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V O L U M E 1 2 016 | L A N C A S T E R PA




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FIGSTORIESLANCASTER.COM CREATIVE DIRECTOR Deborah Brandt WRITER Nicole Patterson PHOTOGRAPHER Mike Miville VIDEOGRAPHY Life & Legacies DESIGNERS Shani Tucker Josh Seibert Ana Tamaccio SPECIAL THANKS Media Sponsor: WITF Location Sponsors: Excelsior & Hotel Lancaster Copyright © 2016 by Fig Stories. Published annually by Fig Industries. Printed in Lancaster County on FSC-certified paper with soy-based inks. Fig Industries, LLC has made every attempt to ensure that all information contained in this publication has been obtained from reliable sources, but all such information is provided “as is” with no guarantee of completeness or accuracy. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Fig Industries, LLC. Fig Industries, LLC cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions contained in, or reliance made upon the contents of, this publication. Copyright: Copyright 2016 © Fig Industries, LLC. All rights reserved. Photography, writing, and page layout contained in Fig Stories shall not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the specific written permission of Fig Industries, LLC. Contact 717.394.7737 or




V O L U M E 1 2 016 | L A N C A S T E R PA

S TO R I E S fig stories is a collection of insightful stories featuring Lancaster County's most influential leaders, bold thinkers, and agents of change.



letter of welcome From our earliest childhood memories of books and bedtimes to our intrinsic need to live a life with meaning, storytelling has a special place in our lives. Whether we use it to escape or as a means to learn about others, and therefore about ourselves, stories have the power to bring us back to our core and uncover a desire to belong to something larger than ourselves—connect us in a way that allows us to see beauty in the impermanence of life itself. At Fig Industries, we do the work we love. We value excellence and creativity. We are honored to bring you Fig Stories. The idea was simple: Write something that matters about people who care about Lancaster. We hand-selected thirty-nine individuals and decided to let you into their world. As you read, we hope you’ll learn some of the same lessons we did. Beauty matters. Life is about giving. Hard work is valuable. Empathy is important. Leaders are servants. Laughter is a good thing. Learning never stops. We are all a part of the same story—contributing to and participating in the story of humanity, the narrative of us. But we can’t be storytellers alone. We need someone to listen, illuminate wonders, glean truths, and notice the details. Our lives are a gift that can change the community and the world for good. It is our great pleasure to share with you this collection of stories. Each one deserves a closer look.


TA B L E o f CONTE NTS DALE HIGH.............................................. 06

LOIS DOSTALIK...................................... 50


FRANK FOX............................................. 52

TY GANT.................................................. 10

DAVID LYALL........................................... 54

STEVE LINDSEY...................................... 12

JOANNE LADLEY.................................... 56

HUNTER JOHNSON................................ 16

CARRIE JOHNSON.................................. 58

JIM ALBRIGHT........................................ 18

HOWARD SUPNIK.................................. 60

JAN BERGEN........................................... 20

JOHN REED.............................................. 62

GARY LANGMUIR................................... 22

MARY KOHLER....................................... 66

DR. DAMARIS RAU................................ 24

STEVE WOLGEMUTH............................. 68

DR. JOHN M. ANDERSON..................... 26

TODD LINDSLEY..................................... 70

BRIAN NORCROSS................................ 30

SRIRUPA DASGUPTA............................. 72

ROSS KRAMER....................................... 32

MIKE MITCHELL..................................... 74

LISA GROFF.............................................. 34

GAIL GRAYBILL CARSON..................... 76

KATHLEEN PAVELKO............................. 36

MICHAEL BIGGERSTAFF....................... 78

ROB BOWMAN....................................... 38

KEVIN RESSLER..................................... 80


GIL LYONS............................................... 82

KATHLEEN FRANKFORD....................... 42

MARTHA LESTER HARRIS................... 84

DR. LEWIS E. THAYNE.......................... 44

JOHN GERDY........................................... 86

ED P. DROGARIS.................................... 46

SUSAN J. GOTTLIEB.............................. 88

ROB BARBER.......................................... 48 FIG STORIES LANCASTER | V O L U M E I


Building BRIDGES “A

lways give good measure” is a phrase Dale High’s father, Sanford H. High, coined. It was more than a saying; it was a blueprint for how to do business and lead a fulfilling life. In 1931, Sanford, the son of a Mennonite farmer, bought a small welding shop on West Lemon Street and opened High Welding Company. With the $7,500 purchase, he also acquired the firm’s first welding truck—a 1929 REO Speedwagon. In the wintertime, he’d travel to Baltimore to thaw out frozen pipes. After working eighteen-hour days, he’d sleep inside his truck in sub-zero temperatures, tucked underneath piles of blankets. Dale, his youngest son, remembers being a part of the family business as young as age thirteen when he would paint steel twisted pickets for bridge railings on Saturday mornings. “I was always attracted to the business from the time I was young,” he says, his passion and enthusiasm still very evident in his role as Chair of the Boards of the High companies. In its early days, the High company provided job shop fabrication and on-site repair of bridges and other steel structures throughout the city and county. Dale describes a specific example of his father’s hard work, integrity, and commitment to the community: “I remember on Saturdays, come noon, all the neighborhood kids would be lined up at the door with their broken bicycles and wagons and he’d stay there as long as it took, for nothing, and fix all these neighborhood kids’ toys. I’d get antsy and be ready to go home. He’d say, ‘Nope, we gotta take care of this person.’ I learned a lot from him.” The summer of his seventeenth year, Dale remembers going to his father and telling him he needed to grow the business. Dale


presented the idea of a second shift—to get full use of the machines and be able to handle more jobs. “At seventeen, I believed I could do anything,” he says. “We created chaos, and first shift—they didn’t want to see us coming, and when they saw us coming, they’d lock up their tools and then they’d have to fix everything all day long that we messed up all night long,” he says, laughing at the thought. Eventually, he went to the first-shift supervisor and started to problem solve, asking for help and cooperation. “By the end of summer, it was working and we were viewed as a valuable asset—and it’s been going on ever since.” Dale graduated from Elizabethtown College with a business degree. “Elizabethtown College’s motto is ‘Educate for Service’ and that made an impression on me because it fell in line with my roots, but it was a good reinforcement that service is what it’s all about,” he says. “We’re not here for ourselves. Ultimately, it’s what we can do to make the world a better place; it’s the things we can do to help make it better—for our customers, for our communities. Elizabethtown College is the proud home of the S. Dale High Center for Family Business, which was established in 1995 as a way to value the unique contributions of family businesses in Central Pennsylvania. The High Center affords owners the resources they need—including advice, peer groups, special speakers, and council on how to transition their business to the next generation. With more than eighty members, it’s one of the largest and longest running of its kind in the country. Giving back to the community is at the core of the High companies. In the past year, they have given to almost three hundred nonprofits. The High companies contributed the bronze and granite REO Speedwagon sculpture at 27 West Lemon Street. The S. Dale High Family Foundation has really escalated its giving as well—including education scholarships and monies toward public art, like Lyman Whitaker’s Silent Symphony wind sculpture by the Lancaster Train Station. “We’ve challenged the community sometimes too, and we’ve taken positions such as the convention center and downtown hotel which was controversial—and we took the arrows on that. We thought it was important. We still think it is,” he says.



Today, in its 85th year, tourists and residents alike can see the impact of the High companies on iconic places like The Fulton Theatre and The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square as well as Greenfield Corporate Center. “We have other things that we have targeted to do, not just downtown but in the community at large that will create jobs.” Upcoming projects include The Crossings at Conestoga Creek, the addition to the Marriott, additional single and multi-family homes, The Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. One of their largest projects to-date is the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River. Family owned and professionally managed, with 2015 revenue of $643 million, the High companies is involved in steel and concrete fabrication, construction

“We’re not here for ourselves. ultimately, it’s what we can do to make the world a better place...” and design, as well as developing, owning, and managing more than nine million square feet of residential, retail, hotel, and corporate center real estate valued at nearly $1 billion. Dale High is a visionary who continues to inspire his team and the community to make remarkable achievements toward building a better future in Lancaster. He’s a passionate leader who believes in constant reinvention, creativity, and sustainability. Most importantly, he’s compassionate— remembering those things his father and his education taught him; that true leadership is serving others. His legacy is most certainly The High Philosophy, the companies’ guiding principle of building trustworthy relationships and being innovative leaders.




The High Companies





“I had teachers say to me, ‘We don’t have girls in these classes.’ ” CHARLOTTE KATZENMOYER Director of Public Works




HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM? Ask Lancaster City’s Director of Public Works,

Charlotte Katzenmoyer, and she will give you a civilized answer for how her beautiful and elegantly complex engineer’s mind works. Simply stated: You break it down into manageable parts. Cities have long been equated to insufficient metaphors about ecosystems, informational structures, organisms, and even stars. Physicist Geoffrey West has discovered there are fundamental mathematical patterns underlying the growth of all urban systems. Basically, all growing cities can be measured, their changes predicted in specific, yet common ways. Boiled down: Cities are large living organisms, capable of being both the origin of the problem and the creator of social solutions—able to face total destruction and come back to life. Resiliency—as it were. Anyone who cares about problems like economics, pollution, social interactions, urbanization, and global warming would naturally be drawn to cities. Katzenmoyer is intelligent. Her warm smile unpretentious. Her story begins with a memory of her hometown in Akron, Ohio—the rubber capital of the world. “I liken how I got into this field with some early childhood experiences and some things that really were imbedded in my mind about the environment,” she says, remembering the Cuyahoga River fires of the fifties and sixties—fueled by industrial pollution. The fires cost millions in damage and made national news headlines—spawning environmental reform such as the Clean Water Act and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Although the river is still polluted today, mainly from runoff, sewer overflow, and stagnation, the impact it left on one young girl was monumental. Katzenmoyer’s father was a Brethren minister who also worked in the construction business. “He did a lot of work with disadvantaged people, offering therapy to individuals and groups, and helping the disabled,” she says. After retirement from the ministry, he was involved in running group homes. “His whole approach was about problem solving and helping to make the community better,” she says with conviction. Her father’s values and actions deepened her desire to make a difference—and he encouraged her to pursue education. “Growing up, he would say, ‘Don’t let anything stop you; the sky’s the limit’ kind of thing,” she recounts—her reality not without challenges. It was a time when women didn’t go into fields like engineering, but she took classes in drafting and woodworking in high school. “I had teachers say to me, ‘We don’t have girls in these classes,’ and I’m like ‘I still want to try,’” she recounts with sincerity. The discrimination didn’t discourage her. She excelled in math classes. In college, she was one of few women in her major. “It was my first insight into the male-dominated field—and I really loved it. I wanted to have an impact on the environment and make a community better.” After achieving a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS from Lehigh in Environmental (Civil) Engineering, she went to work at a consulting firm—knowing it wasn’t where her journey would end. Katzenmoyer considered government and public works. She took a job as a manager within the public works department in Reading, Pennsylvania. While it started well, being hired by a progressive mayor and a really good city manager, the year-and-a-half of bliss ended when a new mayor was elected and things fell into decline. Katzenmoyer’s reputation preceded her, and in the summer of 2001 Lancaster hired her as the Director of Public Works. Today, she works with a nearly $56 million budget and is responsible for two hundred eleven employees in the bureaus of engineering, stormwater, public art, solid waste and recycling, streets, traffic, parks, water and wastewater that serve nine municipalities around the city. She reports to Mayor Gray and is in charge of maintenance, capital improvements for city-owned facilities, and planning for the future. She has an innovative WIFI initiative in the works, set to be completed this summer—offering positive solutions for accountability, options for Internet service providers, and discounted service to low-income families so school-aged children don’t fall behind in education and tech-centered learning. Is there anything she can’t do well? She says she was never a good writer, but was the editor for a women’s magazine (poorly translated to “covered woman”) when she lived in Iran. Maybe, like all good cities, the best ones leave room for creativity and further exploration. For Charlotte, she’s just hitting her stride—planning for Lancaster’s bright future. What does it look like? “I hope it is truly a multi-modal city that is respectful of the environment and has great facilities for bicyclists, improved pedestrian walkability, and continues to thrive with the arts scene and public projects. All of our parks will be renovated and people will want to move into and live in the city rather than flocking away from the city,” she says. Sometimes all it takes to solve a problem is the determination to understand its parts and re-engineer the system—from the inside out.



The POWER of WORDS ONCE YOU MEET TY GANT, it’s impossible

to forget him. And if he starts talking to you, it’s hard not to listen. A constant smile on his face and a cadence in his voice, he himself is a lesson in gratitude and choice. “I refuse to become a statistic,” he says. As the Program Associate at the Mix at Arbor Place, Gant has taken an active interest in nearly eighty kids who come to the community space. The Mix at Arbor Place is a non-denominational, faith-based organization located in Southeast Lancaster City. It is dedicated to meeting the spiritual, social, emotional, academic, and physical needs of local inner-city youth. Gant helps coordinate volunteers and is the facilitator of We Rock the Mic, their spoken word poetry program. In the summer of 2015, five individuals competed in Brave New Voices, the largest youth spoken word poetry festival in the world. Growing up, his family moved around a lot. They moved out of the city and he went to Conestoga Valley in second and third grade. Then he went to Penn Manor for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. His family moved again, where he stayed in Centerville School District for seventh and eighth grade. Then he went back to Conestoga Valley for ninth grade. Gant finally finished his last three years at Penn Manor, being homeless for nearly two years. “It was a lot of bouncing around, a lot of meeting new friends. I was so frustrated and often felt lost. I realized this whole time what I was seeking was direction by any male figure. And there was nobody.” “But then,” he says with anticipation and emotion in his voice, “I realized there was a man named Barry




Kornhauser who I could always lean on.” From the moment Gant met him, at a school job shadowing in the seventh grade, Kornhauser became his mentor. “I went to the Fulton and did a walk-through, and Barry asked me if I’d like a job that summer. He helped me build my confidence and I have to thank that man. He’s been the greatest person in my life—male figure wise,” he says. “People don’t realize what he’s done for me—this short Jewish guy with this tall, skinny black guy. But he changed my life. He told me I could do it. Just show up. Just write.” Gant is the first, after his mother, to graduate high school and the first and only to graduate from college and pursue higher education. Once he finished his undergrad, he had this idea about teaching literacy through the spoken word. After asking Kornhauser where such a program might exist, he went to the Mix at Arbor Place for the first time. “That day I walked straight in with a little notepad and I presented an idea to them. They took me to the boardroom and loved it.” After four months of volunteering they offered him a part-time job and then they offered him a salary. His idea became We Rock the Mic. “It’s more than poetry,” he says. At twenty-eight years old, he could not be more grateful. He’s married to the love of his life, wife Ivelis Montanez, and counts their three children as a blessing (Jayzen, 6, Carter, 2, and Milan, 2 months). He’s currently pursuing his masters from Eastern University. What’s next for Gant? “I want to continue to expand the performing arts in this city—not just by poetry, dance, acting, or journalism. Everything you can think of. I just want to give these kids an option. They’re bored. That’s why they commit crimes. I want to do well for my community. I don’t want to be another statistic.”



TY GANT Program Associate at the Mix at Arbor Place

AN EXCERPT FROM GANT’S IMPROVISED SPOKEN WORD: And then she told me, “Ty, I don’t need you, your kids need you. You have more potential than your father who used to beat you. You already exceeded some goals that were out of reach to you. If that’s not motivating, I don’t know what to do.”


is looking for throughout their life: a sense of autonomy, a sense of mastery, and a sense of purpose,” says Steve Lindsey, chief executive officer at New Holland’s retirement community, Garden Spot Village. He wears the easy smile of a man who has gone the distance (he’s run eleven marathons) and who has let life make him grateful—his green eyes clear and astutely curious. Lindsey was born in New York state and moved frequently as a child—living in Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia all before the eighth grade when his family finally settled in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. “My mother always approached everything, any change, as an opportunity for a new adventure and so from that experience, I got to see change as something that could be very beneficial. That spirit of adventure goes into innovation and the unknown—taking risks in some regards,” he explains. Pennsylvania felt like home. “We used to meet my grandparents in Lancaster County when I was a kid, so I have always had a special place in my heart for Lancaster,” he says. As a pastor’s kid and a self-professed band geek, he recounts being given phenomenal opportunities at his small school, being involved in any of the activities he wanted. From saxophone to drum major, Lindsey continued to pursue excellence well into his college days at Messiah where he graduated with a degree in behavioral science. He thought he would become a marriage and family therapist. After graduation, though, he went to work at a residential treatment center for adolescents who had been court ordered into placement. “I absolutely fell in love with the kids who were there, who came from really difficult backgrounds, who had not had an easy start in life,” he says with compassion. After completing a master's degree in social work, Lindsey became a case manager, doing group, family, and individual therapy with many different kids on his caseload. “I realized, at the time, I probably wasn’t as good at this as I thought I should be,” he says with humility and a chuckle. With those eight years, he went to work at a rehab hospital in Mechanicsburg—where physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy were provided. “I got to learn so much,” he says, “and it was p . 12



a great environment to learn new skills.” After years of promotions and earning a nursing home administrator’s license, his world expanded to senior living, and after a few years at a retirement community near Harrisburg, Lindsey got the call that a job had opened at Garden Spot Village. Fourteen years at Garden Spot Village and decades of service to people of all ages and backgrounds has certainly given him some insight into the human condition. His spirit of curiosity and adventure has helped him think in unique ways when it comes to innovative ideas at Garden Spot Village. A lifelong learner, Lindsey says the common threads he’s found throughout all his years of experience centers around meaningful relationships and community. There’s something different about Garden Spot Village. You can feel it. “Hi, Steve,” one resident says as he walks by. Another dozen residents call him by name and he has genuine conversations with them as he walks from his downstairs office to the remodeled village square atrium. The fish tank is teeming with colorful life. The life-size maple tree ironwork sculpture, the epicenter of metaphor and meaning, symbolizes the human experience and our capacity to grow. Within this “garden spot,” the residents enjoy the Harvest Table Restaurant. And on the wall hangs a Freiman Stoltzfus painting that expresses this community so well. The great golds and vibrant purples proclaim the richness of a treasure that cannot be destroyed—a gift intrinsically designed to bring forth praise. Here, Garden Spot Village’s faith is alive with works, and evidenced in their mission to enrich the lives of older adults as an expression of Christ’s love. “In my life, and here in our culture at Garden Spot, we’ve received all these blessings, not always material blessings, but life experience and wisdom, and worthwhile relationships. They’re worth more than money,” he says. “The next question is, ‘How does that translate to service to others?’ God doesn’t just bless us for us, but to be a conduit to extend that to others,” he says with a smile. Lindsey and the entire leadership team emphasize stewardship, transparency, and integrity. This year alone, residents have volunteered more than 55,000 hours. “That’s what it means to grow old. It’s not just about having wisdom, but harvesting that for the purpose of investing in the next generations. I see that at Garden Spot Village,” he says.

STEVE LINDSEY CEO of Garden Spot Village

“It’s not just about having wisdom, but harvesting that for the purpose of investing in the next generations.” FIG STORIES LANCASTER | V O L U M E I



live with intention

“We make our world SIGNIFICANT by the COURAGE of our questions and by the DEPTH of our answers.” - CARL SAGAN


Where SCIENCE meets ART HUNTER JOHNSON President and Founder of TONO Group

“My mind was opened as I went through the educational process—the nuances, the complexity, all the people who had to be involved in putting it together, orchestrating it.” p . 16

eing an architect is sexy. So is being a writer. Architects build structures that make us feel. They lead us through spaces that make us stop. Think about it. The reality is that we are constantly exposed to places, buildings, colors, noises, energies. Encompassed, we seek order in complexity, ease in unfamiliarity, and a balance of masculine and feminine. Writers do the same thing. They use structure to build whole conceptual worlds—make the intangible tangible—and hope for evocation of the elusive truth. Emptiness, too, is a tool to carefully deflect the sadness of vulnerability, to leave out what is most important so its absence may be felt—the juxtaposition to the thick, fullness of experience that happily and skillfully satisfies the desire to truly know a place. To call it ours. To know ourselves. Hunter Johnson is both an architect and a writer. He grew up in the Washington, DC area, the oldest of three brothers. His father served as a Special Agent for the FBI, honorably balancing duty to country while raising confidently ambitious sons. His mother is a creative, examine-all-the-possibilities, volunteer-driven woman. His parents have been married for fifty years. Growing up, Johnson was the quintessential successful kid: captain of the football team and on the homecoming court. But many didn’t know his anxieties; they didn’t know he was dyslexic and fearful of public speaking. (It should be noted that recent studies have found those with dyslexia are, in certain situations, superior learners. Studies using cognitive testing and functional MRIs have demonstrated their exceptional three-dimensional and spatial reasoning.) He was popular because he always did his own thing, followed a system of internal values that was, and continues to be, uncommonly cool. “Always fight against the crowd,” he echoes in a measuredly defiant way. Exploring the profession of architecture became a previously undiscovered career option during a seventh grade job-shadowing project. Johnson chose the builder who was working on a small addition to his parents' house. He was fascinated to watch the process unfold. “My mind was opened as I went through the educational process— the nuances, the complexity, all the people who had to be involved in putting it together, orchestrating it,” he waxes. Some years after graduating from the University of Virginia, Johnson started the TONO Group, in 2000, insightfully named from the word autonomy, meaning “free from outside forces.” “Ultimately, I think architecture is the balanced blend of art and science; there’s the creative and the technical,” he says. Johnson’s a self-professed worrier. “I’m one of those people that I take on the burden. I live a kind of anxious existence and I just can’t let it go. I take too much to heart, I guess,” he says. Growing up, his father would tell him to “stop feeling sorry for himself”—meaning right now you might be suffering, but take another look, see it from another perspective and do something about it. His mother would encourage him to turn it over to God, through prayer and gratitude. He channeled his anxieties into motivation, which led to his entrepreneurial spirit, personal drive, and a desire to remake the world. “The idea of making meaningful places, to me, is fundamental. It’s almost everything I do at this point,” he says. He argues that the only way to truly, effectively do that is to keep control and be responsible for all of it—the land, the design, the construction, and the furnishing. The TONO Group includes TONO Architects, PROTO Construction, Interiors by DECO and INFO Expertise. “We are literally buying property in town and self-developing it—exhibiting not only what we do, but giving that experience to others.” It’s easy to hear the conviction in his voice, his desire to make a difference, to build a legacy based on architecture he believes in. “It’s about the idea of doing what’s right, doing good work,” he says. “You hope you’re respected and appreciated for it, but that’s not even important. You do the right thing and do it in humility and do it with integrity and do it courageously and you hope that others are the benefactors of that process. What better way to do it than to literally, physically change the landscape— the way people live, interact, relate, eat, drink, sleep. I think with architecture and construction, you can make such a big difference in that respect,” he says. “But it’s no small challenge.” Creating places that elevate the soul is a high calling. Creating meaningful spaces is more than thinking in just two or three dimensions. Good design asks us to go beyond the visual perceptions or tactile senses into a realm that allows us to think higher thoughts. Beauty is the desired outcome. As we build, we write what matters upon layers of brick and mortar, steel and stone.



“The idea of making meaningful places,

to me, is fundamental. It’s almost everything I do at this point.”



Keep your EYE on the FUNNY THE


JIM ALBRIGHT Owner of Albright Opticians





I’ve never been on a job interview,” Jim Albright says with a laugh.

Albright doesn’t take life too seriously— and that’s a refreshing attitude in an increasingly self-important culture.

His fifty years as an optician began at age fifteen. “My father, Ronald, started Albright Opticians in 1965 and one day in 1966 he was busy and he needed help. He woke me up one summer morning and said, ‘Get up, kid, you’re going to work!’” Albright recalls. Little by little, his dad taught him about the business. “Here I am, fifty years later, still waiting to go on my first job interview,” Albright says with enthusiasm. As a self-confessed practical joker, he pulls a black Speedo out of the top desk drawer and laughs, asking what he should wear for his photograph. He’s amused that he can incite laughter so easily when he is simply being himself. A graduate of Manheim Township and Franklin and Marshall College, Albright studied business management and accounting. When he eventually bought the business from his father, he expanded from three stores to eleven and, at one time, employed sixtythree people. He also owned a wholesale company. “Then one day I got a phone call from one of the managers in Delaware saying ‘I’m too sick, I can’t go to work,’ so I had to jump in the car and go to Delaware to work and I realized that bigger doesn’t mean better,” he says. “It was more important to have my sanity and have a life than it was working eighty hours a week.” It’s much more manageable now that he has two stores, his own lab to do the work, and eleven employees all certified by the American Board of Opticianry. In the early 2000s, he started an Internet company called In-Spex that specialized in prescription sports eyewear. Interested in cycling and triathlons, he noticed that people weren’t wearing protective eyewear— because it wasn’t available. “There are a lot of complications in making those types of lenses but I developed the formula to figure out how to compensate for the curve of the lenses to account for what’s called facial wrap,” he explains. Nobody else in the country was doing this. Rudy Project, a company from Treviso, Italy, found his site and was interested in his formula. “They were fascinated by what my partner and I were doing and I worked with them for six years as their worldwide optical consultant,” Albright says. This exchange included living in Italy for a month at a time. He rented a place in Murano, a small island next to Venice, and invited his friends back home to come visit. Every morning he would go down to the fruit boat and buy his breakfast. “I never wore a watch the whole time I was there. I never knew what time it was,” he reminisces.

Outside of his work, Albright and his longtime girlfriend, Kim, find enjoyment restoring their 3,500-square-foot home, displaying lots of local artwork. He’s also become a master wallpaper hanger, meticulously wallpapering his ceilings. Old House Journal will feature the completed renovations later this year. Albright also enjoys playing the piano and guitar. His pride and joy is his 1865 Steinway Square Grand Piano with original ivories, ebony, and hand-carved Brazilian rosewood. “I play for my own enjoyment and I can’t read music, so I’m not very good. But I can listen to something and learn to play it,” he says. Albright, the former owner of the Chameleon Night Club, is a huge supporter of Music for Everyone and Roots & Blues. He also visits his ninety-two-year-old mother, Jane, who worked as a chemist for Armstrong and now resides at Country Meadows Retirement Community. Albright likes to make her laugh with funny poems he writes. “My parents met on a blind date and six months later they got married and lived happily together until my father sadly passed away from leukemia about a decade ago.” Albright doesn’t take life too seriously—and that’s a refreshing attitude in an increasingly self-important culture. “Simple minds have simple pleasures,” he says with charm. No matter what comes next, Albright will continue to move forward—arriving in stylish, yet unconventional ways. In fact, he’s a licensed hot air balloon pilot. Regardless of what he’s looking for, he sees the world in a different way—perhaps because his vantage point is ever-changing. Maybe he has found the formula for living a good life. Besides his ponytail and his smile, what people see when they look at him is someone who is authentic—and still crazy after all these years.

To this day, long after the In-Spex site came down, Albright still gets people who find him and ask him for another pair. “It was fun. I had a great time. Our tagline was ‘Practice Safe Spex. Wear Protection,’” he says with laughter. “We had our logo on The Today Show. That was pretty cool.”


p . 19

A PASSION for helping OTHERS JAN BERGEN President and CEO of Lancaster General Health


he one thing my parents taught me was you really have the ability, in life, to do what you’re passionate about. Don’t make a decision about what you want to do in life based on superficial things that seem attractive. You’ve got to find a way to follow your heart. For me, that was about wanting to commit myself to helping people.” Jan Bergen, President and CEO of Lancaster General Health, always wanted to help people. Bergen’s mother (and grandmother) emigrated from Sicily and immigrated to the United States when she was two years old—joining her father who was already living here. Bergen’s parents met when they were fifteen years old, fell in love, and raised her and her two brothers. Both her parents are still alive today; her mother is 92 and her father is 91 years old. “My mother has this huge personality, very driven, very outgoing. My dad is a much quieter person, very thoughtful, very bright,” she says. Her father was a pediatrician and her mother a teacher. Her mother was so heavily involved in Bergen’s education that her father suggested it would be helpful for her to go to boarding school—thinking the distance would be good. So off she went to the George School. The Quaker based co-education boarding school in Bucks County was foundational and life changing for Bergen. She fell in love with the Quaker philosophy. The George School afforded her many enriching

p . 20

experiences, often times outside of her comfort zone. She was impressionable and no longer in the cocoon with her family. Her eyes were opened to a world of people who lived in difficult circumstances, frequently helping individuals and families from South Philadelphia. “Sometimes we were cooking meals and sometimes we were taking care of a disabled person, and sometimes we were helping paint a house,” she recalls. “It really instilled in me that sense of volunteerism and wanting to commit myself, in some way, to helping people. It has really influenced how I think about life every day.” Today, she credits some of those insightful moments, during times of service to others, to her personal philosophy to focus on the fundamental blessings in life—namely relationships and health. When it came time to go to college, Bergen chose Lafayette. The school’s motto is Vertias liberabit, which means “The truth shall set you free.” While she admits she was unsure what she wanted to do, Bergen believed she would work for a nonprofit organization or study social work. Somewhat influenced by her father’s experiences in medicine, she looked for opportunities to connect her social work interests with healthcare. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology and says she never questioned how she would use it—linking her understanding of social norms and cultures to leading an organization. She has also continued her education through Harvard’s executive program. Her ability to be an effective leader stems from her natural tendency to connect with people on a real level. “I actually was very blessed throughout my career. I just had lots of opportunities to be able to follow my heart in terms of wanting to stay connected with something I thought was meaningful and changed lives.” Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine, which has been in existence for 123 years, employs nearly 7,600 people. The nonprofit health system continues to help serve, support, and engage the community in many ways. “With the Affordable Care Act and changes that are occurring at a national level with healthcare reform, we have been, over the last seven years, thinking about the next 125 years for this organization. The



August 2015 consolidation with Penn Medicine was a strategic move designed to bring subspecialty care to Lancaster while positioning the organization for future growth— particularly in the area of genomics. “A relationship with Penn Medicine was strategically critical for our organization and for our community. A relationship with an academic medical center was essential.” Bergen serves on the board of United Way. She is happy to have found her path—one that both enriches her own life while helping those around her live healthier lives.

& DO YOU HAVE ANY COLLECTIONS? I own over 170 cookbooks. I can sit and entertain myself for hours just looking through cookbooks. I love to try new recipes. DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIALTIES? The dishes my family loves the most are the Italian recipes that I have through my family. My husband’s favorite is my Bolognese and a homemade pappardelle. HOBBIES? I like to fast walk, play golf, and read. BEST ADVICE? Forgiveness—of yourself and others. WORST ADVICE? From that bad advice, I learned to seek opportunities and not status. WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? My grandchildren [Emma and Anderson]. ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT LEADERSHIP? the fifth discipline by Peter Senge. A HAPPY MEMORY? When my husband and I went to Borgo San Pietro, Italy, for our 40th wedding anniversary.

“Don’t make a decision about what you want to do in life based on superficial things that seem attractive. You’ve got to find a way to follow your heart.”



What does 125 YEARS of classic American CRAFTSMANSHIP look like? GARY LANGMUIR President and CEO of Wohlsen Construction




IN 1877, Herman Wohlsen left

Germany as a 16-year-old carpenter and settled in Central Pennsylvania where he began to apply his craft. In 1890, in Lancaster, he began to build what became Wohlsen Construction Company (Wohlsen). Today, Wohlsen is a Construction Manager, General Contractor, and Design/Builder, serving Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey—focusing on senior living, education, healthcare, and commercial markets. The “Wohlsen Works” tagline emphasizes a relentless pursuit of excellence, service, and results for its clients, employees, and community.

For twenty-six years, Gary Langmuir has been strategically leading Wohlsen as the company’s President and CEO. When asked his thoughts about his long career with Wohlsen he stated, with a smile and pause, “I’ve been working in the same hallway for thirty-five years, I thought about that for a brief moment and then went back to work.” In 1980, he started working for the company and over time purchased it from the Wohlsen family—the last of whom sold his interest in 2002. Langmuir grew up in Springfield, Delaware County, and studied business at the University of Colorado. “This job is the best of both worlds. I’ve combined my interest in buildings, real estate, and leading a successful business. I’ve had the opportunity to spend my life doing both,” he says, seated inside Wohlsen’s headquarters on Steel Way. The Wohlsen operations center at 1295 Manheim Pike was completed

late spring of 2011 after acquiring then renovating the property. The 18,000-square-foot reuse space is LEED Silver certified—representing Wohlsen’s commitment to sustainability, including a rooftop solar array. The new center displays Wohlsen’s many awards. The most recent was the C. Emlen Urban Award in Restoration/Adaptive Reuse from the Lancaster County Preservation Trust for renovations to the home of Excentia’s Life Enrichment Program. Langmuir’s core values, both personally and professionally, are founded on responsibility, stewardship, and integrity. Much like Langmuir’s own identity, Wohlsen doesn’t have to shout its accomplishments. Rather, it completes the job and looks toward the future— honoring the history that came before it, envisioning the future that will come after it, and standing humbly in an infrastructure of legacy. Now that’s a commitment to craft.

& HOW DO YOU GIVE BACK? I have participated on many Board of Directors including serving as the Chair of St. Joseph Hospital. I’m currently on the board of Messiah College, Lancaster Country Day School, and serve as the chairman of the PA State Chamber. As a member of the Order of Malta, I volunteer at Catholic Workers House and St. Anne’s Retirement Community. Recently, I was able to work with others in Lancaster to help the Arch Street Center relocate to their new home. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? I tend to read business books or detective novels. MUSIC? I don’t really listen to music. I once went in for an MRI on my knee and they asked me what music I listened to and I asked if they had talk radio. WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU’RE PROUD OF? In the last two years I lost about 130 pounds. It’s interesting when people I know don’t recognize me.

HOW DO YOU RELAX? I like to spend time with my wife and my grown daughter and son. I also travel to Canada for bass fishing and Alaska and Montana for fly-fishing. ONE MENTOR OR FRIEND WHO HELPED YOU? Jack Goetz. He was our bonding agent. He was a true gentleman and a true professional. He really taught me how to be an ethical businessman. WHAT’S SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Something that makes both my wife and I happy is when you watch the friendship of your children. From a business point of view, it’s those times when we truly exceed the commitments we’ve made to our clients and they positively express that their decision to use Wohlsen on their projects was a good one. I also love to see the young people grow and develop their skills and become the future leaders. I’ve obviously had plenty of opportunity and I like to share those opportunities with others.

SOMETHING PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU? My involvement in developing various projects in Lancaster City. At one time, I owned twenty properties on both the 600 block of West Walnut and on the 200 block of Elm Streets. We renovated them one by one and sold them, with the majority going to the tenants or first-time home buyers. WHAT MAKES LANCASTER FEEL LIKE HOME (ASIDE FROM YOUR FAMILY)? A number of years ago, we had been away and my son had been asleep for hours, we were almost home and he stretched out and said, “Smells like home.” Lancaster has its own unique smells. Seriously, the diversity of Lancaster’s communities, its local arts and markets and its proximity to major urban cities provide the best of all worlds.


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Elevating EDUCATION in the City of Lancaster “I WANT MY LEGACY to be that I believed all children had the ability and the right to a high level of

education—to go to college and be successful—and that I was able to inspire teachers, principals, and parents to support students to achieve that,” says Dr. Damaris Rau, superintendent of the School District of Lancaster. Rau has been in education for thirtythree years. Her experience ranges from being a classroom teacher, Central Office Coordinator, and Assistant Principal in Bronx, New York, to becoming an Instructional Leader and Principal in Greenwich, Connecticut. She has taught and led students of all incomes, ethnicities, and abilities. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of Schools PreK-12 in New Haven, Connecticut, before coming to Lancaster to fill the gap Pedro Rivera left when he accepted Governor Wolf’s invitation to become the state’s secretary of education. Rivera is highly respected, having been honored by the White House for being a Champion of Change. Under his leadership, he increased funding by $5 million (Pennsylvania has the widest funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts of any state in the country.) The challenges are great in urban schools where 89% of the Lancaster district’s student body is economically disadvantaged, 18% are in special education, 17% are English Language Learners, representing thirtyeight foreign languages, and about nine hundred students are homeless. Rau knows firsthand the unique challenges students face. Rau was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised there until age thirteen, when she voluntarily put herself into the foster care system.“It was a dysfunctional family. I ended up living with a variety of family members for a few years before I finally got into the foster care system,” she says. As a young teenager, she evaluated her options after seeing an agency in the neighborhood. “I asked ‘So what would happen if I really needed

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to get out of my house for this and this reason?’ and they told me… so I decided that’s what I wanted.” From a young age, she had a lot of courage and intelligence to see her situation clearly and decided to take control of her future. “I had always been a good student, an excellent student, so I brought that with me, thinking wherever I go, if I’m a good student, I’m going to be successful,” she says, acknowledging that school was the only place where she received positive feedback. “I was fortunate,” she reiterates again and again. She was placed with the sisters of The Good Shepherd in New York City. “You lived there. You went to school. You worked in the community. We had chores. We got an allowance—just like a normal, middle class kid would have. It all seemed very normal to me, I guess because I had come from such dysfunction. This was the first time I felt like this is a real family environment.” The home was also right across the street from Fordham University and the Lincoln Center. “We girls would go to Lincoln Center and watch the very rich families or couples get out of the limos in their gowns and walk into Lincoln Center, which is a really beautiful place,” she remembers, adding that they connected the dream of going to college with being rich. When Rau started college, she didn’t want to be a teacher; she wanted to be a district attorney because she’d gotten mugged three times. After the first college she attended wasn’t a good fit, she transferred to St. John’s University. “St. John’s requires community service, and so that’s how I got the itch for teaching because I decided to do my



community service at a local, Catholic school.” Rau also worked as a nanny. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a master's degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education from Hunter College, an Administrative Certificate from the College of New Rochelle, her doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her superintendent’s certification from the University of Connecticut. Today, she has a lot of ideas and proven solutions to continue to set the standard for excellence in urban education. She’s working to get more books into classroom libraries—books with more diverse and wide-ranging topics in order to get students to want to read more. She will begin working with Millersville, Thaddeus Stevens, and HACC to make sure students have the skills they need in order to be successful in post-secondary education. She’s introducing the highly regarded International Baccalaureate Program now for grades six through ten. (McCaskey High School was ranked 20th by The Washington Post as one of the most rigorous high schools in Pennsylvania—based on Advanced Placement courses and the International Baccalaureate Program.) While Rau has been in her new position for less than a year, she’s already making it clear that post-secondary education is the standard for achievement. No matter how difficult that goal may seem, if Rau herself could work hard to make it happen, she is confident that all 11,500 students in her district can do the same.



DR. DAMARIS RAU Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster.





DR. JOHN M. ANDERSON President of Millersville University




MOVING FORWARD: A more sustainable future C

osmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking noted: “There should be no boundaries to human endeavor.” Like world-renowned physicists, successful educators push the boundaries of what is possible.

President of Millersville University, Dr. John M. Anderson says he entered the field of education serendipitously. Growing up, he wanted to be a civil engineer. Anderson recalls when his father took him to see the Tappan Zee Bridge being built. (Today, High Steel Structures is building the bridge’s replacement and it’s scheduled for completion in 2018.) A young Anderson was fascinated. There was no question in his mind that he would go to college and study civil engineering. Anderson enrolled in college to realize his dream; then reality intervened. He recounts a story about his frustrations with the early days of computer programming, spending nights making lots of mistakes on his punch cards and waiting for the big computer to process his codes. Eventually, Anderson decided it wasn’t for him. He switched colleges to major in physics and he was good at it. One summer, while working as an undergrad lab assistant, the chair of the department asked him to teach the lab because the professor had become ill. “I liked it! And the students responded positively.” Anderson eventually earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from The State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport, his master’s degree in physics from SUNY Geneseo and his Ph.D. in education from Cornell. His own college education took him fiveand-a-half years to complete. “I changed my major three times. I had no money;

I had to stop, work and get money, and then go back to school, so I’m sensitive to that particular struggle some of our students face.” Anderson’s passion for education drives him to lead the university in creating an environment where students are engaged. He loves to see students develop a sense of identity and be exposed to different cultures and ideas. “It’s the adventure in and out of the classroom, the ‘ah-ha’ moments,” he says, emphasizing Millersville’s high-impact learning experiences like study abroad opportunities and civic engagement projects. When asked about the shift in education as the result of technology and Internet access, Anderson notes that faculty now spend more time putting content into context, educating students on how to evaluate the validity of information. He admits that technology has made content readily available with access to myriad online courses taught by an assortment of instructors, some of whom are Nobel Laureates. The difference is that professors at Millersville (98% of whom have a Ph.D.) are focused on educating students to understand the concepts and interrelations, the applications and implications for the real world. Anderson posits it is the role of the president to find resources that enable others to push the boundaries of what is possible in higher education. Faculty, students, staff, and alumni have phenomenal ideas. The president enthusiastically ticks off a list, “We have faculty and students who have partnered with Lancaster Conservancy and Stroud Water Research Center to create watershed educational programs. We have faculty and students involved in the Providence Project, researching the role of Lancaster in the birth of the nation and establishing American values. We have a staff member and students converting a 1970 Volkswagen bus to be powered by electricity. We have an alum, Roy Clair, who assisted us in creating the Entertainment Technology program to meet the needs of expanding opportunities in that field.” Anderson pauses for breath, but he’s clearly not finished. “When I arrived at Millersville, a faculty member came to me because he’d read about my work with Springbrook, an organization that provides services for persons with developmental differences. The faculty said, ‘I have an idea. I want

to start a program for students with intellectual disabilities.’” That idea became a reality—The Career and Life Skills Program—which recently received a $2.36 million grant from the United States Department of Education to replicate the program around the country. The two-year certificate program is a full-inclusion individualized life plan with life coaches. “We accepted our first student in 2014,” Dr. Anderson says with a smile as he speaks about Daniel. Daniel lives on campus and audits classes. He’s the assistant stage manager in the theatre department and works in food services—hoping to one day work at a dinner theatre. The program accepted eight more students in 2015. Anderson is proud that Millersville is passionate about providing educational opportunities for a diverse population of students. Anderson’s personal passion is sustainability. “Sustainability impacts all our lives and disproportionately affects those who are disadvantaged. It involves environmental protection, social justice, and economic vitality. These are complex issues that future generations are going to have to resolve,” he says. “We need the brainpower and the compassion, not just the passion, of tomorrow’s world leaders that are in our universities today.” This spring the institution will break ground on a net-zero energy admissions welcome center which will also be a community resource for sustainability education. Flat screen monitors in the facility will allow people can see how energy is being produced and consumed. When Dr. Anderson considers his own personal endeavor, he likens it to a quest. “I’m always looking for new challenges, both personal and professional. Whether it’s creating opportunities for students, assisting businesses in meeting workforce needs, or educating for a sustainable future…that’s what drives me.” It has been said that a good educator motivates others to find their passion, discover new phenomena, and become triggers of social change. John Anderson obviously has a passion for doing just that at Millersville University; the paradox is that this educator finds himself motivated and energized by the creative, talented university community who constantly challenge him to push the boundaries of the possible.


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i n s p i r e c r e at i v i t y

“It is ONLY with the heart that one can see RIGHTLY; what is essential is INVISIBLE to the eye.” - ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY

The SOUND of MUSIC “AS A CONDUCTOR, I have to live in the past, present, and future simultaneously,” says Brian Norcross.

The world of conducting is about leading and cooperating, balancing order and chaos. Pattern and scale and movement. How loud? How soft? A conductor’s job is to help musicians bring a score to life—convey the deep and subtle connections. He must know the gestures to make, shape the sound, and fall in love with the music. And he must do all this without a single word. His movement and facial expressions become the language. Norcross has developed a love of the creative endeavor through teaching, mentoring, and performing. He’s an expressive man with an infectious laugh. His voice is smooth and even. He has taught at Franklin & Marshall College since 1986 and is the Senior Director of Instrumental Music and Conducting Studies. He’s the Director of Music at First United Methodist Church. He is also the Artistic Director and conductor of Allegro Chamber Orchestra of Lancaster. A black Darth Vader helmet and a white Stormtrooper helmet sit on top of his piano inside his F&M office. They are remnants of the college’s Spectrum Concert, an annual musical performance held close to Halloween. Norcross invites students to dress up in costume. “The students somewhat demanded that my headgear be on display in my office,” he says with a laugh. Born and raised in New Jersey, he knew he would one day make a living out of music. In the eighth grade he declared he would become a high school band director—and he did. He taught at Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Every conductor has a technique. “For me, it’s joy and it’s a joy that transcends what one can put into words,” he says. His approach uses positive reinforcement. “I never reprimand. I observe, give comment. And for the performers, the fear of mistakes goes away and the joy of the music comes in.” His positive approach was born out of a negative experience that crushed his musical soul. He recounts being the first chair of the French horns at a high school allp . 30

state festival in New Jersey. A special guest conductor was leading the band. “He could not utter a single positive thing from our three days of constant rehearsing,” Norcross remembers. At one point, one of the high school band directors asked if he could take the horns in the hallway, thinking he could help. The guest conductor said, “You can take the horns in the hallway and leave them there.” Norcross remembers slumping back in his chair, looking to his friends next to him, questioning what he was supposed to do to improve with such a comment. He said, “We are the best high school musicians in the state of New Jersey. This should be the most joyful experience any of us could imagine. And someday I’m going to become a conductor and nobody will suffer the way we are. Music should be joyful.” Some twenty years later, Norcross was at a conducting workshop and that same guest conductor was part of the faculty who observes and gives constructive comment. To his surprise, Norcross noticed his undergraduate, master’s, and doctorial conducting mentors were also in attendance. The guest conductor gave one good constructive comment and then he looked to the group, then to Norcross, and said, “This guy changed all of you. Your music became joyful and excited and energized just by how he presented himself.” Norcross thanked him for the constructive advice and the compliment. There’s a wordless storybook about a conductor who climbs into a tree and conducts the leaves; they turn into birds and fly away. Once alone, the conductor climbs down and plants his baton in the



ground. The baton grows into one of those trees with magical leaves. Norcross purchased The Conductor one year while he and his family were vacationing in Massachusetts. They met John Williams, who was eating in the same restaurant. They asked him for his autograph but the only thing they had for him to sign was the book. He wrote out the first two measures of Star Wars and signed it to all the musicians in the family. Norcross says live performance is a metaphor for life. Just yesterday he conducted two major performances at First United Methodist Church. “In a couple of hours I’m going to be putting away all the chairs and there will be no evidence that it happened. There’s a recording, but that’s a cold, hard, judgmental creature. That’s not what happened. What happened was there and now it’s over. I always have a sense of loss after it’s completed. I’ve been living with that music, in many cases, for a year or more,” he says. He witnesses the music come to life. And he puts his baton away, knowing it will live to breathe magic into another score, student, musician, audience in the future. “Nothing is perfect. There’s room to grow and develop. And that’s where the excitement is—that’s the joy!”

“Nothing is perfect. There’s room to grow and develop. And that’s where the excitement is—that’s the joy!”

BRIAN NORCROSS Artistic Director and Conductor of Allegro Director of Music at First United Methodist Church Senior Director of Instrumental Music at Franklin & Marshall College FIG STORIES LANCASTER | V O L U M E I




IN ROSS KRAMER’S WORLD, relevance dominates.

In ecommerce, connecting with the right demographic at the right time, with the right message in the right place takes accuracy. It takes skill. And it takes know-how. Kramer, the co-founder and CEO of the digital marketing company Listrak, has the benefit of creating and using analytics—the pathways to quantification by way of statistics and objective analysis. Listrak works to find meaningful patterns in data to predict, describe, and enhance marketing strategies. After all, when it comes to knowing what people want, one must understand complex psychologies of value, identity, and trust. The fundamental question, amid the everaccelerating evolution of information, is always: What does a person want? Predicting human behavior is not easy. Kramer is a compelling conversationalist. He’s confident, easygoing, and possesses an unguarded wellspring of anecdotes, challenges, stories, and fragments of humorous self-awareness. He highlights three things his company does really well. They innovate to stay relevant. They sell to stay alive. They take care of their customer. Consumer demand is always at the core. “At Listrak we help retailers compete against Amazon. They’re a giant,” he says openly. “We are solely focused on retail and we help retailers do better marketing.” Growing up in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania, he describes himself as an entrepreneurial type of guy. He had a paper route. He painted houses. He hung drywall. But he was really good at computers. In high school, when others were enjoying snow days and cancellations, he was establishing relationships with distributors like Ingram Micro. “I was in business in 1993, selling computers to teachers, neighbors, and people from church,” he recounts. After high school, Kramer went to Penn State to study Biology and become a doctor. “I thought I could just waltz up to State College and they would just hand me a degree in Biology. The teachers and the professors up


there had a different idea,” he says, laughing. “So I got straight Ds my first semester.” He graduated with a degree in Health Policy and Administration. Then, in 1995, his junior year in college, Ross and his father, Howard, took all the money they’d made from computer sales and building websites and they bought a couple of servers and got into web hosting. (Howard Kramer, was in the construction business, later moved to a career in banking, and now currently serves as the co-founder and COO. A heavily decorated Vietnam veteran, Howard served with the US Army’s 9th infantry division.) The day after he graduated, he went to Philadelphia to talk to one of his clients—Movies Unlimited, a site for collectors of cult classics. “In 1995, wasn’t selling movies and there wasn’t Netflix, and you couldn’t rent their top sellers at Blockbuster,” he says. By 1999 they wanted us to build them an email blaster. “This was in the days where it was like get your commercial email the hell out of my inbox. Amazon was one of the first to send them.” The first version of Listrak was built in 1999. “Our first office had no bathroom,” he says. “It’s a real humble beginning.” With two hundred fifteen employees spanning two local offices and a third in California, Listrak is a fast growing business. Kramer plans to build a 100,000-square-foot office, in Lititz, to house up to six hundred employees. “In the early days it was really rough,” he says. “I’ve been blessed beyond imagination.” With more than nine hundred clients, Listrak continues to transform retail. When he’s not at work, Kramer enjoys spending time with his wife and son and daughter. “The world is crazy. It’s going to continue to be crazy. My parents grew up in a world where you got drafted and you had to go to war, whether you wanted to or not. I don’t think my kids are going to grow up in that kind of world,” he says. What does he want? He wants his kids to grow up and work hard, to have good social skills, and to be happy. In his world of ecommerce and online retail, learning what Generation Z, or Centennials, want might just be his latest project. Rumor has it that they’ve got about $44 billion in purchasing power—and that’s not just relevant, it’s the key to growth.

WORST ADVICE? Any of Jim Cramer’s stock picks. FAVORITE MOVIE? planes,

trains , and automobiles .

WHAT WAS YOUR HIGH SCHOOL ACCOLADE? I was voted second most likely to succeed. And voted friendliest. I was also the class president.

CHARACTERISTIC YOU LOOK FOR IN YOUR EMPLOYEES? Curiosity. Not accepting the world as it’s presented to you.

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED? “Those who focus are those who win.” From consultant Trish Bertuzzi, 2010 in Lititz, Pa. That advice cost me $28,000.

[BLANK] WILL SAVE THE WORLD: Love. Dad’s a fighter. I’m a lover.




LISA GROFF The Groffs Family Funeral Home

“I really always wanted to help people . This is my calling—to offer care and comfort to people during their time of grief.”




by a community is to envelope them in familiar imagery, with its beauty and power to help calm emotions and make the experience more bearable.

Honoring a LIFE, leaving a LEGACY L

isa Groff doesn’t see her work as a career, but as a vocation—a calling to spend her days in service to others. “Giving care and comfort to each family experiencing grief and sorrow brings me deep satisfaction.” The Groffs have been a foundational part of the Lancaster community for more than one hundred fifteen years. As a fourth-generation funeral director, Lisa balances respect for her family’s tradition of service with a commitment to contemporary practices. When the opportunity arose to open her own funeral home, she and her older brother Fred believed that, by thinking uniquely, they could make the funeral experience one that embraced both innovation and comfort. And so they created The Groffs Family Funeral Home. Rather than heavy drapes and somber decor, they worked with designer David Lyall and architect Richard Levengood to transform the funeral home into a truly beautiful and thought-provoking space. They incorporated high ceilings, oak and chestnut flooring, and many large windows to bring in natural light. Paintings and installations of local artists cover the walls and line the hallways. The Groffs saw it as an opportunity to better serve clients and their families during a difficult time. One way to help people feel supported

A stunning Freiman Stoltzfus original hangs in the grand hallway—it’s a painting of a tree that’s experiencing all four seasons at once. Its origins are deeply rooted in a map of Lancaster City, accented by a tiny red brushstroke on West Orange Street, which was formerly the historic Western market. The painting, and all the artwork placed throughout the funeral home, gives credence to the limits of unknowable and unsayable things—boundaries we can often feel, but are hard-pressed to articulate. When asked what’s the best thing about being alive, Lisa says, “There is so much to do in life. There are so many people to touch in such a short time frame. The friendships I have and the families I am fortunate enough to serve, help me to appreciate the value of life that God has given me. Each new day I believe it’s one more chance to comfort someone who is sad, make someone smile, share a story, or more importantly, listen to someone who needs to share theirs.” Growing up, Lisa never felt constrained or limited. She was encouraged by her family and teachers to pursue a path that she believed would include sports, not the family business. Sports helped her focus in school, but her family also valued the arts, intellectual enrichment, and cultural experiences. Lisa participated in theatre and photography. After graduating from Elizabethtown College, she worked in Connecticut for about six years, coaching tennis at both high school and college levels,

and working in sales and marketing. “In the late 80s, things changed in the economy. My dad [Robert F. Groff, Jr.] and I had lots of great, long conversations about what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live,” she says. She decided Lancaster would be a wonderful place to live and realized it had blossomed since the late 60s. “Dad asked, ‘Do you want to come home and be in the funeral business?’” Lisa went back to school in Boston and earned her mortuary degree from Mt. Ida College. Following a year of apprenticeship, she says she took the right path. “I really always wanted to help people. This is my calling—to offer care and comfort to people during their time of grief,” she says. After her father retired, he sold the business. “So, when I had this opportunity with my older brother Fred to create something new, I had to have courage going out on my own with my brother to reestablish the family business. Not to fear change, but to dream,” she says. This summer, Lisa’s younger brother David will be joining the business. “That just means the world to me; having additional family members wanting to join me,” she says. Lisa’s peace is found in appreciation of the beauty and respite nature provides. “Every year I take my 85-year-old dad out in the sunny July mornings and we get in the whaler and do a little fishing,” she says of her 30-year-old tradition of fishing on Squam Lake in New Hampshire. “I love life. My dad instilled in me that we need to stop and take in the moment, learn how to be in the now.”

“There is so much to do in life. There are so many people to touch in such a short time frame.”


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ON HER TWENTY-FIRST BIRTHDAY, Kathleen Pavelko watched the sun go down while

sitting on the steps of the Parthenon. This is one of her favorite life moments. The president and CEO of WITF has dedicated her life to the improvement of journalism and the advancement of public service. In a world that’s divided by ideology, propaganda, and disinformation, public broadcasting engages a community of viewers and listeners with rich, trustworthy content that’s more diverse, less biased, and digs deeper with focused, in-depth conversations and attention to issues that matter. WITF went on the air in 1964. PBS first went on the air in 1969 and NPR in 1971. Pavelko has been at the helm of WITF since 1999. She’s the fifth CEO in fifty years. Her office is located inside the 75,000-square-foot WITF Public Media Center in Swatara Township, Dauphin County. Built by High Construction, on a thirteen-acre tract of land, the Public Media Center houses recording studios and offices to accommodate both local and national programming. It also serves as a community space. Prior to WITF’s 2006 move to the new building, the company operated out of a 1958 elementary school on Locust Street in Harrisburg. “I went around the old elementary school and took snapshots. I collectively call them ‘the squalor pictures’ because they depicted the hugely cramped quarters, the tattered infrastructure, the deteriorating drywall, the busted floors—all of the things that go along with a very old building,” she says, characterizing the challenges. “I joke, and it’s true, that our receptionist gained fifty percent efficiency when she was no longer on the phone saying, ‘Have you gotten to the Wendy’s yet? Turn left at the Wendy’s.’ It was really hard to find.” Pavelko led WITF’s most successful capital campaign, Building on a Lifetime of Learning, which raised $21 million for the construction of the Public Media Center. Pavelko is an extremely articulate and intelligent woman—and a woman of action. She’s a selfprofessed news junkie, describing her “news diet” as an eclectic mix of NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Patriot-News, The Washington Post, and Twitter (@KPav). In 1975, Pavelko earned her bachelor’s degree, in three years, in history—largely ancient history. By 1979 she earned her master’s degree in print journalism. She married Eugene Borza, now an emeritus professor of ancient history at Penn State University and a respected author of many works on Macedonia. By the time her master’s degree was awarded, the two were living in London. She was working as a freelance writer, working for The Sunday Times of London until the paper suspended publication for ten months in a labor dispute. After a year, they returned home to State College. She went to work for Penn State Public Broadcasting and was hired as a writer for a weekly legislative roundup show called “Pennsylvania.” A year later she was hosting a daily, live interview program. She did that for three years until she and her husband traveled to Greece and lived there for two years. He was on sabbatical and she worked as a freelance journalist. “I worked for a Greek publication that was published in English and for Deutsche Welle, which is the non-commercial broadcaster in Germany that needed pieces produced, curiously enough, in English,” she says. “The world of journalism is a very interesting place.” Upon return from Athens, she returned to Penn State Broadcasting. This time she filled various positions including the head of promotion and fundraising, the director of programming and production, and eventually the COO. After being offered her first executive position as president of Prairie Public Broadcasting, she and her husband moved to Fargo, North Dakota. It was in Fargo where she recounts a beautiful story about the power of community during the Red River Flood in the spring of 1997. “We had moved to Fargo in October and it started snowing. It did not stop snowing,” she recounts. “That led inevitably to the flood. And we had bought a house on the river. Good planning on our part,” she adds with sarcasm. Pavelko describes neighbors and volunteers passing sandbags through her living room. Seventeen thousand sandbags comprised a three-and-a-half foot dike. “For three weeks we fought the flood,” she declares. Schools closed so that everyone could volunteer in some way or another. “Our home was saved by people whose names we never knew,” she says. “But they come to help. It really was a remarkable experience. I’ve never experienced community in action quite like that.” In 1999, Pavelko came to WITF. She believes their tagline “Live Inspired” means that public media should both inspire and satisfy curiosity about the things we do and the world around us. “As a journalist, I’m always interested in knowing what is happening. And as a student of history, I’m interested in finding out what’s happening now and how it connects to things in the past.”

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“I’m interested in finding out what’s happening now and how it connects to things in the past.” KATHLEEN PAVELKO President and CEO of WITF




pend a few minutes with Rob Bowman, or better yet, visit and experience a neighborhood created by Charter Homes & Neighborhoods, and you’ll see the commitment and creativity that the team at Charter brings to an industry that touches us all, and is ripe for being reinvented.

We all DESERVE better “I am a passionate learner, and continue to pursue every opportunity

to discover more about the world, about others, and about myself.”

After college, he moved to Lancaster County with Deb, his wife and college sweetheart, and their golden retriever. He started Charter knowing he loved architecture and the idea of working with people. It wasn’t long before he realized that the rules he was supposed to play by didn’t consider how people wanted to live or what the world looks like. “They say change happens when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” says Bowman. “I found myself looking around and seeing what was being built, the rich architectural heritage we were leaving behind, and realized there was something missing. What was missing was the one thing that defines what makes people and places special: Character. I realized Charter needed to be built on that one idea, and we needed to include it in everything we do,” he says. “There has always been conversation about land use and how growth gets managed, but I realized the only way we could change the rules that govern land use was to do it ourselves. Our team is about making things happen, and I rarely follow the rules. Creating places is about people first, and that’s a different way of thinking. How land gets used, what we can create, is decided at a local level, so we met with townships and local leaders, shared our belief that people deserved better, and asked them to step up and work with us to discover what’s possible, rather than what’s allowed.” Bowman is careful to always use the word create rather than build. “Places that endear themselves to us are about the space between what is built. We spend more time designing how homes and buildings relate to each other than we do designing the homes and buildings themselves,” he says. As a result, Charter has created sought after neighborhoods in the region. People from across the state visit and study them as examples for how communities should think about growth. “Each one of these taught us more about how and what we need to do, and most

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importantly, what people wanted, and we wrapped it all up in what we call The Great American Neighborhood®, that promises Life A Walk Away™.” With people traveling from around the country to see these places they created, they realized the opportunity they have to leave a mark goes beyond just Central Pennsylvania. “So last year we opened up four neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, our big step in Reimagining America, One Neighborhood at a Time. Nothing defines a community more than what they build in the suburbs, and The Great American Neighborhood® is the model for the future if a community wants to be defined by character.” Bowman believes what they do has a profound effect on people’s lives. He grew up in a home that included his grandmother. Russian by birth, she was forced to leave her home three times with only minutes to grab what she could as a result of war. She emigrated from Europe with Bowman’s mother in the 1950s. Having another generation in the house gave him a perspective and take on life that he cherishes to this day. “When I realized I had the ability to create homes and neighborhoods where young people could have older folks nearby, I realized the positive influence we had in what we do, and as a result, The Great American Neighborhood® is one of the first in the country that is multigenerational, with many examples of people of all ages living on the same street,” he says. “I am a passionate learner, and continue to pursue every opportunity to discover more about the world, about others, and about myself. I think of myself as a creative person, a student of design who loves to draw.” Bowman graduated from The William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, after which he named the company, attended The Colorado School of Mines, and graduated from Arizona State, creating his own liberal arts education. “When I look back on what we have accomplished, I realize it all happened as a result of passionate and committed people who share our purpose. It is also the result of the support and love of a family that includes our kids, Alex and Kristen, in spite of listening to me always critique every place we visit (#stopitdad). I can’t wait to see the places we create going forward, and the mark we leave.”



ROB BOWMAN President of Charter Homes & Neighborhoods



“I just want to do everything. I feel like God gives you one life and I’m going to do all of it.” MEREDITH JORGENSEN COOKE Co-Owner of Life & Legacies




visual storytelling concept is not only powerful, but also timely. What’s true of culture is true of individuals: Our experience of the world is formed by our interpretations of it. Perhaps the key to personal transformation is story transformation.

Telling a NEW story “I

have this very public persona, I guess. But people really respond well to the real me. That is so affirming,” says the genuinely effervescent Meredith Jorgensen Cooke. Her story is one that resounds with many because of her positive, funloving humor and true zest for life. No matter the situation, the 5'10" blond-haired, blue-eyed reporter-turned-entrepreneur believes in the mantra: Just keep moving forward. Her mother taught her that. And it served Meredith well, especially as she fought a very public battle with cancer. Meredith and her family grew up on Long Island, New York, and she admits her desire to be a reporter started in the seventh grade. Knowing what she wanted to do made life easy. Her path and purpose were clear, and she graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in broadcast journalism. After a stint with Blue Ridge Cable, she landed a job in July of 2003 at WGAL News 8 as a Lancaster County reporter. “WGAL definitely informs a lot about who I am. I’ve been there thirteen years. That’s longer than I’ve done anything. To have such a significant swath of time be with this one group of people, this one building, at this one iconic institution in the Susquehanna Valley is a real pride for me,” she says. “I also don’t want it to be the only thing I do.”

In her free time, Meredith and her husband Chris love to travel. The two recently visited Japan. While there, she experienced what she calls a “gold coin” moment—a valuable and memorable life experience she has discovered and will keep in her memory bank. She was sitting in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto when she had a moment of clarity. “I’m learning about Zen Buddhism, even though I’m a devout Catholic, and the tenants are applicable in my life,” she reflects. She often tries to think more about if the things she says are true, necessary, and kind. Meredith hopes to continue her world travels and see the pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and the Amazon. “I just want to do everything. I feel like God gives you one life and I’m going to do all of it. Really, what I want to do is I want to have fun and I want to be happy and I want to laugh and I don’t that’s a very foreign thing. I think that’s a universal thing,” she says. Her desire to live purposefully and explore the people and places around her led Meredith to take the best parts of what she has been doing as a reporter and spin them into a new, very exciting idea. In October of 2015, Meredith and her longtime friend and videographer, Joe Mitton, launched their new business venture called Life & Legacies. The

Life & Legacies gives individuals a chance to author their own stories. Whether surviving sickness, circumstance, or simply sharing a lifetime for future generations, Life & Legacies offers more that just a video: It provides freedom for people to feel empowered. “I want to help people realize that sharing and opening up is a gift you can give to others,” she says. “I think it’s a privilege as a writer and a journalist to be able to tell other people’s stories.” Meredith knows that one thing, one moment, one choice, doesn’t have to define who you are for the rest of your life. She has not only overcome difficult things, but has thrived in spite of them—in no small part due to her fun-loving nature and her insistence to keep moving forward. “God has given us this amazing life and this amazing planet, amazing people, amazing food, and amazing stories. And I just want to gather them all up—and I’m running out of time already,” she exclaims. What will you do, or what have you done, with this one great, beautiful life? Read her blog at

& WHAT DOES YOUR FRIDAY NIGHT LOOK LIKE? I sit on the couch in my pajamas with my dogs and my husband watching how it's made with a glass of white wine. [BLANK] WILL SAVE THE WORLD: Dogs. It should definitely be dogs. TIP TO WOMEN EVERYWHERE: Buy one pair of really expensive, very tall high heels. They might kill your feet but the rest of you will feel amazing. NICKNAME: MoJo. ANY FAVORITE BOOKS? atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand and chelsea chelsea bang by Chelsea Handler.


WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HUSBAND? Cuddling with him. WORST HOMEMAKING SKILL? Cooking—despite being named Cooke. FAVORITE HOLIDAY? All of them. I’ll celebrate anything. Arbor Day Party, anyone? FAVORITE COCKTAIL? Cosmopolitan.


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hometown in Pennsylvania. “I was so excited because I would finally get to see snow,” she says with a laugh. “I was thrilled to be moving to Pennsylvania and that first year there were many snowstorms.”


of a brand takes time,” says Kathleen Frankford, president of Discover Lancaster. The brand she’s referring to is Lancaster County— a destination that attracts more than eight million visitors every year. What is now Discover Lancaster was founded in 1958 as a stand-alone organization originally called the Pennsylvania Dutch Tourist Bureau. By 1987, the name had changed to the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau, or PA Dutch CVB for short. With a new rebrand in 2013, Discover Lancaster started changing perceptions of what people thought about Lancaster County. Kathleen Frankford and her team are leading that change. Despite being an admitted introvert, she has never been one to back down from a challenge. She was born on an Air Force base in North Carolina; her father’s job moved her family to Arkansas and then to California. By age six, her parents had divorced and her mother eventually moved the family back to her own

& FAVORITE PLACE TO HAVE DINNER ON FRIDAY NIGHT? (With kids) TJ Rockwell’s. (With husband) Federal Taphouse for casual dining or Checkers for fine dining. DREAM VACATION? I love warm weather. I’m going to my younger brother’s wedding in Hawaii soon. Being in a beautiful place with people I love. I can’t imagine a better vacation than that. p . 42

Growing up, Kathleen watched others closely and learned from them. She was good at noticing the thoughts and emotions of others and herself. She liked to read and write poems and essays, imagining herself as a businesswoman with piles of paperwork and a telephone in hand. “For whatever reason, I found that as I got older, I was drawn to things that were big challenges for me,” she remembers. Kathleen continued to challenge herself well into her college years as an undergrad at Millersville University and then in graduate school at Temple University. “My happiest jobs have been with organizations where I was promoting something related to tourism,” she says. Hersheypark, American Music Theatre, The Whitaker Center—they all allowed her to deliver enriching, enjoyable experiences to others. Living with her husband and three children outside Harrisburg, Kathleen has a unique perspective on Lancaster because she appreciates everything that is here compared to the many other places she has lived, worked, and visited. “This destination really drew me—really just the challenge and the opportunity of broadening visitors’ perceptions. I love a good challenge,” she says. For nearly two years, research from visitors, non-visitors, and focus groups centered on the prime markets of northern New Jersey, Long Island, and greater Philadelphia. What it revealed was that traveler interest rose noticeably

WHAT’S AN AREA IN LANCASTER THAT’S WORTH A SECOND LOOK? The area along the Susquehanna River in Columbia and Marietta. I don’t think people realize all the dining, shopping, attraction, and recreational opportunities that exist there. Or Downtown Ephrata. It’s so charming and vibrant. WHAT’S SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU? I’m an inherent introvert. People are often surprised.



when they discovered how much there truly is to see and do here. Consequently, “Everything you expect and everything you didn’t” is Discover Lancaster’s new tagline. “Everything you expect,” meaning Amish, outlets, and family-style dining is now joined by “everything you didn’t,” meaning art galleries, nightlife, cool boutiques in walkable downtowns, outdoor sports and events, and fine dining. Succeeding in this effort is a big deal, as tourism accounts for 24,000 local jobs and generates significant tax revenue— some $185 million in federal taxes and $189 million in state and local taxes. But the organization is well suited to maintain and expand this impact, with a track record of generating a return in visitor spending of $54 for every $1 it spends on marketing the county. “Through its tax revenue, tourism saves each household in Lancaster about $1,000 per year,” Kathleen explains. “You would not have the wide array of wonderful shops, restaurants, and attractions available to you if it wasn’t for tourism.” Lancaster has got everything tourists want: history, the arts, the city, walkable small towns, outdoor recreation, family attractions, loads of foodie offerings, and distinctive shops. Discover Lancaster’s mission is to stimulate economic growth throughout Lancaster County by attracting visitors and inspiring them to Discover Lancaster and thus discover all these things. “The Amish will always be the cornerstone of our brand, but it’s having all these other things in combination that make us so unique and special that other destinations do not have. And that will draw them in. So we’re trying to broaden that perception,” she summarizes.

WHAT ARE YOU READING? I always read a nonfiction and fiction book together. Right now, it’s five levels of leadership by John C. Maxwell and triple by Ken Follett. WHAT ARE THE NAMES OF YOUR PETS? Goldendoodle named Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Frankford and a Cockapoo named Ronald “Ronnie” Reagan Frankford. We love them.



KATHLEEN FRANKFORD President of Discover Lancaster



“I loved learning and I loved school, from the very beginning.”




The HIGH ART of LIVING WELL DR. LEWIS E. THAYNE President of Lebanon Valley College


ewis Evitts Thayne is a lifelong learner who recalls with affection his early memories of classmates, classrooms, lessons, and recess: “I loved learning and I loved school, from the very beginning.” Thayne’s quest for education has led him from a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania, to Princeton, New Jersey, New York City, Atlanta, and now to Lebanon Valley College, where he encourages every student to cultivate a passion and an enthusiasm for learning. “An education is invaluable. It is the gateway to a better life, no matter how you define that,” he says. Thayne tells his three children—Anthony, Julia, and Anne—that their educational goal should be: “Become an interesting person so you will never reach your limits, never be bored with yourself.” Thayne believes that a great education should include finding a mentor, developing a talent, and making friends for life. He tells the story of attending a musical competition, Concerto Aria, at Lebanon Valley only to realize the next day that the winner (an incredible vocalist) was a student worker in his office. “If you didn’t know about her talent, it would have been easy to underestimate Cassie [Diaz]. You can never know what talents any student has inside, what they have not yet found a stage for.” Thayne credits acclaimed classicist and professor, Robert Fagles, with influencing his life and serving as a mentor. Fagles’ modern verse translation of Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey encompassed skills as a poet and as an academic. The two met in graduate school when Thayne studied comparative literature at Princeton

where Fagles chaired the department. “What does a mentor give you? They point the way, often without you realizing it. They give you confidence. It is not like a parent or an older sibling. It is a very different relationship.” Fagles and his other professors made possible one of the transforming moments in Thayne’s life. More than a decade after leaving Princeton, after marrying his wife, Dorry, and raising three children, Thayne completed his dissertation and his doctorate. “Standing with Dorry and our three children in my academic robes and blue doctoral hood was a moment of completion and satisfaction for me.” Fagles later handed Thayne a copy of his translation of The Odyssey. “Bob understood fully how important this moment was for me.” Thayne grew up on a street called Park Place in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania. “My mother was very kind. She was very confident socially. She was involved in all sorts of volunteer activities.” His father graduated from high school, joined the Navy, and returned eventually to his job at Westinghouse Elevator in Scranton following World War II. After retiring from a career that took him to a management position in Philadelphia, Thayne's father died last year at age 105. Thayne points out that his father read all of his life. “He retained and synthesized information tremendously well. Knowledge was an asset for him, an important possession to be used every day,” Thayne says. Originally, when he came to Lancaster to work at Franklin & Marshall with John Fry, Thayne felt very strongly that he could make a difference there. Now as president at Lebanon Valley College he can see vividly the transformative power of an education. “Lebanon Valley emphasizes the use of knowledge in the world and the capacity of education to change lives. That is a powerful, relevant mission.” Thayne embodies Lebanon Valley College’s vision for the future: to pursue a life of learning, citizenship, and success.

& WHAT DO YOU DO ON FRIDAY NIGHTS? If there is no game or college event? Then, that’s easy: absolutely nothing.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? The faces of my students. I see the possibilities in every one of them. I can also see the effort they are expending, the pressure they feel to do it all. They are the ones carrying dreams and aspirations but also carrying the expectations of family and of themselves. They are the ones that inspire me and others to work very hard. I could not be happy if I didn't think I was doing my utmost to help them succeed.

WHAT'S A NEW TRADITION THAT YOU'VE STARTED AT LVC? The day before classes start the entire first-year class walks from campus up to the president's house [Kreiderheim]. At Kreiderheim, Dorry and I host a picnic and greet each new student individually. It's a way of connecting with each student and to share the president's house. A class photo is taken and many, many selfies. IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A DIFFERENT PROFESSION, WHAT WOULD IT BE? In high school, I was sure I wanted to be an architect. I saw photographs of Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Building and I thought— amazing, how does anyone envision this, and then make it happen? Later, in college, I thought I would love to be a writer, like John McPhee. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM VACATION? A walking tour of the Alps. Dorry and I love to walk in beautiful places. But we wouldn't mind having our bags carried from inn to inn, with gourmet meals waiting, and interesting people to talk with at the end of the day. ADVICE YOU WOULD SHARE? Keep going. The landscape changes as you move ahead. I also think of the counsel of the ancient Greeks: moderation in all things. I am not comfortable at the extremes— socially, politically, in religion, or in any way. I try to remain centered. That has become more difficult than it used to be.


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THE DROGARIS COMPANIES have been involved

in the development of more than eight hundred acres of land and well over one million square feet of commercial, residential, and industrial space. “The more influence and the more ability that we have to influence other people, the more responsibility we have,” says developer Ed Drogaris. “The responsibility for a developer isn’t just to make money. It’s to create something; it’s to leave a legacy. It’s to create living spaces and work spaces and play spaces that people enjoy and they want to be in and they want to bring their friends to and they want to come back to—and that integrates and has a synergy with the community.” His desire to keep improving and to take responsibility started early in his life. Both of his parents were born in Greece and immigrated, separately, to the United States. They got married in Washington, DC, in the 40s. Drogaris was born there and then his family moved to the Florida panhandle when he was eight years old. Two years later, his father passed away. Life was hard for a young Drogaris and his mother. By age twelve he was interested in architecture and design and started developing house plans. In his youth, he was given the opportunity to live in Greece for a time and travel to other countries like Italy, Spain, and Turkey. “I got a whole different perspective on what built environments, architecture, and design were,” he says. When he returned, he started working almost forty hours on the weekends at a high-end steakhouse. He worked there for nearly seven years. During his junior and senior high school years, his interest in architectural drawing continued. Drogaris recalls petitioning the principal to let him build a coffee table–sized scale model of his design. “It had lights and roofs and I used landscape stuff for the grass and broke up little tiles for flagstones,” he says with a smile. Drogaris wanted to be an architect and he would have been, had it not been for some bad advice from a high school guidance counselor. “The counselor basically said, ‘You don’t have any money. The only prayer you’ve got is to go to a state school and the only architecture program in Florida is at the University of Florida. It’s a five-year program and it’s in the engineering school.’” Drogaris checked it out. He learned the program was mostly engineering, so he chose the next best creative thing he could think of and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in advertising and marketing. “I guess I still had a penchant for creative things. It worked out; if I was an architect I'd have to put up with developers like myself and I don't know if I could do that.” After graduation, Drogaris came to Lancaster to work for Armstrong Cork Company (as it was called back then). He worked there from 1971–73 then went to work for a model cities corporation for the City of Lancaster. “I started fixing up single-family homes in 1975, bought part of a block and then started buying warehouses and continued to grow the business.” He looked at buildings and places where nobody else placed any value and tried to figure out a way to create p . 46



value. Growing up, he admits he had very little so seeing potential where others didn’t came naturally. Envisioning the future of a building and renovating rather than demolishing has allowed his properties to retain their character and architecture—and is, by nature, sustainable. His office, located beside Lancaster Dispensing Company and Central Market, was the first historic tax act property in Lancaster County. Other notable projects include commercial office building Liberty Place, and mixed-use projects Liberty North, the Swisher and Buckwalter Warehouses (part of Prince Street Centre), and The Lancaster Press Building which is currently under construction. As a developer, he is involved in every area of the business. “From the inception of an idea from reviewing properties from acquisition down to understanding structure, design, planning, zoning, subdivision, land development, architectural planning, costing, construction supervision, manifesting the product, marketing it, managing it.” He gives credit to his staff whom he thinks is “stupendous, and they have to put up with me too. If anyone thinks they can do it by themselves, they’re crazy!” Professionally, he gives a lot of credit to the current local administration for helping create opportunities for the community to grow. “They have created the best environment for this community to flourish. Their focus on the arts, built environment, infrastructure, and on safety has been great.” Drogaris also says he hopes the community continues to see the potential and the resources that are here. “If I have the ability and the influence to buy a city block, then I have a pretty big responsibility to make sure the result of that is really great for the community,” he reiterates. “I am still intrigued by the city. I still love architecture.” He built his life like he built his company— from the ground up.

& BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED? The bad advice about architecture school—which ultimately led me into development. FAVORITE QUOTE OR VERSE? Part of my inspiration is from a lyric from a Waylon Jennings’ song: ‘I’m crazy but it keeps me from going insane.’ READING? I read a lot and some of everything. At this very moment I’m reading a book about Thomas Jefferson and the American Navy that was actually created to deal with the Barbary pirates off the coast of North Africa. LOVE ABOUT YOUR WIFE? She’s nuturing, fun, and she puts family first. LOVE ABOUT YOUR LIFE? That list is pretty long. How fortunate I am to have been able to do so many of the things that we’ve been able to do, to create what we’ve created, and to continue learning.

BUILT from the GROUND up ED P. DROGARIS The Drogaris Companies



“I’d like to make an artful impact on our community. We’re trying to contribute, in a positive way, to the city’s growth.” p.48



that’s expanded to Miami, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Singapore with clients including The Tonight Show, NFL, The Talk, Grammys, Miranda Lambert, and Jennifer Lopez to name a few.

Making an ARTFUL Impact ROB BARBER ATOMIC Design, Inc


ob Barber is stylish. He wears blue Prada eyeglasses, designer jeans, and jewelry. He effortlessly pulls together a creative, yet utilitarian, look that’s cultured and playful. His energy is expressive and inviting—so it makes sense that he would live in a warehouse, The Box Company Flats, where artinspired living comes complete with neighbors who believe in and support Lancaster through creative and collaborative community involvement. After a short ride to the fourth floor via a clean and colorfully painted freight elevator, we’re greeted by a vintage mannequin fittingly named Mona. He prepares an espresso and sits down at the table to chat. Rob and his wife Deborah’s condo is striking: exposed brick walls, glossy cement floors, high ceilings. Their space is stunning—large pieces of local artwork hang on the walls, a bicycle is temporarily parked in the corner, an art installation made out of a typewriter and a mannequin’s bust turned toward the sun, and a spectacular vantage point of the city—only outdone by the one from atop the rooftop deck— is the final perfect touch. One step inside reveals thoughtful decorations by the hand of a skilled designer. The air smells of the espresso and the oils he wears. This place is visually interesting and agreeably relaxing; the balance is just right. Rob’s the Vice President of Rental Solutions at ATOMIC Design. The Lititzbased company, born in 1994, creates environments for brand communication, live entertainment, television, and events. Rob has built a world-class team

“It’s interesting how I got to this point professionally, because my background and formal education is in fine woodworking and cabinetmaking,” he says. While he did that work for some time, he decided to go back to school and study computer science and business management. After graduation he worked for more than twenty-five years at Wenger Feeds as the company’s IT director. His most notable claim to fame was the Eggland’s Best eggs with the “EB” stamp printed on them. “I co-designed that technology with HP to be able to print on an egg,” he says nonchalantly. Rob and team understood the importance of differentiating the eggs (notoriously difficult to brand) to demand a higher premium. “I had a really good career at Wenger Feeds, but I decided it was time to do something different and move on. I landed the gig with ATOMIC and that’s been one of the most incredible experiences.” Seven years ago, the Barbers left their Mount Joy home and moved into the city to be close to the community of which they were already very much a part. “We wanted to make a presence downtown,” he says. When they found The Box Company Flats, which Rob says were built in the 1920s and was a hatbox manufacturer until WWII when the factory started making bayonet boxes, they made a concerted effort to focus on using the building to help the community—through volunteer efforts, leadership opportunities, or community engagement. One amazing event the entire building hosts every May is called The Wandering Warehouse. The evening’s proceeds are donated to Music for Everyone and about four hundred people show up. “There’s an artist, band, food and a bar on every floor,” he says. Guests wander throughout the building, enjoying the local art—be it sculpture, mixed media, mural, or graffiti. “I think the word ‘community’ is interesting—whether that word is the physical boundaries of a community or whether that is a virtual community of extended family, friends, and industry,” he surmises. Whatever it means, he’s interested in making more of it.

& MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE? Professional Baseball tryout… wait, skydiving…wait, working with Madonna…wait, LIFE! [BLANK] WILL SAVE THE WORLD: Laughter and dark chocolate. WORST ADVICE? Always bet black. HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY? Half full. MORNING OR NIGHT PERSON? Morning. FAVORITE BOOK OR CHARACTER FROM A BOOK? Speed Racer, yeah, I know. THING YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR WIFE? She’s always there. THING YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR LIFE? The ability to create and impact change.

Rob’s a balanced guy. His personal goals and aspirations are two-fold: simply put, to continue growing his career and his community. “I’d like to establish ATOMIC as a recognized international brand and I’d like to make an artful impact on our community. We’re trying to contribute, in a positive way, to the city’s growth. I have a lot of ideas— things I’d like to do with buildings and community spaces…perhaps some things I might glean from a job we did in LA or NY or a Miami fashion show,” he says. If Barber’s home and career are any indication of how to transform not just the aesthetic, but the creativity and energy of a space or a community— Lancaster is, indeed, pretty lucky.


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LOIS DOSTALIK IS ACUTELY SELF-AWARE, fiercely passionate, and idiosyncratically

delightful. She is the personification of E4, a strategic consultancy specializing in organizational alignment, strategic thinking, business modeling, leadership mindset, strategy execution, and performance management. Stepping inside the office inspires a sensory kaleidoscope. Colors and patterns and shapes fill the spaces and illuminate the senses. Throughout the office you’ll find colorful curiosities, sizable artwork, twisted rubbery toys and puzzles sitting on tables inside thinkubators (rooms named The Chiller, The Boiler Room, and The Sandbox). You can literally write and draw on all the walls. There’s a ten-ton elephant in the room. Her name is Sophia (Greek for “wisdom”). The not-so-subtle idiomatic expression helps clients address what’s obviously being ignored. In a world where creativity has become a commodity, E4 offers an environment that simultaneously frees and structures the mind with carefully curated stimuli. For a place where behavior modification is necessary for success, the response and reaction can be a whole lot of fun. With ideas shifting like glass in a kaleidoscope, at E4, it can be hard to tell the difference between the complex and the simple and between play and hard work. But don’t let the toys fool you. Everything in the space is meant to energize, elevate, execute and yes, even evolve. Those are the fundamentals of E4. “The majority of our clients come to us because they say ‘We need some type of strategic plan,’” says the founder and chief strategist as she adjusts her round black fade spectacles. But for Dostalik, while anticipating growth and change, clients should also start to envision the future—one E4 can help them create. This kind of approach assists organizations of all types to rethink their entire way of doing things, resulting in bold new strategies. She knows that every challenge also presents an opportunity. “This what motivates me; it is why I absolutely love my job. Making a meaningful, impactful difference!” E4 replaces the traditional strategic planning process with the Envisioned Future Model—designed to encompass the vision for a decade from now, but flexible enough to capitalize on opportunities that arise along the way. She is a firm believer in core purposes. “I think organizations should talk about their core purpose,” she reiterates emphatically. Dostalik uses examples from Mary Kay (to empower women), TOMS (sharing), and Nike (crush the competition). “It’s your generation that says it’s not good enough to have a great product, but you have to be socially conscious when you’re delivering it—it’s the value add,” she explains. “Let’s not get hung up on the motivation. The world is a better place because of it.” The beauty of being a company that evolves is that some companies will do good because their core purpose or culture dictates it. Others will do it because it’s good for their bottom line. As Dostalik sees it, when companies live by an organizational core purpose, people are motivated to come to work and make a difference. This year, Dostalik celebrates twenty-five years in business. She’s curious and sharp. The firm certainly reflects her own evolution into a vibrant and contagiously enthusiastic advocate of all things creative—and generous. Dostalik is proud of the time, energy, and dollars a company E4’s size puts into pro bono work and philanthropy. She thinks the City of Lancaster is quite extraordinary and looks for ways E4 can give back to it and to great not-for-profits throughout the county. A master of organizational and synthesizing methodologies, Dostalik leads her team in using powerful facilitation and consulting skills to help clients think in a different way and adopt new mindsets. “You must create your future,” she says, her eyes widening. “With creation comes energy. With creation comes buy-in. With creation comes confidence. And with creation comes amazing things,” she says. “We help people get out of their comfort zones and look at things differently. It isn’t always easy but by creating your future you facilitate passion.” And there is no doubt Dostalik has passion and energy to spare. “I look at failure very differently than I used to. As you get older, you just get a little sharper, in spite of yourself. You really do.” In her free time, Dostalik enjoys kayaking, packing a little lunch and some good cigars, and getting out on the water. “It is quiet and you are able to go places and see things no one else can see,” she says. The real magic of seeing works like a kaleidoscope (Greek for “beautiful way to see”): with a mirrored reflection, a little light, and an ever-changing sequence of gems and ordinary objects. For Dostalik, this willingness to see anew runs through her work with E4. From the quiet of a river to the boisterous facilitated meetings in E4’s Sand Box, Dostalik sees things boldly.

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“With creation comes confidence. With creation comes passion. And with creation comes amazing things.” FIG STORIES LANCASTER | V O L U M E I




FRANK FOX Entrepreneur





in anyone's life are the day they are born and the day they find out why they were born,” says Frank Fox. “It took me over seventy years to discover the second.” Fox is a friendly man, quick to shake your hand and make you feel at ease. He’s a little shy to share his story but hopes it inspires others. As a scientist, he had many years as president of Armstrong Industrial Specialties. “I had a lot of good mentors from Armstrong who allowed me opportunities that I didn’t feel I was qualified for, and helped me along in my career.” Fox also had the opportunity to serve as the CEO of Interface Solutions, a spinoff of Armstrong. He retired in 2012. “I had an inclination that I hadn’t found what I wanted to do, but I was leaning toward helping other people and giving back,” he says. His thoughts continued to grow year after year. But then something changed. “I went on a trip with HOPE International and I had the opportunity to visit the Dominican Republic. My wife and I wound up in the middle of a sugarcane field with a migrant group of cutters,” he says. HOPE was trying to create a second level of commerce in that community. Fox recalls being able to talk to those individuals and others who were trying to open small businesses. “I felt like I was talking to college professors. They were profound in their intellect and the awareness they had. And then it hit me like a bolt of lightening: I’m 1,500 miles away, I have more stuff than I need, and here are people who are deprived.” The disconnect was disturbing. “It was at that point, I’m not a man of considerable means, but I decided my mission in life is going to be to give back, in every way that I can—with finances and personal service.” First, he decided to create family security and he opened three little

businesses so his family could have sustainability because he knew they weren’t going to get revenue from him because he was going to give it away. He opened the restaurant Aussie and the Fox in downtown Lancaster with his granddaughter Julia Garber and her husband, Colin Morrell. (Yes, Morrell is “the Aussie” and Frank is “the Fox.”) He also opened a party planning company in the DC area with his son. Finally, he and a partner opened a research group, called Sustainable Composites that makes products with recycled leather. Second, he has gotten involved in the community to do outreach projects. He’s on the board at Elizabethtown College and he works with Allegro the concert group. He enjoys being on the board of the Lancaster Science Center and the advisory board at Millersville’s Ware Center. He also enjoys teaching a night class about entrepreneurship to students at Lancaster Bible College. Fox also takes great care to remain faithful to his home church, the Lancaster Church of the Brethren. Internationally, he’s been

involved with projects in Guyana to help establish community, and working with a group called Hiinga which provides resources to farmers in Uganda. Fox humbly admits that he is just one person making an effort and that others should too. He invites people to give back in whatever way they can. “It will greatly reward their life and they’ll have more excitement than they ever thought was possible,” he says with a smile. He feels he’s finally found his purpose in life and his agenda is twice as full as it ever was before. But so is his joy. “When I read the Bible, I couldn’t find the word retirement anywhere. I use the ‘R’ word but I move from retirement to repurpose,” he says laughing. Fox is a happy man. He says there’s no easy path to finding your unique purpose in life. He has a lot of good experience and understanding—which is also called wisdom. “Recently, I’ve had step two of an awareness of what my purpose is, but that’s a story for another time.”

& INTERESTS AS A KID? As a young child, I always liked chemistry. I would make modifications of gunpowder and take it out in the backyard or in the basement and blow things up. I did make some pretty good explosions! MEMORABLE MOMENTS? I remember an event where one of my general managers came into my office with a white-lined sheet of paper and on every line was a defect I had and the reasons he didn’t like me as a manager. I made the decision, at that time, to ask him to be my mentor and help me understand those things he’d written. He said he would help. We worked through that and I replaced him when he left, because he was a very good mentor. It was a painful process, but that’s the importance of mentorship. GOOD ADVICE TO SHARE? Once you realize you’re managing God’s resources, that you don’t own them, it’s a lot of fun to bless others—more fun than watching your pile grow. ANY MORE GOOD ADVICE? The most interesting people you’ll ever talk to aren’t on Wall Street. They don’t necessarily run large companies. They’re the people you see around you: people who have shops, the janitors, those are the most fascinating people in the world. Spend time learning about life from them. You’ll find it very enriching. And never think you know it all.


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The BEAUTY of GOOD Design THERE ONCE LIVED an unusual boy

who grew up in a little town called Rising Sun right on the Mason Dixon line. It’s a town bordering Maryland and Pennsylvania, considered the distinguishing line between the North and South during the Civil War. The boy liked to go with his parents when they would visit other people’s homes. He felt a spark of excitement seeing how other people lived. The color of their walls, their choice of furnishings, the treasures they displayed. He felt their homes told a lot about them. What fascination! He liked the feeling of it all. Because the boy was kind and rather well behaved, his parents afforded him quite a bit of freedom. He would often imagine in his bedroom, as most children do. Once, upon a whim, he painted his room a putrid shade of milk chocolate. It was an act of haste, but he was proud of his work. He treated his room well, often buying things for it—in a quest to make it alluring and interesting and beautiful. All the while, the boy grew and his parents didn’t limit him. They were accommodating and understanding of the boy's peculiarities. Parents who understand children are to be commended. The tiny three bedroom rancher where the boy lived was rural, atop a hill, and surrounded by lush woodlands. The boy’s favorite place was the deep woods and a little creek called Love Run. The boy’s best friend, Jeff Wilson, would join him on adventures constructing forts and climbing trees. The two built dams and worked at being children, at indulging their imaginations. The boy loved nature and the organic beauty of thick blades of grass, tall trees, fresh air, and the sweat of the season. All summer long the two would rise early in the morning, racing to go explore secret worlds, stopping only to salute their day's work when night would fall. Fireflies flickered their light as a reminder that other worlds were getting ready for bed. It was a different time. The boy grew up with sensitivity and

strength — and an interior perspective so rich and rare that it couldn’t be hidden. It had to be shared. The boy’s father had four sisters, each one unique, strong, and smart. They were called free thinkers back then. Part of their beauty was that they came from humble beginnings, as most good things do. To the boy, they were larger than life. He needed them. For the boy's aunts encouraged his talent and creativity— complimenting his abilities and differences. They found his curiosities to be worthwhile and valuable. That’s the thing about free thinkers — they see the goodness and possibility where others simply cannot. The boy’s childhood wasn’t easy. He knew he was different because he sensed it. With time, though, the boy would discover that what made him different also made him special. For every person who didn’t understand him would come along someone who did. That’s the hard stuff of growing up —the waiting. One of the boy’s aunts married a man who owned a furniture store. Eventually the boy’s father entered the furniture business, too. Another of the boy’s aunts became married to a man with a chain of grocery stores in Philadelphia’s Main Line area. Their home was in an exclusive suburb. During frequent visits, the boy would wander the sprawling home and memorize every detail. The colors, the space, the layers. It was unlike anything he had ever seen. It was a pivotal experience. He couldn’t wait to know how much larger the world was. He wanted to see it all —learn how to recreate, materialize with poetic precision the exhilaration of interior beauty of home, of identity. David Lyall is a great storyteller, and an exceptional Interior Designer, masterfully unifying tactile and visceral worlds. David’s mother and father, Walter and Linda Lyall, along with his uncle, Clyde Hall, founded Buck Home Furnishings in 1979. It began as a small rural furniture store serving the local community. In 1982, David’s parents became the sole owners. After numerous expansions, in 2005, David

“...I knew how to create beautiful spaces, beautiful rooms, and in a way that I felt was unique.” was presented with the opportunity to purchase the family business. In doing so, he added professional interior design services to express his talent and to serve a niche market. Within a short period of time, David’s reputation and the demand for his services grew. He quickly expanded his team to include multiple associate interior designers. The company became known throughout Central Pennsylvania for its creative and imaginative interiors. “What is a design showroom doing out here in Buck?” was a frequently asked question. “We always knew who we were. We were a showroom in the middle of a cornfield across from a tractor pull. An anomaly for sure, but I always had faith in my abilities and I knew how to create beautiful spaces, beautiful rooms, and in a way that I felt was unique.” This year marks a new chapter in Lyall’s story. With a new company name (David Lyall Home & Design) and in an effort to better serve his growing clientele, he renovated a historic century-old tobacco warehouse and moved his team from bucolic Buck to downtown Lancaster. He finally feels at home. “The new showroom is full of beautiful things that are a little different and a bit more refined,” Lyall says with an all-knowing smile. And the boy who was seeking beauty never grew old.



DAVID LYALL David Lyall Home & Design

“My parents worked all the time. It was just a way of life for us. That’s shaped me a lot.”




A little TASTE of Lancaster JOANNE LADLEY Kitchen Kettle Village


e were greeted with a sign that read Coeds go home. It hit us between the eyes that we were in a different place,” Joanne Ladley says as she recounts her first experience arriving on the newly co-educational Washington & Jefferson campus in 1970. That year, the college admitted its first female students, hired its first female faculty members, and appointed a woman to be the Associate Dean of Student Personnel. “It was a real life changer for me. So much was new when I got there: new president, new curriculum, two hundred years of men and now women. Everything was changing at W&J at that point,” she says. But the uneasy spaces between imminent change and powerful tradition never unnerved Joanne. In fact, they served as motivation to shine. She’d sum up her life’s journey with these words, and Kitchen Kettle Village’s tagline: “Tradition with a Twist.” Both her story and the history of Kitchen Kettle Village begin with simple truths about patience, acceptance, hard work, and a heritage of authenticity. Growing up the daughter of Bob and Pat Burnley, co-owners of the “Simply

World Famous” Kitchen Kettle Village, Joanne was never ashamed of who she was or where she came from—a small, tight-knit community in a town called Intercourse, Pennsylvania. The Amish weren’t a novelty; they were neighbors, friends, and schoolmates. Her parents started the jelly business in 1954, canning inside their two-car garage, with a range, thirty kettles, and a half dozen recipes. They invited others to come into their kitchen and share in the process. Today, the Kling House Restaurant is where Joanne and her siblings grew up. It was also the place where Joanne’s mother, Pat, first learned how to cook from her mother. “My parents worked all the time. It was just a way of life for us. That’s shaped me a lot. It’s been difficult for me to get away from that—working as a way of life. My schedule is flexible; I come and I go, but I still work six days a week,” Joanne says. Told very early on that as the boss’ kid, she would have to work harder than anyone else to be at the same place, she took that literally and applied her homegrown work ethic to college (where she graduated cum laude with a degree in German), to her family, and to her friendships. But Joanne’s mother knew her better. “She would say, ‘Kitchen Kettle was never enough for you, Joanne. You always had to have something else going on.’ And I did,” Joanne says with a lighthearted smile. After graduating from college and moving to Seattle with her husband, Joanne returned to Pennsylvania and to Kitchen Kettle Village. Joanne was asked to sing at a college friend’s wedding and her mother asked church choir director Dorothy Rose Smith to help her prepare. Joanne eventually joined Smith’s all-volunteer opera company. “I have sung all over the world because of her. I was Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, and Marguerite in Faust,” Joanne recounts with joy. She tells about an instance as the understudy. It was 1979 inside the Fulton Theatre.

She’d gone to every rehearsal and the first weekend of the show she thought she heard a scratch in Rosina’s throat. “Early in the show is the big aria and she hardly got through it,” Joanne says. “They ripped off her dress, put it on me, threw on the wig, and I went up the ladder. We didn’t look at all alike and so there was no questioning that a different person walked out the steps. And there was this gasp in the audience. I’ll never forget Figaro was at the bottom of the steps and he threw me a kiss before the entrance… and it was on with the show!” she exclaims. “The orchestra, the staging, the sets at the Fulton. It was really quite a gift—a privilege.” Joanne admits she’s had plenty of opportunities to succeed and, in turn, used those to continue to serve others and the community. As a businesswoman, she is proud to have helped create the Ethics in Business Award for the Samaritan Center and facilitate the creation of, and chaired, the United Way’s Women’s Council. Joanne is also one of the first Lancastrians on the Penn Medicine Board, and she looks to the future of ensuring the hospitality industry is recognized in the Lancaster County economy as an officer at Discover Lancaster. Today, Kitchen Kettle continues to preserve the tradition of hospitality by inviting others into their kitchen to share the simple life and taste the goodness of a jar of rhubarb jam or a pound of chocolate fudge. The recipe for Kitchen Kettle Village’s success, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors per year, is rewarding because it’s not a show—it’s authentic. “We’re real. If you see someone in an Amish dress, they are Amish. We’re not doing costumes; we’re not doing productions,” Joanne says. No matter what roles she has played or places she has traveled, her path has always led her back to the people, place, and family that are the heart of Lancaster County.


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am one of two children. Firstborn. My brother is five years younger and one of my best friends. My dad was a child psychologist; my mom a hairdresser by trade— but she stopped that when she had us. I grew up in a tiny town in Pennsylvania called Towanda, where there are more cows than people. The nearest mall was an hour away. There were no fast food restaurants.

I did love growing up there. Even as a teenager, I wasn’t surly about it. We invented our own fun. We lived in a development in the corner house where everyone gathered. The baseball diamond was in our front yard. The parents would sit on the porch and the kids would play baseball. I still remember the two pricker bushes that were first and third bases. We tried to run by them really fast. The bases were worn into our grass. It’s also where the streetlight was. We lived for Kick the Can! The bats would be swooping down at night. We’d have neighborhood parades and concerts. Once we performed a KISS concert. I was the drummer with the star around his eye. We charged admission. Our parents came. Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’m even more grateful for that simple upbringing. We were a very athletic family; we got a lot of energy from sports. We were also academically driven—which I’m thankful for. My dad was very strict, which is neither here nor there, it was just the way he wanted to raise us. He’s a big outdoorsman. He loved to hunt and fish. When he was in college, he and his fraternity brothers bought some land and a rundown cabin in northern Pennsylvania. I can remember Dad would be on the snowmobile in front of us, with Mom, and we’d be in the little trailer, that you pull behind, with our helmets on. We were under so many loads of sleeping bags and groceries that we couldn’t even see. But I remember the cold air hitting my face and riding those four miles to the cabin—then rushing inside to start a fire. That place is still in our family. I was fairly out of my comfort zone when I went to Franklin & Marshall. I had not been exposed to so many upper-class kids who had very different upbringings than I did. I felt way out of my league. I was recruited and given scholarship money to play basketball. First semester I did a lot of soul searching. I hadn’t found my niche. I hadn’t found friends with whom I felt I could be authentic. That was taken care of as soon as we started basketball practice. I became president of my sorority and became an RA. I had such a fulfilling college experience, but it took time for me to sort it all out in my head. I studied English and psychology. Pre-med didn’t work for me; it didn’t make sense. Stories and words made sense to me.

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Today, I am married to a wonderful man and I have two amazing daughters. I spent many years using my God-given talents helping big companies develop their leaders and maximize the potential of their employees. I also helped start Girls on the Run of Lancaster, an organization that helps girls sort through the countless messages about their worth, image, and abilities by helping empower them to be the author of their own story. Together, with the talented GOTR staff, board and coaches, we inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident—using an experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. Our vision is to create a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

“Set goals. Keep moving forward. dig deep inside and figure out what makes you strong—and do a lot of that.” If I wrote a manifesto for girls, it would go something like this. be the boss of your own brain. Focus on your uniqueness; it will bring joy to others. Set goals. Keep moving forward. Dig deep inside and figure out what makes you strong—and do a lot of that. Find adults in your life who will help you grow those strengths. Learn how to connect with people in an open and honest and authentic way. Be fearlessly authentic and strengthen and flex your empathy muscles. Choose to see the good in others, always. Have strategies for your weaknesses. Be brave and take risks and leave your comfort zones. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You can learn from your mistakes. Ask for help. Find good role models who will connect you with others. Share your voice. Work hard. Celebrate your body. Dream big. Become a lifelong learner, which isn’t always in the classroom. Give back to the community. Don’t sell your soul to anybody or company or organization. Laugh a lot. At yourself. With your friends. Spend time alone in reflection. Be mindful and aware of your blessings. Live in gratitude. Surround yourself with love—it really is the cure to so much. With love and admiration and hope for the future, Carrie







HOWARD SUPNIK Howard Jay Supnik Landscape Architect




and then finally plants. “I often joke with my kids that I play with colored pencils all day long,” he says with a laugh.

The LANDSCAPE of thoughtful SPACES A LANDSCAPE CAN HELP NURTURE THE IMAGINATION. Howie Supnik’s office is cozy and bright. He sits at his drafting table with sketches, stacks of mylar and trace, and many books. Beneath his elbows a rendering of trees is carefully shaded in several hues of green, their trunks a rich ochre. Educational degrees and certificates hang on the wall. They are balanced with family photos. One daughter studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. One teenage son drumming in his band Magnolia. at The Chameleon Club and other venues. His wife working for an investment advisor in downtown Lancaster, and his dog, a fluffy Chow mix. The sun shines through a window behind him, casting light on the strings of a seafoam green Fender Stratocaster.

A LANDSCAPE BALANCES FORM AND FUNCTION. Frederick Law Olmsted, most famous for designing New York's Central Park, popularized the term landscape architect in America at the end of the 19th century. “Most people think, when you tell them you’re a landscape architect, that you work only with plants. For years, my great aunt would say, ‘Can you come over and prune my shrubs?’” Supnik says landscape architecture is a wide reaching profession that includes anything from urban design and infrastructure to architectural elements, such as pergolas, walls, paving and steps,

Supnik was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in nearby Framingham. He studied architecture at Oberlin College in Ohio. After finishing his undergraduate studies, Supnik worked briefly for a landscape architect in Santa Monica. “As I learned more about landscape architecture, I thought it was more interesting. Architecture is a constant; landscape changes.” He then received his master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. After graduate school, he went to work for Hanna/Olin (Robert Hanna and Laurie Olin) in Philadelphia and remained there for sixteen years, through its name changes, now OLIN. “Both Bob and Laurie were trained as architects rather than landscape architects which made it unique and we became well-respected among the architects we collaborated with: Gehry, Eisenman, Pei, Cobb, Freed, Rawn” he says. Olin became his mentor and learned to communicate through his sketches, and Supnik says that’s where he really cut his teeth on large and complex projects such as The Getty Center in Los Angeles, The University of Chicago's Midway Plaisance, Mission Bay in San Francisco, The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, and Ellis Island's American Immigrant Wall of Honor. After sixteen years he decided to open his own office and move to Lancaster where his wife was raised. This allowed him more time to spend with his family and much less traveling for business. The practice has been thriving, except for a difficult hiccup in the big recession of 2008-9, and although he is doing much smaller scale projects, he is more fulfilled and content as he helps clients by guiding them through the design process and lending his visionary skills.

A LANDSCAPE CAN HARMONIZE MIND AND BODY. As a musician, Supnik has played drums since he was very young and this gave him a way to express himself and have a more confident voice as a young, introverted soul. Today, music helps him stay creative and think outside the boundaries of a cookie cutter mentality. “I see the same vocabulary in music composition that I see in designing landscapes, terms like repetition, sequence, dynamics, and syncopation.

When people walk through a designed space like a public park or plaza or a even a private backyard patio, they don’t always understand why they might feel comfortable or uncomfortable. Part of what I do is help to enlighten people why certain things work better than others…and it does have to do with these terms I mention.” Supnik is a quiet and calm man, a careful listener who is thoughtfully slow to speak. He advises people to slow down and look at the world around them, and think about how things came to be. He recalls one specific project where his client wanted a creative place for their children to play and explore, rather than a typical swing-set playground: “I proposed placing a series of small stone blocks through their woods. The idea was that their kids would come upon this and imagine and explore.” The child might ask how did these get there or if they were part of a series of something much bigger. This design element incorporated ideas of discovery and mystery—as well as imagination. “It’s all about thought and planning and thinking outside the box,” he says. The greatest compliments Supnik receives are when his finished pieces are not even recognized as being designed but more as if they've always existed, much like Olmsted's Central Park, but also on the other extreme, when he is praised for his work of pure invention—becoming pieces of art within the environment. The sunlight in his office begins to wane and silence settles in.

“It’s all about thought and planning and thinking outside the box...”


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Aiming HIGH THERE’S A LOT TO LIKE ABOUT JOHN REED. The 6'3" lawyer is friendly, smart,

and astute. His demeanor is trustworthy and calm—good qualities to have when you’re babysitting nuclear missiles. Reed was born and raised in the rural town of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. His father was a state policeman and his mother an executive at a redevelopment authority. Reed admired his father and his work. “My father didn’t have a lot of education. He dropped out of school to help support his family and then later got his GED, but as early as I can remember, my father always said his boys were going to go to college,” Reed shares. So that’s what he did. He went to Penn State and studied finance because he says numbers always made sense to him, although he wasn’t sure what he would do with the degree once he graduated. “Between my second and third year, I ran into a recruiter on campus. He started talking about the military. It made sense. It was a job. I would go do something. So I signed up with the recruiter. I went home and told my dad what I’d done,” Reed says with laughter. “He wasn’t very happy.” Upon completion of his degree, Reed did a bootstrap program with the Air Force to get his commission and in 1985 went active as a second lieutenant. “When I joined, I wanted to do something operational. I couldn’t fly—I have bad eyes and a bad knee. I didn’t want to be behind a desk and missiles was one of the other operational areas.” Reed moved to California and trained for almost a year to become a Missile Combat Control Officer of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. He went from California to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to the base where he was stationed at for four years. It was in Cheyenne where he met and married his wife, Carole—affectionately called a “military brat.” Often to get to the missile control centers, he would take a helicopter when he’d leave the base. “Upon arrival, you’d go down underground into the missile control center and you’d sit in an area with machinery on both sides and a cot in the middle,” he says as he paints the picture. “You were out there for about thirty hours at a time and you waited for your relief to come the next day—if they didn’t get snowed out.” The unique career field was small—about 1,800 people. “I went in expecting it to be a career. It was a great job: the people I met, the job I did, and the feeling I had putting the uniform on was great,” he says with sincerity. Two things thwarted that plan. Reed’s father passed away unexpectedly and administrations were changing over—from Reagan and Bush to Clinton. “Military funding always ebbs and flows. Often programs and program dollars are impacted when administrations change, especially from one party to the next, so it just seemed like a good time to get out,” he says. Reed and Carole were living in California, no kids, a mile from the beach, living in a beautiful house on the base. “I went out for a motorcycle ride one day, came back, and I told my wife we should put our paperwork in and get out of the military. I told her, ‘I think I want to go to law school.’” And just like that, the two packed up their lives, quit their jobs, and moved to Pittsburgh—where Reed could be closer to his family and would hopefully get accepted to law school. They left California in 1992 and never looked back. Between Reed’s second and third year of law school at Duquesne, he interned with Barley Snyder, LLP and was offered a position. Together, Reed and Carole decided to start a family. In August of 1996 they arrived in Lancaster, had their first son in 1998 and twin boys in 2000. Now his days are a mixture of counseling closely-held family businesses and working on mergers and acquisitions at Barley Snyder and spending quality time with his family. He spends time sharing his experienced advice with members at the S. Dale High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College and serving on various boards and committees like the Lancaster City Alliance, CRIZ, and the Wenger Group. Reed admits outside of his work his family is his life. His boys enjoy camping in upstate New York, at the exact spot where Reed and his father, mother, and brother used to pitch their tents. “They are some of the best memories I have,” he says. His greatest enjoyment comes when his family is sitting around the table, talking about life, football, or politics. “I was always told teenage boys would stop talking, that they’ll go quiet on you. That hasn’t happened at my house,” he says with laughter. His oldest son is looking at colleges and considering the military. Reed reiterates the advice he gives to his sons often: “Today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday.”

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JOHN REED Barley Snyder




exude excellence

“We are what we repeatedly do. EXCELLENCE, then, is not an act, but a HABIT.” - ARISTOTLE








ary Kohler wasn’t a popular girl in high school. She didn’t care about being noticed; wasn’t involved in sports. She just got by—flew under the radar. If you did happen to notice her, you’d occasionally see her helping and defending those on the fringes. One girl, in particular, was often on the receiving end of Kohler’s kindness: a blind girl named Maria who had a smile permanently affixed to her face because she couldn’t see and had to feel her way around the hallways. “People would pick on her, but I wouldn’t allow it. I’d say ‘Knock it off. Stop that.’ And I would say hello to Maria and ask her how she was doing that day.” Kohler’s propensity toward empathy, or strength in weakness, would turn out to be the key to her leadership success. Today, a tour through the H&H Group and the number two Sir Speedy in the country feels exciting. Kohler talks about printing projects and new machinery, as the faint smells from the pressroom conjure tactile pleasures. She introduces an employee or two—being certain to call out something positive about who they are as a person, not just their role as an employee. She shows a few fresh printing jobs of locally owned businesses.

Inside her office, written on a large whiteboard, is David Sandler’s I/R Theory. “Each person has an identity and a role,” Kohler explains. “The identity represents principles, values, desires, and emotions—the inner self. The role represents the outer selves and the roles we play: daughter, friend, employee, father,” she says. What seems obvious is that the two affect each other. “The goal is to allow people to separate who they are from what they do. You are who you are, not what you do for a living,” Kohler says with a smile. Seated behind her desk, she stacks two leather-bound notebooks on top of one another. She fills one with ideas, thoughts, and musings. The other is a new daily planner. “I like this one because it leaves room for me to write my goals,” she says. Everything about Kohler’s leadership is different: her attention to detail and the big picture, her grasp of language, her high level of emotional intelligence, her ability to see her employees as people, each different and unique, and her patience to take time to develop and empower them to become leaders. “What I learned from my mom? That’s easy. It’s take care of your people, your employees, and they’ll take care of your customers. From my dad? It’s his work ethic. If you work hard, you’ll be fine,” she says. Kohler’s parents bought the Sir Speedy franchise in 1972 and got divorced when she was in high school. “I came to hate Sir Speedy, thinking it was the business that caused it,” she says. After high school graduation, she fled the business and managed a horse farm. “I ran away and did what I loved which was taking care of

horses and animals.” After five years, she realized she needed a real job and came back to the business and found she had a real knack for it. “I could see the bigger picture and I could deal with customers really well,” she says as she snaps her fingers. Years later she bought the Sir Speedy franchise from her parents and added the H&H Group as a corporate name—giving them the opportunity to reach more people with a greater depth and breadth of services offered.

“What I started to do was build my coworkers’ confidence and understanding—which empowered them.” A major breakthrough happened five years ago. The company needed to grow. “I decided the only way I could build a team was if it started with my own vulnerability,” she says. “I started sharing information with them like crazy.” She surrounded herself with the right people: coaches, mentors, and joined the High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College. “What I started to do was build my coworkers’ confidence and understanding—which empowered them. Now we’re at the point where this place could run for a year without me, and they would all do great,” she says. Her theory was tested when three years ago her daughter was in a horrific car accident and was about to be pulled off life support and pronounced brain-dead. “I’m holding her hand and telling her ‘God loves you. God loves you.’ And a miracle happened. God gave her back to us.” Kohler didn’t work for almost six weeks. Today, Katelyn is a beautiful 20-year-old college student who earns As and Bs and, despite major head trauma, has learned to walk and talk again. Kohler touches her day planner, the one with room for goals, and surmises, “Our purpose here is significance. We ask, ‘How can I make a difference in someone’s life?’ If we, as a company, can be significant in people’s lives, in business, and in the community— then we will succeed.”


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dressage rider in the USA, coming into the North American Championship tryouts. “I was never much of a goal setter” Wolgemuth says. “I just liked getting better every day.” Oddly, this success milestone was demotivating for Wolgemuth who by age of forty took his career in a different direction. Bored with competition and teaching, he started an importing agency that helped dressage riders find horses in Europe.

A very MASTERFUL approach “B

efore my father died, he told my mom, ‘I believe that’s going to be Steve’s future.’”

Steve Wolgemuth grew up in Lancaster County and started riding horses at age twelve—a passion inspired by his father, and one that drove him to work on the family farm to earn enough money to buy his first horse. “My parents taught me early on how to channel my determination,” he says with a laugh. Wolgemuth earned a degree from Lancaster Bible College with an emphasis in education and youth ministry. He thought he might someday start a camping ministry and “make a difference in the world using horses.” After graduation, he began to study dressage. “I was always fascinated with it and believed that studying classical riding would be the ultimate riding education whether I went into western riding or jumping,” he says. Commonly called “horse dancing” or “horse ballet,” the French word dressage means “training.” Invented to train horses for war, it became an Olympic discipline in 1912. Considered art and performed in exhibition and competition, dressage is pursued for mastery’s sake—the outcome a graceful performance where both rider and horse execute advanced movements seemingly effortlessly. Wolgemuth’s dressage education lead to numerous unexpected opportunities, including sponsorship from Lancaster-based Charles Chips’ founder, opportunities to train at the Princeton Riding Center and with several world-class instructors, including Georg Heiser, the Olympic coach for Sweden, and Harry Boldt, Germany’s Olympic coach.

Writing for Dressage Today Magazine and having become a self-taught website developer and marketer gave him the advantage he needed. “By 1994, ‘Graemont’ had become the most active importing service in the United States,” he says. Wolgemuth traveled to Europe every month for many years, filling up passports with stamps to Holland and Germany. “That business was built on two things,” Wolgemuth recounts, “solid Internet marketing to generate leads and trusted partnerships in Europe to fulfill each buyer’s demands.” But by 2006, the dollar was losing buying power abroad. Around the same time, a few of Wolgemuth’s horse customers approached him with an unexpected request—they wanted help with their websites. “I said, ‘Sure, that would be fun, but I didn’t want to mix up those activities with my horse business so I formed a separate LLC,” he says. Looking for the shortest domain name available, he landed on YDOP (pronounced “whydop”). It stands for “Your Dream, Our Project.” Ten years later, the company serves more than one hundred clients nationally in need of YDOP’s trademarked Near-user Marketing®. “Had I known it would become a visible company in downtown Lancaster, I might have put a bit more thought into naming it,” he says smiling. “But our clients seem to like it, and it definitely stands out!” True to his nature, Wolgemuth encourages his team to learn constantly. “‘Motivated by mastery’ is a core part of YDOP’s culture,” Wolgemuth says. “Our industry is changing so fast that we have to work hard to stay at the edge of innovation.” And it’s working. YDOP has seen more than 40% growth for four years consecutively. The company also is part of an exclusive think-tank group with members from Google and other top marketing professionals, and has worked closely with the nation’s leading digital marketing leader, MOZ, in beta testing local SEO software.

And what a twenty-year distraction it was.

“While it’s exciting to see YDOP’s success now, it hasn’t been an easy road getting here,” he recalls. “In our first year, my business partner walked out on me and it was devastating. In the following years, some business ideas didn’t pan out and cash was short. We were getting traction in our fifth year of business, then my wife got cancer,” he says. “I wouldn’t have gotten through without my faith-based grit, and a few favors from above during my darkest hours.”

In 1991, Wolgemuth was named “most successful AHSA rider” by the United States Dressage Federation, and that same year was listed by the United States Equestrian Team as one of the nation’s top dressage riders. By 1993, Wolgemuth was the 4th ranked

Inside YDOP a picture of Steve riding a horse hangs on the wall. The story behind the company’s success is derived from his love of mastery, commitment to partnerships, and the value of hard work to develop a truly unique skill set.

“I just wanted to study dressage, and it became a twenty-year distraction,” Wolgemuth says smiling. During that time he married fellow dressage trainer, Lori Wolgemuth, and settled in Manheim, Pennsylvania, on a thirty-six acre equestrian facility, Graemont Farm, where they still reside with their three sons and Lori’s parents.

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It’s (way) better to GIVE

TODD LINDSLEY Professional Fundraising Consultant


says to volunteers and staff at their first campaign steering committee meeting. “I want everyone to burn this meeting in their brain because all we have are pieces of paper and a great idea—but when we’re done, we’re going to be doing something amazing for thousands of people for years and years to come.” Lindsley is a gregarious and enthusiastic secondgeneration fundraiser—a balanced blend of his fundraising father, Ted, (logical, optimistic, dogged) and occupational therapist mother, Christine, (creative, artistic, free spirit). As Principal of his fullservice fundraising consulting firm, created in 2000, he has provided counsel to more than one hundred organizations locally and nationwide, whose combined capital campaign goals exceed $1 billion. Locally, he’s worked with clients like Lancaster General Health (Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute), Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, the North Museum, the Fulton Theatre and many more. As a child, Lindsley says he thought Lucy, the Peanuts character with the psychiatric help stand, was brilliant. “So one day I put a sign on my bedroom door offering advice for five cents. I was maybe eight years old,” he recounts. He waited patiently for his first customer, which inevitably was his mother. Lindsley knew from an early age that he wanted to help people solve their problems. Fast forward to his sophomore year in college. He’s undeclared and getting some pressure from his guidance counselor to choose a major. Enjoying a track and field scholarship at The College of William and Mary, Lindsley doesn’t know specifically what he wants to do or become. He calls his father that evening. “I remember I was sitting at one of those corded phones in the hallway,” he says. “Dad said, ‘Let’s talk it through.’” What did he like? What didn’t

& IF NOT A CAREER IN FUNDRAISING, WHAT? Architecture, marketing, public relations, or advertising. SOMETHING YOU ENJOYED DOING AS A CHILD? Writing. I kept a notebook with little poems or I’d come up with the start of a book. [BLANK] WILL SAVE THE WORLD: Education. WHAT ARE YOU OBESSED WITH? My son Cooper’s swimming career at Seton Hall University and my daughter Greta’s XC/track and field career at Penn State University. My son Lou’s piano and running.

he like? What was he good at? “Forty-five minutes later, my dad started laughing,” Lindsley says with a smile on his face. “I was describing his job. I knew I could sell stuff. I didn’t want to sell Xerox machines; I wanted to sell ideas,” he concluded. He was inspired! He put on a wrinkled shirt, the only tie he owned, and headed straight for the William & Mary Development Office. “I think I want to do what you do,” he told the Vice President of Development, Dwayne Dittman—who looked at him and said, “Son, in thirty-five years of fundraising, no student has ever walked into my office and said they wanted to be a fundraiser. You’re hired!” Mr. Dittman offered Lindsley a paid internship and eventually he was going on trips with the president of the college. He wrote letters, enjoyed hobnobbing, saw the inside of donor’s mansions in northern Virginia, met CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. “My job was to get to know these people as much as I could, share my experience at college, and thank them for their financial support. Basically it was fundraising. And I was gassed—I absolutely loved it!” he exclaims. To this day he still has the intensity and energy he first felt back in college. His boyish charm and eager ambition is evident in the projects he’s been privileged to work on for clients. While fundraising is like sales, it’s also a very creative and collaborative effort—one that seeks to connect donors to projects they are passionate about. “My favorite saying in fundraising is this: If you want someone’s money, ask them for their opinion. If you want someone’s opinion, ask them for their money,” he says. “Giving in Lancaster is part of this community’s DNA. Other communities aspire to have that culture of philanthropy that we are building. I’m happy professionally, but I’m happy because this is the community I live in.”

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A FRIDAY NIGHT?: If I’m in Cooperstown, go out on my ski boat, Lucinda. If I’m in Lancaster, it’s dancing anywhere with my wife, Heather—we’ve been married for twenty-seven years. FAVORITE BOOK? I’m a huge John Irving fan. I’m currently reading last night in twisted river. WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR LEGACY TO BE? The number and breadth of charitable projects that I’m involved in. That I got a lot done and I did it with a big smile on my face and it wasn’t limited to one place. HIDDEN TALENT: I have a little workshop where I build Adirondack chairs. Sometimes I paint stars on them and give them away or donate them.


hope that as I get older, I get wiser and become more mindful. If I am more mindful, I see more opportunities,” says Srirupa Dasgupta. Growing up in Calcutta, India, in a household with her extended family, she shared the space with her paternal grandparents, four uncles, and their families. “When somebody would say, ‘How many brothers and sisters do you have?’ I would say ‘Nine,’ but also in India there is no word for ‘cousin’ so it’s all brothers and sisters in Bengali,” she says. When everyone was home, there were twenty-four people in total and each floor of the house had two families along with a common dining room and living area. Meals were eaten in shifts: children, grandparents, men, and women. She enjoyed the bustling household and recounts with great joy one year when her mother allowed her and her sister to have and decorate a tiny plastic Christmas tree. “My sister and I went to a Catholic missionary school. We wanted to celebrate Christmas—and my mother was most accommodating.” Dasgupta rounded up her grandparents and uncles and she and her cousins performed a nativity play and sang Christmas carols. “Thinking back, this is craziness—a complete Hindu household doing these things,” she says with unbridled laughter. Her mother was a college physiology professor and her father an electrical engineer. Their standards were high and the competition in India was intense. “It was even worse then because there were no jobs so people continued their education because they didn’t have anything else to do.” Dasgupta was a good student, but admits she wasn’t at the top of her class—which is what it would have taken to get accepted to a top Indian University. She would often have fights with her father who told her she had to study science and she needed to secure a successful career. Dasgupta went from embassy to embassy looking at colleges that accepted international students, offered financial aid, and had the majors she wanted. She started with the most competitive. Dasgupta was accepted to Smith and came to the United States to complete a double major in art and computer science. “One of the things I like about the liberal arts system is that you’re not locked into one thing. I’m bigger than that. I have many more interests than this one field of study.” The concept of a double major was so appealing to her that the first time she heard it was possible to study two completely different things, she felt no boundaries or restrictions. In 1984, computer science was a brand new field of study. “What I learned through computer science was how to think like an engineer: mathematical thinking, creative problem-solving. You take something and you create an elegant algorithm to get from A to B.” She enjoyed learning to code and figuring out how to bring a concept to reality. Dasgupta often says she doesn’t like limits (this, not this) but that she prefers possibilities (this and this). She shares what she learned from studying computer science. “If I’m working really hard at something, like

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really pushing, then something is wrong. There must be another way. How do I go with the flow and make it work for me as opposed to pushing against it?” she asks. She looks at the big picture pattern, noting that if she can pause long enough and not get lost in the micro, she can be successful. She laughs as she equates this philosophy to The Jungle Book and “The Bare Necessities.” Dasgupta was given many opportunities to succeed and never felt out of place in a field dominated by men. She says many of her jobs were women led and that she had wonderful mentors.

“I like to appreciate all the small things and I’ll pause and look at the ceilings or the flowers. I always want to have a childlike wonder at the world.” Her other interest is art. “There is art and beauty everywhere,” she says, believing in the Hindu thought of the divine in everything. To Dasgupta, art and beauty come through cooking and presentation, the fabrics of the clothes she wears. When she travels, which she does a great deal, she brings back souvenirs that are both beautiful and utilitarian. “I don’t just want it to be beautiful. I want it to be beautiful and useful.” Today, Dasgupta works at Franklin & Marshall College as the director of web content and multimedia. She is also the founder of Upohar Ethnic Cuisines, a local restaurant and catering company whose social mission is to generate employment opportunities for resettled refugees. Upohar is the culmination of Dasgupta’s desire for beauty, ability to solve problems, and mindfulness to create opportunities for others. “So how do I live my life? I want to see the beautiful and the beauty in everything and everyone. It’s reflected in what I do, what I wear, how I am, where I spend my money, and how I raise my kids. I like to appreciate all the small things and I’ll pause and look at the ceilings or the flowers. I always want to have a childlike wonder at the world. I never want to lose that. Every once in a while I get caught in the daily grind, but life doesn’t stop. There’s no rewind button.” She says her life’s practice is to be mindful and to align her beliefs with her actions.“A fortune cookie once read: Opportunity only knocks once; be alert.” “I don’t want to tell other people how to live their lives. People should do what they want to do. Each person needs to find their own way,” she says with no judgments and then with exuberance: “Life is for living. Enjoy every moment…that’s what I try to do.”



SRIRUPA DASGUPTA Director of Web Content & Multimedia at Franklin & Marshall College Founder of Upohar Ethnic Cuisines





MIKE MITCHELL S. Dale High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College




The PLEASURE of FAMILY business “T

he best advice I ever received was to learn to serve others,” says Mike Mitchell, Executive Director at the S. Dale High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College. “But the real power comes when you learn to bring out the best in the people you work with, as opposed to becoming selfserving.” Good leaders encourage others and they don’t just think differently, they act differently. At Elizabethtown College, “Educate for Service” is more than just a motto—it’s a secret for lasting peace and joy. Growing up, Mitchell was influenced by his father, a sales and marketing executive at Weaver Chicken. “He was always coming home with really cool stories about projects and commercials they were developing.” Mitchell graduated from Elizabethtown College, class of 1984, with a marketing degree. He appreciated the small school and getting to know lots of his fellow students and professors, crediting his practical education to a mixture of leadership and internship opportunities. Immediately out of school, he took a sales job with General Mills. Mitchell decided to continue his education and get an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship—thinking he might one day start his own business. He finally got that Fortune 100 job he wanted and started working in the marketing department at Heinz. “You start out low on the totem pole. You’re a marketing assistant, doing a lot of data analysis to earn your stripes. But I was there seven years so I got to be product manager of several different brands: pickles, soup, ketchup,” he says with a smile. Two things happened that changed his life: He and his wife had their first child, and he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Mitchell says Lyme disease was a turning point in his life, adding that he had

become career driven and focused on climbing the corporate ladder. “The disease changed my perception on life. I needed that. God knocked me back a peg and reminded me that someone else was in control,” he says humbly. With the combination of a new baby and a new outlook on life, he decided to move from Pittsburgh back to Lancaster County to be closer to his family. “That’s where Amelia’s comes in.” His father had worked for Weaver for forty years, but in 1989 Tyson purchased Weaver and his father’s future changed. At age fifty-nine, Mitchell’s father bought two Weaver Chicken outlets and brought his brother-in-law into the business. Mitchell was just beginning his career at Heinz but after seven years in the corporate world he had an idea. He asked his friends at Heinz and General Mills what they did with their closeout products. He learned they sold them to a company on the West Coast called Grocery Outlet. With little competition on the East Coast, Mitchell and his family sat down and wrote a business plan. “In 1996, I joined the family business and we repositioned it as Amelia’s. It was my mother’s middle name and my great grandmother’s first name. We wanted to continue to have a family legacy.” he says. Customers loved the expanded grocery outlet concept and business took off. Amelia’s grew to fifteen stores and four hundred employees. Mitchell served as president and CEO from 2001 until they structured the sale of the business in 2012 to Grocery Outlet and a private equity firm. “They made us the proverbial offer that was difficult to refuse. And that’s how Amelia’s came and went.” While transitioning Amelia’s to Grocery Outlet, Mitchell was approached about the executive director position at S. Dale High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College. Mitchell was not interested at the time, but in 2013 they contacted him again. “The more I thought about it, I realized it was consistent with what I enjoy doing. What I began to love in my role, as Amelia’s got bigger, was people development—empowering, training and coaching people to be the best that they can be. That’s what good leaders should do—but it’s also very enjoyable. It’s what this job is all about,” he says. The High Center was founded in 1995 by a group of business people, family business owners, and Elizabethtown College representatives to fill a

“But the real power comes when you learn to bring out the best in the people you work with, as opposed to becoming self-serving.” recognized need in the region. The center serves and strengthens families in business through succession planning, leadership training, and legacy building. Today, Mitchell and a team of directors assist almost eighty family businesses. The High Center offers its members valuable services including best practices surveys and consulting, leadership seminars led by nationally acclaimed speakers, and executive peer groups. Guest speakers like John Maxwell and local leaders like Dale High, Phil Clemens, and Roger North share their knowledge. Peer Group facilitators like John Reed and Joanne Ladley help navigate unique issues family businesses face—dividing leadership groups into CEOs, key executives, and next generation members. Mitchell was a member of The High Center when he owned Amelia’s and values peer groups tremendously. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of serving now—both God and family business executives.” Service to others takes dedication. It takes time and effort. It takes accountability. Looking back on his journey, he says there are so many things God has blessed him with, and being thankful and serving others brings him peace. “E-town’s motto is ‘Educate for Service’ and they live it. They train you for servant-leadership, which is the key to success and significance. The sooner you find that out, the better.”


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gave it to you? Did it have any significance? Gail Graybill Carson knows that the very best gifts are given out of an abundance of love. The store is called Love. Give. Live. (LGL) Gallery & Gifts, it’s located at the Village Shoppes at Brighton, and it’s Gail’s “passion in action.” Before you even step foot inside, a sign outside the door reads “100% of proceeds donated to charity.” A non-profit 501c3, the store opened in 2014 with the mission to generate ongoing revenue streams for nonprofit organizations that share LGL’s passions. Gail and her husband James felt a calling to invest in the store and the community in order to pursue a mission of alleviating suffering and promoting wholeness. The staff is made of volunteers of all ages and walks of life. The store is filled with a variety of unique handmade items, many purchased from local, national, and global nonprofit organizations—and focuses on five areas of interest: Africa, animals, art, people, and purpose. You can find anything from original artwork made by local artists to handmade paper bead jewelry made by women in Uganda. Although her store is new to the area, she is not. “When people ask me if I’m local, I say I’ve been here three hundred years because my family has. I’m born and bred Lancaster County,” she says with honor. “I went to Manheim Central. That bred into me a love of football,” she laughs. While she did graduate from Penn State University with a degree in Agricultural Business Management, her family encouraged her to focus on the business side. Carson spent eleven years in the corporate world residing in Williamsport, Louisville, Kentucky, and Ephrata. In 1997 she married and moved to Collegeville. Two years later,

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she celebrated the birth of her daughter, Sierra. “After she was born, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I tell people I had two stay at home parents—because my parents were farmers,” she says with great admiration. So she started making custom candy bar wrappers and pursued art, graphics, and design. After her marriage dissolved, she relocated back to Lancaster County. Wilbur Chocolate quickly became her biggest customer with Gail designing all their decorative bar overwraps. Twenty-three years later, she began attending the Manheim church she grew up in and met and married James Carson, MD.

“As difficult times in our life can do, they draw us back to our core—to what we’re made of...” Gail has a progressive form of MS. “In 1995 I had my first symptom. I lost vision in one eye for about six weeks. I was at the Rose Bowl, watching Penn State play the Oregon Ducks when it happened,” she recalls. The doctors recognized the optical neuritis as a common first diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. “But it was completely restored and I went about my life and had follow-up visits. Slowly the MS did start to creep in to the point where I am now,” she says, seated in her scooter. “I thought that was the end,” she says. All her volunteer efforts stopped. “As difficult times in our life can do, they draw us back to our core—to what we’re made of,” she says. “I never questioned my spiritual beliefs and my faith in God.”



Rather than feel sorrow or pity or ask God why, she decided to look at things from a different perspective. She knew she was still the same leader and passionate volunteer she had always been. For the next two years she found herself fascinated by art. For hours and hours she would look at artists and their works on the Internet and learn about them and their talents. “One day my husband asked, ‘What are you going to do with all this art you’re buying?’ and without missing a beat, I said ‘I’m going to sell it—open a store.’” As soon as the words left her lips, she knew it wasn’t her plan. Slowly, though, she realized it was her purpose. But how would she help those artists? How would she figure out which organizations to give to? “The bottom line is that all these great nonprofits that are trying to relieve suffering and promote wholeness need money. My background was business. And my husband and I felt called to make this store an investment— to give away all the money that the store makes” she says. LGL’s namesake is based on the principles of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The checkmark in the word “love” in the store’s logo represents that we should all check our motives and make sure our gift is given out of a spirit of love. “Love unconditionally. Give generously. Live abundantly. Who can argue with those?” she asks.








MICHAEL BIGGERSTAFF Chief Inspirational Officer Nxtbook Media




student. He dated. “I had a car that I bought and paid for the insurance. I bought my own clothes.” He graduated, at the top of his class, from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology with a degree in Print and Technology.

Meet the



believe in traditional job titles or roles; he makes his own. At Nxtbook Media, a digital publishing company, employees can create their own job titles—but they have to live up to them. As the Chief Inspiration Officer of his company, he believes in embracing change, following a clear purpose, building trust and showing transparency, and growing a culture of creativity and learning. Naming something gives you power over it—and, of course, a little inspiration goes a long way. From an early age, Biggerstaff, his mom, and younger brother, lived with his grandparents. His parents divorced and so he lived with his mother’s parents for about six years. “I didn’t see my dad for about five years,” he says. A strong work ethic kept him in his grandfather’s good graces. Eventually, around age twelve, Biggerstaff told his mother he wanted to go live with his dad. “I can’t imagine, from her perspective, what that would have been like, as a parent, to have one of your kids suddenly, out of the blue, say they want to go live with the other one,” he says, admitting that as a son, he just needed to be around his dad. That year he moved from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and attended school in the Lower Dauphin District. “My first year of school, I was tormented for my southern accent,” he says. He went from being a talkative boy to completely losing his accent in a year. But he did make friends with a boy who had moved there from Georgia. Over the next few years, things got easier. He was a good

Quickly thereafter, he got a job at Science Press in Ephrata. He longed to move somewhere warm. He would look at magazines like Graphic Arts Monthly and Printing Impressions in the lunchroom at work. “They would have an ad on the back from a head hunter that would specifically find people in the printing industry for jobs. I know today that those jobs never existed,” he says. He called the number and hoped for the job in Richmond, Virginia. No luck. That job was “filled” and Biggerstaff eventually went to work as the twelfth employee at Publishers Choice in Pittsburgh. “Here’s the guy that’s trying to get to the warm weather and the whole month of January all three rivers were frozen solid. It never got above

“Nxtbook Media is the place I always wanted

to work, but could never find.” freezing any day that month,” he says with laughter. It was a small company and he liked his boss, but he would realize, looking back, that the company started to have money problems and the dynamic changed. “I called up my headhunter,” he says laughing and shaking his head, “and he found me a job in Fort Washington working for a company called International Computaprint Corporation (ICC).” It was owned by Reed International (now Reed Technology and Information Services). By age twentynine, Biggerstaff was leading a team of seventy as the vice president of the printing division.

and start his own: Reprint Management Services (RMS). Originally located in Morgantown, Biggerstaff and his partners moved to Lancaster in 1991, because of the printing capacity in the region. The company grew from four people at the inception to about seventy at its peak in 2001. In 2002, the company acquired a North American license for some French software that would make digital pages flip. The man who sold them the technology license asked RMS to invest in his company. “We invested money in December 2002 and more in January of 2003, and by March 2003 he called to say we’re out of money and we’re going to go under,” Biggerstaff recalls. “So we ended up buying the assets of the company and we created Nxtbook Media on July 23, 2003.” For four years he and his partners held both companies until they sold RMS to a local York buyer. By 2007, Nxtbook moved into the Urban Place complex. Today, Biggerstaff says, “Nxtbook Media is the place I always wanted to work, but could never find.” The company has won #1 Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania for four of the last seven years. Nxtbook Media boasts outstanding employee benefits, workplace extras, healthdriven initiatives, and community and volunteer incentives. Seven conference rooms are named after the seven core values: collaboration, creativity, excellence, influence, integrity, passion, and service. Revenue stream diversifications include digital content management, custom software development, IT Solutions, agency work including website creation, brand audits and content creation, and culture and creativity consulting. “There are roughly 32 million Nxtbook pages and 3 million books read on a monthly basis,” Biggerstaff says. He credits the company’s success to a culture that embraces change—and names their own success.

From there he had an idea to actively sell reprints from featured magazine articles. This idea would eventually lead Biggerstaff to leave the company FIG STORIES LANCASTER | V O L U M E I

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Defender of the FAITH KEVIN RESSLER Meals on Wheels


evin Ressler’s favorite Bible verse is Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” He likes that verse because it teaches that faith can’t be done alone; it requires others, and that faith can be practiced anywhere. “One of the things people often ask me is if I’m disappointed that I spent tens of thousands of dollars to get a master’s of divinity and am not a pastor,” he says. Sure, he doesn’t lead a congregation, but he does have hundreds of volunteers and recipients at Meals on Wheels. The thirty-one year old executive director not only helps to lead, but he also helps to serve some of the most forgotten people in our community. Recipients of the nonprofit organization’s kindness come from all walks of life; meals are provided based on needs, not on income. Ressler is a bi-racial Mennonite. He’s bold and hilarious; his humor is a brilliant way to meet people where they are and get them to pay attention. Ressler is talkative and opinionated, but he can also be serious about a variety of topics—everything from early Christianity and his frustrations with the apostle Paul to Newtonian physics and African literature. He has breadth and depth. “I can navigate in most groups, but in those groups, I’m not always fully embraced. My white, missionary father, who speaks Swahili, always says you don’t know a language until you understand their jokes because you have to understand subtext and nuance.” He adds with panache, “I get Mennonite jokes.” Ressler’s family is tight-knit. “Growing up in the 80s, there were many who didn’t want to be my parents’

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friends. People might want their kids to be friends with me and my brothers, but yet never invite my parents over for dinner,” he says. “Weird dynamic.” Ressler likes defining culture as not what you do, but how you do it. He says he’s driven by a historically Mennonite thought, one that embraces service and self-sacrifice and one that looks through life simply in many ways. Ressler met his wife, Melissa, while they were both in San Francisco for a year with Mennonite Volunteer Services in 2007. They have a nearly two-year-old daughter named Acacia. “The thing that happens once you interact with a child is you realize how much you’ve forgotten about how to be,” he says. “What I mean by that is the ceiling fan is exciting. She picks up a piece of lint that I didn’t even see, which makes me want to vacuum, and looks at it. Her eyes are always wide open and her head is always turning and it encourages me… . I don’t need stuff in order to have. I can open my eyes, open my ears, and taste things. I love watching her grow,” he says. In many ways, he says he always wanted to help people. Ressler is an encourager at heart. “Every single day of my life I can’t tell you how many times I fail at things. Maybe I trip up the stairs—that’s failing at walking. Maybe I burnt the eggs or pushed the toothbrush too far back while brushing. If we take our big failures in the way we take our mundane, everyday failures—we would take more risks and live more authentic lives.” His oddly specific instances are humorous and put things into perspective. “We’re afraid of being different; we’re afraid of being ostracized. But that’s where your greatness blossoms.” Ressler actively guest preaches at any opportunity, including as far as an Anglican church in Homa Bay, Kenya; as small a community as Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in the 1,500-person town Harper, Kansas; and as large a gathering as the 7,000+ Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg. Last year, he was the Mennonite history day speaker for Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, traveling to fifteen different Mennonite high schools to share lessons from his story and how his identity forms his values. His primary focus, influenced by his own understanding of identity, highlights issues of justice for groups of people who are often silenced or not given



“If we take our big failures in the way we take our mundane, everyday failures —we would take more risks and live more authentic lives.” voice. Much of his recent focus has been issues of racial justice, Muslim refugees, women in leadership, and the LGBT community. “To have a church or religious entity not welcome individuals fails at its most basic level. Those were the same people who were against interracial marriages—knowing that fifty years ago, my existence was illegal in forty states. These individuals today who are holding hostage God’s message of love and inclusion would have said my existence should be illegal. If I’m not able to recognize my opportunity to exist in the world and, in turn, look at who isn’t being allowed to exist as God created them, then I’m rejecting God and my responsibility to build God’s Kingdom.” Ressler encourages others to volunteer and get involved in the community. “Meals on Wheels is an incredible team effort,” he says. “If my demographics make me rare, it makes me aware that everyone is uniquely powerful even when it isn’t easily seen, then I’m going to use every ounce of my power to make sure other individuals who would otherwise be silenced by the systems and structures are able to be spoken for so they may speak for themselves.”



KEVIN RESSLER Meals on Wheels





GIL LYONS Realtor at RE/MAX Co-founder of The Sky Institute






for the future. He calls it an ancient way of seeing, a new way of doing.

“For me, as an agent, I think people deserve more than just being a number. I couldn’t treat people that way. I also felt very strongly about how communities


hink about community as an environmentalist’s dream come true: off-the-gridliving, net-zero architecture, solar photovoltaics, and urban agriculture—sustainable living at its most utopian. To build such a community would, of course, take a team of interdisciplinary experts working together on every level. Its control systems would need to interact seamlessly to achieve maximum efficiency. One could compare such a future colony to a living organism—a modern new urbanism for the evolution of humankind. Lyons was always interested in science. Born and raised in Lancaster, and a third generation Lancastrian, he was an Eagle Scout. He liked camping, hiking, fishing, and being outdoors. He studied Biology and Pre-Med at Gettysburg College and after graduation was unsure of what to do next. His aunt was in real estate and just one year out of college, he decided to give it a try. “By 1985 I already started my first small development for a client. It was a farmer north of Lititz who had several farms and wanted to subdivide one. I had no experience with land development, but decided to figure it out and used a good landscape architect,” he says. By 1987 he had done his second project. Lyons admits that by the early 90s real estate was turning into a volume-based business. “I couldn’t treat people that way.” As a Realtor, he recognized that people are more than just a number and their homes are more than just an address. “I also felt very strongly about how communities interrelate,” he says. This notion of not only creating, but also enriching existing communities was always on his mind. For twelve years, Lyons started to put the pieces together. With his science background, his thirty-two years of real estate knowledge, and his drive to be creative, he started planning. He purchased an option on a one-hundred-and-twelve-acre farm. He envisioned a community of the future and assembled a team of experts to make it a reality. As fate would have it, the project was never completed. But all was not lost. The difficulties he faced brought him exactly what he needed, and through his environmental attorney, Lyons met Julie Sanford, an architect, and Bruce White, an entrepreneurial IT expert, from Florida. The two received a $1.2 million grant to make this prototypical off-the-grid community called Sky—much like the one Lyons planned for Lancaster. “Then the crash came. The project got shelved.” But it’s when the Sky Institute was born as a 501c3 and a board of directors assembled. “We had a vision for an institute where scholars, planners, architects, and students would learn about concepts of sustainability, design, and how to grow your own food; a place where you generate more than you take from the land,” he says passionately. “Our board came up with the idea of the Smart Playhouse to educate current and future generations at the grade school level, keeping the cost far less than a larger model, while starting the momentum and helping to brand Sky Institute.” A Lancaster County school will be the first school to have a Smart Playhouse. The prototype provides an outside space where students can have lessons in an open-air theatre. The inside will have a counter and a greenhouse with an area for students to bring in specimens like bugs or leaves to look at underneath a microscope. A living wall will have space to grow plants, fruits, and vegetables. Students can irrigate with water from the roof and learn about rainwater capture and rain barrels. A monitor will display the energy generated by the solar voltaic array. “These are the kinds of small lessons students can take home with them to share with their families. They will help everyone become more sensitive to their environment.” The Smart Playhouse is just the beginning. Lyons is interested in a true understanding of how people relate to one another within a community and how science and technology can be used to create sustainable homes and communities for the future. “If more than half the communities of the future haven’t been built yet, how do we do it right?” he asks. “Sky is not going to solve the world’s problems, but if we can learn to become more sensitive to our environment and how we live ‘in community,’ and become more sensitive to others in our community, hopefully the world will be a better place.” Lyons laughs, quietly reflecting on how his science background has come full circle to meet his career in real estate. He continues to work as a real estate agent at RE/MAX Associates of Lancaster specializing in traditional neighborhoods like School Lane Hills, Chestnut Hill, and Lancaster’s North West End. His hyper-local lifestyle embodies the essence of community. He looks back, with grace, connecting the dots. In biology, as an organism adapts, it grows. It learns how to better live in its environment. A brighter future is more than just a dream—and the sky is the limit.


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tour of Channel 21. For $3.00 an hour, sixteen hours a week, Harris took the job and rented a room at the YWCA in Harrisburg. “I was grossing $48 dollars a week and the YWCA charged me $21 a week for my dorm room,” she says with a laugh. Harris continued to succeed, adding more and more skills to her repertoire.

SOCIAL responsibility M

artha Lester Harris grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. Her father was a mechanical engineer who graduated from MIT, and her mother was a writing specialist who graduated from Wellesley. Harris enjoyed spending summers at her family’s beach house in Stone Harbor. “I learned to swim and body surf and enjoyed laying in the sun. I developed a lifelong love of the beach and salt water,” she says, beaming. When asked what career she wanted to have as a child, she replies, “It’s still evolving.” In high school, Harris was passionate about interior design. The extent of that ended one summer after she graduated from college when she repainted her parents’ den. “That concluded my career in interior design,” she says with laughter. At age seventeen, she headed to Dickinson College where she majored in English and theatre. She says her creative side found life in the performing arts. “I acted all through college and studied Shakespeare in London, going back for a summer in between my junior and senior years to study Shakespearean performance with scholars from all over the world.” Harris took classes at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and believed theatre would be her career. Instead, she came back to Dickinson [Carlisle] in the fall of 1976 and got a tip from a friend who was the production supervisor at Channel 15 in Mt. Gretna. He suggested she think about an internship. Her senior year, she only needed two more credits to graduate. By this point, she had taken all the classes she could in communications. “They didn’t have a communications degree at the time, so there was no way to study broadcast journalism.” Harris got her internship approved and drove fifty-five miles each way to Channel 15 in her dad’s Dodge Dart. As an intern, she produced forty-second human interest stories called “People Are Great” about outstanding individuals who were making a difference in Lancaster, Lebanon, and Berks Counties. Harris enjoyed all aspects of the project: researching the people, scheduling and conducting interviews, recording, filming, and editing. “That launched my career in broadcasting.” In August of 1977, she received a letter in the mail from her English professor with a Patriot-News cutout that WHP was looking to hire a part-time studio camera operator. Harris sent in her resume and attended a group interview, along with eighty others who got a

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March 28, 1979, was the turning point in her career. Harrisburg became frontline news as the epicenter of the world’s first commercial nuclear accident.” She was driving to work that morning when she heard WKBOAM Radio break the story about Three Mile Island. There were no cell phones, live cams, fax machines, or Internet. At twenty-three years old, Harris was reporting on a crisis of the greatest magnitude. “As Assignment Editor for WHP, I dispatched every reporter and cameraman to investigate this unprecedented story. As fallout from the TMI accident continued for months, I became knowledgeable about nuclear power and produced several documentaries and live call-in shows to informour viewers about the unfolding events.” That’s where Harris’ life changed. Instead of continuing in broadcast journalism, she realized she wanted to be involved in making a difference, not just reporting on events. She wanted to make a difference and serve the public. After some soul searching she decided to move toward government. She served in many roles, learning everything from how nuclear power is regulated and insured to how to lobby and do advocacy work. Harris continued her career in public policy, becoming the associate director of the governor’s office in Washington, serving as an advocate for Governor Thornburgh's federal legislative agenda before Congress and the Executive Branch. She earned a master's degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Following graduation, she moved to Pittsburgh and established the Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, before returning to Harrisburg to serve as a Deputy Secretary of Commerce in Governor Ridge's Administration where she helped create Pennsylvania's workforce investment system. Today, Harris is the CEO of YWCA Lancaster. She wants to influence the public dialogue about the economic status of women and children—and has started to do that by joining the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty. She is working with Community Action Program and other partners to secure a large federal grant to help move low income workers into middle and higher wage jobs in fields like technology and healthcare. “We want to link the people we serve to those opportunities.” She is expanding the YWCA’s mission by focusing on economic self-sufficiency. Harris is perfectly suited to tackle difficult challenges with her background in economic, community, and workforce development. “All of my life I’ve been at the bleeding edge of the advancement of women. I’ve had exposure to nontraditional occupations. I’ve been a business owner. I’ve started companies from scratch. I pride myself on building organizations that last.”




“I’ve started companies from scratch. I pride myself on building organizations that last.” FIG STORIES LANCASTER | V O L U M E I


“Creativity can be nurtured and developed. everyone has creativity innately

and involvement in music is something that encourages and fosters it. Music creates a safe environment to think outside the box. That’s why investment in music education is so important.”




Community FOR EVERYONE JOHN GERDY Music For Everyone


he poet and wordsmith Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said music is the universal language of mankind. Dr. John Gerdy has been speaking and teaching that language his entire life. “Creativity can be nurtured and developed. Everyone has creativity innately and involvement in music is something that encourages and fosters it. Music creates a safe environment to think outside the box. That’s why investment in music education is so important,” Gerdy says. “Further, in many ways, we’re less connected as a society. Thus, it’s increasingly important that we find things that bring

“...The opportunity for an individual to take an idea or passion and develop it to a point where it can have real community impact has never been greater.”

us together. Music’s ability to build community is very powerful.” Growing up in Little Falls, New Jersey, Gerdy was actively involved in sports. His father, a physics teacher, was the high school’s football coach and his siblings played sports. “Probably the biggest influence in my life was my mother,” he admits. She reminded him that while being an accomplished athlete was good, being a well-rounded person who is kind and giving was far more important. His mother encouraged him to play music, and he often tinkered on the household piano. He started taking guitar lessons his freshman year. Gerdy became an all-state basketball player at Passaic Valley High School. He went on to receive all-American honors at Davidson College, graduating as the school’s all-time leading scorer—a record that remained unbroken until surpassed by Steph Curry some thirty years later. Gerdy’s jersey was retired in 1979 and the 6'5" player was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1994. He was drafted by the New Jersey Nets and played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association for one season. After earning a master's in Sports Administration and a Ph.D. in Higher Education, he worked at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) before heading to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as Associate Commissioner for Compliance and Academic Affairs. “It was a very conservative, button-down, suit-and-tie position,” he says. The high-profile job filled his days, but his nights were given to his musical alter ego—Willie Marble, an “old school,” Delta Bluesman. “When you assume another identity or persona, it gives you a lot of freedom to act in different ways, gives you license to explore things, explore sides of your personality that you normally don’t get to. And why only have one identity and persona when you can have two? It’s twice as much fun!” he says with a rogue smile. Gerdy also served as a visiting professor in sports administration at Ohio University. But with the birth of his first child in 1995, he became a stay-athome dad. He wrote about sports’ role in schools and society and continued to play music. After his children were grown, Gerdy started looking for his next gig. “I had this tremendous opportunity to reinvent myself. I could have gone back into college athletics,

but, as a lifelong musician, I began to do the research about how music education and community music funds were being cut.” As a result, his appreciation for the value of music as an effective educational and community-building tool grew. Gerdy founded Music for Everyone (MFE) in 2006. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to raising awareness and resources to strengthen the role music plays in local schools and communities. To date, MFE has awarded more than $1 million in grants, scholarships, and direct program support to schools and community arts groups in Lancaster County. In 2009, MFE launched Keys for the City and distinguished Lancaster City as the “street piano capital of the world.” For the past six summers, anyone at any time could play and sing at pianos scattered throughout the city. Aside from complete accessibility, their beauty wasn’t just in their colorful designs, but in the sounds of magical musical moments happening all over the city. In June of 2015, John spoke at a TEDx event in West Chester. His talk? “The Value of the Arts as a Community Investment.” His idea? As the world becomes increasingly complex, we need to address difficult issues and challenges with a higher, and more creative level of thinking (courtesy of Einstein). Music encourages and fosters that creativity and can build a more connected community. His example? Lancaster City. Whether playing on the court or rocking on the stage, Gerdy promotes collaboration and community involvement. A prolific writer, his fifth book, titled Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment (2014), offers a return on investment analysis of football versus music programs in high schools, concluding that music’s educational return is significantly higher. “Given the tools at our disposal in today’s world, the opportunity for an individual to take an idea or passion and develop it to a point where it can have real community impact have never been greater. You don’t have to change the world. But you can have an impact on your block, in your neighborhood, in your city. Find your passion. Follow it. Give it a shot. You never know where it might lead.”


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If we’re willing to be instructed by delight and engaged in deep interest, we can tell a story so hopelessly small or so wide open. Something between us, before us, above us, beneath us, and around us, seems complete—ahead of all parting.


we are taught to love the things that will save us.


Just one color makes us believe the brightness will come. The childish pleasure of something shiny. Folded pieces of paper and handwritten prayers turn toward a fragrant paperwhite curling in the window. Nearest you. You, who sees the world wide open, who loves the deep, deep reds— rooted in childhood passions. You, who paints in layers of hidden message and meaning—a metaphor for the micro and the macro. You, who is carried forth on the backs of giants who cheer you on. Go, Tiger, go!


Just paint. They’ll show up, don’t worry. Just paint. How you spend the days in disciplined search and movement. Moving things from here. Now there. You lift up your eyes from soaring, lost in the sound, that roaring in your ears. You wake early and clear the house then up you go. To the great interior, from the vast exterior—to get lost in the doing and the thinking and the writing. The encounter and the form and the conviction awaits. Uncovered and sprayed and wet with the ripe expectation of memory.

PART FOUR: You have the magic. Shake yourself up or look at something different. Wreck it completely and scratch back into it. And laugh! It’s a disciplined, but colorful, sensory day and then you fight with your demons. You think eventually they will go away, but they don’t. They are your teachers. PART FIVE: Ephrata was a lovely little town to grow up in and peddle my bike around and I managed to get into the country. I’d ride horse and bike out into the country and have explorations just all by myself, looking for ruins and ancient bits and pieces. In Atlantic City, I loved the old hotels, seeing the old architecture, getting up before everyone and just going down, being on the beach or getting on my grandfather’s bicycle and just going around. It was always about exploring. It was a grand and glorious place and my grandparents were part of that. I’d love to go down there and be with them. PART SIX: Susan Joy Gottlieb means ‘pure joy and God's love.’ That is my reminder of how I’m supposed to live. My father and I had these adventures. I wanted more. I wanted bigger ones. My mother fed me all the right books at just the right time. She challenged the boundaries of reality, opening up spiritual dimensions and a psychic dimension to me. The collective unconsciousness. PART SEVEN: When a good painting comes through and greets me, there is no higher high. There’s nothing. And it is the micro to the macro. It is ‘I am a Creator. Look what’s come through me.’ It’s the most powerful thing in the world. It’s touching the hand of God. p . 88




There’s always hope. The creative process teaches you in your darkest moments there’s hope. Whew. If you trust your process, you come out of it. The creative instinct is when you make special. Just by some ritual we are better. Through the process you trust it. In the end you will be saved. I can do it again now. I made my name here, people started to pay attention. There’s such a great history. I don’t want it to be forgotten.


It’s always about layers, literally and metaphorically. And it’s also the archeological idea that you peel layers back and you see more and more. Go thicker and thicker, deepen the layers even more. Stack them up thick. But it’s really the metaphor I’m most interested in where these paintings are layered with my memories, sometimes literal poems students have written to me or poems of other people or my scribbling on a piece of paper. The paintings are the archeology of my life and particularly the moment I’m in. People see us as the surface we are.

PART TEN: My granddaughter says, ‘Are you old? Are you an old person?’ Inside I’m not. We are like the cubist artists would say, all of us. We are all of our sides, all of our facets, all of our layers, all at the same time. That’s what it was. It was about showing all of it. My paintings are that too. People don’t take the time to go deeper and look at the layers of these people. The young artists today don’t know who I am. They don’t know who Echo Valley is. We are all far richer when we know the layers and not just the final surface because the surface doesn’t give you the whole picture. You have to peer in. PART ELEVEN:

Peer into my work and go, ‘Oh look at that!’ When you talk to someone, listen. Be authentic. My painting. I. You. We are the universe. Right now. And that calls for mindfulness. It calls for eyes wide open. It calls for honesty. I do always work with lots of layers, it’s just the subject changes but it’s still always the same thing. It is trying to be an ambassador for beauty and wonder at the marvel of this existence and in some small way, trying to turn people’s heads around and be an ambassador for life. Sheesh. We are all little creators. We must be our own visionaries. Go bigger into the world. beauty will save the world.

Do not go gently into that great light.

AHEAD of all PARTING SUSAN J. GOTTLIEB Artist & Educator



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Fig Stories Lancaster 2016  

Fig Stories is a collection of insightful stories featuring Lancaster County's most influential leaders, bold thinkers, and agents of change...

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