Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

HU’s Darr leads list of Catalyst award winners as Harrisburg Chamber announces 2019 selections

Dr. Eric Darr, center, leads the groundbreaking in July for Harrisburg University’s new tower.

Dr. Eric Darr has been named the 2019 Catalyst Award winner, as the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC today announced its most recent list of people and organizations that serve as positive and influential forces for our area.

Darr, president of Harrisburg University, has spearheaded the rapid growth of the university and accelerated the redevelopment of downtown Harrisburg, according to the chamber.

“President Darr has led the university through an explosive period of growth and prosperity within the last year, helping to build the university into a powerful economic driver for the city of Harrisburg and the region as a whole,” stated the chamber, in a press release.

In its latest growth spurt, HU is currently constructing a 17-story mixed-used building at S. 3rd and Chestnut streets that will house academic space, a hotel and a restaurant.

Last year, TheBurg received the Catalyst Award.

In addition, to the Catalyst Award itself, the chamber and CREDC announced the winners of additional awards under the Catalyst framework, to honor other movers in the Harrisburg area.

  • Athena Award: Claudia Williams of The Human Zone, honoring her “leadership and mentorship” in her business and volunteer activities.
  • Business Diversity Champion Award: Todd Snovel of the PA Commission on LGBTQ+ Affairs for his “commitment to the ideals of diversity and inclusion through his 15-year career.”
  • Corporate Citizen of the Year Award: UGI Utilities for “reliable service” to its customers and “positively impacting the lives of its employees and the communities it serves.”
  • Emerging Business Leader of the Year Award: Blake Lynch, community liaison for the Harrisburg Police Bureau, for helping to “facilitate communication and cooperation between Harrisburg’s police officers, its citizens and community partners.”
  • Government Leader of the Year Award: Rep. Sheryl Delozier for her work as a legislator and volunteer, especially in the realm of criminal justice reform.
  • Small Business of the Year Award: Triscari for its creative services work over 45 years.
  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Sylvia Hepler of Launching Lives for helping to “develop and sustain women’s mentorship programming at the Harrisburg Regional Chamber, such as the Chamber Business Women speaker series and the CBW Lean In Circles.”

“We are incredibly proud to honor this group of businesses and individuals for their dedication to growing our community,” said David Black, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. “We’ve had more nominations this year than our past years, and we credit our Catalyst Awards committee with making difficult decisions on who to honor when we have so many impactful organizations in our region.”

The annual Catalyst Awards ceremony will take place on Dec. 4 at the Hilton Harrisburg, starting at 5:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit

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