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Made Possible in Lehigh Valley Shares Inspirational Stories From the Region

By Colin McEvoy on July 8, 2021

The Made Possible in Lehigh Valley campaign has been telling stories of the people, companies, and organizations from the region and highlighting the Lehigh Valley as the perfect place for people to visit, relocate, live, or work.

These stories have been shared on the Made Possible website and Instagram account. As we reach the half-way point for the year, below are just a few of the stories the campaign has highlighted from 2021 so far.

Oscar-Nominated Actress Amanda Seyfried Still Considers Lehigh Valley “My Home”

Academy Award-nominated actress Amanda Seyfried is a Lehigh Valley native. (Photo Credit: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com)

At age 35, Amanda Seyfried has already had an incredible Hollywood career, from her breakout role in Mean Girls to her performances in such acclaimed films as Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables. Last year, she received an Oscar nomination for her role in Mank.

But despite all her success, Seyfried still has a deep appreciation for where she came from: right here in the Lehigh Valley.

“I still feel that’s my home; that’s where I grew up, those were my formative years,” Seyfried said. “I’m not bigger than life, I’m just on a screen sometimes. … I hope you can feel my Allentown roots, because they live in me forever.”

Working for Facebook, Living in Lehigh Valley

Jason Toff’s resume reads like a short list of some of the biggest and most popular tech companies in the world. He has worked for Google, YouTube, Vine, and currently works as Director of Product Management at Facebook.

So where does he live now? The very place he was born and raised: the Lehigh Valley.

“Since coming back, my wife and I have found a whole new appreciation for the Lehigh Valley,” said Toff, 34, who still works remotely for Facebook while living here. “I’ve reconnected with a lot of folks from my childhood. It’s nice coming full circle.”

Billionaire Jared Isaacman’s Journey to Space Began in Lehigh Valley

Jared Isaacman, CEO of the Lehigh Valley company Shift4 Payments, has been chosen to lead the Inspiration4 mission for SpaceX. (photo courtesy SpaceX)

Jared Isaacman is a self-made billionaire and founder of the payments processing firm Shift4 Payments. He’s also an accomplished jet pilot who will soon be flying into space later this year as part of a mission with Elon Musk’s SpaceX program.

Both his business and aviation careers developed here in the Lehigh Valley.

“LVIA provided a launchpad to develop my pilot skills and fuel my passion for flight, which has ultimately led me to the unique opportunity of commanding the first all-civilian mission to space, Inspiration4,” Isaacman said.

Martin Guitar Keeps Making World-Class Instruments in Lehigh Valley Throughout Pandemic

When temporary business closures first began across Pennsylvania in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Chris Martin IV assumed that Martin Guitar would have to scale back.

“And then all of a sudden the phone started to ring,” he said. “And it turns out that when people are stuck at home, they really wanted to buy a guitar.”

Martin discussed the high demand for guitars during the pandemic, the company’s new environmentally-friendly “Earth Guitar,” and all the great things that are possible in Lehigh Valley.

Back Door Bakeshop Owners Navigate COVID-19 with Help From Lehigh Valley Community

Dina Hall and Gail Lehman, owners of the Back Door Bakeshop in Bethlehem.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Back Door Bakeshop owners Gail Lehman and Dina Hall feared they might lose their business. But the special connection they forged with the Lehigh Valley helped them endure and survive.

When they switched to the new order-in-advance delivery system, Gail and Dina found a faithful customer base that both loved their product and truly wanted to help them succeed.

“The customers we had before and we have now, there’s a mutual trust and consideration,” Dina said. “They are so very considerate of us, just as we are of them. It’s an incredible community.”

Pandemic Shopping: Finding A Dream Home in Lehigh Valley

Marjorie Zelon moved to Lehigh Valley last fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fulfilling a 15-year dream to leave a crowded New York City neighborhood for greener pastures.

She and her husband began their search in November 2019 but had to exclusively house shop online when the pandemic hit. After some virtual tours and a curbside stop, the Zelons found their dream home in a Palmer Township subdivision just outside of Easton. 

“I’ve wanted to do this since 2005 – the pandemic wasn’t going to stop me,” said Zelon, a 49-year-old mother of three.

18-Time U.S. National Champion Cyclist Began Career in Lehigh Valley

Mandy Marquardt is an 18-time U.S. National Champion track sprint cyclist, who currently holds three U.S. national records.

Mandy Marquardt is a professional track sprint cyclist racing for the USA Cycling National Team and for Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. An 18-time U.S. National Champion, she currently holds three U.S. national records.

Lehigh Valley where she first began her professional cycling career. In an interview, she praised the region’s restaurants, local businesses, gorgeous trails and parks, and the velodrome that attracts riders from around the world.

 “There’s a greater sense of community unlike anything I’ve experienced before,” Marquardt said. “I enjoy the diversity throughout the Lehigh Valley.”

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

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$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

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10.6% of Labor Force
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Lehigh Valley Health Network
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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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$66,865

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676,700

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Olympus
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347,612

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26.6% of Labor Force
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5,073

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UGI
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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

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82,270 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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149,000

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