Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday April 21, 2021 

Meet the Candidates is an annual education series to connect the business community to citizens seeking public office in Erie County. Candidates were invited to complete a brief questionnaire; answers appear as provided by the candidate (grammatical edits only). The views expressed below are not those of the Erie Regional Chamber. We invite you to get to know the candidates and mark your calendars to vote in Pennsylvania's Primary Election on Tuesday, May 18th. 


Meet the Candidate: James Lindstrom
Millcreek Township Supervisor

Current Employer
Local TV Station

About Ryan
I’ve lived in Millcreek Township for 24 years. I’m a graduate of McDowell High School (2009) and Gannon University (2013, Communication Arts). I currently work at a local tv station. I have volunteered with the youth in our community at places like the Erie Zoo. I enjoy being involved with the community. I’ve worked the polls on election day.


Why did you want to run for Millcreek Township Supervisor?


I want to serve the Millcreek community. We are at a critical state where economic growth is essential. I want to see Millcreek Township lead the way locally.


What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?

Economic growth, transparency, and listening to the taxpayers.


How would you be an advocate for key education initiatives such as the Erie County Community College, K-12 education, and early education as they relate to workforce development?

I do believe it is important for students to be prepared for the workforce. I believe it is important for students to know their options prior to graduating from high school. We are lucky to have many options in this region. I believe Millcreek’s partnership with Vo-Tech is one helpful resource for some students. A four-year college program isn’t for everyone. The only concern I have with the community college is how it will be funded in five or 10 years. Access to various training programs, trade programs, and various degree programs is essential. My hope is this can be addressed at the K-12 level. A Community College is a fine option for some, as long as we don't raise taxes on struggling residents to fund the project. Having well-trained individuals graduating from these various programs is in the best interest of our region. We also need to work on keeping students in this area after they graduate.


How will you work to advocate for the modernization of public health infrastructure and encourage public/private partnerships to address deficiencies in our public health system? 

This year has taught us the value of having access to healthcare. I believe there is a lot of work that needs to be done in this area at various levels. We have great healthcare facilities in this area. A healthcare system that prioritizes the citizens of this area is vital to public health.


According to TrackTheRecovery.org, Erie County is estimated to have lost over 28% of small businesses. How would you work to encourage financial stability within local and state governments without overburdening the small business community?

I believe the best thing government can do for small businesses is to stay off their backs. Red tape and over-taxation will not attract businesses to Millcreek Township. The various loan programs offered at both the Township level and other levels of government are helpful during these tough times. Government can create an environment for businesses to grow, but they should be careful not to burden them. I would say keeping taxes low and providing incentives for businesses to stay in this region is a good strategy.


Our community is expecting a total of $225 million or more in American Recovery Plan funds.  As a community leader, how would you prioritize this funding?

I believe any funds from the government should be used to help those struggling because of the pandemic. We should try to bring as much funding as possible to help the businesses and residents of Millcreek.


Pittsburgh has seen success with tools such as Tax Increment Finance and Transit Revitalization Investment District to spur their City’s revitalization.  Are you willing to make long-term investments in economic development?

I believe any incentives to attract business to Millcreek are a good thing. We have so many valuable assets in Millcreek that attract tourists, such as Presque Isle. I believe revitalizing areas like West Eighth and Peninsula Drive would be a good start. I would focus on investing in these key areas of Millcreek that are vital to the economic success of Western PA.

  • meet the candidates
  • millcreek township supervisor
Wednesday April 21, 2021 

Meet the Candidates is an annual education series to connect the business community to citizens seeking public office in Erie County. Candidates were invited to complete a brief questionnaire; answers appear as provided by the candidate (grammatical edits only). The views expressed below are not those of the Erie Regional Chamber. We invite you to get to know the candidates and mark your calendars to vote in Pennsylvania's Primary Election on Tuesday, May 18th. 


Meet the Candidate: Ryan D. McGregor
North East Borough Council

Current Employer
Logistics Plus

About Ryan
Ryan was born and raised just outside of Pittsburgh. Having graduated from Montour High School in 2005, Ryan furthered his education at Slippery Rock University. There, he earned a B.A. Political Science and a minor in Russian, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2009. After University, Ryan went to work in the district office of a United States Congressman. In this role, Ryan worked hand-in-hand with elected leaders from more than 100 municipal governments on a variety of local issues including stormwater management, business revitalization, capital project funding, and more. Ryan knows how to work within all levels of government to get results. ​

Though they could have chosen anywhere to start their new family, Ryan and his wife, Kacie chose North East Borough because of the wonderful neighborhoods (and neighbors!), vibrant business community, and engaging community events. Currently, Ryan works as the Head of Business Intelligence for an international logistics company finding actionable insights into data. Because you cannot fix what you cannot measure, Ryan will bring years of high-level analytics towards improving Borough Government. ​

As a Borough Councilman, Ryan will work to make our local government as open and accessible as possible, including improving access to community meetings and Borough records. Ryan will also look for new ways to encourage entrepreneurship in the business community and expand resources/programs in our parks. Ryan, Kacie, and their adorable daughter love living in North East and are very active members of Park United Methodist Church.


Why did you want to run for North East Borough Council?


To help inspire a new direction and vision for my community.


What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?

Expanded community recreation, creating a robust business environment for entrepreneurs, developing actionable data to improve community services.


How would you be an advocate for key education initiatives such as the Erie County Community College, K-12 education, and early education as they relate to workforce development?

In as much as a borough councilman can be involved in such matters, I would strongly support families making the decisions that best align with their needs and goals. I would openly encourage that students do as much of their education as they can in Erie County, rather than anywhere else. By providing an excellent education from Pre-K to College in Erie County, the more likely we are to develop a vast array of strong business leaders who want to live and grow here too.


How will you work to advocate for the modernization of public health infrastructure and encourage public/private partnerships to address deficiencies in our public health system? 

Having worked in the health care industry, I saw first hand the net benefit that public/private partnerships can create. Government services can be bettered in performance and cost by leaning on the vast institutional wealth of many private sector businesses. As a councilman, I would seek any and all opportunities to address public health deficiencies through these targeted partnerships.


According to TrackTheRecovery.org, Erie County is estimated to have lost over 28% of small businesses. How would you work to encourage financial stability within local and state governments without overburdening the small business community?

Over the course of many years, Erie County has been on a downward trajectory in both population and jobs, the past year has only exacerbated these problems. When existing businesses are looking to expand into new markets, often the quality of the workforce and cost of living are two major factors in their decisions. As a Borough Councilman, I will seek to promote excellence in our Erie County schools, a government that seeks to meet the needs of its business community and establishing more transparency with government spending. For too long, county and municipal governments have repeated schemes and programs that have not worked, while simultaneously squeezing the business community for more in taxes. Erie County is competing against and losing to, pro-growth policies from across the nation, it is time that we try a new approach.


Our community is expecting a total of $225 million or more in American Recovery Plan funds.  As a community leader, how would you prioritize this funding?

I would prioritize infrastructure and capital projects above all else. In North East, I believe that much more needs to be done to increase the livability of the community. While there are many great services currently, suburban communities need to give residents and potential residents more reasons to want to live in their town. With more and more workers being able to work remotely, towns that foster deep and meaningful connections through community events will be at an advantage. In an ideal world, I would love to see the re-establishment of the Street Cars (or light rail) that once connected North East to Erie.


Pittsburgh has seen success with tools such as Tax Increment Finance and Transit Revitalization Investment District to spur their City’s revitalization.  Are you willing to make long-term investments in economic development?

While North East is too small (as determined by current law), I would like for our town to implement a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program. A program like this would keep North East money invested in North East and allow the government to more flexibility to address issues of blight. Short of that, I would be very open to any incentive or government tool that we can provide to grow our business community.

  • meet the candidate
  • north east borough council
Wednesday April 21, 2021 

Meet the Candidates is an annual education series to connect the business community to citizens seeking public office in Erie County. Candidates were invited to complete a brief questionnaire; answers appear as provided by the candidate (grammatical edits only). The views expressed below are not those of the Erie Regional Chamber. We invite you to get to know the candidates and mark your calendars to vote in Pennsylvania's Primary Election on Tuesday, May 18th. 


Meet the Candidate: Lydia Lathe
Erie County Council, District 6

Current Employer
USCRI Erie (Chamber Member)

About Lydia
Lydia Laythe is a social worker, advocate, local elected leader, and step-mom. She is trained in trauma treatment, has worked with refugees, immigrants, children and adolescents who experienced trauma, and previously incarcerated men. Lydia was raised in Edinboro and has lived and worked in the area for over two decades. Lydia is currently serving on Washington Township Council, where she has advocated for increased governmental transparency and accountability, as well as Community Benefits Agreements, renewable energy development, municipal recycling, and community outreach and engagement.


Why did you want to run for Erie County Council?


There is no one like me in local municipal government. Local government needs fresh perspectives and new ideas to be the strongest, healthiest, most innovative, creative, and sustainable government it can be. I know I can bring these qualities to County and could benefit so many more people at a County level.


What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?

County prison reform, community benefits agreements, and trauma-informed perspectives on all policies.


How would you be an advocate for key education initiatives such as the Erie County Community College, K-12 education, and early education as they relate to workforce development?

I already advocate for these initiatives in my personal and professional life, serving at a County level would enable me to do so in my political life. I work closely with early childhood educators and early childhood literacy experts on several initiatives to increase literacy in Erie. I've supported Erie's efforts to bring a Community College to our area for several years now - having worked with Ron DiNicola when he ran for Congress a few years back. I will continue to build relationships with key stakeholders, most importantly the families and young people most affected by these issues, and ensure that their voices be heard on Council and their strengths and needs not be forgotten in the decision-making process.


How will you work to advocate for the modernization of public health infrastructure and encourage public/private partnerships to address deficiencies in our public health system? 

The first step is to acknowledge that a gap exists and that it's worthy of our attention. Too often elected leaders don't give attention to issues that don't affect them personally. That's never been my approach. I already participate in many coalitions around various issues - like human trafficking and domestic violence. I know the power of building relationships across the County and would continue to support and promote collaboration and creative problem-solving in every area of County government - including public health.


According to TrackTheRecovery.org, Erie County is estimated to have lost over 28% of small businesses. How would you work to encourage financial stability within local and state governments without overburdening the small business community?

Community Benefits Agreements are one of many ways to protect and intentionally support small businesses in our community. CBA's guarantee that when outside groups come into our community they don't crush the local businesses in the process. CBA's are a safeguard against greed, corruption, or false promises. Finding ways to promote economic growth that supports our community at its core is the heart of Community Benefits Agreements and that's why I'm so excited to bring these to County Council.


Our community is expecting a total of $225 million or more in American Recovery Plan funds.  As a community leader, how would you prioritize this funding?

No response provided.


Pittsburgh has seen success with tools such as Tax Increment Finance and Transit Revitalization Investment District to spur their City’s revitalization.  Are you willing to make long-term investments in economic development?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Community Benefits Agreements could address this concern as well! CBA's could be worded for specific projects that ensure multi-billion-dollar developments pay their fair share towards specific community initiatives - like infrastructure or historic preservation. I will always stand by the belief that those with more money have a greater responsibility to contribute to the community they benefit from occupying. While tools like Opportunity Zones sound positive - and in some instances can work out - they often perpetuate gentrification, economic and social inequality, and the displacement and disenfranchisement of entire groups of people. If we use Opportunity Zones to encourage development, they must be paired with Community Benefits Agreements that protect our community from these dangerous pitfalls. We can want growth and development but also expect better from developers. Our community is worth so much more than some elected officials seem to think.

 

  • meet the candidates
  • erie county council
Monday February 15, 2021 

What’s the actual difference between an energy supplier and an energy broker? Choosing the right group to partner with can unlock significant savings for your business. It’s worth understanding the difference between suppliers and brokers and the advantages of working with each. This can help you better strategize for your needs and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having the right plan in place.


What Does a Broker Do?

Brokers are essentially a liaison between supplier and customer. They have industry experience and relationships with suppliers, and deep knowledge of pricing and contract structures. When you hire a broker, they reach out on your behalf and obtain quotes from multiple suppliers. Your broker will then analyze and compare these quotes before advising you on which quote to consider. 

Brokers charge fees for their services and the fee structure can vary from broker to broker. Typically, brokers tell suppliers the fee they charge and embed it into the contracted rate. Then they get paid by the supplier depending on the customer’s consumption. So, it’s essential when working with a broker to understand exactly how much they’re charging, what their fee structure is and what services are included for that cost.

Hiring a broker creates a layer between your business and energy suppliers. Businesses that are reluctant to manage quotes or negotiate costs on their own sometimes outsource the buying process to brokers, who are skilled in translating complex energy contracts into plain English. Trusting a broker with your energy strategy will come at a premium. However, they should provide value by differentiating both themselves and the suppliers they work with.


What Does A Supplier Do?

Even when you work with a broker, you are actually buying energy from a supplier. Depending on the location of your business, you may have your choice of several suppliers, each of which offer different products, pricing and advisory services. Part of a broker’s job is to help compare offerings from these different suppliers. But business owners also often deal directly with suppliers. In such cases, a lower total cost for energy may in fact be possible because neither buyer nor seller must compensate a broker for facilitating the transaction.

For this reason, suppliers are incentivized to create transparent products that business owners can understand without the help of a broker. Many suppliers employ teams of experts who specialize in communicating sophisticated energy products in straightforward terms. Every client is typically paired with a dedicated account executive, for example, and market strategists are also kept on staff to develop customized strategies according to each client’s needs.

While working directly with a supplier may require business owners to become more involved in the buying process, it can pay off. Suppliers are incentivized to help business owners develop creative, cost-effective solutions to their energy needs, and in fact many suppliers offer services beyond energy, including non-commodity solutions to help reduce consumption.

In addition, suppliers are increasingly cognizant of the growing interest in renewable energy and efficiency. Business owners interested in green energy may find that working with the right supplier can provide additional value in the form of sustainable energy investment and leadership within their community.

Regardless of whether you purchase power and/or natural gas via a broker, Direct Energy Business is a proven leader in energy within the greater Erie area with a wide-ranging portfolio of products to meet the specific needs of your business.


To learn more, get in touch with Elizabeth Friel, Senior Account Executive for the Erie region at Elizabeth.Friel@directenergy.com

 

  • energy
  • member
Thursday November 12, 2020 

Submitted by Monica Surrena, Marketing Manager Wm. T. Spaeder Co.

Wm. T. Spaeder Company (https://wmtspaeder.com)  completed an extensive amount of 3D scanning in our work for the new Erie Insurance Office Building in downtown Erie, PA. We were responsible for the complete mechanical and plumbing of which we designed, fabricated and installed. The scanning ensured that the miles and miles of complicated piping was fabricated and installed with precision so that our work meshed with the other trades involved.

In the above video, we discuss our process and how our workflow allowed us to tackle this complex project efficiently. We would like to thank FARO® and Hanley Wood for putting it together. You can read the full case study here: https://wmtspaeder.com/faro-erie-insurance-case-study

  • 3d scan
  • construction
  • business expansion

latest news

Edinboro University Earns Top 20 Ranking for Early Childhood Program
March 29, 2021
Early childhood teachers play an important role in fostering academic, emotional, social and motor skills in young children. Degrees from outstanding ...
Erie Federal Credit Union Welcomes New Business Lender
March 11, 2021
Erie Federal Credit Union (Erie FCU) is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Paradise as Business Lender.
Erie Community Foundation Announces Two New Board of Trustees Members
February 8, 2021
The Erie Community Foundation announces two new leaders to the Board of Trustees New in 2021: Rev. Don Baxter, Jr., M.D. and Deborah W. Murphy, CFP&re...