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


CAN DO Dinner 2023CAN DO, Greater Hazleton's leading economic development organization, hosted its highly anticipated Annual Dinner event on Tuesday, June 13th, at Capriotti's Palazzo in McAdoo Industrial Park – located in Banks Township. The evening was one of celebration, networking, and recognition of outstanding individuals and organizations that have contributed to the remarkable success of the Greater Hazleton community throughout the year.

This year’s dinner focused on fostering connections and networking opportunities rather than a traditional sit-down-styled event. Attendees were encouraged to leisurely explore the venue, eat at their own discretion, and connect with other guests. Students from the Hazleton Area Jazz Ensemble provided musical entertainment for the evening followed by a concise year-in-review program presented at the end of the night.

Current Director at Large and past President of the United Way of Greater Hazleton, Patrick Ward, presided as the Master of Ceremonies while former CAN DO Chair of the Board, Lew Dryfoos, III, a U.S. Army veteran and President of the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce member, Pastor Brad Travelpiece of LCBC's Hazleton Campus, was also in attendance to deliver the evening’s opening and closing prayer.

During the event, CAN DO paid special tribute to the invaluable contributions of late President and CEO, W. Kevin O'Donnell, who passed away in May of this year. Joseph Lettiere, CAN DO’s President and CEO, reviewed the organization's accomplishments over the past year - highlighting key milestones on their impact on real estate development, workforce development initiatives in the area, and significant upgrades to CAN DO's utility infrastructure. Lettiere proudly announced the Hazleton-based economic development organization contributed towards the creation of nearly 520 new jobs, over 2.3 million square feet of industrial development, and an impressive $295+ million in capital investment for the Greater Hazleton community.

In his remarks, current CAN DO Board Chair, Charles Burkhardt, took a moment to honor this year’s outgoing board members and their contributions towards the organization's success. Outgoing board member and current West Hazleton Mayor, John Chura, was honored with a certificate and letter of appreciation for his dedication and service since joining the board in 2018. Additional outgoing board members Nina DeCosmo, Esq., Dr. Leonard Nork, David Pedri, Esq., Dr. Rosana Reyes, and April Harris-Snyder were also acknowledged for their service to the organization.

Student Action Comittee 2023Cal Herring, Chair of the Community Relations and Student Action Committee, joined by the newly-appointed Student Chair, Sarah Polashenski, proudly presented certificates of appreciation to the graduating seniors of the CAN DO Student Action Committee. Emily Eroh and Rebecca Boyle from Marian High School; Jack Nemshick from Weatherly Area High School; Jayce Sanchez from Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; John Schwear III from MMI Preparatory School; Jaycol Tejeda from Immanuel Christian School; and Anni Encarnacion and Ava Ziegler from Hazleton Area High School were recognized for their exceptional dedication and outstanding service to the community.

Partner of the Year 2023Lastly, CAN DO ended the night by naming this year’s Partner of the Year and Chair Award recipients for their invaluable collaboration and contributions to the organization. TecBRIDGE, a regional organization that works with economic development and higher education partners to increase entrepreneurial opportunities across Northeastern Pennsylvania, was named Partner of the Year. TecBRIDGE received this award for its impact in assisting with the reinvigoration of the entrepreneurial spirit across the Hazleton Area School District, its efforts of mentoring area students for its regional business plan completions, and working to introduce innovation-led curriculum throughout the area’s public and private schools. Don Webster, tecBRIDGE’s Executive Director, was in attendance to receive the award on behalf of the organization.

Chair AwardChristine Jensen, Administrator of the PA CareerLink’s Luzerne County Branch, was honored with the 2023 CAN DO Chair Award. Jensen, who currently holds the role as CAN DO Board of Director’s Marketing Committee Chair, has played an integral part in the organization’s workforce initiatives – including assisting in the execution of Partner in Education’s Career Expo – a career pathway event that helped connect over 700 students with 40 local industries.

The success of the Annual Dinner was made possible, in part, through the generous support of the event sponsors. Sponsors for the 2023 Annual Dinner were Lehigh Valley Health Network Hazleton, Biros Septic & Drain Cleaning, Posture Interactive, Design.BLD, Johnson College, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, First Nation Bank, NorthPoint Development, Tri-Mountain Ventures, OneGroup, Brian Galada Electric, UGI, Hazleton Plumbing Heating & Supply Co., Janney Montgomery Scott, Champion Builders, FNCB Bank, Community Bank, Deb Stone Interiors, Northeast PA Manufactures & Employers Association (MAEA), Penn State Hazleton, Meiser & Earl, George Leib Well Drilling & Water Systems, and Mid Penn Bank.