SHAMOKIN DAM - On May 1 the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce welcomed their new president and CEO, Robert Garrett.

Garrett moved to the Central Susquehanna Valley in 1980 to become the graphic arts instructor at the SUN Area Vocational Technical School. He grew up in Chester County and graduated from the Thaddeus Stevens State School of Technology and received his vocational teaching certification from Penn State University.

Garrett served as director of the Union County Economic Development Council and as the interim director of the Union County Planning Commission. In 1994, he went to work for Congressman Tom Ridge and then joined PennDOT when the congressman became our governor. He wrapped up his work with PennDOT last August and was instrumental in supporting the broad-based coalition that was successful in passing the transportation revenue enhancement legislation, now known as "Act 89 of 2013-A Decade of Investment."

Garrett is the former mayor of New Berlin and previously served as the chairman of the chamber's transportation committee. He served as president of the Route 15 Coalition, helped to start Leadership Susquehanna Valley and was instrumental in the formation of the Susquehanna Valley Visitor's Bureau. His economic development successes include the siting of the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex and the expansion of the "QE Manufacturing family of businesses."

Garrett will work closely with the chamber's board of directors, committees and affiliates in order to implement and coordinate the chamber's new strategic plan, its mission, and its daily activities.

The chamber is a regional, membership-based business organization dedicated to preserving and strengthening the Susquehanna Valley's business environment and quality of life by providing programs and services that promote civic, social, business, and economic growth and development.

The chamber serves nearly 800 member businesses in the four-county area of Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union, as well as members in Harrisburg, State College and Williamsport.