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

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Allentown yesterday.  At a mid-day press conference with other elected officials, the Secretary unveiled his plans for better pipeline safety measures in the wake of the gas explosion that killed five.  In Portland, facing $60,000 in unpaid bills, the Portland Ambulance Corps has shut down, perhaps for good.  At a press conference yesterday, the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley announced that it had raised over $185,000.

In state-wide news, Tort Reform legislation advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday.

In national news, more good economic news: Bankruptcy filings have dropped 6% during the first quarter of 2011 when compared to the first quarter of 2010.  President Obama invited Congressional leaders to the White House to negotiate a budget agreement in advance of a possible shutdown on Friday.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you later.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Epsilon Security Breach and what it means for you

As you may have read, Epsilon International recently had a massive security breach that appears to have affected millions of users across the world.  Epsilon is one of the world's largest firms for E-mail marketing and handles the service for dozens of businesses across the world, including:

  • Kroger
  • TiVo
  • US Bank
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Capital One
  • Citi
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • Marriott Rewards
  • New York & Company
  • Brookstone
  • Walgreens
  • The College Board 
  • Home Shopping Network (HSN)
  • LL Bean
  • Disney Destinations
  • Barclays Bank of Delaware
Unfortunately, the list of affected businesses continues to grow.  The data released includes names and E-mail addresses.

This is one of the largest firms in the world, and if they had their security breached, you can imagine what this means for all of your data.  So, here's the key question:  How can you protector your computer systems and customer information?  Here are some tips:

1)  What, where and who:  Know what information you have, where it is stored and who has access to it.
2)  Dispose correctly:  Every business that contains sensitive information should dispose of paper receipts properly.  This means shred them!  Don't just throw out information...its is far too easy for identity thefts to break into your garbage.  This goes for your home too!
3)  Have a plan:  What is your written plan for electronic security, if you have one at all?  Also, if the worst happens and your data is compromised, what steps will you take to notify your customers and rectify the situation?
4)  Control access:  All it takes is one disgruntled employee to destroy business trust that you have built up for years.  Who has access to sensitive customer information, and how can you control or limit that access?
5)  Check your vendors:  If you are giving customer information to vendors, how secure is that info?  What policies does a vendor have in place to protect the information of you and your customers?

What tips do you have to add?


Daily Briefing, 4/4/2011

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing - light in the local news, but heavy on the national front!

In national news, President Obama announced his reelection early this morning via text message and video.  Senate Democrats scored a major recruiting victory in Virginia, as DNC Chair and former Governor Tim Kaine appears set to run for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jim Webb.  There was great news in national unemployment numbers, as the unemployment rate dropped to 8.8%, the lowest in two years.  Southwest grounded 79 planes for inspection after a hole opened on a plane in flight, causing it to depressurize.  We don't yet have a 2011 budget, but House Republicans are set to unveil a 2012 budget that calls for an overhaul of Medicare and cuts to Medicaid.  A massive digital security breach at multiple nation-wide retail stores, including Best Buy and Walgreens, has resulted in the compromising of customer data across the nation.

By the way, if you follow are interested in Pennsylvania Politics, make sure to check out PoliticsPa - their April Fools day entries are absolutely hysterical.

And, make sure you watch the Business Matters that everyone is talking about: should Northampton County sell Gracedale?  It airs tonight at 8pm on WFMZ.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you later.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Smartphones, Apps and your business

As I type this entry, my iPhone is no more than two feet from me.  I know I'm not the only one.  Smartphones have completely revolutionized the way that people communicate with each other, access the internet, exchange information and more.

The stats on smartphones are relatively interesting as well.  iPhones seem very prevalent, but are they the most popular smartphone operating platform in America?  Nope.  Check out this survey result from January 2011:

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Oct. 2010
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
 Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Oct-10Jan-11Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers100.0%100.0%N/A

As you can see, the Google phones (Android) are currently the most popular, with a significant growth spurt in the three months noted above.  The growth comes largely at the expense of the RIM (Blackberries).  iPhones have remained relatively steady, holding about 25% of the market share.

However, there is one major area where iPhones hold a major advantage over all other competitors: Apps.  These add-ons (free or paid) have helped to keep iPhone as one of the top forces in the smartphone business.    In 2010, Apple's App Store grew over 131%, with revenues of more than $1.7 billion.   During this time period, it commanded over 82.7% of the market share for all Apps.  This is a massively impressive number, although a smaller one than its 92.8% market share in 2009.

The App market does appear to be diversifying and revenues are skyrocketing.  Key question:  What does this mean for your business?

  • Depending on your business, you may seriously want to consider the development of an App.  At a bare minimum, your website should be mobile-friendly.
  • iPhone Apps remain the place to be, at least for now, though other markets are emerging.
  • If Apps are the most important thing to your selection of a smartphone, you should probably look pretty closely at an iPhone.