Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County’s Economic Development Council Launches County-Wide Strategic Plan for Sustainable Growth

The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County (CBICC) Economic Development Council met on November 29, 2023, to mark the initiation of a comprehensive county-wide strategic plan aimed at fostering sustainable economic development.

The meeting, hosted by Greg Scott, President and CEO of CBICC, saw the active participation including breakout sessions and feedback from over 35 key stakeholders including business leaders, elected officials, regional economic development partners, and township officials signaling a collaborative effort towards shaping the future of Centre County.

Greg, in his opening remarks, expressed enthusiasm about the commencement of the strategic planning process. “This meeting kicks off the development of a county-wide economic development strategic plan. The plan will be actionable and results-oriented so we can hold ourselves accountable.” Greg Scott said during the introductions.

Rick Siger, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED), presented an overview of the State’s Economic Development Strategy focusing on improving the state’s speed to respond to business, identifying regional opportunities, supporting innovation, and workforce development. 

Camoin and Associates, the economic development consulting firm who is partnering in the development of Centre County’s economic development plan, delivered a comprehensive presentation to the council outlining the structure of the upcoming project.  Camoin facilitated the breakout sessions allowing council members to actively contribute to defining goals, identifying regional economic needs and challenges. 

Lindsay Johnson of Camoin Associates expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with Centre County, stating, ” We are thrilled to get started on the Economic Development Strategic Plan for Centre County. This will be a great opportunity to work across sectors and think innovatively about the county’s future as a great place to live and work. The council’s energy, engagement, and collaborative spirit will all be assets moving forward.”

CBICC and Camoin will be conducting stakeholder meetings, roundtables, and interviews early in 2024 with the final deliverable expected in August 2024.  The CBICC Economic Development Council’s commitment to fostering collaboration, transparency, and accountability in the strategic planning process positions Centre County for sustainable growth and prosperity. The collective efforts of the council and its partners underscore a shared vision for a vibrant and economically resilient future.

State College Regional Airport

group of people outside of the state college airport sign

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State and the Centre County Airport Authority (CCAA) have announced that University Park Airport will be renamed State College Regional Airport on November 3.

This change will help alleviate confusion and clarify that the location is the region’s airport and a convenient alternative to commuting to more remote airports, such as Pittsburgh or Harrisburg. In addition to providing clarity on the location, State College Re- gional Airport better reflects the service area, the continuing investment in the economic development of Centre County and beyond, as well as the broad array of transportation options available at the location. Currently, University Park Airport offers regular daily flights on American with convenient connections to Philadelphia International (PHL) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD); and United has service from State College to Newark International (EWR) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). New destinations and expanded service are continuously being sought as the airline industry adjusts following the Covid pandemic.
“With a new name, the State College Regional Airport will continue to provide outstand- ing service to travelers locally and throughout Central Pennsylvania,” said Sara Thorn- dike, Penn State senior vice president for finance and business and University treasurer.

“The renaming of our airport started a long time ago with the public rebranding us the State College Airport. By officially renaming the airport, we are eliminating confusion for our passengers. The airline city code has been SCE from the very beginning of commer- cial air service at this airport dating back to 1978,” said James Meyer, Executive Director of CCAA.
“This process has been a true collaboration between Penn State and the Airport Author- ity,” said Chris Groshel, CCAA Board Chair. “Our goal has always been to build and promote the airport as a convenient transportation hub to serve central Pennsylvania. The State College Regional Airport name will facilitate travel for the many thousands of travelers who pass through our terminal annually.”

USAF Veteran to Open TruBlue Home Service Ally Franchise of Happy Valley

Rich Robert, the latest franchisee to join the fast-growing handyman franchise TruBlue Home Service Ally, has big plans for his new business, set to open in the Centre County area of Pennsylvania in August 2023.

Having dedicated more than two decades of his life to corporate America, specifically human capital management and benefits, Rich decided it was time for a new adventure. He was ready to take control and venture into entrepreneurship, an aspiration motivated by the noticeable gap in professional handyman services within his locale. Rich sought to fill this void with reliable, trustworthy, and customer-centric services, something he felt was largely lacking in the existing market.

After exploring several handyman concepts, Rich found a perfect fit with TruBlue Home Service Ally. TruBlue’s commitment to top-tier customer service and quality work echoed his own values, and their focus on cultivating trustworthy relationships with clients resonated with his vision. An added bonus was the brand’s emphasis on family, ensuring that Rich, a family man himself, wasn’t just another faceless franchisee.
Rich is committed to making his TruBlue franchise the top choice for handyman services in Pennsylvania, both for individuals and commercial businesses. His growth plans involve expanding into other territories and increasing the size of his team.

Rich is a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran and former corporate employee with a passion for entrepreneurship and a dedication to service. Beyond the desire for business success, Rich’s decision to invest in TruBlue of Happy Valley, a handyman and senior home modification business, was motivated by a genuine desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives. He recognizes the importance of having a safe and comfortable home and aims to provide reliable, trustworthy, and high-quality services that customers can depend on.

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Rich Robert: I have worked my entire career in corporate America. I worked for over 20 years at a company that handles human capital management, payroll and benefits. It was a great experience, but I was ready for a new challenge and adventure in my life. I wanted to run a business on my own terms, while also providing the type of high-quality handyman services that are not being offered in my area. Professional services, for lack of a better word.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Rich Robert: I am a person who likes to have a plan in place. A franchise provides that. I can start quicker with a team behind me since they can offer me support, recommendations, best practices, etc. If I started on my own, it would be a lot of guesswork. Here, I am guided by a group of individuals who know what works, every time. I can feel more confident in the steps I am taking to grow the business quickly.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Rich Robert: I looked at several handyman concepts, but came to TruBlue after seeing their mission and focus on customer service. As an entrepreneur, making sure that clients are satisfied with the quality of work is critical. So is maintaining a good relationship with your clients. That is the best way to grow your business. Establish a client base that knows they can trust you. The rest falls into place after that.

The TruBlue company also focuses on family, which is important to me. I am not just another face in the crowd. After I spoke with Sean Fitzgerald, President of TruBlue, and saw his excitement for the company, and after I spoke with other franchisees, I knew this was the right franchise for me.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth?

Rich Robert: My mission is to become the go-to handyman franchise for this area. When people think of a handyman, I want them to think of TruBlue. Whether it be an individual or a commercial business, I want to be on the top of their mind. I also eventually want to expand into other territories and grow my team.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Rich Robert: I am married with three college and high school boys. They are all supporting me in this endeavor, which is great. They will be around to eventually take part in it at some point, which was a big reason behind starting a business in the first place.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Rich Robert: Definitely take advantage of the time when they encourage you to reach out to other franchises. Look them up yourself and give them a call. Get the facts on what a day in their life looks like, what they went through when they started up, how the corporate team supports them.

To find out more information on costs to buy this franchise, please visit:

About TruBlue Home Service Ally:

TruBlue Home Service Ally® provides a unique and affordable approach to helping busy adults and seniors live a worry-free life by offering trustworthy handyman and home maintenance services. Helping you maintain your home both inside and out, TruBlue’s services include: handyman projects and to-do list chores, preventative home maintenance, seasonal work, and senior modification services, all handled by a professional, bonded and insured TruBlue Home Service Ally Technician. TruBlue franchise owners are required to complete the Certified Aging In Place program through CAPS and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). As certified specialists, TruBlue franchisees are able to perform Certified Aging in Place Home Safety Assessments and can make recommended safety modifications as needed.

The Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County has signed onto the US Chamber’s Coalition letter directed to President Biden

This letter discusses the ongoing labor negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Detroit Three: General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford Motor Company. By lending our voice, we aim to contribute to a balanced and equitable resolution that benefits all. Read the full letter below. 

Dear Mr. President:

The undersigned organizations are concerned by the growing possibility of a strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) in their negotiations for a new labor contract with General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford Motor Company (Detroit Three). A UAW strike would impose significant hardship on American families and the economy so we, therefore, urge you and your Administration to provide the support necessary to help the parties reach a new agreement by the September 14 deadline.

The Detroit Three are critical to our economy. They produced 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2022, alongside 3.5 million engines, and 5.6 million transmissions.[1] A 2020 report[2] shows that the Detroit Three are supported by 238,000 employees at 260 assembly plants, manufacturing facilities, research labs, distribution centers, and other facilities across 31 states. They work with nearly 9,700 dealerships, which employ nearly 660,000 U.S. workers. Additionally, every vehicle that rolls off the assembly line of a Detroit Three automaker contains anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 different components manufactured by over 5,600 U.S. suppliers. Over 690,000 supplier jobs are estimated to be tied to the Detroit Three, which accounts for anywhere from 20% to 70% of their business. This means a strike will quickly impact large segments of the economy, leading to layoffs and potentially even bankruptcies of U.S. businesses. While UAW’s 40-day strike on General Motors in 2019 forced suppliers to temporarily lay off approximately 75,000 workers, every indication is that a strike today would be significantly more severe for many businesses. Indeed, one analysis estimates a 10-day UAW strike could result in economic losses of more than $5 billion.[3]

No one should want a strike. The Administration has already employed its formal and informal convening power in the past year to help parties reach agreements in the freight railroad, West Coast port terminal, and UPS-Teamster contract negotiations. We urge you to lend similar help here and work with the parties to help reach an agreement by September 14.



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Stuckey Automotive Purchases Price Motor Sales Dealership

Matt Stuckey, President of Stuckey Automotive, has announced the acquisition of Price Motor Sales, located at 288 Water Street in Cassville, PA.  Price Motor Sales, a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealer first established in 1943, is owned and operated by Fred and Susan Price.  The dealership will be known as Stuckey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram effective September 18, 2023. 

The all-new Stuckey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram will mark the sixth dealership under the Stuckey Automotive group of companies.  Stuckey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram joins Stuckey Ford and Stuckey Subaru, both in Hollidaysburg, Stuckey GMC in Altoona, Stuckey Ford of Bellefonte, and the newly renovated Stuckey Mitsubishi Super Centre in State College.

The buy/sell transpired when the Price family phoned Matt Stuckey.  Mr. Fred Price stated, “We’ve been dreaming about the next chapter of our lives for a while now.  Before we could act on anything, we had to consider the future of our dealership.  We wanted to find someone who would respect and care for our employees, our community, and our family’s legacy as much as we do.  It turns out we didn’t have to look too far.  We found that someone in Matt Stuckey.” 

Matt Stuckey, President of Stuckey Automotive, replied, “It’s been a lot of fun working with a multigenerational family-owned business, like ours, to bring this deal to fruition.  We are grateful for the opportunity that’s been bestowed upon us.  Stuckey Automotive is now positioned to sell Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram products and service those vehicles to a new market here in Central PA.”

Price Motor Sales employs seven sales and service professionals.  “Buying a dealership is one thing.  Retaining a dealership’s talent is quite another.  Fortunately for us, the Price sales and service teams have accepted our offer to join the Stuckey Automotive organization.  This will certainly help to advance our recruiting efforts in the Huntingdon area,” added Samantha Longenecker, Director of Human Resources at Stuckey Automotive.  The Price family will continue to own and operate the Price Motor Collision Repair Center in Cassville. 

Stuckey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram will host a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony in the Spring of 2024, at which time the company will announce plans to move the dealership to a new permanent location in Huntingdon.  For more information about Stuckey Automotive, please contact Karen Beauchamp, Marketing Director, at 814.693.4866 or  

About Stuckey Automotive:

Stuckey Automotive, established in 1959 with the founding of Stuckey Ford in Hollidaysburg, is a Duncansville-based dealership that proudly serves the communities in Blair and Centre counties and throughout central Pennsylvania. Collectively, the Stuckey Automotive dealerships serve the Ford, Subaru, GMC, Mitsubishi, commercial vehicle, and used vehicle markets.  A solution for all automotive needs, each dealership offers a complementary service and parts center and access to the Stuckey Automotive Collision Center.  For more information, visit