Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank you!

For two years in a row, the Morning Call has run a contest in which the best blog's in the Valley are voted on in various categories.  As we just found out, this blog, The Voice of Business, won the award for Best Business Blog!

We are flattered, and just wanted to say thank you to everyone who voted for us and to the Morning Call for holding this contest (great idea, incidentally, for a print newspaper to engage its "competition" this way).  One of the things that everyone at The Chamber enjoys the most about the Valley is that we are such an active, engaged community, and that there is such a diverse array of opinions, knowledge and information here.  The active nature of the blogging community is just another reflection of that.  If you look at all of the blogs in the area, you'll see dozens, if not hundreds, that are directly or indirectly related to our region in some way.  We say the more, the better, so keep blogging, keep sharing, and keep taking advantage of all the Social Media that this area has to offer.

Daily Briefing, 3/30/2012

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

Prominent businessman and Republican activist Charles Snelling, 81, killed his wife and then himself yesterday.  Adrienne Snelling had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.  An office of the Governor's Action Team has opened in the Lehigh Valley.  At a Chamber event yesterday, J.B. Reilly presented his vision for the future of downtown Allentown.

In national news, the Supreme Court heard its last arguments over health care reform yesterday; the Justices will vote today on a decision, which will not be released until June.  Best Buy announced that it will close 50 stores.

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Facebook Timeline - Cover Suggestions

As you may know, Facebook Timeline for brand/business pages will officially launch tomorrow (we actually just launched ours).  In other words, ready or not, your business page will have a Timeline.  Really, this is probably great news; initial studies show that the Timeline can significantly boost engagement with your brand.

One of the coolest new features is the Cover Picture.  This picture is wider, taller and thus far more visible than your standard Profile Picture.  It is likely the first thing that anyone will see when they first check out your page; as such, of course, you want to make a great first impression.

First, some specifics.  The picture must be 850 x 315 pixels and is right at the top of the page.  You can change the photo as often as you like, but you cannot have any direct sales message or call to action in it (doing so will violate Facebook's Terms of Service for pages).  That being said, those are about the only restrictions that you have on the picture.  As a result, you have plenty of options for a page.  Here are some thoughts on specific content:

  • Show who you are: Show pictures of your staff or your store, looking as welcoming and friendly as possible.  It's always good to show that you are more than just a business - you are real people, ready to serve your customers.
  • Customize the picture:  It may not be enough to just upload a picture - putting a specific welcome message on it may help.  Check out our picture:


You'll notice that it has a little welcome message, and our slogan on it.  You'll also notice is appears to be off-center.  That's because the bottom-right hand corner of the picture is covered by the profile picture, so you have to adjust your text accordingly.
  • Be colorful or eye-catching:  This is the absolute first thing that someone will see when they arrive on your page - so do it right.  Make sure you have a picture that is visual enough that it will absolutely grab someone's attention.  
What are you planning on doing for the Timeline roll-out?  Let us know in the comments.



Daily Briefing, 3/29/2012

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

Crayola is moving two of its distribution centers into the Majestic in Bethlehem, starting next year.  Pat Simon, CEO of PBS39, has resigned.  Lehigh County Commissioners rejected the acceptance of federal grant money for a highway safety program.  Easton City Council swore in Carl Scalzo Jr. as its new police chief.  In national news, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday.

We have two Chamber events today: a Hellertown-Lower Saucon breakfast program and a President's Roundtable featuring J.B. Reilly.

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Job Openings

We have one job opening to report today, courtesy of our friends at Discovery Lehigh Valley, who is seeking a new Director of Finance.  The information is below.  As always, if you are a Chamber member and have a job opening, please E-mail it to me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org.
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Discover Lehigh Valley is seeking a qualified Director of Finance.

The successful candidate will be responsible for all accounting activities including, journal entries, development of monthly and annual reports, accounts payable and receivable, invoicing, payroll, credit card processing and reconciliation of all bank statements. The Director of Finance is also responsible for maintaining all personnel records and managing employee benefits. A minimum of five years experience and a degree are minimum qualifications for the position. Must be detail oriented and capable of working in a high energy team environment. Please send resume to Mike@DiscoverLehighValley.com.

Daily Briefing, 3/28/2012

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

Another office complex was among the various items unveiled yesterday in the NIZ in downtown Allentown.  Some Lehigh County Commissioners are looking to undo two ballot referendums related to term limits that are set to be voted on in November.  The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority was told yesterday that any attempt to sell Queen City Airport could trigger a 5-10 year environmental review.  The airport did see traffic rise nearly 9% compared to the same time last year.

In national news, gas is more than $3.90 a gallon nationwide.  Newt Gingrich's campaign is cutting staff as he prepares for a convention strategy.

We have one event today: a free Webinar on content & e-resources.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chamber's Main Street Initiative Grants to be offered for the Fifth Time

You might be familiar with the Main Street Lehigh Valley Foundation - this is the 501c3 arm of The Chamber that seeks to raise and distribute money for projects related to urban revitalization.  We've done four previous grant rounds to physical improvement and planning project in urban cores in the Valley; now, with the help of our friends at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, we're set to offer our fifth round of funding!  Read below for more info:
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CHAMBER’S MAIN ST. INITIATIVE GRANTS TO BE OFFERED FOR THE FIFTH TIME

Allentown, PA – While State and federal budget discussions threaten the unprecedented elimination of numerous community grant programs, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC) has announced that it will be releasing a fifth round of its Main Street Lehigh Valley (MSLV) Community Improvement grants.

As the final projects from the fourth round of funding near completion, the GLVCC Foundation has announced that it is seeking new grant funding requests; $40,000 will be allocated to Lehigh Valley communities, in amounts not to exceed $2,000 per project.

President & CEO of the Chamber, Tony Iannelli said, “As the 9th largest Chamber in this nation we are focused on our commitment of ensuring that every main street in the Lehigh Valley is alive and well and economically vibrant”.

Projects funded include streetscape amenities such as banners, benches, tables, greening, and signs or promotional assistance in marketing downtown events. Proposals must speak to projects that are consistent with the Foundation’s mission: improving every main street in the Lehigh Valley through targeted investments in façade improvements, streetscape designs, sidewalk beautification and other enhancements to the physical appearance of our downtowns and urban centers.

Over the last few years’ $100,000 of MSLV funds will have leveraged over $2 million in community revitalization streetscape, planning, and promotional projects in seventeen different municipalities.

Applications and guidelines/procedures can be downloaded and printed at www.LehighValleyChamber.org/MainStreet or upon request: 610-739-1597. Applications are due no later than May 31, 2012.

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation was established as a 501(c) 3 in Bethlehem, originally to raise funds for holiday decorations. Now that the Chamber has merged with thirteen regional partners, the Foundation has also grown to help all of its communities as part of its MSLV Initiative.  The Chamber’s charitable arm aims to use donations from the private sector and assistance from Lehigh and Northampton counties to directly fund community development projects in Lehigh Valley communities.

Daily Briefing, 3/27/2012

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

Alvin H. Butz Construction will be the construction manager for the arena in Allentown.  Normally we don't go into Reading, but this story is incredible, as the Reading School District is facing a massive $53 million budget shortfall.

In state-wide news, State Senator Jane Orie becomes the latest elected official to be found guilty of misusing legislative resources for political gain.

In national news, the Supreme Court completed the first of three days of arguments over the constitutionality of health care reform; day two begins today.  The U.S. Senate voted 92-4 to end $20 billion in energy subsidies.

Today is a busy day in Chamber world, with three events:  a Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce networking event, the grand opening of Wolper Information Services in Easton and an info session on a trip to Rome.

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Politicians + Microphones that they don't know are on = Fantastic

Over the weekend, President Obama's conversation with Russian President Medvedev was recorded on a live microphone that they didn't know was on.  In the exchange, Obama was heard telling Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" in terms of missile defense after the Presidential election.  This frank admission of the reality and politics and foreign policy would undoubtedly never have occurred if either knew a microphone was on.

This isn't the first time that such an incident has taken place.  First, check out this exchange between George W. Bush and Tony Blair at a G8 Summit in 2008, in which Bush is caught mixing foreign policy and curse words:




In the 2000 campaign, then-Governor Bush was caught telling Dick Cheney that he thought New York Times reporter Adam Clymer was "a major league a$$hole"



Ronald Reagan's off the cuff joke about "outlawing Russia forever" was captured by a live mic as well.  Gotta admit, this is pretty funny, though the Soviet Union didn't think so, as they put their troops on higher alert in the immediate aftermath of Reagan's quip.



Undoubtably there are more that I missed, and we'd love to hear them!  Let us know what other great moments caputred by live microphones there have been in the comments.

Job Opening (revised from earlier)

We were asked to repost this one - enjoy!
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NJ & PA INSURANCE ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CSR
Property & Casualty- Personal & Commercial Lines

Looking for a team player that can fit into many roles in our growing company.  Work under moderate supervision in a professional office environment within a regional independent insurance agency established for over forty years.  Responsibilities will vary from basic office work, customer service, marketing and could develop into sales and business development.  Great career opportunity for a driven individual with or without insurance experience.

ABILITIES REQUIRED:
·          Knowledge of Microsoft Office (specifically word & excel)
·          Comfortable navigating various types of internet sites and programs
·          Adapt quickly to new software updates and computer systems
·          Strong attention to detail
·          Experience with electronic processing (fax/email/scanning)
·          Strong organization and communication skills
·          Maintain an individual daily workload and take on unexpected tasks as needed
·          Professional communication with our agency customers and company partners

DAILY TASKS INCLUDE:
·          Reviewing, processing, and quoting auto/home renewal policies
·          Maintaining knowledge of various company guidelines
·          Quoting new clients and rounding existing accounts
·          Light commercial lines processing
·          Process phone and email requests from existing clients in a timely manner
·          Light filing, setting up new customer files
·          Writing new personal lines policies (In office appointments or via mail/email)


Insurance experience and licensing preferred or willingness to obtain property casualty license.  Must be willing to work in both Phillipsburg and Bethlehem locations.

Competitive salary with bonus options

Please send cover letter and resume to Eileen Budd, Vice President eileen_budd@buddagency.com

Daily Briefing, 3/26/2012

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

An Express-Times story takes a look at how counties are preparing for the newly passed Voter ID law.  In national news, former Vice President Cheney had a heart transplant this weekend.  Rick Santorum won the Louisiana primary over the weekend.  Oral arguments on the constitutionality of health care reform will begin today at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Facebook Passwords: Do you have to give it to your employer?

Intern Mauri is back and addressing this recent controversy - the practice that has some employers asking for employees/prospective employees Facebook passwords.  Yipes.
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The latest Facebook controversy – is it ethical for prospective employers to ask for an applicant’s
password?

News sites have been buzzing during the past few days about a new privacy issue facing social
media users.

The issue came to light after the Associated Press reported on one particular job applicant
named Justin Bassett, a New York-based statistician who was asked for his Facebook password during a
job interview. Apparently the interviewer had done a quick search for Justin’s personal Facebook page;
upon finding it private, she then asked him to provide his information so that she could log in to his page
herself. According to the AP story, this isn’t just a one-time thing: some employers have made it part of
their hiring practice to request an applicant’s passwords to social media sites.

Since its inception, social media has brought up numerous questions about privacy. How much
should be made public? How careful should people be about what they post? Will I be judged by my
employers by what I post on my private page? Many of us already know that social media sites are
valuable tools when trying to determine a job applicant’s skills, experience and especially their ability to
fit into a company’s internal culture. Those of us searching for jobs are well aware that our sites are
going to be browsed for a glimpse into our value as an employee.

But does asking for personal passwords, when a social media page is intentionally made private,
go too far?

One side of the debate says yes, asking for someone else’s password is an invasion of one’s
personal privacy. Some on the side of this argument say they’re happy to “friend,” “connect with,”
or “follow” a prospective employer, but they don’t want to give out their own personal password.
Others say absolutely not: what they post, say or do on social media is private and part of their personal
lives, and should not reflect their worth as a job candidate.

The other side of the debate states that employers need to know they are making the best
choice when selecting a new employee. The more they know about a person, the better informed they
are about how that person will perform. Companies may also want to know if a job applicant will project
the right image for their company. The abundance of information one shares on his or her social media
page, from photos to posts to one’s personal interests and likes, serves as an additional tool for
companies when selecting from a vast pool of job candidates.

A corresponding argument says that no one should have an expectation of privacy on the
Internet: anything anyone posts can be accessed in a variety of ways, and may be accessible forever.

How this latest social media privacy issue plays out remains to be seen, but it makes one thing
clear now more than ever: the Internet has transformed our lives, not just in the way we access
information but also in the way others access information about us.

What do you think? If you’re an employer, do you check the social media sites of prospective
employees and, if so, do you agree or disagree that asking for passwords is an invasion of privacy? If
you’re an employee, do you feel this is an invasion of your privacy? Let us know.

Daily Briefing, 3/23/2012

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

Today is the deadline for informal challenges for Lehigh County property reassessment appeals.  T-Mobile is closing its Lehigh Valley Call Center in June, causing a loss of 600 jobs.  In national news, a Morning Call story notes that Rick Santorum's lack of organization prowess will cost him delegates in Pennsylvania.  The oil industry has unveiled its plans for helping to keep gas prices low.  The US Senate yesterday passed legislation that makes it illegal for Senators or staff to buy or sell stocks based on insider information.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grow Your Business: Trounce the Competition

Another day, another guest post in our ongoing Grow Your Business series by Carol Ritter of Caroltalks.  This one deals with how to beat your competition.  Enjoy!
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I saw green on Saturday March 17th.  I decided to go Irish, I dug out my green jacket and moseyed down to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Bethlehem.  It was a glorious day, the sun was shining as hundreds of people decked in green awaited the sounds of the bagpipes with hopes of catching the coveted green beads.  The parade began with the mounted police, followed by a series of  impressive bands and many small businesses who either were Irish or possibly decided to go Irish for a day.

Those businesses decided to follow the ‘trounce the competition’ philosophy.  They were noticeable, available and either well known in their community or on their way to becoming well known.  What makes these ‘Irish’ businesses unique and different from other businesses? 
1. They have an intentional plan to teach the community who they are.
2. They know their value proposition and are spreading the news.     
3.  They understand that building the relationship with the community is key to success

After getting my share of vitamin D, I decided to sit down and enjoy some Irish grub.  Hmmm, where should I go?  As we strolled down Main Street, I noticed some restaurants outrageously decorated with green, balloons, streamers, green flowers and, yes, some even had Irish entertainment and, of course, an Irish menu for the day.  Then we looked at other restaurants with no acknowledgement of this traditional holiday.  Hmmm, where is everyone going?  The crowds were piling into and waiting in line to visit the outrageously decorated Irish “Pub for a Day”. 

This could be the finest example of trouncing the competition.  We couldn’t wait to visit the green restaurant, we jumped on a wonderful table outside and joined in the festive nature of the day.  Obviously, the “GREEN” business had a magnet strategy for St. Patrick’s Day, that strategy led to the ultimate goal that day - outrageous fun for their customers and outrageous cash flow for them!!

Hmmm, what business in your world is trouncing the competition, how about you?

Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in remarkable leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s innovative strategies provide leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545
Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The Parkland School District may cut 63 jobs.  Staff reductions are also likely in the Easton Area School District, including teacher lay-offs.  The Nazareth Area School Board also appears set to lay off staffers.

In state-wide news, former Pennsylvania Speaker of the House, John Perzel, was sentenced to at least 2.5 years in prison on corruption charges.

In national news, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney for President yesterday.

In Chamber world, we have three events today: a Young Professionals Council event on nutrition, a free mixer at the Mixx Bar & Nightclub and a free seminar on Reverse Mortgages.

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FREE WEBINAR - If magazines were widgets & e-journals were commodities: Applying strategic sourcing models to purchase of content & e-resources

Information is essential for business and competitive intelligence in the corporate marketplace.  So, how do you fit content procurement into the strategic sourcing model?  Valerie Ryder, Director of Information Strategy for Wolper Subscription Services, Inc. and a former librarian and procurement partner in a local Fortune 500 corporation, leads webinar participants through the issues and best practices involved in organizational procurement of magazines, journals and electronic information.

To register, visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/918346674 

Job Openings - Saucon Valley Country Club &

Hello everyone - two job openings to share today, one at Saucon Valley Country Club and one at AFC First Financial Corp.  As always, if you are a Chamber Member and have a job opening, E-mail me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org and we will post it!
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EnergyLoan Consumer Loan Underwriter/Lender

AFC First Financial Corporation, a Lehigh Valley based private financial institution specializing in lending for residential energy efficiency projects nationally, is looking for a talented, detail-oriented and upbeat individual for the position of EnergyLoan Underwriter/Lender.

The ideal candidate will fit into a smaller company team environment, while working on interesting projects that support lending programs for energy efficiency and other "green" improvements to homeowners across the country.  

AFC First, founded in 1947, is one of three Fannie Mae approved energy-lenders nationwide and administrator of state and utility programs including Pennsylvania's Keystone Home Energy Loan program,in partnership with the Pennsylvania Treasury and DEP, the Connecticut Solar Lease Program, the national EnergyLoan program and programs for many other states and utilities. The US EPA and DOE recently named AFC First the nation's first private, non-utility Home Performance with ENERGY STAR sponsor.

Dynamic and creative thinking, financial discipline, personal integrity and conscientiousness toward employees, customers and business partners are the cornerstone beliefs of the company.
 
Job Description:
This position is a key part of AFC First's Energy Loan operations team and reports to the Vice President of Operations. The primary goal is to effectively process and underwrite consumer loans for energy efficiency home improvements, providing accurate decisions and exceptional service to consumer and contractors. The position is based at AFC First's headquarter in the AFC First Energy Center on Brookside Road in the West Allentown/Lower Macungie Township area.

Principal duties include:

  • Maintain an up to date working knowledge of all AFC's energy lending programs
  • Accept, process and underwrite consumer applications for energy efficiency improvement loans in accordance with the company credit guidelines, program requirements, and applicable federal and/or state lending regulations
  • Effectively communicate lending status and decisions with consumer and contractors, providing friendly, knowledgeable and extraordinary service to all parties
  • Accurately maintain all records in loan processing database in timely fashion, efficiently process applications and produce accurate and correct documents
  • Other duties as assigned

Requires some consumer credit processing/lending experience, basic database and Microsoft Office product skills, knowledge of consumer lending laws and regulations, a friendly and outgoing personality, exceptional attention to detail and a willingness to work in a friendly, collegial and dynamic environment. Credit or other experience in the HVAC, home improvement or "green" industries is a plus but not required. Compensation, including medical and retirement benefits, commensurate to experience.

Please forward resume to Julie Unger, VP-Operations at junger@afcfirst.com.
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Saucon Valley Country Club


Job Description

Position Description
Title- Administrative Assistant, Member Services
Supervisors- General Manager and Membership Director

SVCC is one of the largest private golf and country clubs in North America. The three championship golf courses, unique six-hole short course, various racquet sports, fitness facility, swimming pools, clubhouses, and an 18th century guest house comprise what is arguably one of the finest private country club complexes in the world.  The Club features a variety of food and beverage venues, ranging from the Grille Room to al fresco dining in four locations.

Job Summary

The Administrative Assistant for Member Services will serves as the administrative staff for the General Manager, Board of Governors, and Committees of the Board.
The Administrative Assistant for Member Services is responsible for providing on-going member communication through member mailings, monthly newsletter, and the Club website.
This position is intended to give SVCC members one point of contact to arrange utilization of multiple Club facilities.

Key Responsibilities

Has a complete understanding of the functioning of SVCC and all of its many policies and amenities, and venues to appropriately explain these policies, amenities, venues, and benefits of membership to members.
Presents a helpful, enthusiastic, and complete one stop shopping service for SVCC members when they want to organize the use of multiple Club facilities.
Provides member services in the following areas:  Notary services, assistance with website log-in and instruction, gift certificates, House Guest privileges, fly-fishing permits, and other services as needed.
Organizes and schedules meetings of the Board of Governors, Executive Committee, and certain other Committees of the Board.  Takes dictation of minutes, and transcription of minutes for the Executive Committee and Board of Governors.
Acts as Executive Secretary for General Manager, and members of the Board of Governors.
Composes and edits correspondence for general mailings
Coordinates and edits monthly SVCC Newsletter; creates quarterly Employee Newsletter
Updates the member website and provides on-going communication to members by way of eblasts and ebulletins.  Creates website announcements, events, and calendars
Provides coordination and administrative support for the summer Kid’s Club Program and handles the annual ordering of Swim Team merchandise and trophies
Annually updates SVCC Yearbook and By-Laws
Provides support for Membership Director as needed
Provides appropriate feedback to Club leadership and Management as to member satisfaction so that changes, if needed, can be considered.
Works closely in cooperation with other management and staff members to assure the smooth functioning of SVCC.    Provides assistance to other members of senior staff as directed by supervisor.
Respects the confidential nature of the position at all times.
Other duties that may be added from time to time by supervisor, or Board of Governors

Key Skills and Experience Required

Excellent communication and problem solving skills
Excellent command of the English language including grammar and proofreading
Excellent computer skills using MS Office Suite required, additional software desired.
Experience in an organization that services members
BA English or Communications desired
Notary Public desired

Please email resume and cover letter to:

Maria Esposito
Membership Director
Saucon Valley Country Club
mesposito@sauconvalleycc.org




Daily Briefing, 3/21/2012

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

In Arena related news, Lehigh Valley Health Network announced yesterday that they will open a sports medicine center in the office complex attached to the arena.  A Hamilton Street ticket center is also coming to downtown.  Today's is Rita's Italian Ice annual free giveaway day.  R. Scott Smith, CEO of Fulton Financial Corp, will retire at the end of the year.  The Easton Area School District is facing a $4 million budget gap.

In national news, Mitt Romney won the Illinois primary yesterday.

We have one Chamber event today: a joint East Penn/Western Lehigh luncheon on a new approach to networking.

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Want to go to Rome?


Join Tony Iannelli as he travels toRome and the Amalfi Coast, Italy – September 27 to October 6.  FREE Info session March 27 @ 4pm – Bethlehem Chamber office.  Trip features Rome, Regional Wines with Dinner, Ravello, Villa Rufolo, Vietri-sul-Mare, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Paestum, Pompaii, Naples and Mount Vesuvius.  Tour pricing includes Transportation to and from the Airport based on Double occupancy includes land, roundtrip air from Newardk, fuel and tax for departure date and hotel transfers.  $3299 if you book now.  10 days, 13 meals: 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners.
  • Day 1 – overnight flight to Italy
  • Day 2 – Welcome dinner featuring local delicacies and wines
  • Day 3 – Rome: Vatican museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Venezia, Roman Forum, Circus ZMaximus, Arch of Constantine, Colosseum, Piazza Navona
  • Day 4 – Ravello, Vietri-sul-Mare, Amalfi Coast, lesson on local language, gardens of Villa Rufolo, end the day overlooking the Mediterranean Sea
  • Day 5 – Sorrento, Positano, Cuise along Amalfi and Praiano before arriving in Minori, limoncello factory, end in Vietri.
  • Day 6 – Vietri-sulpMare, buffalo milk mozzarella factory and tour of Greek temples
  • Day 7 – day at leisure with optional boat trip to island of Capri
  • Day 8 – Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvious, winery Neapolitan lunch, town square, ceramic shops and cafes
  • Day 9 – Bid farewell to Amalfi coast and proceed to Naples and Archaeological museum, farewell dinner celebration
  • Day 10 – Tour Ends

Hotels include: Mediterraneo Hotel Rome, Lloyds Baia Hotel, Amalfi Coast, Crowne Plaza St. Peters or Melia Roma in Rome

Daily Briefing, 3/19/2012

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

After a stunning upset of Duke on Friday, Lehigh lost to Xavier last night.  Wednesday marks the 15th anniversary of the shutdown of the main plant at Bethlehem Steel.

In national news, Mitt Romney won the Puerto Rican primary over the weekend; the primary now shifts to Illinois, which is tomorrow.  Gas prices have increased for the 9th straight day.

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Guest Blog Post: Earn Money by Buying Insurance?

We have a guest blog post today from our friends at the John Yurconic Agency.  This one is on a subject near and dear to my heart - Chamber Membership - and how you can use it to make more money!  Enjoy!
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Penn National Insurance and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce have put together an exclusive business insurance program designed to provide chamber members with the comprehensive PA Business Insurance coverages they need at a competitive rate. Plus, depending on the group premium volume and claims experience, you could earn a dividend too!

Plus you get added protection and value through Penn National Insurance:


  • PennPac® — our enhanced coverages on auto, businessowners, property, workers’compensation, and general liability — giving you added security at no additional cost.
  • Equipment breakdown coverage automatically included with business owners and commercial fire policies
  • Replacement cost auto coverage — not commonly found in commercial auto policies — can be added at a nominal flat rate, giving you a valuable and affordable peace-of-mind coverage
  • Add special coverages for niche business, such as printers, wholesalers, manufacturers, auto repair, family-style & fine-dining restaurants, and artisan contractors
  • Information and services to help reduce losses
  • Outstanding, local claim and customer support service
  • Convenient Web-delivered Online Insurance Center for access 24/7, including pay online, electronic funds transfer, billing and policy information, and claims reporting
*subject to individual risk characteristics, loss experience and underwriting guidelines


Eligible lines* offered through this program include:

 Businessowners
 Commercial auto
 Commercial fire and crime
 General liability
 Inland marine
 Workers’ compensation

Dividend earned is based on the total group premium and claims experience of eligible lines.

For example:

If group premium is: $1.2 Million

and group loss ratio is: 16%

Group dividend is: 15%

If member premium is: $20,000

Dividend earned will be: $3,000

Dividend payments are based upon program eligibility and are not guaranteed.


Want to know more?  Call the John Yurconic Agency today!

610-770-6600

Job Opening - Budd Agency

Hello everyone - one more job opening to post - this one with our friends at the Budd Agency.
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NJ & PA INSURANCE CSR, Account Services
auto, home, liability and commercial lines

ABILITIES REQUIRED:
·          Knowledge of Microsoft Office (specifically word & excel)
·          Comfortable navigating various types of internet sites and programs
·          Adapt quickly to new software updates and computer systems
·          Strong attention to detail
·          Experience with electronic processing (fax/email/scanning)
·          Strong organization and communication skills
·          Maintain an individual daily workload and take on unexpected tasks as needed
·          Professional communication with our agency customers and company partners

DAILY TASKS INCLUDE:
·          Reviewing, processing, and quoting auto/home renewal policies
·          Maintaining knowledge of various company guidelines
·          Quoting new clients and rounding existing accounts
·          Light commercial lines processing
·          Process phone and email requests from existing clients in a timely manner
·          Light filing, setting up new customer files
·          Writing new personal lines policies (In office appointments or via mail/email)


Insurance experience is not required, but must have willingness to obtain license.  Experience preferred, but will train.  Must be willing to work in both Phillipsburg and Bethlehem locations.

Please send cover letter and resume to Eileen Budd, Vice President eileen_budd@buddagency.com

Daily Briefing, 3/16/2012

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment dropped in January to 8.2%.  Northampton County judges have selected Robert Pfenning has the new Bethlehem Controller after Bethlehem City Council could not come to an agreement.  Northampton County Council unanimously approved the creation of a Gracedale Advisory Council.  Lehigh County has extended the deadline to file informal reassessment appeals by one week.

In state-wide news, former State Senator Robert Mellow (D) has been charged with fraud in federal court on allegations that he used state employees to do political work.

In national news, the new iPad arrives in stores today.  Former Illinois Governor Blogojevich has begun serving his time in prison.

We have two Chamber events today: an LGBT meet & greet mixer and SBC event on marketing.

That's it for now!  We'll have one guest blog entry later today; happy Friday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Job Openings

Hello everyone - we have one job opening today, this one from our friends at HarborTouch.  As always, if you have a job opening and are a Chamber member, please E-mail it to me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org.
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Job Description
Harbortouch is one of the largest and most reputable payment processing companies in the nation. Our new division, Harbortouch is a leading supplier of point of sale solutions and can accommodate the needs of any retail or hospitality business by providing an easy to use, high performance POS system at an affordable price.
 
Harbortouch is currently searching for highly motivated, experienced outside sales professionals. The successful candidate will be responsible for generating new business relationships while nurturing the existing. If you are experienced in the merchant services industry, this is your chance to work for a dynamic and expanding organization. We are offering a competitive base salary to those who are experienced as well as a comprehensive benefits package which includes medical, dental and life insurance, retirement planning and much more. 
Responsibilities Include:
• Presenting the versatility of the POS System which allows you to offer any merchant a complete business management tool 
• Scheduling appointments and visiting potential referral sources, specifically the banking industry and networking associations
• Initiating sales process by prospecting, scheduling appointments, making initial
presentation, understanding business needs, developing proposals, closing sales.
• Analyzing the prospects’ needs and interests, determining which merchant products are appropriate
 
• Completing and submitting timely and accurate new business paperwork and weekly activity reports
 
• Achieving and continuously developing sales skills knowledge
• Projecting a positive image in representing Harbortouch to clients and the community

Requirements:
• Relevant sales experience in the merchant services industry is required
• Extensive networking and business development skills are required
• Strong time management skills
• Demonstrates ability to execute results against strategy and meet critical deadlines

Salary
Career Level Required
Experienced (Non-Manager)
Experience Required
2+ to 5 Years
Education Required
n/a
Job Type
Employee
Job Status
Full Time
Contact Information

• Email: acabral@harbortouch.com

Daily Briefing, 3/15/2012

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

In Allentown, a possible lawsuit by Hanover Township may delay the bond issuance for the arena project.  In state-wide news, Governor Corbett signed a controversial Voter ID bill into law.  Penn State is looking at the possibility of going private.  In national news, the U.S. Senate has passed a $109 billion transportation and highway funding measure.

We have one Chamber event today: a mixer at Action Party Rentals.

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The latest from Main Street Lehigh Valley

At The Chamber, we like to say that we are On Every Main Street.  This means that we have staff on virtually every Main Street in the Valley and work to improve these core communities.  This also involves our work through the Main Street Lehigh Valley Foundation, which seeks to raise money and then distribute it to the Valley's urban communities for a variety of projects.  In today's Connections article, Anne Baum, Chairwoman of the MSLV Foundation, discusses their latest initiatives and projects.
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- Anne Baum – Capital BlueCross
The Chamber Foundation Chair
Main: (610) 820-2700 • anne.baum@capbluecross.com

Both public and private partnerships are the key to downtown corridor revitalization efforts. Historically, our Main Street community development programs have received funding and support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lehigh and Northampton Counties, and local governments. We have been able to leverage these public funds into additional support through foundations like Main Street Lehigh Valley, investments from business owners and corporate donations.

Private sector support is crucial to the long term sustainability of our programs. As governments at all levels slash their budgets, it is essential that we strengthen our existing partnerships with the business community and forge relationships with potential new partners. Corporate and private donations have already helped to fund many projects in the Lehigh Valley including: holiday and seasonal festivals; promotion and operation of local farmers markets; restaurant and retail guides; public art installations; community clean-ups; events; and
façade improvement programs. Donations also support the cost for individual communities to participate in the Borough Business Revitalization Program (BBRP).

Together, we are succeeding in building our communities and creating excellent environments in which businesses and the community grow and thrive together. These partnerships prove that what’s good for the community is good for business. And that strong communities attract strong businesses.

Join us! Invest in your community. The Main Street Lehigh Valley Project accepts tax-deductible donations in support of our programs. Visit us at www.lehighvalleychamber.org/MainStreet for more information.

5 Tips on Using QR Codes

I've written about QR Codes before and how innovative they are.  Personally, I'm not 100% convinced that they are here to stay.  Their main issue they require a decent amount of work to activate.  To be used, someone has to have downloaded a QR Code reader app - then they have to get our their phone, open the app and scan it properly (which can be a pain, depending on whether or not the code is configured properly, sized right, etc).  Other technologies, such as Near Field Communication, may one day eclipse QR Codes.  That being said, QR Codes are pretty leading edge when it comes to bridging the divide between the real and digital world, and if used properly, they can be extremely effective.

Here are some tips on what to do - and what not to do - when it comes to QR Codes.

1.  Don't put them on a website!  QR Codes are supposed to allow someone to scan something in the real world and be taken to a website.  That's really the goal of a QR Code - to get someone to engage in an action digitally (usually its visiting a website, but sometimes it can be making a call or sending an E-mail).  Any old link can do that in a website.  Don't get too fancy!

2.  If possible, create a special landing page:  QR Codes are easy and convenient to make - what is even cooler with them, however, is to create a customized landing page for each code.  This can be a pain - and expensive - but it can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your code.  For example, do you have one for a specific product?  Make the code take you to the page for that product.

3.  Make it worth it:  Give someone an incentive to scan your code.  Giveaways, joining a mailing list, coupons, etc - you have to give someone a reason to scan your code.

4.  Test!:  There is nothing worse than a code that goes nowhere/doesn't work - it makes you look foolish.  Test your code (on multiple devices) before using it anywhere.

5.  Make your website mobile-friendly:  Related to the above - if a code takes you to a webpage but you can't read that webpage - it's useless.  Make sure you website is mobile ready.

That's all we got - what about you?  Any tips/advice to share with us?

Daily Briefing, 3/14/2012

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

The Allentown Planning Commission approved the proposed plan for the arena district, including the construction of a hotel and office complex.  International Battery, which closed unexpectedly last week, owes the Commonwealth $2 million in economic development funding that it received.  In Whitehall, the Township is looking to set up a special tax zone, known as a LERTA, on the southern portion of Macarthur Road.  Congressman Tim Holden attended a Chamber event yesterday, where he also gave an interview for Business Matters.  The Northampton County Court of Common Pleas began interviews to full the vacant Bethlehem Controller's slot.  DirectAir abruptly cancelled its flights around the entire country, including in the Lehigh Valley.

In national news, Rick Santorum won primaries yesterday in Mississippi and Alabama; in both of those states, Newt Gingrich came in second, with Mitt Romney in third. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney won the Hawaii caucus.

We have one Chamber event today: our annual State of the City address in Bethlehem, featuring Mayor John Callahan.

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