The Chamber of the Northern Poconos held their annual membership meeting at Silver Birches, January 16. The group heard about the efforts to improve broadband service across Pennsylvania, and several awards were given to local business people.

TAFTON - The Chamber of the Northern Poconos held their annual membership meeting at Silver Birches, January 16. The group heard about the efforts to improve broadband service across Pennsylvania, and several awards were given to local business people.

Keith Williams was introduced as the Chamber’s new executive director, as of January 2019.

Expanding broadband

The keynote speaker was Sheri Collins, who is the Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary with the Office of Technology and Innovation. She stressed the need for a team approach across the state to tackle the lack of broadband Internet service, particularly facing rural areas.

She noted that a lot of positive work has been taken in the Wayne County area. She highlighted the Stourbridge Incubator Project in Honesdale, which offers an entire “gig of connectivity.” Collins said this capacity is “unheard of.”

The Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) operates the Stourbridge Project in Honesdale,which provides opportunities for start-up businesses to do work.

Although the price tag to expand broadband across the Commonwealth may be around a billion dollars, Collins suggested that one potential revenue source could be a 25 cent tax on cellular service.

Broadband service can benefit the entire spectrum of life. She cited students who are at  a disadvantage without broadband at home, and senior citizens who could use the service to access medical information.

Young Entrepreneur Award

Randy Bennett, owner of Bennett’s Detailing, a Hamlin based company, was the recipient of the Young Entrepreneur Award.

Bennett, in expressing his gratitude, credited the community for keeping his business afloat, and thanked his family for backing him when he took a “leap of faith” and started his own business in 2015. He said he has a passion for cars and trucks, and loves his work.

Bennett was born and raised in Wayne County graduated from Western Wayne High School. The International Carwash Association recognized Bennett with 1 of the 5 national awards for Emerging Leaders in the Car Wash Industry, 2018. His business continues to grow annually, and he commented that he now details nearly 400 cars a year.  He engages in local non-profit fundraisers and feels it’s important to “give back” to his community that has afforded him success.

Bennett's shop is located at 1126 Hamlin Highway (Route 590), Lake Ariel.

Milestone awards

Several Milestone Awards were also presented, to long-time businesses that are marking significant anniversaries:

Woodloch Pines Resort, 60 years
Baer’s Sport Center, 60 years
Arts for Him and Her Too, 70 years
The Wayne Independent, 104 years
Teeters Furniture & Teeters Funeral Chapel, 170 years.

Chamber Board for 2019

The 2019 slate of Chamber Board Officers and Directors was also established
 and are as follows:

Lorraine Kloss, Ed.D. – Chairperson
Vince Benedetto, Bold Gold Media Group – 1st Vice Chair
Greg Frigoletto, Wayne Highlands School District – 2nd Vice Chair
Christie Augustine, Pivot Physical Therapy – Secretary
Jim Shook, Lake Region IGA – Treasurer

Gary Beilman, The Dime Bank
Brian Chapman, Chapman Insurance Agency
Brian Fulp, Himalayan Institute
Aimee Holevinski, Comfort Inn
Bob Kiesendahl, Woodloch
Mike Kuzmiak III – Mike’s Auto Service & Towing
Tim Meagher – Remax Wayne
Ann O’Reilly – NBT Bank
Abby Pittenger – Davis R Chant Realtors
Joe Regenski – Gresham’s Chop House
Denise Seman – Wayne Bank
Luke Woodmansee – Honesdale National Bank

As stated in the Chamber’s press release, the Chamber also thanks and acknowledges sponsors Lake Region IGA, The Dime Bank, Woodloch, and Bold Gold Media Group.

For more information on activities, events, or becoming a member of The Chamber, please visit www.NorthernPoconosChamber.com or contact Keith Williams at
570-878-7432.