Chamber names ‘best in the business’

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Anthony H. Visco Jr. Architects was awarded the Phillips/Plankenhorn Small Business of the Year Award at the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce’s 131st annual meeting and awards banquet Wednesday. Tony Visco Jr. and his team are pictured with the award outside his office on Market Street. At top, from left, are Eric Laughrey, Tony Visco Jr. and Pat Russell; below are Matt Strahan, Chelsea Rawson and Fran Visco.

Three local businesses and a college president were recognized by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce during its annual awards banquet at the Genetti Hotel on Wednesday.

Farrington Place received the Emerging Business Award while Larson Design Group was presented with the Large Business Award, and Anthony H. Visco Architects with the Phillips/Plankenhorn Small Business Award.

The recipient of the President’s Award was Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, president of Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Farrington Place, 416 W. Third St., was started in 2013 as a banquet and event site with just four employees.

It since has grown to one of the largest businesses of its kind in the area as well as one the biggest tent and event rental suppliers in the area, according to Tim Keohane, director of the Lock Haven University Small Business Development Center.

Eric Winters, Farrington Place CEO, told the audience the award really belongs to the employees. He also noted the help the business received from the chamber of commerce.

Larson Design Group was lauded not only for its growth and solid business practices but also for its commitment to the community. Eighty percent of LDG employees, noted M&T Bank Regional President Philip H. Johnson, volunteered for a civic or non-profit organization in the past two years.

Brenda Nichols, of Larson Design Group, said the company has a priority of serving its clients and being active in the community.

“Williamsport is our largest office,” she said. “As we expand, we will make sure our employees hold these values.”

In accepting the Small Business Award for his firm, Tony Visco Jr. said it never was his intention to own a business but now feels it’s the best thing that he ever did when he launched the firm in the early 1980s.

He noted the client and community relationships he has formed over the years. And, he recalled the lean years following the recession of 2008, when many businesses, including his own, struggled.

“We try to make sure we do our best to satisfy our clients,” he said. “I am proud we could be a contributor to this part of Pennsylvania.”

Gilmour was praised by Chamber President Vincent J. Matteo for her many contributions to the organization as a volunteer over the years.

In addition to taking on various other duties, Gilmour has served on the chamber board as chairwoman and on its executive committee.

Matteo said Gilmour simply always has been there for the chamber.

Gilmour said when she first became college president nearly 19 years ago, she wanted to connect the school more with the community.

“What allows business and organizations to thrive is the strength of the community,” she said.