A Message from the Board Chairman – Penn’s Northeast

One year ago I became Chairman of the Board of Penn’s Northeast. Our commitment to the future of Penn’s Northeast and the region remains. I would like to share with you my observations on the region:

•   We live in a very unique and resilient region.

•   We need to rethink and retool our economic development efforts.

•   Enhanced regional thinking and collaboration across all endeavors is the future.

•   The people and their attitudes of the region are changing.

•   Leadership positions in every endeavor are opening to a wider audience.

•   Those in current leadership positions owe it to the region to provide for, foster, mentor, train

and pass on those positions to the next generation.

•   The next generation is coming forward. The region’s future belongs to them, recognize it.

•   Baby boomers are either retiring, 10,000 a day, or looking for “encore careers.” This is an
untapped talent pool.


At Penn’s Northeast numerous ideas, discussions and changes are occurring:

•   The board now consists of working committees: Strategic Planning, Finance, Governance and
Technology, Marketing and Human Resources. The chairs of the committees and the members
of those committees worked diligently throughout the year.

•   We have added new at-large board members from the business community.

•   We have invited several members of the community who lead organizations that play a role in
the region to become ex-officio members.

•   All have added to the lively board discussions by different perspectives.

•   The Strategic Planning Committee has taken the work begun under Chuck Leonard’s
chairmanship and has refined our mission, focused our vision and has provided a defined plan
of work for the next two years.

•   Everyone now recognizes that the region’s unique interstate highway infrastructure links us to
all kinds of economic activity. Penn’s Northeast sees not only the emerging port activity to the
east, fostered by the Panama Canal expansion, but also the developing story of natural gas
exploration to the west, as yet an untapped opportunity for the region.

The result of this activity is that the board remains evermore involved and committed to the mission of Penn’s Northeast. Besides assisting in all the board activities, our President, Penny Cannella, has continued to complete the organization’s program of work. This past year she has also taken on a leadership role in the NEPA Regional Bioscience Initiative (RBI), one of the region’s most ambitious, comprehensive and regional economic development strategies.

Penny leaves us, after many years of unselfish efforts at Penn’s Northeast, further along the path and much better at discovering opportunities to enhance the region. She and her staff deserve a regional thank you for all their work. I would also like to thank the board and participating members of Penn’s Northeast. To those who are not members, we invite you to join us. Together we can seize the opportunities at hand.


Great global economic changes are occurring. Some see them as challenges, Penn’s Northeast sees them as opportunities.





John Cognetti, Chairman

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