Three prominent Berks County business and economic development organizations could merge, a move that was disclosed at this week’s annual meeting of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership.
GREP, Greater Berks Development Fund and Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry have created a task force to explore the merger. This follows last year’s announcement that GREP and the development fund would seek to merge.
It also comes when two of the three organizations will be losing their leaders. GREP president and CEO Jon Scott will retire before June, and also in the mid-year, Ellen Horan, president and CEO of the Reading chamber, will move to Indiana, where her husband is taking a new job.
“We have been working hand in hand with them for years,” Scott said about the development fund in an earlier interview with Lehigh Valley Business. “This would be a natural evolution to create a stronger collaboration.”
Scott and officials of the chamber and the development fund were unavailable this morning for comment.
Also at GREP’s annual meeting, it reported that last year it worked with 12 new or expanding companies – including DoubleTree by Hilton Reading and PhytogenX – resulting in 633 new and retained jobs for Greater Reading.
Also, 2016 board of directors were elected or re-elected. New directors are Michael Kautter of Kautter & Kelley Architects and Kress Schwartz of Weidenhammer. Re-elected board seats went to 14 Greater Reading business leaders, including Alan Shuman, owner and broker of Shuman Development Group, and Peter Rye of Brentwood Industries.
Also at the meeting, Scott was presented with a plaque honoring his dedication and service to the organization the last 12 years.
GREP’s mission is to attract, retain and grow business by promoting, fostering and coordinating economic development in Greater Reading and Berks County by helping local businesses by connecting them to resources.