Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journcal  
Northeast PA Business Journal
FTR Business Notes
Business Notes
When representatives of Allison Transmission, division of General Motors, and Penn Detroit Diesel-Allison donated another $7,500 to Pennsylvania College of Technology recently, they also brought along something just as valuable: recognition of the college's diesel technology program as a training tool for industry technicians. The $7,500 donation was made this year in memory of longtime Penn Detroit Diesel-Allison employee Terry Buck, a branch manager for the firm who died recently. The contribution augments previous contributions of $7,500 and $12,500 by Allison Transmission, division of General Motors, and Penn Detroit Diesel-Allison.
The Black Diamonds Tourism Coalition announced the launch of its new Web site, recently. The Web site is based on the printed "Black Diamonds" brochure that features in-depth information about Black Diamonds anthracite coal mining region. The Web Site, designed and hosted by Schuyl Inc., Pottsville, features interactive driving tours that were custom designed for the Black Diamonds Web site. Viewers can experience the interactive driving tour by choosing from three separate tours complete with brief descriptions of tour attractions and pictures. Visitors to the site can also print out specially designed versions of the driving tours to take along for the "road trip." Along with driving tours, visitors can request a Black Diamonds brochure through the form provided on the Web site, including contact information for the visitors bureaus and heritage resources. Information about various attractions and museums in the region is also available, complete with address, phone numbers and times the the specific attraction or museum is open. As links to various Web sites are made available to the Black Diamond Coalition, they will be placed on the site.
Brush Industries, Sunbury, announced that it has received formal product approval from the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo of Mexico for its ceramic-coated magnetic heads. The approval came after extensive testing in the laboratory of Sistema de Transporte Colectivo. The laboratory concluded that the brush heads, which are manufactured using Brush's proprietary Supermium core technology, have superior wear life when compared to the competing ferrite technology currently being used in the transit fare collection system. Supermium is a proprietary sendust alloy that has been further refined by Brush since its introduction in 1987. According to an independent university study, ceramic-coated Supermium heads have more than 100 times the life expectancy of heads with metal cores.
At College Misericordia, students are gaining acknowledgment for the time they spend outside the classroom in co-curricular activities. Through a Web-based program called the Student Leadership Transcript (SLT), College Misericordia students who involve themselves outside of the classroom can get the official recognition they deserve for becoming involved in college or community activities. The Student Leadership Transcript is a multi-faceted process for the students. Just as an academic transcript keeps official record of classroom achievement and grades, the SLT documents a student's other activities to show a well-rounded college experience, a valuable plus for many prospective employers. The college has developed a Web-based online database that students can access with their student ID and password. Each student is assigned his own co-curricular account in this database. Upon completion of an activity as a member of an organization, the student is encouraged to log into this database and reflect on the experience.The SLT breaks down activities into four distinct categories: Leadership Development, Pre-professional Work Experience, Honors/Awards/Recognition and Professional/Educational Development. During a student's senior year, a representative of the Insalaco Center meets with the student to review his or her SLT. This is where the student formalizes the notes they've kept in the database over their college career. "The SLT helps synthesize their co-curricular activities that may translate to what their wishes and desires are for what happens after college. Then they prepare the document, write a reflective paragraph about how they practiced different leadership and communication skills and what they have learned from those activities. That's the process piece that helps the students realize what the activities meant to them and how they can translate that into their future goals. Students can then better articulate those experiences and skills to an employer or graduate school when the time comes," said Chris Sutzko, director of Misericordia's Insalaco Center for Career Development. College Misericordia's class of 2003 is the first class to benefit from this process and the first class that will use it prior to graduation.
Geisinger Health Plan, Danville, now offers its members discounts on a wide array of new services and products, including chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapy, health and wellness products, eyeglasses and contact lenses, and select fitness center memberships The "accessories program" is available at no charge to members with Geisinger Health Plan and Geisinger Health Plan Gold. Information about the program is available to members via the health plan's Web site
Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital recently signed an agreement with Geisinger Health Plan. In doing so, Geisinger Health members can now use the services of Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital, improving the healthcare options of members, businesses, individuals and Medicare beneficiaries in the area. Geisinger Health Plan is one of the nation's largest rural HMOs and serves approximately 270,000 members in 38 counties throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania. Gnaden Huetten is the largest and most comprehensive hospital in Carbon County, providing a continuum of care with a broad array of services.
The board of directors of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce in a special resolution honored the achievements of community leader, Rocco Colangelo, Sr. last month. One of the Hazleton Area's most prominent and philanthropic citizens, Colangelo passed away suddenly on September 6 on the eve of FUNFEST Weekend, an event which he chaired for nearly 20 years. Colangelo dedicated his life to giving back to his community; serving on many boards and committees, such as the Committee to Help Handicapped Infants and Parents to Succeed (CHHIPS), CAN DO, the United Way, The Hazleton Area Quarterback Club, The Whitewater Festival, and Our Lady of Grace Church Committees. Among other accomplishments, he served as president of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 1992 to 1994; and was instrumental in efforts to develop the Nescopeck State Park, construction of the Southwest Beltway and many other major projects. Colangelo served as a member of the FUNFEST Committee for many years, and took on the chairmanship of the event when others felt it should be discontinued. Colangelo recruited dedicated individuals to serve on the Committee, sought the support of the Chamber and business sponsors, and helped to make FUNFEST one of the most significant events in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Paul W. Howe, a faculty member in the School of Business and Computer Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology, spoke at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association's national convention in Las Vegas recently. Howe, an assistant professor of business administration/travel and tourism, presented a seminar on "Selling Dive Travel." DEMA is the world's largest organization of scuba-diving manufacturers, marketers and operators. This is the fourth year Howe spoke at the DEMA convention. He also has presented seminars for Air Jamaica, "Travel Agent Magazine" and the American Society of Travel Agents. Howe, a Ph.D. candidate in park, recreation and tourism, worked as marketing director at Divi Resorts/Peter Hughes Diving, a Caribbean resort chain; consulted with island tourism boards on their dive markets; owned a dive facility for more than 13 years, and is a scuba-instructor trainer.
After a decade of planning and grant writing, and two years of construction and restoration, there is a trolley light at the end of the historic 1905 Laurel Line Tunnel in Scranton. Lackawanna County Commissioners Joe Corcoran, Randy Castellani and Bob Cordaro led a VIP delegation that included the Lackawanna County Railroad Authority, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and PennDot, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority and the Electric City Trolley Museum Association on a ceremonial excursion that celebrated the introduction of regular trolley excursions beneath Scranton via the one-mile-long century-old and almost forgotten tunnel. Completed in 1905, the tunnel is one of the longest interurban trolley tunnels in use in the United States today. Construction of the tunnel began in 1904. Scores of laborers worked for just over a year to complete the tunnel. The structure was built at a cost of $500,000 and was widely considered to be one of the best illustrations of tunnel engineering in the nation. From 1905-1950s the tunnel serviced the Laurel Line, a 19.2-mile stretch of track that ferried trolley passengers between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, with a popular stop at Rocky Glen Amusement Park. When freight traffic along the track ceased in the 1970s the line lay silent. Restoration of the tunnel began in 2001. Workers undertook an extensive track rehabilitation that included replacement of bridges and repairs to the tunnel. The second phase of rehabilitation focused on electrification of the tunnel and was just completed in August. In all, nearly $6 million in grants and funding were secured to revitalize the historic Laurel Line excursion and freight route including the tunnel. In addition to trolley excursions, the Lackawanna County Railroad Authority has commenced service to Compression Polymers Corporation and future freight customers via shipments through the tunnel. The reopening of the tunnel further demonstrates the vital link transportation played in the development of northeast Pennsylvania. In combination with the Lackawanna coal mine tour and Steamtown National Historic Site, visitors to the Electric City Trolley Station and Museum can experience a dynamic story of the region's industrialization and immigration. The addition of the 1905 Laurel Line Tunnel in the museum's regular excursion extends the trolley excursion experience to one hour in length. Passengers board a vintage trolley at Steamtown National Historic Site's platform. Along the route interpretive guides detail points of interest including the Central Railroad of New Jersey freight house, Lackawanna and Western railroad yard, Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, University of Scranton, Roaring Brook and the historic Scranton Iron Furnaces. Trolley rides will be available during special events scheduled for November and December. The Electric City Trolley Station and Museum is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A combination museum and trolley ride admission costs $8 for adults and $5.75 for children. Group rates are available upon request.
The Marywood University doctoral program in human development has become increasingly diverse since its inception in 1995. The new group of doctoral candidates comes from a range of professions including higher education administration, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, teaching, sales, psychotherapy, nutrition and social services, including adult literacy and multicultural affairs. The 11 women and 10 men in the new cohort range in age from 29-54 years old. The doctoral program offers five specializations--educational administration, higher education administration, instructional leadership, health promotion, and social work--and prepares graduates for a wide range of careers. The program, together with Marywood's Psy.D. program, are the only two doctoral programs in northeast Pennsylvania. In 2001, the doctoral program ranked fifth in the nation in the categories of "recommended practices" and "overall satisfaction" in a national survey conducted by the National Association of Graduate Professional Students.
Montoursville Borough has a new Web site. It can be found at, and includes material on borough departments, schedules, officials and committees. Contact information can be found on the site as well as staff names and titles, hours of operation, and office locations. The site includes a comprehensive section on permits, codes and zoning. Permit applications for various events can be printed from the Web site, completed, and returned to the borough office. There is a map of Montoursville, a list of borough council members and an explanation of the borough's burning ban that took effect on September 19. Visitors to the Web site will also find minutes of borough council meetings, dating back to last January 7.
Odyssey Fitness, Wilkes-Barre, recently became the only facility in northeastern Pennsylvania to introduce the entire line of FreeMotion, the next generation in state-of-the-art equipment. With FreeMotion equipment a person can practice their golf swing, replicate a soccer kick or just practice walking upstairs. The resistances provided by the equipment all people to improve their sports performance as well as increase their ability to do everyday tasks.
Robert Ciaruffoli, chairman and CEO of Parente Randolph announced the sale of Parente Technology's Voice and Data Division to Blue Sky Network Solutions. Blue Sky Network Solutions, the Voice and Data Division of Blue Sky Consulting Group Inc., a national business services organization, will by led by Kurt Santayana, formerly a principal with Parente Randolph. "The acquisition allows Parente Randolph to focus on core business units, while at the same time giving Blue Sky Network Solutions the opportunity to grow its operations based on the solid foundation that was built at Parente Technology," Ciaruffoli said. Blue Sky's newly acquired telecommunications division is designed to sell, service and support the Avaya Communications and Cisco Systems voice/data products. It also provides specialized services in call center application development, data network management/monitoring and project management. "Parente Technology has an excellent reputation in the voice and data arenas for quality and customer satisfaction and we are extremely excited to have this team join the Blue Sky family," said Mark Nightingale, CEO Blue Sky Consulting Group Inc. Parente Randolph is a leading mid-Atlantic accounting and consulting firm, and is among the top firms of its kind in the United States. The firm provides accounting, audit, tax and general business consulting services to corporations and closely held businesses from offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. To learn more, visit
Pennsylvania College of Technology's board of directors awarded construction contracts totaling $7.33 million for renovations at the former HON manufacturing facility-a project that will enable the college to create state-of-the-art instructional space for an additional 100 students. The total of the bids was nearly $500,000 under projections, allowing the college to undertake additional work at the site, which was acquired through a gift-purchase agreement in 2001. The general contractor for the $7,328,630 project will be Lobar Inc., Dillsburg, which submitted the lowest of eight general-construction bids at $3,735,000. Lobar is the general contractor for two other construction projects currently under way on the main campus: the student and administrative services center at the Maynard Street main entrance and a 365-bed student-housing complex at the west end of campus. R&J Ertel Inc., Williamsport submitted the lowest of five bids for the plumbing contract at$757,700. Silvertip Inc., Lewisburg was the lowest of six bidders for the HVAC contract at $1,178,000. Turnkey Construction Inc., Williamsport submitted the low bid among eight electrical contractors at $1,292,000. Johnson Controls, Camp Hill, was the lone bidder for the facilities management contract at $365,930. Programs moving to the 104,000-square-foot building are collision repair technology, automated manufacturing technology, civil engineering technology and surveying technology. The facility will feature three technology-enhanced classrooms, three computer labs and two large-group-instruction areas. Traffic lanes will be rerouted to the west side of the building to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians accessing West Third Street. All of the work is expected to be completed by August 2003. The student-housing construction, which will increase the number of beds available in on-campus, college-owned-and-operated housing to more than 1,400, is expected to be completed by August 2003. In addition, the Klump Academic Center will house the paramedic technology major, currently located in rental space at Susquehanna Health System. The work at the Klump Academic Center will include structural and HVAC upgrades and the renovation of vacated office spaces (those relocating to the student and administrative services center) for use as classrooms and faculty offices. Those and other renovations there are expected to be completed by August 2004.
Matthew L. Byers, Pennsylvania College of Technology's fall 2001 study-abroad student to Denmark, offered a taste of Danish life when he presented a lunchtime PowerPoint program on his trip at the college library recently. Byers, a senior in the graphic design major, also showed pictures from his photo album and addressed the architecture of the Northern European nation.
The Quandel Group Inc., Scranton, was recently awarded a $3.7 million contract to construct a new wastewater treatment plant and six pumping stations for the Branch-Cass Regional Sewer Authority. Additional improvement include an administration building, metering vaults, reed beds, paved access road and perimeter chain link fencing. The project is expected to be complete by October 2003.
Also, the Quandel Group was awarded a contract by Community Medical Center Healthcare System, Scranton, to provide construction management services for its upcoming expansion project. The project will consist of a new 425-space parking garage, a 10,000-square-foot addition to the emergency department, and a 30,000-square-foot addition to house diagnostic services. There will also be interior renovations to the existing emergency department and other areas of the hospital. Construction on the parking garage began in August and will be completed by next May. The remainder of the project will be completed in spring 2005.
Also, The Quandel Group Inc. was awarded a contract by Health Care Management and Resources to construct the Dunmore Cancer Center. The project consists of a two-story addition to the existing Hematology Associates building, Dunmore. The first floor of the building will be 10,000 square feet and utilized for radiation therapy. The second floor of the facility will be 8,500 square feet of shell space, which will be used for future fit-out. The project will start construction in December and will be complete by July.
Schubert Communications Inc., Downingtown, a business-to-business marketing communications agency, has prepared a new white paper that provides insight into how the Internet has disrupted the B2B sales cycle. Entitled "Where Have all the Sales Leads Gone? The Internet's Disruptive Effect on Trade Media Advertising," the paper discusses the growing difficulty experienced by marketers in capturing and acting upon sales leads. It also advises how companies can achieve efficient lead-gathering with a variety of marketing communications tools. In addition, Schubert's white paper reveals the print publications that still serve as the most valuable and trusted resource for important industry information.
Trains are again rolling on a portion of the Shamokin Valley Railroad that had been unused since the 1970s. Four trains a week are carrying coal from Mount Carmel Junction to the Sunbury LLC power plant in Shamokin Dam. The coal is delivered to Mount Carmel by the Reading and Northern Railroad. Previously, anthracite coal had been transported by truck to the plant in Shamokin Dam. The four weekly trains are equal to approximately 360 truckloads. Trains use substantially less fuel than trucks, and provide for safer highways. The coal will be traveling through Shamokin. Because signal lights at railroad crossings are currently not working, flagmen will control traffic, alerting drivers of oncoming trains. Plans are in place to restore signal service to these crossings over the next year or so.
Staffmasters USA, Harrisburg, became Arcus - a name change to better reflect its market identity, expanded capabilities and reach. Arcus equips it clients with over 100 years of expertise in the IT staff augmentation arena and under its new name will continue to deliver information technology resource solutions to business, government and community partners in an environment that encourages creativity, recognizes excellence and provides unlimited career growth. "Arcus is a unique name that we feel truly reflects our team of dynamic and experienced professionals," said company president/CEO Doug Firestone. Visit Arcus' Web site at
The Lion Brewery Inc., Wilkes-Barre, announced the return of its gold medal-winning winter seasonal, Pocono caramel porter. It is now available and is a rich, full-flavored beverage that uses extra caramel and chocolate malts to add a rich roasted character. It is sold in 12-ounce nonreturnable bottles and half barrels.
The Project Assurance Group, Clarks Summit, and The Productivity and Performance Center, Scranton, have formed a business alliance. The alliance will afford the opportunity for companies to develop a relationship with one firm that can provide a total solution to a business' needs. The companies' combined offerings will now include a full array of assessment, consulting, and training service in the areas of business and strategic planning, human resource management, information technology, organizational development, performance improvement/training, project management, quality management, and safety and environmental management services.
Two local companies will treat 16 women to tickets for WVIA's Women's Summit on November 9. Parente Randolph and Procter & Gamble purchased the first two tables for the event that will be held at the Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center at King's College, Wilkes-Barre from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Other companies that purchased tables include Moses Taylor Hospital, New York Life George Shadie and Pennstar Bank. Last year's event welcomed more than 200 women interested in visiting the exhibitors and attending roundtable discussions dealing with diverse subjects that provided an opportunity to meet and network with women dealing with similar issues/interests. Topics covered in the discussions and on-site exhibits will include wellness, life management, motivation/inspiration, career management and much more. It is also the goal to provide this vital information in a fun and entertaining manner, allowing honored attendees to feel like they have been on a "mini" retreat. When organizations sponsor a table at the Women's Summit, they receive signage on the luncheon table; eight tickets to the event and luncheon; 1/8 page ad in the Women's Summit publication that will be placed in the the Scranton Times and the Citizen's Voice on November 6; recognition in the event program and on WVIA's Web site, and placement of samples or information in a commemorative bag given to each attendee. For more information on table sponsorship, call Lisa Ayres at (570) 602-1175 or visit the Web site at
The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry dedicated a new roadway in Highland Park (Wilkes-Barre Township) to Ed Schechter, one of the founding fathers of the area's economic revitalization effort. Representatives from the chamber and the local community commented on Schechter's numerous contributions to the region over the past four decades while standing in the business park that has been one of the Wyoming Valley's most prominent examples of the progress that can happen through effective leadership. A community leader for over four decades, Schechter continues to play a significant role in the Wyoming Valley's efforts to build the future. Schechter moved from volunteer leadership to become the first executive director of Committee for Economic Growth, a position he held until 1987. Under his leadership, the CEG undertook its first major investment campaign--which brought in over $3.3 million to fund work to attract industry and create jobs for this community. CEG's work led to the creation of over 6,700 new primary and secondary jobs through the location of significant new businesses including names such as Sallie Mae, the construction of over 2.7 million square feet of office and industrial space, and a significant reduction in the region's unemployment rate. In 1971, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber and its Industrial Fund began a project to reclaim and develop a 334-acre former strip mine site adjacent to Interstate 81 and PA Route 309 in Wilkes-Barre Township for a business park. The goal of the reclamation project, called the Zayre Reclamation Project, was to rid that parcel of land of an unsightly culm bank and strip mine and to return the land to productive uses. The project now represents a growing and vibrant gateway to the Wv

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