can do logo

facebook twitter linkedin youtube

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


CAN DO, Inc., Greater Hazleton's certified economic development organization, recently celebrated its 68th anniversary during the highly anticipated Annual Dinner event on Tuesday, June 11th, at Capriotti's Palazzo in McAdoo Industrial Park – located in Banks Township. The evening was filled with celebration, networking, and honoring remarkable individuals and organizations whose contributions have fueled the Greater Hazleton community's success throughout the year.

Current Director at Large, Patrick Ward, presided as the Master of Ceremonies while former Chair of the Board (2012-2015), Llewellyn F. 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. Reverend William W. “Chip” Fairchild, retired pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Conyngham, was also in attendance to deliver the evening’s opening and closing prayer.

Fiscal year 2024 was a year of celebrated growth and advancement across CAN DO’s industrial parks. President & CEO Joseph Lettiere proudly announced the Hazleton-based economic development organization contributed towards the creation of 200 new jobs, 2.7 million square feet of industrial development within CAN DO’s parks, and an impressive $260 million in capital investment leveraged within the Greater Hazleton community.

He went on to mention specific projects in more detail including the grand openings of Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics and Johnson College at the CAN DO Training Center – both located in Humboldt Industrial Park, EAM-Mosca’s recent expansion in Valmont Industrial Park, the creation of the CAN DO Park Association, as well as the organization’s investment in its water & wastewater systems.

Lettiere concluded his speech by acknowledging current CAN DO Board Chair, Charles Burkhardt, will be ending his tenure at the end of the current fiscal year. Throughout Burkhardt’s leadership, projects across the region resulted in the creation of nearly 2,000 family-sustaining jobs, over 10 million square feet of industrial development, and over $1.5 billion in capital investment for the Greater Hazleton Area.

Annual Dinner 2024 Charles BurkhardtIn his final address as Board Chair, Burkhardt reflected on the journey of growth and progress the organization made. He also took the opportunity to thank the individuals who have supported his vision – including the CAN DO Board, staff, and local partners. Burkhardt continued the program by taking a moment to honor this year’s outgoing officers and board members for their contributions to the organization's success.

Annual Dinner 2024 Ken OkrepkieOutgoing officers included Joseph Clifford, Vice Chair of the Board; and Ken Okrepkie, Board Treasurer. Greg Fox, a Director at Large and member of the CAN BE Committee, and John Dorneman, a Director at Large and member of the Economic Development Committee, were also honored for volunteered service to the organization.

Annual Dinner 2024 Student Action CommitteeAdditionally, Cal Herring, Director at Large and Chair of the Community Relations and Student Action Committees was joined by the newly appointed 2025 Student Chair, Alex Composto from MMI Preparatory School, to proudly present certificates of appreciation to the graduating seniors of the CAN DO Student Action Committee. Andrea Buenano from Hazleton Area High School; Jadey Mercedes from Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Lachlan Segedy from Marian Catholic High School; Sarah Polashenski from Immanuel Christian School; Sophia Plonk from MMI Preparatory School; and Trinity McCutcheon from Weatherly Area High School were recognized for their exceptional dedication and outstanding service to CAN DO and the community.

Annual Dinner 2024 Hazleton Art LeagueThe Hazleton Art League (HAL), a nonprofit organization that fosters and promotes the arts through education, exhibitions, and cultural events for the benefit and enrichment of the Greater Hazleton Area, was named this year’s Partner of the Year during the evening’s program. HAL received this award for their contribution and assistance in co-managing the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator – which is currently home to 12 food-based startups. Mark Peterson, Executive Director of HAL, was in attendance to receive the award on behalf of the organization.

Annual Dinner 2024 Vicky PerezLastly, CAN DO ended the night by honoring Vicky Perez, Branch Manager for Community Bank, as the 2024 CAN DO Chair Award recipient. Perez, who currently serves on the Board of Directors as an Appointee through the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, is Chair of the CAN BE Committee and has been instrumental in overseeing the development of The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC). Early in her tenure, Perez assisted THInC in securing funding for their microgrant program through the Truist Foundation; a grant program that went on to fund several food-based startups by reducing everyday financial barriers to start and/or grow their businesses – here in Hazleton.

The success of the Annual Dinner was made possible, in part, through the generous support of the event sponsors. Sponsors for the 2024 Annual Dinner were Biros Septic & Drain Cleaning; Brian Galada Electric; Champion Builders; Community Bank; DesignBLD; First National Bank; FNCB Bank; Hazleton Plumbing Heating & Supply; Janney, Montgomery, & Scott; Leib Well Drilling; Luzerne County Community College – Hazleton; Lehigh Valley Health Network; Meiser & Earl; Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services; MidPenn Bank; NEPA Manufactures & Employers Association; Northpoint Development; OneGroup; Penn State Hazleton; Posture Interactive; PPL Corp; Tri-Mountain Ventures; UGI; and Reading & Northern Railroad.