2019 Director's Message

Anyone who has had a child who played a sport (or played themselves), knows the value of teamwork. It takes the whole team to effectively move the ball toward the goal. We can apply the same principles used to create a cohesive team to our community. Although we are individuals, we have to be able to complement each other to accomplish a common goal. An effective team pulls together the skills, experiences, and knowledge of a diverse group of people to achieve great things. What does it take to create a great team?

All the members of a team must be fully committed and devote a reasonable amount of time and energy to achieving the team's goals. Each member must be able to trust that all other team members are doing the same. Mistrust can lead to petty squabbles.

Team members must have open, honest communication. They must never be hesitant to communicate with other members about issues and concerns, as well as new ideas or personal observations.

Bringing together people with common skill-sets typically leads to lots of discussion with little subsequent actions. Ensuring that each team member possesses a unique specialty allows the team to trust each other for certain aspects of achieving the goal, while fully understanding what their own contribution is expected to be.

Team members should be able to rally together and meet new challenges head-on, rather than splintering into ideological factions or banding together to resist change. Change is unavoidable, and the most effective teams have the ability to roll with the punches and change the way they work together on the fly.

By working together as a team following these basic principles, we can develop and achieve the goals that will advance Greenville forward.


National Flag Day

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation deeming June 14 as Flag Day. President Wilson stated, “It is the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union.” He also wrote, “On that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts.”


Chamber Turns 70!

The Greenville Business Men’s Association began meeting in 1944. First on the agenda was to vote to take on the responsibilities of the 7-man post-war planning committee permanently, which eventually would lead them to purchase the Camp Reynolds site from the federal government. Since they were going to take on the post-war planning, they voted to also take on the responsibilities of a Chamber of Commerce. Dues were set and committees established.

Among those committees was Industrial and Retail. The Camp Reynolds purchase, as well as other property purchases, was led by the Industrial Committee. It would take nearly three years for the committee to achieve their goal of purchasing Camp Reynolds from the War Assets Administration. As the purchase progressed, three individuals fronted no-interest loans to aid in the purchase. They were paid back a year later. In addition, the committee secured a pre-paid three year rental agreement from Westinghouse. A permanent GBMA committee was formed in 1950 to oversee and manage the assets of Camp Reynolds. To aid in this, a manager was hired in 1951.

The Retail Committee busied itself with cooperative promotions including advertising, Christmas decorations and shopping hours. In October 1946, the board voted to support a “Hallo’ween Celebration.”

Another committee that was formed was the Community Chest. These were being formed all across the United States and Canada to raise money from local businesses and workers for community projects. Sound familiar? Many of these Community Chest organizations would later become United Ways.

While these were the main concerns of the directors, they also involved themselves with recreation, education, housing, transportation, and veteran’s affairs.

At the end of 1947, December 8 to be exact, the incorporators met. It was at this meeting, which followed the regular board meeting, that the details of incorporation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were read and voted upon.

While the group discussed changing the name to Chamber of Commerce in 1948, the name change would take another 26 years before becoming official in 1974.

President William R. McMillen announced a new name in the 34th Annual Report & Membership Directory.

“A new name—Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce—and the excellent opportunity afforded in 1974, of working together in a true spirit of dedicated purpose and cooperation.”

One last interesting note, Ruth Martstellar was the paid “Secretary” noted in 1944 minutes for this group of businessmen who formed the association. And, it was truly all men. She would later be named Executive Secretary. In 1970, she became the Executive Director. Two years later she appears in the membership directory as an honorary member. Quite an accomplishment for a woman of this time.



Origins of Memorial Day - a short history lesson

American Legions and VFW Posts with volunteer help spend hours placing flags and markers on our veterans' grave sites in preparation for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. We all realize it's more than a three-day weekend, but a day to remember those that have fallen defending our freedom. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans' Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans' Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Memorial Day has been around longer than any of us remember. It started as "Decoration Day" in the late 1860's after the Civil War. More than 600,000 Americans died during the Civil War, and both North and South wanted to commemorate them. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves had taken shape.  In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead. Many cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day including, Charleston, SC; Waterloo, NY; Boalsburg, PA; Carbondale, IL; Columbus, GA; and Columbus, MI.

In the years following the War Between the States, the North and South held various ceremonies to honor the fallen Union and Confederate soilders. In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11, designating May 30 as a memorial day. Beginning with Michigan in 1871, states passed laws making the holiday official. May 30 was chosen as it held no particular relevance to any battle, and flowers would be in bloom for the decorating. However, it wasn't until 1971 that Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday by an act of Congress. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Memorial Day is celebrated differently in communities across the nation; however, all Americans are supposed to pause for a minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to pay tribute to the men and women who died while serving the nation. Congress instituted this practice in 2000 with the passage of The National Moment of Remembrance Act, so this is one Memorial Day activity that is actually the law.

While we look upon Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, let's also remember that there are more than 260,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery alone of men and women who gave their lives so that we may celebrate the arrival of summer. (For actual counts of military deaths during war, visit Military Factory.)

"From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion..." from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Message from Dan Weigmann, Spring Thiel Intern

This semester I interned at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. This was a spectacular way for me as the Junior Chamber President and a college student to get involved in the Greenville community.  As the intern I worked at least twice a week in the office under the direct supervision of the Office Manager, Janice Schwanbeck. I worked with her on several projects including the annual Community and Business Expo, Chamber Annual Auction, several seminars, special events, and other projects.  All of these projects involved preparation work, including spread sheets of those involved, planning of the actual event, and implementation ideas the day of. For example for the business expo, I created spreadsheets displaying where the businesses were located within the Thiel Dome. Throughout my internship I also worked on expanding the chamber's business perks program, which are discounts and offers chamber members offer to each other. While I have been working on this project, I added ten businesses to the perks program which gives a direct benefit to the chamber membership. I have also coordinated contracts with five amusement and theme parks to give group rate discounts to the chamber members as another added benefit.  By attending the events in the evening such as the 40 Under 40 recognition and the member refresher, I gained so much knowledge in how business owners interact with one another and how I can network with others better. Additionally, I helped create a new unique relationship with Thiel College, who is assisting the chamber with the Business Next Door video series. This partnership will continue to benefit both entities now and into the future. Being an intern at the chamber was an amazing experience that has allowed me to gain knowledge in so many different areas. This has been such a positive experience for me, and I look forward to applying the skills I have learned in my education and into my future career in business. 

The Cycle At Work, But Let's Keep It Going

Over a year ago now there was a group of chamber members and concerned small business owners who came together to talk about what it means to do business in a small community. These business owners are some of the most generous people this area has to offer, always giving to important causes and supporting local sports teams or other youth oriented activities.

There is a cycle that is supposed to work.

business cycle.jpg

Many of these businesses were starting to notice a dangerous shift in mindset that was throwing off the cycle that is supposed to work.  This cycle is so dependent on all the parts to work that it is difficult to pick which part to start with, since all of them are equally important. Let's just start with Building A Better Community.  This first step, is really an ongoing goal, the idea that keeps the cycle turning. It's what should prompt the community to act and should be a conscious business decision. In this cycle Building A Better Community directs the community in supporting local businesses. These businesses are what make our community unique and they notoriously keep local dollars spent local.  With the action of the Community Supporting Local Business we start to see Local Small Businesses Succeed. They may be able to employ more people or they might be able to improve local infrastructure through repairs made to their building. But ultimately Local Small Business Success should lead to those Businesses Generously giving to their community. The cycle can grow and blossom and have profound impacts. 

But does this happen here?

With the Main Street closed many of our small businesses that occupy our downtown are feeling the pinch. Sales are down, way down. Joe & Jenn of Padrone's Pizza & Pub have a business downtown that has been greatly effected. They have, however, also experienced something tremendous during this difficult time: the cycle at work.  Some of their best customers have reached out and have showed up during this time of need. A local patron recently came and bought hundreds in gift cards to give to co-workers this Christmas and decided to all bless the hard-hit serve staff and bar tenders by leaving a hefty tip. Even a local "Big Bad Corporation" ordered a large number of pizzas to feed their staff, saying something along the lines of, "you guys have always been good to us and we want to help you out." This is community at work, this is the cycle making its way around to complete the circle. Joe and Jenn believe the out pouring from their patrons and from the community can be attributed to their efforts of supporting the community over the past 10 years they have been in business in Greenville, PA. 

Recently in a meeting with other downtown businesses, Joe mentioned the need of addressing the community in starting local. Unknowingly, what Joe is proposing is the very thing those businesses first mentioned were working on. We are having our "for such a time as this" moment. 

It's time to launch our START HERE campaign.  A couple of points to get the ball rolling:

  •  It's about educating both businesses and community with the hopes of creating good locally minded habits.
  • We understand that our local small businesses do not have everything and will not meet all of your needs, but the idea behind it is in the name, we should at least "Start Here". Start local and get what you can from your small businesses... make that part of your routine.
  • There are many reasons why Buying Local Matters. Keep an eye out for campaign materials sharing those points. They will be on posters, post cards, and businesses cards for you to keep in your wallet as a reminder.

There is work to do.

Creating habits like starting local before your go some where else is not easy. It is sometimes changing years and years of "convenience" excuses and apathy. But why don't we start finally? So let's start here. 

Keep supporting your downtown businesses who are hurting right now. Let's make a concerted effort to keep them alive, especially those who have demonstrated their part in the cycle: Business Generosity -> Building A Better Community

Chamber Picnic & Float

Thank You Carried Away Recreation!

For the first Chamber Picnic in probably a long time, Carried Away Recreation floated chamber members down the Shenango for a FREE 1 mile trip! The group that floated was then joined by other members at a nearby pavilion in Riverside Park for a potluck. It was a great evening of fun for the whole family and even some networking!

This float was the first experience kayaking for some members, and for many, their first time down our beautiful river! Some got wet, but everyone had a blast.

Board member Bob Piccirilli  (PNC) kept the hotdogs and hamburgers coming off the charcoal grille. Kids of chamber members in attendance played at the playground nearby. And the conversation flowed. We might have to start a little earlier next year in order to not feel the pressure of ending at DUSK when the park closes. 

So the question is... where were you?

Get a float in before the season is over!

This guy really likes to float down the river with Carried Away Recreation!

This guy really likes to float down the river with Carried Away Recreation!


"Promoting the economic well being of the Greenville Area and its citizens."

That is the important take away from the Greenville Area Economic Development Corporations mission statement. This brief article serves to share what is happening at our local economic entity.

GAEDC has been focusing much of its attention lately to the building of a hotel. Jim Lowry says, "its been talked about for decades." Last year a feasibility study was completed and what it showed was promising. Greenville could clearly support a 60+ unit hotel with visitors coming from business related stays to families and alumni of our local college.  Many of our visitors right now are staying elsewhere in Mercer County. It looks like the hotel project is 80% complete (much of which included securing local investors). A site has been picked, but the permitting will determine securing the proposed placement. 

The corporation has been developing a great partnership with the Greenville Reynolds Development Corporation over the past few years as well, with Marcegaglia (the old Damascus site) nearing acquisition. The two entities have been working on this deal for some time and once complete, remediation will begin to bring it up to an ACT 2 clearance from the state. The site already has a development client expressing interest in the site for expanding their business. Additionally, the GAEDC and GRDC have been exploring a joint venture in building a multi-tenant facility within the development park. 

The Trinity site continues to be a point of curiosity within the community. The GAEDC maintains monitoring of the remediation progress of the North and South plants. They also continue to work with Trinity in identifying the best use for the properties. As the community eagerly awaits, I, your chamber office manager, would like to remind you, our community reader, that good things come to those who wait (insert winking emoticon).

As a current tenant at the chamber offices, the GAEDC, GACC, GUSBDC as well as our newest addition, Heather Maurer with Representative Mark Longietti's office, continues to work well in cooperation as each entity can benefit and strengthen each other without duplicating services. 

The GAEDC welcomes new board members this year: Chris Wright (St. Pauls) and Brad Rutledge (Pennex). 

Have more questions? Feel free to stop by the office anytime and Jim Lowry or myself would be happy to assist you!

Trustworthiness as a Trait in Leadership

Simon Sinek has spoken at length about leadership, showing the complex effects is has on our workplaces, even through pointing to biological traits from the chemicals that are produces from difference experiences we may have in our workplace environment... listen to his Ted Talk here.  Trustworthiness plays a profound role in a persons legitimate ability of becoming a respected and successful leader. The following 99U article offers a look at trustworthiness in leaders... my only suggestion is that instead of looking at is as a skill, as the article suggests, look at trustworthiness as a character trait... a quality we all should strive for. 

"What makes a great leader? You are probably thinking it’s something buzzword-worthy like confidence.  Or maybe vision.  Or emotional intelligence—you hear about that one all the time.  For sure, those are all good qualities for a leader to have, but the answer is actually trustworthiness. Technically, it’s not just being trustworthy that is key, but being seen as trustworthy."

Read More

Summer Intern: Alexis Barry

Thank you Alexis Barry for your hard work this summer! Alexis, a student at Slippery Rock University, put her design skills to the test the past couple of months as she assisted our office manager with creating the new website. We would like to thank her for everything that she was able to accomplish with us, and for her help at this years Business & Industry Day. We will miss you! And we wish you the best as you finish your time at Slippery Rock.

Alexis was this summer's welcoming face if you happened to stop by the office!

Alexis was this summer's welcoming face if you happened to stop by the office!

10 Tips for Project Management

10 Tips for Project Management                                                                (from Seth Godin)

1. Resist the ad hoc. Announce that this is a project, and that it matters enough to be treated as one.

2. The project needs a leader, a person who takes responsibility as opposed to waiting for it to be given.

3. Write it down. All of it. Everything that people expect, everything that people promise.

4. Send a note confirming that you wrote it down, specifically what you heard, what it will cost and when they will have it or when they promised it.

5. Show your work. Show us your estimates and your procedures and most of all, the work you're going to share with the public before your ship it.

6. Keep a log, a notebook, a history of what you've done and how. You'll need it for the next project.

7. Source control matters. Don't change things while people are reviewing them, because then we both have to do it twice.

8. Slack is your friend. Slack is cheaper, faster and more satisfying than wishful thinking. Your project will never go as well as you expect, and might take longer than you fear.

9. Identify and obsess about the critical path. If the longest part of the project takes less time than you planned, the entire project will take less time than you planned.

10. Wrap it up. When you're done, take the time to identify what worked and what didn't, and help the entire team get stronger for next time.

We would love to hear about some of the exciting projects you may have and we would love to share that with our other chamber members! Email Ben at: bbeck@greenvillechamber-pa.com with information on your current and upcoming projects!