STATE COLLEGE – Gregory Scott has been selected as the next president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County (CBICC).
“On behalf of the CBICC Board of Directors, we are pleased to announce that Greg will be taking the reins this fall to guide both our members and, by extension, our community, through this next chapter,” said John Sepp, CBICC board chair and president of PennTerra Engineering Inc.
Scott will formally join the CBICC on Oct. 11.
“After thirty years spent in mission-driven environments in the Navy and institutions of higher learning, I am thrilled to once again join a team with a pressing and relatable mission: improving the economy in Centre County,” noted Scott.
“I have a passion for this community, my home and home of my alma mater. It is with a great sense of responsibility that I step into this role, ready to put my experience to work for our community.”
Previously, Scott was the senior vice chancellor for business and operations at the University of Pittsburgh, leaving in 2020 to move home to Happy Valley.
Prior to that, he spent 15 years at Penn State in a variety of roles: assistant vice president for finance and business, director of Commonwealth Services in the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), and manager of Construction Services – OPP. He also worked at Rutgers University and was an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps for the U.S. Navy.
Scott received his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Penn State, going on to earn his Master’s of business administration from National University. He succeeds Vern Squier, who has led the CBICC since 2011.
“The CBICC team is excited to welcome Greg aboard and I’m sure the members are anxious to meet him as well,” Squier said.
“Greg is taking this position at a time of great duality: while the uncertainty of COVID is omnipresent, we are also at the dawn of an entirely new era with the implications of the NCAA’s update to its Name, Image, and Likeness rules. We have engaged many issues in my time and this role will be a worthwhile challenge. I have no doubt that Greg is up for the task at hand.”
In May, the CBICC Board of Directors formed a 13-member Search Committee and engaged Waverly Partners to help identify candidates.
“After vetting, interviewing, and ultimately meeting Greg, we are very pleased with the fit of his experience to the needs of our organization and the community,” stated Ted McDowell, board member and chair of the search committee.
The time and input from the members of the Search Committee was invaluable in arriving at this next step.
“The CBICC Board of Directors thanks Ted for his leadership of the search effort, bringing it to such a successful conclusion,” expressed Sepp.
“Vern’s leadership and accomplishments have been extremely impacting to the CBICC, the community, and beyond. Greg will have some big shoes to fill, but the hand-off to Greg will occur so that we are sure Greg will hit the ground running.”
Squier’s tenure with the CBICC spanned the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the community’s response through joint taskforce of community and Penn State University, CentreStrong.org, and a retooling of staff resources to allow for rapid response on all communications to members and the community.
Squier’s initial days with the CBICC in 2011 were also during a time of intense community turmoil as Penn State’s headlines cast a long economic shadow.
The “Together We Are One” publicity campaign helped buoy morale on both sides of College Avenue and across Centre County. Then, like today, the community’s economic future is intertwined.
Squier also oversaw various community initiatives such as DRIVEforward (a transportation program that resulted in roughly $35 million in federal investment for the upgrade of the I-99/I-80 interchange, celebrated the completion of the Potters Mills Gap project on Route 322, and more).
In 2018, the CentreREADYTM workforce program launched in all five public school districts and two technical institutes; to date, over 320 graduates have earned their CentreREADYTM designations, crossed their graduation stages in bright green honor cords, and bring to their future employer six core soft skills that will make them a top-tier job candidate.
In collaboration with The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB), Happy Valley Agventures was launched in 2019 to highlight the area’s rich agriculture sector and also to invite both locals and visitors to experience an “agventure.”
On Sept. 2, the HVAB and CBICC are once again teaming up – and working with eight other Centre County business organizations – to launch HappyValleyTalent.com, a one-stop Web site for student-athletes and businesses to connect in private and then publicize their collaborations on the public calendar section of the Web site for fans to view.
Beyond these collaborative, community-focused programs, Squier also led the CBICC’s efforts to recruit additional businesses to the area.
Economic development efforts like businesses recruitment can result in more jobs, population growth – with potentially more federal dollars and voting power, and tax revenue growth for government services and/or schools.
“It’s important that Centre County, Pennsylvania got in the arena with Amazon, Sierra Nevada, Nestle, and others that we cannot name,” noted Squier.
“You miss 100 percent of the swings you don’t take. This community is an attractive destination for business owners and for employees’ work-life balance; we should take advantage of our at bat opportunities.”
Home-grown business retention and expansion is another important component of economic development.
Again, leveraging the power of community partnerships, KCF Technologies and Sensor Networks were each able to flourish locally thanks in part to the support and investment of local and county government entities.
“The Centre County Economic Development Partnership (CCEDP) investors really understand the ripple effects that can be felt throughout the community for years to come,” explained Squier.
“Our local investors are able to not only retain homegrown businesses, but with a well-timed cash infusion, these investors are actually catapulting businesses to reach new heights.
“Sometimes, this manifests in the form of new machinery, adding another shift to keep in-demand operations running longer, or, ideally, adding more employees.”
Collaborating with Penn State can also yield a multitude of opportunities for the community.
“Breaking ground at Morgan Advanced Materials’ site was memorable because it demonstrated what can happen when Penn State – and their engineering students’ prowess – are at the table. It also felt like the formalization of ‘Materials Valley,’ our very own niche economy,” Squier continued.
“Signing the Memorandum of Agreement with Dr. Eric Barron was another example in the power of collaboration. His first speech to the CBICC members mentioned prioritizing brining intellectual property off campus and into the private sector, the MOA cemented that idea, and now the community and campus are in alignment when Morgan Advanced Materials comes calling, for example, during the Venture IP Fair, and with most things involving Innovation Park, generally speaking.”
With Scott’s previous experience at Penn State, the CBICC is poised to continue – and expand – these collaborative efforts with the university.
The CBICC staff will work toward formally welcoming him on Oct. 11 and anticipate that many members will begin meeting him in the coming weeks.