HACC set to launch fully online community health worker program

Harrisburg Area Community College’s (HACC) upcoming Community Health Worker Program will prepare students for careers such as outreach workers, patient navigators and peer health educators.

The Harrisburg-based college announced on Wednesday that the first fully online classes for the new 12-week program begin in early February.

The new Community Health Worker Program is accredited through the Pennsylvania Certification Board and covers health care, social services, communication skills, health education and individual and community advocacy.

“Currently, there are over 400 job openings in Pennsylvania for community health workers,” said Vic Rodgers, vice president of workforce development for HACC. “HACC has designed an educational program that satisfies Pennsylvania Certification Board requirements and meets a need in the community.”

HACC is one of 15 community colleges in the state and offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certification and diploma programs.

Young entrepreneur takes off with budding marketing business

Kristen Pucci founded her consulting firm, KRAE consulting, in April. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Fresh out of work as a result of the pandemic, Kristen Pucci took what she had learned from her career in business development and marketing and founded her own consulting business; a risk that the 27-year-old entrepreneur says has paid off.

Like many in the wake of the pandemic, Pucci found herself out of work last April only three months after starting a new job as a business development manager for a Harrisburg-based engineering firm.

Prior to joining the firm, Pucci held roles as a recruiter, senior business developer and account manager for a number of businesses in the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

Pucci’s two years in recruitment helped her sow relationships with area firms, a few of which had shown disappointment that she had chosen to leave her previous job with a recruitment firm and not seek work with them.

A graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Pucci’s two passions after college were marketing, particularly in the social media space, and business development– skills she found use for no matter where she worked.

Instead of finding work with one firm, Pucci saw the position she was in as an opportunity to be her own boss.

“Why would I pigeonhole myself with one firm when I could work for all of them on a consulting basis,” she said. “Instead of giving them 40 hours a week, I split up my time and gave whatever they needed per firm.”

Pucci began reaching out to the firms she knew that didn’t have marketing or business development staff and marketed herself as an alternative to a full-time hire.

With her savings she bought an LLC and founded KRAE Consulting,  a reference to a nickname she was given in high school. The young entrepreneur added that “KRAE” also brings to mind the term “cray cray.”

“We take a different approach. We like to be creative and go above and beyond,” she said. “That’s who we are and that’s how I named it.”

Being a young entrepreneur working for herself for the first time, Pucci said that she didn’t have the experience older business owners may have as they start a new venture so it was particularly crucial to seek out a lawyer and an accountant that could field even the most basic of questions.

“I never had the life experience of having to start a company and I didn’t know that many other people that started companies either,” she said. “I had to reach out to people who were older than me and more experienced than me and pick their brains.”

KRAE specializes in social media, marketing, businesses development and sales and currently sticks to the architecture, engineering and construction industry that she started in.

KRAE was founded in April and began making money in May, something that Pucci said she couldn’t have done if her first clients, who had known her from her previous work as a recruiter, hadn’t taken a chance on her.

Snyder County-based engineering firm LIVIC Civil brought KRAE on as a consultant last year and is three years into launching its own business. The firm wrote in a statement that it was Pucci’s attitude that drove them to bring her company on.

“We partnered with KRAE to administer our social media needs, assist with marketing, and business development,” LIVIC Civil wrote in its statement. “KRAE has transitioned into truly being a business partner.  Our successes are shared as we strategically pursue similar goals.”

Today, KRAE has two employees. Pucci hired her first in August and her second in September. She said that she was blessed to have already amassed management experience in her previous roles, seeing as though the speed at which her company has grown has not left room for error.

“We have absolutely exceeded every expectation I had for being less than a year in business,” she said. “In just a couple months I had to hire another person and in my first six months of business, I had multiple clients. I was positive in cash flow so much so that I had to hire two people and by hitting a year we will be in a very good position for next year.”

Harrisburg law firm launches public relations agency


Harrisburg-based law firm McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC launched a new public relations agency headed by a local PR veteran.

Former senior director of public relations and communications at WellSpan Health, Brett Marcy, will lead the law firm’s new public relations agency, Apollo Communications, as its president.

The new Harrisburg-based firm will serve clients across Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland and specializes in building and enhancing brands and reputations, crisis and issue management, media relations and content marketing, according to a press release by McNees.

Apollo Communications is the latest in a series of additions the law firm has made to its portfolio of services, which has included government affairs, grassroots advocacy and nonprofit consulting.

“At McNees, we practice a client-first philosophy, and that means surrounding our clients with all the support and resources we have available to help them meet their goals,” said McNees Chair Brian Jackson.

Marcy joins Apollo after more than six years at WellSpan Health. Prior to his time at the York-based hospital system, he held communications director and press secretary roles at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Marcy is also a former journalist and has written for Capitalwire.com, The Times Leader, The Patriot-News and The Express-Times.

“With Brett’s diverse set of skills and experience as its foundation, Apollo Communications offers clients the expertise of a large agency with the personal touch of a boutique firm,” said Jackson.

HB Global names president of commercial business

Salvatore Bauccio. PHOTO PROVIDED


Harrisburg-based HB Global LLC announced that it promoted Salvatore Bauccio to president of commercial business.

Prior to taking the position, Bauccio was COO of commercial business for two years and acquisition attorney at McNees Law Firm for six years.

HB Global is the parent company of HB McClure, IT Landes and HB Home Services in Pennsylvania; North Shore Mechanical in Massachusetts; Spectrum Mechanical in Arizona; and Nash Plumbing and Mechanical and William R. Nash Mechanical in Florida, South Carolina and the Caribbean.

As president, Bauccio will oversee the current six commercial divisions of HB Global and all newly acquired commercial divisions.

Bob Whalen, CEO of HB Global, said that Bauccio is able to quickly identify areas of improvement, remove obstacles and has keen decision-making talents.

“He listens and considers the differing perspectives of others. Sal is a remarkable leader and holds himself and our divisions accountable for the results they have committed to,” Whalen said. “Our core values of trust, team, grit, and growth are ingrained in every step he takes.”

This week, HB Global also announced that it would be hiring its first senior vice president of operations and strategy, Matthew Shaub.

Shaub joins the company from Cork, Ireland-based HVAC company, Johnson Controls.

HB Global hires new executive leader


Harrisburg-based HB Global LLC announced that it has hired its first senior vice president of operations and strategy.

HB Global, the parent company of HB McClure, IT Landes, Nash Plumbing and Mechanical and North Shore Mechanical Contractors, recently welcomed Matthew Shaub to its leadership team.

Shaub, a longtime strategic business executive, previously held a number of positions at Johnson Controls, a Cork, Ireland-based HVAC company. Upon leaving Johnson Controls, he founded Advantage Insights Consulting in Mt. Joy this year.

While at Johnson Controls, Shaub’s leadership roles spanned product management, strategy, sales and marketing, engineering, global operations and more.

At HB Global, Shaub will work closely with six commercial operating divisions, including HB McClure– the company wrote in a statement.

“He is passionate about strategy, business transformation, organizational culture, leadership and team development, product design and innovation, process excellence– bringing it all together to create a business advantage that fuels growth and positively impacts employees, their families, and the communities where they live, work and play,” the company wrote.


Low inventory, rising sales for Harrisburg home sales

Harrisburg-area home sales jumped more than 28% in November from the year before, with demand from buyers unabated.

Settlements increased from 559 to 716 in the three-county region covered by the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors. The year-to-date total through November is still trailing slightly, at 7,031 for 2020 and 7,085 for 2019.

The association reported data by county, with sales rising 34% in Cumberland (244 to 327), 26.1% in Dauphin (280 to 353) and 2.9% (35 to 36) in Perry.

Lack of inventory continues as an issue, said association president Jordan Piscioneri.

“We’re pretty much overselling new listings,” he noted. In November, there were 685 new listings to go with the 716 closed sales.

The disparity was widest in Cumberland County, where the 327 sales last month easily exceeded the 292 listings.

Active listings dropped significantly in the three counties overall, from 1,490 to 771.

And average days on the market year over year fell from 38 to 28 in Cumberland, 46 to 21 in Dauphin and 45 to 24 in Perry.

Piscioneri said the low inventory continues to push up prices.

In Cumberland County, the median sale price in November rose from $195,500 last year to $238,000.

“It’s a great time to sell,” Piscioneri said, “but challenging if you’re a buyer.”

Pending sales, or the number of homes under contract that haven’t reached settlement, grew from 600 in November 2019 to 671 in November 2020. That’s a sign activity will continue to be busier than last year.

Piscioneri said, however, he’s been hearing “things are slowing down.”

Anecdotally, he said there’s worry the reinstituted COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants could depress the shaky economy further – even with new financial help – negatively impacting real estate.

But the industry is well-positioned to bounce back, if necessary, he said. “We’re really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with COVID.”

Chicago cannabis company opens first Pa. dispensary in Harrisburg

Zen Leaf Harrisburg is located at 137 S. 17th St. PHOTO PROVIDE

Chicago-based cannabis company Verano opened its first of three Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries in Harrisburg on Wednesday with dispensaries in Altoona and York coming soon.

Verano’s Zen Leaf Harrisburg, a medical marijuana dispensary offering cannabis products such as concentrates, vaporizers and flower, opened today in Allison Hill.

Verano has 18 active retail locations in 12 U.S. states. The new dispensary is the multi-state cannabis operator’s first in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania currently allows 50 medical marijuana dispensary retail licenses at any given time with each licensee able to open three facilities. Along with the Harrisburg location, Verano will be opening Zen Leafs in York this month and Altoona in January.

“We’re excited about our Pennsylvania debut, bringing the Zen Leaf dispensary experience to a new and thriving medical market,” said George Archos, founder and CEO of Verano. “While we introduce our brand to the patients around Harrisburg, we are equally eager to create new employment opportunities and to help support the community around us.”

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program currently serves over 330,000 registered patients with approximately 90 to 100 dispensaries currently open to medical marijuana license holders.

Archos said that Verano is grateful to join the state’s emerging cannabis market, which it sees as having a great deal of momentum.

“Our goal is to eventually reach and assist as many Pennsylvanians as possible, and to establish ourselves as a household name among medical cannabis patients there,” he said.
The new Zen Leaf is located at 137 S. 17th St. in Harrisburg.

Former CPBJ publisher and founder plans to run for Mayor of Harrisburg in 2021

Dave Schankweiler, founder and former publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal, plans to announce a run for Mayor of Harrisburg next year.

David A. Schankweiler

If he decides to run, Schankweiler will be up against incumbent Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who told PennLive on Monday that he will be seeking a third term in 2021.

The local entrepreneur rolled out a new website on Monday that asks residents, students and the business community to fill a short survey on what they would like to see if he were to run.

On the site, Schankweiler says he plans to officially announce his campaign in early 2021, but wants to first hear from the community through the survey.

“One of the things that city government needs to do a better job of is making sure those who may not be able to have opportunity, city government needs to be serving so that those opportunities are there.” Schankweiler said in a video on the site.

Schankweiler has lived in the Harrisburg region since he was a child and founded the Harrisburg-based Central Penn Business Journal in 1984 when he was 24. In 2016, Shankweiler sold the business to Minneapolis-based BridgeTower Media.

“As the founder and publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal, I was privileged to help tell the story of visionaries who saw the next Harrisburg—a diverse, energetic river town where every person is valued and has a fighting chance to succeed,” he said in a statement on the site.

Schankweiler declined to give additional information regarding his campaign until the official announcement early next year.


Join the City of Harrisburg and T-Mobile for the annual Holiday Parade with a new twist! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade will be modified to a reverse parade held on City Island. In a reverse parade, the parade entrants are stationary and spectators drive by in their vehicles rather than gathering in large groups along the street. This year’s parade theme is “Hometown Holiday” – show us what makes holidays in the Harrisburg area special to you! A “Best in Theme” award will be presented to the entry that receives the highest score from our panel of local celebrity judges. We also encourage spectators to get in the holiday spirit by decorating their vehicles (just be sure you can travel safely with any decorations you use).

Vehicles are required to participate in the reverse parade and there is no entry fee. After driving through the parade route, spectators will receive complimentary goodie bags filled with candy and other items (limited to first 150 cars). You will not be able to drive the parade route if you arrive after 12pm, so please arrive early. Those without a vehicle can walk or bike to City Island and board the FREE Belco Community Credit Union Shuttle Bus. Please use the Market Street Bridge to enter City Island because the Walnut Street bridge will be closed to pedestrians and bicyclists for safety reasons. The shuttle bus stop will be located in the South Parking Lot (parking garage side). Properly worn masks are required on the shuttle through the parade loop and social distancing will be in place while seated on the bus. Commonly touched areas will be disinfected between shuttle trips. The first shuttle will depart at 10am and the last shuttle will depart at 11:30am.

Find the event map and all details online at http://harrisburgpa.gov/holidayparade

Strawberry Square owners to open new fitness center

A new fitness center is set to open this month in Strawberry Square after the downtown Harrisburg retail complex was forced to shut down its previous gym due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Strawberry Square owner Harristown closed Fitness U, a fitness center that it operated in the complex for 12 years.

While the state began allowing gyms to reopen their doors this summer, Harristown decided to reevaluate how it offered fitness in the city by opening Fit on Market, an unstaffed boutique gym.

“This project was a result of the pandemic,” said Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown. “It allowed us to really think through what we wanted at a new facility.”

Jones said the new concept allowed Harristown to free up premier space in Strawberry Square overlooking the capital for office leasing. Being unstaffed also allows the gym to stay open past Strawberry Square’s hours and into Sunday when the complex is usually closed.

The new unstaffed fitness center is smaller than the company’s previous facility at 3,000 square feet, compared to Fitness U’s 8,000 square feet, and is similar in form to a fitness facility one would find at an upscale hotel, he said.

To alleviate worries regarding COVID-19, the gym features bi-polar ionization equipment to disinfect the gym’s air and surfaces.

Fit on Market is part of a greater strategy by Harristown to maintain Strawberry Square as everything residents and workers in the city need or want in their lifestyle.

“We are very excited to have a fantastic new downtown fitness facility to serve both our workforce and residential populations here in the city,” Jones said.

Along with Strawberry Square, Harristown owns and manages over 2 million square feet of real estate in Harrisburg.

Jones noted that during the pandemic, Harristown and Strawberry Square have been working to support the square’s small business tenants through informing businesses about available government loans, grants and programs and by prioritizing retail, food and beverage tenants in particular.

“We’ve had a couple tenants retire and some that have gone out of business,” he said. “We want to continue to bring in new companies, employees and jobs. I’m excited about both the downtown and Harrisburg in general.”

Sports Bar P.J. Whelihan’s brings its Buffalo wings to the Harrisburg region

The new P.J.’s restaurant, which is known for its Buffalo wings, casual bar fare and large variety of beer, was designed by Stokes Architecture of Philadelphia. PHOTO/SUBMITTED


P.J. Whelihan’s Pub & Restaurant opened its first location in the Harrisburg region.

The PJW Restaurant group held a grand opening for its sports bar concept on Union Deposit Road in Lower Paxton Township.

It’s the 19th P.J. Whelihan’s restaurant in the chain and the 26th restaurant in the overall restaurant group, which also features restaurants such as the Pour House, a craft-beer bar and restaurant, and Chop House, a steak and seafood restaurant.

The new P.J.’s, which is known for its Buffalo wings, casual bar fare and large variety of beer, was designed by Stokes Architecture of Philadelphia. It features a large center bar that will seat 40 when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The bar will have 30 beers on tap.

There are 38 large-screen televisions throughout the restaurant that will feature local and national games.

Founded as Platz’s Inn restaurant in Lehighton 1983 by Bob and Donna Platzer, the restaurant group is now headquartered in Westmont, New Jersey. The first P.J. Whelihan’s opened in Allentown in the early 1990s.

P.J. Whelihan’s Harrisburg will be open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Craving the Farm Show milkshake? Now you can get your fix at the PA Farm Show Fall Food Fest

Attendees enjoy a milkshake at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. PHOTO/FILE

While attendees of 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show won’t get their milkshakes and pulled pork during the virtual exposition, the state Department of Agriculture announced on Friday it will have an alternative.

To make up for the absence of the physical event, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the state will host an outdoor Fall Food Fest featuring fan-favorite dishes from previous Farm Shows.

In August, the department announced it would not the annual show at the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in January due to the pandemic. Instead, it will hold a virtual event from Jan. 9 through 16.

“We’re excited to welcome some of your Farm Show fan favorites to the fest – including milkshakes, fried mushrooms, French fries, pulled pork and more – along with some loyal food truck vendors,” said Redding. “We hope Pennsylvanians will come out to support, and taste, Pennsylvania agriculture.”

The festival is scheduled to take place in the North Lot of the Farm Show Complex Friday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 15, with vendors open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mary Smith, president and CEO of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, said the Harrisburg-based tourism information center was thrilled to see the new event and the efforts made to safely offer the show’s popular treats to visitors.

“The facility and its hardworking staff are a crucial component of the region’s local economy and tourism success,” she said. “We applaud the extraordinary efforts made to safely host the Fall Food Fest in our destination.”