Gary W. Smith currently serves the Chester County Economic Development Council as President and CEO. He joined the Council in 1976 and pioneered award-winning programs of below market-rate financing, agricultural economic development, brownfields redevelopment, conduit funding for commercial construction, industry partnerships, urban revitalization and multi-agency collaboration. During his tenure, the Council has secured over $275 million in external funding for 420 plus projects ranging from regional economic revitalization to workforce development. The Council’s programs and services have helped to create over 175,000 new jobs; assisted in retaining more than 190,000 existing jobs; and brokered more than $13.5 billion in commercial financing loans. Over 8,000 new businesses have also been established during that period. Throughout his forty year career, Mr. Smith has held many titles on many national economic development boards and agricultural agencies such as President, Vice President, Founding Director and Legislative Chairman. In addition, he has been honored with many awards: the Chester County Boy Scout Distinguished Citizen, Harold Martin Business Leadership Award, the Crystal Ball Award and TMACC’s Chairman’s Award to name a few. Mr. Smith holds a MA in Public Administration from West Chester University as well as his undergraduate degree from West Chester University. In his spare time, Gary manages his family’s farm raising a herd of 45 registered Hereford cattle. Gary and his wife Vicky have two adult sons and are the proud grandparents of two beautiful grandsons.
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Michael serves as the Chester County Economic Development Council’s Chief Operating Officer. Since 2004 when Michael first assumed this role, the CCEDC has grown significantly adding 15 staff members and increasing the operating budget by 50%. New initiatives were launched including the Economic Development Partners Initiative (municipal services and community development), HireOne (a job matching effort for dislocated professionals), and they Ideas x Innovation Network (formerly Keystone Innovation Zone). Michael’s day to day responsibilities include managing the staff, the budgets, and interacting with the board and its numerous sub-committees. Michael originally joined the CCEDC in 1999 as a Program Manager. During his time as Program Manager, Michael initiated and grew several successful programs to assist Chester County’s business community. These programs still exist today and include: The Information Technology Action Group (ITAG) to address labor issues facing the IT industry; the Chester County International Business Council to assist companies with their export strategies; The Banking Workforce Consortium to train incumbent bank employees and recruit new commercial lenders; and the Workforce Partners to facilitate communication among the County’s key workforce development service providers. Prior to joining the Development Council, Michael was employed in the Medical Affairs Department of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Radnor, PA. Michael earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from Ithaca College in 1995 and an MBA from Villanova University in 1998.
John is responsible for managing all financial aspects of CCEDC and its five separate affiliated organizations that includes monthly financial reporting, billing and collections, budgeting, annual financial statement audits, grant program audits, cash management, vendor management, commercial insurance programs, employee benefit programs and annual IRS 990 tax filings. He is proficient in presenting financial information relevant to decision making, meeting recurring report and budget deadlines and effectively manages and interacts with vendors, insurance carriers, etc. Working with CCEDC for 12 years, John brings experience in public accounting as part of the Audit Staff from KPMG, technology as Vice President/Controller from Sanchez Computer Associates, and financial management expertise from Chief Financial Officer at Innovative Schools Development Corporation. John has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut and is a Pennsylvania Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Senior Vice President, Business Development Services
MaryFrances McGarrity is the Senior Vice President, Business Development Services for the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC). In her current role, MaryFrances’ efforts are focused on programs and initiatives that attract, retain and grow businesses in Chester County. At the Council, MaryFrances works with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as the representative of the Council directly interfacing with the Governor’s Action Team (GAT) and other state agencies as needed. She regularly meets with local corporate decision makers, investors, civic and economic development partners to advance business expansion projects identifying capital, facilitating financing, addressing workforce issues, and assisting with site selection needs. MaryFrances brings 10 years of sales and marketing experience in commercial real estate while working for Jackson Cross Partners. She a member of the West Whiteland Township Planning Commission and sits on the Board of Directors for the Chester County Industrial and Investment Council, and ChescoNet. MaryFrances and her family are the founding members of the Holy Redeemer Golf Klassic, a golf event whose proceeds benefit the Holy Redeemer Jersey Shore Food Pantry, Swainton NJ. She holds a Bachelor of Science from St. Joseph’s University in Management & Marketing from St. Joseph’s University, and a Bachelor of Science from Immaculate University in Elementary Education. She is a member of PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc.) – Brandywine Chapter as a girl’s high school basketball official. She and her family residents of West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Sherwood serves as Seedcopa’s Managing Director. In that capacity, he oversees a staff of 8 professionals; interacts with over 35 different banking partners; manages the partner relationships with 14 State-Wide Economic Development Agencies; and assists in the enhancement of Seedcopa’s menu of financing services. Sherwood joined Seedcopa in 2007 as a Relationship Manager to further expand its SBA 504 loan program and to develop SBA and USDA facilitation services for banks looking to enter the Government Loan arena. Currently, eleven financing institutions utilize Seedcopa’s lender services. Prior to joining Seedcopa, Sherwood spent over 18 years in the banking industry, acquiring real-time experience and developing skills in Commercial Banking, Retail and the Investment departments. For ten years, he’s served as a dedicated Government Loan lender, developing an extensive network of business associates. He enjoys many guest-speaking invitations throughout Pennsylvania each year, covering the key aspects of SBA lending. Sherwood received a Bachelor of Science degree from Shippensburg University. He currently resides in Birdsboro, PA with his wife and two children.
Patti VanCleave is Vice President of Workforce Development for the Chester County Economic Development Council. In this role, she oversees the management and implementation of the regional industry partnerships, as well as, all adult and youth workforce development programs. Prior to joining the Council, Patti worked as the Director of Operations for a non-profit, where she managed the annual procurement and disbursement of 100,000 brand new winter coats for children in need in over 30 states nationwide. In addition to Patti’s education in Organizational Behavior/Applied Psychology at Albright College, she has held various management positions with advertising, accounting and IT companies. Patti’s commitment to youth is evident in her involvement in the Council for the Workforce of Tomorrow, a committee of the Chester County Workforce Development Board, and Scouts BSA, where she has been an active volunteer for over 15 years. She serves as an Assistant Scoutmaster, the Activity Chairperson, and a Troop Committee member.
Jim is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of CCEDC and its four separate affiliated organizations. His responsibilities include: monthly financial reporting, billing and collections, budgeting, annual financial statement audits along with annual IRS 990 tax filings, grant program audits, commercial insurance programs, cash management, understanding grant contracts, vendor management and payroll; and benefits administration. Jim has been with CCEDC since 2006 and has over twenty years of accounting experience working previously with the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance of a New Jersey insurance company, assisting with various audits, customer service, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Jim is proficient in Microsoft Excel and Word and possesses strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Jim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Albright College. He volunteers his time helping to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease via the Alzheimer’s Association and participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s each year, raising money to advance research in prevention, treatment and a cure for the disease.
Patrick Hayakawa serves as Vice President of Innovation & Marketing for the Chester County Economic Development Council. In this role, he oversees a broad range of services for entrepreneurship, startup activity, tech workforce development, and the innovation economy. Patrick also oversees the organization’s marketing, communications, and media relations, leading creative strategies to advance and elevate CCEDC’s brand and impact within the community. Prior to joining CCEDC, Patrick served as director at Life Sciences Pennsylvania, the statewide trade association supporting biotech and medical device innovation. Patrick brings a track record of working closely with entrepreneurs and innovative companies to advance their technologies while navigating the many private and public resources available across the region. He has a passion for helping first-time entrepreneurs break into the market and find a message that resonates with customers and investors. Patrick previously served as the membership director with the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry and as a government affairs advisor at a private firm in Harrisburg. In addition to his work at CCEDC, Patrick serves on the Advisory Boards of Penn State Great Valley and Mid Penn Bank. Patrick holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Ursinus College. He is a recipient of Pennsylvania Bio’s “16 to Watch in ‘16” Award and VISTA.Today’s Millennial Superstars Award in 2020.
As Grants Consultant, Kate manages environmental grants and construction grants for CCEDC, CCIDA, and their clients. Most specifically, she brings to the table her knowledge and experience of navigating the intricacies of various economic development state grants including the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants, Industrial Site Reuse (ISR) grants, Business in our Sites (BOS) grants, as well as a few federal grants. She assists CCEDC and CCIDA’s clients by helping them understand the different types of environmental, construction, and economic development grants and how the grant programs are applicable to their projects, by fulfilling the grant’s individual paperwork requirements or by instructing clients how to complete the paperwork requirements themselves and by providing liaison support linking clients with State or Federal employees. Kate has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Scranton and a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from Rutgers University. Prior to CCEDC, she worked for 9 years at an environmental consulting firm performing the QA/QC data validations and laboratory auditing. Outside of work, Kate currently spends her time volunteering for the Phoenixville YMCA swim team and spending time with her family.
Sherry Cockerham serves as Project Coordinator for the Hire One Initiative, the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester & Delaware Counties, and the Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern PA. Previously, Sherry worked for the Phoenixville Area School District as an elementary aide as well as administrative positions at Siemens Medical Solutions, USA and CSG Health Services Organization. Sherry served two years as the secretary then president on the Home and School Association board at Barkley Elementary in the Phoenixville Area School District. She also enjoyed years of active volunteerism in her children’s schools. Sherry earned a degree in Office Administration from Delaware County Community College. She also has attended Immaculata University, taking coursework in Organizational Dynamics within the College of Lifelong Learning. A Phoenixville resident and mother, Sherry continues to volunteer her time along with her sons who are active members of the Boy Scouts of America.
Leigh Craig is a Program Coordinator for the Workforce Development – STEM Innovation Youth Programs. She has more than 20 years of experience in environmental insurance primarily as an underwriting assistant at Great American Insurance Group and AxaXL Insurance (previously XL Insurance). Those duties included providing underwriting support, file reconciliation, office management, and general administrative support. For the past 8 years, Leigh worked as site coordinator/head coach for Coatesville United Soccer, an innovative youth development program that uses soccer as a tool to implement mentorship, lifestyles, and offers a safe place for the youth in Coatesville. Outside of work, Leigh is an avid sports fan and spends time with her husband and 3 kids at their sporting events.
Kathy Field began her career at the Chester County Economic Development Council as Gary Smith’s Executive Assistant in September of 2001. Her role expanded throughout the years and she is currently Special Projects Director in the Development Office with primary responsibility for fundraising and managing the CCEDC’s three main events: Business Achievement Awards Dinner, Golf Outing and Stakeholders Breakfast. Since 2006, she has raised approximately $2.8 million. In addition, Kathy manages the board of directors at CCEDC, as well as the Chester County Industrial Development Authority and the Central and Western Industrial Development Authority. She also oversees the Chester County Commercial Industrial Council and their board of directors. Her vast knowledge of the organization gives her the ability to lead clients to the source of their inquiry. In addition, the relationships she has established in the business community, organizational skills and ability to multitask are the cornerstones of her business career. Prior to joining CCEDC, Kathy was the Marketing Director for an Exton based architectural firm. As Kathy likes to refer to as her “first career,” she enjoyed working at the University of Pennsylvania where she pursued a degree at The Wharton School. Kathy and her husband Mike have been married for over 35 years and have four adult children. She is MeMom to three adorable granddaughters. Kathy enjoys relaxing on the beach with a good book.
Jodi Gauker is the Agriculture Project Director for CCEDC where she coordinates the AgConnect Industry Partnership. In this role, she connects farmers and agribusiness owners with the training, resources, and financing they need to successfully grow their business, and provides opportunities for youth to explore careers in agriculture. Prior to joining the CCEDC in August 2012, Jodi worked as an Extension Educator for Penn State Extension where she helped beginning farmers connect with the training and resources they needed to begin or grow their farm dream. In addition to her education at Penn State and Texas A&M Universities and work experience, Jodi brings practical knowledge to her position – she and her husband, Lee, are the 9th generation to continue Gauker Farms in Fleetwood, Berks County. On the weekends, you may find her at the farmers’ market with their family’s beef, or teaching 10th generation, Callie, all about life on the farm. Jodi also remains an active part of the agricultural industry. Jodi is a member of the Berks County Farm Bureau, Berks Agricultural Resource Network, Berks/Southeast Cattlemen’s Association, Penn State Stockmen’s Club, Chester Delaware County Farm Bureau, and the Chester County Agricultural Development Council.
Michelle Hadley is a lifelong resident of Chester County. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Immaculata University and has more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit accounting field. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 17 years and her three children.
Elaine Jasper’s responsibilities include organization, management and submission of federal, state and local grants, using online electronic systems to submit directly to agency networks. She maintains official, fully-executed contracts which are critical for the successful audit and closeout of grant submissions. Collecting information in preparation of the Briefing to Legislators keeps legislators up to date on CCEDC’s programs and projects. Elaine has been with CCEDC for 15 years. She has over 27 years experience with a global pharmaceutical company in statistics and research & development operations where she developed her ability to work efficiently with detail. She worked with the President, R&D, creating technical presentations and correspondence. Business travel within the United States and Europe broadened her experience. Employment with a major Philadelphia CPA firm, working with the Partner-in-Charge of Management Consulting Services, complemented her background. Her technical abilities are in Microsoft Office (WORD, Excel, and PowerPoint), Adobe Acrobat Pro, PDF Converter Professional, Executive Pulse, a CRM solution exclusively for economic developers, and Salesforce.com Inc., a global cloud customer relationship management (CRM) product. Elaine attended a Philadelphia business school, and continuing education computer classes in Chester County. Elaine volunteers her time at the annual premier event of CCEDC’s Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT), hosted by ITAG, the Innovative Technology Action Group demonstrating technical careers by female mentors. She also volunteers her time at an annual St. Patrick’s Day Party held at Camilla Hall, Malvern, a convent home and healthcare center.
Nancy Jones’ duties involve overseeing, managing, coordinating tasks, and maintaining records for Seedcopa’s business loans and insurance & settlement issues. Nancy is the go-to person for loan questions and information requests from clients. Nancy has been with CCEDC/Seedcopa since June 2012 and brings over 30 years of banking experience with retail, mortgages, and commercial businesses for two financial institutions. She worked specifically for commercial lenders and then with the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Senior Underwriter & Operations Coordinator – Seedcopa
Melissa Kellog works with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and various financial institutions, borrowers, and attorneys to prepare and submit accurate loan packages. Her primary responsibilities include loan underwriting and credit analysis, application processing, and closing procedures. She has been with CCEDC/Seedcopa for 2 years bringing her skills in organization, process improvement, and customer service. Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree from Albright College in Accounting, Economics, and Finance. She worked with the school’s finance committee, created and managed annual budgets and accounting systems. On the judicial committee, she enforced rules and regulations, and participated in internal disciplinary proceedings when necessary. Some of the organizations where she has volunteered her time are: Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society fundraising event; Women Against Abuse, fundraising for speaking out against domestic violence; Habitat for Humanity, bringing people together to build homes; Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure against breast cancer; and the Special Olympics, sports for children and adults with disabilities. Current fundraisers are: S. June Smith Center, helping children (birth to five) with developmental needs; Graduate School Scholarship Funds, helping graduate students finish their education; Girls on the Run, positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grades; SPCA, the care and rescue of animals; and she continues with the Special Olympics.
Cheryl Korn joined the Chester County Economic Development Council in 2017 and serves as a project coordinator. Her duties include supporting CCEDC’s technology initiatives, the Ideas x Innovations Network (i2n) and the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG). She also assists CCEDC’s marketing department and STEM Innovation youth initiatives. Her responsibilities include coordinating and communicating with various stakeholders, providing graphic design and electronic marketing assistance, organizing meetings and events, and providing general administrative support. Cheryl’s previous experience as art director for a healthcare software company, tenure at several advertising agencies, and service as the office and marketing manager for various companies, means she is well-suited to wear many hats in her role at CCEDC. Cheryl received a BFA in graphic design from Moore College of Art and has kept her skills current by earning numerous certifications from Springhouse Education & Consulting Services.
Jim Lauckner is the Senior Project Consultant for two of CCEDC’s Industry Partnerships – the Smart Energy Initiative (SEI) and the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware counties (MACCDC), as well as the Hire One Initiative which is focused on helping companies with their recruiting and hiring needs. Jim helps to lead these initiatives as they pursue their missions to bring together business, education, economic development and industry entities. Jim’s focus is to help create programs, training, and consulting opportunities that leverage public and private resources to build funds and sustain the IPs while growing the industries as a whole. Outreach for all of these programs is always open, and while often designed for CCEDC investors, the programs look to be regional or broader where needed. He represents the IP’s leadership to the public both locally and nationally. Working with County and CareerLink staff Jim has given several webinars to help Job Seekers and Employers connect more effectively during the pandemic. Jim has been with CCEDC for 10 years and has over 17 years of experience as owner of J*Lis Management Consulting. Consulting with the healthcare, manufacturing and pharmaceutical and tech industries resulted in improved hiring and recruiting processes. Jim has a Bachelor of Arts degree from La Salle University in Psychology. He volunteered almost 30 years on the Alumni Board of La Salle University and continues in their Chester County Alumni Club. Jim has coached youth soccer for over 20 years, as well as the Olympic Development Program for the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA), and the Football Club of Delaware County (FC Delco). He also coaches Little League Baseball for Glenmoore Eagle Youth Association (GEYA).
Lisa Marciano serves as Program Coordinator for the Workforce Development-STEM Innovation Youth Programs. Prior to joining CCEDC, she worked as the Admissions Director at a local private high school. Previously, she taught elementary general music to kindergarten-6th graders and directed a 4th-6th grade choir in the Owen J. Roberts School District. She loves working with children and volunteering as a singer at her church in Downingtown. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her twin nieces, walking the Struble Trail, and writing songs. She is an avid Disney fan – so much so that after graduating from West Chester University, she led tours on Walt Disney World’s “The Great Movie Ride” and enjoyed bringing smiles to faces in the happiest place on earth. Lisa has been a resident of Chester County since 1997 and is passionate about contributing to its growth and success.
Loan Documentation and Servicing Specialist – Seedcopa
Kathy McAfee is the Loan Servicing and Documentation Specialist for South Eastern Economic Development Company of PA, the lending division of Chester County Economic Development Council. Kathy began working for CCEDC in June 2006 as Loan Closing and Servicing Specialist. She is now responsible for preparing the loan documentation for loan closings, as well as routine servicing of the loan portfolio. Prior to joining the staff at CCEDC, Kathy was employed in the banking industry, first in the operations division, and then the loan originations focusing on loan documentation.
A former small business owner, Marcia became a commercial lender for a traditional bank 25 years ago. She spent the 22 years as a dedicated SBA 7(a) professional with the last 13 years as an SBA 7(a) program manager for a large regional bank. She joined Seedcopa two years ago to manage the credit and operations functions at the CDC. In addition to her degree in Finance, English and Spanish from Albright College, Marcia has gained considerable credit training and commercial lending training through numerous courses and training offered by a previous employer. Marcia continues her professional SBA training through industry seminars, SBA conferences, and SBA District Office training events. In her current role at Seedcopa as credit and operations manager, she is responsible for oversight of all credit and operations functions for the CDC. Much of her initial time at the CDC was spent enhancing the processes and procedures for the organization.
Chris has been with the organization since 2010 and he currently serves as the Vice President, Development Finance. He possesses over 35 years of commercial lending and operations experience in conventional, CMBS and government-backed lending. He utilizes his problem solving skills along with his unique knowledge of financial analytics and loan products to creatively assist business restructure and growth as a means to support economic development. Chris possesses a dual Bachelor of Science Degree from Delaware Valley College with majors in both accounting and finance. He continues to develop his skills through continued professional education and as a volunteer member of multiple industry group committees. When not at work, Chris enjoys being an active volunteer for local educational, religious, and youth sports organizations which are focused on outreach to troubled and “at-risk” youth. In his off-time, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.
Kathleen manages the day-to-day operations and acts as the primary liaison with users of the facility. She develops and implements programs to ensure that the organization has the most suitable working environment for its employees and their activities. In addition, Kathleen oversees all of the Council’s external vendors, as well as supervises any office renovations and construction projects. Kathleen also manages the CCEDC’s IT and communications infrastructure and support. Kathleen and her family moved to Chester County in 1996 and raised two children with her husband of 30 years. She serves as a volunteer food drive coordinator for Chester County Food Bank and volunteer drive coordinator for the American Red Cross.
Tracey Oberholtzer is the Industry Partnership Events and STEM Programs Manager. In her role as IP Events Manager, Tracey is responsible for the successful planning and execution of signature events for the IP’s and Youth Programs. As STEM Programs Manager, Tracey works closely with the Industry Partnerships to maintain and grow STEM and youth programming that enhances the career readiness of our community’s youth. Tracey earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University. Prior to joining the CCEDC, she worked as a Program Director and Volunteer Director in the non-profit sector.
Mary Kay Owen is the Project Consultant leading the Health Care Connect industry partnership, where she is working collaboratively with representatives from health care, education and economic development to build strategies to grow the regional health care industry.
Previously Owen was Director of Marketing for Exton Square Mall (owned by PREIT and previously by The Rouse Company), where she designed and developed marketing campaigns that generated public awareness, ROI and community outreach.
Integral to the launch of the Coatesville Grand Prix, which has become the city’s signature event, Owen managed public relations, media outreach and organizational strategies. Owen has volunteered for a variety of community initiatives including the Chester County Workforce Development Board and CCEDC’s Marketing Committee.
Mary Kay received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Goucher College and is a Downingtown resident.
Lori joined CCEDC in April of 2017. As the Business Outreach Manager she works primarily with the Business Development Services Team providing support and communication to CCEDC Investors. She is also the regional Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Engage Program, a statewide business retention and expansion (BRE) program facilitated through CCEDC. In that role, Lori oversees budgets and invoicing for six Pennsylvania county partners who participate in the program. Lori came to CCEDC while co-owning a manufacturer’s representative company with her husband which works primarily with QVC, Inc. – a televised home shopping channel based in West Chester, PA. Currently, she guest hosts on-air at QVC, selling personal care products. Lori spent 15 years working in the field of public relations in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia respectively, before she and her family moved to Chester County in 2000. Lori is a graduate of Bloomsburg University with a B.A. in Business Economics. She is married and has two children. Lori also volunteers with the “Adopt A Pig” charity in Glenmore, PA. The charity was developed to help children and their families cope as they face the challenge of fighting cancer.
Leslie joined the Chester County Economic Development Council in August 2013 and brought a variety of skills to the organization. She oversees the marketing and communications efforts for CCEDC as well as its numerous initiatvies. Her responsibilities include crafting the oranization’s annual report and quarterly briefingings and she also handles graphic design, website content, and social media for the organization. Her previous work experience includes the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the United States Holocaust Memorial Musuem, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and the Lionville Community YMCA. Leslie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the Pennsylvania State University. She has completed additional studies in graphic design and desktop publishing and earned recently earned a Digital Marketing Certificate from Penn State Greaty Valley.
Lauren Sandusky is the newest Loan Operations Specialist for South Eastern Economic Development Company of PA, the lending division of Chester County Economic Development Council. Her duties involve overseeing, managing, coordinating tasks, and maintaining records for Seedcopa’s business loans and insurance & settlement issues. With over 15 years of experience in business lending, Lauren joins the Seedcopa team after serving as Manager of Loan Processing at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) where she worked on a variety of small business loans including the PIDA loan program. Lauren also helped manage COVID-19 relief loan programs including the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, the COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) program and the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). Lauren holds a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Communication from LaSalle University.
Marie Shires joined Seedcopa as Vice President and Relationship Manager in April 2018. Shires comes to Seedcopa with a decade of SBA 504 experience providing commercial real estate and equipment financing to the region’s small to mid-sized businesses. A certified Economic Development Financial Professional, Shires has completed rigorous training in business credit, loan packaging procedures, real estate finance analysis and deal structuring. As a long-time program director and Vice President at a not-for-profit certified development company, she has been responsible for all phases of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans, including business development, processing, closing and servicing. She also draws on enduring relationships with local banks, professional partners and community-based organizations to facilitate the loan process for Seedcopa clients. Shires is a member of Advocates for Small Business, where she holds a seat on the board of directors. Over the course of her career she has taken a participating lead role in a variety of special events and summits for small business owners, including round table discussions and group training sessions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Widener University.
Marianne Stack is a Project Director for the Chester County Economic Development Council’s technology initiatives, the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG) industry partnership and the Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n). In this role she provides leadership and oversight to ITAG, building strategies to help regional technology companies grow and succeed through the collaboration of private employers, educators, and public partners. In support of i2n, Marianne leads the PA Keystone Innovation Zone tax credit program for Chester and Delaware Counties which includes certifying companies for eligibility, ensuring program compliance, assessing company needs and connecting these early-stage and technology-driven companies with resources they need. Prior to joining CCEDC in 2012, Marianne served as project engineer for several civil engineering firms with a focus in land development. Marianne earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Villanova University as well as her Professional Engineer’s License. Being detail oriented, highly organized and having the ability to successfully multitask has been an asset professionally as well as in managing a large, active family. Marianne is an active member of the Saints Philip and James School Board of Limited Jurisdiction.
arrea Walker-Smith is the Diversity and Training Consultant for the Chester County Economic Development Council. In this role, she designs innovative simulated curriculum, supports grant writing, and develops training models for Career Connections Academy, STEM Summer Career Academies, and First-Generation STEM Academy. Marrea also provides leadership for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts of the Chester County Economic Development Council. She specializes in Human-Centered Design Thinking and guides the leadership team and DEI Committee on programs and practices that encourage representation and participation of diverse people. Before joining Chester County Economic Development Council, she worked for 17 years with the City of Chester on economic development projects such as Harrah’s Chester Casino and PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union Soccer Team’s home. She also worked in corporate communications at Independence Blue Cross and has held leadership positions in business, education, and development. In 2018, Philadelphia Business Journal recognized her as a Women of Distinction for her professional achievements, dedication to mentorship, and community involvement. Main Line Today Magazine featured her as a 2018 Healthcare Hero for developing a training model to inspire and create a pipeline of youth talent for future healthcare positions. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development featured Marrea in their Humans of HUD Campaign. Marrea earned a Six Sigma Green Belt in Healthcare from Villanova University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Delaware State University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Widener University, and a Master’s degree in English and Publishing from Rosemont College. Currently, she is completing her Doctorate of Higher Education degree at Cabrini University. She is an advisor trustee for McLean Contributionship Foundation and board member with the Chester County Women’s Commission, The Clinic, and West Bradford Recreation Commission. She a native of the City of Chester but resides in West Bradford Township with her husband Kirk, daughter Milan and dog Axel.