All posts tagged economic development

Venango County Economic Development Update by Emily Lewis

Emily Lewis is the Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority.

The Venango County Economic Development Authority has had an exciting start to the year. After a significant amount of behind the scenes work on the Oil City National Bank building, physical changes are beginning to take place at the facility.

Canfield Development of Pittsburgh was selected through a competitive bidding process to perform environmental abatement of the facility as well as interior demolition of obsolete utility systems, false walls, furniture and fixtures, etc.

Once this process is complete we will have a clean canvas to paint our new vision for the building, but don’t worry, we are working to preserve as much of the historic integrity of the structure as we can, keeping the original vaults in place and removing marble panels and original wood doors to store in a safe pace and re-use in the new design.

KLA roofing of Everett, PA was selected to replace the existing leaking roof. All of this work is expected to wrap up by October of this year and we are hoping to squeeze in the replacement of exterior doors and windows before the snow flies.

The building, constructed in 1926 is a solid structure that we believe can be renewed to its former glory, though banking operations are not in its future. Rather, we are working to develop a business innovation center in the upper floors of the building, providing a space for entrepreneurs and new businesses to foster there next big idea.

As for the first floor, we have been working with a private business owner to create a brew pub. This will serve as a gathering space for both the tenants of the building and the community.

In 2019 we will see the launch of the eAcademy at Venango and the addition of my very first staff member, an Entrepreneurship Program Manager. The eAcademy at Venango is an extension of the highly successful eAcademy program at Linden Pointe.

The original eAcademy was established in Hermitage, PA in 2014 and is a program that fosters and encourages an entrepreneurial mindset. In our program, high school seniors from 6 different school districts in the Venango area will spend half of their school day from September to May being trained in entrepreneurial and leadership curricula. Classes are 75% experience based learning and 25% lecture based learning.

There is no exact procedure that guarantees success in entrepreneurship education and training. Yet there is a common thread – that a mindset guides the decisions empowering entrepreneurs. We believe that anyone, not just those who want to start a business, can benefit from understanding and applying an entrepreneurial mindset to any situation that demands change in their life.

This program is designed to immerse students in learning about economic development, their local region, and the essential aspects of the unlimited opportunities a different way of thinking can provide. As students learn the academic knowledge, the startup methodology, and individual skill sets they will apply it all to the creation of a startup business with a working prototype.

Through a partnership with Clarion University the eAcademy will be housed at Clarion University Venango Campus and will be managed by the Entrepreneurship Program Manager. I am over the moon to bring this program to Venango County and give students in our area the opportunity to interact with our local businesses.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Four New Faces at the Oil Region Alliance

ORA FINAL LOGODESIGN2010The Oil Region Alliance (ORA) is an economic development and tourist promotion agency serving the Oil Region—comprised of Venango County, the City of Titusville, and Oil Creek Township. The Alliance works to increase the prosperity of the Oil Region and they have recently added four new staff members to their ranks.

Bringing a new energy to the organization are: Stewart Armstrong, Jennifer Burden, Emily Altomare, and Juliet Hilburn. All four are sure to bring new ideas from their previous roles and be great assets to the ORA and the region.

Stop by their office located at 217 Elm Street in Oil City to say hello, and follow the ORA on Facebook at


Stewart Armstrong
Marketing Coordinator & Artist Liaison

Jennifer Burden
Historian &

Emily Altomare
Communications & Tourism Manager

Juliet Hilburn
Analyst &

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s November 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

County of Venango Launches New Website


The County of Venango recently launched a new website that can be found at County Commissioner Chip Abramovic remembers seeing a demonstration of a neighboring county’s new website just a few years ago and recognized an opportunity to showcase Venango and provide better information for both residents and visitors.

County Website

After exploring several options, the County chose CivicPlus as the developer, based on their experience designing government sites. The new website is not only more attractive and user-friendly, but also easier to manage and has many features already built in. Many of the County departments are now responsible for adding and updating their own content. While the site is operational, information continues to be added and other features will become available in time.

The County once had separate websites for some departments which are now all centralized on the new site. You can find the Human Services, Regional Airport, Economic Development Authority, and Two Mile County Park, along with information from County departments and services.

One of the upgraded features is the expanded human services page, a resource for residents in need of assistance.

“The new format gives us more flexibility in how we present our services and programs to the public,” said Resource Communication Officer for Human Services Loni Beer. “The site is very user friendly and easily updated which translates into the public getting the most up-to-date information.”

The Human Services Department also includes an events calendar and links to the other community calendars. Another exciting addition is the three news flash areas which allow for breakout information to be displayed on the Human Services landing page.

The interactivity of information regarding various County departments provides the opportunity to make online payments for items such as dog licenses. Commissioner Abramovic indicated that one of the most important features of the County’s new website is that information can be updated and displayed immediately. This creates tremendous efficiency and best serves everyone in the community.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s September 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Route 8 Public Meeting

PennDOT Schedules Public Meeting to discuss the Route 8 asset management and corridor improvement

The open-house format meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Franklin High School auditorium at 246 Pone Lane. A presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m.

PennDOT says it is studying options to best manage and improve Route 8 in Venango County between Georgetown Road in Irwin Township and DeBence Drive in Sandycreek Township, a distance of about 10.5 miles.

PennDOT has said one of the considerations in the study is reducing the corridor from four lanes to two lanes. That proposal has met with vehement opposition the last few months from officials in Venango County and many municipalities in the county.

The Venango Area Chamber of Commerce joins local officials in urging you to attend this public meeting.

Chamber Director Susan Williams remarks “Businesses from across the region have expressed their concern to us, about the threat of a lane reduction.  Route 8 provides important access to local industry, emergency services and residents, traveling in or out of the county.  This highway additionally moves traffic to and from neighboring counties. We must urge PennDot to remove any consideration of a lane reduction”

The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the study to the community and receive input on ideas for the corridor and PennDot has invited the public to attend at any time during the open house hours.

Information on the study’s purpose status, schedule, existing and forecast roadway conditions and an initial range of ideas to consider will be available for review and comment.

PennDOT representatives, along with the department’s design consultants, will make a brief presentation and will be available to answer questions.

The meeting location is handicapped accessible.

Williams adds “This forum is an important opportunity for a unified business voice. I encourage you to let us know that you plan to attend, in support of future growth of Venango County.”

Will you attend? Let us know if your business will be represented or if you are unable to attend, but would like to share your comments, by completing this form.