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LVEDC Engaging With Lehigh Valley Businesses Through New State Initiative

By Colin McEvoy on August 27, 2018

Melody Bradford (center), LVEDC Director of Business Outreach, heads the organization's Business Outreach Program (BOP).

Melody Bradford (center) is Director of Business Outreach with LVEDC. The organization’s Business Outreach program is participating in the statewide Engage! program.

A consortium of economic development and business organizations across the Lehigh Valley are participating in a state initiative to meet with regional businesses, proactively identify their opportunities and challenges, and offer targeted technical assistance and solutions.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), along with more than a dozen other regional partners, is participating in the Engage! program, a business retention and expansion initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

“For years, LVEDC has used our Business Outreach Program to provide a single point-of-contact for regional companies and help businesses identify resources to succeed,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “The Engage! program is a natural fit with our ongoing efforts because of its systematic and proactive approach to business engagement.”

Engage! connects businesses with the right local resources, with experts developing a direct relationship between companies to fully understand their business concerns and help connect you with local resources based on your specific needs.

“We will be utilizing all our regional partners to cast a wide net in contacting and engaging employers and channeling information into a single system,” said Melody Bradford, LVEDC Director of Business Outreach Programs. “This will let us both help individual employers, and identify regional strategies to address macro trends and issues.”

LVEDC is administering the Engage! program through the organization’s already long-standing Business Outreach Program (BOP), which uses a customer-oriented approach to economic development designed to link Lehigh Valley businesses to resources and partner organizations throughout the community that will help their business become more profitable.

The goal of Engage! is to create meaningful dialogue to help build lasting relationships with businesses, and to develop a personalized action plan with recommendations, technical assistance, and follow-up steps to address company needs, no matter how large or small.

“Some of the most effective business collaborations happen at the local level,” said Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “Engage! is a vital resource that makes Pennsylvania a top choice for businesses who want to succeed.”

LVEDC serves as coordinator and manager of Engage! business outreach visits, with several other regional partner organizations participating, including the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley, Manufacturers Resource Center, and Lehigh University Small Business Development Center.

Other participants include Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Allentown and Bethlehem Economic Development Corporations, Governor’s Action Team, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce,  Lehigh & Northampton counties, and the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton.

PennStar Lubricants is one example of a company LVEDC has engaged through the program. After Coolants Plus purchased the Northampton-based Scot Lubricants facility and renamed it PennStar in January, LVEDC met with them through the Engage! program to connect them with local resources and establish ongoing future communications.

“Having the help of LVEDC Business Outreach team has been very beneficial and important to us,” said Robert Perkins, President of PennStar Lubricants. “They’ve been an integral part of our seamless transition to Lehigh Valley, and have connected us with labor and capital resources that will enable us to grow and thrive as our business continues to evolve.”

If you represent a company interested in participating in the Engage! program, contact Bradford at (610) 266-6633 or [email protected].

She will schedule a meeting to learn more about your company and perform a needs assessment, which will be used to prepare a customized action plan. Ongoing communications will ensure you always have access to the kind of business and professional assistance you need.

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