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Bert Daday, One of the Founders of LVEDC, Dies at Age 85

By Colin McEvoy on December 1, 2015

Bert Daday (second from left) with LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham (left) at the 2012 LVEDC Awards.

Bert Daday (second from left) with LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham (left) at the 2012 LVEDC Awards.

The Lehigh Valley has lost one of its true giants of public service.

Robert “Bert” Daday, a longtime business leader and one of the original founders of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) died on November 25. He was 85.

In addition to his nearly four-decade career with PPL Corp., Daday had been a lifelong champion for regionalism, fundraiser for charitable causes, and promoter of regional business and public partnerships, who was dedicated to making the Lehigh Valley a better place to work and live.

“There was no greater champion of a regional Lehigh Valley than Bert Daday,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO, of LVEDC. “It was his energy and vision and ability to get things done that led to the creation of LVEDC 20 years ago, and the beginning of a transformed regional economy that no one could have been dreamed of back in 1995.”

Among Daday’s many accomplishments was helping establish a regional hotel tax, which serves as a source of revenue for LVEDC and regional tourism efforts. He was a key voice when LVEDC was founded in 1995 as a collaboration of the region’s business community to create a regional economic development effort.

Daday’s fought for such issues as improved highways, an expanded regional airport, and a more diversified the regional economy base after the decline of Bethlehem Steel. Today, the Lehigh Valley has the most balanced and multi-faceted economy in the state of Pennsylvania, not dependent on any one single industry.

“I had the pleasure of knowing Bert, being friends with him, and working together on projects for nearly 25 years,” Cunningham said, “and I will personally miss him. But, whether someone knew him or not, we will all miss his leadership. He is as responsible as anyone for creating the modern Lehigh Valley that we all enjoy today.”

Daday, who lived in Lower Saucon Township, spent 38 years with PPL, serving as the public face of the company for decades and holding a number of positions various positions in economic development, government affairs, charitable contributions, and media relations. He retired in 2009 as special assistant to the president.

Daday also previously held management positions at U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel, according to his obituary.

His list of accomplishments in public service are vast, and include the formation of Lehigh Valley Partnership, a committee of business people organized to mobilize private sector resources to respond to the needs of the regional community. Daday, who formed the Partnership with PPL’s then-CEO Bob Campbell, continued to serve as secretary until he turned 80.

Daday previously served as chairman of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley annual campaign, and as a board member on the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority. He also raised money for multiple organizations, including the St. Luke’s University Health Network, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown Central Catholic High School, Allentown Alliance Hall, the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, and the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown, according to his obituary.

Born in South Bethlehem, Daday is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lois, as well as five children, 17 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, according to his obituary. He was a 1948 graduate of Allentown Central Catholic, and attended the University of Notre Dame.

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