Friday, September 30, 2011

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

Mayor Panto introduced his budget in Easton yesterday.  For the third straight year, the budget included no tax hike.  In Bethlehem, State Representative Joseph Brennan (D-133) applied for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD, for his DUI arrest.  In national news, in an interview yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden said that the economy now belonged to the Obama administration, not George W. Bush.  A new survey shows that 90% of Americans believe that economic conditions are still poor.  In international news, in a major development, Al Qaeda leader Anwar Awlaki has been killed in Yemen.

That's it for now!  We will not be back later today, so have a great weekend, and see you Monday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Job Openings

Hello everyone!  Here are today's job openings.  As always, if you are a Chamber member and would like us to post any of your job openings, please E-mail the info to me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org.
--

Newest Hottest Franchise, Muscle Maker Grill is now opening in Allentown, and is looking for
enthusiastic & outgoing Quality Team Members to work as Line Cooks! Must be responsible,
reliable and mature.

Starting pay at $7.75 – Based on Experience!

2 + years cooking experience preferred!

ServSafe Certification a plus, but not required (Let us know either way – we will train)
Flexible work hours
Maintain professional demeanor with co-workers and clients.

Under direction from owner and general manager, but must be able to function under limited
supervision.

Must be friendly & personable, Self-motivator, Receptive to positive & critical feedback, Able to
communicate verbally and understand and follow written & verbal instructions

May be required to perform tasks outside of job description when needed

Must:

-

-
-

-

Make sure all of the food is properly prepared based on franchise recipes and to the
standards set by the restaurant.
Make sure quality food is served to the customers and guests
Participate in all relevant meetings & work projects, which may include joint team
cleaning of all areas and aspects of kitchen, including prep areas, cooler, equipment,
and dry storage;
Responsible for proper labeling, dating, & rotation of all ingredients & bulk produce
and prepped items to prevent food waste

Paid Training Begins in 1-2 Weeks!

Muscle Maker Grill of Allentown is a franchisee committed to providing a great work
environment and treating our employees with dignity and respect. We are a team dedicated
to helping our customers follow a healthy lifestyle. Our core values are: Respect & Honor,
Commitment to Excellence, Knowledge, and a Quality Team! Through effective communication,
we will work together to help each other learn, grow, and prosper. With incentives and
performance-based compensation, our dedicated team members are on the track to becoming the
potential leaders of our restaurant. Do you have what it takes to be a part of Muscle Maker Grill,
if so email for quick interview. Please send resume to mmgallentownpa@gmail.com

Valley Plaza Shopping Center
1894 Catasauqua Road
Allentown, PA 18109

Hours of Operation:
Mon.-Sat.: 11am-9pm
Sun.: 11am-6pm

http://allentown.cr aigslist.or g/fbh/2611747332.html

Cashier s (Fr ont-line) (5)

Newest Hottest Franchise, Muscle Maker Grill is now opening in Allentown, and is looking
for enthusiastic & outgoing Quality Team Members to work as Cashiers! Must be responsible,
reliable and mature.

$7.75/hr plus tip credit

Responsibilities Include:
- Maintaining organization and cleanliness at the cashier station
- Processes to-go orders
- Is friendly and courteous on the phone & in person
- Handles payments accurately
- Understands all menu items and where they are located on the register, and can
advise & help customers with menu choices/options
- Informs manager/owner when the money in the drawer needs to be taken to the safe
to reduce risk of robbery

May be responsible for other duties not within the job description, including but not limited
to cleaning the food display and/or stock areas, assisting with stocking activities, and all other
responsibilities as directed by the Operation Manager.

Muscle Maker Grill of Allentown is a franchisee committed to providing a great work
environment and treating our employees with dignity and respect. We are a team dedicated
to helping our customers follow a healthy lifestyle. Our core values are: Respect & Honor,
Commitment to Excellence, Knowledge, and a Quality Team! Through effective communication,
we will work together to help each other learn, grow, and prosper. With incentives and
performance-based compensation, our dedicated team members are on the track to becoming the
potential leaders of our restaurant. Do you have what it takes to be a part of Muscle Maker Grill,
if so email for quick interview. Please send resume to mmgallentownpa@gmail.com

Valley Plaza Shopping Center
1894 Catasauqua Road
Allentown, PA 18109

Hours of Operation:
Mon.-Sat.: 11am-9pm
Sun.: 11am-6pm

Starting the 3rd Week of October!

http://allentown.craigslist.org/fbh/2611772702.html

Deliver y Dr iver s (4)

Newest Hottest Franchise, Muscle Maker Grill is now opening in Allentown, and is looking for
Quality Team Members to work as Delivery Drivers! Must be responsible, reliable and mature.

$3.75/hr + $1.50 (for using Car Topper) + tips
Flexible hours PT/FT

Must:

- Have Your Own Car, Insurance & a Good driving record
- Have Knowledge of the Surrounding Areas
- Be Able to work nights and weekends
- Be Able to work in a fast paced environment

Muscle Maker Grill of Allentown is a franchisee committed to providing a great work
environment and treating our employees with dignity and respect. We are a team dedicated
to helping our customers follow a healthy lifestyle. Our core values are: Respect & Honor,
Commitment to Excellence, Knowledge, and a Quality Team! Through effective communication,
we will work together to help each other learn, grow, and prosper. With incentives and
performance-based compensation, our dedicated team members are on the track to becoming the
potential leaders of our restaurant. Do you have what it takes to be a part of Muscle Maker Grill,
if so email for quick interview. Please send resume to mmgallentownpa@gmail.com

Valley Plaza Shopping Center
1894 Catasauqua Road
Allentown, PA 18109

Hours of Operation:
Mon.-Sat.: 11am-9pm
Sun.: 11am-6pm

Starting the 3rd Week of October!

http://allentown.craigslist.org/fbh/2611781594.html

Social Media Exclusive: The Chamber adopts a Marcellus Shale policy

As you may be aware, The Chamber's Public Policy Committee will periodically adopt public policy positions on important issues.  At Monday's Board of Governor's meeting, the Board formally adopted two public policy positions.  One of them was on Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, and the entire policy is below, but here's the summary:

  • The Chamber supports an impact fee for the extraction of Marcellus Shale.  However, the funding generated from that fee should be used only matters directly or indirectly related to the gas extracted.
    • Any fee should be imposed, managed and collected on a state-wide level.
    • Any fee should not be added to the state's General Fund.
  • The Chamber opposes practice of pooling in the extraction of the gas except in situations where property owners have legally assigned their gas rights.
For the entire policy, as well as the path that it took to become a formal policy position, read on:
-------
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
Marcellus Shale policy

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce recognizes the economic benefits and opportunity for energy independence that shale gas formations, including Marcellus and others, can bring to Pennsylvania's businesses, commerce and communities, as well as the need to protect our environment, natural resources and infrastructure from adverse consequences from developing and extracting shale gas. 

We urge Pennsylvania lawmakers to enact legislation that will regulate the industries involved in extracting natural gas from Shale formations in a manner fair to all stakeholders; providing for transparency in governance and strong environmental stewardship.  We also urge Pennsylvania’s regulating bodies to regulate these industries in a manner consistent with the intent of the legislation, and that the Legislature establish and maintain proper protocols for regulator oversight.

The Chamber is against the practice of pooling in the extraction of the gas except in situations where property owners have legally assigned their gas rights.  The Chamber believes that the practice of forced pooling, which would give the drilling industry the right to drill under and take gas from a property owner who has not signed a lease to sell gas, amounts to a use of eminent domain for private business interests and is a violation of property ownership rights.

The Chamber believes that an impact fee on natural gas extracted from shale gas formations should be established, subject to the following conditions:

This fee should be used solely to address direct and indirect impacts, both present and future, associated with natural gas extraction.  This includes but is not limited to remediation of environmental contamination, infrastructure repair and maintenance, public safety issues, and increased regulatory agency costs associated with properly overseeing the associated industries and a reasonable fund to address non recoverable and unexpected costs that is not otherwise covered by responsible parties.

This fee should be imposed, collected and managed at the State level so that all impacts, including those that may occur ‘downstream’ from well locations, may be addressed in an equitable and consistent manner.

Funds raised through this assessment should not be added to the General Fund nor be available for any other purpose, but instead should be set aside in a trust fund and used solely for purposes outlined above.


The Chamber encourages its current and future members to explore the business opportunities Marcellus Shale presents to PA.

8/9/11 – E&E Committee passed unanimously (motion D.Scheel, 2nd J.McGeehin)
8/17/11- Public Policy Committee amended to add “public safety issues” and passed unanimously (motion K.Frazier, 2nd D.Dunn)
9/15/11- 2nd version passed by E/E Committee
9/21/11 - 2nd version passed by Public Policy Committee
9/26/11---passed by Executive Committee and Board of Governors
FINAL 

Daily Briefing 9/29/2011

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

Significant rains hit the Valley yesterday, causing some minor flooding...again.  In state-wide news, Governor Corbett has said that he will signed legislation recently passed by the legislature that increases restrictions on teenage drivers.In national news, a new Fox News poll shows that Mitt Romney has retaken the national lead for the Republican Presidential nomination.  The state of Florida appears set to move its primary into January, causing a chain reaction that will push the New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina primaries/caucuses into mid-January.  Amazon introduced its tablet yesterday, the Kindle Fire.

We have one Chamber event today, and its a big one: our annual Mayors' Dinner.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seven things TO do when it comes to Social Media

Yesterday, we did part one of this two-part series: Seven things NOT to do in regards to Social Media.  Here's part two: Seven things you absolutely SHOULD do in regards to Social Media.

1.  Create a company page:  Virtually every Social Media platform has an opportunity for you to create a formal business presence.  An important marketing point here: make sure that your branding (logos, messages, colors, etc) all match across platforms.


2.  Create fresh, interesting content:  No one wants to read Social Media that just promotes the creator.  Social Media must create value-added content - in other words, it must give the reader knowledge, information or insight that they wouldn't have otherwise.  Examples include:

  • Tips, advice, how-tos.  
  • Exclusive discounts/promotions that aren’t available anywhere else.
  • Share funny stories.
  • Show people the faces behind your company.

3.  Track Return on Investment:  Virtually every Social Network allows you to track ROI.  However, what ROI you track depends on why you are using Social Media - different metrics can track different objectives.  Regardless of what you track, you should absolutely track something.


4.  Create a Social Media policy:  Regardless of it your business has a presence on Social Media, your employees like have personal page's - which means that you need a Social Media Policy.  Items that should be addressed include:

  • What can and can’t an employee say on Social Media?
  • Can an employee use Social Media during work hours?
  • What are your employees recommended privacy settings?
  • Can you discuss work at all?  If so, in what form?
  • Who runs the company’s Social Media?
5.  Set up monitoring tools:  Google Alerts, Yacktrack and Hootsuite can help you keep track of who is saying what about you.  They enable you to get E-mails or alerts when certain keywords, entered by you, are used on various networks.  As such, they can be invaluable for customer service or research.


6.  Conduct sales research:  LinkedIn and Facebook profiles both have a bevy of personal information that can be invaluable, especially if you are going on a sales call.  Before you go on any such meeting, make sure to check out your appointments Social Media info - see what you can learn and how you can leverage that information.


7.  Be casual and personal:  No one wants a business robot on Social Media.  People like to connect with brands and businesses that are professional, but also personal.  For example, on the Chamber's Facebook page, I just made a joke about holding a matchmaking mixer for single business owners (it makes sense in context, I swear).  The point is that people want to see the face behind the business - don't be afraid to show it!

Those are our tips for Social Media - what are yours?  Let us know in the comments!

Daily Briefing, 9/28/2011

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

In Northampton County, County Executive John Stoffa has announced the resignation of John Conklin, his Director of Administration, and said that he will be picking a new Director this week.  The Lehigh Valley International Airport has unveiled a new logo that returns to the ABE acronym.

In state-wide news, legislators have created a plan that would allow for a state takeover of Harrisburg as a result of the city's $300 million deficit.

In national news, Amazon is set to unveil its own tablet today.  In a speech yesterday, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) refused to issue a new denial of Presidential ambitions and is said to still be considering an entry into the race.  Federal lawyers have said they will allow an appeal of President Obama's health care reform to head to the Supreme Court, where it will be decided and likely ruled upon before the 2012 elections.

We have one Chamber event today: a Breakfast Mixer with the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seven things not to do on Social Media

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to give a presentation to the National Association of Purchasing Management of the Lehigh Valley on Social Media.  The presentation had some information on things that you should do - and should not do - on Social Media.  Here are some things that you should absolutely not do on Social Media.

1)  Talk about yourself...all the time:  There is nothing wrong with self-promotion...every now and then.  In general, however, Social Media is best when you use it to discuss your customers and how your products/services can provide them with expertise.  You have to create added value with Social Media.  Talking about yourself all the time does not accomplish this.


2)  Be inconsistent:  Social Media doesn't necessarily require frequent updates (though it helps).  It does, however, require consistent updates.  Nothing looks worse than a couple of flurries of activity, followed by months of silence.  Make sure that, however often you update, your are consistent about it.


3)  Post something you don't want seen - by everyone:  As these Social Media fails by the Red Cross and Chrysler Motors demonstrate, its far too easy to accidentally post something to a Social Media account - and forget how easily information can be shared on Social Media.   Make sure that you are comfortable with anything you post on Social Media being published on the front page of a newspaper, because theoretically, that could happen.


4)  Be insulting or condescending:  Similarly, never, ever, ever insult someone on Social Media - particularly from your business account.  The BBC once got in a whole heap of trouble for doing just that.


5)  Not dedicate sufficient resources:  Repeat after me:  "Social Media is not an intern project!"  If you want Social Media to work, you have to allocate sufficient staff time, equipment and control to be successful.
  
6)  Speak the same across multiple channels:  LinkedIn is the business Social Network - Facebook is more personal - and Twitter is 140 characters or less and replete with its own vocabulary (hashtags, RTs and @).  What makes sense on one network may not be appropriate on another.  Accordingly, you need to learn how to speak on each network and use the appropriate terminology 


7)  Not plan:  I'd argue that this the most important.  No successful business or marketing campaign ever begins without a plan - Social Media is no different.  You must plan before starting or using Social Media.  Some questions absolutely require an answer: Why are you on Social Media?  What do you hope to accomplish?  What is your competition doing?  Who is your audience?  What type of content will you discuss?

Those are my thoughts...what are yours?  Let us know in the comments!  Meanwhile, tomorrow we will publish the seven things to absolutely do!

Daily Briefing, 9/27/2011

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

The Lehigh Valley's unemployment rate increased from 8.8% to 9.1% in August, shedding 2,100 jobs.  In Alburtis, an arrest has been made in the double-murder that shocked the small community.  John Callahan has been fined by the FEC for improperly using funds from his Mayoral campaign in his Congressional run.  In Bethlehem, a draft audit shows that the city finished in 2010 with a $7.2 million debt.

In state-wide news, the Attorney General's office has launched a corruption case, alleging that the House Republican used taxpayer money to make purchases that benefited political campaigns.

In national news, the Senate approved legislation that will avoid a Government shutdown.

We have two events today: Speed Networking at the Hilton Garden Inn in Allentown and the Women's Business Council's 30th Birthday Celebration.

That's it for now!  Have a good one!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Five productivity websites you should not be without

Given the demands on all of our schedules of late, there is more of a demand than ever on all of our time and schedule.  Productivity is the word of the day, and we all have to be more productive than ever.

In an electronic age, this means using our online time more efficiently.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of great websites that can make your work-life much easier.  Here's a quick look at five websites I know I couldn't live without:

1)  Toodledo:  This is your To Do list on steroids.  Toodledo allows you to input your To Do list and track it be category, date, priority, connections to Goals, etc.  In other words, if you are insanely organized, check out Toodledo.  It is free at its most basic level, but you can pay for an upgrade.


2)  Evernote:  Evernote allows you to upload notes on any topic, then access them via your computer or mobile device.  You can tag the notes, making for easy sorting.  You can even record audio and upload pictures.  This can be great for meeting agendas/notes - personally, thanks to Evernote and Toodledo, I don't enter a meeting with a pad and paper anymore.  Evernote is free at its most basic level, but you can pay for an upgrade.


3)  Hootsuite:  Hootsuite is a great tool for monitoring and managing Social Media accounts.  You can run multiple accounts on multiple platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr), keep an eye on all of your newsfeeds and schedule updates to run at a set time (that scheduling aspect can be crucial!).  Hootsuite is free to use at its most basic level (which is probably all that most people need) but you can upgrade for $6/month.


4)  Google Reader:  If you read multiple blogs a day, Google Reader is awesome.  It allows you to blog in all of the blogs you read into one centralized place.  As blogs update with new posts, you can just go to reader and read the posts, which are marked as read automatically.  Thus, instead of needing to go to ten different websites to read ten different blogs, you can visit just one.  Better yet: Reader is completely free.


5)  Pandora:  Okay, this isn't a productivity website, I know, I know.  That being said, I know I can't work without music.  Pandora allows you to input specific songs or artists that you like.  It will then play those songs or songs by the artists you've selected - but will also play similar music that it thinks you will like (you can't always give songs a thumbs up or down, helping Pandora work better for you).  The service is free, but has limited usage and ads, or you can pay ($36 per year) for ad-free and unlimited use.  And don't think that Pandora has a corner on this market - there are plenty of other services that work similarly, like Last.fm and Spotify.

Those are my five, but what about you?  What websites do you use to enhance your productivity?  Let us know in the comments!

Daily Briefing, 9/26/2011

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

Effective October 10, The Morning Call will be charging for digital subscriptions.  A Morning Call story notes that the 2010 census showed a significant jump in single men over 65.  Congrats to WFMZ and the State Theatre, which won local Emmys for their work with the Freddy Awards.

In national news, Presidential rumors are restarting again for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Business Matters airs tonight at 8pm on WFMZ, featuring a debate on the future of Unions in America.

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

Identity Theft and You

Earlier today and in conjunction with our friends and partners at the City of Allentown and Wells Fargo, The Chamber held a seminar on identity theft.  The seminar was very useful and came with some great tips on how a business person (and really, anyone) can protect themselves.  Here is some of the information:


  • Monitor your credit score:  Many individuals are the victims of identity theft and don't even know it.  By registering for a site such as Annual Credit Report, you can get free access to your credit report, from all three agencies, once a year.  It's good to monitor your report and see if there are any negative marks on your credit file.
  • Lock down your identity:  There are numerous services out there, such as Wells Fargo's Identity Theft Protection and LifeLock, that can help protect you against identity theft and show you how to get your life back on track if your identity is stolen.  These services are relatively inexpensive - especially when compared to the price of being a victim of identity theft!
  • Shred your mail:  Your mail comes with plenty of free credit card offers that can easily be stolen via dumpster diving.  When you get a credit card/check offer, make sure to shred it before throwing it out.
  • Don't leave checks or other payments in your mailbox:  It's easy for checks/credit card payments to get stolen if you leave them in your mailbox.  Drive them to the post office or make an electronic payment.
  • Don't carry around important documents: Your checkbook, Social Security Card, etc., should be locked in a safe at home - not in your wallet!
  • Watch over your shoulder: A pretty popular method of identity theft is by people looking over your shoulder and recording the information - then hacking your accounts later on.  Beware of who is watching you when you are entering sensitive information.  
What other tips do you have?

Daily Briefing, 9/23/11

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

In Allentown, city officials received approval on a loan related to the demolition and construction of the planned downtown hockey arena.  Dorney Park will unveil a Dinosaurs Alive! attraction next year.  The Parkland School District has achieved $1.2 million in savings via bond refinancing.


In national news, Republican Presidential candidates held another debate yesterday in Florida.  Senator Toomey has introduced proposed changes to the way that corporations are taxed in America.  The House of Representatives passed legislation required to keep the government operating after September 30 - the Senate, however, has said that it will reject that legislation.

Oh, and just when you thought we'd finished with the rain: there's a flood watch in effect Friday into Saturday.

We have one Chamber event today: a free seminar on identity theft, to be held in Allentown.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daily Briefing, 9/22/11

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

More people in the Valley are in poverty this year than last year.  More than 3,500 people attended a job fair hosted by CareerLink Lehigh Valley, held yesterday at Ag Hall in Allentown.  In North Whitehall, Supervisors are set to hire the Township's first full-time manager.  A new report shows that the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area is the 13th smoggiest in the nation among areas of similar sizes.

In national news, Republican Presidential candidates will debate tonight in Florida.  The state of Georgia executed Troy Davis yesterday after a worldwide protest against Davis' execution.

We have two Chamber events today: an Open House at the Holiday Inn in Bethlehem (celebrating its fifth anniversary) and a mixer at the KNBT in downtown Easton.

That's it for now!  Have a good one - we'll have more later today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daily Briefing, 9/21/2011

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

In local news, Macungie Mayor Rick Hoffman said at a Borough Council meeting that he believes it is time to "move on" from his dispute with the Borough's Police Department.  In state-wide news, a new report shows that revenue generated from Pennsylvania casinos is slowly growing.  In national news, a new poll shows that confidence in the economy is rapidly declining, with eight in ten of those surveyed saying the economy is in a recession and six in ten saying the economy will be about the same or worse at this time last year.  Republican Congressional leaders wrote the Federal Reserve this past week, urging them not to further intervene in an effort to kick-start the sputtering economy.  Executives of the failed solar energy company Solyndra will testify before a hearing at the House of Representatives, where they will plead the 5th amendment.

We have one Chamber event today, and its a good one: our 2nd annual Celtic Kick-Off, to be held at the site of the Celtic Fest.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Using your Membership as an Employee Benefit

On this blog, you have heard us repeatedly talk about how Chamber Membership can benefit your business via our various member benefits.  We wanted to talk today, however, about how your Chamber Membership can benefit your employees.

There are approximately 144,000 employees who work for Chamber members.  Anyone who works for a Chamber member is considered a Chamber member themselves - as such, they are entitled to take advantage of various member benefits.  For an example, check out what our friends at St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network have posted on their intranet:


As you can see, they have links to two aspects of Chamber membership that can be used by ANY of their employees.  Here are a few examples:
  • Member-to-member coupons:  Before you buy anything, make sure to check out our coupon page!  It has a list of the 70 or so Chamber Members who offer exclusive coupons and discounts to other Chamber members.
  • Chamber events:  Chamber events can be attended by any Chamber Member employee.
  • Discounted Electricity Purchasing:  Any residence in the Valley is eligible to get cheaper electricity purchasing from our friends at Constellation New Energy.
  • Prescription Drug Card:  If you are under-insured, or not insured at all, you can download this free Prescription Drug Card, which can provide discounts on prescription drugs and virtually every major pharmacy in the area.

As always, for questions about these or other benefits, or if you are interested in joining the Chamber, please E-mail me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org or call at 484-809-1796.

Daily Briefing,, 9/20/2011

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

A Morning Call article reviews the efforts to revitalize the waterfront along the Lehigh in Allentown.  Lehigh County Commissioner Andy Roman is seeking to create term limits for Lehigh County elected officials.

In national news, Don't Ask, Don't Tell formally ended today, as gay and lesbian members of the military can now serve openly.  In worldwide news, Italy's credit rating was downgraded yesterday by S&P.  A new report shows that worldwide energy usage is expected to jump 53% by 2035.

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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daily Briefing, 9/19/2011

Good morning everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend.  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Allentown, the city is working on a Master Plan to redevelop the Lehigh River waterfront.  In national news, President Obama is set to unveil his deficit reduction plan today; the plan totals $3 billion, half of which will come from higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires, while the other half will come from spending cuts.  There are new reports that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is seriously considering running from President.

Business Matters airs tonight at 8pm on WFMZ; the topic of today's show is whether or not liquor sales in Pennsylvania should be privatized.

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Daily Briefing, 9/16/2011

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

The Iron Pigs lost 6-2 yesterday, putting them one game away from elimination.  Game four will be played tonight.  The contract with Premier Healthcare Resources has been signed, allowing Premier to take over management of Gracedale later this month.  The Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce has selected Jack Budd as its citizen of the year.  In Lower Macungie Township, the Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to file an appeal of a Lehigh County Judge's decision to invalidate a zoning decision for the development of 600 acres.    A Lehigh County Judge has ruled that the Mayor of Macungie should have access to police records and a key to the building.

In state-wide news, Governor Tom Corbett yesterday announced that he was in favor of an impact fee on Marcellus Shale drilling.  A new survey shows that more than 14,000 school jobs were lost during the 2011-2012 school year.

In national news, 36 Senators (both Democrats and Republicans) expressed their support for the deficit reduction panel to find more than their goal of $1.5 trillion in spending reductions.  Mortgage rates have hit a record low, nearing 4%.

Today is an absurdly busy day at The Chamber, with four events: a Webinar on how you can get the most out of your Chamber Membership, Party on the Deck in downtown Allentown, a tour of the Apple Store at the Lehigh Valley Mall (complete with workshops) and a tailgating party before the Parkland vs. East Penn High Schools football games.

That's it for now!  Have a good one and we'll be back later today.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We want to hear from you


Yes, this is going to be one of those entries: the kind where we ask for an ever so brief amount of your time.  We're conducting our annual membership survey.  It's just five questions and we'd like to hear from you, so if you have a moment and you are a Chamber member, please let us know what you think of how we are serving you.

While we are at it, here's a question for you and your business: how often do you survey your customers?  What information are you trying to get from them?

A few notes about our survey:

  • It's brief - only five questions.  When you ask someone to participate in a survey, you have to respect their time.  
  • The questions are broad - nothing too specific that will turn someone away.
  • Their are optional sections where we ask someone to fill information in.  We'll be coding this information later.
  • It's anonymous - this gives people the option of being honest and critical, without worrying about if they will be judged for their opinions.
What do you think?

Daily Briefing, 9/15/2011

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

The Iron Pigs lost 4-1 to Columbus yesterday, tying the series at 1-1.  Game Three will be tonight at Coca-Cola Park.  Under questioning from Ron Angle, Northampton County Executive John Stoffa said that the county is planning on raising taxes 9.3%, possibly more.  At a Chamber event yesterday, economist Kamran Afshar called for more government spending.  The Chamber also had a press conference with its Hamilton Main Street Program, announcing that $50,000 in state funding to support the program had arrived.  In Easton, the city's Redevelopment Authority is asking for the city for a $65,000 loan so the Authority can purchase a parking lot.  An energy savings plan has been proposed for Gracedale that could save the facility $16.2 million over ten years.  Mikhail Gorbachev will be giving a free lecture at Lafayette on October 19.  Despite attendance difficulties at this year's event, Mayfair will continue next year, with a new Executive Director.

In state-wide news, Pennsylvania lawmakers heard testimony on making English the official language of the state.

In national news, the White House is being accused of rushing a $500 million loan to Solyndra, a solar energy company that went bankrupt after receiving the money.  Foreclosures rose 7% in the month of August compared to July.

We have one Chamber event today: a mixer at Boston's Restaurant in Fogelsville.

That's it for now...wow, busy day!  See you soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maximizing your Chamber Membership

We get it: getting the most out of your Chamber Membership can be challenging at points.  Every business is busy - busier now than ever before, and you may not have all of the time that you wish you did to take advantage of everything that The Chamber has to offer.

That's why we are pleased to roll out our new "Your Chamber Membership Plan," conducted by our Ambassador group.  Here's how it works: first, reach out to me (mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org) or any one of our Ambassadors (our volunteer leaders whose goal is to help Chamber members make the most of their membership).  They'll sit down with you, either in person or over the phone, and walk you through a survey that's designed to determine what your business needs are and how we can help match your business to Chamber membership.  We'll then develop a customized membership report that will show you the various aspects of Chamber membership that you can utilize, specific to your needs.  This Plan is totally free and won't take too much of your time.

Chamber Membership is just like any other facet of your business: you need to invest time in order to make it work.  But, just like any other marketing or networking tool, if used properly, the rewards can be massive.  Let us help you make the most of your Chamber membership!

Daily Briefing, 9/14/2011

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

In national news, the East Penn School District is asking the state to ignore two days last week that were cancelled due to flooding.

In state-wide news, Republican legislators have proposed breaking Pennsylvania's electoral vote allocation into Congressional districts during Presidential elections, instead of the current winner-take-all system.  This would result in the splitting of Pennsylvania's electoral votes.

In national news, Republican Bob Turner won a major upset in Anthony Weiner's former Congressional seat in New York, defeating Democrat David Werpin.  In testimony before the Super Committee yesterday, the Congressional budget office warned against cutting spending and raising taxes.  A new survey shows that the amount of American's without health insurance increased 900,000 over the past year.


We have two Chamber events today: a President's Roundtable with Economist Kamran Afshar and a Southern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce event on marketing.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pigs Fly!!

As you have likely heard, our own Iron Pigs have made it to the Governors' Cup, the AAA championship game.  This is a very big deal!

The Pigs will be playing the Columbus Clippers in a best-of-five game series.  The series itself opens tonight in Columbus, but Game Three will be played in the Valley this Thursday, with Games Four and Give also in Allentown (to be played Friday and Saturday, if necessary).

As a result of the series, there are a few things happening in the Valley that local residents & businesses can take part of.  First, Thursday has officially been proclaimed as "Iron Pigs Day" in Lehigh County, and tickets are available for all three games.

Also, this Thursday - wear red in support of the Pigs!

Now, here's the specific opportunity for businesses.  Businesses are being asked to display any IronPigs message such as Go ‘Pigs or Bring Home the Bacon on their marquee, in front of your business, etc. If you do, send a picture to hogwild@ironpigsbaseball.com.  Don’t have a marquee?  Decorate your business in red to support the IronPigs!      

Better yet: each entry will receive 2 tickets to Thursday night’s playoff game versus Columbus.  One lucky winner will be randomly selected from the entries to win a Dugout Suite for Thursday night’s game (30 tickets with an all-you-can-eat buffet valued at $1200!).

Check out the flier below for more info, and let's all root for Pigs to fly!!


Daily Briefing, 9/13/2011

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

A new Manpower survey of Lehigh Valley businesses shows mixed news: the number of companies that plan on adding jobs still outpaces those who plan on layoffs, but the number of companies adding jobs did drop sharply compared to last quarter.  In Easton, city officials are looking at fining nuisance property owners who have repeated code violations.  St. Luke's has opened a new facility in Bethlehem Township, along Route 33.

In national news, there are two Republican Presidential endorsements of note: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be endorsing Rick Perry, while former Minnesota Governor and Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will be endorsing Mitt Romney.  In other news, Arizona will defy edicts from the Republican National Party and move its primary to February 28, before the official March 6 date that they are allowed to.  A special election to replace Congressman Anthony Weiner will  be held in New York today, where the Republican candidate is currently expected to pull off a major upset.

We have two Chamber events today: the Business & Commerce Association of Forks is holding an exclusive tour of Crayola, while the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber is holding an event on dealing with healthcare changes.

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Coupons - Best Practices

Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial are all the rage right now, and with good reason: millions of American are using them on a regular basis to save money and explore new products and services.  That being said, regular coupons (the kind found in direct mail, circulars, websites, etc) still remain powerful draws for businesses - more than 88 million Americans planned on using coupons in 2011.

Okay, so coupons are powerful - but how do you use them best?  Here are a few thoughts:

1)  Where are your customers?  Putting a coupon in a Sunday newspaper circular isn't going to do you any good if your customers don't read the circulars.  What publications/marketing mediums do your customers/potential customers read?


2)  Track your success: If you don't define and track success, you can't be successful.  Make sure you track what coupons are doing best, including method of delivery, product/service that is being used, and if possible, how many new customers you are gaining from a coupon.

3)  Watch your disclaimers:  Coupons are great, but not if you lose a small fortune on them.  Make sure you have all disclaimers necessary before placing a coupon, including what offers it can/cannot be combined with, when the deadline is, etc.

4)  Why are you using a coupon?  Your coupon has to match your goal or you're going to have nothing but confusion and trouble.  Why are you using  particular coupon?  Are you looking to gain more customers?  If so, your coupon will probably be discounted steeper than it would otherwise.  Trying to get rid of distressed inventory to make room?  Then you have to target a particular product.

Those are some tips from us - what do you have to add?

Daily Briefing, 9/12/2011

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

Communities around the world yesterday honored the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  President Obama will submit his jobs plan to Congress today.  The financial crisis in Greece appears to be worsening, likely sending stock markets across the world into a tailspin.  Residential power demand across the nation is falling as a result of more energy efficient devices.

Business Matters returns for an all new season tonight; the topic of today's show is a look back at the  federal debt debate; whose fault was it, and where do we go from here?

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

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Blog Post: Top 5 Reasons It’s Time to Join the Smartphone Revolution

Today we have another Guest Blog Post for you, and the topic is one of our favorites: smartphones.  The article comes to us courtesy of Harry Martin with Verizon Wireless.  Enjoy!

Daily Briefing, 9/9/2011

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

Rains have continued throughout the state, making flooding conditions likely in the Valley.  The flooding is actually so bad that it has closed the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Reading and Harrisburg East.  Great news for the Iron Pigs, who won their first post-season game yesterday.

With the anniversary of 9-11 coming up, there is apparently a credible terror threat against the U.S, and specifically New York and Washington.  President Obama addressed Congress and the nation yesterday, unveiling a $450 million jobs plan.  There was mixed economic news, with a lower trade gap but higher amount of people applying for unemployment.  A federal appeals court dismissed a challenge to President Obama's health care reform law.

We have one Chamber event today: a Grand Opening & Mixer at Smokehouse's Leaf Cigar Bar & Restaurant.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Most Valuable Players

We usually don't write about TV shows, but this is a pretty big deal.  As you may have read about already, Most Valuable Players, the documentary about the Freddy Awards, will air tonight on the OWN network at 9pm.  It's always great when Lehigh Valley events get national press!  Check out the write-up below for more information.

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Matt Roush of TV Guide has written a glowing preview of Most Valuable Players, choosing the documentary as the Sleeper of the Week in the most recent issue.

Sleeper of the Week: “Like a real-life Glee, and possibly the most charming and disarming documentary since BBC America's The Choir last summer, the OWN Documentary Club presents Most Valuable Players (9/8c), which puts the spotlight on the "Freddy Awards," a yearly competition for high school musical theater in the Lehigh Valley (Pa.) region. This 90-minute film tracks three high schools as they put on their shows - the rivalry intensified when two schools decide to do Les Miz - then sweat out the nominations and awards. The camaraderie among the theater kids is touching and funny, and the emotion is palpable when the awards' ebullient coordinator is diagnosed with cancer but is determined to present the award for that year's outstanding musical production. I can't remember when I last enjoyed a Tony broadcast this much. A genuine treat.”

The Canyonback Films’ documentary is centered around the 2008 State Theatre FREDDY© Awards and will make its world TV premiere on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) this Thursday, September 8th, 9 PM ET as part of the OWN Documentary Club.

Most Valuable Players focuses on the FREDDY Awards, a live television event honoring outstanding high school musical theater in New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.  Demonstrating that arts education encourages the same teamwork, camaraderie and confidence as sports, the film follows three theater troupes on their creative journey to the elaborate award ceremony - the Tony Awards for high school musicals.  The film was the winner of the 2011 Nashville Film Festival Documentary Channel Audience Award.  A Canyonback Films production, the documentary is directed and produced by Matthew D. Kallis and written and produced by Christopher Lockhart.
Rosie O'Donnell hosts the OWN Documentary Club helping select key films and inspiring deeper conversations.  ro*co productions serves as a partner for the OWN Documentary Club to help source and identify relevant documentaries for OWN.

TWEET Event during the premiere
Most Valuable Players’ Director Matthew Kallis and Writer/Producer Christopher Lockhart will participate in a Tweet Event on TWITTER during the world television premiere of the movie on OWN this Thursday, September 8th. Viewers can tweet comments and questions during the event by including the hashtag  #mvp in their tweets.

Reunion Special online after the premiere
After the premiere, viewers can catch up with the cast when On Stage with Most Valuable Players, a reunion special taped at the State Theatre on August 26th, streams on OWN’s website at www.oprah.com/own.

For more information visit:
Most Valuable Players website: www.mostvaluableplayersmovie.com

OWN website: www.oprah.com/own

FREDDY© Awards website: www.freddyawards.org

Job Openings

We have two job openings to share with you today.  As always, if you are a Chamber member and wish to advertise a job opening, just E-mail me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org.
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Job Title/Position: Physical Therapist

Reports To: Clinical Supervisor


JOB DESCRIPTION SUMMARY

The physical therapist contracted or employed through the Organization is responsible for providing physical therapy services and for adherence to all conditions outlined in the Personnel Services Agreement.

BENEFITS INCLUDE:
COMPETITIVE COMPENSATION
COMPANY PROVIDED CAR
CELL PHONE
VACATION TIME/PAID TIME OFF
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS/RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Provides physical therapy services to patients according to a written physician's plan of care.  This may include, but will not be limited to:

A. Assessing and evaluating therapeutic/rehabilitative/functional status, and participation in the development of the total plan of care.  Evaluates home environment.

B. Assesses for muscle strength, mobility, gait, ROM—potential for rehab.

C. Directing physical therapy treatment.

D. Instructing patients and families/caregivers in the use and care of therapeutic appliances.

E. Determining priority needs for physical therapy

F. Reporting to physician patient’s reaction to treatment or changes in condition.

2. Initiates physical therapy program and instructs other personnel and/or family/caregiver members in certain phases of physical therapy with which they may work with a patient, as well as instructing them as to the goals of the physical therapy program for the patient by participating in case conferences.

3. May train patient in the use of prosthetic device.

4. Identifies patient and family/caregiver needs for other home health services and refers
as necessary.

5. Prepares and submits clinical and progress summaries based on the attainment of goals.

6. Participates in discharge planning for patient.

7. Prepares and submits a clinical progress summary based on the attainment of goals directed by Organization policy.

8. Provides physical therapy consultation to home families/caregivers when indicated.

9. Provides inservice education programs for nursing organization personnel as needed.

10. Participates in peer consultation process.

11. Management experience not required.  Responsible for supervising physical therapy aides.

Additional Duties

1. Ensures that arrangements for equipment and other necessary items and services are available.

2. Instructs, supervises and evaluates physical therapy aide care provided every fourteen days.

The above statements are intended to be a representative summary of the major duties and responsibilities performed by incumbents of this job.  The incumbents may be requested to perform job related tasks other than those stated in this description.


POSITION QUALIFICATIONS

1. Licensed to practice as physical therapist within the State.

2. Community/home health experience is preferred.

3. Demonstrates good verbal and written communication and organization skills.

4. Possesses and maintains current CPR certification.


Job Title/Position: Quality Assurance Manager

Reports To: Administrator


JOB DESCRIPTION SUMMARY

The Quality Assurance Manager is a professional, Registered nurse responsible for all of the quality activities of the organization.  The Quality Assurance Manager has accountabilities for the monitoring, implementation and evaluation of process and programs to meet regulatory, accreditation and standards of practice.


ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS/RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the organization’s quality improvement program.

A. Ensures that there are processes in place to monitor and measure all activities related to performance improvement.

B. Provides direction and coordination of quality improvement activities utilizing continuous quality improvement principles and methodologies.

C. Coordinates activities related to clinical record review for data collection.

D. Compiles, trends and reports quality data in the following areas: patient care, safety, risk management, infection control, outcomes, and customer satisfaction.

E. Works collaboratively with nursing supervisors to assure documentation is complete and consistent with care and reflects legal requirements.

F. Member of the Patient Grievance Committee collaborates with management personnel in follow-up of concerns expressed by patients, families, and physicians.

G. Establishes a process model for improvement and provides education and training to organization personnel on the performance improvement plan, as well as team development.

2. Responsible for ensuring processes to monitor and evaluate safety, risk management and infection control programs.

A. Coordinates, educates and implements monitoring activities for safety, risk management, and infection control.

B. Coordinates mandatory inservice programs on OSHA regulations for safety and infection control.


Job Title/Position:  Quality Assurance Manager


C. Acts as resource to personnel in identifying safety and risk management issues for patients and personnel.

D. Reviews all incident reports for completeness, risk, standard of care determination and appropriate follow-up.  Maintains a log for trending and makes recommendations related to trends identified.

E. Maintains current knowledge related to home care safety and infection control standards.

3. Collaborates with nursing supervisors to provide a process to promote and ensure employee orientation, competency and inservice education programs.

A. Assists in the identification of skills for annual competence and provides inservice training support.

B. Maintains aggregate records of employee orientation and annual competency requirements as part of the PI plan.

4. Monitor organization compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards.

A. Maintains current knowledge related to Medicare Conditions of Participation and the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP) standards to ensure that the organization is compliant with state, federal and accreditation guidelines.

B. Responsible for ensuring policies and procedures reflect all related local, state, federal and CHAP standards and makes recommendation for policy changes to the governing board.

C. Acts as a resource to clinical supervisors regarding standards, policies, regulations and provides inservice training to leadership and personnel as needed in these areas.

5. Acts as a clinical resource to personnel.

A. Maintains updated nursing knowledge and skills.

B. Assists with patient visits as needed.

C. Assists with administrative call on a rotational basis and clinical call as needed.

6. Provides assistance to community education team in meeting community education needs.

A. Makes public speaking engagements as scheduled by the community education team.

B. Maintain positive relationships with referral sources.

Job Title/Position:  Quality Assurance Manager


C. Maintain positive image in the community.

D. Acts as representative of the organization at community meetings, civic and professional organizations as needed.

7. Promote self-growth and collegial relationships with others in the home care industry.

A. Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops, reviewing professional publications, establishing personal and professional networks and participates in professional organizations or societies.

The above statements are only meant to be a representative summary of the major duties and responsibilities performed by incumbents of this job.  The incumbents may be requested to perform job related tasks other than those stated in this description.


POSITION QUALIFICATIONS

1. Registered nurse with current licensure to practice professional nursing in the State.

2. Associates degree in Nursing

3. Three to five year's clinical nursing experience.  (An emphasis in home care nursing is preferred).

4. Excellent understanding of performance improvement, quality assurance, and
utilization management.

5. Is self-directed and able to work with minimal supervision.

6. Has excellent coordination and communication skills.


Social Media in a crisis: Lessons learned from PPL's use of Twitter during Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene proved to be a massive challenge for any power company on the East Coast last week, and PPL was certainly no exception, with hundreds of thousands of properties in its territories losing power for days on end during the storm.  Like any company, PPL had a plan of informing its customers about the outages and keeping its customers in the loop about what was happening with their electricity.

Key to that plan was Twitter.  If you followed PPL's Twitter account during the storm, @pplelectric, you know that they were extremely active on Social Media during the event.  Personally, I was very impressed with what they did, and asked their Social Media coordinator, Lissette Santana, to answer a few questions about PPL's strategy, successes lessons learned with their Social Media use during this time.
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1)       Did you have a set strategy going into the hurricane for using Twitter?

Yes. At PPL, we are committed to sharing information with our customers and listening to their feedback. Social media channels like Twitter and Facebook allow us to do so in real-time. We have had a strategy in place for several years to utilize social media to communicate our initiatives to our various stakeholders.

We started @PPLStormTeam in 2009 to communicate with customers during major outages. Since then, PPL Electric Utilities launched an account (@PPLElectric) to communicate with customers about other topics such as rate changes and energy efficiency. With the growing interest from followers, we merged the accounts to provide one central place for our customers to get all the information they needed regarding PPL Electric Utilities.

During normal operating hours, the account is managed by Customer Communications team. In storm events, the public relations and crisis communications team takes over to provide customers with timely information.

2)     How difficult was it for you to have the information you needed about the power outage to create your tweets?

Although we don't have access to specific account information for each customer, the communications team does have all the information we need to communicate key information that affects large numbers of customers.

Corporate Communications is actively engaged with the utility's management getting information on pre-storm planning and during the storm restoration. We participate on all storm team conference calls, which are held every 4-6 hours, so we know what's happening in the field and what the public can expect. This practice has been in place for many years so we could communicate the company's actions with the media, government officials and the public. Keeping the public informed during events of this nature has always been a top priority for us. The only difference now is that Twitter and Facebook give us another avenue to talk directly with the public, providing them information in real-time and getting their feedback instantaneously.

3)     You received quite a few compliments, but there also received your share of complaints as well.  How did you deal with negative criticism?

One of the tenets of social media is transparency. Accepting negative criticism is part of the process. Sometimes, people just want to vent and we understand that our social media channels provide the perfect avenue for that. If someone is posting rumors and untruths, we will respond to those to set the record straight. Some of the negative criticism we receive is valid and not only do we address it directly, we use it to help us improve our communication and service to customers. One specific instance from this past storm is in reference to the list of ice/water distributors we posted online. It turns out the list was outdated and we heard about it from customers on Twitter. We quickly updated the list and reposted it and will also be changing the process for how the list is compiled in the future.

4)     From beginning to end, how many new followers did you gain?

On the Friday before Irene hit, we had about 550 followers. By Sunday (Aug. 28) we were up to about 1400 followers. We have not heavily promoted the accounts so a lot of the new followers were the result of word of mouth. People were retweeting our posts pre and during the storm, which helped increase our audience.

5)     Any mainstream media attention from your Twitter usage?

Yes. We included information about the Twitter account in every news release and many members of the local media in our service area follow the account. Our use of Twitter was mentioned in a lot of the media coverage, with reports suggesting it as a way for people to stay informed. Several articles in local papers also focused on how we used social media to refute some of the rumors flying around during the storm.

6) Would you consider your Twitter use during the hurricane a success?

While there's always lessons to be learned about how we can improve for the next time, I do consider PPL Electric Utilities' use of social media during the Hurricane Irene restoration to be a success. Our team was working round the clock to keep the public informed. We were able to provide our customers with critical information they needed when many of them were in the dark, literally.  And we were also able to quickly gather feedback from customers that we could share with the utility's management.

Daily Briefing

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

The heavy rain this week is expected to continue, though flooding will not be as bad as what Irene brought last week, though it has resulted in some road closures.  Allentown was the home yesterday to one of the two state-wide redistricting hearings that will be held throughout the state.  PPL has unveiled an energy savings plan for small businesses.  A documentary on the Freddy Awards, "Most Valuable Players," will air on OWN, the Oprah Network.

In national news, Republican Presidential candidates debated yesterday in California.  This comes on the heels of a special address to Congress, by President Obama, in which he will unveil his jobs plan.  Meanwhile, a new report shows that businesses posted the most job openings in three years.

In Chamber-related news, we just taped another Business Matters on Gracedale, as noted in a story in the Express-Times.  We also have one event today - a free mixer at Haydenfilms Institute.

That's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll be back with two more entries later today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Daily Briefing, 9/7/2011

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

In Northampton County, the County appears likely to be fined because of complaints by the Environmental Protection Agency about asbestos in county buildings.  The Sands Events Center has announced a partnership with event promoter Live Nation that is likely to bring major acts to the area.

In national news, President Obama appears set to drop the amount of troops in Iraq to 3,000, a major reduction.  Obama also appears set to propose a middle class tax cut as part of his jobs plan tomorrow.  Carol Bartz, the CEO of Yahoo!, was fired by Yahoo's Board of Directors yesterday.

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A snapshot at the Republican Presidential campaign

The campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination is now in full swing, with the first contests now less than four months away.  The field changed dramatically after the Ames Straw Poll.  After a strong win by Michelle Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota, dropped out of the race.  However, on the same day, Bachmann found herself crowded out of the news by Rick Perry's entry into the race.  Perry has since stormed to the front of the Republican field.

Here's a quick look at where recent polls have placed the Republican candidates for President.


Politico (8/28 - 9/1)

Rick Perry:  36%
Mitt Romney:  17%
Michele Bachmann:  10%

Ron Paul:  10%
Rick Santorum:  5%
Herman Cain: 4%
Newt Gingrich:  3%
Jon Huntsman:  1%




FoxNews (8/29 - 8/31)
Rick Perry:  26%
Mitt Romney:  18%
Sarah Palin:  8%
Ron Paul:  7%
Michele Bachmann:  4%
Rudy Guliani:  4%
Herman Cain: 4%
Newt Gingrich:  3%
Rick Santorum:  3%
John Huntsman:  1%
Gary Johnson:  1%
Buddy Roemer:  1%

NBC News/Wall Street Journal (8/27-8/31)

Rick Perry:  38%
Mitt Romney:  23%
Ron Paul:  9%
Michele Bachmann:  8%
Herman Cain: 5%
Newt Gingrich:  5%
Rick Santorum:  3%
John Huntsman:  2%

Quinnipiac (8/31)

Rick Perry:  24%
Mitt Romney:  18%
Sarah Palin:  11%
Michele Bachmann:  10%
Ron Paul:  9%
Herman Cain: 5%
Newt Gingrich:  3%
Thaddeus McCotter:  1%
Rick Santorum:  1%
John Huntsman:  1%

The polls all vary in methodology and candidate inclusion, but a relatively consistent picture can be drawn here: Rick Perry is certainly the new Republican frontrunner, with Mitt Romney in 2nd.  Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul are roughly tied for third, and the rest of the pack is trailing significantly behind.


Daily Briefing, 9/6/2011

Good morning everyone, and welcome back to work after a long Labor Day weekend.  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

We can expect more wet weather today, so be careful on the roads and watch out for flooding.  In Easton, the city's Redevelopment Authority has taken out a line of credit in an effort to enhance its rehab efforts.  A 9/11 memorial will be unveiled in memory of those who died on Flight 93 in Shanksville.  In national news, a story by the New York Times notes that the post office is in severe financial trouble, with a possible default and shut down occurring this Winter (baring Congressional action) and no easy fix.

That's it for today - have a good one, and we'll be back later.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

PPL Utilities Launching New Small Business Service

A great opportunity from our friends at PPL.

For the month of September, representatives of PPL Electric Utilities’ E-power program will be knocking on the doors of Allentown small businesses to introduce its new Direct Discount service. This service greatly discounts the cost of installing energy-efficient lighting and commercial refrigeration measures for the small business community.  

Businesses who participate in the Direct Discount service could save up to 75% on the total cost of qualifying projects*. And the energy saved will typically pay back the investment in less than a year. After that, the energy savings go right to the bottom-line. Better yet, the business doesn’t have to fill out any of the paperwork. 

Direct Discount service is being offered to small business customers in PPL Electric Utilities’ GS1 and GS3 rate classes that use less than 400,000 kWh a year. 

PPL Electric Utilities is launching this new service at 11 a.m. on September 7th, at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, 905 Harrison Street, Allentown.  Participating speakers at the launch event will be: 
o Mayor Ed Pawlowski
o Tom Stathos, Director, Customer Programs and Services, PPL
o Scott Unger, Allentown Economic Development Corporation
o Tom Kerr, Allentown Energy Conservation Loan Fund
This is a very attractive offer and funds are limited. PPL Electric Utilities has never offered a more cost-effective way for small businesses to get on the path to long-term energy savings, so act now. 

Look for a letter from PPL Electric Utilities in the mail. For more information, call the E-power Solutions team at 1-866-432-5501.

* Incentive percentages, actual monetary savings and payback periods will vary depending on several factors including equipment installed, energy saved, customer operation and age of existing equipment. Offer subject to change without notice and limited to PPL Electric Utilities small business customers. Some restrictions apply. Rebates not to exceed purchase price. Complete eligibility requirements are available at www.pplelectric.com/directdiscount. 

Job Openings

Hello everyone!  Here are today's Job Openings.  Remember, if you are a Chamber member and have any openings you'd like to share, send them to me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org.
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Amazon.com Warehouse Direct Hire - Allentown 
Amazon.com – Allentown, PA 18031
Add a great career to your future! Find it at Amazon.com! 

WE ARE CONDUCTING INTERVIEWS WEEKLY - GET YOUR APPLICATION IN TODAY!

If you are looking to Work Hard, Have Fun and Make History, this is the right job and place for you. Amazon is seeking warehouse associates for direct hire for it’s Breinigsville, PA warehouse. Positions are warehouse positions, working in a fast paced, high energy warehouse environment. Please carefully read the necessary qualifications below. If you meet these basic qualifications, please finish our online application at www.amazonapplyonlineallentown.com  now.

Basic Qualifications
Must be at least 18 years old
High School diploma or GED
Must be willing and able to work all shifts (days, nights, weekends)
Must be able to work overtime as required with 24 hour notice
Able to read and take direction in English
Authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship
Must be able to lift up to 49 lbs.
Must be able to stand or walk continuously for up to 12 hours per day
Willing and able to frequently push, pull, squat, bend, and reach
Continuously climb and descend stairs safely (applies to sites with stairs)
Able to work on a secure mezzanine at a height of up to 40 feet (applies to buildings with mezzanines)
Willing and able to operate P.I.T. Equipment (Forklift, Walkie Rider, etc.)

Preferred Qualifications
Prior position examples of positive work attitude & leadership skills
Prior position examples of ability to perform above minimum expectation for extended periods of time
Prior position examples of commitment to a culture of safety
No extended gaps in employment
Prior position utilization of hand-held product scanners, Work Station Computer
If you feel you meet these qualifications please proceed to our online application at www.amazonapplyonlineallentown.com or call 484-809-7716.

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NEW POSITION AVAILABLE
INSURANCE SALES

Expanding Carbon County Insurance Agency seeks successful Sales professional.  Must have proven record of success.  Applicants should be ambitious, flexible, persuasive and have the ability to work independently.  College degree preferred.  Insurance licenses a plus but willing to train right candidate.  Attractive compensation plan with the opportunity to share in Agency growth.  If interested, forward letter, resume & references to:

Carbon County Career Link
69 Broadway
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
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Wolper Subscription Services seeks talented, independent thinkers who understand the power of collaboration and imagination – people who thrive in a hard-working and fun corporate culture. You must be able to work independently within defined goals and strategies and communicate your ideas quickly and clearly. We are located in Easton, PA.

Job Description
Wolper Subscription Services is currently seeking a Junior .NET Web Developer. The primary role of this position will involve maintaining and enhancing our industry-leading web application. The successful candidate should have the ability to manage and balance assignments to achieve quality results in a timely manner. Additionally, the ability to change gears and work on a new assignment or incorporate changes into a project with minimal direction is a requirement of this position. Taking ownership of a project and responding positively to feedback and constructive criticism is important. The candidate should also possess a desire and willingness to learn new technological skills as necessary. This position reports to the Director of Information Technology.

Job Requirements
Required Skills
· C# / .NET
· HTML
· CSS
· JavaScript / jQuery
· SQL
Preferred Skills
· Telerik ASP.NET Ajax Controls
· LINQ
· Crystal Reports
· XML
Requirements
· 1 – 2 years of professional web-development experience
· Individual initiative, excellent problem solving skills, self-discipline, integrity
· Ability to work creatively and independently within defined goals and strategies
Miscellaneous
· Minimum 40 hours per week (position is salaried, exempt status, which requires the employee to work extra hours as necessary)
· This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the duties of the Junior .NET Web Developer, but an outline of the general nature of work and major responsibilities for this position. Wolper Subscription Services reserves the right to change this job description, as needed, in the future.
· Wolper Subscription Services prides itself on its friendly, dedicated and knowledgeable staff. So to ensure that we hire only the best, we offer competitive pay rates and benefits.

How to Apply
Please submit your resume, and detailed cover letter to wcays@wolper.com. Please describe at least one site that you have maintained on an ongoing basis, including details about the nature of the site, the type of work you regularly completed, and the tools you used to do the work. Also include links to sample programming code