Easton Leaders, Changemakers to Share Perspectives at LVEDC Event
By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on August 19, 2022
Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s Fall Signature Event will feature the changemakers behind Easton’s dramatic transformation into a vibrant entertainment, arts, and culinary destination.
The distinguished panelists at the Sept. 20 event at the State Theatre in Easton include Lafayette College President Nicole Hurd, VM Development Group’s Mark Mulligan, Hearst Enthusiast Group’s Bill Strickland, and 3rd & Ferry Fish Market owner Mike Pichetto. The discussion will be moderated by State Theatre CEO and President Shelley Brown.
“Easton has undergone a tremendous urban renaissance, ” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC. “That didn’t happen by accident. It took the leadership, vision, and investment of both the public and private sectors. Our panel discussion will feature some of those leaders. They will provide and insider’s perspective on what’s driving the change in Easton and what’s in store for the future.”
The event will also include a separate manufacturing panel discussion of top executives who will share their insights on why the Lehigh Valley, among the nation’s top 50 manufacturing markets, continues to grow. B. Braun Medical President and CEO Jean-Claude Dubacher, Victaulic President and CEO Rick Bucher, Stuffed Puffs founder and CEO Michael Tierney, and A.P. Deauville President and CEO Frederick Horowitz. Cunningham will moderate the discussion. Crayola President and CEO Rich Wuerthele will deliver the keynote remarks.
LVEDC has opened registration for the event, which starts at 4 p.m. A networking event will follow the formal portion of the program until 6 p.m.
About the Speakers
Nicole Hurd, a religious scholar and founding CEO of the nation’s largest college access program, was named Lafayette College’s 18th president in 2021. Lafayette is a liberal arts college established nearly 200 years ago in Easton, is home to 2,700 students and more than 200 full-time faculty members, offering undergraduate degrees in 51 areas of study. With its main campus on College Hill and an arts campus located at the foot of College Hill, Lafayette has made significant downtown investments in recent years, including moving key personnel into the 9 ½-story Alpha Building, a marquee location at Easton’s Centre Square.
Mark Mulligan is among the owners of VM Development Group, the Easton-based company that drove high-profile redevelopment of urban and historic buildings for commercial and residential use. The company behind some of the downtown’s signature buildings including the National Building, the former Pomeroy Building and the Alpha Building. One of its signature redevelopment projects in Easton was the Simon Silk Mill project, a public private partnership that turned a 19th century industrial complex, designed to produce silk, into an artistically focused community for people to live and work in the 21st century.
Bill Strickland is the editorial director of Hearst Magazine’s Enthusiast Group, which includes brands Bicycling and Runner’s World publications. Hearst entered the Lehigh Valley market in 2018 when it acquired Rodale’s global health and wellness brands. Hearst signed a multi-year lease to move the editorial offices to the redeveloped Heritage Lanes bowling alley in Easton across from City Hall. Hearst is among the world’s largest publishers of magazine media, with print and digital assets reaching a combined audience of 145 million readers.
Mike Pichetto and his wife opened 3rd and Ferry Fish Market in downtown Easton nearly a decade ago inside the former Lipkins Furniture building at 56 S. Third. St. It’s a full-service restaurant and bar featuring 16 taps with craft beer, signature cocktails, a raw bar and large, seafood-focused menu. It’s part of downtown Easton’s rich restaurant scene near Ocean, Sette Luna, Mesa, The Bayou and River Grille.
Shelley Brown, an award-winning producer, is president and CEO of the State Theatre, the nonprofit that runs the restored 1,500-seat theatre for live performances and community events. The State Theatre has hosted performances including Tony-winning musicals, popular musicians, and the Emmy-winning Freddy Awards, which recognizes the best of Lehigh Valley high school musical theater.
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