Erie Chamber Blog
Friday November 1, 2019 

Who Joined in October?

Please help us welcome the businesses that joined the organization recently:

Thank you for your investment. We look forward to working with you!

Our members represent nearly 800 companies in the Erie region. Do you know of a business that could benefit from becoming a member of the Erie Regional Chamber? Refer them to Steve Walters, Member Engagement Manager, for details and information and share with them the link below.

Membership Information

Friday November 1, 2019 
Saturday November 2, 2019 
Monday November 11, 2019 
Friday November 8, 2019 
Friday November 8, 2019 

Community College: The Missing Link to Transform Our Community

A community college with a state of the art workforce development curriculum and instructors is the missing link in the effort to transform our community.

Our businesses are demanding an effective workforce development system to enable them to grow in Erie.  Nearly one quarter of our workforce is 55 or older, and we simply do not have the trained talent to fill the void left by our aging workforce. 

Erie is at a stark disadvantage compared to other communities where there is an effective community college engaged with local industry and employers.  Strategic businesses choose to relocate or expand their operations to regions with a highly trained workforce.  These communities almost always include a robust community college system.  Erie is simply not in a position to grow and attract new businesses today.    

In our community, labor force participation rates are falling at rates far exceeding state and national trends, which is a strong deterrent for businesses looking to locate their operations in Erie.  From 2012 through 2018, the labor force participation rate in the county fell 3.3%, whereas the rate dropped by only 0.4% in Pennsylvania and 0.6% nationally.[1]

There are many opportunities to grow and develop local talent for our competitive industries like plastics manufacturing, electrical equipment manufacturing, metal fabrication and metal products, and research and development in engineering and life sciences.  A community college with a strong presence and physical location in Erie County is critical to seizing these opportunities and to transforming our community. 

The Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership stands with our community leaders who are prioritizing the need to bring a solution for a skills-based community college that offers training in trades and technical education.  It is imperative that we take control of this situation now. We cannot wait any longer. Our business community needs a solution like the community college to turn our trajectory of decline into a story of economic growth and vitality. 

 What’s the Latest?

October 28 – Governor Wolf writes two letters in support of the Erie Community College. 

October 29 - A Special Committee of the State Board of Education met to hear the findings of the State Board of Education regarding the County’s Application and criteria to be considered for a Community College Designation.  

November 13 and 14 – The full state board of education will be meeting to hear recommendations from this Special Committee and determine whether to vote on the application.  The Board may opt to table the vote until further meetings. 

Budget Process  - Should the State Board of Education vote to approve a Community College Designation in Erie County, there will need to be a strong advocacy effort to appropriate funds for the line item in the state budget.

Board of Trustee Designation – Should the State Board of Education vote to approve a Community College designation for Erie County, the County will have sixty (60) days to appoint a Board of Trustees.  The Board of Trustees is a 9 member board.  The County Executive will have two appointments, and each County Council member will have one appointment. 


How Can you Get Involved?

 Contact your legislators to share your support for a Community College Designation.


[1] Garner Economics:  A Competitive Realities Report & Target Industry Strategy for Erie County, Pennsylvania, 2019



Wednesday November 13, 2019 

Wm. T. Spaeder is proud to be the mechanical contractor on a number of large hospital projects, including a patient care tower in downtown Erie, PA.  In this video, we follow foreman Eric Bowman as he talks about the practical aspects of construction, such as where and how we hang our pipes as well as how we use Trimble's Total Station to lay down accurately measured points.  While this video highlights the plumbing aspects of the job, we also are responsible for the fire protection.  Please stay tuned for future videos!

Wm. T. Spaeder offers HVAC and plumbing for commercial, industrial, and residential applications throughout northern Pennsylvania, including the areas of Pittsburgh and Buffalo NY.  We also have a comprehensive fire protection department that serves the tri-state area.

Watch all our YouTube videos: 

Learn more about our services at or by calling us at 814-456-7014

1602 East 18th Street, Erie, PA 16510

141 Rochester Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15229

350 Orchard Park Road, Suite #2, West Seneca, NY 14224

Thursday November 14, 2019 

Join us Thursday, December 12th 

Join the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership team for our Annual Meeting on Thursday, December 12th at the Erie Art Museum as we unveil our vision for the future of Erie County's business community. 

For the first time, Chamber members will learn the details of the robust regional economic and community development strategy -- a strategic initiative that will be the catalyst to community-wide change.

The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership is leading Erie's economic evolution and our team is eager to share how our members will be an integral part of Erie County's ongoing success. We have expanded our capacity to bring awareness to key issues, advocate on behalf of smart business initiatives, and provide access at multiple levels for businesses of all sizes that operate within Erie County. Members will have a chance to meet the team and learn about our services -- particularly those related to capital formation and government affairs. 

Will you join us for an inspiring morning about Erie's future and our commitment to its economic vibrancy?  Register Today!

Breakfast will be served by Make It Fabulous Catering at 7:30 a.m. with the business meeting starting promptly at 8 a.m.  


Friday November 15, 2019 
Friday November 15, 2019 

Athena Speaks: On the Gender Gap

Navigating a career as a young professional is challenging. Now add in the fact that gender gap is at an all-time high, further emphasizing the severe lack of women in STEM fields. We can change that. Join us and from women who are bridging the Gender Gap and learn how to steer your career in the right direction to break up this cycle of exclusion.

We need to challenge workplaces to work collaboratively towards a single mission to emphasize inclusion. With this simple refocus, we can create opportunities for women in the workplace to fill gender gaps. By working together we can achieve ever greater professional success.

Next steps are to build out a collaborative workforce. Really focus on who is actually doing the work, how it is getting done, and where we need to insert inclusion. We want women to speak up and be heard, and men to help create opportunities for equality. Specifically, with STEM, the roles are fast-paced, tough and require high levels of intelligence – all things that women can excel in but need the opportunity. We need to work together to break through the barriers that we all/women today face.

You, as a young professional, have so much to offer, we want to help you navigate and rise up together to solidify your place in this industry.

  • We strive for commonality among our diversity.
  • Inclusive with a focus on opportunity and an equal playing field.
  • The male-dominated STEM industry is ready to be overturned.
  • We want to own our power and make room to give ladies the chance to succeed

Cost: $25 for members; $30 for non-members - No Cancellations or Refunds Accepted


Keynote Speaker/Moderator:

Sweetie Browne, Program Manager, Americas Sales Strategy & Planning, Cisco Systems, Inc. 

Sweetie believes in the motto, “good things come to those who go after it” and this has been her approach to her professional and personal growth. Sweetie has always found ways to combine her strengths and values to make an impact not only in her work but also in her community. It is no accident that she leads the Early-in-Career Internship Program for Americas Sales at Cisco Systems.

Sweetie’s passions lie in helping women of all ages feel empowered to accomplish their goals. Being the oldest of four sisters, she knows firsthand the importance of creating a strong foundation for young women to succeed. Sweetie volunteers with several local non-profit organizations and is the lead for WISE (Women In Science & Engineering) RTP, an Inclusion & Collaboration employee resource organization at Cisco. She also served on the Board of Directors for Professional Development for Connected Women of North Carolina, where she managed career professional development programs for women in the RTP area.

Sweetie resides in Cary, North Carolina, with her beloved dog, PrissyRose. She enjoys connecting with women and young girls across RTP and helping them understand the importance of building a strong network.


Geri-Lyn Hoffman, Quality Director, Dynamic Systems, LORD Corporation

Dr. Andrea Jeffress, MD, FACOG, Ob/Gyn Associates of Erie

Cathy Von Birgelen, Executive Director, eMarketing Learning Center @ BF


Tuesday November 19, 2019 

Thanks to our November BAH Host, Brevillier Village

Our November Business After Hours took us to Harborcreek and our hosts' facility, Brevillier Village on East Lake Road.

The facility stands on 20+ acres overlooking Lake Erie. Members and guests were treated to a lovely view during quality networking time. The size of the campus is very deceiving from the road for certain, and we learned about the programs, housing options for seniors, the varying levels of care, and more.

Thank you once again to the team at Brevillier Village for hosting our event, you made us feel very welcome!

View Photos

Wednesday November 20, 2019 

Our Host, Highmark Caring Place

If you are an early riser and enjoy a good cup of coffee, think about joining us on December 10th at Highmark Caring Place from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. for our morning networking Connect for Coffee event. We can guarantee good conversation, useful information, and you will definitely make connections! 

Space is limited for our Connect for Coffee events, so claim your seat today!

For all the details, and to register, visit

Friday November 22, 2019 
Thursday November 28, 2019 
Tuesday November 26, 2019 

Did You Catch These Television Segments on WICU/WSEE?

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.

Here are the members highlighted in November:

Giving You the Business segments highlight members of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and is a free member 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.

Tuesday November 26, 2019 

Join us for the Final ERCGP Event of 2019!

We want to thank Madeline's Dining and Events for coming through to host our final BAH of the year on December 19th! 

Madeline’s Dining & Events is an event venue and family fine dining establishment in Cranesville, PA. You may know the location as the former Crowley’s Restaurant. The building and property are historic to the Erie area where it started out as a small tavern in the 1950s. Over the years it has matured into an 8,000 square foot building with three separate dining rooms, three bars and a seating capacity of 225 people.

As new owners we made some renovations and polished it up, all the while preserving its distinct tongue-and-groove wood - making it a rustic yet elegant space for those wanting to re-live old memories, as well as those looking to make new ones.

Some of the festive plans for the evening include:

  • Tasty in-house appetizers to nibble on
  • Wines and draft beer will be served to wet your whistle
  • Try their signature cocktail, "Winter Blues"
  • Alexa Raye Unplugged will perform live from 6-8pm
  • Plan to stay and enjoy dinner after the event!
  • Don't forget your business cards for maximum networking!

Pre-registration is required and seating is limited, so make your reservation today to join us at Madeline's Dining and Events on December 19th!


Friday November 29, 2019 

latest news

Announcing the 2023 Louis J. Tullio Award Recipient
March 16, 2023
Today the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP) announced its 2023 nominees -- including the award recipient for its Louis J. Tull...
Young Erie Professionals On The Move
March 16, 2023
Erie, PA - Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP) is pleased to announce that Young Erie Professionals recently filed to become an indep...
The Erie Community Foundation Announces New Appointment
January 12, 2023
The Erie Community Foundation and its Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of Ricardo “Ric” Giles as Director of Phil...