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Dale Kochard recognized as exceptional community leader

Dale Kochard ’73, ’83G, assistant vice president for community and regional affairs, was the 2011 recipient of the Community Partner award.

Dale Kochard ’73, ’83G, assistant vice president for community and regional affairs, was honored for his exceptional work in the community at this year’s Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner.

Kochard was the 2011 recipient of the Community Partner award, which honors involvement in the Bethlehem community and support of the Chamber of Commerce through time, energy, and money. The dinner was the 94th annual event, and was held this year at the newly opened SteelStacks performing arts center and cultural campus on the former Bethlehem Steel site. 

Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham introduced Kochard and made the award presentation. He noted Kochard’s commitment to South Bethlehem as a driving force behind its revitalization, and spoke of his reputation as a dynamic leader among virtually all active members of Bethlehem and the region.

“Dale is a great asset to Lehigh University and to the Bethlehem community,” says Lehigh president Alice Gast.  “This well-deserved recognition by the Chamber affirms the importance of Dale’s work and the tremendous respect he has earned.” 

Kochard has been a tireless member of the Bethlehem community for years. Former President of the Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce, he has served on the Chamber Foundation Board, the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce Board, and is the treasurer of the Downtown Bethlehem Association.

“His commitment to the Chamber of Commerce, and to Bethlehem at large, has never wavered,” says Lynn Logue, vice president of the Bethlehem Initiative, which also organized the event. “He has really been essential to so many organizations, and we were glad to thank him for his work.”

Kochard accepted his award alongside some 200 local business and community leaders at the May 12 dinner.

"I thank Lehigh University for allowing me to be part of their engagement in Bethlehem and giving me the latitude to integrate in the community where I believe it makes sense," he said.

Jeff Parks '70 honored for SteelStacks

As part of the Bethlehem Annual Dinner, the Chamber also presented Jeff Parks ’70 with the Frank L. Marcon award, which recognizes a local leader who has made exceptional strides in the leadership and local economic development.

Parks, was recognized for his commitment to the Lehigh Valley through his development of the SteelStacks project. In his introduction, Mayor John Callahan cited Parks’ long record of accomplishment dating back to his advocacy of Musikfest in 1983.

Parks, who was also the keynote speaker for the event, spoke to the assembled community leaders about the importance of “getting to yes,” noting that new ideas often generate a negative response initially.  He urged attendees to be open to new ideas in their own organizations and to find ways to say yes to those ideas. 

Also recognized at the dinner were St. Luke’s Hospice and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley, which both received Milestone Awards. The two non-profits were recognized for their 25 and 40 years of presence, respectively, in the Lehigh Valley.

Story by Elena Gambino

Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011

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