Q&A with the 2013 MABA Executive Committee

The MABA Executive Committee, from left to right, top row: Dave Hinkel, Mark Cummins, Linda Lovenstein; bottom row: Luanne "Bunny" Graham, Roseann Thomas and Sue Shipe. Photo courtesy of MABA

The Tri County Record had a chance to reach out to the Morgantown Area Business Association’s officers this week to ask them how they thought the last year went for the MABA and what they see in its future. Here’s what they had to say:

Linda Lovenstein

VP of Events

Director of Sales, Holiday Inn Morgantown

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Years in MABA: 2

What have been the biggest accomplishments of the MABA in 2013?

We are trying to move forward and give the members what they are asking for. We have updated the website and it should be online by the first of the year. We have kept the membership dues to a minimum and increased the value of the businesses return on investments by doing more for the local businesses. We have reached out to more business to have our monthly meetings, more speakers, along with additional seminars and trainings. I do believe that you get out of MABA what you put into it. I personally love spending time with our group and get a personal satisfaction out of referring others to member businesses in our group. I have become involved in local charity due to MABA as well. We have a lot of caring people in our group that reach out to others we need to help. The golf outing is a perfect example of people reaching out to help others. Every year, Bob Gebhardt, owner of The Village Electrician, works months on the MABA golf outing just to allow MABA to have additional scholarship money to give to well-deserved high school seniors.

What has been your favorite MABA event/outing this year and why?

My favorite event hands down is the Expo. I love meeting and having the one-on-one time with other businesses in MABA and meeting with the local community. It is rewarding to hear from a local resident that they have received their MABA book and they use it all the time.

What can we look forward to from MABA in 2014?

In 2014 we are looking to be bigger and better. We are increasing in size and membership. We have a new website coming shortly. We will continue to listen to our members and give them what they want. We want to be able to reach out to more business in 2014 and possibly have our meetings at new members’ offices. MABA is about promoting your business and what better way to do that than have 45 people over for breakfast?

What do you think is the best benefit of membership in MABA?

MABA allows businesses, both small and large, the ability to be in 18,000 homes with the membership directories. For the membership fee of $75, your name is out there and on the website. Where can you find a better bang for your buck? I would challenge anyone to find a better marketing deal than that!

What’s the biggest thing you think the community should know about the MABA?

MABA is in the community for the community. We try to refer within our group. It is about local business helping other local businesses. You are most likely to refer someone to a business that you have a personal relationship with.

Roseann Thomas

VP of Marketing

Owner/Operator of A2A Services-Vacs Plus

Years in business: 33

Years in MABA: 27

What have been the biggest accomplishments of the MABA in 2013?

The EXPO was updated, and with the help of Lowe’s, it was a great success. We look forward to next year’s, May 17, 2014 at Lowe’s. More and more businesses are joining.

What has been your favorite MABA event/outing this year and why?

The Expo was because more businesses got involved.

What can we look forward to from MABA in 2014?

Look for an updated, more interesting web page in 2014.

What do you think is the best benefit of membership in MABA?

Networking and our membership book, plus you are on our website. It is only as good as the membership’s participation, so get involved.

What’s the biggest thing you think the community should know about the MABA?

We are here to work with the community.

Susan Shipe

VP of Membership

Director at the Village Library of Morgantown

Years in business: 5 years as library director, 21 in Berks County Library System

Years in MABA: 5

What have been the biggest accomplishments of the MABA in 2013?

We are currently updating the MABA website to a more modern presence and trying to involve more MABA members in networking.

What has been your favorite MABA event/outing this year and why?

I think my favorite outing was the MABA picnic this summer, where we got to talk with different members at our leisure.

What can we look forward to from MABA in 2014?

The future holds a more user-friendly website with a more appealing look. We are hoping to continue to offer business-related courses that may be of help to the members. And we would like to continue to meet at other members’ places of business.

What do you think is the best benefit of membership in MABA?

The best benefit is the networking with local businesses and being aware of what the area has to offer.

What’s the biggest thing you think the community should know about the MABA?

We are a nice group of people who are ready and willing to help and offer our services to the community. Come join us!

Luanne “Bunny” Graham

MABA Secretary

Personnel Administration Rep. at UGI Utilities, Inc.

Years in business: 34

Years in MABA: 8

What have been the biggest accomplishments of the MABA in 2013?

Continuing to work for and support the member businesses, the local communities and provide scholarships for local children.

What has been your favorite MABA event/outing this year and why?

The annual family picnic. It was a fun, relaxed atmosphere, the food was good and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

What can we look forward to from MABA in 2014?

A bigger and better Expo in the spring!

What do you think is the best benefit of membership in MABA?

Networking with and learning about other members.

What’s the biggest thing you think the community should know about the MABA?

They should know that the MABA is here to support local businesses and local communities.

David Hinkel

MABA Treasurer

Realtor with Stout Associates

Years in business: over six years

Years in MABA: over five years

What have been the biggest accomplishments of the MABA in 2013?

Expanding the number of businesses that have joined our organizations.

What has been your favorite MABA event/outing this year and why?

I think the morning breakfast meetings where we visit local businesses and find out their five W’s Why, who, what, when and where about them.

What can we look forward to from MABA in 2014?

More public business expos to meet the people and to let them know the businesses are here for you.

What do you think is the best benefit of membership in MABA?

Networking with other businesses.

What’s the biggest thing you think the community should know about the MABA?

It is a great business organization that helps the community in many ways. Some of these include, but not limited to, giving out two scholarships each year to students and helping keep the small mom and pop shops around.

Editor’s note: MABA President Mark Cummins was unavailable for comment as of press time.