Category: Featured

What does it take to be a good non profit?

After being in the profit business most of my life, the last three years in the nonprofit has been a challenge.  I guess for me the biggest challenge is that I had never done it before, but I soon realized that it wasn’t much different then the profit business.  You still have to control a budget, take care of your staff, take care of your customers, or in my case our members.

So this is my advise for anyone thinking about joining a nonprofit.  First you need to review ever aspect of your organization, and spend all your free time looking at other nonprofits in your field.  When I was with Wal-Mart, I learned early on, that our founder Sam Walton, had a hard and fast rule, “steal shamelessly from your competition”  I used that advice a different way by looking at other Chambers to see what they were doing to be successful.  Recently we joined with 14 other Chambers in a joint meeting at our office, and what a great day we had.  Learning what each other were doing to help their members.

Now I’m the first to admit that we have made mistakes along the way, but those mistakes have made us better, and again we are always ready to do something new!

The biggest lesson though is whatever you do in your organization that involves members, make sure it benefits them first, because they are the stockholders, and they deserve to have all of your attention.

With that all said, I am always looking for new and exciting ideas, so please respond to my blog, and because of that nasty spam, all replies have to be approved, hope you understand.  I get about five spams to every legitimate reply.

Thanks for reading my blog, and have a great week!!!

Why do I live in Bradford, Pennsylvania?

Hi Everyone,

I thought this title would get your attention, and I am hoping that I will get some responses back from Bradfordians.

I came to Bradford in 1962, which was my senior year of high school, and I have great memories of that year at Bradford High.  I made some great friends, and I graduated with the Class of 1962.  I later worked for Bovaird and Seyfang Company, the City of Bradford, and then went into the Army serving in Germany and Vietnam.  When I came back to Bradford in 1966,  I realized how lucky I was to have Bradford as my hometown!

In 1966, I married Terri Girard and we raised  three children in Bradford, and they all received a great education, and they learned excellent work ethics, by all of them having jobs after school and during college.  I know they all still love their hometown!

I guess the biggest thing for me though, is the people, and the caring hearts, that they all have.  No matter what the need is in our community, someone always steps up to help those in need.  This past year was an exceptional example of that spirit, with Zippo, American Refinery Group, and many other organizations, and individuals stepping up to help build the new center for Care for Children, that was dedicated in memory of Ashley Booth Griffin.  We will be so lucky to have this state of the art building, that will be dedicated to improving the lives of children of all abilities! Executive Director Tina Martin and her staff have great passion in building Care for Children for the Future!

Another great example is Futures Rehabilitation Center.  I have been the Chairman of the Board for the past 13 months, and it is so rewarding to me as a Board member, when I see the great work that goes on at Futures.

We provide a variety of vocational and social programs to over 200 individuals!

I always love going to the Center, and seeing all the smiles and how happy the participants  are in our workshop.  President and CEO Bill Leven and his staff have done a fantastic job, and we are so proud of their accomplishments!

Now I know that we have our problems, but so does every other town, and I think the biggest solution is to continue to improve things in our town, and stop the negative comments and start looking at all the positives.  I know that we have a lot of bad housing, but at the same time, I see a lot of improvements going on in almost every neighborhood in our town.  The city is solving those problems by removing some of the blighted housing, and improving our infrastructure. The Office of  Economic Development  with their Elm Street project, has made great improvements to many neighborhoods, and this year we will see great improvements to the Congress Street area. Executive Director Sara Andrews and her staff are committed to improving our town!

I am also involved with the Bradford Water Authority, and for those of you who don’t know the history of the Authority, we own 12,000 acres of pristine land, with three reservoirs that have a one billion gallon capacity.  We have a state of the art filtration system, and I am proud to say that  our water rates are some of the lowest rates in the country.  That is because we have run the authority like a business and since 2000 we have only had 2 rate increases.  I think we have the best water in the country, and Kim Benjamin and his staff and his crew and our Board of Directors are all dedicated in making sure we continue to improve our water system.

Finally, I had lunch this past week  with my good friend, Francie Ambuske,  who is the Director of Development for the Bradford Hospital Foundation.  Francie also loves our town and has so much passion to make Bradford a better place to live.  She even came up with a great addition to Bradford’s name and suggest that we promote Bradford as Bradfordable.  I love the idea, and we are going to come up with a campaign called “Bradford is Bradfordable”!

I could go on and on with what I like, but I want to hear what you like about our town.  I only want to hear the positive, because I have heard enough about the negative.  So stop on down to 121 Main Street or email me at and give us your ideas.

Give the best of yourself!

We just had our Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation, and every year we pick a theme for our meeting.  This year is was a quote from Harry Firestone, “You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.”    When I think of that quote, I think of the three people that we honored.  They all give the best of themselves, and are a great part of our community.  I guess the one reason I love living in Bradford, Pennsylvania, is because it is such a caring community, and that we have so many people that truly do give of themselves.  This morning we were at the Habitat for Humanity house on Interstate Parkway, and when I was talking with some of the volunteers, I could see the pride in their faces, as to what they had accomplished with their project.  It’s not easy giving hours and days to a project like this, but I know it gives these folks a great feeling of accomplishment.

It doesn’t always have to be a big project, and it doesn’t have to be something that you do every day or week or month, just giving something back to your community is a great feeling.  We have volunteers that come in every month and help us with our newsletter.  They always seem to have a good time, and we enjoy having them for the afternoon.  It’s only once a month, but we all look forward to having them.

I think of the Memorial Day Parade that is coming up, and the time it takes the folks at the VFW and the American Legion to put this parade together.  They always do an outstanding job, and again they have to have a lot of pride when that parade starts at the end of Main Street.

I think of the Festa Italiana, and all the volunteers that work so hard to bring this great event to our community.  The results are outstanding, with thousands of people coming to Bradford for the festival.  It has to be so rewarding to all the volunteers to see the happiness they bring every year.

I think of the Library Derby Gala for the Library Endowment, and how hard the volunteers have worked for the last several years to increase the endowment, so that someday, the Library will be able to operate with the income from that endowment.

I think of the philanthropy of so many of our industries and individuals, who give back so much to our community.  We would never survive without all their help.

There are so many more examples that I could give, and I’m sure you all can think of many more.

So, here is my challenge to those who say they would like to do something, but haven’t done it yet, just jump in and the next time you see something going on, or you read about it in the paper, pick up the phone and call that organization and be part of that event,  I can guarantee that you will feel great for giving back to your community.

Finally, when I was with Walmart, I taught a class for new managers, and I always started out with a story about Alfred Nobel.  Here is that story:

A pacifist at heart and an inventor by nature, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. However, the invention that he thought would end all wars was seen by many others as an extremely deadly product. In 1888, when Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, a French newspaper mistakenly ran an obituary for Alfred which called him the “merchant of death.”

Not wanting to go down in history with such a horrible epitaph, Nobel created a will that soon shocked his relatives and established the now famous Nobel Prizes.

So here is your chance, to leave a legacy in your community by giving the best of yourself!


First Night 2012, Downtown Bradford, Pa

First Night Bradford ~ Don’t miss the most exciting night in Downtown Bradford!   Buttons are only $5 and are available at the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, Tops Market, Grocery Stretcher and Tina’s Hallmark. Visit website for more information.

Watch last years fireworks of First Night!