2021 Focus Central Pennsylvania Industrial Development Forum

Speaker and Panelist Biographies

Emcee
Ryan C. Unger, President & CEO, Team Pennsylvania

Ryan joined the staff of TeamPA in 2011 to guide Team PA’s policy work. Over the years, he has transitioned from his policy role to Vice President & COO and eventually President & CEO. Ryan is a native of the Susquehanna Valley, Pennsylvania, graduating from Elizabethtown College – where he currently serves as President of the Alumni Council – and has committed his career to advancing local and regional economic development efforts. Through his various roles at Team PA, Ryan has been integral in a variety of statewide workforce and economic development initiatives that have been recognized nationally as best practices.

 

Focus Central PA Board Chair
Jennifer Wakeman, Executive Director, DRIVE 

Jennifer Wakeman has lived in the Susquehanna Valley since 1995. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington & Lee University. Her career has covered a variety of fields from agriculture to television and radio. She was the creator, host & content producer for In Your Neighborhood, a monthly news magazine highlighting businesses, organizations, and individuals in the region. It aired exclusively on Service Electric Cablevision.  Before coming to DRIVE, Jennifer was the news director at Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation. With more than 20 years of volunteer experience with area non-profits, Jennifer has a strong commitment to the communities and families in the Susquehanna Valley. She is the vice-chair of Focus Central Pennsylvania, represents Montour County on the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority and the Natural Gas Cooperative board of directors. Jennifer sits on the board of the Young Artists’ Theatre Project, is the past president of RiverStage Community Theatre, and is also a member and former board president of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. She lives in Lewisburg with her husband and two daughters.

 

Keynote Speaker
Michael Marr, Business Integration Lead for Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals

Michael Marr has been a senior communications leader in both the private and public sector for more than two decades.  In 2012, Marr joined Shell and has since worked in different roles covering Shell’s US Chemicals Assets and Shell’s petrochemical project in Beaver County, PA.  For the five years preceding Marr’s employment with Shell, he served as the public affairs lead at the former BP Texas City site, which housed the nation’s third largest oil refinery, an integrated chemical plant and a power plant. Marr worked in senior governmental roles before joining the private sector in 2007.  From 1998-2007, Marr served in a variety of roles for New York Governor George Pataki – including as the Governor’s official press secretary, campaign press secretary and as the State’s lead economic development spokesperson in the 18 months that followed 9/11. Prior to serving in the Governor’s office, Marr worked on Capitol Hill – on both the House and the Senate side. Marr received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and lives in Wexford, Pennsylvania with his wife and their son Ryan, who is nine.

 

Moderator – Central PA Company Investment Panel
Brent Vernon, Executive Director, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Governor’s Action Team

As Executive Director of the Governor’s Action Team (GAT), Brent Vernon leads a dynamic team of economic development professionals who work on the front line of Pennsylvania’s business attraction and retention activities. Headquartered in Harrisburg with seven regional state offices, GAT is the commonwealth’s lead state economic development office. Its primary mission is to foster economic growth throughout the state by attracting new businesses and helping existing Pennsylvania businesses expand and become more successful. Brent has more than 25 years of professional experience serving in state and federal economic and workforce development positions. Prior to becoming GAT Director, he held the positions of Deputy Director for Project Management and Senior Project Manager, where he was responsible for managing energy sector-related projects, particularly those involving Pennsylvania’s vast shale gas reserves and the downstream petrochemical industry. In these roles, Brent provided companies involved in GAT projects with technical assistance and coordinated the services of state agencies and other stakeholders within Pennsylvania’s economic development community. He holds an MPA from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a BA in political science from Pennsylvania State University. Brent also received certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council, and has completed executive education courses at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

 

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
James Pachucki, Chief Financial Officer, BJE Poultry & Kreamer Feed

 

Jim started in December 2019 as the Chief Financial Officer of Kreamer Feed and BJE Poultry, managing financial strategy and overseeing all financial functions. He comes with many years of financial experience. Prior to coming to Kreamer Feed and BJE, he spent ten years at UPMC Susquehanna as Finance Manager and prior as the CFO of Sunbury Community Hospital.  He is excited to work with the team as they continue to grow to improve efficiencies and operations. 

Jim resides in Mifflinburg with his wife Vicki and their three children. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Wilmington University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University. When not attending his kid’s sporting events or helping get them to and from practices, he is a fitness enthusiast, enjoys camping, Penn State Football, NY Mets Baseball, and vacationing at the beach.

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
Jim Nemeth, Director of Human Resources, Autoneum North America, Inc. 

Jim is currently the Director of Human Resources for Autoneum North America, Inc.’s operations throughout North America and is based out of their facility in Bloomsburg. Autoneum is headquartered in Winterthur Switzerland and is a global leader producing vehicle acoustics, floor systems and thermal management systems for the global original equipment automotive market. Jim oversees human resources and labor relations for their facilities in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Jim has over 35 years’ experience in human resources and labor relations. Prior to joining Autoneum, Jim has held positions with several multi-national global companies in both Canada and the United States, including Ford Motor Company, Magna International, Thomson Reuters, PPG Industries and Coca-Cola. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a M.B.A. In addition to his corporate activities, Jim is on the boards of the Central PA Workforce Development Corporation and the Columbia County Water Mitigation Authority.

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
Dominick Mack, Director of Operations and Operations Support , BrightFarms

Dominick is from Central PA and after completing college in West Virginia joined BrightFarms in Yardley, PA as a production manager in the early stages of the company and was responsible for all aspects of the operation, including
production planning, logistics, quality and safety. Dominick has been promoted to Director of Operations and Operations Support and plays a key role in new projects including the Selinsgrove, PA 300,000 square foot hydroponic greenhouse completed over a year ago.

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
Jennifer Mitchell, PHR, SHRM-SCP, Vice President, People Operations at KCF Technologies, Inc.

KCF Technologies is a technology company that develops and commercializes products for industry and the military. The company was founded in November, 2000 by three researchers from Penn State University and is located in State College, Pennsylvania. KCF Technologies is on a mission to optimize American manufacturing, solving problems that no one else will.

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
Debbie Reese, Human Resource Leader with FirstQuality

Debra Reese, PHR, SHRM-CP, currently serves as Sr Human Resources Generalist for First Quality Tissue, LLC, in Lock Haven, PA.  She has been with FQT since March 2005.

Debra is actively involved in recruiting, retention, community outreach and human relations for First Quality Tissue.  She represents First Quality Tissue on the Board of Directors for UPMC Lock Haven Hospital, as well as Advisory Boards for Jersey Shore and Central Mountain High Schools.

 

 

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
Reid E. Hannon, Sr. Director, Transducer R&D for Philips Heathcare

Reid, Sr Director in R & D, is currently the Leader of the Philips Healthcare Global Transducer Research and Development Department in the Ultrasound Business. He is responsible for Development Teams in PA, MA, WA and Shanghai, China.

A native of Central PA, he graduated from Penn State with a BS in Industrial & Management Systems Engineering and started his career in Medical Diagnostic Imaging with Johnson & Johnson after graduation. Through mergers and acquisitions, he has worked for companies such as GE, ATL and now Philips. He has a 30+ years career in Medical Ultrasound contributing in various roles such as Manufacturing Engineering, Product Design, Project Management, Strategic/ Portfolio Management, and leading large international multi-disciplined teams.  

In his current role, he is responsible for the design, development, and release of Ultrasound Transducer Solutions across our portfolio of Philips flagship Ultrasound Systems. Reid has over 20 years’ experience doing business in Asia and Europe and has contributed to many strategic partnerships and business growth initiatives.   

Panelist – Manufacturing Investment Roundtables
Dave Becker, Plant Manager for Philips Heathcare

Philips is a leading health technology company headquartered in the Netherlands with a proud heritage of ground-breaking innovation that stretches back almost 130 years. The company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips world-wide employees 81,000 people and has sales in more than 100 countries. At the Reedsville facility which Philips acquired in 1998 designs and manufactures innovative ultrasound solutions technology. In 2017 facility expansion investments were made to provide environmentally controlled manufacturing rooms, a new cafeteria and fitness center and interior renovations. There are 430 employee members at the Reedsville facility.

 

 

Speaker – Central PA Industrial Real Estate Market Update
John Van Buskirk, SIOR, Founding Principal, Lee & Associates of Eastern Pennsylvania

Mr. Van Buskirk is a founding Principal of Lee & Associates of Eastern Pennsylvania LLC (LAEP), where he also serves as the Broker of Record, Research Chair and a member of the firms Board of Managers. His transactional focus includes industrial landlord and tenant representation work along with site selection and investor acquisitions. Mr. Van Buskirk graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a Bachelor of Arts in Government in 1987. A year later he began his real estate career at NAI Commercial-Industrial Realty (NAI CIR), where he co-founded the Industrial Properties Group at NAI CIR, a dedicated industrial team that was among the first specialized practices in the Central Pennsylvania market. In keeping with his commitment to the industrial asset class, John earned certificates in both Supply Chain Leadership and Management from the Smeal School of Business at Pennsylvania State University in 2006. Prior to leaving NAI CIR, he served as a Mid-Atlantic Director of NAI Logistics Group. In 2009, Mr. Van Buskirk joined Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as one of two leaders tasked with creating a dedicated industrial team for the Philadelphia market, with service capabilities including tenant representation, agency leasing and sales, site selection, and investment sales. By 2014, the team included nine brokers along with dedicated administrative and research support, and was generally recognized as one of the leading industrial teams in the market. Following his departure from JLL in 2014, John completed the coursework and testing necessary to secure licensing as a Real Estate Broker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and currently stands as Broker of Record for Lee & Associates of Eastern Pennsylvania LLC as well as Black Dog Realty Group LLC, a small residential brokerage firm he founded. As a transactor Mr. Van Buskirk has executed large scale leasing and investment sale assignments on behalf of many of the nations leading multi-market landlords, including among others Prologis, Liberty Property Trust, AEW, IndCor, Hillwood, Industrial Income Trust, First Industrial, Industrial Realty Group, and USAA. He has also performed mission critical work on behalf of numerous corporations as well and counts Ahold USA, Ollies Bargain Outlets, SC Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart Stores, Nordstroms, and Norfolk Southern among his past and cur-rent clients. He has been recognized repeatedly as a top producer by JLL, NAI CIR and CoStar at both local and national levels. Mr. Van Buskirk is a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), where he has held various Philadelphia Chapter leadership positions including Chapter President.

 

Industry Expert Q&A
Amanda Morrison, Key Accounts Manager, PPL Electric

As a trusted energy advisor at PPL Electric Utilities, Amanda develops strategic relationships with large customers, identifies opportunities for electricity management programs and services, and provides solutions for various customer issues such as billing, reliability, and emergency/planned outages. She partners with her customers on energy efficiency projects, from initial energy audits and application submittal through project completion by working with external vendors, specialists, engineers, and planners. Amanda recently worked with over 490 manufacturing customers throughout all 29 counties served by PPL. Most recently as a way to better align with the regional resources at PPL, Amanda has shifted her focus to customers in the Northwest portion of PPL’s service territory. Amanda’s territory encompasses over 2,500 square miles and 11 counties. Prior to the Key Account Manager position Amanda worked as a Supervisor in Energy Efficiency in the Customer Programs and Services group at PPL Electric Utilities and was responsible for design and implementation of non-residential energy efficiency programs. Amanda was also responsible for managing the call and rebate processing center for PPL’s energy efficiency programs. Amanda has held several board positions in her community. Amanda currently serves as the Secretary for the Sheppton-Oneida Volunteer Fire Company and the East Union Township Relief Association. Amanda was recently elected as township auditor in East Union township and is a member of the Sheppton American Legion Post 616 Auxiliary. Amanda is a graduate of King’s College with a degree in International Business with a focus in Economics.

Industry Expert Q&A
Don Brominski, Business Development Director, UGI Utilities

Don has spent his entire 29 year professional career with UGI Utilities in varying capacities in both the Gas and Electric Divisions. He is currently the Director of Business Development and is excited to see the opportunities that have presented themselves in Pennsylvania due to the production of Marcellus Shale gas.

Industry Expert Q&A
Dominic O’Brien, Senior Marketing Manager, PhilaPort (The Port of Philadelphia)

Dominic O’Brien markets the facilities and services of PhilaPort / The Port of Philadelphia, where his responsibilities include selling the Port’s services to shippers, steamship lines and other logistics professionals; producing marketing and publicity materials; giving presentations on the Port to business and community groups; and creating and managing databases. Dominic wants to help shippers improve their supply chains by using the Port of Philadelphia. His specialties include; international marketing, international sales, international public relations, international training, international project management, government relations.

Industry Expert Q&A
Justin Ross, Principal, LIVIC Civil, LLC

Beginning his career as a designer and gaining experience at all levels of project delivery has allowed Justin to fully understand how a successful plan comes together. Using this knowledge Justin can comprehend not only what questions his designers and staff may encounter during the design portion of a project, but also how to work with owners and contractors to facilitate a successful team. Justin prides himself on exceptional project satisfaction by understanding a client’s goals, values and challenges to deliver results that surpass expectations. Justin is a registered Professional Engineer in 5 states including Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee. He graduated magna cum laude from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Engineering Mechanics. He then went on to graduate cum laude from the University of Delaware with a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. Currently, Justin is involved with numerous professional associations, including the Susquehanna Valley Chamber Transportation Committee, the Susquehanna Industrial Development Corp. (SIDCO) Board of Directors and FOCUS Central PA.

Industry Expert Q&A
Sandra Tosca, District Executive, PennDOT Engineering District 3-0

Sandra Tosca graduated from Bucknell University with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Civil Engineering.  She is registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania.  She started with PennDOT in 1987 as a Civil Engineer Trainee.  Since the start of her career she has had several assignments in Engineering District 3-0 including:  Environmental Manager, Bridge Safety Programs Engineer, Maintenance Services Engineer, and the Assistant District Executive for Maintenance.  She served as Bureau Director for Maintenance and Operations in Central Office.  Since 2006 she has been the District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 3-0 which covers a nine county area in north central Pennsylvania.  District 3-0 has an average $300 million operating budget with just under 1,000 employees.  Within District 3-0 there are 4,490 miles of state roadways and 2,899 state bridges.  District 3-0 is responsible for delivering one of the largest projects in the state, the $865 million Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation project.

Industry Expert Q&A
Robert Grayston, Owner, Grayston Enterprises LLC

Robert Grayston relocated from West Chester, PA with his wife (Melissa), who is originally from the Central PA region, and their children. Roberts vision to play his part in expanding, repurposing and maintaining the Valley as a great place to raise his family has driven him to invest into the region. Industrial, Commercial and Warehouse operations have been Grayston’s main focus. Robert has been a key driving factor of several developments in the region.  These developments have been providing job opportunities and growth throughout the region.   Grayston Enterprise currently has provided roughly 400 jobs throughout the region and expects that number to continue growing with the current plans of future projects. Some of the developments that Robert has been involved with whether behind the scenes or directly driven are listed below and are new additions to the Central PA Region that have relocated, expanded or are new startup companies.  Grayston Developments to date include Fresh Roasted Coffee (coffee roaster), The Miller Center, Hooplas Extreme, Crossfit, Dance Studio, Retail Distribution, Perfume manufacturer, Cosmetic Distribution, Plygem (stone Veneer manufacture), Auto Parts Distributor, Tire Distributor, Mattress Distributor, Computer Sales & Repairs,  Bath Salts manufacturer, Medical Equipment & Supply Distributors,  Physical Therapy, Heavy Equipment Wheel Distributor, Telecommunication Distributor, Animal Feed Bag Distributor, Climate Control Storage, Boat & RV Storage, U-Haul Center, Landscape Contractors, Water Distributor, Automotive Repairs, Vehicle and Sign Wraps, Custom Vehicle Molds and Parts Distribution, Farming, Bee Keeping , Marcellus Shale Supply Warehousing, Model Home Build, Modular Home Storage, Drafting Groups, House & Apartment Leasing, Residential Development, IB ABEL & Bruce Merrilees (Major line Electric Contractors), Senior Care facilities, Cell Towers, National Retailers, Plastic Injection Molds, North Shore Railroad and KIZ Opportunities. Robert currently owns just over 1000 acres throughout the Valley and has been purchasing regularly to expand his presence and commitment to the Valley’s growth which includes the former Penn Lyon Facility recently. Some of the latest and future developments that Grayston is currently working on are related to Distribution Warehouses, Railroad related opportunities, Assisted Living Complex, Elderly Daycare, Medical locations and other facilities located around the upcoming new highway bypass. Robert realizes this region is a hub for distribution companies and a good market to expand in. With easy access to the highway and major cities, he realizes it is a central location, there’s rail access and rent is inexpensive. Robert is passionate about playing a part to make Selinsgrove and surrounding areas a better place to live and raise his family. Robert manages the Philadelphia Flower Show and lives in Selinsgrove, PA with his wife, Melissa, and their three children.

Industry Expert Q&A
Erica Mulberger, Executive Director, Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC)

Erica is an experienced Executive Director with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Tax Preparation, Team Building, Fundraising, and Management. Erica has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) focused in Accounting from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

 

Industry Expert Q&A
Shannon Munro, Vice President for Workforce Development, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Shannon has a B.A. from Bloomsburg University, an M.S. from Shippensburg University. Prior to joining the college Shannon was the Executive Director for the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation. Shannon is affiliated with The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Industrial Properties Corporation, Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), and Heartland Partnership. Workforce Development at Penn College helps companies understand their workforce skill gaps and then to develop and deliver targeted, customizable training solutions to close those gaps and improve the bottom line. Services from workforce development at the College include DNA for Business, Apprenticeships, Industrial, Plastics, Business/Leadership, Healthcare, Computer, Sustainability, Transportation, Energy and More.

Industry Expert Q&A
Rob Bargo, Videon, Vice President of Operations

A successful technology professional and leader with 35 years experience in electronics design, manufacturing and operations. Rob has worked in a wide variety of industries ranging from consumer electronics & department of defense (Raytheon) earlier in career to current duties at Videon in the avionics arena with in-flight entertainment and streaming video products. Involved in all aspects of the design and manufacture of products as well as leadership roles in various capacities throughout my career. One of the original co-founders of Videon Central and current member of the executive team.