With a strong drive for helping others succeed, as well as an unrelenting work ethic, it should come as no surprise that Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Association and Council President Darlene Robbins has become one of the area’s top business professionals. She was recently honored in The Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal’s Top 25 Women in Business edition.
Robbins says that her enthusiasm for serving the members’ needs became the cornerstone of her success. She served as executive director of the Manufacturers & Employers Association of Schuylkill County in 1985. Through hard work, determination and an ear that’s always open to members’ needs, the association flourished to become a regional Manufacturers & Employers Association with member companies from over 20 counties.
“Our workforce development programs were so successful that the growth yielded an incorporation of our 501(C)(3) charitable organization (now known as the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council). The YES Northeast Certificate Program, offered by the Council, was recently identified in the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council recommendations as a best practice model,” she said.
Her first and foremost mentor is God. Her parents taught her the values of patience, persistence, respect, honest, integrity and accountability.
“My own children enable me to understand these values and their importance in my personal, as well as professional, life,” she said.
She would like to continue to be a mentor to young professionals and women in the workplace and, most importantly, a good role model for her children and grandchildren.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Association recently released a study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting that shows a carbon tax would have a devastating impact on manufacturing in PA. The report, titled Economic Outcomes of a U.S. Carbon Tax, found that levying such a tax would result in higher prices for natural gas, electricity, gasoline and other energy commodities. Manufacturing output in energy-intensive sectors could drop by as much as 15.0 percent and in non-energy-intensive sectors by as much as 7.7 percent.
"As talk has continued in Washington about a carbon tax, the results of this study are very troubling as Pennsylvanians would see their energy bills go up across the board," said MAEA President Darlene J. Robbins. "Businesses throughout PA would be dealt a costly blow. We are facing an unemployment rate of 8 percent in the state, and a carbon tax will only cause us more economic harm."
Key findings for Pennsylvania include the following:
• This tax would deal a blow to employment in PA with a loss of worker income
equivalent to 77,000 to 81,000 jobs in 2013 and 96,000 to 122,000 by 2023.
• The cost of using natural gas would increase by more than 40 percent in 2013,
the first year of the carbon tax study, adding to household energy bills and
increasing operation costs for many PA businesses.
• Gas prices at the pump would jump by more than 20 cents a gallon in 2013.
• Households in PA would see a significant increase in their electricity rates, with an average increase of 13 percent in 2013.
• By 2023, the hardest hit economic sectors in PA would be coal, which would lose between 48 and 50 percent in economic output, energy-intensive manufacturing, which would lose 1.9 percent and non-energy-intensive manufacturing, which would lose between 0.5 and 0.9 percent.
"The notion that some policymakers have in Washington that an economy-wide tax of this nature is a good idea is flatly wrong," said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. "Our nation's economy and family budgets can't take it. As consumers of one-third of our nation's energy supply, manufacturers and our employees will struggle with higher energy prices. A carbon tax will severely harm our ability to compete with other nations."
The study examines two carbon tax scenarios: one levied at $20 per ton increasing at 4 percent and the other designed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80 percent. Both cases would have a negative impact on the economy. Click Here for the executive summary and full report and for information on how PA will be impacted.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing manufacturers in every industrial sector and
in all 50 states. Manufacturing has a presence in every single congressional district providing good, high-paying jobs. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
733 10th St. NW, Suite 700 • Washington, DC 20001 • (202) 637-3000
The Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association (MAEA) announces their Supervisory Development Training Series will begin March 15. Gina Whalen, MS – Director of Education & Member Services for MAEA & Christine Robbins, M.Ed – Director of Training & Development for MAEA will be
The series, which will take place at the Top of the 80's in Hazleton, will be broken into four classes. They include Supervisory Development I & II, Psychology in the Workplace and Effective Communications & Interpersonal Relations. Each of the four trainings is a stand-alone class and will cost $300/Member and $600/Non-Members. Register for all 4 classes and receive a reduced price of $275/Member per class for a total of $1,100/Participant for Members. There is no discount for Non-Member Participants. Participants that complete the entire series will be recognized by NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) and PMA (Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association).
To learn more about this training or to sign up, please call the office at 570-622-0992 or email Chris Robbins at
BY STEPHEN J. PYTAK
Published: February 13, 2013
Icy water from the Indian Run Dam near Pottsville cascaded down the recently constructed spillway Tuesday.
Patrick M. Caulfield, executive director of the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority, stared up at it with fascination.
"It's the first time we've seen water flow down it since it was built," Caulfield said as he drove over to the spillway in Branch Township.
Indian Run was at 100 percent capacity, at 773 feet above sea level, Tuesday afternoon. The overflow sent a steady, yet shallow, stream rushing down the concrete steps to the Little Indian Run Dam.
It's been a historic week for the dam, which is SCMA's largest. Not only has the new spillway gotten its first taste of overflow, but a group which represents engineering excellence in Pennsylvania honored the local engineering firm that designed the $5.9 million renovation project.
Alfred Benesch & Co., Pottsville, was honored at The Diamond Awards, hosted by the American Council for Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, at a gala held Feb. 7 at The Hotel Hershey.
"Alfred Benesch won an honor award in Category G: Water Resources," Melissa A. Carroll, executive assistant with the council, Harrisburg, said Tuesday.
According to Caulfield and Sean Reilly, Benesch resident project representative, this is the first time Benesch received a Diamond award and it's the first time an engineering firm working for SCMA has been honored with one.
Jennifer M. Kowalonek, a Benesch project manager, said Monday she believed Benesch was given the honor for a few reasons.
"There were many foreseen and unforeseen obstacles throughout the development and construction of the project. But the Indian Run Project, while extremely complex, was still completed with relative ease and close to $1.3 million under budget," Kowalonek said.
The Indian Run Dam impounds a 49.5-acre, 488-million gallon reservoir in Branch Township. The original construction of the dam was finished in 1926, and reconstruction of the spillway completed in 1935, Caulfield said.
"We draw about a million gallons a day from it. It serves the west end of Pottsville and Norwegian Township," Caulfield said.
In August 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection listed Indian Run as an "unsafe dam" in accordance with Pennsylvania Dam Safety Regulations.
"This was based on uncontrolled seepage at the dam site, lack of embankment drainage, inadequate spillway capacity, and deterioration of the spillway and discharge channel," Caulfield said Tuesday.
Alfred Benesch & Co. led the design team. Schnabel Engineering Associates, West Chester, offered assistance. And Performance Construction Services, Inc., a division of Quandel Construction, Minersville, was hired as the general contractor.
"The rehabilitation project addressed spillway capacity and seepage issues at the dam," Caulfield said.
The former 60-foot-wide spillway was replaced with a 90-foot wide spillway with a 400-foot long chute, Caulfield said.
Construction also included stabilization to the downstream slope, embankment seepage control features, modification to the outlet works and other minor dam modifications, Caulfield said.
"Beside the fact that the spillway was a 400-feet long and 90-feet wide, massive concrete structure and all embankment work was completed with a nearly full pool of water in the reservoir, construction was completed during two major storm events in 2011 without skipping a beat in construction," Kowalonek said.
The project cost estimate was $7,196,000, Caulfield said.
"Early on, funding was a major concern," Kowalonek said.
However, SCMA acquired 80 percent of the funding through grants and the remaining 20 percent through a low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, Harrisburg.
"Therefore, no customer rates were increased as a result of the project," Kowalonek said.
The Indian Run Dam Rehabilitation Project was completed in 2012, according to the SCMA website at scmawater.com.
The final project cost was $5,948,000, about $1.3 million under budget, according to Caulfield.
"We still have a loan to fund these projects, so it's just a little less to pay back," Caulfield said.
The American Council for Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg is "the largest statewide organization of engineers engaged in the practice of consulting engineering," according to its website at acecpa.org.
Its members include "more than 147 independent engineering firms throughout the commonwealth. These firms employ engineers, land surveyors, scientists, technicians, or other professionals and administrative support personnel," according to the site.
"There are 125 member firms eligible in the state that could apply for the Diamond Awards and an endless number of projects that would meet the qualification standards for the application. Our Indian Run Dam project with the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority was a unique and worthy project and was an easy choice to submit," Kowalonek said.
Every year, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania hosts the Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence. It's a competition "recognizing engineering firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value and innovation," according to the award application submitted by SCMA.
There are 12 awards categories: studies, research and consulting engineering services; building/technology systems; structural systems; surveying and mapping technology; environmental; water and stormwater; water resources; transportation; special projects; small projects; energy; and industrial and manufacturing processes and facilities, according to the application.
"A distinguished panel of judges is convened to critique the projects. These professionals have backgrounds in engineering, architecture, state and federal government, media, academia and the military," according to the application.
"Projects from across the globe are rated on the basis of: uniqueness and originality; future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner's needs, including schedule and budget," according to the application.
SCMA runs six dams. Over the past 12 years, SCMA has worked to upgrade four of them, Indian Run and three others:
- Pine Run Reservoir, north of Saint Clair. A $2.5 million rehabilitation project was completed in 2010.
- Mount Laurel Dam Rehabilitation Project, budgeted at $3.5 million, began in 2012 and is scheduled to be completed later this year. "It's about 80 percent complete," Kowalonek said.
- The Kaufman Dam Rehabilitation Project is scheduled to begin in 2013. It will cost about $3 million. And SCMA is expected to bid the project this week, Caulfield said.
SCMA also manages Eisenhuth Dam and Wolf Creek Dam. The authority serves water to over 30,000 Schuylkill County residents in all or portions of 22 different municipalities, according to its website.
In an effort to make our website a complete resource for our entire membership, we will now be looking for the most up-to-date news relating
to our member companies. If you have any kind of news about your business, or send out press releases on a regular basis, add us to your distribution list!
We are looking to post news stories on our homepage, so you can stay current on all news that's going on within our membership.
We will also select a few stories to put into our bi-monthly publication, Member Pulse. If you have news, please send it to Joan Trosterud at