Adam Duke takes a craftsman’s approach to his work.
From septic tanks and systems to excavation, construction footings and site work grading, BRY Earth Solutions LLC in Springfield Township gives each and every job its undivided attention.
“BRY Earth was very efficient and planned everything out before (the work) started,” said Zach Steich of Milford Township. Steich hired Duke’s team to replace a failed septic system at a home he’d purchased there.
Duke’s crew kept the site clean and delivered the job on time. “You are not stuck with a mess in your house ,” Steich said of the contracting work.
Duke said septic design challenges are a specialty, and he enjoys doing testing and design work. “I bid jobs the way I think they should be done,” Duke said.
New construction and custom work allows him to create a design plan while keeping pace with the ever changing technology of septic work. “More stringent rules and requirements are a big part of the work,” Duke explained of compliance with local and state regulations to be a septic system provider.
Bringing 15 years of excavation experience to his two-year-old business, Duke who is owner/ operator of BRY Earth Solutions LLC named the business for sons Brad and Ryan for a very personal reason. “I didn’t want to use my own name, and I wanted to name the business something meaningful, so I named it after my sons,” Duke explained of how BRY Earth came to be.
Duke said the business was much more than a day-to-day livelihood for him. “I’m building a legacy for my children,” Duke explained of his mission, philosophy and commitment to build a brand and reputation in the industry.
Duke takes into account not only the job but the weather conditions and other variables he can’t control when scheduling work. That means he is able to honor his scheduled commitments to clients. “I provide options to make your schedule,” Duke said.
Karen Helm of Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, hired Duke to complete some excavation work on her property including a new drainage system incorporating gutters for runoff and a swale to draw water away from the home’s foundation and dry out a boggy basement.
“I’d just bought the house, which was built in 1963, and there had been wet basement issues but they had never been addressed with drainage,” Helm said. Until now.
She heard about Duke from a local contractor prior to buying the property.
“I was looking to gather information and get estimates on some of the projects and Adam was responsive. He was really great to work with,” Helm said.
She added Duke may have spoiled her for project expectations in coming years.
“I hope future contractors I hire to work here are as great to work with as Adam was,” Helm said.
Duke said he enjoys challenges and taking projects from problem through to finished solution. It’s something of a specialty.
“I like doing all the phases of a project,” Duke said.
For more information on BRY Earth Solutions call 267.999.1236 or log onto www.facebook.com/Bryearthsolutionsllc.
As soon as Brett Fischer gets his Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce membership renewal, he writes a check.
The fourth generation to own and operate the borough’s only formal wear retailer with on-site alterations and dry cleaning services, Fischer believes his Chamber membership is non-negotiable.
“I admit I don’t take advantage of all the programs and offerings, but I am a member because I am part of the business community here,” Fischer said.
A Fischer’s Tuxedo experience is downtown Quakertown made-to-measure.
Fischer stocks more than 7,000 tuxes - from a boy’s size 4 to a size 70-long jacket - and there is something for everyone at his accomplished fingertips.
Of weddings – where grandfathers get special treatment – Fischer said, “I’m here to accommodate everybody, and Pop-Pops have a special place in my heart,” he noted. “Grandfathers are really important. If you’re lucky enough to still have one, let me dress him for your wedding,” Fischer said.
Fischer knows his trade. His great-grandfather Mathias Fischer founded the business in 1919.
“He was a tailor and made clothing from scratch,” Fischer said of his family patriarch, who emigrated from Romania to live in Quakertown.
“My Pop-Pop lived to 96, and he always dressed in his tie and sweater vest just like he was going to work,” Fischer said.
Fischer recently cleaned and repaired some vintage service garments from the Civil War and World Wars I and II for the Quakertown Historical Society.
From the dense wool to the gleaming buttons and service insignia, the jackets are a testament to endurance and craft. His work’s pride and joy is evidenced in carefully folded and pressed jacket sleeves.
“We put (the Civil War jacket) back together,” Fischer explained.
Fischer’s makes his rentals memorable because he’s creative about the process and invested in his customer’s looking their best.
And more than outfitting the area’s young men for their junior and senior proms, he’s created a marketing tool with incentives for his models.
Ahead of prom season you’ll see dapper young adults modeling Fischer’s tuxedos in schools throughout the region - at Quakertown, Upper Perkiomen, Southern Lehigh, Palisades, Saucon Valley, Souderton and Pennridge high schools, showing off Fischer’s tuxedos quality and style.
Models can receive discounts for every referral they bring in after spending the school day dressed in formal threads.
“I give them each 10 business cards. For every card (used for a rental) they receive $20 off their tux,” Fischer said. That means enough referral rentals can make a tux free for the model.
Fischer’s also provides discounted formal wear and dry cleaning services for area jazz bands and ensembles, so the student musicians are dressed smartly as they showcase their talent in area competitions and festivals.
Alan Shughart, a long-time Quakertown Community School District band director, has known and worked with Fischer for years to outfit students for jazz bands and ensembles.
“For the past thirteen years (at Milford Middle School), Mr. Fischer has rented beautiful pants, cummerbunds, vests and shirts to our students for the entire two-and-a-half month season, for a nominal fee,” Shughart said.
“As a professional tuxedo rental and dry cleaning business, Brett uses his skills and talents to help our community. He certainly has dedicated much of his effort to helping school students in Upper Bucks and surrounding communities,” Shughart said.
Coming up on 100 years in business, Fischer’s has endured the test of time, political administrations, government changes, taxation, and felt the squeeze often placed on small family-owned and operated businesses.
Still, he holds fast to keep his Broad Street doors open.
“My family is everything to me. My great grandfather, my father and I, we all added to this business. I want to fulfill their dream,” Fischer said.
For more information on Fischer's Tuxedo visit www.fischerstuxedo.com or call 215.536.5137.
If these walls could talk, what stories they could tell.
Upper Bucks lays claim to a thriving tavern and restaurant scene where historic eateries continue to serve hungry and thirsty locals, visitors and travelers.
They’ve got great food, rich histories and a pedigree of centuries behind them, a trifecta of Upper Bucks eateries boasting the near miss of a Revolutionary War hero’s hanging, a refuge for Civil War slaves on the Underground Railroad and a family’s legacy.
Within a few miles of one another McCoole’s Historic Red Lion Inn (site of the Fries’s Rebellion), The Brick Tavern Inn, (a Civil War Underground Railroad stop) and The Spinnerstown Hotel Restaurant & Taproom, owned and operated by Susan and John Dale, the second generation of the same family offering a community gathering place for more than 200 years.
McCoole’s is also home to McCoole’s Arts and Events Place, as well as its own microbrewery.
“This is our fourth year brewing beer on site. It sets us apart from various other restaurants because not only do we have our signature beer but we also brew it,” said Jan Hench, owner/operator of McCoole’s Historic Red Lion Inn.
Hench spotted the importance of the craft beer movement, and brought on a beer master to create signature seasonal suds, relevant to the area and to the historic property.
“It is a very integral extension of the culinary industry with the craft beer movement that is happening over the last several years. We want beers that can only be purchased at McCoole’s,” Hench said.
McCoole’s annual Beerfest in April is a showcase for a variety of the region’s craft beers and hard cider. For information about this year’s event, held April 29, visit mccoolesbeerfest.com
Celebrating 199 years in 2017, The Brick Tavern Inn on Old Bethlehem Pike in Milford Township is looking for stories about the staple restaurant’s history. Send stories about family milestones or other Brick connections or history via email to email@example.com.
Significant renovations to the building aim to keep the historic atmosphere while providing for modern customer needs such as handicapped accessibility, cozy indoor dining and seasonal outdoor dining on the patio where a koi pond and live entertainment adds to the fair weather experience.
The Brick also offers live entertainment inside, check the website for specifics at www.thebricktaverninn.com.
The Spinnerstown Hotel Restaurant & Taproom sits in the western most corner of Milford Township and the name reflects the founding family of the village of Spinnerstown.
Susan and John Dale recognize the significance of a “community house” where locals go for information, for socializing and to catch up with friends and neighbors.
“A community gathering place is where you come for the food and the experience,” Susan Dale said.
While the Spinnerstown Hotel has offered curated beer dinners for years now special bottle sales means patrons can purchase a bottle of wine and not feel obliged to drink it all before the check arrives.
“We are expanding our wine business,” Susan Dale said, of the addition of a take-out bottle shop.
The goal is to bring the wine business in line with the extensive beer list and offerings, she explained of the latest niche special interest market.
Crossing Vineyards & Winery in Newtown, is one of the specially wines available at Spinnerstown. “You can sit down, buy a bottle of wine, eat, cork the bottle and take it home,” Susan Dale said.
She said the corked bottle should be stored in the truck of the car in compliance with Pennsylvania’s “open container” liquor laws. For information about Spinnerstown Hotel visit www.spinnerstownhotel.com.
Farming is in the Bunch family’s blood.
And even though the location and what’s sold has changed, third generation operated Shan-Gri-La Sod Farm continues the same tried and true business vision, honoring the Bunch family’s legacy of hard work and quality products.
Keep your word. Honor your commitments. Get the job done on time, and do it right.
Owned and operated by Chip Bunch, Shan-Gri-La Sod Farm in Plumstead Township, grew out of his grandfather’s chicken farm, founded in 1939.
“My grandfather Dewey Bunch Sr. owned a poultry and egg farm in Willow Grove, and he sold eggs there,” Chip Bunch said.
In 1967 Chip’s mom and dad, Dewey Jr. and Vera Bunch, purchased the property in Plumstead and began farming there, while Chip grew up and worked alongside the ebb and flow of farming seasons, equipment and rural agricultural lifestyle.
He was steeped in the family business.
In 1990, Chip struck out on his own and started a landscape construction company, serving the same area in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
In 2002 Chip and his wife Beth bought the business from his parents, and his father’s philosophy still informs the choices he makes.
“(My dad) taught me that good or bad, you have to take responsibility for your decisions,” Bunch said. He said Dewey Jr. stayed on until 2006 to ensure a smooth transition for the business. The season typically runs April through November, but mild winters can mean less downtime.
“In the early 2000s we had a very mild winter, and I think we only had 3 weeks off,” Bunch explained.
In farming operations down time is essential to rest from the arduous physical labor, take care of office duties and refurbish equipment for the next season.
Other hallmarks of Dewey Jr.’s business beliefs include keeping your word, “a handshake is a contract” and in keeping with that old family business manner, you (and your word) are your bond, Bunch said.
“We have an old-school mentality to (doing) business with new school operations” and techniques and technologies, Bunch said.
Catherine Getchell of Bedminster Township used Shan-Gri-La for work at her property, including an EP Henry installation and sod areas near her barn.
“Chip personally oversaw the two sod installation jobs,” Getchell said. She said watering the new sod was a problem. “Chip’s crew came …with a water truck,” Getchell said, to ensure the sod’s growth and vigor.
Mike Harte knows sod.
President of Plumstead Baseball Association, Harte said Bunch and Shan-Gri-La was an important player in revamping the club’s ball fields, and in their ongoing maintenance.
“We now have some of the best fields in Bucks County. We have beautiful fields. People drive up here and I get calls (about them). We hear it from our visiting teams,” Harte said of the natural turf, installed and maintained by Bunch and his crew.
Serving about 600 resident youth aged 5-18; about 60,000 players use the fields throughout the season.
The fields “are a great motivator for the kids. They want to come and play,” Harte said.
Two predominant sod products are grown at Shan-Gri-La: Tall Fescue Blend and Kentucky Blue Grass Blend. The company also sells grass seed and fertilizer, and a variety of lawn maintenance treatment products, which are also available to the public.
“Chip does it right,” Harte said.
Shan-Gri-La Sod Farm is located at 6176 Haring Rd., Plumsteadville. The sod farm and company provides services to residential, commercial, municipal, educational and non-profit organizations. Visit www.shangrilafarm.com.
A Woman’s Place (AWP) is proudly celebrating its 40th anniversary as Bucks County’s only domestic violence service and prevention organization. AWP provides comprehensive free, private, and confidential service, support, education, outreach, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence, their children, and our community.
Programs in AWP’s The Safe Options Project allow for safety for those in crisis. Direct services provide victims of domestic violence and their children with a 24-hour hotline and First Response Team, an emergency shelter, emotional counseling and relief, legal advocacy and legal options counseling, as well as representation in divorce, custody, and support cases.
Past that point of immediate danger, AWP’s The Empowerment Project prepares clients to lead sustainable lives. Financial empowerment, job training, and self-sufficiency programs enable clients to live independently and support themselves and their families.
Domestic violence is not just a family issues, it’s a community issue. APW’s goal is to educate and change the cultural dynamic to build a society where all individuals are safe in their relationships and can flourish.
Through The Prevention Project, AWP provides community-based domestic violence training, education, outreach, and advocacy. Programs include healthy friendship and dating programs for students in grades 4 - 12, DV trainings for Bucks County healthcare providers and law enforcement, and community outreach to local organizations and faith groups. AWP offers Peace Works summer camp for students in grades kindergarten through 5th grade, and the new Coaching Boys Into Men program empowers coaches to teach young male athletes about healthy relationships, and that violence never equals strength.
AWP’s thrift store, In Full Swing, is located at 225 W. State Street in Doylestown. All clients shop free of charge for themselves and their children, and all community purchases come back to support AWP’s programs. Stop by for some great shopping or to donate your gently used women’s, children, and men’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.
With 37 full- and part-time employees, AWP could not accomplish all it does without the help of its dedicated volunteers who give so generously to the organization. AWP’s vibrant volunteer program is always seeking new additions, and we invite you to join us in our work.
AWP will be celebrating its 40th anniversary at the 22nd annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fantasy on April 1 at The Fuge in Warminster. The event includes delectable drinks and dishes, covetable silent and live auction items, a raffle featuring once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences, spirited music and dancing, an effervescent toast, and enough chocolate to satiate even the most discerning sweet tooth.
To make a donation, volunteer, and learn more about how you can help, visit www.awomansplace.org or 215-343-9241. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 800-220-8116.
Chris Fascella isn’t afraid to go the extra mile.
The owner of Fascella Construction Corp., in Nockamixon Township, took on his first job at the age of 13 as an eighth grade student.
And while the gig to rebuild a front porch handrail didn’t go according to plan – Fascella had to “subcontract” the work by asking for help from a family friend who was also a construction pro – the early experience taught about the crucial elements of being an entrepreneur.
Delivering on promises. Paying attention to details. Being responsible and being willing to think outside the box, has paid off in growing his general construction and contracting business and formed fiercely loyal customer relationships.
“We get difficult jobs, the ones no one else wants to take on, and I would say our specialty is doing the difficult jobs,” Fascella explained.
Whether it’s an historic old home from the 1800s or relatively new construction where the homeowner wants a fresh look or dream room or addition, Fascella isn’t a hard sell. He doesn’t have to be.
Alisha Wright of Plumstead Township first met Fascella at an area home show. “I was impressed by him. He had his kids with him handing out information and give away items, and I liked that about him. It wasn’t the ‘hard sell’ where someone comes up to you and begins talking about themselves,” Wright said. Wright hired Fascella to renovate her kitchen. “My kitchen wasn’t a dream kitchen when I moved in 15 years ago, but it is now,” Wright said, of the heart-of-the-home’s makeover. She said she’s worked with Fascella on other home projects and plans more.
“Chris goes above and beyond the job,” Wright explained, from helping her with his own truck to move a new kitchen table into the renovation, to letting the family’s dog out and providing treats while he and his crew are on the job. “My husband and I both work, and I completely trust Chris and his crew to be in my home. They are clean, respectful and responsible. You just don’t come across (trustworthy) people like that, and Chris is like that,” Wright said.
Lori Berkowitz of Newtown Township said she hired Fascella to put a roof on her home, after a disastrously botched job five years ago. “The roof was leaking,” Berkowitz said. She also hired Fascella to redo three bathrooms in her home. “He was honest and was on the site himself most of the time,” Berkowitz said.
Both women agree Fascella runs a tight ship and keeps work spaces spotless. He is responsive and has a quick-reply turn around policy, which means he promptly validates any and all questions – no matter how small they may seem. “He and his crew pay attention to the details, and he gets back to you sometimes in less than 5 minutes,” Wright said.
“Chris went above and beyond. He found a plumbing leak, while redoing one of the bathrooms and while many contractors might not have said anything because it wasn’t in the job (description), Chris called it out, and he fixed it,” Berkowitz said.
Offering superior craftsmanship and customer service appears to be a family tradition.
“We do a lot of construction management and my one son, Kaden, wants to come into the business with me. He wants to add landscaping design and more excavation work. He thinks it’s an opportunity we’re missing,” Fascella said. He may not have long to wait for the second generation to join Fascella Construction. Kaden, a junior at Palisades High School and Upper Bucks County Technical School, is part of the Class of 2018.
While Fascella said he is willing to negotiate travel, most of his work is located in Bucks County and Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He is married and has three teenage children.
For information about Fascella Construction Corp. visit www.fascellacorp.com.
Competitive pricing, quick turnarounds and sticking with conversations until the job is “just right” are qualities forging a robust client base for Solid Products Marketing & Promotions based in Ottsville. Owned and operated by Jason Wehrung, whose family business is Wehrung’s Lumber and Home Center also headquartered in Ottsville, Solid Products has the ability to produce customized wearable advertisements to promote businesses. Solid Products also has a full-service sign shop for banners, magnets, yard signs, truck decals and more. From hats, t-shirts, jackets, athletic wear, work apparel and uniforms, towels, robes and blankets, bags, totes and sweatshirts, Solid Products offers a one-stop shop approach to most jobs.
“It’s one stop shopping and I can get whatever I need,” said Aaron Weaver, of Dream Weaver Racing based in Upper Black Eddy. Weaver races his Teo ProCar at New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey, and takes it for promotional appearances.
And while great products and prices bring new trade through the door, innovative marketing solutions, a “yes we can” attitude and conscientious customer service, keep customers coming back again and again.
Shawn Dulee, brand manager for Naked Brewing Company in Lower Southampton Bucks County, said she’s impressed with Solid Products staff commitment to getting the job just right, and the team’s honesty about limitations, which are as refreshing as a pint of the microbrewery’s seasonal India Pale Ales. “They work with me until I like what I see,” Dulee said. Turnaround times are quick, too, with a recent confirmation to order receipt received by Dulee in about a week. “My previous supplier would take months to deliver,” Dulee said. “Solid Products turn-around times are fantastic.”
While products and goods are the tangible results of Wehrung’s business efforts, the Solid Products team embodies a pledge to superior customer service, creating a reputation that’s priceless.
Kyle Shannon of K. Shan Performance, a fitness training business in Allentown, has been using Solid Products for his promotional items since he opened the doors in February 2016. “All of their products have been great and they are easy to communicate with. They return calls promptly and they have no problems with order add-ons, when I need them,” Shannon said. “The quality of the products and outcomes exceeds my expectations,” Shannon said.
Wehrung said he is invested in helping his customers grow their business and his staff works together because they’ve come to rely upon each other’s strengths, insight and creative energy. “We all have different roles and clear job descriptions but they piggy back” onto each other, said Jen Martinez, Solid Products inside sales representative.
On a rapid growth curve, Wehrung said the business has tripled during the past year, and he attributes the growth to going beyond the project for each and every customer.
For more information on Solid Products visit www.solidproducts.net or call 610.847.1444.
Dave Slifer of Erwinna likes doing business with Bahnck Tree and Lawn Care because Will Bahnck gets the job done right.
Attention to detail, understanding the work involved, cleanup and follow-up are points of pride for Bahnck, who has owned and operated Bahnck Tree and Lawn Care in Ottsville since 2004.
“What I’m most impressed with is how Will works. He always completely cleans up the site and he’s a pleasure to work with,” Slifer said. Slifer has used Bahnck for lawn care and to take down and trim trees on his property.
A recent trimming job, of an oversized white birch on Slifer’s property, probably averted catastrophe for the homeowner.
The tree posed a hazard to Slifer’s home, but not anymore.
“I knew if I didn’t do something, it would have landed on my roof,” Slifer said.
“Will looked at it and said, ‘I can make it safer,’ and he got in there and trimmed the tree from the inside,” Slifer said.
Bahnck’s staff are trained and insured, and he takes pride in such old-fashioned values as delivering on promised goods and services and cleaning up a work site. “If I take down your tree and I leave branches and debris lying around, you’d never have me back,” Bahnck said.
Bahnck’s attention to the little things has earned him the respect of Glenn Sands, co-owner of Sands Auto Group, with dealerships in Quakertown and Red Hill.
“We offer fair rates and we don’t cut corners,” Bahnck said.
Sands said he uses Bahnck for his home and commercial properties. “(Bahnck) cleans up everything and safety is a big issue for him. He always does what he says he’s going to do,” Sands said of Bahnck’s work ethic.
“I feel you have to choose a couple of things, and the things we do, we do well,” Bahnck said.
While Bahnck’s roster of services includes tree trimming, take downs, stump grinding, lawn care and winter snow plowing and firewood, he knows sometimes a job needs services he doesn’t provide.
A carefully vetted roster of industry related professionals is available to Bahnck’s customers, too, simply for the asking.
“I don’t provide chemical treatments, tree chemicals or arborist services, but I have people I know who do,” Bahnck said.
With a service area including Upper Bucks and Montgomery counties and tree service to the Greater Lehigh Valley, Bahnck is well positioned to develop customer relationships.
“Customers become comfortable with us,” Bahnck said.
For more information on Bahnck Tree & Lawn Care, call 215.651.8716 or log onto www.bahnck.com.
No time for flour and sugar, butter and eggs?
Do visions of lemon shortbread, gingerbread cutouts, meringues and walnut tassies dance in your head? How about crispy chocolate almond cookies or wintermints, an icy chocolate confection? If not, why not?
Satisfy your holiday sweet tooth by letting your Chamber colleagues fill out those holiday party trays or sideboard desserts for the big feast.
If swirling snowflakes and visions of sugarplums don’t put you in the mood to yodel Christmas carols or trim the tree, any of our member bakers and confectioners will do the trick.
Skilled in the art, craft and passion of creating perfect desserts, our member’s treats and holiday staples satisfy. So whether you’re hungry for scrumptious layer cakes with creamy or fruit fillings, plump pastry pies, delectable cookies, pastries, artisan breads and more, look no farther than our short list of favorites.
Blueberry filled vanilla cupcakes or a signature raspberry cake? No problem, Deborah Rogers of Bear Den Kitchens in Sellersville has you covered. Homemade jams, fillings, frostings and confections are the stock-in-trade at Bear Den Kitchens and Chocolate Shop. Candies, cupcakes, cakes, cheesecakes, and canned preserves are only a phone call away. Call 215.527.7780, or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BearDenKitchens.
Ryman Maxwell and his team at The Bread Box & Bakery in Perkasie bake up such handcrafted treats as peanut butter cups – their take on ramped up Reese’s, “millionaire” shortbread logs, plain and filled croissants, a variety of artisanal breads, pastries and more, round out a buffet sideboard or holiday catering order for the office.
Whether it’s a wedding, anniversary, birthday party or Christmas Eve dinner for 12, Amy’s Creative Cakes provides clients with irresistible confections meant to satisfy all the senses. Treat trays, cake pops, candy and cookie favors are perfect for celebrating. From a winter wedding to an evening with family, colleagues and friends, consider Amy’s Creative Cakes. With cookie trays and boxes by the pound, made to order just got easier. Visit Amy's Creative Cakes www.amyscreativecakes.com or call 215.529.5763.
Anyone who’s lived in the Quakertown area long enough knows few things say home like a warm, old-fashioned apple dumpling. Granny Smith apples, wrapped in wholesome hand-made pastry and capped with snowy white icing are a house specialty of The Farm Bakery and Events, an outgrowth of the time-honored former Meyer’s Family Restaurant. Cupcakes, scones, muffins and pies are made to order and picked up at The Farm property on Zion Hill Road in Milford Township. Visit www.meyersfarmbakery.com or call 215.272.2301.
Bread Box & Bakery and Down to Earth Café in Perkasie specialize in sourcing local and creating an experience where community is always the top priority. Offering weekly bakery shares, using Community Supported Agriculture as a model, you don’t have to buy shares to enjoy flakey croissants, crusty baguettes, or specialty breads like chocolate cherry, chocolate chip Challah, molasses oatmeal or multi-grain. Visit www.thebreadboxandbakery.com or call 215.257.5057.
From family gatherings to office parties, open house or holiday events, sweeten the moment by ordering delectable holiday treats this season from any of our expert Chamber bakers.
Delaware Valley University and Pearl S. Buck International team up to offer cultural diversity program
Where quotas have failed, maybe belonging can succeed.
According to an August, 2016 Harvard Business Review article, diversity doesn’t work if various groups don’t feel – deep down in their bones– like they matter. In other words, success equals a stake because members feel like they belong to a team, an organization or a professional mission. [See the full article by Pat Wadors at https://hbr.org/2016/08/diversity-efforts-fall-short-unless-employees-feel-that-they-belong.)
When we get to know one another we can begin to better understand each other. And if we understand each other better, our work efforts become more satisfying and our productivity rises, too.
This past spring a core group of Delaware Valley University students received an education on cultural diversity though a joint pilot program with Pearl S. Buck International in Hilltown Township.
The three-part series of workshops, some of which were held at the late Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner’s rural estate, aimed to create dialog and understanding about the value of cultural diversity.
The idea was to make participants think.
“Students were able to identify a space within themselves by learning about Pearl S. Buck’s leadership” said Andrew Moyer. Moyer is assistant dean of students and director of student involvement at DelVal.
Moyer said he believed that learning about Buck’s commitment and legacy could influence future leaders.
Laura Lomax, director of programs for Pearl S. Buck International, said intercultural competency was vital to successful business endeavors, and to making an enriching life experience.
Lomax said the top three attributes most businesses look for when recruiting and hiring new employees are curiosity, empathy and self-awareness.
Lomax said those who were more culturally sensitive navigate the workforce more easily, and a more culturally mixed team brings fresh ideas and perspectives to the table. “Greater attention, improved talent and enhanced creativity” are byproducts of a mixed cultural dynamic, Lomax said.
“We believe it is really important for people to develop skills to navigate cultures effectively,” she added.
During the workshops, students were given surveys to help determine their cultural literacy and intercultural competencies.
“The assessment measured where they might fall on the scale. How culturally sensitive they were, and from where they could move to a more culturally sensitive place,” Lomax said.
Undergraduate students were selected from most grade levels according to their demonstrated leadership skills and abilities.
Taking advantage of better understanding and seeking opportunities to learn about the world surrounding them would also lead to success in all realms, Moyer said.
“This (intercultural competency) is a lifelong journey,” Lomax said.
Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
An economic development agency for Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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