All posts in Chamber Blog

Sent to Flourish – Local Pastor Contributes to Book

Charlie Cotherman, pastor of Oil City Vineyard Church, served as co-editor of the recently released book Sent to Flourish: A Guide to Planting and Multiplying Churches. The book, published by InterVarsity Press, a prominent Christian Press, is a unique guide to lead current and prospective church planters as they seek to cultivate healthy and growing church communities.

Charlie, recognized as the Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year in 2018, speaks of the value of belonging to the Chamber’s network: “The Chamber connects you to people who want to be connected across different spheres; the connection symbolically shows an investment in the community.”

When starting to plant Oil City Vineyard in 2016, Charlie immediately got involved in the Chamber and the community. Church planting, as he described, is more than just starting a church, it’s creating a “mini movement,” and is an “entrepreneurial approach” to church growing.

Charlie describes the three dimensions of his calling as husband/father, pastor, and scholar/teacher. He is excited to share that his own book, titled To Think Christianly, is expected to be released this spring. Learn more about Sent to Flourish at and keep an eye out for information on his next book.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Gaining Skills & Experience Through FLEX Involvement

Network with other young professionals, have fun, make friends, volunteer in the community—all benefits of getting involved with FLEX. Did you know you also have the opportunity to gain leadership and professional skills by becoming more engaged with the group?

By participating in a committee, you can help plan our events and speaker series, promote the group, attract and retain members, assist in coordinating volunteer efforts, and much more. Not only do you help FLEX grow and have something new to add to your resume, but you also gain skills and experience that will allow you to grow as a professional.

“Since becoming involved in FLEX, I’ve had opportunities to lead a meeting, plan and organize events, and learn to network effectively,” said Kat Thompson, current FLEX Vice President/Secretary and incoming President. “I can now use these skills at my workplace, benefiting both myself and my employer.”

At our Annual Meeting on October 25, we elected next year’s officers, as well as chairs for our three committees (see below). All attendees at the Annual Meeting got involved in brainstorming future activities for FLEX. Each person wrote ideas for events, volunteer activities, and speaker series topics on a note card, and the note cards were then passed around for other attendees to rate.

We’re looking forward to looking through all the note cards at our upcoming committee meetings and carrying out some of these ideas in 2020. Whether you’re interested in serving on a committee, sharing an idea, or learning more about how you can get involved, we want to connect with you! Email or contact any of the new officers below to get in touch.

Welcome 2020 FLEX Officers!

President Kat Thompson
VP/Secretary Saxon Daugherty
Events Committee Co-Chair Ashley Smith
Events Committee Co-Chair Rachel Stiller
Membership Committee Chair Laura Ordaz
Marketing Committee Chair Tessa Byham

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) November 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Toys for Tots Puts Some “Fun” in Fundraising

Fundraising can be a difficult task; whether you are on the side of asking, or you are dealing with many requests for donations.  Every campaign is important, in supporting an organization, cause, or often an individual in need, but no business can give to everyone.  So how do you inspire excitement around the fundraising you are involved in?

Just look to the current Toys for Tots campaign and you can’t help but smile at the success. Businesses throughout Venango County have found fun and successful ways to encourage giving.

The Toys for Tots program, hosted by VFW Post 464, has distributed collection boxes throughout the county, including many Venango Chamber members. Several are participating in the Franklin Retail Association’s Toy Battle, which challenges businesses to compete against each other.  The response has been incredible, not only in collecting donations, but also in showcasing local businesses.

Derek Bailey, owner of 257 Buy Sell Trade, is participating for the fourth year, donating a dollar for every point the Oil City Oilers football team made at home games, this year totaling over $1,000.  If interested in becoming involved or if you know of a family in need who could benefit from this program, contact Lisa Winger, with the Ladies Auxiliary, at (814) 758-6800 or visit

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Pathway to Manufacturing Free Training Event

Clarion University – Venango, Intermediate Unit 5, and PA CareerLink are collaborating on a new class that will provide potential employees the opportunity to improve their skills in applied math and workplace readiness, in an effort to prepare them for training and employment in manufacturing trades. The classes will be offered at no cost.

An Open House event will be held on November 12 at Venango Campus’ Frame Hall (Room 116) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Students with or without a high school diploma are encouraged to participate.

For more information, contact IU5 Adult Education at 1-800-461-6711 or at

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Commissioner Candidates Share Need for Common Vision

The four candidates for Venango County commissioner responded to questions prepared by the Chamber’s Advocacy committee and moderated by Chamber leaders Trenton Moulin and Frank Hajduk at a forum on Tuesday, October 29.

Chip Abramovic, Sam Breene, Mike Dulaney, and Bonnie Summers, seated comfortably on the stage at Rhoades Auditorium at Clarion University – Venango, each shared their experience that qualifies them to manage the responsibility of more than 450 employees and a budget of $60 million.  Each had similar views of a commissioner’s role in local economic development, most citing job growth as a priority. 

Venango County, like rural communities throughout the country, has experience steady population decline, along with a rapidly aging community.  When questioned about strategies to address this issue, the focus shared was on celebrating the benefits of living and doing business in Venango County, including a low cost of living, a high quality of life (specifically access to attractive outdoor activities), and  proximity to larger business centers. All candidates echoed the need for a common vision and unity in planning for the future.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5th. Find your polling place here.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.