We watched the Eagles win Super Bowl LII on February 4, and we’re wrapping up the year like a sure bet outside shot; rooting for the 76ers to take it all this time around.
This summer was wetter and warmer than usual and by now, most of us know what a pestilence the Spotted lantern fly has become.
In August we heard from the next crop of young entrepreneurs fresh from Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, and how they learned operating a business isn’t easy.
We co-hosted the first ever networking mixer with three regional Chambers of Commerce in September at Altek Business Systems, with a great turn despite more rain and lots of conversation and business card sharing.
We watched – sometimes with giddy excitement (if your stocks were performing well) and at other times catching our breath (if they weren’t) at a volatile stock market’s rise and fall, and rise and fall... and rise.
We marveled at a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in September - unheard of since 1969.
Throughout the year we supported new business owners with ribbon cuttings, with education, with networking opportunities and with a seat at the table and strong collective voice that is Upper Bucks County.
We shared in your delight and we felt your pain when things didn’t go according to your business plan.
Alongside our manufacturing communities we’re striving to expand professional and workforce development, during a time moment when skilled talent is hard to come, by and critical jobs remain vacant.
Like them we wonder, how can this be? What can we do to fix it?
We realize a skilled talent shortage is a bigger problem. It’s facing employers and educators throughout Pennsylvania and across the country. It needs to change.
We want to help change the perception that manufacturing is a dead end, or temporary career choice: Nothing could be further from the truth.
Closer to home and our collective heart, we bid long-time executive director, mentor and friend Tara King goodbye. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement and fresh journey along the shores of Delaware.
We welcomed with open arms, and a big place in our hearts our next chief, Danielle Bodnar.
Danielle’s talents, strength and courage, along with her contagious energy and enthusiasm move us forward into 2019 and beyond.
And while 2018 slips into our rear view, we count our many, many blessings.
We wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and a healthy, prosperous and invigorating New Year.
We’re taking a moment and looking at 2018 as the year rounds to a close.
DASH is making the rounds to area businesses – and bringing smiles, too.
We’re looking at what works and what we want to do better.
While death and taxes as the only sure bets in life have long been axioms since Christopher Bullock uttered a version of the phrase in 1716 – change is another of life’s certainties.
During the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce annual meeting held Nov. 20 at The Proper Brewing Company, members were formally introduced to incoming Executive Director Danielle Bodnar. They witnessed the “passing of the gavel” to new board leadership and heard a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia about the economic outlook for 2019.
Bodnar replaces long-time Chamber director Tara King, who retired in October after leading and working with the region’s business community for nearly two decades.
Building on what UBCC does well, offering new educational opportunities, continuing and expanding workforce development initiatives and surveying members for new program opportunities were among Bodnar’s objectives.
“I want to get to know the board, members the community and stakeholders,” Bodnar said.
She said under King’s leadership innovative networking opportunities brought Chamber members together.
“I can’t think of another place where you have access to something like Foodie - it’s unique in the region. You can enjoy great food, wine, spirits, and buy a car all at the same time,” Bodnar said. The 13th annual Foodie was held Oct. 13, at Sands Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Richland Township.
Bodnar said the innovative second annual Clay Shoot held Sept. 17 was “hitting a great demographic and offering networking in a new way.”
Other leadership changes for 2019 included introducing Joe Wingert, incoming Chamber Board of Directors president.
“I know of few organizations that care as much about its members as UBCC does,” Wingert said.
Jason Wehrung, a two year board president, praised the chamber’s growth and outreach efforts during his tenure. Wehrung, who is a grandson of the late Woodrow “Woody” Wehrung, is the second Wehrung family member to hold UBCC’s top board position.
“One of the greatest things about entrenching myself into the chamber and serving as president for two years were the relationships I’ve had the pleasure of building both personal and professional,” Wehrung said.
Keynote speaker Ryotaro “Ryo” Tashiro provided an overview of region’s economic strengths, as well as outlining trade challenges in the coming year.
Tashiro is economic advisor and public outreach associate for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s research department serving the Third District made up of Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties.
Tashiro said “robust growth” during the second and third quarters of 2018, and the economy was performing at a 15-year high.
He was cautiously optimistic about continue growth - though likely at a slower pace through 2019.
“Consumer confidence [expenditures] feels optimistic now and will continue into 2019,” Tashiro said.
He noted Upper Bucks County’s business and industrial growth mirrors that of Pennsylvania and the nation.
Tashiro said recent “trade war” tariffs with China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union threw up a red flag for 2019.
Some $4 billion in goods exported from Pennsylvania are at risk because of tariffs, Tashiro said.
“Ninety-six percent of all exports from Pennsylvania went to China, so if you do business with China there is cause for concern,” Tashiro said.
Pennsylvania exports coal to China as well as personal computers and oak wood slabs. Coffee is exported to Canada from Pennsylvania; the European Union imports Harley Davidson motorcycles manufactured in its York, Pennsylvania, plant and Mexico imports metal alloy sheets from Pennsylvania companies.
According to Tashiro workforce development was the second area of concern moving into 2019. With a low jobless rate, employers continue to struggle to find appropriate applicants to fill positions.
“The unemployment rate for the nation was 3.7 percent, for Pennsylvania 4.1 percent and for Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties 3.5 percent,” Tashiro said.
With vacant jobs outstripping those able to fill them Tashiro said a pattern could emerge where multiple employers compete for the same employees.
“There is a labor market skills mismatch right now, Tashiro said.
He noted health care and manufacturing as booming sectors, eager to find skilled candidates to fill available positions.
Photos © 2018 Anthony Serge
Hope and direction are central to the mission of a new Quakertown grassroots non-profit, which opened Oct. 15 to serve young people.
The Drop, located at the Quakertown Community Center, is a program geared toward middle and high school students who may find themselves aimless and faced with the temptation to cross into risky behaviors after school lets out.
Now they will have a safe place to go.
Located inside the former ice skating “log cabin” at Fourth Street, The Drop will be open two days a week in the afternoons for youngsters to gather, play games, and get to know others.
Quakertown Borough has provided the building and area businesses and individuals have stepped up offering funds and gear - like foosball and air hockey tables – as well as refreshments.
“Our plan is to coordinate services,” to best benefit these young people, said Vickie Landis, of Vickie Landis Team Keller Williams Realty Quakertown.
“As a company [Keller Williams Realty] we do a lot to shed some light and make people aware of non-profit [resources] in the community, “ Landis said.
Landis is on the board of directors of the Quakertown Community Center.
The center and its programs aim to provide a safe place with wholesome activities, resources and adult supervision but could also grow to offer academic tutoring, adult mentors and help with career or educational choices.
“The greatest need is to serve our young people,” said Bruce Eglinton-Woods, president of the Quakertown Community Center Board and pastor of Salem Mennonite Church in Richland Township.
Eglinton-Woods said training adult mentors and matching them with youngsters as well as such finding resources for academic tutoring could be part of the program’s future.
“For the first three months, we’ll be getting to know the kids and building relationships with them,” Eglinton-Woods said.
Ultimately, helping young people discover their “hopes, dreams and gifts,” and create plans to turn those dreams into reality is part of the program’s mission, Eglinton-Woods said.
Larry Serge is the Quakertown Community Center executive director. He said the program was the brainchild of area pastors. “We’ve been [exploring] this for the past three years,” Serge said.
He said making connections with students and offering them some structure and guidance to their day could make a huge difference in their lives. “Often kids without direction are hanging out at the parks,” Serge said.
Engagement was the key to success, Eglinton-Woods said. “If you look at youth programs in our churches, once kids go through them, they often don’t come back. Those that have an actual role in the worship, often do. Our goal is to give kids something that [appeals] to them” and creates investment, Eglinton-Woods said.
What: The Drop at Quakertown Community Center.
Who: Young people aged 14 to 18.
When: Open twice weekly from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Wednesday.
Cost: Services to youth are free of charge.
Where: Former ice skating cabin at Fourth Street.
For information, to donate or volunteer contact Larry Serge at email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of Michele Buono Photography
The thrill of owning a downtown business is still fresh for Alice Yates.
“Sometimes I drive by at night to see the shop all lit up, just to make sure it looks good,” Yates said.
Alice Yates loves brides. She loves providing fresh funeral flowers as a loving comfort and last tribute.
And she loves selling a “just because” fresh bouquet any day of the week – spilling over with roses, spectacular lilies, vibrant Gerbera daisies or maybe an exotic stem or two.
In fact, the florist and owner of Always Beautiful moved from her long-time Quakertown Farmers Market location last year to West Broad Street in downtown Quakertown for a change of scenery, and a change of pace.
A floral professional for 45 years, Yates said she’s excited to walk through the door of her shop each and every day.
“It’s refreshing to look out of the windows and see everyone,” Yates said.
But what Yates didn’t expect when she settled into her downtown location was to build camaraderie – and therefore important relationships – between downtown retailers.
A recent UBCC member Yates said it was “time to join” after holding off on chamber membership for several years.
As a chamber member she can tap into ways to help promote her business and events and receive instant networking opportunities from other local chamber members.
The downtown camaraderie and contacts helped create the first Quakertown Bridal Stroll, held in April. It’s a unique event Yates spearheaded.
“I want people to walk into my shop, and I want people to walk into everyone else’s shop,” Yates said of the event’s genesis.
The second annual Quakertown Bridal Stroll will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3.
Yates said the goal is to offer two bridal strolls per year – one each in spring and fall, covering two of the post popular time intervals for weddings while keeping brides-to-be up to date on trends, colors, textures and just about everything bridal.
From men’s formal wear at Fischer’s Tuxedo to gowns at All Things Bridal a few paces away, Yates said the downtown offers a unique opportunity to have it all - and all on foot: Catering, clothing, flowers, hair, nails and make-up, spa treatments, cakes and dessert table sweets, and more.
“Where else can you park once and walk to just about every vendor you’ll need for a wedding,” Yates said.
For more information on Always Beautiful Floral Design Studio visit www.alwaysbeautifulflowers.net or call 215.536.9227.
If you go:
Registration is recommended but not necessary. Brides and their guests receive a map and “passport” which they can get stamped at each participating business. Raffle baskets offer a chance for gifts and significant savings. The Quakertown Bridal Stroll is free of charge.
The Second Annual Quakertown Bridal Stroll will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 in downtown Quakertown.
Stroll the block from 300 to 400 Broad Street for all your bridal needs; no tickets required. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Facebook Event Page at www.facebook.com/events/590447031288328.
Danielle Bodnar believes Upper Bucks has a culture all its own.
Did you know culture derives from cultivation – planting and harvesting, farming, livestock, land stewardship and preservation.
Upper Bucks is peppered with tight-knit, hometown neighborhoods bound together by steadfast devotion to history and tradition making the region a one-of-a-kind place.
That’s why she loves it here.
As the new executive director of the UBCC, Bodnar said the region is known far and wide for its recreational assets: Lake Nockamixon, well maintained borough and township parks and trail systems, and gorgeous rural landscapes.
She wants Upper Bucks to be known for more: As a thriving commerce and business center, a leader in workforce development and attractive to skilled and professional workers alike.
“We have strong commerce already, great infrastructure and logistics, small mom and pop retail shops, and arts and culture, but a lot of people don’t know about it,” Bodnar said.
Her background from working with Senators Robert Mensch and former Senator Rob Wonderling give Bodnar a unique lens in helping shape legislation and public policy.
Public policy is the outcome of laws and regulations as well as administrative interpretations of those tools, to create legislation that impacts business owners and operators. “Public policy really is about relationships,” Bodnar said.
Bodnar left her position as vice president for government affairs with Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce to come to the UBCC.
She understands workforce development and is thrilled to work with educators and business owners to help forge relationships between emerging young talent and careers in industry and manufacturing.
“Skilled qualified employees to fill open positions, not in the future but today is the number one issue facing businesses,” Bodnar said.
Manufacturing and industry centers are located throughout Upper Bucks County.
The region is poised to become a talent funnel powerhouse with top quality programs offered by Upper Bucks County Technical School in Bedminster Township and educators serving Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown.
What’s more recruiting and retaining workers means healthy businesses continue to evolve and grow. “You have to look at all levels: How are you filling open jobs, how are you providing growth for your current employees and how are you positioned for the future,” Bodnar said.
Followed by health care, filling open jobs are the top two challenges businesses face across Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.
Bodnar has served on numerous committees to further workforce development in the region, including the Manufacturing Council and One Stop Operator Workforce Board Lehigh Valley.
She understands the importance and values community service. She’s served on the Board of Directors of Quakertown Alive!, and volunteers with Pride of Quakertown, which helps fund access to extracurricular programs for underserved youngsters in athletics, music and arts.
Having lived in Upper Bucks County her entire life – Sellersville, Perkasie and Milford Township – Bodnar has sturdy roots here.
“I knew this was where I wanted to raise my family. The sense of community – safe and nurturing - a reasonable cost of living and hometown feeling a lot of places no longer have appealed to us,” Bodnar said.
She and husband Joe Bodnar settled in Milford Township 15 years ago. The couple has two children, aged 7 and 9.
Bodnar began as executive director on October 8th taking over from Tara King who retired from the UBCC on October 5th.
King served nearly two decades; the past seven as its executive director.
“I want to continue building on the fantastic work Tara has done,” Bodnar said.
“PFEW can’t be explained, it has to be experienced,” Scott Lee, vice president of marketing and development, Foundation for Free Enterprise Education in Erie.
Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week camp began in 1979 with 100 high school students and a handful of businessmen and women, roughly 40 years ago.
This past summer 2,019 students learned what it takes to run a business over five, week-long camp sessions held at Lycoming College and Pennsylvania College of Technology, both in Williamsport.
The program grew out of a need for business curriculum not taught in high schools, according to Scott Lee, vice president of marketing and development of the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education in Erie.
Camps are fully funded, and offer a preview of college life as well as what it means to become a business owner or operator, Lee said.
“The Pennsylvania business community, civic organizations, chambers of commerce, private industry and anyone who believes in education,” may donate to fund the program, Lee said.
“Imagine a 16-year-old that knows how to read a balance sheet,” Lee said.
Rising high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for PFEW camp. Camp is not limited to academic high achievers and a student’s GPA, SAT or other college entrance scores aren’t considered during the application process, Lee said.
“You must have a high school administrator’s recommendation to attend – but that’s it,” he explained.
PFEW operates with seven full-time staff and more than 120 volunteers. Mentors return year after year – giving up a week of vacation time to guide and support the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
“When you hear the speakers – their emotion and their stories, you hear what it was like for them,” said Sam Brandt, 17, a Quakertown Senior High School junior from Richland Township.
Volunteers and guest speakers come year after year because they want to be there.
“They stay until the last question is answered,” Lee said.
He said the service component isn’t lost on the teens either and many return as adult mentors to participate.
Graduates also return as summer interns and go on to become mentors once they become professionals themselves.
“We have speakers who come from Alabama; from New York…they come for free because they realize the impact on young people. It gets into your blood. They’re the mortar in between the bricks,” Lee said.
Real life connections are made, as are lasting friendships, according to Nick Coldwell from Springfield Township. Coldwell is a junior at Palisades High School.
“I knew no one when I got there, and by the end of the week people were coming up to me crying, and saying goodbye,” Coldwell said.
He plans to take a road trip to Pittsburgh with a PFEW alumna he met at camp, who attends Pennridge High School.
Professional goals are set. Barndt said after having a sit-down talk with two legal industry professionals after a camp presentation his future plans “were cemented.”
And Emma Foster, 17, from Sellersville, plans to run for president.
The Pennridge High School junior said thanks to her PFEW experience, she’s aiming for a 2044 bid for the nation’s highest office.
“Since I wrote it down, I feel more motivation to achieve it. I will take what I learned at PFEW and use it my entire life,” Foster said.
“For students it is about transformation. The program is truly one of a kind,” Lee said.
For more information on Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week: www.pfew.org.
It costs about $1,600 to cover the cost of a student to attend PFEW to learn about entrepreneurship.
Camp scholarships are made possible from proceeds of UBCC’s annual Foodie event, held this year on October 11 at Sands Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Quakertown. Tickets remain! Support a youth, open a mind. Call 215.536.3211 or visit www.ubcc.org/foodie
Altek Business Systems is a local company that provides business technology, which encompasses custom IT, Document Management, and Printing Solutions. Altek Business Systems was founded in 1991 with the goal of providing the best service and solutions for their customers.
“Working for someone else, we didn’t always have control over the quality of service our customers received.” Ray Derstine, President of Altek, explained. When Altek began focusing on providing their customers with the best office technology equipment and service in the early 90s, it was much different than it is today, yet the focus is still the same. “The customers are the lifeblood of the business. So, when faced with making a tough decision, the right decision is to take care of our customers.” states Ray.
Over the last 10 years, Altek’s portfolio of services offered to organizations has grown. What originally was a company focused on Printers, Copiers, and Multifunction Machines has become a complete Business Technology Solution. This is a change that has happened as Altek “started as a hardware company that happened to offer services on that hardware. Today, we have migrated more to a service provider that can offer hardware as part of the solution.” The change didn’t happen all at once though, as Altek has had an IT staff that originally worked on all of Altek’s equipment and, as demand grew, expanded to aiding customers with their Manager IT and Document Management before offering it as a solution in their portfolio. Altek is in a unique position due to the fact that they have been able to provide expertise in fields that they’ve been involved in for longer than they have been offering those services to their customers.
Altek is able to provide custom solutions for organizations that are in all types of business. To be able to do this successfully, Altek created a culture within their organization to be able to recruit, train and develop top talent in many fields. “It’s hard to stay humble when we go around and talk to our customers and they are telling us how much they love our employees and how they always go above and beyond.” Ray continues “We have always focused on cultivating a working culture of an upbeat, positive, workplace where everyone enjoys coming to work, where when someone is down everyone rallies around them, and where everyone supports each other in a team. We are able to acquire top talent and are able to demand top performance because of this culture where we actually know how to work hard and play hard.”
Altek Business Systems has been fortunate to be successful and has always focused on giving back to the community that has allowed them to be. “We’ve always had a strong focus on working with organizations that make our community stronger” states Ray. Altek has been an active partner with organizations like Penn Foundation and Lenape Valley Foundation, both of whom address mental health, substance use, and intellectual disability needs, and other organizations including Love Cradle International and Bridge of Hope. Altek is also an active member of many Chambers of Commerce, including Upper Bucks Chamber, and find the chambers to be great sources to help build strong partnerships within the business communities.
For more information about Altek Business Systems, please visit their website at www.altekimaging.com or contact their Director of Business Development, Scott Flaherty, at SFlaherty@altekimaging.com.
Congressman Fitzpatrick cites career and technical education as a win-win-win for all at annual State of the Nation event
There are 6.5 million unfilled jobs in the United States and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R, PA-08) wants to do something about it.
Despite a national unemployment rate of 3.9 percent posted in April, the freshman congressman said more could be done to reduce the number of job vacancies in Pennsylvania, and across the U.S.
Fitzpatrick addressed about 50 business and community leaders at the “State of the Nation,” legislative breakfast, the last of three in an annual series of updates hosted by Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
The series is held annually at McCoole’s Arts and Events Place in Quakertown.
He said the causes of jobs going unfilled boiled down to two significant public issues.
“It’s because of an inability to pass a drug test and a lack of a skilled workforce,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said creating pathways to careers in vocational and technical education was more critical than ever before.
“College isn’t for everyone. The worst thing we can do is stigmatize children. We need to offer kids an alternative path” to success, Fitzpatrick said.
After visiting public school districts Fitzpatrick discovered many districts guide youngsters with an emphasis on attending college.
He said for many students – and their families – college may not be in their best interests.
Workforce development issues confronting all sectors of industry dovetailed with the impact of recent federal tariffs on steel and aluminum. The overseas tariffs were “…very concerning to me,” Fitzpatrick said.
“We’re still using the Trade Expansion Act of 1963… and the intent was to expand trade during acts of war, not shrink it,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said the “ever shrinking pie” needed to be offset by economic growth of “at minimum 3 percent.”
He proposed that three components to boost growth included the reformed tax code, a closer look at regulations on businesses and commerce from federal agencies and a robust workforce development agenda.
“These are all critical parts of growth to the economy. The sweet spot is where taxes aren’t so high they are bleeding growth, or so low they are hurting government,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said regulatory reform was critical to help small banks and financial institutions support the growth of small businesses.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration website, 30.2 million small businesses operated in the United States, as posted most recently for 2018.
That means 58.9 million people are employed by the small business sector, which takes up about 47.5 percent of businesses operating in the United States.
Dave Freeman, president and CEO of QNB Bank introduced Fitzpatrick to the audience. He said small banks were essential to vibrant communities.
“Community banks, like QNB, really are important to Quakertown,” and the communities they serve, Freeman said.
Arts organizations and doctor’s offices have it.
So do hotels, realtors, restaurants, developers and municipal offices.
You’ll find it at Lake Nockamixon’s Visitors Center, and Visit Bucks in Bensalem and Quakertown.
Bracalente Manufacturing Group, AGP Plastics and LifeQuest all have it. Barmar Travel has it, too. Pennridge, Upper Bucks County Career and Technical School and Quakertown Community School District all have it.
St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital has it and so does Lehigh Valley Health Network’s ExpressCare.
It’s on counters at Town Halls and in township offices from Dublin to Riegelsville, Durham to Trumbauersville, Perkasie, Quakertown, Richland and Milford and everywhere in between.
It’s the annual focused Upper Bucks County directory and this is the fourth issue we’ve created and produced entirely in house.
Have you paged through your 2018 issue to try a new place for dinner?
Or hunted for a retirement planner, an insurance company, a plumber, butcher or baker, a painter or a banker?
If not, why not??
The only publication of its kind in all of Bucks County – that’s right the entire county – creating focused fills us with pride.
Advertisers receive at least a half or full case of this glossy, four-color magazine style book to distribute to their clients, customers and patrons.
A mirror online edition – also in color and a click away – is available to everyone, everywhere, because it’s promoted through social media platforms like Facebook and Linked In – and YOUR website, too.
There’s still time to advertise.
This one-of-a-kind publication is written and photographed, proofed and pieced together by chamber members who live and work here.
They’ve paddled the lake, picnicked in the parks, enjoyed patio dining at The Brick Tavern on a cool summer evening, or a burger on the porch at McCoole’s.
They shop at the farmers markets and roadside stands. They know QNB and Penn Community branch tellers by name.
Where can you find local entertainment or a lead on your next just about anything? In focused, that’s where.
We research trends on health care, business, manufacturing and educational trends to offer up fresh content every year, and keep you informed.
Our anecdotes are intriguing facts and conversation starters about local history and culture.
Learn something new, we’ve done the homework for you.
All this and much, much more is at your fingertips in focused Upper Bucks County.
An ad in the directory is an easy way to get your message out to consumers without spending time or money on direct marketing efforts or cold calling prospects.
It’s a great way to support UBCC’s mission. Proceeds from the directory fold back into programming and keep annual membership dues from rising.
Don’t miss out on having your business promoted in print and online through an ad in the 2019 focused Upper Bucks County directory and community profile.
Want another reason to advertise?
Bucks County herald is generously offering free ad design services – for the fourth year in a row – to our advertisers. If you buy advertising, you’ll know that’s a substantial saving.
What’s more your ad is returned in digital format, so you are free to use it elsewhere to promote your business in any format you like.
It’s your ad, you get to use it.
We printed 7,500 copies last year, and they flew out the door!
Advertising for 2019 space remains. Don’t delay, lock in your spot today.
Call or email Melinda Rizzo at 215.529.9845 or email@example.com
“In this line of work, accidents are a very real possibility and with these classes, it can make the risk that much lower,” said Rob Driscoll, Production Manager for SERVPRO King of Prussia and Abington/Jenkintown.
Building relationships is important to Mike McGrory.
From active shooter situations to industrial safety awareness, McGrory, who owns FOCUS! Safety Training in Perkasie, said there’s no substitute for knowledge and he has plenty to share.
A partner owner/operator of SERVPRO of Upper Bucks, also in Perkasie, McGrory set out about two years ago to found FOCUS! Safety Training to handle increasing response and awareness needs in the community.
“I wanted to be able to offer this service and be engaged with the community,” McGrory said.
He is a Firearms Instructor, OSHA Construction and General Industry Instructor and is also an American Red Cross First Aid\CPR|AED Instructor.
Rob Driscoll, Production Manager for SERVPRO of King of Prussia and Abington/Jenkintown, said an employee’s medical problem was the impetus for bringing FOCUS! Safety Training – and McGrory – to his Montgomery County facility for OSHA 10-hour General Industry and Red Cross training.
“There is no better way to be ready for the possibility of an emergency than to be prepared. The training that I've been given by these courses has prepared me for the future,” Driscoll said.
FOCUS! is a natural follow-up to SERVPRO services, which include post fire and water damage, mold remediation, storm damage and commercial building cleaning and restoration services and post construction clean up.
“We will come to employer’s locations to provide classes and certifications,” McGrory said, which saves time and ensures deadlines may be met efficiently by employers and managers.
McGrory wants FOCUS! to meet the safety training needs in the community by providing a variety of situational awareness programs, from ALICE Active Shooter training to Red Cross pool staff training.
“[I was] pleasantly surprised that he was certified to teach CPR and First Aid since this is a requirement for all employees working in our child care centers,” said Karen Coutts. Coutts is senior childcare director for Indian Valley Family YMCA in Harleysville. Indian Valley is a branch of the North Penn YMCA.
Coutts said her entire staff was nearing the end of their current certification expirations in late 2017. That’s when she brought McGrory in for staff training and re-certifications.
“Michael was incredibly helpful in setting up a time that worked best for me and my staff. He was so easy to talk to and very accommodating,” Coutts said.
FOCUS! Safety Training also provides course training for the construction trades. “We do fall protection classes because that’s the number one cause of death in the construction industry,” McGrory said.
And with more school violence peppering media headlines, McGrory doesn’t want Upper Bucks to become another gruesome story. He plans to offer active shooter response training and certifications to area school districts and employers.
ALICE Training Institute was founded by Greg Crane in the wake of the Columbine High School Massacre, as it’s come to be known, in 1999 in Colorado.
Since that time, active shooter tragedies across the unites states from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have heightened the need for active shooter response and emergency training.
“We [strive] to create situational awareness,” McGrory said of his approach to this specialized type of response training.
McGrory said there are no minimums to arrange any of his onsite training and his goal is to build community and relationships. McGrory said all onsite training is available now.
Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
An economic development agency for Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
|Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce||