By JIM MEYER – Staff Writer
The new year means a new job for Deb Eckelberger, as she will take on the role of developmental director of the Franklin Industrial and Commercial Development Authority.
Originally from Venus, Eckelberger has lived in Franklin for over 20 years, and most recently worked as deputy director of the Titusville Redevelopment Authority. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Clarion University.
“I love the area I live in and I’m happy to have the opportunity to put my education and experience to work to help Franklin,” said Eckelberger, who begins her new job on Jan. 2.
Eckelberger anticipates the biggest challenge of her job will be innovating ideas on how to help businesses that have been impacted by the closing of Joy Global.
“We can’t continue to rely on a Joy or a Quaker State,” Franklin City Manager Tracy Jamieson said. “We have to diversify and support small businesses. That kind of thinking gave birth to the FICDA complex.”
Eckelberger, a former real estate agent who also has been active in the Franklin Rotary Club, said her primary goal in 2018 is to get to know the local businesses better and help them connect better with the resources they need.
“These small businesses are part of the unique character of our communities, which helps us to compete with the metropolitan areas,” Eckelberger said.
She especially enjoys Franklin’s coffee shops and restaurants and said people from outside the area offer her a warm smile when she tells them where she’s from.
“They always say, ‘Oh, that nice community at the bottom of the hill,'” she said.
What Eckelberger wants Franklin residents to know about her is that she intends to be accessible.