Alvernia, a Leader in Traditional and Online MBA in Pennsylvania, Provides Local Non-Profit with Marketing Ideas

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Business Students work with Hay Creek Valley Historical Association

Which has more name recognition; the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association (HCVHA) or the Joanna Furnace? That’s one of the questions the HCVHA asked Alvernia University, a leading provider of traditional and online MBA in Pennsylvania, to help solve. The students in Alvernia’s marketing research seminar devoted the fall semester to this research project and presented their findings to the association last week.

Alvernia’s assistant professor of business, Dr. Samuel Bradley, drew upon his professional experience in market research to teach the class. The students had three main goals; define the target market and participant profile; develop a clear and unified brand identity and make recommendations on how to build brand equity.

“At first the students were overwhelmed, they had no idea where to start,” explained Bradley. “They did their research, they talked to board members and after a few weeks they knew what to do. This is exactly how market research plays out in a real corporate environment.”

HCVHA was founded in 1975. One of the organization’s first efforts was to create the Hay Creek Festival as a way to celebrate the history and technology of the region. Then, in 1979, Bethlehem Mines donated the Joanna Furnace to the organization. The festival was used as a fundraiser to restore the furnace.

Part of the students’ research involved attending the Hay Creek Festival and the Hay Creek Apple Festival to observe and collect data. Undergraduate students focused on the marketing aspect and MBA students devoted their time to creating branding recommendations.

“I was highly impressed with students’ objectivity, professionalism and divergent marketing proposals that were developed,” said Joanna Furnace Education Coordinator Ron Schlegel. “Their proposals locked directly into our objectives, our evolving needs and our master plan. The marketing/branding ideas that were presented will give us the starting point to proceed in developing new effective marketing/branding approaches.”

According to Schlegel, the students’ ideas will be incorporated into a new event structure and marketing program that will be rolled out in 2014. In addition, the non-profit is eager to expand their working relationship with Alvernia and plans to implement an internship program with the school.

About the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association

Founded on October 19, 1975, the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association’s objective is to support and demonstrate, to foster interest in and appreciation for our local heritage, and to provide a living experience of Berks County's rich agricultural and technological past.

Today the furnace is supported almost entirely by the dedicated services of HCVHA's volunteer members, community partners and the tremendous spirit of cooperation which guides their restoration efforts and festival activities. Their objective is the recreation of a major 19th Century iron making community through education, research, archaeology, restoration, early American crafts, engine technology, and many other areas. For more information, visit:

About Alvernia Traditional and Online MBA Programs

Alvernia, a leading provider of traditional and online MBA in Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia, offers classes accredited by ACBSP. All classes are taught by experienced faculty and with several course formats, most students complete their degree in just two years or less. For more information, visit:

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Susan Haldeman
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