Long-time board member will help drive the organization’s future achievements

Photo courtesy of Promise Neighborhoods

At its September meeting, the Board of Directors for the Allentown Economic Development Corporation elected Don Bernhard as its new Chairperson. Additionally, several other officer positions on the AEDC Board of Directors were filled. Vincent Tallarico of Lehigh Valley Health Network was appointed as Vice Chairperson, Matthew Green of PPL Corporation was appointed as Treasurer, and John Englesson of Integrity SBS was appointed as Secretary.

“After many years as an AEDC Board member playing a role in a long succession of impactful projects such as, the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, the LCCC building, property acquisitions for the PPL Arena, America on Wheels, and the Butz building, I am proud to assume the role of Chairman,” said Bernhard. “I have big shoes to fill succeeding Sy Traub who has led those accomplishments, but I look forward to leading AEDC as it executes on its sharpened focus on growing urban manufacturing and rehabilitating the industrial buildings that will enable that.”

Bernhard replaces Sy Traub who stepped down in August after serving on the AEDC board for nearly 20 years as its Chairperson. Traub felt that it was the ideal time for new leadership to take the helm of the organization.

“I have been very pleased to serve Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through AEDC as its board chair for 20 years,” said Traub. “During those years, AEDC helped lay the redevelopment groundwork for the renaissance that Allentown is experiencing. I am glad to hand over the chairmanship to my colleague Don Bernhard who will now lead AEDC on its primary mission of growing the manufacturing sector in Allentown.”

Bernhard is the Executive Director of the Downtown Allentown Community Development Initiative and has been involved with AEDC for many years. Bernhard is a Certified Economic Development Professional, one of only 13 in Pennsylvania to have attained that status with the International Economic Development Council.

“I am happy to be working with Don Bernhard in his new role as Chairperson,” stated AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger. “We would also like to thank Sy Traub for his many years of dedicated service to AEDC.”

During the August AEDC board meeting, a new ex officio position was created for the Chairperson of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority, which will be filled by Traub. This allows AEDC and ANIZDA to strategically communicate and collaborate on various economic development projects creating a more cohesive strategy across the city.

The change in board leadership comes at a time where AEDC is ready to make some big strides.

“AEDC is at an exciting point in time. We are about to start major rehabilitation work at the former Allentown Metal Works site,” explained Unger. “The business incubator at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is operating at a very high capacity and the clients in the program are rapidly growing their companies. Plus, our loan programs are seeing increased activity recently and we’ve just been approved to expand one of them. We have some exciting opportunities ahead of us and we are in a great position to start thinking about what the next projects for AEDC are going to be.