Erie Homecoming 2021

Erie Homecoming 2021: Back to the Future will give attendees the opportunity to experience a time-warp of Erie "then and now" as we explore the impact transformation can have as we get back to business.

Join us for a jam-packed two days to connect with local leaders and community advocates during engaging conference sessions, collaborative conversations, immersive experiences, and more!

This event will be full of opportunities to hear about the incredible work so many passionate Erieites engage in to make your hometown a vibrant community. It's also a chance to experience the change for yourself — whether you're visiting for the first time in over a decade or want to play tourist in your own backyard for a few days. 

Attendees will experience the energy of the community through unique and engaging presentations, tours and networking opportunities!

Your ticket will enable you to:

  • See and hear first-hand from community advocates and business owners leading the way
  • Learn how you can participate and contribute to the unprecedented market momentum occurring in the region
  • Connect with former colleagues and friends via some of our unique virtual networking opportunities
  • Learn inspiring new ways you can catalyze change from some of the nation's foremost thought leaders on community revitalization
  • Become an ambassador for the community you love  

Please join us on October 4th and 5th for this two-day event to learn more about all the ways you can invest in your hometown. 

Who should attend?

  • Former Erie residents looking to reinvest in their hometown, and realize a triple bottom line return — a return on profit, people and place
  • Developers and investors from across the globe
  • Anyone looking for unique, high-potential investment opportunities

What you'll learn.

  • The market and environmental conditions that have led to this point, making Erie an ideal investment opportunity
  • Learn about Flagship Opportunity Zones and what they mean in terms of tax and other investment incentives
  • See first hand some of the investment projects currently happening — with dozens more on the horizon

Why invest in Erie?

Erie is in the midst of an unprecedented era of growth and investment — one that includes more than $750 million in capital investment from the private, philanthropic, and public sectors. Erie is also home to more than 23,000 university students, commercial and residential property ready for redevelopment, and 470 acres of bayfront property — 176 acres of which is prime for development.
October 4 - 5

Event Schedule

Schedule is subject to change. Please check back for updates.
Day One
Monday, Oct 04
Bayfront Convention Center
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast
Start the morning with live music courtesy of Michael Malthaner and Katie Thiem while networking and fueling up for a day one.
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Welcome to Erie Homecoming 2021
Opening remarks by James Grunke, president and CEO of the Erie Regional Chamber
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Finding Meaning
Motivational speaker Andy Kerr speaks on the importance of finding meaning as an individual and community.
9:15 AM – 9:30 AM
Welcome to Erie
A message from County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and Mayor Joseph Schember from the City of Erie
9:30 AM – 9:45 AM
9:45 AM – 10:15 AM
Neighborhood Groups: Bayfront Eastside Taskforce
The oldest neighborhood established group talks about their start, work they're doing now, and the business partners and neighborhood initiatives undertaken to revitalize the historical east bayfront.
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Neighborhood Groups: Our West Bayfront
A community member, industry partner, and neighborhood resident come together to talk mission, vision of the future, and how this unique collaboration is changing a neighborhood, one block at a time.
10:45 AM – 11:15 AM
Our County: Impact Corry
Impact Corry is the "new kid" on the block for the region's economic and community development. Chuck Gray will share revitalization efforts currently underway in the City of Corry and its vision for the community's future.
11:45 AM – 1:15 PM
Community Tours (Lunch Provided)
In 2019, Erie Homecoming debuted several Opportunity Zone projects. This year, attendees are invited to tour completed facilities to see the progress, investment, and change that's occurred over the last two years. Lunch and transportation provided.
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM
Power of Positivity with Bill Cox
Re-energize for the second half of day one with a powerful message from motivational speaker Bill Cox on being a positive force in a not so positive world.
2:15 PM – 2:45 PM
Panel: United Way Community Schools
Panelists will discuss the impact of community schools in Erie. Moderator: Del Birch
2:45 PM – 3:15 PM
Panel: Erie's New American and Minority Business Owners
Business owners share how they got to where they are, biggest challenges as a business owner, and their vision for the Erie of tomorrow. Moderator: Curtis Jones, Jr.
3:15 PM – 3:30 PM
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
New Faces: Community Leadership
Meet the "new faces" of community leadership in Erie County: Karen Bilowith, Erie Community Foundation; Dr. Chris Gray, Erie County Community College; Dr. Kathleen Getz, Mercyhurst University; and Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Edinboro University. Moderator: Kim Thomas
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Business After Hours: New Faces in Erie
Join the Erie Regional Chamber for Business After Hours at the Bayfront Convention Center to meet the "new faces" of Erie's higher education system and the Erie Community Foundation.
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Panel: Why Erie?: A Fresh Perspective
Young professionals with few ties to Erie share why they chose Erie, what they appreciate about the community, and offer a renewed sense of optimism for Erie's greatest assets as "outsiders" turned community advocates.
5:00 PM
Free Time
Need a rest? Enjoy the evening taking in the sites and sounds of Erie County on your own or take your tuit to local establishments for a drink courtesy of the Erie Regional Chamber.
Day Two
Tuesday, Oct 05
Bayfront Convention Center
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM
Continental Breakfast
Join us for a light breakfast and networking.
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Networking, Continental Breakfast, Live Music
Grab breakfast, network, or check in with the office before Day Two gets underway.
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Understanding Diversity in Erie
Dr. Rhonda Matthews from Edinboro University shares the history and impact of diversity in Erie.
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
FIRE Accelerator: Demo Day 2021
Demo Day is the public showcase pitch event for the 2021 cohort of the FIRE Accelerator focused on sustainability in manufacturing. Six companies are participating this year. Hear about their innovative solutions to problems manufacturers face.
10:30 AM – 10:45 AM
10:45 AM – 11:15 AM
What's the Buzz About?
Join NWPA Innovation Beehive -- a collaborative effort from local universities and Blasco Public Library -- for an engaging panel discussion to highlight the history, future plans, and successes of the initiative. The Beehive ecosystem works with startups and established businesses providing access to free resources across Northwestern PA.
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Panel: Entrepreneurship During The Pandemic
Hear from restauranteurs who elevated their entrepreneurial spirit during the pandemic into the hardest hit industry, how they persevered, and how they're doing now. Moderator: Chris Sirianni, owner of The Brewerie at Union Station
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Lunch and Networking
1:15 PM – 1:30 PM
Mindfulness: Embracing Our Diverse Selves and the World Around Us
Brandon Wiley, founder of OpenedEyes, discusses the importance of diversity and inclusion in an evolving world.
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Erie Arts and Culture
Erie artists talk about the importance of public art in Erie and the industry's influence in economic development. Moderator: Patrick Fisher, executive director of Erie Arts and Culture
2:15 PM – 2:45 PM
Panel: Erie - Past, Present, and Future
Regional businesses share insights on why a community must know where it's been to understand the opportunity and vision of where it can go. Moderator: Rebecca Styn, owner of Room 33 and Blind Tiger founder.
2:45 PM
Closing Remarks
3:00 PM
Erie Arts Sculpture Walk
Join Patrick Fisher on a guided tour of Erie's public art and sculptures in the heart of downtown (weather permitting).

Our Speakers

Dr. Dale-Elizabeth  Pehrsson
Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson
President, Edinboro University
Del  Birch
Del Birch
Curtis  Jones, Sr.
Curtis Jones, Sr.
Owner, Chipper's
Corey  Cook
Corey Cook
Owner, Cook Media Productions
Dr. Chris  Gray
Dr. Chris Gray
President, Erie County Community College
Brian  Fuller
Brian Fuller
Director of Operations, Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Science, Mercyhurst University
Curtis  Jones, Jr.
Curtis Jones, Jr.
Chris  Sirianni
Chris Sirianni
Owner, The Brewerie at Union Station
Brandon  Wiley
Brandon Wiley
Founder, Opened Eyes
Amanda  Duncan
Amanda Duncan
Community Leader, Radius CoWork and President, Young Erie Professionals
Anna  Frantz
Anna Frantz
Executive Director, Our West Bayfront
Alice  DeGeorge
Alice DeGeorge
Owner, Presque Isle Printing Services
Bill  Cox
Bill Cox
Owner, Bill Cox Coaching
Daria  Devlin
Daria Devlin
Executive Director, Erie Center for Arts and Technology
James  Grunke
James Grunke
President and CEO, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership
John  Persinger
John Persinger
CEO, Erie Downtown Development Corporation
Joe  Schember
Joe Schember
Mayor, City of Erie
Kathy  Dahlkemper
Kathy Dahlkemper
County Executive of Erie County
Andy  Kerr
Andy Kerr
Owner, Andy Kerr Coaching
Charles "Chuck" Gray
Executive Director, Impact Corry
Erica  Jackson
Erica Jackson
Community Impact Manager, Grant Administration, United Way
Kyle  Bohrer
Kyle Bohrer
Owner, Gordon's Meat Market and Firestone's
Jeremy  Bloeser
Jeremy Bloeser
Executive Director, BEST
Jim  Berlin
Jim Berlin
Owner, Logistics Plus
Karen  Bilowith
Karen Bilowith
President, Erie Community Foundation
Joel Normand and Maria DiSanza
Joel Normand and Maria DiSanza
Owners, Luminary Distilling and Fuhrman's Cider and Eatery
Marcus  Atkinson
Marcus Atkinson
Principal, M. Atkinson & Associates
Mike  Jaruszewicz
Mike Jaruszewicz
Vice President of Community Impact, United Way
Niken  Astari Carpenter
Niken Astari Carpenter
New American Liaison, City of Erie
Patrick  Fisher
Patrick Fisher
Executive Director, Erie Arts and Culture
Rebecca  Styn
Rebecca Styn
Owner, Room 33 and Founder, Blind Tiger
Rhonda  Matthews
Rhonda Matthews
Diversity Educator
Tony  Peyronel
Tony Peyronel
Executive Director for Entrepreneurial Development, Center for Branding and Strategic Communication, Edinboro University
Bassam  Dabbah
Bassam Dabbah
Owner, Sham Market
Dr. Kathleen  Getz
Dr. Kathleen Getz
President, Mercyhurst University
Brad  Gleason
Brad Gleason
Director of Entrepreneurial Operations, Gannon University
Amy  Grande
Amy Grande
Community School Director, McKinley Elementary
Lisa  Heidelberg
Lisa Heidelberg
Owner, Dinner Is Served By Lisa
Chuck  Peters
Chuck Peters
Owner, Altair Real Estate
Fr. Steve  Simon
Fr. Steve Simon
President, Board of Directors for BEST
Brian  Slawin
Brian Slawin
Regional Director and Portfolio Manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Karen  Thomas
Karen Thomas
Owner, Pineapple Eddie's

Reserve Your Spot

For more information, contact Colleen Gross, Director of Membership Services, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership at cgross@eriepa.com or (814) 454-07191 ext. 146.

   General Admission 
  Virtual Attendee
Presented By
Erie Chamber