On Wednesday, February 9th, organizations and individuals from the area were highlighted during The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce’s 81st Annual Meeting. Five awards were presented, recognizing outstanding achievement. The highly-anticipated event was sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities.
The Outstanding Citizen award dates back over 50 years, with the first award being presented in 1970. The Small and Large Business of the Year awards and the Community Progress Award were first established in 2011. The Nonprofit of the Year Award was first presented in 2020.
This year’s award winners are as follows:
Small Business of the Year | Sponsored by First Columbia Bank & Trust: Martz Technologies
This award is presented to a member business or organization of 30 employees or fewer than has done one or more of the following: demonstrated business or community leadership evidenced by diversification and creativity in the development of new products, services and/or markets; demonstrated staying power and positive response to adversity; or demonstrated community involvement.
Martz Technologies has focused on creating value for its clients by optimizing processes, infrastructure, and general resources by integrating the latest technology and automation into business operations since it was founded in 2003. Proudly located in Berwick, Martz Technologies promotes and sponsors community programs in alliance with other institutions that benefit children, students and schools locally and around the world. Starting in 2017, the company began sponsoring the Bloomsburg Fair’s STEM Magnet Competition by donating $10,000 to a local school’s STEM program. They also saw a need in early 2020-2021 when COVID-19 began and began producing cloth masks for the public to help slow the pandemic.
“It’s meaningful to be recognized, we have an amazing group of people that work here,” said Greg Martz, President of Martz Technologies. “The company was founded in 2001 in a basement and now we are one of the leading automation engineering groups in the northern half of Pennsylvania.” “We are dedicated to bringing living-wage jobs and quality of life to our young people in the community.”
Large Business of the Year | Sponsored by DRIVE: Crispin Multiplex
Presented to a business with 31 or more employees and the same criteria as the Small Business of the Year Award, the Large Business of the Year Award was presented to Crispin Multiplex, entering its 117th year in business. No other company in the world has manufactured air valves longer than Crispin Multiplex. A family-owned business, they hold the first U.S. design patent for the product. Their customers include some of the world’s top corporations – from Philips Petroleum, Walt Disney Co., and Anheuser-Busch to Bechtel, International Paper, Black & Veatch, and more. The fourth-generation of Crispins are proud to remain a part of the Berwick community.
“For the past 117 years, we’ve always strived to be the best employer and community member that we can be,” said Darren Crispin, President/CEO of Crispin Multiplex. “We also know that our company is only as good as the people we have around us. We’ve been blessed with many great team members throughout the area.”
Community Progress | Sponsored by World Kinect Energy Services: Northeast Training Institute
The Community Progress Award recognizes a member business or organization that showed improvement in the internal or external appearance of a commercial property through either new construction, renovation, restoration or remodeling, and completed that construction within the last three calendar years.
The Northeast Training Institute (NETI) is an 11,000 square foot training facility located in the Columbia County Business Park in Lightstreet. NETI offers classroom, online and hands-on courses for home inspectors, ICC and UCC residential and commercial code inspectors. NETI is an ICC-certified testing facility. At the heart of the training center is the House of Horrors. The two-story building was built within the training center. The house includes a basement and attic, miswired electrical outlets, incorrectly installed furnaces and badly-joined sewage pipes designed to test the skill set of new home inspectors, affording them 1,000 examples of how things look when they go wrong.
They are also partnering with local schools and universities, along with organizations in need of a state-of-art classroom environment, to teach courses.
“We’re very proud of what we do in the community. We’re very involved in bringing the community together and we do really believe in giving back,” Justin Weber, Chief Operating Officer at NETI, said. “One of our big projects is giving coats to kids in need. Cozy Coats for Kids is the charity that we use. We also are very involved with allowing students from the community to come in and use our facility for training purposes, and that’s all free.”
Nonprofit of the Year | Sponsored by PNC Bank: The Hand in Hand Family Resource Center
Nonprofit of the Year is presented to a nonprofit organization with 100 or fewer employees that has provided diversified and creative aid to the Columbia Montour region utilizing business, personal, and community resources.
The Hand in Hand Family Resource Center helps improve accessibility and acceptance to individuals with special needs. The organization has provided educational programs through schools, the community, and homes to educators, businesses, and caregivers, and programs and opportunities directly for individuals for five years. Programs include a Sensory Tent at large events, a Sensory Santa throughout Columbia and Montour Counties in December, a Construction, Art, Music, Play, Sensory, or CAMPS day, Let’s Get A Job (training for individuals to enter the workforce, and more. The organization has also raised travel and stay funds for local families needing to leave the area for medical care as well as provided a ramp for handicap accessibility to a home.
“We are deeply honored to win this award. We love every moment of every program we do,” said Hand in Hand President, Jennifer Billig. “We started a career exploration program for local businesses to come in and teach the skills necessary to have those jobs. We are also working on a peer partnership program with some of the schools in the area. “
Outstanding Citizen | Sponsored by B.I.D.A.: Lissa Bryan-Smith
The Outstanding Citizen AwardW is presented to an individual that is an employee or volunteer of a member organization who is involved in civic activities beneficial to the Columbia Montour region and who projects a positive community image.
Lissa Bryan-Smith is a nurse by trade and the administrator of Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Geisinger Woodbine. She is a strong advocate for education and mentoring young professional and nursing students. She speaks at all of the STEAM tours hosted at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital for local high school students to educate them on the career options in a hospital setting. She has been a champion for projects for Head Start, Bloomsburg University, and the Bloomsburg YMCA. Lissa leads by example and has served a number of organizations in Columbia and Montour counties, including Columbia Child Development Board of Directors and the Executive Board, The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce Board, Bloomsburg YMCA, and Bloomsburg University – White Coat Ceremony and Husky Research Board.
“I’ve been with Geisinger for 40 years, 23 of them being at the Geisinger Medical Center. I’ve been so blessed to spend the last 10 years of my career at the Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital. I share the nomination with so many wonderful people who have done such amazing things in the Columbia and Montour Counties.” said Vice President of Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, Lissa Bryan-Smith.
In addition to the presentation of the Annual Awards, the Chamber also announced a new app for smartphones, allowing members to access Chamber information and resources from mobile devices. Users can access the full membership directly from their mobile device, including the ability to email or call a member. The app can send text messages to alert users of a new event or important news item.
The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that represents nearly 430 businesses and organizations from the Columbia and Montour County region.
Chamber’s Board of Directors Approved at Organization’s 81st Annual Meeting
BLOOMSBURG – Members of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce approved incoming board members and officers for its 2022-23 fiscal year at the organization’s annual meeting held virtually on Wednesday, February 9th.
Elected to a 3-year term on the Board:
- Jeff Cerminaro, Walker’s Jewelers
- Holly Morrison, Community Giving Foundation
- Chris Stamatedes, PPL Electric Utilities
- Bob Stoudt, Montour Area Recreation Commission
Elected to a 1-year term on the Board:
- Megan Kiliti, Berwick Brewing
- Denise Stone, eXp Realty
- Karen Wood, Service 1st Federal Credit Union
Elected to fill an unexpired, 3-year term on the Board:
- Sharon Wilkin, Design Group
Appointed to 1-year terms by the incoming Board Chair:
- Dan Good, Marr Development
- Adrienne Mael, United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties
- Bruce Schlichter, Kawneer
Elected to a 2-year term as Chair:
- Chris Stamatedes, PPL Electric Utilities
Elected to 1-year terms:
- Vice-Chair – Bob Stoudt, Montour Area Recreation Commission
- Treasurer – Denise Stone, eXp Realty
- President – Fred Gaffney
- Immediate Past Chair – Dan Knorr, Bloomsburg University
Dan Knorr, outgoing Board Chair, also recognized outgoing Board member Christian Force with PB&J Bar and ALTERA Life for his service.