Owner of Lancaster County Housewrights, Jeff Troyer, elaborates on definition of name and reminisces on legos

What is the meaning of “housewrights” and why is that significant for your company?   

Housewright is an old word for a house carpenter. I use it because it denotes a craftsmanship and attention to detail that separates us from the pack, which is what I feel we offer our clients. Unfortunately, many in the trades today just aren’t the craftsmen of old who took pride in their workmanship and honed their skillset. We’re seeking to restore that aspect to the trades. 

What are some recent projects you are particularly proud of? 

We just finished a build for a customer who needed additional square footage so they could age in place. I provided design service to take their initial concept and develop it into the perfect plan for their specific needs. Once we completed the design, we were able to build it into a reality for them. We’re all very pleased with the final product. It was a beautiful setting and they were one of my favorite clients to date. 

As a member of several local building industry associations, what can you learn from general construction companies, and they from you? 

I appreciate hearing from others how they handle growth or struggles, etc. We’re all working through a lot of the same struggles: scheduling, personnel issues, cash flow, etc.. Business is all the same whether you’re a whale or a snail. We all ask ourselves “How can we serve our customer base with excellence and maximize our profitability while doing so?” Customer satisfaction will keep your name on their lips as they refer you to their friends and family. Those are always the best kinds of leads. 

What was your favorite toy as a child?  

I was always creating stuff: model planes, painting, woodworking. But my favorite toy was probably my Legos. They’re much cooler today than they were then, but I’d spend hours with them. My whole bedroom carpet would be covered with them all as I sought out the perfect piece. 

About Jeff Troyer 

Jeff Troyer, 46, has been a self-employed builder since 1995 with Lancaster County Housewrights, which offers full design/build capabilities with specializations in residential additions, renovations and updates.   

He lives in Columbia and is married to his best friend for 25 years. They have four children, most of whom are in their teens. 

What am I doing with my life?

You created the career services department at Thaddeus Stevens. What goes into keeping it current and growing? 

I break it down into five key things. First is how we run the office: we approach it more like a sales team, and building and maintaining relationships with our most important customers and that’s students, faculty and employers. Ultimately  it leads to why we’re here, to connect really well-trained and work-ready students in those super high in-demand careers, and encouraging them to give back to the community, and they’re contributing to Pennsylvania’s economy. The second piece is staying connected with alumni; we not only build relationships with our students while they’re here, we continue those relationships after they graduate. Our office is responsible for our annual graduate employment survey, so we reach out to the graduates one year after graduation, again five years after graduation, and we get an astonishingly high response rate and I think part of that is because of the relationships that are built while they’re here. They’re able to tell us a year out, five years out, what works for them, what doesn’t work, what keeps them at a company, why they leave a company. Then it allows us to go back and share that information with our employer partners so they’re better equipped to not just recruit but also retain our students and grads. It allows us to connect our alumni with our current students so our students can actually picture themselves doing the work. We bring alumni back all the time to mentor, motivate and encourage our students.  

 The third thing is our involvement with external workforce initiatives. Our office is involved with different local and state manufacturing and building associations, we sit on their committees, we’re part of the conversations with trade unions and tech councils. I’ve been really involved with our local Society of Human Resource Managers, that allows us to collaborate with the HR teams of the industries we serve. Being members of the chamber and working directly with the workforce development board, we’re able to have a conversation about what’s going on in the economy, with our jobs, our outlook, being on top of trends, to have our finger on the pulse of what’s happening right now. Fourth is (that) every one of our program majors has a vibrant, dynamic occupational advisory committee made up of industry representatives and others who have a vested interest in that program and major. The career services department sits on every single one of those committees, so we are at the table with all of this industry. It allows us to hear firsthand what’s happening on the industry side of things, what their needs are, what their struggles are, what are some of the new technologies, what are some of the new compliance rules and regs, what are some funding opportunities that will help our programs. We need to know what their HR policies are. Then we work with the faculty and the industry to create a plan to best support and enhance the program and students while still striving to meet the hiring needs of employers.  

 Finally, (there’s) being part of our college advancement team. We are now able to leverage the relationships we’ve already established and collaborate with all the departments and take a more 360-degree approach to the way we recruit, the way we teach, prepare and ultimately launch our students into lifelong careers. We’re better prepared to engage with our external partners on a more personal level, and that in turn allows us to more intentionally focus on securing the resources needed to enhance student support programs.  


There’s always focus on what prospective employers are looking for, but you ask students – the prospective employees – what they’re looking for in a job. What are some of the things that stand out? 

 Contrary to popular belief, money isn’t always the first thing on their minds. No. 1 — and this is pretty consistent across the board — throughout the years is our grads want to enjoy what they’re doing and to feel valued. The overall top four are: to enjoy what I’m doing and feel valued, company culture — which really just means a feeling of inclusion — compensation and then comprehensive benefits. (Students) also want to know they have training provided, they don’t want to be thrown to the dogs. And they want to know what their career pathway is, they want to know on day one what do they need to do to get to the next step. 

The most interesting thing to me is that while the majority of the programs we teach lead to careers that have all kinds of opportunities for overtime, having overtime available is one of the least important things to them when looking for a career. Paid time off doesn’t mean a lot to them, that’s so much less important if they are enjoying what they’re doing and they’re at a company where they feel included. 


If you could switch careers and go through any of the programs at Thaddeus Stevens, which would it be?  

I’m a huge fan of HGTV, so it would be residential remodeling, hands down. I would love to have the skillset to rehab and renovate homes. I’m fascinated by it, I would love to be able to give spaces new life, and I am completely inept in that area. Just to be able to remodel a home, knock down walls, know what I’m doing, rewire, you name it — I would love to do that.  

Freelance writer Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 


About Laurie Grove 

Laurie Grove, 57, created the first career services department at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology almost two decades ago and has served as its director ever since. Before that, she spent eight years as a national sales training consultant for Marriott International. She is involved in a number of community programs, including the Lancaster Chamber Women in Business mentor program and the Lancaster Society of Human Resource Managers, where she also serves on the diversity, equity and inclusion committee. 

Grove earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, with a minor in English, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

She lives in Lititz with her husband Ken and they have two daughters, two “pretty cool” sons-in-law and two grandsons. 

Kristin Delauter, manager at SEK, CPAs and Advisors, talks goals, auditing, and local baseball

What do you feel is key to successfully providing auditing services for the clients you serve, such as government entities, as opposed to for-profit businesses or individuals?  

Auditing services for governmental entities involves a separate set of standards than those applicable to for-profit businesses. Staying up to date with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statements issued, and applicable to your client, is imperative to the audit services provided. Governmental clients look to our firm for guidance in correctly implementing new standards for financial statement presentation. 

One area that is unique for governmental entities relates to the sources of funding and revenues received. Many of the entities that our firm audits, receive several different sources of state, local and federal funding throughout their fiscal year. As a part of the audit process, we review any related agreements, as local and state grant funds can have federal designations, which can cause an entity to require a compliance audit depending on the related expenditures incurred during the year. In addition, many of our clients receive large amounts of tax revenues. It is important to understand the process surrounding this revenue source, beginning with the assessment of the taxes by the entity, continuing through collection and remittance to the entity, and turning over any uncollected amounts as delinquent.  

You were recently promoted to manager — what are your goals as you move into this role? 

I’m looking forward to taking on a bigger leadership role in the audit process by ensuring all aspects of the audit go smoothly and that our clients are satisfied. As part of that role, a goal of mine is to share my knowledge with our audit staff by providing guidance and aiding in their development as they grow within the firm.  

What changes have you experienced in the firm or industry since you joined SEK in 2015, particularly after COVID?  

When I first joined the firm and public accounting in 2015, there was a lot more face time and a majority of our audits were performed in-person, onsite with clients. Working primarily with government entities and smaller non-profit organizations, our audits consisted of reviewing supporting documentation manually, as our clients kept most their records in paper form. During COVID, we had to implement new systems to allow us to complete all stages of an audit remotely which presented some challenges including losing the benefits of in-person client interaction and being able to more thoroughly discuss questions or aspects of the audit, which can be difficult to convey via email.  

The pandemic also opened up a lot of opportunities for individuals working in the public accounting industry by demonstrating our jobs can performed efficiently and effectively while working remote. Our ability to obtain a majority of our audit files and supporting documentation electronically has allowed our firm to create many efficiencies serving our clients over the past few years. We now perform many of our audits in a hybrid setting, first obtaining upfront information electronically through a secure upload system and then completing a later portion onsite. This has allowed for more flexibility in hiring remote employees with experience and talent in our niches to help in the audit process as well. 

What sports are you enjoying watching right now? 

During the summer I don’t follow many sports closely, however, I enjoy catching a baseball game when I have a chance. I grew up watching family members play baseball and attended many Harrisburg Senators games with my grandparents who were season ticket holders during my childhood. 

By freelance writer Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 

About Kristin Delauter 

Kristin Delauter, 30, was recently promoted to manager for SEK, CPAs and Advisors, based in their Chambersburg office. She joined the firm in 2015 as a staff auditor and later became a senior auditor and audit supervisor. Her areas of expertise include audit services for municipalities, school districts and other government entities along with financial institutions and nonprofit organizations. 

Delauter earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration, with honors, from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. She is also a certified public accountant in Pennsylvania. 

She and her husband, William, and their 4-year-old daughter Millie and 1-year-old son Lincoln live in Franklin Township, York County. 


Craig Milsten, attorney at Katherman, Briggs and Greenberg, LLP , talks sports writing and business safety measures

You have served as an assistant district attorney and practiced insurance defense law and commercial litigation before moving to KBG and injury law. How do those previous experiences shape your work today? 

Each of my prior areas of legal experience helped to prepare me to best represent my clients. I started my career in the district attorney’s office and gained invaluable day-to-day courtroom and trial experience. There’s nothing like being thrown into the fire straight out of law school to teach you the ins and outs of courtroom practice. As an insurance defense attorney, I learned the methods, tactics and philosophies of the companies and attorneys against whom I am matched now. Commercial litigation taught me the complexities of civil practice and, in particular, discovery practice. All together it was the perfect education to prepare me for my field of practice. 

You also were a sportswriter for the Washington Post prior to your legal career. Do you ever find yourself pulling from that experience? 

Yes, I often look back fondly on my sports writing days. My favorite aspect of the job was the thrill and excitement of writing under deadline. I often had no more than 10 or 20 minutes after a game to get to the locker room for quotes and then to compose and send a coherent story to the newsroom. I learned to think decisively and act quickly, two skills which are invaluable in the courtroom. It also equates in the ability to analyze data and then use it to tell a story, which is essentially what we are doing in front of a jury at trial.  

What are the best practices for businesses to ensure that pedestrians are not injured on their premises?  

The law creates different classes of persons on the premises based on their reason for being there. For most business applications, persons on the premises are typically “business invitees,” meaning they are there at the invitation of the business, for instance, as customers. This class is owed the highest duty of care. A business must not only endeavor to keep its premises free and clear from dangerous conditions but it must also do a reasonable inspection to discover and correct any such conditions. As in many areas of the law, the standard is reasonableness and I think it’s appropriate for businesses to use this as their guide. It’s understandable that a business cannot prevent every injury but if reasonable inspections and repairs are undertaken regularly, that should serve to prevent the vast majority of them. 

If you could go back to sportswriting and cover any one event, what would it be? 

I was a young man straight out of college when I worked as a sportswriter. While I was nonetheless fortunate to have the opportunity to cover a lot of professional sports and some important games and series, I was never senior enough to cover a major sports championship like the Super Bowl or World Series. Those events are fun for sportswriters for the same reason they are fun for fans: the stakes, the emotions and the interest are all peaked. So if the Post finds itself needing a last-minute substitute to cover the next Super Bowl, I’m in!

About Craig Milsten 

Craig Milsten, 54, joined Katherman, Briggs and Greenberg, specializing in personal injury law, bringing several years of experience in various areas of law. He began his legal career as York County assistant district attorney, gaining experience in criminal law, before practicing insurance defense law and commercial litigation. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and president-elect of the York County Bar Association. 

Milsten earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from The American University in Washington, D.C., and his juris doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 

He and his wife and two children live in Manchester Township.


President and CEO of Hamilton Health Center, Terese DeLaPlaine, talks about new satellite location

You have recently stepped into the role of president and CEO, following Jeannine Peterson, who served for 22 years. What do you bring to the position and what do you hope to accomplish? 

I think I bring a bridging of, if you would call it, the old guard with the new guard. I worked under Jeannine for approximately seven years before I became CEO, and so I have a lot of historical knowledge about the organization, the community, where things we’ve tried have been successful or weren’t so much. But then I also bring my own new ideas to the table that I’m looking forward to implementing, along with some old partners of Hamilton and hopefully some new partners along the way. 

Hamilton also recently broke ground on a new satellite location, which will be part of the Steel Works Revitalization in Steelton. Why is it important to locate there? 

As an FQHC, we are required — as one of the federal requirements for the grant — that we be in an area of demonstrated need. Steelton happened to be one such place, and a few years ago, the Department of Human Services did a statewide study looking at areas where there were significant healthcare disparities, and in our capital region there were four of the zip codes identified as being high areas where there were such disparities. One of them was the Steelton 17113 and another big one was where we have our main campus, 17104. That was really the driving factor, along with the fact that there has been a grassroots effort to try to get more low income, high quality healthcare providers in that area for easy access. 

Hamilton has grown in just over 50 years from a part-time clinic in the basement of a church; what do you think has been the key to this growth? 

I don’t think it’s any one thing, but I think a lot of it is having the right people with the right momentum at the right time with the right goals. Certainly the community embraced Hamilton, and I think in its 50 years Hamilton has always been trying to monitor that they have responded in the way that the community wanted them and needed them to. But if it was one thing, it would have to be having strong, compassionate and committed leadership, not just in the CEO but also the board of directors. On our board of directors, 51 percent have to be users of the services, and I think that makes a difference too, especially when you have a volunteer group for a non-profit, who better to tell you how you’re doing then your own users that are governing?  

What local summer event or activity are you most looking forward to? 

You’re going to laugh when I say this, but all of them! I say all of them because I never know which ones I’m going to actually get to. Hamilton has some coming up more towards the September time frame, our baby buggy event is always very well attended and I’m looking forward to that as well as our annual golf tournament. I’m always interested and curious in seeing what other organizations and agencies are doing and being supportive, so if it’s something that’s coming up and I can fit it in then I do my best to be there and help out anyway I can. 

Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 

About Terese DeLaPlaine 

Little did Terese DeLaPlaine know, when she started doing office work at an FQHC in her native Susquehanna County at the age of 15, that she would find a vocation that has lasted more than 20 years. She joined Hamilton Health Center as chief compliance officer in 2014 and was named president and chief executive officer in September 2022. She previously served as CEO of NEPA Community Health Care for five years. 

DeLaPlaine, 53, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and corrections from the University of Scranton and her juris doctorate from the Syracuse University College of Law. 

She and her husband of 30 years recently moved to Marysville. They have adult twin sons. 


John George Sr., president of tech management firm, TREYSTA, talks about AI, cybersecurity and ice cream!

How do you see AI applications like ChatGPT affecting businesses? 

Huge potential for ChatGPT and AI to automate some business functions and boost productivity. Big impact for coding and software development with the opportunity to drastically reduce development time and cost. The potential to assist folks with learning disabilities and visual/hearing challenges is also very intriguing. We may be able to leverage AI to boost our quality of life, make daily tasks a bit easier and positively impact society. With great potential comes some unknown risks. It’s kind of the wild, wild west in the artificial intelligence frontier right now. Risks are still being evaluated and we are even seeing some industry trailblazers calling for a timeout in development to assess some of the risks. Some of the risks may remind us of the old Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton movie “The Terminator,” from 1984, in which the artificial intelligence defense network Skynet becomes “self-aware” and the machines take over! 

How do you and TREYSTA keep up with changes in the IT field and turn that around to your clients? 

Education for our team and our clients is key. Our industry is constantly evolving, and we strive to stay ahead with training and education. Most of our clients want to understand the technology at a high level but want a partner to handle the details so they can focus on their core mission. Cybersecurity is at the forefront of everything we do. 

What are the biggest cybersecurity threats to businesses today? 

Any business that has an internet connection is a potential target these days. Between state-sponsored agents and cybercriminals, it is a constant battle to protect your organization. Improving your cybersecurity posture is critical. Having a security assessment performed can help establish a good baseline.  

Two of the most cost-effective tools organizations can deploy are multi-factor authentication (MFA) and requiring complex passwords. An example of MFA is requiring a text code to a secondary device, (such as a) cell phone, to complement a password. Even if a hacker cracks your password, they won’t be able to login without the secondary authentication. Always confirm any financial transactions — wire transfers, direct deposit, etc. — with a secondary authentication. Never transfer funds with an email request only; always verify with a phone call or person-to-person conversation. Microsoft states 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks are blocked by adding the extra security measure of MFA and that 94 percent of ransomware victims weren’t using MFA. If your passwords are less than eight characters, change them immediately! An eight-character password with upper/lowercase and symbols can be cracked by the average hacker in less than eight hours. However, a password with an 18-character string with a mix of upper/lower case and symbols would take up to 438 trillion years to hack. Create a phrase or sentence between 15-20 characters that you can remember. Rotate your passwords on a regular basis. Security awareness training is another good tool. Every organization should also have cyberliability insurance to provide an additional layer of coverage. 

Since you’ve had a side gig driving an ice cream truck, what is your favorite ice cream flavor? 

An old-fashioned Good Humor Giant Ice Cream sandwich! It’s a classic that brings you back to your childhood. It’s also a bigger and better version than you can purchase in your grocery store. 

About John George Sr. 

John George Sr., 51, joined TREYSTA, a technology management firm with offices in Gettysburg and York, as a vice president in 2019 and was soon after named president. He has spent more than 20 years in the information technology industry. 

George earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. 

He and his wife, Kristin, live in South Middleton Township with their four sons, ages 10, 12, 15 and 17 – leading Kristin to say she lives in a house with five boys. The family has also operated Crazy Maisy’s Ice Cream Truck together. 

HR company takes “holistic” approach in order to benefit clients

Tell us about the name “TREW” and how it applies to the company’s approach to human resources. 

It’s the Scottish version of to believe and trust, and the approach we take is that we like to say “people focused, business minded.” We’re trying to put the people back in HR. I think a lot of times in industries people really think HR is just the hiring and firing, and we are so much more than that and we can be so much more to our clients. It’s just kind of telling them, you can trust us, we have full transparency here, we’re here to help you. Believe in what you’re doing and let us help you to help your workforce with whatever initiative you are trying to bring on.  

We can align so much of your strategic initiatives and we can do so much more than just the paper — which is the transactional things — but we’re really trying to change how people view their employees and make it a better place for their employees. 

What is holistic HR and how does it benefit your clients? 

I like to always say I’m not going to be burning sage — unless you want me to burn some sage, I can definitely do that to make their lives better. But for me, (holistic HR) means looking at the entire life cycle of an employee, so that’s from sourcing all the way to termination. When you’re my client, you’re going to first be comfortable with me. I like to make sure everyone understands I’m basically here to be an extension of your workforce.  

You’ve noted that there are currently five generations in the workplace. What are the keys to successfully blending generations and helping them communicate in a business or organization? 

I think the first thing is recognizing that fact. A lot of people just think we have these people together and they have to work together. Learning how to work with other people is actually kind of hard, especially when you’re coming from different generations where you may think it should be done this way but another generation may think we don’t have to do it this way, there’s a more efficient way. I think the second thing is coming out of your silo. A lot of people don’t recognize they’re even in their silos because it’s so comfortable, and they don’t want to be uncomfortable, but I think it’s all about being uncomfortable and how we change, and understanding these people may have a different viewpoint of life or what the workforce may seem like, but don’t just write them off. And for the younger people, (the older generation) has been at this a long time and there are lessons to be learned from them. It goes both ways.  These steps may sound really small like they honestly make a big difference. From there it’s having those conversations, being collaborative with one another. That may mean you have to communicate with someone differently. It’s about seeing those differences and embracing those differences. Once we do that, your workplace can work more efficiently because people will understand each other and communicate with each other.   

What is your go-to morning drink? 

I just drink water. I don’t really drink coffee, maybe a bit of tea at night. I’m just naturally energetic! 

About Candice Rice 

Candice Rice, 29, joined TREW HR in January 2022. She brings a holistic approach to human resources and is also a diversity, equity and inclusion specialist. Prior to TREW, she was a human resources generalist and coordinator with several midstate businesses. 

Rice has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in human resource management from York College of Pennsylvania. She is also a SHRM certified professional and also holds OSHA certification, along with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace certificate from USF Corporate Training and Professional Education. 

She is a native of York now living in Highspire, with 10 siblings who all live nearby. 

Freelance writer Stephanie Botchie-Deinlein 

Mid Penn Bank CFO talks sustainable growth and fostering personal relationships

The Central Penn Business Journal recently spoke with Allison Johnson, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer at Mid Penn Bank 

Johnson, 38, was appointed to her role at the Millersburg-based financial institution in May 2022.  

She has most recently served as chief financial officer of Spirit of Texas Bank, where she had worked since 2016. Before that, she was an SEC reporting manager at Florida Community Bank, a fund accountant for Sun Capital Partners, LLC, and auditor with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 

Before coming to Mid Penn Bank, you worked with banks in Texas and Florida. Do you find there are different needs in the different markets, or are there some that are just universal?  

Lending needs are pretty much universal, particularly on commercial real estate and consumer lending. Commercial and industrial lending varies slightly depending on what part of the country you are in. For example, Florida has a big emphasis on hospitality and other related services, Texas has a concentration of oil and gas lending and corresponding industries, and here in Pennsylvania there is much more manufacturing. At the end of the day though, borrowers are looking for a personalized relationship with 

their lending officer and a quick and efficient lending process. Being able to offer a personalized experience with speed at competitive rates should be the goal of banks in any market.  

What are you pulling from those previous experiences to help Mid Penn grow? 

I’ve seen the good and the bad of rapid growth amongst banks. The goal is sustainable growth where each growth period generates a positive return on equity to fuel the next growth period. Continuously going to the capital markets for more capital to grow through acquisitions that may or may not be accretive to earnings is not sustainable.  

With growth comes risk and managing that increased risk is what is key to a bank’s success. I am able to rely on my previous experiences to assist Mid Penn with its growth trajectory and avoid some common mistakes.  

What do you think are the keys to helping customers feel financially secure in the midst of economic uncertainty?  

The keys to helping customers feel financially secure are having the right tools and the right products. Mid Penn prides itself on great customer service. We are here to help and we hope that our customers know that they are not facing these uncertain times alone.  

Whether you need a checking or savings account, have a small business need, are concerned about retirement, or are in need of an insurance product, we offer a broad array of products and services through the bank as well as other lines of business to help our customers navigate all of their financial needs from end to end.  

What has been your favorite thing about central Pennsylvania so far? 

The seasons! I’m an avid hiker and being able to hike the Appalachian Trail and enjoy the fall foliage is a dream come true.  

Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 


About Allison Johnson  

Johnson has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in accounting from Florida State University. She is also a certified public accountant. 

She lives in Harrisburg. 


A Conversation With Conrad Celestial Jr., President and chief executive officer, Unalakleet Investments LLC

Tell us a little about Unalakleet Investments LLC and what the company does. 

Unalakleet Investments LLC is an Alaska Native Corporation owned, SBA 8(a) Certified Small Disadvantaged Business that provides a spectrum of capabilities for the federal government. Our operational offices are based in the lower 48, in this case, Chambersburg. The company has a broad depth of competency areas, with matching depth of experience.  As an Alaskan Native Corporation, Unalakleet Investments can receive sole source awards of any size that cannot be protested due its status as an ANC-owned company. Unalakleet Investments’ core competencies include construction, security services, leasing and facility management, services and technology, and supply chain management. To achieve success Unalakleet has partnered with trusted companies with established relationships in the federal space. 

What are some projects coming up in 2023 that you’re excited about, particularly in central Pa.? 

As a diverse company, we continue to support the National Park Service in the restoration of our national landmarks, including recently in Gettysburg. We are also supporting IT for the Treasury Department. We look to help with a solution for immigration processing with federal Department of Homeland Security. In central Pennsylvania, UI is positioned to support naval facilities in Philadelphia and the Defense Logistics Agency in New Cumberland, and to add value as a mission support partner to Letterkenny Army Depot. 

What are some general trends you see coming in 2023 that will affect multiple businesses or fields? 

In my field, one of the aspects that I am most proud of is leveraging local business to support federal opportunities within the state. The growth of the organization over the last four years has led to starting new subsidiaries for our holding company, Unalakleet Native Corp., to capture and build upon capabilities such as construction, supply chain and property management. In the federal contractor industry, initiatives and opportunities are based on the administration in office. As a result, UI and the subsidiaries will continue to build upon the current performance and the commitment to leveraging local business as teammates to support the federal mission. 

What are you hoping to see or visit in 2023? 

As a student of history, I hope to mix business with pleasure by taking my family to Atlanta to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. birth home, which is run by the National Park Service, as well as other landmarks. And with four children, I have an opportunity to work with my two young sons in the area of 3D printing and really enhance their love of flight with a trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and Annex in Washington, D.C. 

Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 

About Conrad Celestial 

Conrad Celestial Jr. has been president and chief executive officer of Unalakleet Investments LLC, based in Chambersburg, since 2017. With the company serving the federal government, he draws from his experience in both the military, having served in the U.S. Army, and in defense contracting. Before joining Unalakleet, he was director of operations and contracts for DDC-ITS and director of contracts and procurement for NOVA Corporation, both subsidiaries of Dine Development Corp. 

Celestial earned a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., and did further study at Frederick Community College and Hood College in Maryland, as well as obtaining several certifications in his field. 

He lives in Greene Township, Franklin County, and is married with four children. 


A Conversation With: Colette Cocco, Senior advisor, BMI Mergers and Acquisitions

Your background includes sales, marketing, teaching, and business ownership. How does all of that shape your work with BMI Mergers and Acquisitions?   

Most owners know that selling ability is critical to the process, but finding the right buyer and helping them understand the fit and value is more about marketing and educating. My husband and I bought a business represented by BMI Mergers and Acquisitions. We saw their professionalism and values. It gave us the comfort we needed to close that deal and it made perfect sense to have them represent us years later as sellers. I draw on that experience seeing both sides of the equation during each transaction. And it is truly gratifying to participate in the matching process and see both buyer and seller succeed as we follow up months later. 

My current work in mergers and acquisitions is the capstone of my business career. I tap all aspects of my background including corporate sales and marketing, running a business, and managing the bottom line. At BMI, I work with an experienced team, including managing director Tom Kerchner and my husband, Paul. Working with this team, along with interesting and hard-working business owners, is challenging and rewarding.   

What trends or hot markets do you see in 2023 on the mergers and acquisitions front?   

Most sectors are still strong, but we do see certain areas with consistently higher interest levels such as manufacturing, which is further helped by a push to bring more production to the U.S. from offshore. This is a general trend, but there are also some big federal programs helping push things along in semiconductors, solar, wind and batteries. Other areas with high interest include HVAC, environmental services and software. Infrastructure spending is also helping some segments of the construction industry and we see that showing up in buyer interests.   

Even though M&A deal activity has declined from record high levels in 2021, it is still fairly healthy on a historical basis and buyer interest is still very strong. For 2023, higher interest rates will dampen valuations somewhat and talk of recession could result in more deals with a performance component in the structure. 

What are the most important things to keep in mind while you guide a client through a merger or acquisition?   

We guide clients starting with expectations of the process, what valuation ranges are realistic based on market data, whether or not this is the right time to sell and the importance of finding the right buyer match for their business and employees. Many owners do not have a good idea of what their company is worth on the market today. So, we offer a free value analysis to get started. We offer thoughts on the best time to sell, the approach we would take considering business strengths and weaknesses, and future opportunities. For owners where the expected value falls short of their needs, we coach them on what steps to take to achieve their target. In other cases, we’ve seen owners surprised at the value and speed of the selling timeline. 

Selling is a big decision and usually happens just once. It’s important for sellers to feel informed of the choices, in charge of their decision and confident in a confidential process that maximizes value both in dollars but also the right values fit so the business and its employees will continue to thrive.  

What do you like best about the holiday season in Hershey? 

Time together with family and friends, especially having a full house with our adult kids. I enjoy the traditions of seeing the Hotel Hershey decorated for Christmas and watching the Kiss Drop on New Year’s Eve. A bonus for me would be a white Christmas, and lots of Hershey’s chocolate!   

Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 

About Colette Cocco 

Colette Cocco, 56, joined BMI Mergers and Acquisitions in 2021, having previously known the company as both a buyer and seller while owner of Power Pro Battery Company. She also spent almost a decade in sales and customer business development with Proctor and Gamble, and also taught marketing, entrepreneurship and management courses at Harrisburg University. 

Cocco has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. 

The South Dakota native now calls Hummelstown home — after 20 years in downtown Hershey — along with her husband, Paul. Together, they manage BMI’s Harrisburg office. 


A Conversation With Brian Kennedy, president and wealth planning advisor, KCA Wealth Management

What resources has KCA Wealth Management added recently, and what is the value added to your clients? 

We took about a year-and-a-half to think about where the industry was headed and the resources we would need for clients, so we were able to integrate a team of charter financial analysts. There’s five of them we now have on board, who have extensive background in building and constructing and managing portfolios. We also added some more certified financial planners in the back end, which would expand the financial planning department we have internally. We also added a couple CPAs so there is the ability to offer tax services in our practice. Then, we also added an attorney who can review legal documents. I’m an accredited estate planner, but I’m not an attorney, so I can read documents and provide strategy but we always thought it was important to have an attorney that could just look at documents and point out things that maybe we didn’t see or clients weren’t aware they might need.  

I always want to make sure I have the resources to answer any and all things that might come up in a client’s financial plan and I want to be able to have that at my fingertips, so that’s always been something we’ve had, we just now expanded on it.  

What are the most common challenges your clients face in business succession planning and how do you help overcome them? 

When business owners create and run their businesses, they’re deeply involved emotionally, physically, financially. What I think happens is a lot of times people put off having an actual plan to know who is going to be their successor and exactly when are they going to exit. As a business owner myself, I know it’s very difficult to try to separate yourself sometimes, especially if you love what you do. But you have to take a step back and say, is there something else I’m going to love more when I leave this business, and how do you start to think about those dreams and goals. I think the struggle is finding the right person you want to use for an accession or succession; it’s always a good idea to have a number of people you thought about selling your business to. And then it’s timing, really trying to figure out when is that going to happen? Is it going to be a slow phase, is it going to be immediate? 

I think the struggle for most is the emotional part of it. There’s a risk in in developing a succession plan for a business owner because there’s some uncertainty, and it’s also saying their role in the business is going to end, and sometimes they don’t want to develop the plan in a timely manner because they’re basically saying my end is near.  

How has your life experience shaped your career and how you advise your clients? 

I always want to hope for the best but we’ve got to plan for the worst. I experienced death at a very young age, losing my father, my mother being a single woman raising me without a lot of education and skill, and I saw the struggles over time. At the end of the day, it’s really about understanding when you start from pretty much nothing and grow and build what you have, it’s important to be able to make sure you’ve always looked out for the worst-case scenario. You don’t want that situation to happen, but unfortunately, we get wrapped up in doing our same thing daily and we’re being successful and moving forward, but you don’t take the time to stop and say, wait a minute, what if this goes the other direction? Am I protected completely, do I have my business succession plan in order, do I have my estate plan in order, are all my insurances appropriate? Do I have the foundation built in my business plan as well as my personal plan that if things did go the other direction I’m still okay? You’ve got to have your good foundation, and then you can go from there.  

You can’t just set the plan and think that’s enough. You need to review it occasionally to make sure there aren’t any things that need to be updated or changed. 

Have you read any good books lately? Or, what are you looking forward to reading? 

There’s a book I’ve read called “Traction,” and it’s on how to basically get a grip on your business, and it’s a good read. The other thing I want to go back and read is called “The New Retirementality,” by Mitch Anthony. The whole point of it is you can work really hard but you have to have a vision and a dream and a goal for that exit path. You need to think about what you’re going to do with your time when you retire. When I read those books, it gives me some ways to communicate to others that there’s some other resources out there you can read, and think about the next phase of your life. 

By contributing writer Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 

About Brian Kennedy 

Brian Kennedy, 52, was inspired to become a financial advisor after losing his father at a young age and seeing how his mother worked to provide for her family on her own. He started work as a paperboy, busboy, waiter and other jobs to help the family. He now has almost three decades of experience in the financial industry. 

Kennedy studied at Harrisburg Area Community College and the American College of Financial Services and the College for Financial Planning, and holds several industry certifications. 

He lives in Camp Hill with his wife, Kim, and 8-year-old son, Caelan. 

A Conversation With: Kate Zimmerman, executive director, Leadership Lancaster

You are a graduate of Leadership Lancaster yourself. What have you brought from that experience to help develop community leaders now that you are executive director? 

I think I bring from my experience is the awe of the community we are part of. I went through Leadership Lancaster in 2009 — I am not originally from the area, and that was the first time I got to see the depth and breadth of Lancaster County, and it really made me fall in love with this community and how many people care about it. 

You work with people of all genders and from all types of working backgrounds, but what have you learned through the years helps develop women, specifically, as leaders in business and the community? 

I was a single mom for almost a decade, and I learned there’s no such thing as balance. I heard the other day it’s equilibrium. I think leading, with women, with the expectation there are a lot of different things on our plates at any given moment and we (should) lead from the season we’re in. We don’t need to be all things at all times, but there will be specific seasons for different parts of our lives. 

We often look at leadership as executive positions in business. Why is leading through volunteerism so important? 

Leadership Lancaster is a community leadership development program, so one of the things I always tell folks who go through is, we’re going to teach you those leadership skills you can take back to your business, to your community, but ultimately we want you to grow into a leader of Lancaster County. It’s being on the boards and serving on the front lines, and understanding the real, actual needs of our community.  

For me, many of my passion projects are the ones I don’t get paid for but I get to show up and build a coalition with other people in this community who really care. I’m a co-chair of the Coalition for Sustainable Housing, which is an umbrella organization coalition for housing organizations and people who really care about housing in our community. It’s so gratifying to be able to come together with all these people, who see the same issues in the community and work together towards a solution, which is one of the things I think is great about our community specifically, how hard folks work to come together and not have silos, and identify problems and work to solve them.   

What is your favorite holiday treat?  

My mom passed away when I was 17, but Christmas was her holiday, so making the cookies for Christmas, decorating them all together, it’s one of those really clear memories I have of her now as an adult.  

Over the years, as the kids have been in school, it’s so hard to think of meaningful gifts for all the people who come across them over the course of school year, so we always as a family decorated mass-baked cookies and passed them out. That’s one of the things we’ve done for a long time. And I love cookies so very much.  

Jennifer Botchie Deinlein 

About Kate Zimmerman 

Kate Zimmerman, 43, is executive director of Leadership Lancaster. She joined the organization as program director in 2012 and became executive director in 2017. Before that, she was with Lancaster Area Habitat for Humanity for four years as public relations manager, then director of community relations.  

Zimmerman has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Calvin College in Michigan. She lives in Manheim Township with her husband, Josh, two children, George and Caroline, and their dog and cat.