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Katie McCarthy-Lambert receives the ATHENA Award

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Katie McCarthy-Lambert receives the ATHENA Award

WILKES-BARRE — Katie McCarthy Lambert and Bruce Lefkowitz accepted their awards Tuesday at the annual Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce Awards Luncheon, and each had a message that should ring through the entire Wyoming Valley.

Lambert, the 2014 ATHENA Award recipient, and Lefkowitz, winner of the “I Believe” award, both said they see great value in giving back to the community where they live, work and play. And they each have done so by example.

Lambert, chief financial officer at her family's business, McCarthy Tire Co., and Lefkowitz, owner of Harrold's Pharmacy in Wilkes-Barre, have invested their time and money in the community and urged the more than 400 in attendance at the Westmoreland Club to follow their example.

CEO introduced

The luncheon also featured the first public appearance of Wico Van Genderen, the new president/CEO of the Chamber.

The ATHENA award is given to an individual who has attained and personified the highest level of professional excellence in his/her business or profession, has devoted time and energy to the community.

Lambert's mother, Ce Ce McCarthy said she knew when her daughter was 3 years old that she would turn out alright.

“She always was very friendly,” McCarthy said. “She always liked people, and we figured she would turn out this way. We knew she was going places.”

Lambert, the 29th recipient of the ATHENA Award, said her father, Jack McCarthy always told her and her siblings, “Anyone can look good on paper. Now let's see what you can do.”

Lambert said her parents pushed her to succeed in business and to help the community.

“Think of what all of you here today can do to give back to your community,” she said.

Lefkowitz told the story of Harrold's Pharmacy, a staple in South Wilkes-Barre for 67 years.

“I believe Wilkes-Barre is a shining jewel,” he said. “South Wilkes-Barre is a great neighborhood and the community needs a strong presence of small businesses. We must all do what we can to promote Wilkes-Barre and the local community.”

Investing in W-B

Lefkowitz said a new business will be locating to Harrold's old location on Old River Road, but he wouldn't reveal what business, just saying, “It will be a tasty addition to the neighborhood.”

Lefkowitz said he could have moved his business out of the city, but he felt a strong attachment to Wilkes-Barre and its people.

Frank Joanlanne, who headed the search committee for a new president/CEO, said Van Genderen will be a “hands-on leader who will roll up his sleeves and get to work.”

Van Genderen said all residents and business owners in the region should “capture the mojo” of people like Lambert and Lefkowitz.

“We can all make the region more vibrant and give a positive uplift to Wyoming Valley,” he said.

Van Genderen said he will focus on areas like energy, distribution/transportation, manufacturing, recreation/sports/entertainment, and education as key marketing points in attracting new businesses and jobs.

“America is driven by small businesses,” he said. “For every dollar invested in a small business, the return to the community is 80 cents.”

Van Genderen said he's only been on the job for a couple of days, but he is “here for the long term.” He said his goal is to make the Wilkes-Barre area more vibrant by marketing a business-embracing community.

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Contact: Colleen Carter, Director of Marketing


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