Lehigh Valley Event Raises $160,000 for Region’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units

By Colin McEvoy on October 21, 2022

The 2022 Lehigh Valley Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Awards event raised a total of $160,000 in support of neonatal intensive care units in the region.

Nearly 500 people attended the 29th annual event, held on Oct. 21 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Each year the prestigious event honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Lehigh Valley real estate market and local community.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was among the sponsors for the event. The funds will benefit the neonatal intensive care units of Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital and St. Luke’s University Health Network Pediatrics.

This year’s honorees included Jane Long, who was Individual of the Year. A past chair of the LVEDC Board of Directors, Long’s legal career spanned more than 40 years, including more than 22 years at Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba (FLB) in the Lehigh Valley.

“I am incredibly humbled by this honor, Long said. “It has been my great privilege to spend my career here with visionary people who care deeply about the Lehigh Valley, including the staff and Board of LVEDC and, of course, my colleagues at Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba. I will always be grateful for all of them and I will always be grateful to call the Lehigh Valley home.”

In conjunction with FLB’s land use and development team, Jane was transactional counsel for many of the Valley’s major developments, beginning with Liberty Property’s commercial building in downtown Bethlehem, and then moving on to include many Liberty Property industrial projects, Lehigh Valley Corporate Center and Stabler Corporate Center.

She served as transactional and leasing counsel for many of JG Petrucci Company’s office and industrial/flex projects, including the Curtiss Wright Electro-Mechanical facility in LVIP VII and the Lehigh Valley Flex Center in Hanover Township. She also was transactional counsel for the Eastern Engineered Wood Products facility in LVIP VII, as well as transactional and leasing counsel for numerous projects of North Star Construction Managemen

Project of the Year was awarded to Air Products in recognition of its new $400 million global headquarters. The Fortune 500 company broke ground in September 2019 on the facility located on a 50-acre tract in Upper Macungie Township, just over one mile from the company’s existing headquarters.

Completed in 2021, the new state-of-the-art facility is now the base of 2,000 employees. Air Products President & CEO Seifi Ghasemi said the high-quality workforce of the Lehigh Valley is a key component of the “foundational culture” of Air Products

“With operations in more than 50 countries around the world, we never wavered in our commitment to the Lehigh Valley as the location for our new global headquarters,” Ghasemi said. “That decision was an easy one to make. It is an ideal location to build new facilities representing a world-class company.”

Organized by the Lehigh Valley Commerical & Industrial Real Estate Foundation, the awards has been held each year since 1993. Previously associated with the March of Dimes, last year was the first time the foundation selected the entities which would directly receive fundraising dollars. It was also the year the foundation first received its 501(c)(3) status.

The mission of the Lehigh Valley Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Foundation includes support for babies and their families impacted by medical challenges. The Foundation is focused on serving the needs of local health care programs and continuing the tradition of bringing together the real estate community to mix, mingle and strengthen relationships.

“Having family members who have been impacted by premature birth, I got to see first-hand the struggles a family goes through and the amazing life-saving technologies that help these babies survive and thrive,” said Foundation Chair Costas Hrousis. “… Fortunately, the Lehigh Valley community is blessed with with phenomenal hospitals dedicated to providing excellent quality care, and both are nationally recognized for their medical advances.”

This year’s event featured two mission families. One was the family of Joanna Unangst, who was delivered just shy of 29 weeks after pre-eclampsia threatened her and her mother Kaitlin. Weighing just 2 pounds 5.7 ounces at birth, Joanna was a “micro-preemie” and spent 76 days in the NICU at St. Luke’s Anderson campus, but she is now 2 years old and is thriving.

”Micro-preemies are at the highest risk for developing some of the co-morbidities that we really are concerned about as they get older,” said Kim Costello, Network Director of Neonatology at St. Luke’s. “These babies are at high risk for eye disease, cardiac issues, and breathing and developmental issues.”

The second mission family was that of Hunter Waltz, the third baby of Michelle Waltz and her husband Keith. Michelle began experiencing pre-eclampsia in her second trimester and her blood pressure was dangerously high, so the baby had to be delivered at just 24 weeks old. He was about the size of a Barbie doll, weighing 1 pound at birth.

Hunter’s lungs weren’t initially strong enough for him to breathe on his own, so he was intubated on a ventilator. He had to undergo more than 100 procedures, but after 148 days he graduated from the NICU at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, and is now an active three-year-old.

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