Jason Fink named new chamber president

Jason Fink has long been a big part of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, serving in leadership roles and often as the face of the organization.

Fink, 47, recently was named as the Chamber’s new president.

He officially takes the reins Jan. 1, 2019, replacing Vincent Matteo who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Fink, Chamber executive vice president, said he is excited about taking on the task of leading the organization.

His vision, he said, is for the Chamber to become more involved in community programs and workforce development and perhaps most importantly the education that can help bring business opportunities to the area.

“If you look at the labor needs, things point to schools. They are partners with us,” he said. “We look at them as one way to help us address labor shortages here.”

Fink noted the presence of Lycoming College and Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

UPMC Susquehanna, he said, will also play an important role. He noted the health system’s investments in critical care and cancer treatment.

“We have good things happening in the community already,” he said. “We look to be a partner to advance initiatives.”

The challenges for the Chamber moving forward will include marshalling resources to implement programs.

He said utilizing volunteers to help organizations meet their goals are an important part of the community.

“Many nonprofits in the community need volunteers,” he said. “We have an aging volunteer base in this community.”

Fink made it clear there is much happening locally that can help move the community forward, including the recreation and tourism opportunities.

As a native of Lycoming County, Fink said he can’t help but be excited about taking on his new leadership role.

“I am born and raised here. This is home. My wife and four kids are all here,” he said. “It’s being able to provide a viable community for the future. We continue to see a declining population base. We have to make this a place where people want to stay.”

Fortunately, all the resources are in place to make that happen, he added.

“We have a good base,” he said.

Fink, a graduate of Montgomery Area High School and Methodist University, Fayetteville, N.C., started at the Chamber in 1996 as its membership and marketing director. He later took on other roles including director of the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau and director of economic development.

Before coming to the Chamber, he worked with AmericCorps Vista in Pittsburgh.

Summing up his career and aspirations, he said, “I knew I wanted to do something in the community to enhance the quality of life. To me, that is working with business and industry to bring a stable environment that brings jobs.”

As for replacing Matteo as president, he said, “Vince has definitely provided his unique leadership style to this organization. I am looking for a different style and a different direction. Vince has done a lot of good things with the community.”

Matteo, said he is excited about Fink taking over.

“Jason and I have worked together since 2001 and he has been an outstanding staff member, a leader and my trusted and respected confidant,” he stated. “There is no one I can think of who is more prepared, more talented and who loves this organization and community more than he does. He will do a tremendous job and not only build upon all we have accomplished together, but also bring new ideas and a new vision to the Chamber.”

Chamber officials noted Fink’s accomplishments, which have included starting the Grand Slam Parade held in downtown Williamsport, now seen by many as the “unofficial” kickoff to the Little League World Series. He was also instrumental in bringing the Drum Corps Associates World Championship to Williamsport and Lycoming County.

Fink heads the economic development department of the Chamber and its affiliates, the Industrial Properties Corp. and Economic and Community Growth Corp. In that capacity, he fostered and helped facilitate the establishment of a $1 billion, 834 megawatts natural gas power plant and assisted Kellogg’s in sourcing funding to provide line expansion for the Muncy plant that resulted in 30 new jobs. He is also credited with strengthening the Chamber’s education efforts through a variety of initiatives aimed at improving business-education relationships and communication so educators understand the workforce needs of area employers.

Active in the community, his volunteer efforts include serving as chair of the River Valley Regional YMCA Board and President of the Williamsport Area High School Track & Field Booster Club, as well as a member and past chair of the Williamsport YMCA Advisory Board. He also serves on the Career Technical Education Advisory Councils for the Montgomery, Williamsport and Jersey Shore Area School Districts.

Fink served as a volunteer with the Williamsport Area Little League for many years.