including a legislative update, upcoming events, and more!

Chamber News


CCCBI Celebrates Women's History Month


March 1st marked the beginning of Women's History Month, and CCCBI is taking this opportunity to celebrate our women-led Chamber staff!


This week, we'd like to recognize our Vice President - Operations & Events, Julie Varga!


 Julie has been at the Chamber for nearly two years, working tirelessly to bring our Membership a dynamic lineup of fun, informative and meaningful events! This past November, she was promoted to CCCBI's Vice President and has become an invaluable resource for our staff AND our Membership.

In honor of Women's History Month, we asked Julie how the women in her life have played a role in her professional development. Here's what she had to say:

Please join us in giving Julie a well-deserved round of applause! 


March Speaker Series: A Behind the Scenes Tour of QVC


Earlier today, CCCBI visited QVC for our March Speaker Series! 


Over thirty members were able to go behind the scenes at QVC Studio Park for personalized tours throughout the building. Our attendees saw the live sets, warehouses, control rooms, and they even met a few hosts!


Thank you to the entire team at QVC, including our wonderful tour guides, Michaelann VanKirk, Adam Cavanaugh and Joseph Mustaccio, and Jeff Pannozzo, Global Head of Government Affairs, who helped make this unique opportunity possible. 


Legislative Update


CCCBI & Life Science Members Strongly Support Pennsylvania R&D Tax Credit Program


The Keystone State has the potential to be one of the nation’s leaders in innovation. Accelerator and incubator programs for the life science industry are burgeoning throughout the state. The software development, manufacturing, and automation industries are also thriving.

A deeper investment in Pennsylvania’s Research and Development (R&D) tax credit program would support these industries and advance economic development, one of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s top priorities. The R&D tax credit program has a strong foundation.


Unlike most states, Pennsylvania’s program accommodates both large companies and startups by making tax credits transferrable. Companies that are not yet profitable can sell the credits to companies that do. Those companies can then use the credit to lower their income tax burdens.

This key element sets Pennsylvania apart from states such as North Carolina, which does not have any comparable R&D tax credit program despite its vibrant life science industry, and others. Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) has touted the benefits of the tax credit program. According to a 2020 report, the program each year allows firms to generate or maintain 915 full-time jobs at a typical annual wage of $80,000 to $95,000. The IFO also concluded that the tax credit incentivizes state R&D expenditures and that every dollar of tax credit could inspire $1.00 to $1.50 of private R&D spending. In addition, the IFO’s report highlighted that the R&D tax credit can be a vital tool for large multi-state corporations that undertake R&D operations in multiple states. The credit allows these entities to offset a high statutory corporate net income tax (CNIT) rate (9.99 percent). With this credit in hand, such corporations can greatly reduce their CNIT liability.


However, the program could have a much greater impact if funded sufficiently. Every year, the demand for R&D tax credits exceeds program funding by about $100 million, with applicants requesting far more than the available funds. As Governor Shapiro recently stated, “Ohio has one-and-a-half million fewer people than Pennsylvania, yet they’ve invested over seven times more in economic development than we have. And you know what, their investment is paying off.” According to the nonprofit, JobsOhio, this investment most certainly is resulting in high rewards for Pennsylvania’s neighbor. The organization writes that Ohio was named as one of the top states for automotive manufacturing and for business infrastructure by Business Facilities Magazine and CNBC respectively.


Our Legislature has already taken a great step forward by increasing the Childcare Tax Credit, which enables business owners and talent to afford care for their children, the future of the state. By increasing the cap on the R&D tax credit program to $100 million annually, the Legislature can further increase Pennsylvania’s economic prosperity and boost innovation within the state. It is imperative that the sunset provision which would negate, in 2025, the recent $5 million increase to the program be repealed and that the program cap be increased instead.


By enhancing the Pennsylvania R&D tax credit program, the state government can demonstrate a commitment to fostering innovation. This initiative can help retain businesses within the state and attract companies from outside Pennsylvania to establish operations here.


This Legislative Update was submitted by 

Laura Berry, Bowers R&D Associates

Laura Manion, CCCBI

Emma Watson, Novocure


Membership Spotlight


The Jeweled Warrior


Kristin Costin stands as the visionary creator and proprietor of The Jeweled Warrior, an enchanting gallery and gift shop nestled in the heart of Eagle, PA. A graduate of the University of Rochester, NY, with a degree in Eastern Religion and Studio Arts, Kristin brings a diverse background to her entrepreneurial journey.


With a foundation in the restaurant industry extending from high school to her late 20s, Kristin's pivotal role as the Events Coordinator for the Pierre Restaurant Group in Conshohocken equipped her with invaluable skills in website management and email campaign creation. Leveraging these capabilities, she played a crucial role in elevating events for Sips in Phoenixville.


Kristin's journey took a turn when health challenges with endometriosis led her to transition to a remote position as the Director of Communications for Arts Holding Hands and Hearts (AHHAH). Here she refined her social media marketing skills for the nonprofit sector.


In her role as an endometriosis patient advocate, Kristin Costin devoted two impactful years to delivering presentations nationwide, reaching thousands of medical and pharmaceutical professionals. These engagements not only heightened her understanding of the challenges faced by those with endometriosis but also honed her skills in commanding large audiences and persuasive communication. Through this experience, Kristin emerged as a compelling advocate, adept at driving meaningful change in the discourse surrounding women's health.


Amidst the challenges of the COVID era, Kristin took on a leadership role at Conservation Voters of PA, where she navigated politically charged conversations and demonstrated resilience as a team leader.


Today, Kristin seamlessly weaves the threads of her diverse experiences into her own brand, symbolized by The Jeweled Warrior. As a passionate advocate and businesswoman, Kristin is eager to share her wealth of knowledge to propel the success of women in business in Chester County. Kristin currently serves as a board member for the Women’s Business Connection of Chester County and serves on the Marketing Council for the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce.


While not working, Kristin enjoys cooking delicious meals with local Chester County ingredients, exploring antique and small retail stores, reading a good book on her hammock, and many outdoor activities. Her favorites among them: gardening, hiking with her two dogs and fiance, making upcycled art, paddleboarding, and combing the beach.


CCCBI is proud to feature women-owned and operated businesses in our Membership Spotlights during Women's History Month. When we asked Kristen what being a women in business means to her, she said, 


"As the founder of The Jeweled Warrior, I am deeply grateful for the vital role women play in the world of business. Our Enchanted Forest gift shop and gallery thrives thanks to the incredible contributions of female artists and professionals within our network. Without the innovative spirit and dedication of women in business, our establishment simply wouldn't exist.


From the inception of our brand identity to the intricate details of our interior design and signage, every aspect of our gallery has been expertly crafted by talented women. It was imperative to me that our space not only celebrates artistic diversity but also champions gender inclusivity beyond traditional norms.


Having personally experienced the impact of misogyny in the healthcare system as an endometriosis patient, I am committed to fostering an enchanted environment that empowers and elevates women in business. It's not just a professional endeavor; it's a deeply personal mission to drive cultural change and promote equality in every sector."

-Kristin Costin

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