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Carbon chamber partners with Valley, adding network opportunities, resources

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Photo by Christopher Holland: The Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp., on South Street in Lehighton, already had been working with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Photo by Christopher Holland: The Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp., on South Street in Lehighton, already had been working with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

An eventful year for Carbon County businesses just became more significant because the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp. will partner with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The partnership, effective Aug. 1, provides networking opportunities and new resources for the CCEDC, which represents 300 businesses and companies. For the GLVCC, the association provides a new market in Carbon County and adds to its political clout.

“This partnership was really just made official with a written agreement,” said Dawn Ferrante, executive director of the CCEDC, based in Lehighton. “Prior to this point, we had been partnering with the GLVCC on mixers and other events. Also, Marlyn Kissner [vice president of regional chambers at GLVCC] has been working with us one day per week for the past year, providing best practices for chamber management and also administrative support.”

The partnership follows the May merger of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and Carbon County Economic Development Corp. Ferrante championed the merger, which unified several business and economic groups in the county.

“Networking is one of the most important benefits of being a chamber member,” Ferrante said of the GLVCC partnership. “With this partnership, we just added over 5,000 new people to our network. This has benefits on so many levels.”

The GLVCC – one of the 10 largest in the nation – has been growing its presence in the region, teaming with more than 20 chamber and civic organizations.

“Many times, it’s difficult to quantify or see exactly how knowing someone will benefit you and therefore what the ROI [return on investment] is on a chamber membership. It may be a conversation with someone that will bring you a needed employee, new vendor, marketing opportunity or even a new client,” Ferrante said.

She said that often the person someone connects with might not be able to help, but he or she knows someone who can.

“So, you are not only broadening your immediate network, you are connecting with other people’s networks, which compounds the effect,” Ferrante said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

Tony Iannelli, executive director of GLVCC, saw Carbon County as a critical market for the business community of the Lehigh Valley.

“We’ve been working with them [CCEDC] over the years, and it seemed like the best idea for both of us to establish this partnership,” he said.

“Carbon saw the Lehigh Valley as a critical market for the business community, and the Lehigh Valley saw Carbon the same way,” Iannelli said. “We’re hoping to increase business-to-business relations and have an impact on public policy, getting attention in Harrisburg like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. We’re the largest chamber in the state of Pennsylvania.”

While each chamber still operates independently, the partnership brings about more access to networking events and initiatives to the Greater Lehigh Valley and its business communities.

“It’s a great thing for our businesses as it will allow access to all the member benefits and networking events at the same rate as our current membership dues,” Ferrante said.

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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