From the new digital sign out front to more mixers, more networking opportunities, more ribbon cuttings, more connections UBCC Executive Director Danielle Bodnar took a look back at her first year at the helm and considers the vision for 2020.
“Danielle is doing a great job increasing the visual presence of the chamber and building many more strong contacts,” said Jason Wehrung, owner of Wehrung’s Lumber and Home Center in Ottsville and Wehrung’s Family of Businesses. He’s also a past president of the UBCC Board of Directors.
During 2019 UBCC hosted 11 mixers, signed on 49 new members, held nine ribbon cuttings and hosted three business ground breakings.
Bodnar said one of the biggest hurdles early on was making contact with each of the nearly 500 members, meeting and visiting them to learn about their business needs.
“After watching her in action over the past year; we all realized that we under estimated what a great fit she would be for the chamber. She is engaging, inclusive and inspirational with a focus on partnerships, communication and accomplishments” said Kathy Ramson, network director healthy living and chronic disease at St. Luke’s University Health Network and 2020 UBCC board president.
Bodnar said the continuing success of such signature events as Foodie, golf outing, clay shoot, legislative series, transportation forum and the new employer summit meant these opportunities resonated with the community.
“I’m proud of the new events we initiated this year such as the transportation forum, the workforce and employer summit, cash mobs (for retailers) and new initiatives to highlight our chamber members,” Bodnar said.
By adding a “people’s choice vote” awards component she brought a Hollywood flare to UBCC’s annual meeting held in November.
The warm friendly welcome Bodnar said she received in October 2018 continues.
“While I was new to the chamber, I’m not new to Upper Bucks,” said the native of Sellersville and resident of Milford Township, where she makes her home with husband Joe and two children.
Bodnar’s mindful that being a chamber member is a conscious choice.
“Membership can enhance your business relationships and business culture,” she noted.
What’s she’s learned over the past year will drive fine-tuning and new initiatives for 2020.
“My top goal is to offer events and programs members feel are relevant, making the chamber something future members feel they can’t live without,” Bodnar explained.
From workforce development and helping create a funnel for filling vacant job positions to attracting and retaining employees and highlighting soft skills everyone needs to be successful a business environment, creating partnerships and alliances is key.
“The business and education partnership between Upper Bucks County Technical School and our employers is something I’d like to develop more in 2020,” she said.
“It’s really about building relationships and trust,” Bodnar said.
Creating connections, relationship building and fostering a thriving business community is what drives Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
It’s what we’re all about.
Do you wonder where to find experts to help you source and grow your talent base?
When times are lean and budgets are tight how do you navigate the complicated unemployment process and provide services to those you need to let go?
What does it take to grow a business culture that’s a natural employee magnet??
At the first joint Upper Bucks Employer Summit October 29 held by Pennridge Chamber of Commerce and Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce about 80 business representatives, educators and community members had access to those who could connect the dots, and provide business building resources for free.
The summit was hosted at Bucks County Community College Perkasie Campus.
“Businesses are critical to the health of our communities,” said Daniel Loeper, BCCC director of business development.
Loeper said understanding the needs of employees, business stakeholders and customers is an important step in keeping a robust business model moving forward.
From bullying to safety training, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, English as a second language issues, office conflict management, emotional intelligence training, skills training, CPR and first aid training, BCCC offers business owners and managers resources to keep pace, he said.
These business building resources are free to anyone for the asking.
“UBCC brought these experts to our community to offer opportunities and assistance,” said Danielle Bodnar, executive director of UBCC.
The Bucks County Workforce Development Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry are also access points for business resources.
Sharing this information, along with the right places to find it, benefits everyone, Bodnar said.
“UBCC brings the resources and connections to its members through these events to help and support our Upper Bucks businesses,” she noted.
The majority attending agreed more could be done to connect employee prospects with available jobs.
“About 75 students leave high school without a plan,” said William “Bill” Harner, Quakertown Community School District superintendent.
Tapping resources whether in person, online or in some combination, is crucial to making connections that benefit workers and employers.
“Access is critical,” said Billie Barnes, director of Workforce Development’s offices in Bristol.
Employers, especially those in manufacturing and industry, are having a tough time finding workers – either skilled or with a commitment and willingness to learn new skills, to grow with their companies.
Barnes said Workforce Development was exploring new ways to bring resources directly to communities.
A satellite office with hours inside BCCC Perkasie Campus, could better serve Upper Bucks communities. A mobile “Workforce on Wheels” could bring resources directly to communities throughout Bucks County.
From Fairless Hills to Newtown, Riegelsville to Durham, Hilltown to Perkasie, Milford, Richland, Quakertown, or anywhere in between.
“Transportation is the top challenge facing workers in Bucks County,” Barnes said.
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