Stollar brings her real estate knowledge to MVA | Business
For 17 years, business development was Mary Stollar’s specialty with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
“Most of my time there I was helping companies find a place to relocate or expand,” she said. “The chamber owned no real estate and had no personal interest in where a business was located in the county.”
Her responsibilities also extended to providing access to state incentive programs, as well as business outreach and funding programs across the county.
Stollar, of course, came to the chamber as a financially savvy professional. She had an extensive banking background – 30 years as a manager at two banks in western Pennsylvania. So she knows about finances.
Mon Valley Alliance now draws on over four decades of experience.
Stollar, who had reduced to part-time at the chamber in 2019, came to the MVA three weeks ago as head of real estate and business development. Allianz announced its hiring on April 19, along with the promotion of Jamie Colecchi to CEO.
Colecchi succeeded Ben Brown, an East Washington resident, who stepped down before assuming the newly created position of Director of Customer Experience and Innovation at Community Bank.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into the game,” said Stollar, who is from Washington County. “(MVA) over the past two years has been incredible.
“I’ve spent 30 years in banking, so it’s nice to be with a company that’s growing and seeing potential funding opportunities.”
Stollar is pleased with the move to MVA, as is Colecchi to have them on board. They had previously worked together when Colecchi worked for the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission. “It was great to reconnect with her,” said Colecchi.
She said they had a morning meeting shortly after their arrival “about all the initiatives” involving the coalition. “We feel that much of what I have done at the chamber fits my role here.”
Her role will include the advancement of the Alta Vista Business Park. Work on the park adjacent to Interstate 70 in Fallowfield Township has accelerated in recent years under Brown’s patronage. Only three lots in the 256 hectare area remain available for development.
“Everything else was claimed. Earth is being moved for new buildings,” said Colecchi, who was director of operations and development at MVA. “Ben has definitely got things on the right track over the past three years with his energy and drive. We want to keep the momentum and see where it takes us.”
Alta Vista is certainly not the only endeavor the Alliance is pursuing in the valley. “The organization is reviewing downtown labor-saving projects,” said Colecchi, who has been a linchpin in the development and management of the Mid-Mon Valley Regional Business Zone.
One of these projects resulted in the demolition of two closed adjoining stores in Charleroi: the former Atlas Merchandising Co. warehouse and Bill’s Feed Store. Groundbreaking for a 6,000-square-foot office building at Second Street and McKean Avenue.
“The alliance will primarily be aimed at medical practices,” said Stollar. “We had an economic study done and the medicine was great.”
Another project is literally close to MVA. The Mon Valley Business Resource Center — a hub for new business development, training and incubation — opened in a former community bank branch in Monongahela. The MVA and its foundation are also active there.
The Alliance is one of many entities that the Washington County Chamber works with. Chamber President Jeff Kotula fully supports the two high-level personnel moves recently made by MVA.
He said in a statement: “The Mont Valley Alliance could not have made a better selection than Jamie and Mary. Jamie is well respected for his finance knowledge and Mary is well established in the area’s real estate industry.
“We look forward to working with them on the growth of Mont Valley.”
The valley has certainly grown on Colecchi; he is a lifelong resident. Stollar, on the other hand, never lived there. However, she is quite familiar with the lawn and feels comfortable with it.
“I’ve spent a large part of my professional career here,” she said Tuesday from her office. “When I worked for Mellon Bank I supported branches in Charleroi, Donora and Monessen. My work with the chamber also brought me here.”
Stollar is actually back in the game – a familiar game.