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New chamber president eyes technology, education | News, Sports, Jobs

NEW LEADERSHIP – At the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner, outgoing President Debbie Puskarich introduced the new cast to the group, including, from left: Eric Fithyan, President; Jeanne Wohnhas, Vice President: Jennifer McFadden, Secretary; and Brandy Puskarich, who will swap the office of Vice President for the Treasurer. Warren Scott

FOLLANSBEE – The new president of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce said his plans include expanding the use of technology to promote the group and its business members and offer useful information to help them thrive and grow.

During a recent interview, Eric Fithyan pulled out a business card identifying his new role in the chamber and pointed to a QR code printed on it.

He said that scanning the code with a smartphone takes everyone straight to the chamber’s website, where they can find links to the websites of the various companies that are part of the chamber.

Fithyan noted that the website was set up some time ago under the direction of outgoing President Debbie Puskarich and also contains addresses, phone numbers and other contact information for many companies and organizations in the area.

“It really is an information funnel” said Fithyan, who will begin a three-year term in January.

These include Jeanne Wohnhas, Vice President; Jennifer McFadden, secretary; and Brandy Puskarich, who will swap the office of Vice President for the Treasurer.

Fithyan said he will also use the chamber’s Facebook page to announce upcoming events, such as the series of free summer concerts at Follansbee Park.

With financial support from local companies, he organized the concerts last summer and planned to book artists for the next summer.

Fithyan added that he hopes to organize out-of-hours events to encourage networking among chamber members and use guest speakers to present educational events that are helpful to local businesses.

He said he and the other chamber presidents, including the board of directors, will build on what former Presidents Puskarich and Tony Paesano and their teams have accomplished.

“Your guidance has brought us to where we are” said Fithyan, who added after his election as president that he sought advice from Paesano, who was named president emeritus in recognition of his 25-year tenure as chamber president.

Fithyan emphasized that the Chamber’s activities will continue to be a team effort.

“Even though I’m here to lead, each and every one of our members really makes up the chamber.” he said, adding that he would like to work with other local chambers in planning events.

Fithyan said the chamber’s membership had grown exponentially under Puskarich and he hoped to attract others who he believed could benefit from their participation, as he did.

“As a business owner, it really gave me a tool to connect with a lot of other resources when I started out.” he said.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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