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Our health coaches are with your employees every step of the way. When your employees are healthier, they’re happier and more productive. That’s why we have health coaches like Stephanie who team up with members like Cortne. Cortne was at risk for diabetes, so Stephanie suggested a plan that helped her lose 50 pounds — so far. And Stephanie even calls her regularly and meets her every month for a walk, to keep her on track and motivated. Members who get help from health coaches are #LivingProof.

Visit to learn how your employees can benefit from health coaches, too.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.












A non-traditional occupation is one in which women (or men) comprise less than 25% of the workforce. For more information on non-traditional careers, contact ECTS.




LOOKING FORWARD As we begin a new month, we also turn the page on some exciting changes here at the Manufacturer & Business Association. Starting April 1, I proudly assume the role as president and chief executive officer of the MBA, while recognizing the mentoring and leadership that has helped us reach this moment thanks to Ralph Pontillo, who is retiring after an incredible, 30-year career. During his time at the Association, Ralph has been a champion for small business and manufacturing, and I believe the foundation that he has set will remain strong for years to come. As MBA Board Chairman Don Hester so aptly stated, “Ralph is extremely passionate about his job. He has always valued leaving something better than when it started, as can be clearly seen in the day-to-day operations of the Association. Ralph will be leaving the MBA financially sound and with a legacy of having built a great culture and organization that will continue to operate at extremely high levels of business and community involvement.” Ralph indeed has left an indelible mark. See page 5 for Pontillo’s final For What It’s Worth column. During his tenure, Ralph is credited with spearheading one of the Association’s most visible community outreach programs, the annual Roar on the Shore® charitable motorcycle rally. Over the past 10 years, the rally has generated more than $840,000 for local charities while providing an annual economic boost of more than $25 million thanks to its more than 100,000 visitors each year. We are proud that Ralph will take an active role in

the leadership of Roar®, including the 2017 rally, set for July 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16. I would personally like to thank Ralph for his leadership and the opportunities he’s given me to grow and develop in my role within the MBA. We are so proud of what we’ve accomplished and are excited and anxious to continue to serve our members in the fashion they’ve become accustomed. Congratulations, Ralph! Your retirement is well-deserved! And, speaking of leadership, it’s fitting that in this edition of the Business Magazine, we are taking a look at leadership and the future. Here, we’ll focus on the 10th anniversary of the Gannon SBDC’s Women in Leadership Development Conference, scheduled for April 27, at the Ambassador Banquet & Conference Center in Erie. We’ll also hear from Peg Tuttle of the White Turkey Drive-In in Conneaut, Ohio, about her best practices in training the next generation of workers, a program that we are now offering here for MBA members.

Also, be sure to view our special section celebrating the more than 100 graduates of the Association’s training programs. These participants and their employers recognize that the pursuit of knowledge on a continuous basis is what will help differentiate them as individuals and collectively as organizations from the competition. Here, at the MBA, we are proud to recognize their accomplishments, and we are excited about what the future has in store. I look forward to working with all of you on this next chapter! Sincerely,

John Krahe, President and CEO Manufacturer & Business Association




The Best is Yet to Come Ralph Pontillo is the immediate past president and chief executive officer of the Manufacturer & Business Association. This column originally appeared in the January 2003 Business Magazine, and he selected to reprint it as his final column. I must confess I have never been happier to say goodbye to a year. 2002 was not a banner year, primarily because the manufacturing recession lingered longer than predicted. Quite frankly, business as a whole took it on the chin this past year. Although pockets of optimism existed and some industries did well, overall, 2002 ended as it began ­— a flat line. Remarkably, most businesspeople to whom I talk remain optimistic for 2003. I have noticed a common denominator among entrepreneurs. Despite massive odds, they continue to persevere. It is a trait I admire a great deal. My father had that trait, along with a deep and passionate love for the American economic system. He immigrated to this country when he was 19 with little more than pocket change. What he did have was tenacity, confidence, perseverance and a desire for freedom. He would define his success, not the government. My father left his homeland because it was oppressive and freedom was just a word. He wanted a better life for himself and for his future family, and he believed he would find it in America. Consider the barriers he needed to overcome: language; a limited education; no knowledge of the monetary system; a foreign land and people — not to mention a fair share of prejudice. Despite these obvious barriers and many more I will never know, he never regretted his decision to come to America. He often said, “This country is not perfect, but it is the greatest country on earth.” How true! When you think of all the nations, not one comes close to offering the freedoms we enjoy. American society creates an

environment that allows for anyone — without regard to race, national origin, sex, religion or any other factor — to create his or her own wealth. My father, like most immigrants, worked in a local foundry. For more than 16 years, he worked two jobs in an effort to support his growing family. I cannot recall a single time that he missed a day of work. His dream of starting a business took a back seat to the need to provide for his family. Slowly, he began to save money to capitalize his first business venture. After walking to work for years, he finally saved enough to purchase a vehicle. His reason for buying one, however, had less to do with getting him to and from work more comfortably and more to do with his need for a business vehicle. His truck would serve his trash-hauling business, where he worked every night after working a full day at the foundry. Hauling trash was a business he could easily enter since most people viewed it as a less-than-desirable job. But what others saw as distasteful, my father saw as an opportunity. His purchase of that single dump truck — along with hard work, ingenuity and a vision — grew into his owning and operating a city landfill. With that, his business developed into partnerships with others that included a fleet of front-end loaders. My father’s business ultimately expanded into the region’s first state-of-the-art transfer station. From that point, my father never looked back, launching no fewer than nine other business ventures, from restaurants to nightclubs to pizza shops. Although he experienced both failure and success, he never stopped participating in and believing in the American free-enterprise system. This is the spirit and perseverance in entrepreneurs that I so respect. It’s this entrepreneurial spirit that starts with a man hauling garbage or starting a business with one machine in his garage that ends up providing food, clothing and shelter for his family and ultimately, creating jobs for others to do the same. Some nations frown upon this type of individual freedom, and when allowed, they confiscate most of the wealth created. My father was right — America is not perfect,

but by far, it is the greatest nation on earth. As businesspeople, you know that in our economic system, you can win or lose. You also know that winning or losing is in large part, self-determined. Our country is great, but not as a result of a great government but, rather, because of great people who are free. Entrepreneurs, in addition to seeking their own economic independence, also create wealth and opportunity for others. You also create products and services that add to the quality of life for people across the globe. As a result, no other nation provides for a greater standard of living for a greater number of citizens than America. It is a tribute to all of you that the American economic spirit is alive and well. Just like the American response to terrorist attacks, the American business response to a bad economy is unity, pride, perseverance and a determination to turn it around. There are two heroes in my life. One is my father, my role model and mentor, who I think personifies the American entrepreneurial spirit. The second hero of mine is the man who wrote “We kept faith with a promise as old as this land we love and as big as the sky, a brilliant vision of America as a shining city on a hill. Thanks to all of you, and with God’s help, America’s greatest chapter is still to be written, for the best is yet to come.” My dad and President Reagan are both right! I wrote these words 14 years ago, and I believe then, as I do now, in America and the American entrepreneur. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as president and CEO of your Association. I also want to acknowledge and express my deep gratitude to the most remarkable group of people I have ever had the honor and privilege to know and work with. The success the Association has enjoyed throughout the years has been a direct result of their vision, intellect, commitment and hard work. The staff of the Association is truly in a class of their own. John Krahe is an exceptional person and a great selection to serve as our new president and CEO. He, along with this remarkable staff and a very strong and visionary Board of Governors, will take our Association to new heights, for I truly believe that the best is yet to come. • APRIL 2017


10 YEARS OF WILD Women in Leadership Development Conference Celebrates Decade of Education, Empowerment It’s been 10 years since the Gannon SBDC introduced WILD — the Women in Leadership Development Conference — with the idea of creating a day of women helping women through knowledge, energy and passion. This year, the daylong conference, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Ambassador Banquet Hall & Conference Center in Erie, will celebrate its milestone anniversary by bringing together more than 400 participants for a day of inspiration/motivation, networking and professional development.

Maggie Horne

“We would not have been successfully able to reach the 10-year mark if what we provided was not needed by our community,” explains Maggie Horne, director of the Gannon SBDC in Erie. “We are very blessed to have been the host and the provider of these programs and the networking for our women leaders.”

The 2017 conference will begin with an inspiring session, “Ten Years, Ten Leaders, Ten Views.” Ten leaders — including Horne, Pittsburgh SBA Director Kelly Hunt, Ph.D.; Laurie Root of the United Way, Wei-Shin Lai, M.D., owner of AcousticSheep LLC, Emily Fetchko of the Erie Downtown Partnership, Jeff Parnell, executive director of the Erie Technology Incubator, Bryan Whittington of Peak Performance Management, Inc., Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, life coach Lani Harmon


APRIL 2017 •

and Maureen Chadwick, chief nursing officer at Saint Vincent Hospital — will present their view of leadership and offer words of inspiration. Breakout sessions include “Creativity in Leadership” with Erie entrepreneur John Fee, “Painless Performance Progression. Not that other ‘P’ word” (punishment) with Manufacturer & Business Association training specialist Lisa DeFilippo, as well as ”Digital Marketing: The Power of the Inbox with Autumn L. Edmiston, CEO of the Edmiston Group, and “Stand Out, Ride Up, Give Back: A Young Female Leaders Panel” with Amanda Kochirka of the Gannon SBDC. “Each year, we recognize that we must be relevant to why we started WILD, and that was to be able to address some of the needs we saw in the leadership of women in our community,” says Horne. “I believe that the attendees that have been coming to WILD leave with more confidence and are better armed to deal with some of challenges we have as women leaders, or future leaders, trying to get further in our corporation or in our personal career.” Lead Self, Lead Others According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, women are the fastest-growing segment of small business owners, generating more than $1.4 billion in revenues. They also are taking a greater role in family finances and are making the majority of the financial decisions.

Yet, as primary caregivers, women are reported to make 80 percent of the family’s health-care decisions. However, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research, they tend to put themselves last and often neglect their own health — creating greater implications for the financial security of the family and the workplace too.

fumes. I keep hearing, ‘I only sleep for a few hours.’ Our body performs most the powerful function when we sleep. It gets back to: How do we flip the script, by changing our mindset and truly internalize, the meaning of self-care,” says Abdelmalik. “On my computer, I have a Post-it #iwont miss a day. I won’t allow for one day to go by where I won’t do something for myself.”

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) reports work-related stress is 53 percent higher among women. Stress among women peaks between the ages of 35 and 44, when many are juggling children, elderly parents and a job. Workers took 11.7 million days off last year for stress. The most common causes are workload, lack of support and workplace change.

“If you’re going to succeed — career, entrepreneurship, health, finance, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend — invest in you and not feel guilty about it,” she continues.

“As women, we’re faced with a myriad of challenges and triumphs throughout our leadership journey,” explains 2017 WILD Conference keynote speaker Atiya Abdelmalik. “We also carry an enormous amount of weight and responsibility including family, community, career and business, health and personal care. Atiya Abdelmalik How do we look ahead to the next 10 years as an inward journey to truly create a healthy and satisfying life: What does this look like and how do we get there?” An inspirational speaker with nearly 20 years of experience in both health-care leadership and community engagement, Abdelmalik has a unique perspective on the resources and support that women business leaders can use to find the answers to that question. She is a registered nurse who has served in a variety of community, hospital and insurer settings, including, most recently, as the former director of Highmark Health’s Community Programs and Employee Volunteerism. In addition, Abdelmalik was honored as a recipient of the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Women of Excellence Award and the Pennsylvania Diversity Council’s Most Powerful & Influential Women of Pennsylvania Award. She is also the author of the soon-to-be published book, A Life Worth Saving: a nurse’s journey from sickness to healing. Her address will focus not only on her own struggle with chronic illness and the loss of her son at age 19 but on looking forward and leading with self, first. “Too often we get caught up in the external. We don’t give ourselves permission to take breaks; We run on

Indeed, Abdelmalik sees the WILD Conference as an opportunity for participants to begin the conversation and ask how they can empower themselves. “I love this whole idea of WILD,” she says. “We won’t know what the next 10 years will look like if we don’t have the courage to step out. In order to live your best life, you want to have the healthiest journey you can.” For more information about the 10th annual WILD Conference, visit

2017 Legacy Award Winner

The WILD’s 2017 Legacy Award winner is Jodie Camillo, MPA, assistant registrar at Gannon University and a founder of the Gannon SBDC’s Women in Leadership Development Conference, which began in 2008.

The Legacy Award is presented annually to an experienced professional woman leader who mentors other women, supports her community and excels in her career. The winner is also a trailblazer who has carved her own path to success and has supported other women along the way. The winner must demonstrate high standards in all that she does and serve as an example to others professionally and personally. As part of this prestigious honor, Camillo will receive a custom piece of jewelry designed by Breakiron Jewelers during the awards presentation at the April 27 conference. • APRIL 2017


AL’S AWNING SHOP INC. 1721 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16508 Phone: 814/456-6262 Website: Manufacturer of custom canvas awnings and textile industrial products; residential and commercial. Family owned and operated for over 75 years. BREAKIRON JEWELERS 4026 Pine Avenue Erie, PA 16504 Phone: 814/825-2647 Website: Purveyor of Fine Diamonds and Gemstones, Creator of Custom Jewelry Designs and Wow Moments, Highest Quality In-House Jewelry Repair. CASSA FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC 4510 Peach Street Erie, Pennsylvania 16509 Phone: 814/923-6024 Website: Patient Specific Chiropractic Care / Be Healthy ... Be You.

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CLAUDINE’S CONSIGNMENT 2208 West 8th Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/520-8055 Website: Claudine’s offers high-quality, secondhand furniture, decor for the inspired home. CMIT SOLUTIONS OF ERIE 204-A West 11th Street Erie, PA 16501 Phone: 814/806-2637 Website: A full-service IT support and consulting firm specializing in managed IT, security, and data backup and business continuity services.


APRIL 2017 •

ERIE AUDIOLOGY, INC. Allison F. Keenan, Au.D. Doctor of Audiology 2550 West Eighth Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/833-9533 Website: Comprehensive diagnostic hearing and tinnitus evaluations, high performance digital hearing systems, hearing conservation and musician services. FASTSIGNS OF ERIE 144 West 12th Street Erie, PA 16501 Phone: 814/453-6711 Website: FASTSIGNS is the visual ideas company that helps businesses of all sizes raise their business visibility, reach more customers and accomplish more than they ever thought possible. Our market-savvy FASTSIGNS consultants provide insightful visibility strategies and planning, expert project services and execution, and a wealth of product solutions, from signs and graphics to digital displays and interactive tools. GRAPEVINE LAUNDRY AND LINENS 4523 West Ridge Road 2826 State Street Erie, Pa 16506 Erie, Pa 16508 Phone: 814/217-9288 814/217-9288 Website: A Dry Cleaner and Linen Rental Company specializing in party linen rentals for all your special events with two locations to better serve you. INNER BALANCE PILATES 2503 West 15th Street Suite 5 Erie, PA 16505 Website: Erie’s first and only boutique-style Pilates studio.

ATHENA PowerLink® is a business mentoring program designed to increase the growth and profitability of women-owned businesses. More than 160 professional men and women from the region volunteer their time and expertise to help navigate women business owners through the hurdles and barriers that impact professional growth, which include gaining access to new networks, mentors, best business practices and staff/employee management issues. For more information, visit!

RELISH STUDIO & GIFT GALLERY 3835 West 12th Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/836-1827 Website: An American made art & crafts gallery, with a coastal feel. Featuring handmade original designs in beach glass jewelry, using sterling silver, gold, and precious gems.

KEYSTONE RESEARCH CORPORATION 3823 West 12th Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/836-9295 Website: Building Capacity for Performance Excellence. MILL CREEK COFFEE COMPANY 1222 Linden Avenue Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/453-3192 Website: Helping regional businesses WAKE UP with great coffees since 1978.

SANDCILLE SPA The Shops at the Colony Plaza 2640 West 8th Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/456-7400 Website: A full-service spa specializing in wellness through relaxation with manicures, pedicures, massage, facials, and other services.

MOORE RESEARCH SERVICES, INC. 670 West 36th Street Erie, PA 16508 Phone: 814/835-4100 Website: A market and opinion research company that specializes in qualitative and quantitative research to help clients better understand new and existing products and services.


Counseling & Wellness collaborate • mediate • restore

NURTURINSE COUNSELING & WELLNESS Melissa Sulkowski, Owner 1361 West 6th Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/455-1301 Website: Providing quality care in a holistic setting and offering peaceful resolution to disputes, one family at a time.

TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS 4202 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509 Phone: 814/833-2301 Website: Transportation Solutions is celebrating its 20th anniversary! We have been “Meeting all of your DRIVING NEEDS since 1997.” THE UPS STORE 2501 West 12th Street Erie, PA 16505 Phone: 814/836-1877 Website: The right choice for your business needs. Packing, shipping, and printing all things small and large.

(Yorktown Center)

PROVIDER RESOURCES, INC. 153 East 13th Street Suite 1400 Erie, PA 16503 Phone: 814/480-8732 Website: Provider Resources, Inc. (PRI) is dedicated to supporting the healthcare community with compliance, integrity, and quality issues through education and efficient, innovative processes.

VERIFY SERVICES, LLC P. O. Box 246 Waterford, PA 16441 Phone: 814/796-2236 Website: An independent consulting firm, specializing in the active management of our client’s voice, data, cellular, gas and electric services and expenses. • APRIL 2017


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The ‘White Turkey Way’ for Serving Up Excellence Peg Tuttle is the owner of the White Turkey Drive-In located in Conneaut, Ohio. Since acquiring the restaurant from her in-laws in 1981, Tuttle has transformed the eatery into the thriving business it is known as today. Here, Tuttle will discuss the MBA’s newest training offering, Serving Up Excellence, where she will share some of the triumphs and failures during her 36 years in the restaurant business and how participants can become more successful and respected owners or managers of their businesses when dealing with the next generation of workers. You grew up working in a family owned business, starting with your parent’s farm and, eventually, at the White Turkey, where you met your husband, Gary. What were the most valuable lessons you learned from working at these family owned businesses? I realized early from watching my parents and, then, my in-laws that your destiny basically is your own doing. I realized if I worked hard, saved when I could, and spent wisely, treated the people around me kindly and with respect, just how I would love to be treated, success would come to me and to them. I also learned not to work for money, but work to make the business as good as I could and financial success would follow. You took over ownership of the White Turkey in 1981 and worked hard to establish it as a successful business. Describe your vision and business strategy. When I took it over, it had been closed for the two years, so I had to rebuild. My vision was simple, and, at the time, I didn’t realize that I was having a vision at all. Basically, it was to do the best I could every day, to make it the best business and cover every detail that I could think of. I realized early on that if you take something and you keep building on it, and don’t accept it as it is, then it has more potential than you’re even aware of. And, if you keep at it, you will be successful. As for my business strategy, it was not to overspend business-wise or personally, and to save and always be ready for equipment failure and loss of income. I always planned for the unforeseen, which is huge in small business. I’ve seen many businesses fail because they have a really good year, so they

go out and buy a brand-new expensive car, and then the ice-cream machine breaks, and they don’t have the money to replace it. We often hear employers talking about the challenges of working with different generations. How have you navigated these differences in your own workforce to create an effective and productive team? The first one is keep true to your beliefs. I did get caught up in the Millennial and Generation Z rhetoric. The truth is there is not that much difference, at least for me, with the 30 employees that I have compared to my seven employees when I started in 1981. The biggest difference is that they come less prepared with basic skills now. My expectations for them is their training and their accountability. If they fail, it’s because I failed them. Every employee I lose, I think. ‘Why? What could I have done differently?’ Some of it’s just time for them to move on to their next chapter. Others, it was a failure on my part. If I lose an employee, sometimes there are circumstances out of both of our control. But, most of the time, it’s lack of my training, lack of follow-up. You have agreed to be an instructor for the MBA’s new Serving Up Excellence course. Tell us what you hope to bring to the class and what participants should expect to learn. We will be covering the process of application, interviewing, hiring, orientation, manual, training, consequences, accountability, rewards and re-dos. Re-dos are when we have an employee who is having difficulty, we will re-do their training.

For example, every new employee is evaluated on an almost weekly basis. When we see that one of them is having communication difficulties, peer difficulties, we discuss it, my managers and I, and then we formulate a plan of how we’re going to address them, and how we’re going to re-evaluate and train them, including our point system. One of the things that I’ve found with this generation is that they’re unaware of basic accountability and consequences. So what we’ve set up is a point system that, if they are late — and we’re not talking 15 minutes, we’re talking minutes — we bring it to their attention that it’s not to happen again. What has been the return for your business with the retention and the quality of work that you’ve seen? Tremendous. The feedback is from my customers and others commenting how well my staff is trained, how polite they are, how quick the service was, as well as the attitude and enjoyability of my employees. I hired a consultant to do a survey with my employees two years ago, and then I had another one done at the end of this season, and the difference in my employees was remarkable. For me, I want my help to come back five years from now, when they’ve graduated from college or they’ve worked in other locations, to say how much they appreciate that I prepared them for the outside world and that it was the best job they’re ever had so far. That, to me, is my reward. • APRIL 2017


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Health Management Programs Provide Winning Game Plan for Support

prescribes a weight loss program to help prevent a chronic disease such as diabetes. A trained health coach receives the physician’s order simultaneously as it’s given to the patient and by telephone contact, essentially “fills the prescription” by understanding the patient’s needs to recommend a health coaching program. The trained health-care professional provides appropriate support and encouragement along the way helping the patient to become healthier, more engaged and competent to manage their health and care. With feedback to the doctor, the health coach supports their doctor-patient relationship which is shown to produce better outcomes and usually lower costs. It’s truly a win-win since the doctor gains additional support while the patient gets the health and medical care assistance they need.

Michael Parkinson, M.D., is senior medical director of UPMC Health Plan and UPMC WorkPartners, which are part of the UPMC Insurance Services Division. UPMC WorkPartners provides health and productivity solutions to highperforming companies throughout the United States. Research shows that patients are more likely to start and maintain healthy behaviors and control their medical conditions when their doctor recommends them. And, they’re even more successful when the doctor prescribes coaching to patients to help them do so. Numerous wellness and health management programs have recently been developed to enable physicians to “prescribe” healthier behaviors, chronic disease management and better decision-making about surgery for their patients. Examples of major interest to employers, employees and their families include coaching programs and online tools for stress management, maternity support, weight loss, high blood pressure and options for chronic back pain.

Coaching programs are particularly effective when doctors prescribe them as the foundation of the patient’s health and disease care, not as an afterthought. Health and care coaching has been shown to increase healthy behaviors, patient self-care and adherence to their doctors’ care plans. By leveraging the trust and skill of the specially trained coach, patients acquire better understanding, set achievable goals and master new competencies, which leads to faster improvement and more sustained adoption. Here, we’ll answer a few important questions about these programs: Why Are an Increasing Number of Employers Offering Health Management Coaching Programs to Their Employees? Most people realize that changing unhealthy habits to healthier behaviors can head off chronic diseases, prevent them from getting worse, and even reverse their effects. And while most health-care providers would love to continually encourage patients to adopt healthy behaviors and get to the root of their patients’ health issues, most doctors simply lack the time, expertise and resources needed for follow-up care. That’s where health management programs can help. These programs extend doctors’ influence between office visits and help patients stay with the care plans that were developed specifically for them. How Do These Health Management Coaching Programs Work? Let’s say that a doctor recommends or

How Are Doctors Involved in The Program? These health management programs don’t replace doctor’s care, rather they support doctor’s care. Each program is facilitated by nurses, dietitians, exercise experts and other licensed and trained clinicians, with medical director oversight. These health coach professionals provide support based on the doctor’s specific recommendations. The health coaches will even help patients better prepare for their next office visit, evaluate treatment options and help them improve their skills in communicating their preferences to their doctors. So each patient is in expert hands throughout the process. What Type of Programs Are Available? There are health management programs in behavioral health, condition management, maternity and lifestyle improvement. The programs offer support for a range of needs, including depression and anxiety, substance abuse, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, prenatal care, weight loss and nutrition, stress management, and tobacco cessation. The health coaches also provide support for people who need to make decisions about medical treatments or elective procedures. As an added bonus, most programs have no copays for employees and increasingly, employers add additional incentives for health coaching enrollment and completion. Finally, health coaches are available either in person or via phone and on nights and weekends, to accommodate busy schedules. For more information about UPMC Health Plan’s health management programs, contact Dr. Parkinson at 412/454-5643 or • APRIL 2017


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APRIL 2017 •


Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch: What Employers Should Know

Defense Council, in which the Supreme Court ruled that when Congress enacts a broad or ambiguous statute, the courts should permit the administrative agency charged with administering the statute to enforce it in any manner not clearly forbidden by the text. In other words, if Congress has not directly addressed the issue at hand, the court should defer to the agency’s interpretation of the statute rather than impose its own.

Lisa Smith Presta is a senior partner in the Litigation Department at MacDonald Illig, where she concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, employment litigation and professional liability defense. She regularly appears in state and federal court, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and in private arbitration. She is a past president of the Erie County Bar Association.

Jamie R. Schumacher is an associate in the Litigation Department at MacDonald Illig where she concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, employment litigation and insurance defense. She is licensed to practice in all Pennsylvania state courts and the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She is the current chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the Erie County Bar Association.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, is a conservative lauded for his well-written opinions. At age 49, he is the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court since Justice Clarence Thomas (age 43), and his appointment could impact the Court for decades to come.

Following his clerkships, Judge Gorsuch worked in private practice, served as a Deputy Associate Attorney General and was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2006. He is viewed as a natural replacement to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Like Scalia, Gorsuch is an originalist, meaning he attempts to interpret the Constitution as it was written by the founders.

Judge Gorsuch, a graduate of Columbia, Harvard Law and Oxford, clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. His elevation to the Court would mark the first time a former clerk and his former boss have become colleagues on the nation’s highest bench — a dynamic that could create interesting alliances or divisions in hotly contested cases.

Employers’ Interests With regard to business, Judge Gorsuch is seen as a solid nominee for employers’ interests, historically ruling to restrict labor unions and to limit government regulation. He favors abolition of the “Chevron deference,” a doctrine arising out of the 1984 case of Chevron v. Natural Resources

Judge Gorsuch believes this affords administrative agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission too much power and opportunity to go beyond their congressionally mandated missions. He considers even broadly worded statutes to have objective meanings that can be understood from their text. In his view, it is the job of the courts to say what those laws mean, and if the agency disagrees, the proper recourse is for Congress to change the law or for the Supreme Court to correct any error. Overall, Judge Gorsuch’s views are consistent with the conservative concept of small government. In Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, he ruled that closely-held, forprofit corporations are entitled to religious freedom protections and are not compelled to provide birth control to their female employees. In addition, Judge Gorsuch has expressed the view that class actions regarding alleged violations of securities laws should be limited, and it is expected that he will advocate for the resolution of consumer disputes through arbitration rather than in the courts. Confirmation Timeline At the time of this writing, Judge Gorsuch’s nomination remained pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the confirmation hearings were scheduled to begin on March 20. The hearings were expected to last three to four days. Judge Gorsuch will be questioned by the Committee, which will also hear testimony from outside experts. If appointed, it is expected that Judge Gorsuch will begin hearing cases on the Supreme Court in late summer. For more information, contact Lisa Smith Presta at 814/870-7656 or or Jamie Schumacher at 814/870-7613 or • APRIL 2017



Printing Concepts has made a more than $1 million investment in a new printing press. The press is a Japanese-made Komori fully automatic 6-color 29-inch with UV and H-UV capabilities, company officials announced recently. According to news reports, the new machine can print 16,000 sheets per hour. With the UV capabilities, the pages are dry immediately as they come off the press. The press also allows the company to create numerous coating effects. Printing Concepts was founded in 1968 and has grown to be one of the largest and most sophisticated providers of printing, fulfillment, and direct mail services in the tri-state region. The company is headquartered at 4982 Pacific Avenue in the Grandview Business Park in Erie. For more information, visit

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8127 Nathan Circle, Erie APRIL 2017 •

Construction will extend over the next few years, and additional details of the project will be released as they are finalized over the coming months, hospital officials said.

ALLEGHENY HEALTH NETWORK INVESTING $115 MILLION IN ERIE HOSPITAL Hospital system Allegheny Health Network recently announced a $115 million capital investment at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, with groundbreaking scheduled for May. The project will expand capacity and enhance the AHN hospital’s capabilities in several phases. A new emergency department and operating room are in the early phases of the plan, which will be located in a new building on the hospital campus.

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Erie-based Printing Concepts recently acquired a new printing press.

PA 16509

“Across almost every corner of our network, we are investing in our facilities, programs and people to assure that the scope and quality of care we offer to patients is second to none,” AHN President and CEO Cynthia Hundorfean said in a prepared statement. For more information, visit locations/saint-vincent-hospital.

SERVICES WE OFFER • • • • • • • • •

Data Backup & Recovery Managed Services Support Help Desks Cloud Computing Data Center Management Hardware Solutions Vendor Management Email and Spam protection Office 365 P: 814-455-6069x300

Contact: Cathy Szymanski 814-455-6069x300


The Achievement Center Board of Directors has announced that Charlotte Renko has been named the organization’s new executive director, effective April 2017.

Renko comes to Erie from Lakewood, Ohio, where she currently serves as chief operating officer of the Northeast Ohio division of American Red Cross, a role she has held since 2013. Renko has a variety of experience in the field of behavioral health and has served in progressive leadership roles for more than 17 years, including director of behavioral health, chief clinical officer and chief operating officer. Renko is an alumna of St. Alexis School of Nursing, Ursuline College and Kaplan University. She also is a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. For more than 90 years, the Achievement Center has provided quality therapeutic services to children and families across the Erie region.



First National Bank of Pennsylvania, the largest subsidiary of F.N.B. Corporation (NYSE: FNB), has announced the hiring of Karen S. Piccirilli as vice president, private banker. Based in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, and covering Mercer, Lawrence and northern Butler Counties, Piccirilli serves as a single point of contact for clients’ financial needs by providing ongoing advice and customized lending and deposit solutions. Piccirilli has more than 25 years of banking experience. She was previously Vice President of Health Care Banking at PNC Bank. A resident of Sharpsville, Piccirilli is active in the community as a board member for the Mercer-Lawrence County Athena leadership program, and Aware, a domestic violence shelter in Sharon. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Thiel College.


W. Paul Diefenbach, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon, has joined Tri-State Pain Institute, the region’s leading pain management center.

Diefenbach has more than 30 years of experience in neurosurgery and pain treatment, including work at UPMC Hamot and Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, as well as Midland Michigan Health Center and Neurological Associates of Tucson in Arizona. He also served 40 years in the Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel. Dr. Diefenbach completed his residency in neurological surgery at the Neurological Institute of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He earned his undergraduate and medical degree at Columbia University and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, respectively. With offices in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Jamestown, New York, Tri-State Pain Institute offers advanced treatment for the long-term relief of acute and chronic pain, including back, neck, leg, joint and shoulder pain, as well as pain from arthritis, headaches, fibromyalgia, post surgery and cancer complications. • APRIL 2017


MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS CERTIFICATE SERIES @ THE MBA The MBA’s NEW Marketing & Communications Certificate Series is perfect for emerging professionals in marketing, communications, management and public relations fields. Whether you are looking to move into this dynamic industry or just want to stay on top of current trends, this certificate program offers the crucial skills needed to succeed, as well as a credential to help advance your career. You’ll love the high-energy, interactive class environment that delivers the knowledge, tools, skills, concepts and techniques to elevate your professional presence, engage your target audience and inspire action in today’s complex marketing world.

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APRIL 2017 •

Electric Bill Breakdown:


How Distribution Rate Changes Could Impact You What Does It Mean to You? Customers in the following areas will see increases in the distribution portion of their bills: • Met-Ed customers will see an average increase of 10.7 • Penelec customers will see an average increase of 12.8 percent; • Penn Power customers will see an average increase of 10.4 percent; and, • West Penn Power customers will see an average increase of 7.2 percent. The new rates for all of FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities went into effect January 27, 2017. You should have started to see these increases on your February – March statements. Can You Avoid The Increase? No. The government has approved this increase for all First Energy customers in Pennsylvania.

Judy Rosatti is the manager of MBA EnergyAdvisors, an affiliate of the Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA). She has an abundance of consulting experience assisting a variety of businesses in reducing their costs and increasing their bottom line for the past 25 years. On January 14, 2017, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PPUC) approved a base distribution rate increase lower than proposed by the utility. Here, we’ll explain what you need to know about this increase and its impact on your energy costs. A Quick Explanation of Your Bill Electric bills are divided into two parts: 1)

the cost of transmission for maintaining electric lines (distribution) and 2) the cost of generating electricity (supply). Distribution is what is affected by this rate increase. FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities are solely responsible for distribution. What Is This Increase? The PPUC approved a settlement to help continue reliability enhancements for the utilities owned by First Energy. The reliability enhancements include resources and technology necessary to continue to improve their infrastructure (poles and lines) and provide safe and reliable electric service. FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities include Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power), and West Penn Power Company (West Penn Power).

If an electricity supplier or broker calls to say you need to lock in now to avoid this increase they are incorrect. Deregulation only affects the supply portion of your electric bill and not the distribution portion. Are There Other Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bills? Yes. Electric customers in Pennsylvania were among the very first in the United States to have the ability to choose the company that supplies their electricity. Consumers are encouraged to proactively engage competitive suppliers — whose price is unregulated by the PPUC — to obtain pricing information for the generation portion of their bill. For more information about how the MBA’s energy program EnergyAdvisors can assist you, contact Judy Rosatti at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or • APRIL 2017


HR CONNECTION | WORKPLACE TRENDS RESEARCH: WOMEN LESS LIKELY TO APPLY FOR TOP JOBS IF REJECTED BEFORE A recent survey of 1,000 senior executives partly explored why women tend to be underrepresented in top jobs. According to the research, women were 1.5 times less likely to apply for a high-ranking job if they had been rejected previously for a similar job. The study, titled “Leaning Out: How Negative Recruitment Experiences Shape Women’s Decisions to Compete for Executive Roles” published by Sage Journals, found that fewer women than men were applying for senior management roles, and women who had been rejected from similar jobs in the past were even less likely to apply.

Tips to Save on Health Care

Participants in the study revealed they didn’t apply for jobs after rejections because they believed the companies didn’t want them; that they thought they were just filling a quota; or that companies didn’t appreciate them.

With health-care costs rising, it’s always smart to find ways to avoid high doctor bills. There are many ways to do just that, whether it takes due diligence on the patient’s part or having conversations with doctors, hospitals about price. According to, here are a few helpful hints on how to limit health spending in 2017:

The study suggests employers take a hard look at their recruiting and promoting processes and how they are perceived.

Skip insurance on your prescriptions. You could end up getting your prescriptions filled for less if you don’t go through your insurance. Some pharmacies offer low prices on generics and some brand-name drugs. Talk to your doctor. Ask for samples and coupons. Pharmaceutical reps provide doctors with samples, but they often give them coupons, as well. Talk directly to the drug companies. So you’ve tried to get a brand-name drug cheaper, but coupons don’t help enough and there’s no generic. Go directly to the source and ask about assistance programs the pharmaceutical company may offer. Haggle. Before you go in for a voluntary procedure or when the bills start to come in, talk to both the doctors and the hospital and ask for a discount for paying in cash or for paying the whole amount at once. A CBS report cites Consumer Reports as having found that only 31 percent of Americans haggle with doctors over medical bills; however, 93 percent of those who did were successful.

MERCY CENTER FOR WOMEN 1039 East 27th Street Erie, PA 16504 814-455-4577

Our Mission: Mercy Center for Women is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy committed to enhancing the dignity of each person through the healing of body, mind and spirit.

Network, network, network. Always ask if the doctor is in network. It is also important to make sure outpatient facilities for labs and X-rays are also in network. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, close to 70 percent of patients with out-of-network medical bills were not aware that the practitioner treating them was not in their plan’s network. Check your bill with a fine-toothed comb. You should always check your bills to make sure you’re being billed for medications and procedures you actually received. Go for free, not broke. Lots of places offer free flu shots and screenings for things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels — everyplace from drugstores to shopping centers, and maybe even your place of work. Deals can make you smile. Whether you have dental insurance or not, it doesn’t cover much. So negotiate cash prices with your dentist for major procedures.

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APRIL 2017 •

Melissa Damico is manager of Client Services for the Manufacturer & Business Association Insurance Agency (MBAIA) and a licensed insurance agent. Contact her at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or

Professional Communications Messaging Service, Inc. (PCMSI) 105 Poplar Street Erie, PA 16507 Toll free: 888.776.2661 Office: 814.459.2000 Fax: 800.382.7329

PCMSI: Answering the Call Professional Communications Messaging Service, Inc. (PCMSI) is a leader in the telephone answering service industry. Utilizing state-of-theart computer systems and highly trained and courteous live operators, PCMSI is here to answer the call. The company’s professional and personalized answering and messaging services are custom designed to fit customers’ needs, goals and budget. PCMSI works diligently to gain, build and maintain long-term partnerships. Established and headquartered in Erie, PA, PCMSI has grown to offer a full spectrum of customized answering, messaging and professional communication services. From online appointment scheduling, order taking and emergency dispatching to lead capture, employee call-off lines, event registration and much more, PCMSI’s technology-based communications hub will keep you connected at all times. Clear and concise messages will be relayed through a variety of delivery platforms customized for each individual or business.

CO M PAN Y PR O FIL E All of the highly skilled and competent telephone answering service operators are based at the call center located in Erie; however, a substantial portion of PCMSI’s customers come from across the United States. Industries served include health care/medical, service professions, small business, real estate, government, schools and manufacturing. To be in compliance with today’s privacy laws and for handling sensitive personal and private information, PCMSI is bonded and HIPAA trained and certified. Further, PCMSI is very proud of its BBB AAA rating.

For nearly a decade, PCMSI has thrived under the leadership of Debra Uht despite the sluggish U.S. economy. “There were challenging times for the company that forced us to look at our operations from top to bottom, and we did.” “PCMSI made a significant investment in its infrastructure including an upgraded computer system and new operator stations. We introduced new services to better service our customers, and we made changes that enabled us to become more competitive on a national and international level. Other notable changes include a new website, improved hiring practices, updated personnel policies and training procedures and secure messaging,” continues Uht. “While technology is ever evolving, one thing that will never change is our commitment to provide personalized and custom service while meeting our customers’ needs and exceeding their expectations.”

Debra Uht (standing) is the president of Professional Communications Messaging Service Inc., headquartered in Erie.

PCMSI is a woman-owned and operated business with more than 75 employees including operators and an experienced management and sales team. Many employees have been with PCMSI more than 20 years. PCMSI offers a generous benefit package that includes a paid training program, health insurance, matching 401(k) and paid vacation. Uht is proud to employ several of her own family members including her daughters Lauren and Christine. Lauren oversees the hiring and training of new employees and assists in the answering service whenever needed, and Christine works during college breaks. Uht’s brother, David Zatkiewicz, joined Team PCMSI over a year ago to lead the IT Department. Uht is grateful to have their support along with encouragement and guidance from her husband, Raymond Spurgeon. She also credits her faith for guiding her through the ups and downs of life while making her the woman she is today. “We need strong women not only as mothers, wives and friends but also as community leaders, decision makers and business owners,” Uht says. “I believe women in business bring an intuition, a focus and a level of empathy that enables us to lead and succeed.” Contact PCMSI today to discuss an affordable answering service plan customized for your business. • APRIL 2017



Winter 2016 & Spring 2017 Training Graduates The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) recently held a series of luncheons to recognize the graduates of its HR and professional development training programs. Visit for complete coverage, as well as information on upcoming MBA training courses.

HR Essential Certification Series — Erie From left: Teresa Shotts, Erie Beer Company; Jayne Costello, Eriez Manufacturing; and, Robyn Hopper, Association HR specialist/HR trainer.

HR Essential Certification Series — Erie From left: Cindy Minnick, Erie Day School; Robyn Hopper, Association HR specialist/HR trainer; and, Angela Calkins, Hanes Erie Inc.

HR Essential Certification Series — Erie

From left: Diana Wilkosz, Peters’ Heath Treating Inc.; Kathy Ewing, Erie Insurance Group; Connie Ballew, Wire Weld Inc.; Karen Costello-Pecht, Control Chief Corporation; Travis Servey, Roser Technologies Inc.; and, Robyn Hopper, Association HR specialist/HR trainer.

HR Essential Certification Series — Erie From left: Kelly Johnson, Whirley Industries Inc. and Robyn Hopper, Association HR specialist/HR trainer.

Lean - Six Sigma Series — Erie

Front row, from left: Don Hoover, Kristen Farrell, Sarah Press, Julie Miller and Cherise Coles, Erie Insurance.. Back row, from left: Alicia Bryant, Alexia Arneman and Keyona Hayes, Erie Insurance; and, Ray Davis, Association Training instructor.

Lean – Six Sigma Series — Warren Lean - Six Sigma Series — Erie

From left: Josh Loper, The Plastek Group; Ray Davis, Association Training instructor; and, Justin Denham, The Plastek Group.


APRIL 2017 •

From left: Curtis Quiggle, Scott Ecklund, Tim Carlson, Ben Thomas, Larry Hasbrouck, Adam Raffaele, Shane Tuszynski, Joe Wallace, Andrew Bailey, Ernest Bass, Joe Terrasi, Kyle Whitney, Dan Smith, James Renninger, Craig Deutsch; and, Bill Ohmer, Superior Tire.

Leadership for Team Leaders — Erie

Leadership for Team Leaders — Erie

Front row, from left: Jordan Sambrook, Patrick Fellows, Erik Cernak, Cameron Lizotte, Dylan Strome, Taylor Raddysh, Darren Raddysh and TJ Fergus, Erie Otters. Back row, from left: Owen Headrick, Anthony Cirelli, Kyle Maksimovich, Alex DeBrincat, Troy Timpano, Christian Girhiny and Ivan Lodnia, Erie Otters.

Front row, from left: Shane Pfister, Free to Choose Network; Paul Heinemann, Power Drives Inc.; Susan Gable, Free to Choose Network; Ellen Woodward, Free to Choose Network; Cindee Behrendt, Free to Choose Network; and, Richard Tucker, Rehrig Pacific Company. Back row, from left: Gene Kunselman, Power Drives Inc.; Len Juniewicz, Free to Choose Network; Carmine Camillo, Free to Choose Network; Dennis Tech II, Ridg-URak Inc.; Matthew Saloff, Free to Choose Network; Andrew Newton, Power Drives Inc.; and, Aaron Falk, Power Drives Inc.

Excel Application Specialists and Access Application Specialists — Erie

Front row, from left: Jovan Vincent, Greater Erie Community Action Committee; Justin Hayes, McCarty Printing Corporation; Katie Bach, McCarty Printing Corporation; Loretta Swartwood, McCarty Printing Corporation; Jennifer Strazisar, Modern Industries, Inc.; and, Ashley Bronson, Widget Federal Credit Union. Back row, from left: Carol Erichson, Erie Insurance Group; Sandy Barretta, C & J Industries; Lisa Guertin, CMI Energy LLC; Heather Crissman, CMI Energy LLC; and, Renee Wilber and Kazumi Orozco, Plastek Industries Inc.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series — Erie

Front row, from left: Josh Newhart, BASF Corporation; Melissa Newhard, Northwestern Rural Electric Co-Operative; Gerda Frazier, Northwestern Rural Electric Co-Operative; and, Kenny Mueller, BASF Corporation.. Back row, from left: Steve Hanek, Cristal; Michael Jenkins, Rehrig Pacific Company; and, Keith Applebee, Cristal.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series — Erie

Front row, from left: Toni Gromacki, Community Health Net; Emily Crofoot, Community Health Net, Barbara Spusta, CMI Energy LLC; Karen Liebel, Community Health Net; and, Cindy Toscano, Erie Community Credit Union. Second row, from left: Larry Stevens, Erie Water Works; Erasmo Burgos, Erie Plating Company; Ann Whipple, Erie Water Works; Saunders McLaurin, Community Health Net; Mike Cooper, Erie Bearings Company; Randy Peters, Community Health Net; Jenny Rachocki, Erie Community Credit Union; and, Brandon Kegley, C & J Industries Inc. Back row, from left: Jeff Gibbs, Erie Water Works; Larry Boumans, Erie Plating Company; Anthony-Bruce Clark, Onex Inc.; Thomas Quinn, Erie Plating Company; Kyle Shook, Deist Industries Inc.; David Donahue, Walker Filtration Inc.; and, Tom Brown, Erie Water Works.

Certified Supervisory Skills Series — Hermitage

From left: Rob Maust, R&D Coatings Inc.; Phyllis Smeltzer, Slippery Rock Municipal Authority; Sam Lyons, Franklin Bronze Precision Components, LLC; Mike Barger, Harmony Castings, LLC; Jonathan Clark, Pine Instrument Company; and, Anthony Haag, Franklin Bronze Precision Components, LLC. • APRIL 2017


HR Q&A | GET ANSWERS IS THERE A NOTIFICATION THAT EMPLOYERS HAVE TO PROVIDE TO EMPLOYEES IN REGARDS TO THE WOMEN’S HEALTH AND CANCER RIGHTS ACT OF 1998 (WHCRA)? Yes, the WHCRA requires group health plans and health insurance issuers, including insurance companies and HMOs, to notify individuals regarding coverage required under the law. Notification is required upon enrollment and annually thereafter. WHCRA is a federal law that provides protections to individuals who have had a mastectomy and who elect breast reconstruction in connection with the mastectomy. The Act (P.L. 105-277) amended the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The law is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor. This law applies generally both to persons covered under group health plans and persons with individual health insurance coverage. But WHCRA does NOT require health plans or issuers to pay for mastectomies. If a group health plan or health insurance issuer chooses to cover mastectomies, then the plan or issuer is generally subject to WHCRA requirements.

What is Family Responsibility Discrimination? Family responsibility discrimination (FRD) is a form of sex discrimination or disability discrimination created by hostile or unequal treatment of an individual because of caregiving responsibilities. Workers may file a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) if they feel they have been illegally discriminated against in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Although FRD isn’t specifically listed, most employee suits fall under Title VII (typically as sex discrimination), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Protected characteristics under Title VII are race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Family Responsibility Discrimination falls under this Act when an employer uses gender stereotyping against an employee. Avoiding stereotyping groups of people and making assumptions is the best way to stay on the right side of the law. General strategies to avoid FRD include: • Treat each employee as an individual, not as part of a group. • Develop, disseminate, and enforce a strong EEO policy. • Prohibit retaliation against individuals who report discrimination or harassment based on caregiving responsibilities or who provide information related to such complaints. • Focus on the qualifications of applicants and employees rather than personal characteristics. Employers should do their best to be flexible. The EEOC urges employers to adopt best practices in flexible scheduling, allowing workers to opportunity to excel on the job and in their caregiving responsibilities.

Stacey Bruce is the director of HR Services at the Manufacturer & Business Association. Contact her at 814/833-3200, 800/815-2660 or


APRIL 2017 •


PA’s Budget and Economy: When You Find Yourself In a Hole, Start Filling It Christine Toretti is a change agent — a reputation she has earned through building successful relationships and businesses. She blazed trails as chairman and CEO of the largest privately-held, land-based natural gas drilling company in the United States and went on to be named one of the most influential Republican women in the country. She currently serves as the vice chair of S&T Bancorp and a director of EQT Corporation. There isn’t much agreement in Harrisburg when it comes to Pennsylvania’s budget. The last cycle yielded an epic battle that dragged on nine months past the deadline, and, this year, the dispute is how big the gap will be between what we want to spend and how much revenue we can generate. That has led to discussion about reorganizing our state government and proposals to consolidate agencies and services to gain efficiencies. It’s a start, but it hardly seems possible that those measures will measure up to filling the expected deficit hole. Separate but related news shows the Commonwealth is going to be losing representation in Congress due to nearly nonexistent population growth,

which is matched with economic, job and wage growth that could be called tepid at best. And the loss of manufacturing jobs here has been devastating to many communities. The relationship between our budget and these realities is that cutting government cost is just one part of the solution. The other is growth. Grow our economy, our population and, as a result, the revenues flowing to Harrisburg. It’s time we took all the time and effort we put into battling over the budget and channel it to economic growth. Time to stop fighting each other and start fighting for the Commonwealth — and increasing its wealth. As a woman who ran an oil and gas drilling company, and who fought for respect and business every step of the way, I see a ready opportunity to rally: energy. For a decade now, we’ve heard lots of discussion about the tremendous potential for our Marcellus and Utica natural gas reserves — which are larger than almost any in the world. Our state’s economic growth did start to feel the benefits of gas development, but then prices weakened, development slowed, and the infrastructure needed to move it to market has taken time to develop. Right beneath our feet is a clean energy answer to our economic performance, population and workforce retention, manufacturing growth and budget issues. How can we take full advantage of the natural gas resources that today’s technologies have made accessible?

Amazing work has been done by a team of regional and state leaders to make possible Shell’s investment of $6 billion to build a petrochemical plant in Western PA. That will help increase demand for both dry and wet gas, and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection just approved permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline so that exports can flow faster. But much more can be — needs to be — done. If we wait, or don’t accelerate our efforts, we risk missing out on an energy and economic development opportunity that others in the United States and around the world are racing to capture. What we need now is a plan, a set of economic development strategies that can lead us to a growing economy that has energy as an innovative, tech-based force running through it. With so many resources, from our strengths in manufacturing, technology and materials to our research and innovation institutions — and the stream of talent they produce — we have an unparalleled opportunity to follow a focused path to energy- enabled growth. I think Pennsylvania’s businesses and workers are ready to get behind a growth agenda, and I know they are ready to compete for and build our state’s future. I’d love to see our state stop grinding through another budget battle and start making a plan to win. There’s no question we have the energy to do it. • APRIL 2017



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Business Magazine April 2017  

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