can do logo

facebook twitter linkedin youtube

One S. Church Street, Suite 200, Hazleton, PA 18201      
570.455.1508   570.454.7787    


CAN-DO-orientation-photo-1-1CAN DO, the economic development organization serving Greater Hazleton and beyond, recently held an orientation session for new members to its Board of Directors for the 2016 fiscal year.

More than 20 members attended the luncheon, information session and tour of some of CAN DO’s facilities. CAN DO President and CEO W. Kevin O’Donnell welcomed the new members and gave a detailed history of CAN DO’s founding, how it assisted Hazleton in rebounding from the loss of the coal industry and what helped it grow into the multifaceted economic development organization that it is today.

O’Donnell recalled how CAN DO founder Dr. Edgar L. Dessen reached out to the public and local service organizations to conduct several fund drives over a six-year period that raised $2.2 million the organization used to begin developing its industrial parks.

“CAN DO started with an idea from a business man who encouraged other business men that his idea was sound. He got the people of the Hazleton area to believe and invest in this dream of making Hazleton grow again,” O’Donnell said. “Hazleton is now on the upswing. We are bringing more people into the area.”

O’Donnell, along with Board of Directors Chairman John Madden Ph.D., gave a brief overview of CAN DO’s organization including its mission and purpose, operating strategy, organizational structure and financial structure. He said CAN DO is one of thousands of economic development organizations in the country and has been fortunate to be successful over the last 60 years.

“CAN DO creates the means for jobs to be developed in Hazleton, but it’s not just about bringing jobs to the area. CAN DO has a holistic approach to making Greater Hazleton a better place to live, work and play,” O’Donnell said. “The nucleus of the community must be healthy for Hazleton to be healthy. CAN DO is also about the improved transportation and health of the area.”

CAN DO has had great success bringing well-known companies to the area but O’Donnell feels that continuing to develop local entrepreneurs will be an integral part of the organization’s future.

“CAN DO is not just about bringing big-name companies to the area. It’s about helping entrepreneurs start their own businesses here in Hazleton,” O’Donnell said. “The future of CAN DO will be expanding CAN BE from the incubator to downtown Hazleton.”

The tour of the facilities began with a visit to CAN BE, CAN DO’s business innovation center in the Valmont Industrial Park that helps aspiring entrepreneurs start new businesses. James C. Kelshaw, CAN DO Director of Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, showed attendees several of the available office spaces and conference rooms in the incubator. He stated several new tenants are in the process of moving into the facility.

The new board members were able to ride throughout Valmont Industrial Park, all four sections of Humboldt Industrial Park, Humboldt Station and Cranberry Creek. The tour also included a look at CAN DO’s sewage treatment facility. Highlights were views of the Henkel, Graham Packaging, Bemis, Forbo Industries, First Quality Nonwovens and Amazon buildings; American Eagle Outfitters one-million-square-foot facility; the new Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate plant (formerly Archer Daniels Midland); and the Residence Inn by Marriott hotel.

New board members for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and the organizations they represent are: Paul Baynum, Greater Hazleton Clearing House; Toni Frumkin, Hazleton Rotary; Nicholas Pane, UNICO; Anthony Badamo, Director at Large; Joseph Baran, Director at Large; Adam Hoover, Director at Large; Bryan Mason, Director at Large; Dr. Rodney Ridley, Director at Large; Fallon Fermin, City of Hazleton; Rich Roselle, Humboldt Park Association; Jeff Mason Jr., Valmont Park Association; Joseph Scarcella, Lackawanna College; Matthew Adams, McCann’s School of Business and Technology; Lauren Pataki, Hazleton Area High School; Gerald Gasser, Hazleton Area High School; Dominic Yannuzzi, Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Pemely Guzman, Immanuel Christian School; Jenna O’Donnell, Marian High School; Kayla Leonard, MMI Preparatory School; Joshua Narrow, MMI Preparatory School; and Samantha DeSpirito, Weatherly Area High School.