Merged chamber marks decade of networking

It covers North Hills, Cranberry

February 14, 2020 Cranberry Local News

Susan Hoolahan, president of UPMC Passavant hospitals in Cranberry and McCandless townships, delivers the keynote address at the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber's 10th anniversary dinner at The Chadwick in Wexford on Thursday.

WEXFORD, Allegheny County — The 10th anniversary of a merger that married two major business hubs in the region was celebrated Thursday night.

About 200 members and guests of the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber attended the chamber's annual meeting at The Chadwick, and much was made of the decision a decade ago to merge the Cranberry Area Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Allegheny County Chamber of Commerce to form the current group.

During cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prior to a sumptuous sit-down dinner and highly placed speakers, those who recalled the merger say it has worked out splendidly.

Jerry Andree, Cranberry Township manager and winner of the chamber's Prestigious Business Leader Award at the event, said the merger was appropriate for the demographic because Cranberry residents and business owners considered themselves part of the North Hills of Allegheny County.

He said the merger has worked out well.

“The leadership has worked very hard to move the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber forward,” Andree said.

Carrie Ohorodnyk, executive director of the Rose E. Schneider YMCA in Cranberry Township, said the merger has afforded its members more networking opportunities.

She agreed that when people think of the North Hills area of Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township is considered to be in the mix.

Ohorodnyk said before the merger, the two chambers were duplicating services.

“Now we're one big happy family,” she said.

Mike Hall, owner of General Rental Center in Cranberry Township, said the merger gave the chamber a better marketing tool to use when approaching large corporations.

“It was an excellent idea,” Hall said. “We had two chambers stagnant in growth that were having trouble getting big companies to join because they had to join both.”

He said while there have been minor bumps in the road over the years, the merger has been a boon for businesses both in Northern Allegheny and southern Butler counties.

“It was definitely a good merger,” Hall said. “There are no regrets.”

Other award winners at the annual meeting were Victoria Spreng, executive director of the Lighthouse Foundation in Middlesex Township, who won Outstanding Volunteer Service of the Year; Valerie Wieloch, branch manager at Dollar Bank in Cranberry Township, who won Young Professional of the Year; Marta Sauret Greca, owner of MEDIA — The Creative Agency, who won the Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award; and Glade Run Lutheran Services of Zelienople, which took the Distinguished Business Award.

The evening's keynote speaker was Susan Hoolahan, president of UPMC Passavant hospitals in Cranberry and McCandless townships.

Master of ceremonies was Jim Roddey, the first Allegheny County executive and well-known area businessman.

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.