New Offices Kick Off 2018 for Lawrence Chamber

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce has moved into new offices that consolidate related entities and provides space for partner agencies.

The chamber encompasses the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, formerly based at the Shenango Street Station; Lawrence County Economic Development Corp., previously housed at Plaza South; and the Lawrence County Chamber Foundation.

The three entities reorganized in 2016 and last year undertook a national search for a new CEO, eventually hiring Alex McCoy. Before joining the chamber last June, McCoy was director of economic development for Garrett County, Maryland, and before that worked for the Putnam County Chamber in Florida.

Community leaders felt they could “add one plus one and get two-and-a-half,” and benefit from a countywide focus on both community development and economic development, McCoy said.

The chamber held a ribbon cutting Jan. 17 for its new office at 229 S. Jefferson St.

“Moving in together was important for operational efficiencies. Maintaining two separate offices moving forward didn’t make a lot of sense to any of us,” said John Cournan, chamber foundation president.

The new space will accommodate satellite offices for Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center and a local branch of Youngstown State University’s Score chapter.

“We had a vision of creating a one-stop-shop for new and experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders in Lawrence County,” said Mark Tomaszewski, president of Lawrence County Economic Development Corp.

The SBDC will hold up to 15 office hours per week and offer 12 classes per year. T

For Score, which is working with another Lawrence County organization, Partners for Progress, the chamber has committed to providing space to keep literature and for client meetings, McCoy said. “We’d really like to be that one-stop shop for everybody,” he remarked.

In October, the organizations that make up the regional chamber adopted the same “Program of Work,” McCoy reported. “Our Program of Work covers what we hope to accomplish over the next three years,” McCoy said. “It’s very ambitious, but we believe we can do it.”

Initiatives include a new Lunch & Learn series that launched in January. Each event will have different focuses, shifting between economic development, community development and government affairs.

Another new program is membership mixers. The first is scheduled for Thursday at the Confluence, starting at 5:30 p.m.

With the new activities being launched, the chamber is looking to hire a marketing and events specialist. “We posted the job in early January. We’ve had a lot of interest in the position,” McCoy said.

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