LVCPO on the Rise

by Bob Rust & Ray Bridgeman

The Lehigh Valley Consortium of Professional Organizations (LVCPO) is a formally constituted nonprofit corporation with the following eleven professional corporations as members, represented by officers of their respective Boards of Directors:

  • American Planning Association of Pennsylvania – Lehigh Valley/Berks Section
  • Association of Fund Raising Professionals – Eastern – Pennsylvania Chapter
  • Bar Association of Lehigh County (BALC)
  • Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley (LVEPC)
  • Forum for Ethics in the Workplace – Salesian Center, DeSales University
  • Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors Association
  • National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors – Lehigh Valley Chapter (NAIFA-LV)
  • Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants of the Lehigh Valley (PICPA – LV)
  • Risk Management Association of the Lehigh Valley
  • Society of Professional Engineers of the Lehigh Valley (SPE-LV)
  • Exit Planning Institute, Lehigh Valley Chapter

How did this organization, LVCPO with over 6,000 professionals represented by the above organizations, come into being? The idea behind LVCPO emanated from a discussion between Dan LaBert, the then Executive Director of the BALC and Bob Rust, Lehigh Valley attorney of Rust Law, LLC and a member of BALC. Their idea was to form an organization that would encourage individuals from sister professions to interact with one another by attending programs held at the Barrister’s Club. These programs would feature presentations on current matters important to all the members of the member organizations and provide the opportunity to network and develop business opportunities at a social hour following each program.

Moreover, each session was to be private, thereby encouraging open and candid Q&A sessions with each speaker or panel of speakers.

An ad hoc organization was put in place with representatives of the BALC, LVEPC, NAIFA-LV, PICPA-LV and the SPE-LV forming an informal Board with Dan LaBert as the de facto Executive Director. For several years, LVCPO continued to operate in this fashion, hosting many successful programs and bringing together members to hear elected officials speak to important current topics and to mix and mingle.
In 2012, Ray Bridgeman was appointed Executive Director of the BALC and Director of the LVCPO. He not only picked up where Dan left off, he played a key role in taking LVCPO to a whole new level. Together with Bob Brown (current President of the LVCPO Board), they challenged the ad hoc governing board to incorporate LVCPO, establish a formal board with representatives from each member organization, and to charge each Board Director of the new board to aggressively seek greater participation in LVCPO programs by the members of their respective organization.

With this new vision, LVCPO put on amazing seminars with dynamic area leaders presenting, such as Don Cunningham (CEO-LVEDC), J.B. Reilly (CEO-City Center Investment Corp.) and Dr. Christopher Borick (Director of Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion). One of its principal goals was to provide networking opportunities between all its members, and this new plan has produced amazing signature events with hundreds in attendance, including high end car shows and beer and spirit tasting events from local companies, along with entertainment.
Formal incorporation ensued thereafter with a de jure Board made up of rotating Board members from the member organizations, three at large members and Ray Bridgeman as a permanent Board member and Treasurer. The first president of the newly constituted Board was Irv Keister (NAIFA-LV), followed by Rosemary Lamaestra (PICPA-LV), David Ellowitch (LVEPC) and Bob Rust (At large).

Under the leadership of lrv, Rose and David, the number of member organizations soon grew from four (4) to ten (10) organizations, thereby increasing exponentially the opportunities for interdisciplinary networking and business development between the members of the member organizations. Moreover, given the significant number of professionals present at each of LVCPO’s programs, the organization is able to draw top speakers willing to candidly address current “hot topics.”

While the LVCPO story is one of success, the authors recognize that the organization has just started to realize the tremendous potential for interdisciplinary discourse and business development that is “there for the taking” by the 6,000 plus individual professionals belonging to the LVCPO member organizations.

It is with this mind, that the authors strongly encourage those professionals who have yet to attend a LVCPO program to access LVCPO’s website to learn more about the organization and to identify the Board member of their member organization who is currently sitting on the LVCPO Board. Moreover, the authors welcome inquires ( and, as do the current President of the LVCPO Board, Bob Brown (, current President Elect, Rick Roseberry ( and current Secretary, Ron Semanick (

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