Growing Right Here for over 100 years.
2017 Annual Lunch
​105th Annual Luncheon: Unifying the Community One Member at a Time
by Marketing Manager, Ashley Delfonso
   The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce kicked off the month of December with a bang! The 105th Annual Luncheon was held on Friday, December 1, at the Ed Fry Arena in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. There were 400 people gathered throughout the arena to network and get the inside scoop on the Chamber, the Indiana County business community, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
   Jim Kinneer, Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board and master of ceremonies, kicked off the event by introducing the presentation of colors by the IUP ROTC, and the singing of the National Anthem by Kaitlyn Stossel, a junior at Indiana High School. It is incredible that one event can bring together a diverse group of people from high school students, to college students, to corporate CEO’s. Following the proud moment to salute our nation, Kinneer called to order the 2017 Annual Chamber Board of Directors and our ex-officio members. All members rose as Kinneer spoke their names in recognition to their hard work and dedication. Along with the board members, the Chamber’s executive committee was recognized. Chamber President Jim Struzzi was applauded for his intense drive, passion, and determination to make this event happen. Chamber secretary, Kelly Howels, and Chamber Treasurer, Josh Rosenberger were both asked to present their reports to the audience.
   Kinneer took the stage again to present the slate of nominees for election as directors to the Chamber Board. The Nominations Committee reviewed current board positions and took the following actions related to the Chamber Board of Directors that will begin on January 1, 2018: Elizabeth Gregg with Environmental Service Labs and Ryan Glista with Indiana First Bank were re-elected to second three-year terms. The following individuals elected to their First Three Year Terms: Rob Walbeck with Walbeck Insurance, Mary Beth Akbay with Romeo’s Pizzeria and Mediterranean Kitchen, Clinton Smith with Government and Civil Employee Services, and Frank Holuta with Gordon Sinclair Industries. Board members that will be stepping down were recognized: Robin Gorman with IUP; Don Huey with Don Huey Construction; and Luke Shively with McNaughton Moving and Storage. Greg Sipos with First Commonwealth Bank will also be stepping down as the Chamber’s Immediate Past Chair.
   While listening to all of the exceptionally dedicated individuals called by name, it is very easy to feel motivated and aspire for that future moment. Sitting in the crowd and knowing that you made it this far in your career is incredibly rewarding to not only yourself, but the business that you represent. The muffle of voices began to dim as a beautiful lunch of steak, stuffed chicken, and vegetables were being served. It is not difficult to speak for everyone when I say that the food was incredibly delicious. ​While everyone finished their meals, State Senator Don White; County Commissioners Mike Baker, Rod Ruddock, and Sherene Hess; and the executive Director for the Indiana County Department of Planning and Development Bryon Stauffer were recognized. Kinneer gave a special thank you to our luncheon sponsors for their help in order to make this event possible: Platinum Sponsors: The Reschini Group, S&T Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and OnDemand Energy. Gold Sponsors: Diamond Medical Supply, Government and Civil Employee Services, and Indiana Regional Medical Center Physicians Group. Silver Sponsors: Stiffer McGraw, Gibson Thomas Engineering, Anew Home Health Agency, Phoenix Spa and Salon, and Kovalchick Corporation. Bronze Sponsors: The 700 Shop, Penelec—A First Energy Company, and Indiana County Healthcare Careers Consortium. Media Sponsor was Renda Broadcasting. Flower Sponsors: H&W Global, Leonard S. Fiore, Inc., Philadelphia Square Apartments, Indiana Gazette, K&L Real Estate, and Kuzneski Insurance Group.
   Special keynote speaker, Travis Williams, was then introduced to the audience. Williams is in his tenth season as a senior executive with the Pittsburgh Penguins, currently serving as Chief Operating Officer and overseeing finance, legal affairs, technology, business development, and arena operations. He also assists CEO David Morehouse in the day-to-day management of the business. In addition to his hard work, Williams explained to us that the Penguins had to reinvent their brand in order to gain a wider range of fans. What they had in the past wasn’t working anymore and they realized what had to be done in order to fix it. If the audience took anything away from the annual luncheon, I hope that it was the message that Williams provided us with. When something doesn’t work for your business, what will you do in order to make it better? “Get in the fast lane grandma!” Pittsburgh Penguins announcer shouts as the introductory video that Williams’ team put together for the event begins to play. Williams blurred the line that separates Indiana County and Pittsburgh and allowed the audience to feel the emotion and excitement of a Stanley Cup run through the highlights that showed the success the Penguins have experienced over the past year. While the video played, not one person spoke as jaws dropped and chills clothed people’s skin. Some people even became emotional as they relived those moments that they saw either on the television or in person over the past year. His excellent presentation outlined how the Penguins organization redefined their brand to become not only one of the best NHL teams, but one of the premiere franchises in all sports. Williams was thrilled to say that the Pittsburgh Penguins are continuously "Driven for More" and the fans should be very excited for the future. After Williams finished his speech, the Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Joe Reschini gave his comments, by outlining a plan to help Chamber members fill vacant jobs and address future workforce needs in Indiana County.
   The Chamber also collected donations and raised money to help ICCAP. Thank you to everyone who donated. We only succeed when each individual makes an effort to better our community. Overall, our 105th Annual Luncheon was phenomenal as was the keynote presentation and other highlights, but if you missed it, we will be releasing the video of the event on the Chamber's YouTube Channel (Click here to go to the link) in December (though there is no way we can share how delicious the food had been!). Thank you again to everyone involved the Chamber staff, the Chamber Ambassadors, the luncheon sponsors, and all 400 of you that believe in the Chamber of Commerce enough to make this event continue each year.