News and information about CAN DO for the community, investors, volunteers and board members.
Charles Burkhardt, who has served on the CAN DO Board of Directors for the past 26 years, has been appointed as the next chairman of the board.
Burkhardt, who was an art instructor in the Hazleton Area School District for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2010, has served as a co-advisor of the CAN DO Student Action Committee since his first year on the board. He was the Community Relations Committee chairman from 2005-2013, held the role of board secretary from 2018-2019 and was Vice-Chairman of the Marketing and Community Relations committees for the past two years before assuming the role as chairman. He received the Chairman’s Award in 2012, which is the highest award given to a CAN DO board member.
For Keystone Ballet Academy owner Emily Finer, the ability to expand her dance studio in stages but remain in the same location at the CAN BE Innovation Center has been an integral part of its success since opening in 2017.
Finer said that CAN BE has been an ideal location to start her studio because it has offered her the ability to expand when it fit the needs of her growing studio without having to move to a bigger location each time.
“Knowing I could expand where I am already located is ideal. My customer base is familiar with my existing location and the expansion will allow us to grow within a reasonable budget. As we acquire more students and have an increase in our classes, we will be able to move to a space that will really suit us and our students,” Finer said. “We are so fortunate to have access to additional space within the CAN BE Innovation Center, allowing our school to grow. From the beginning, I envisioned our growth here.”
Owner Maribel Chavez began thinking about creating a food-based business in November of 2019 when she started making Dominican sweet beans before transitioning to desserts.
“All of our desserts are handcrafted and made with love. They are made with fruits, a hint of cinnamon and vanilla and contain no preservatives, artificial color or high fructose corn syrup,” Chavez said.
The shared kitchen incubator was created through a partnership between the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the Hazleton Art League, The Hazleton Launchbox, CAN BE and other members of The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC). The organizations worked together with local and regional food, entrepreneurship and culinary arts education providers to develop a program designed to support aspiring and existing food entrepreneurs.
Ranek Technologies founder and CEO Joe Halcisak had the idea and vision for an innovative app. But, he needed to find the guidance to create a business plan and a place to launch his computer software development startup. It all came together when he discovered the CAN BE Innovation Center.
Halcisak formally founded Ranek Technologies in May of 2020 and officially moved into the CAN BE Innovation Center this year. But his association with CAN BE and CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock began in 2018. Halcisak was a member of a team that won the tecBRIDGE High School Business Plan Competition that year and went on to be named the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, an award that is sponsored by CAN BE.
For many entrepreneurs, having a vision and innovative idea for a product or service is the easy part of starting their own small business. The challenges come in figuring out what to do next.
As Halogen Hair Co. owner Ashley Evert said, “No one really tells you how to run a business in beauty school.” However, Evert’s decision to reach out to CAN BE and CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock when she opened her salon has been vital to the success of her operation.
Brinn Gammer and Starling Reyes were recently recognized as winners of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce’s Young Innovator of the Year award for 2020 and 2021, respectively. The award is sponsored by CAN DO’s entrepreneurial arm, the CAN BE Innovation Center.
CAN DO, Inc., Greater Hazleton’s economic development organization, reflected on the theme of transition and growth as the organization held its 65th Annual Dinner Tuesday at Capriotti’s Palazzo.
The dinner was centered around marking the end of Board Chairperson Bill Magnotta’s three-year term and the transition to Joseph Lettiere as CAN DO’s new president & CEO.
In his role, Wood reports to CAN DO’s Director of Operations and is responsible for the management and maintenance of all CAN DO-owned buildings as well as industrial/corporate parks and will serve as a liaison with all the industries and businesses located within those parks. His duties include managing projects, building expansions, land development, utility upgrades and controls upgrades; and coordinating with contracted engineers, surveyors, hydrogeologists, contractors, municipalities and zoning departments to complete projects.
CAN DO, along with other members of The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) including the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center and the Hazleton Launchbox Powered by Pasco L. Schiavo, is partnering with Luzerne County Community College to hold a Virtual Entrepreneurship Week May 3-7.