Members of the Leadership Carbon Class of 2013 began their nine-month program yesterday with a reception breakfast held at the Blue Mountain Health System Medical Plaza in Bowmanstown.

This year's class consists of 12 members. It is the eighth year of the program, which is co-sponsored by the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and Carbon County Partners for Progress.

About 40 people attended the reception, including members of previous Leadership Carbon classes.

Leadership Carbon is a nine-month program designed to cultivate leaders for the benefit and development of Carbon County's future.

Each month the members meet with a different topic on the agenda. Among those topics are county government, economic development, health care, team building, environment and education.

At the end of the program, a graduation ceremony is conducted.

Members of the Class of 2013 are:

Ÿ Marsha Resch of Blue Mountain Health System.

Ÿ Tami L. Hinkle of Elk Lighting.

Ÿ Jeremy J. Klotz of J & R Slaw Inc.

Ÿ Karen A. Kupres of Jim Thorpe National Bank.

Ÿ Donna L. Martino of Mauch Chunk Trust Company.

Ÿ Aaron M. McAnulty of Seitz Brothers.

Ÿ Deborah E. Neff of Blue Mountain Health System.

Ÿ Brian Reph of Ampal Inc.

Ÿ Joseph M. Ruso of PenTeleData.

Ÿ Shawn Schoch of Ampal Inc.

Ÿ Mary Ellen C. Stephens of St. Luke's University Health Network.

Ÿ Andrea J. Strohl of KME/Kovatch Corp.

Speaking at the reception were Elissa Garafalo of the Leadership Carbon Steering Committee; Heather McClure, administrative assistant of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce; and Maureen Donovan, assistant director, workforce and community service, Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Welcome remarks were given by Lisa Johnson, vice president of public relations and marketing of Blue Mountain Health System.

The invocation was offered by Wayne Nothstein, Carbon County Commissioner and a member of the Leadership Carbon Steering Committee.

Garafalo explained the purpose of Leadership Carbon and that it has been "a very valuable program."

"We think we know everything about our own backyards," she said, adding that the class members will discover more information about the history, culture, and professions of the area through the leadership sessions.

Special recognition was given by Garafalo to Carleen Ladden of Pencor Services for assisting with Leadership Carbon.

McClure, a 2012 graduate of the Leadership Carbon program, told the class, "This is a fantastic program. You're going to learn a lot of stuff."

She added, "It's going to change how you look at things."

Donovan said leadership "is something that everybody looks at differently."

"Are leaders born or are they taught?" she asked.

The answer will be revealed at the conclusion of the Leadership Carbon classes, Donovan said.

"You're going to get out of this program exactly what you put into it," she stressed to the class members.

Donovan quoted John Quincy Adams who said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

Remarks were also given by state Rep. Doyle Heffley, who labeled Leadership Carbon "a wonderful program."