Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday February 27, 2019 

Welcoming Guest Bloggers to ERIE Business Brief

The Erie Regional Chamber is pleased to extend an invitation to our members to contribute to the ERIE Business Brief – the Blog. We invite members to contribute blog articles the will be useful to the Erie area residents and business community by sharing their expertise in their respective fields.

We do have some guidelines to go by, and welcome photos! Click below for all the details regarding submitting your article for consideration!

Guest Blog Guidelines

Friday February 1, 2019 


Check out the members highlighted in January

In partnership with Lilly Broadcasting, the Erie Regional Chamber sponsors Giving You the Business segments which air weekly on WSEE35 and WICU12 during the 5:30 PM. Monday broadcast and Tuesday mornings in the 6-7 AM. hour. Each segment takes viewers behind the scenes of a local business they may not have a chance to see.

January's highlighted members:

Giving You the Business segments highlight members of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and is a free membership benefit! Contact our office if you would like viewers to see behind the scenes at your business! Email marketing director Nadeen Schmitz, or phone 814-454-7191 x139 to schedule your segment.

Friday February 1, 2019 

Anything can be

Tuesday February 5, 2019 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held to Celebrate Rebranding

This morning we were pleased to help our friends at Andover Bank celebrate the rebranding of the facility on Zimmerly Road.

Even as it embarks on its 135th year as a local independent community bank, Andover Bank is focusing hard on the future with plans for a facelift that should make it look better than ever. The venerable financial institution will be giving its image a modern sheen by introducing a flurry of brand updates, including a new logo, website, and signage.

The bank, which serves northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania, is putting the finishing touches on an 18-month rebranding process designed to refresh its look while renewing its legacy.

“We’re a rarity in our service area,” says Steve Varckette, president and CEO. “A true community bank that devotes 100 percent of our time and attention to local individuals, families and businesses. That’s how it’s always been. This brand update is our way of recommitting to our community.”

More than 50 years old, Andover Bank’s current logo was ripe for an overhaul. Months of research, brand development, and testing culminated in not just a new logo, but also a new look for every aspect of how the bank presents itself to the community.

Congratulations on your fresh, new look!

Wednesday February 6, 2019 

Erie County Historical Society Holds Ribbon Cutting

The Wood-Morrison House on West 6th Street is now home to the Education Center for the Thomas B. Hagen History Campus.

The Erie County Historical Society purchased the Wood-Morrison house in 2017. Renovations of the house took 10 months to complete. An addition was added to the building to allow for handicap accessibility. A ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning marked the official opening.

The first floor will feature exhibits of Dr. Wood and Captain Morrison. The second floor has three classrooms which are available for educational opportunities and meeting space.

The center is a lovely space, and we congratulate all involved!

Friday February 8, 2019 

Do your best today.

Friday February 8, 2019 

Wiler Named Director of Capital Formation, Flagship Opportunity Zone Development Company

Brett Wiler began his role as Director of Capital Formation for the Flagship Opportunity Zone Development Company this week. Brett will serve as the face and ‘pitchman’ for the City of Erie’s eight designated Opportunity Zone census tracts, also known as Pennsylvania’s Flagship Opportunity Zones. He will also serve as the ‘entry point’ or ‘concierge’ for anyone interested in Opportunity Zone investment.

Brett has been practicing economic development for nearly 10 years with a focus on business retention and expansion, new business development, workforce development, and entrepreneurial ecosystem building.  Brett was the City of Erie, Pennsylvania’s first-ever Business Development Officer where he was the primary architect of City’s first-ever City-wide Investment Prospectus.  The Flagship, a first of its kind organization – was created to match potential Opportunity Zone projects with Opportunity Zone investors at a local, regional, and national level.  In his role, Brett is also responsible for educating his community on the numerous ways everyone – from everyday residents to Fortune 500 companies – can best participate as members of the investment class. 

Born and raised in Erie, Brett attended John Carroll University, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and later attended Gannon University and received his master’s in Public Administration.

Monday February 11, 2019 

Ribbon Cutting Held 2/9/19

A ribbon cutting and open house celebrated the official opening of the Teen Space at the Blasco Library this past weekend.

Located on the first floor of the library and overlooking Presque Isle Bay, the new space was designed for and by teens through a series of public forums with guidance from the library's Teen Advisory Board. Decisions about furnishings, technology, and design were all made by the teens for their new space. And it looks awesome!

The space includes a robust collection of books and resources, brand-new furnishings, a performance stage, collaboration spaces, a laptop bar, and room for a wide variety of programs.

This construction will complete Phase II of the Blasco Master Plan – a four-phase plan designed to achieve the following overarching goals: 1) Respond to cultural and technological change, 2) Prioritize collaboration over collections, 3) Establish phased improvements, and 4) Build community support by making possibilities visible.

This $200,000 project is supported by the Erie Regional Library Foundation with a matching grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education, with funds provided from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. Congratulations to all involved in helping make this space a reality for the teens in the community!

View Event Photos

Wednesday February 13, 2019 

The Masonic Temple Hosts February Connect 4 Coffee

We were thrilled to have the Masonic Temple in downtown Erie host our February morning networking event. Bill and fellow lodge members gave us a warm welcome in the stately, iconic building which was built in 1909 making it 110 years old. There are several rooms available for banquets and events. 

What we learned from some of our members:

  • Gracelia from Mosquito Hunters told us that because it has been a fairly mild winter, there will be lots of those biting buggers around once the weather breaks.
  • Geri from the Erie County Historical Society mentioned that the organization is 115 years old and had NEVER held a fundraiser! The ECHS has membership support that helps care for the priceless collections, provide educational programming, and preserve Erie's foundation for the future.
  • Erin, ED at Junior Achievement, noted they have a documentary coming out soon on PBS! Also, the annual Bowl-A-Thon is set for May 6-9, so get your teams signed up!

View Event Photos

Our March event will be hosted at The Schoolhouse. Registration will open soon!

Thursday February 14, 2019 

Hosted by The Schoolhouse

Build your network at our Connect 4 Coffee event next month being hosted by The Schoolhouse, 6610 West Lake Road, on Tuesday, March 12th from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Things to remember when you attend a Connect 4 Coffee event:

  • Be prepared with a 2 minute presentation about YOUR business or programs
  • Bring marketing materials to share with other attendees
  • Expect quality networking with other ERCGP members
  • Don't forget your business cards!
  • Coffee and light breakfast treats to be served

This event is FREE to ERCGP members, but space is limited to 30 guests and pre-registration is required. If you have attended a Connect 4 Coffee event in the past, preference will be given to those members who have not attended previously.


Friday February 15, 2019 



Tuesday February 19, 2019 

Lesley Ridge Allen Joins Erie Regional Chamber Team

Lesley Ridge Allen joins the team in the Business Outreach Specialist position in the Economic Development division at the Erie Regional Chamber. 

Lesley is primarily responsible for connecting business to organizations within the Economic Development ecosystem to further their success in the business community and providing assistance with key business activities such as workforce development, financing, succession planning, recruitment and training, strategic planning, and business growth. 

Lesley returned to Erie in 2012 after working for a marketing agency in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to her new role at the Chamber, Ridge Allen ran a local digital marketing agency, partnering with local small businesses and professionals throughout the greater Erie area as well as organizations in New York City, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009 with a BA and MA in Professional Writing with focus on information architecture.


Wednesday February 20, 2019 

Welcome to the Team!

Tammy Philabaum joined the Erie Regional Chamber team as Chief Administrative & Finance Officer. As Chief Administrative & Finance Officer Tammy is responsible for all administrative functions of the organization, primarily fiscal and human resource management.  

Prior to Tammy coming to the ERCGP, she was the Owner/Operator of T2 Management Solutions, LLC.  Her experience also includes many years as the Chief Administrative Office at Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, PC.   

Tammy earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University and an MBA from Gannon University.

Monday February 18, 2019 

Their own words

'In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.' ~ Abraham Lincoln

'Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.' ~ George Washington

Thursday February 21, 2019 

In Business and Life

Amanda Kochirka, MPA, ACES Volunteer and ERCGP Program Director

For 20 years, Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System (ACES) has brought the PA Business Week program to area high schools. My first experience with PA Business Week was as a judge for the Advertising and Marketing and Trade Show competitions at Ft. LeBoeuf High School. The dedication that the students put into every aspect of their businesses was impressive, but the advertising and trade show work that I had the pleasure of judging was completely above and beyond anything I ever could have expected. Seeing the students proudly introduce their products and promote them in mock TV and radio commercials as well as showcase their selling skills on the trade show floor brought a sense of pride to my own heart. 

The lessons the students learn about how a business operates, the appreciation they develop for school subjects, and how they view their potential career paths after participating in PA Business Week is where, I believe, the true success of the program lies. They’re also learning to appreciate working with different personality types, how to recognize and tap into other teammates’ strengths, and overall how to function effectively as a member of a team – which are lessons that will carry them far beyond their years of schooling.

I’ve participated in the ACES PA Business Week program for several years now and each year I am more impressed by the caliber of work the students are able to produce in such a short period of time. The work that happens behind the scenes leading up to the competitions is obvious and that’s where I’d highly recommend local businesses get involved. 

There are opportunities for volunteers from the local business community to participate in the program, most immediately at Girard High School, which will be occurring March 25-29. ACES is seeking business advisors to work directly with the student teams for the duration of the week, acting as mentors and coaches, as well as businesses who are willing to sponsor a team of 15 students, the cost of which is $400 per team.

PA Business Week was originally developed by the Manufacturer and Business Association and is designed to allow teams of public high school students to create and manage companies through a business simulation for an entire week. The rigorous program curriculum teaches students about managerial decisions such as product pricing, marketing, production, research and development, plant investment, and human resources.

At the conclusion of the week, all student teams participate in four competitions: Advertising and Marketing, Stockholders Presentation, Trade Show, and Return on Net Assets. One team is awarded the honor of Top Company and each group member receives $100. The simulation of real-world business decision making helps students to learn leadership skills, teamwork, time management, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and people skills, all while exploring the many career paths available in the business and manufacturing world.

For more information about the PA Business Week program and to volunteer or sponsor, please contact Val Laufenberg, Executive Director, at (814) 456-7007 or at

Friday February 22, 2019 

Get Started

Monday February 25, 2019 

How to pack for business with a single carry-on

Whether your next business trip involves catching a flight, boarding a train, or heading out on a road trip, packing everything you need in a single carry-on can cut costs and reduce stress while you're away from home.

Start With The Right Suitcase

Whether you're a frequent flier or not, a high-quality, airline-approved carry-on suitcase is a smart investment for any business traveler. Most airlines strictly limit carry-on sizes to bags measuring no greater than 22" x 14" x 9" - any bigger and you'll be looking at checked baggage fees and the inevitable delays that come with airport luggage carousels.

Look for one that has wheels and a pop-up handle that can do double-duty as a briefcase holder during those long treks through the terminal, parking lot, or hotel hallways.

Choose Neutral Colors

Packing a high-quality black (or neutral) business suit will give you the perfect base to build all your outfits on during your trip. During the day, wear the entire suit with a simple button-down business shirt, then pair the pants with either a casual dress shirt (for men) or a blouse (for women) to wear in the evening so you won't need to pack multiple pairs of matching shoes.

Stick with black socks, and use ties and lightweight silk scarves to add a touch of color without bringing along extra clothes.

Pack Travel-Sized Personal Care Products

Not only can regular-sized containers of hair care products, contact lens solution, and beauty creams take up a lot of room in your luggage, but there's strict limits on what you can take with you on a flight.

Pack only TSA-approved travel-sized containers of any must-have toiletries, and remember, most hotels offer complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner on request. Unless you need a specific brand, go ahead and leave those personal items at home.

Ditch The Winter Boots

If you're traveling to, from, or between destinations where boots are a must, consider investing in a pair of pack-able, waterproof winter overshoes. Lightweight and versatile, they're the perfect space-saving alternative to bulky boots, and they're designed to fit over both casual and business footwear.

Wear Your Jacket

Jackets can really eat up the limited space inside your carry-on bag - that's why we recommend wearing your coat or blazer while traveling. Not only will this leave more room inside your luggage, but your jacket can serve double-duty as a pillow in a pinch.

Roll or Fold?

Roll small items like underwear and socks so they can be tucked into small spaces in your bag. To pack dress shirts, first, button them up, lay them front-down, and fold into thirds. Fold again horizontally, then roll tightly from the fold right up to the collar. Similarly, dress pants can also be rolled vertically - just be sure to keep the crease straight.

Suit jackets are the exception - they should be carefully folded (not rolled) and packed last to minimize wrinkles.

Limit Your Electronics

Choose a single, multi-function laptop computer in lieu of multiple devices when traveling. Not only will this cut down of what you'll have to pack, but it'll reduce the risk that you'll lose your electronics while on the road.

Tuesday February 26, 2019 

The Digital Version

We have just released an updated version of a street map for the Erie area. You can zoom in to view the street details for the city of Erie and surrounding areas.

The print version of the map will be available soon. 

Thank you to our advertisers on this project! We appreciate your support!

View Erie Street Map

Thursday February 28, 2019 

Special Ticket Offer for ERCGP Members

Join us for Flagship City Night with the Erie Bayhawks Friday, March 22nd at the Erie Insurance Arena. 

As a "thank you" for your support and membership, the Erie Regional Chamber has partnered with the Erie Bayhawks for a night of fellowship and basketball. Cash in on this special ticket offer of buy one get two free for ERCGP members only!

Come help us celebrate our beautiful city by the lake as your hometown Erie Bayhawks take on the Windy City Bulls, a Chicago Bulls affiliate. Tip-off is at 7PM and doors open at 6PM.



Friday February 22, 2019 

The Cork 1794 hosts February's event

A capacity crowd gathered for our Business After Hours hosted at The Cork 1794 in the West Erie Plaza. Members and guests received the red carpet treatment from the staff who were very gracious and accommodating! The food was delicious and everyone had fun tasting the mystery cocktails which were voted on to become a signature drink at the restaurant this summer. 

Thank you to the team at The Cork for welcoming us into your awesome space!

View Event Photos

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