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Businesses featured this week: Horst Insurance, Kercher Industries Inc., Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce, McKissick Associates Architects PC, Milton Hershey School, Pa. Office of Administration, Palmyra Bowling Center, The Hilltop Group LLC


Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce gave Edwin Kercher its 2013 Lebanon Valley Small Business Person of the Year Award. He is president of family-owned Kercher Industries Inc. Kercher Machine Works was founded by his father in 1946. In 1983, Edwin Kercher purchased the assets of the Posey Iron Works machinery division and developed Kercher's own product line, Lancaster Products, which now includes industrial processing equipment including mixers, crushers, molded brick making equipment, material handling equipment and industrial controls. Kercher's leadership, business and entrepreneurial skills are credited as a primary factor in the growth and diversification of Kercher Industries and its product lines over the past 33 years. In addition, Kercher has played an active role in the Lebanon Valley business community. He is a board member of the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp., Mantec and the Central Pennsylvania World Trade Center, as well as a former board member of the chamber. Palmyra Bowling Center received the Leon Hoover Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. The 32-lane center has been family-owned and -operated by Douglas Eiserman and his daughter, Amy, since 1981. Over the years, the Eisermans have adjusted their business model and undertaken numerous innovations to engage customers, including purchasing a used school bus to start an afterschool bowling program and opening a restaurant with a liquor license. In 1998, the Eisermans and Wally Cudlipp began an annual bowling and Christmas party to provide a merrier Christmas for underprivileged children in Lebanon County. They are active in the Palmyra Area Business Association, as well as the Lebanon Valley chamber, and are known for being generous supporters of numerous other clubs, groups and charitable organizations in the area.


Austin, Texas-based National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research named Christopher J. Fantaski a certified insurance service representative. He is employed with Horst Insurance of Lancaster County.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Council for Educational Facility Planners International named Vern L. McKissick III a certified educational facility planner. He is president of Harrisburg-based McKissick Associates Architects PC.


Bethesda, Md.-based Coalition for Residential Education named David Curry Residential Educator of the Year. He teaches law, public safety and security at Milton Hershey School in Derry Township. He also coaches football and the mock trial team. Previously, he taught U.S. history in Columbia, Md., and government and economics in Boiling Springs. He has a bachelor's degree in administration of justice from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's degree in education from Edinboro University.


Lexington, Ky.-based National Association of State Personnel Executives gave its 2013 Eugene H. Rooney Jr. Award for innovative state human resources management programs to the commonwealth's Office of Administration for its Emerging Leader Program, a 10-month program that focuses on developing character, communication skills, ethics, critical thinking, strategic planning and collaboration. Approximately 15 percent of current state employees are eligible to retire, representing a potentially significant loss of leadership and institutional knowledge. ELP, which is open to all agencies under the jurisdiction of the governor, is an efficient, centralized solution to help address workforce planning and succession. Participants are nominated by their agencies, and their supervisors play an active role in the program. Commonwealth employees also are the program instructors. About 140 commonwealth employees have completed the program to date.


Maryland-based Online International Virtual Assistant Convention gave its Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award to Kathy McCabe of Adams County-based The Hilltop Group LLC. Hilltop's services include word processing, desktop publishing, live telephone answering, financial transactions, email and postal mail management, event planning, Wordpress blog design and management and remote PC administration. She has clients in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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