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Discovery FCU names new CEO

Michelle Smith –

Discovery Federal Credit Union in Wyomissing has a new CEO. 

After a nationwide search, the credit union has chosen Michele Smith as president and CEO. 

She will succeed the retiring CEO Edwin Williams on Oct. 1. 

In naming his replacement the credit union’s board of directors recognized Williams’ leadership, noting that he has grown the credit union to over $180 million in assets with over 8,500 members during his 26-year tenure.  

“Ed’s vision and leadership have paved the way for Discovery FCU to continue to provide industry-leading service to its member/owners,” said Bob Shaner, president of the board. “We wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement and look forward to Michele taking the helm and continuing to enhance services to our member/owners.” 

Shaner noted that he had worked closely with Smith for 22 years. 

“I am supremely confident that Michele is the perfect fit for the CEO role, and she will continue to strengthen and grow Discovery, “he said. 

Smith, who is the current vice-president and chief information officer at the credit union, is a Reading native. 

GRCA supports expansion of Clean Slate program

The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance has come out in favor of legislation that would make it easier for people with minor criminal convictions to get jobs. 

Jim Gerlach, president & CEO of the GRCA has sent a letter to the Berks County state delegation members detailing the chamber’s support for H.B. 1826, Expansion of the Clean Slate Program to include nonviolent, low-level drug-related felonies.  

“GRCA members support the bipartisan effort to expand the Clean Slate program through H.R. 1826. The original Clean Slate program has helped over 1.2 million Pennsylvanians move past their mistakes, beat addictions and bring positive change to their lives,” he said in the statement. 

“In a time where all employers are desperate for workers and it is estimated that for every one job seeker, there are two open positions, commonsense solutions like this proposal are critical. We applaud the legislative leaders who are introducing practical ways to expand our employee base through these types of reforms,” he said.  

“We are pleased to see that this legislation would align Pennsylvania law with best practices and evidence-based policies from other states that have successfully initiated these improvements. H.B. 1826 would expand automated Clean Slate sealing to low-level drug felony after 10 years with a crime-free record. The drug conviction will not be eligible if the punishment imposed was a sentence of imprisonment of three years or more, which excludes trafficking and other serious or violent offenses.” 

He noted that September is recognized as National Recovery Month and he felt that the passage of H.B. 1826 would serve as a goal and a reward for citizens who have worked hard to move beyond their addictions.  

“This bill would also be a huge help for our business community who continue to search for additional workforce capacity. We support this bipartisan effort and encourage the Berks County state delegation members to vote for this bill,” he said. 

A Conversation With: John Gallen, founder of Ethosource in Wyomissing

John Gallen, –

LVB: You started out as a reseller of used office furniture, but your business model has evolved, tell me more. 

Gallen: It’s been a slow evolution. We’ve been in business for 21 yearsn starting off as exclusively in the used furniture world and evolving into an open line furniture dealer that also continues to sell refurbished and recycled furniture. 

LVB: Why did you make the change? 

Gallen: It’s not that we’re not in the used furniture business. We’ve just evolved into a new furniture dealer because of what the needs of the clients are. Our client base has grown in the size and type of companies we serve. They’re more focused on high-end space, which is more than what the pre-owned market can support. As a result of that we have grown our new product line and it’s now most of what we sell, but we still sell that high value furniture that we were known for. 

LVB: How has the office furniture business changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Gallen: COVID-19 had a dramatic impact because everyone left the office initially and started to work in different places. People now work from three spaces. They will work from home, from a coworking space and also in the office. The office is evolving into more of a collaborative and more comfortable space. It looks more like a lounge and there’s a lot more residential feel because companies want their employees to feel comfortable in the office. 

There has been a lot of consolidation in the furniture industry at the manufacturing level and at the retail level, so we’ve had a lot of opportunities because of that. We’re having our best year ever after two very difficult years of the pandemic. We go out and find the client and help them find the office furniture they need. 

LVB: What do you see as the next trend in office furniture? 

Gallen: It’s really hard to predict, except to say that organizations are going to be drawn to whatever it takes to bring people back into the office. The work from home model has a lot of benefits. There are less real estate costs. But there’s also a tremendous benefit to bringing people together and anything that will do that needs to be explored. 

 

Berks county liens

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the U. S. Internal Revenue Service:

 

Alternative Benefit System, POB 349, Blandon, 19510; amount: $25,087.

HD Auto Sales Inc., 498 Muhlenberg St., 19605; amount: $16,894.

Sport Builders Inc., 4401 Perkiomen Ave., 19606; amount: $26,473.

 

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to the use of Unemployment Compensation Fund for unpaid unemployment compensation contribution, interest and penalties:

 

Holiday Products LLC, 740 Corporate Drive, 19605; amount: $9,327.

Holland Towing & Repair LLC, 2140 Georgia Road, Temple,19560; amount: $4,297.

J & N Diesel Services LLC, 2385 Camp Swatara Road, Myerstown, 17067; amount: $23,980.

Wealthstone Investments LLC, 700 Mercer St., 19601; amount: $4,981.

 

 

 

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

 

Herbein HR Solutions LLC, 2433 Morgantown Road, Ste 100, 19607; amount: $3,261.

Hive Holdings Group, LLC, and Hive Properties LLC, 62 Cider Mill Road, Mertztown, 19539; amount: $5,859.

Morris Media LLC, 1416 Independence Drive, West Lawn, 19609; amount: $5,496.

Ninos Italian Restaurant Inc., 840 N. Park Road, Wyomissing, 19610; amount: $6,954.

Reading Hospital, 1739 Reading Blvd., 19610; amount: $169,103.

Reading Hospital, 1739 Reading Blvd., 19610; amount: $62,578.

Rod Col Auto & Truck and Rod Col LLC, 2420 Perkiomen Ave., 19606; amount: $11,051.

Rod Col Auto & Truck and Rod Col LLC, 2420 Perkiomen Ave., 19606; amount: $2,494.

TEH Realty 82 LLC, POB 14746, 19612; amount: $3,545.

The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, 1739 Reading Blvd., 19610; amount: $62,578.

THREPA004 LLC, 125 Wacker Sr., Ste. 1221, Chicago, IL 60606; amount; $169,103.

THREPA004 LLC, 125 Wacker Sr., Ste. 1221, Chicago, IL 60606; amount; $62.578.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Sales and Use Tax:

 

None

 

 

Pa. Dept. of Revenue, Combined Lien:

 

None

 

Compiled by Terry Reed

 

(Abbreviations: dba — doing business as; fdba — formerly doing business as; ta — trading as; iata — individually and trading as.)

 

Note: Due to delays in the reporting of liens by the federal and state governments and the courts, the information above may be dated.

The Business Journal is not responsible for these information-reporting delays.

 

If your business has satisfied a lien that has appeared in this column, please contact us. We will publish any lien satisfaction upon receiving a copy of the satisfaction notice (on letterhead of the government agency involved), which can be sent to 65 E. Elizabeth Ave., Suite 700, Bethlehem, PA 18018, Attn: FYI, or faxed to us at 610-807-9612. Please make sure your business’s name and county of filing are clearly identified in your correspondence and identify the issue in which the notice appeared

State protects 18 new farms from development

Pennsylvania protected 784 acres on 18 farms in nine counties from future development today, investing more than $3.166 million in state, county and local dollars to ensure that prime farmland is not lost to development.  

Russell Redding – submitted

Pennsylvania has now protected 6,094 farms and 614,668 acres in 58 counties from future commercial, industrial or residential development. 

 The 18 newly preserved farms are in Berks, Centre, Chester, Erie, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Washington and Westmoreland counties. 

“Preserving farmland is an investment in our economy, our environment, our quality of life, and our future food security,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “We’re proud of that investment and we owe these farm families a debt of gratitude for making a decision that guards their family legacies and benefits all of Pennsylvania.”    

 By selling their land’s development rights, landowners ensure that their farm will remain a farm and never be sold for residential, commercial or industrial development, Redding said. Farm families often sell their land at below market value, donate additional land or agree to conservation practices on their farms in order to leverage additional federal and state money to preserve others’ family farms. 

Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits to purchase development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security and leading the nation in the number of preserved farms. Since 1988, Pennsylvania has invested more than $1.6 billion to protect open, green spaces and food production for the future. 

Among the farms preserved today are: 

 Berks County Total investment $157,936 state, $24,150 county. 

The Sharon P. Cameron Farm, Centre Township, a 31-acre crop farm. 

The David L. and Linda J. Nirschl Farm, Penn Township, a 34-acre crop and livestock farm. 

Lebanon County Total investment $710 state (owner donated land). 

The Sue Ellen and John T. Bowman Farm, North Lebanon Township, a 1-acre crop farm. 

 Lehigh County – Total investment $337,396 state, $556,536 county, $ 212,500 township. 

The Susan M. and Edwin C. Gardner, Jr., North Whitehall Township, Farm, a 17-acre horse farm. 

The Robert A. Schmidt Farm, North Whitehall Township, a 50-acre crop farm. 

The Kevin L. Smith Farm #4, Washington Township, a 12-acre crop farm. 

The Marshall M. Mangold Farm, Lowhill Township, a 94-acre crop farm. 

 Northampton County Total investment $267,879 state, $160,882 county, $239,102 township. 

The Richard B. and Lois P. Kerbacher Farm, Moore Township, a 57-acre crop farm. 

The Kyle J. Kerr Farm, Washington Township, an 11-acre beef farm. 

The Carol Nagy Smith and Stewart C. Smith Jr. Farm, a 20-acre crop farm. 

The Dianne L., Marshall A., Hope D. and Donald W. Woolverton Sr.; and Jayann M. and Jeffrey W. Kerr Farm, Washington Township, a 52-acre crop and livestock farm. 

Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program recently secured a $7.85 million grant from the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved Pennsylvania farms, the Department of Agriculture said. 

 

GRCA releases Berks State of the Economy

The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance has released its second annual Mid-Year State of the Economy, a compiled economic snapshot of Berks County.   

The largest industry sector in Berks County based on both Gross Domestic Product and employment numbers continues to be manufacturing, employing 30,038 workers.  

While manufacturing employment numbers are strong, the numbers indicate there are approximately 2,000 fewer workers than in 2019, before the pandemic.  

This runs counter to other economies in the region where their workforces are at or above 2019 levels.  

It suggests Berks County businesses may face greater challenges in meeting market demand and preserving productivity. 

Berks County’s Gross Domestic Product, which is the total value of goods and services produced by a region, expanded 5.8% in 2021. That follows a contraction of 2.8% in 2020. As of 2021, total GDP in Berks was $21.5 billion. 

The Economic Development Company (EDC) of Lancaster County Center for Regional Analysis said that the second quarter GDP forecasts are varied, signaling uncertainty over how quickly a recession could materialize.  

The latest estimate from the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecasts negative growth in the second quarter (-1.2%).  

In contrast, The Conference Board forecasts positive growth (+0.8%), noting that it anticipates the US economy is headed towards a “shallow recession” at the end of the year and into early 2023. 

The report also showed that key sectors in Berks’ economy continue to operate with a significantly smaller employee base than prior to the pandemic. 

Wages have increased 4.4% in 2022, compared to 9.4% during this same period in 2021 

The overall cost of living remains lower than the national average and surrounding metropolitan areas 

Consumer spending in Berks County has flattened, while nationally it has continued to rise. The local shift suggests county consumers may be adopting a more conservative stance as inflation continues. 

The cost of housing continues to be lower than surrounding communities. Despite lower costs, Berks County continues to be challenged in diverse and desired housing options. 

 

 

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