Welcome McTish, Kunkel & Associates

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, McTish, Kunkel & Associates, to help us fulfill our mission.

McTish, Kunkel & Associates (MKA) is an engineering firm based on Allentown, with offices in Pittsburgh as well as locally in Montoursville. Founded in 1976, MKA offers engineering, environmental, construction inspection and survey & mapping services. In its early days, it focused on offering solutions to individual communities, and its focus has now evolved to the transportation networks that connect communities. Its markets now include transportation, energy exploration, development and generation, land development and municipal infrastructure. MKA has currently designed and permitted in excess of 800 miles of natural gas pipeline, as well as over 75 well pads in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. Many clients engage MKA to supply a portfolio of integrated services. For more information, call the Montoursville office at 570-368-3040 or visit the MKA website

Bucknell SBDC Needs Your Feedback to Help Plan Cybersecurity Programming

The Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is in the process of planning its programming for the upcoming months and requests the assistance of Chamber members and the local business community to help identify the cybersecurity needs and interests of small businesses by completing this survey. It should take only about three (3) minutes to complete and it will be open until Sept. 10. The Bucknell SBDC thanks all respondents for their feedback. 

Working to Build a Stronger Workforce

Quality employees are important to any size and type of employer. The most successful businesses in our area, particularly those in manufacturing, often cite a skilled and dedicated workforce a key component of that success. The Chamber and its Foundation work to strengthen the area’s current and future workforce in supporting members. The Chamber’s Board of Directors recently approved a policy statement in support of workforce development efforts.

These efforts include:

  • Increasing the emphasis on and funding for internships, apprenticeships, and mentoring programs
  • Collaboration among high schools, technical schools, universities, and educators to meet the needs and concerns of the Commonwealth’s employers
  • Promoting vocational career pathways and earning potential to students at a young age
  • Training employers on workforce development best practices

While some of these efforts focus on skilled trades, others attempt to address issues cited by all types of employers, such as work ethic, lack of interpersonal skills, and an inability to communicate confidently and maturely. The Chamber and its Foundation are finalizing a workforce development plan in line with this policy.

Members Enjoy Networking Over Tasty Grilled Food at Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln

Chamber members enjoyed a full early-evening meal hot off the grill thanks to host Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln and also had a chance to check out the dealership’s wide selection of new and preowned vehicles in between networking at the first Business After Hours of the month on Wednesday, Aug. 16. A proud member of the local community, Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln will be renovating its showroom at its Berwick dealership in the coming months, and hopes to host another Chamber event in the future to show off the newly remodeled showroom when it is complete. For more information about Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln, visit its website, Ken Pollock’s overall auto group website, or call 888-527-0304. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours is on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, 549 Fair St., Bloomsburg, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

Opioid Coalition Seeks to Curb Substance Abuse and Deaths

Dr. Muhamad Aly Rifai presents to the Columbia Montour Opioid Coalition on Aug. 16.

Representatives from local human service agencies, law enforcement, the medical community, and The Chamber are meeting regularly to reduce opioid abuse and related deaths in the area. Attention is being paid to multiple areas including education, enforcement, and treatment. The Chamber is involved due to the growing issue of substance abuse within the workforce.

On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Dr. Muhamad Aly Rifai, Medical Director for the Lehigh County Center for Recovery, provided an overview to coalition members of the physiology of substance abuse, and current treatment practices. Research shows that certain people are more susceptible to substance addiction. As this research progresses, he believes widespread testing could be available in about five years.

Treating substance abuse is not a “one-size fits all” approach, according to Rifai. Studies indicate that a longer-term treatment plan that includes medicine significantly reduces the likelihood of relapse. The specific medicines used in treatment as well as the length of time of treatment vary. He does not believe that someone in recovery needs to stay on medication for the rest of their life.

The Columbia Montour Opioid Coalition is being coordinated by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County. For more information or to get involved with the Coalition, contact Adrienne Mael at the United Way at 570-784-3134 or email.