Pixelle announces leadership change

Spring Grove-based Pixelle Specialty Solutions, a leading manufacturer of specialty papers in North America, with operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin, announced that Timothy Hess has decided to step down, for health reasons, as president and CEO effective Aug. 7.

And following a comprehensive search process, the company’s board of directors selected Ross Bushnell to succeed Hess. Bushnell has been appointed to the board, and Hess will be available to support a smooth transition and continue serving on the board.

“I am excited about joining Pixelle and look forward to working with its talented leadership team and outstanding organization to build on the company’s strategic success and together realize the opportunities ahead for our customers, employees and investors,” Bushnell said in a release.

He joins Pixelle with more than 25 years of commercial and general management experience, most recently serving as president and CEO at Scholle IPN, a global leader in flexible packaging solutions with over $700 million in sales and 2,200 employees in 11 countries. Bushnell led his team to achieve best-in-class revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization growth that resulted in the acquisition of Scholle IPN by SIG in June 2022.

Since the transaction, Bushnell has served as president of the legacy Scholle IPN business and as a member of SIG’s Group executive board.

Tenno Tsai, head of North American industrials at H.I.G. Capital and president of Pixelle’s board of directors, stated, “Our decision to select Ross as CEO is the result of a robust process, and he is the right choice to lead Pixelle during its next phase. Ross is a proven executive with a strong record of driving profitable growth, both organic and acquisitive, building organizational capabilities and developing talented leaders. The Board and I look forward to working closely with Ross and Pixelle’s leadership team as the company works to deliver on its strategy and generate strong returns for investors.”

Pixelle is an affiliate business of H.I.G. Capital, which is headquartered in Miami.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

CPBJ celebrates the 2023 Women of Influence

Some of the midstate region’s best and brightest women leaders met this month as Central Penn Business Journal’s 2023 class of Women of Influence award winners.

The event, held on Tuesday, June 28th at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, honored 50 women in three categories: Women of Influence, Women to Watch and Circle of Excellence.

Women of Influence Awards honor high-achieving women for their career accomplishments. The honorees are selected based on their professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to mentoring.

Circle of Excellence honorees are women of longstanding, notable success in the community who are leading the way for other women. Women to Watch honors women leaders under the age of 35 who demonstrate outstanding professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to positive change.

Sponsors for the event included: Presenting Sponsor, Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz; Awards Sponsor, UPMC; Reception Sponsor, Donegal Insurance Group and Social Media/ Photo Sponsor, Penwell Law. Supporting Sponsors included: Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, Highmark and HRG.

Celebration Sponsors included: A.D. Marble, American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania, Barley Snyder, Belco Community Credit Union, Boyer & Ritter LLC, Bybel Rutledge LLP, Domani Wealth, now part of Savant Wealth Management, ELA Group Inc., HB Global LLC, Landmark Commerical Realty, Linden Hall School for Girls, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Novak Strategic Advisors, Penn State Health, Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Publicity Works, Signature Staffing Inc. And WellSpan Health.

Honorees were profiled in a magazine found at CPBJ.com and inserted into the June 23rd edition of the Central Penn Business Journal.

For more information on this year’s honorees, access to photos and to nominate for the 2024 Women of Influence awards, visit: https://www.cpbj.com/event/women-of-influence/

Fulton Bank launches Diverse Business Program 

Stating a commitment to making banking and financing products more accessible to groups that historically have been underserved, Lancaster-based Fulton Bank has launched its new Diverse Business Banking Program. 

The program is designed to meet the needs of minority, women, veteran, and LGBTQ business owners. 

“This program advances our purpose to change lives for the better,” Fulton Financial Chairman, President and CEO Curtis J. Myers said in a statement. 

Myers said on the company’s website that Fulton Bank is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The basis of the program is Fulton Bank’s Diverse Business Advocates, bankers who have earned a special certification and can provide individualized mentorship, educational resources, and custom solutions to meet the needs of diverse business owners. 

The program’s products and services include the following: 

  • Business banking product bundles. 
  • Flexible approval criteria for loans and lines of credit. 
  • Merchant services. 
  • Payroll and cash management services. 
  • SBA (Small Business Administration) products. 

“We’re building on the work Fulton Bank has long done as a trusted advisor for our customers,” said Joel Barnett, director of Commercial Affinity Banking. “In addition to serving diverse businesses, we want to strength relationships with community organizations so we can connect diverse businesses with the network and resources they need to succeed.” 

The company’s website also promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion among its team members. Chief Diversity Officer Quianna Agent-Phillips said Fulton Bank’s inclusion efforts help forge connections throughout its workforce and foster collaboration among team members. 

Fulton Bank is a subsidiary of the Fulton Financial Corporation. 

Landis Quality Living and HDC MidAtlantic to develop affordable housing for seniors

HDC MidAtlantic and Landis Quality Living have signed a Joint Venture Agreement to co-develop, co-own, and operate future Low Income Housing Tax Credit affordable housing developments for seniors. PHOTO/PROVIDED

HDC MidAtlantic and Landis Quality Living, a division of Landis Communities, have signed a joint venture agreement to co-develop, co-own and operate future low-income housing tax credit affordable housing developments for seniors in Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, Dauphin, York and Chester counties.

The two organizations have a long and productive history of collaborating. With this agreement, they agree to be partners in future projects, working to identify potential sites, equally fund and actively participate in the development process.

This joint venture unites HDC’s history as an affordable housing developer, property manager and resident advocate with Landis Communities’ extensive experience serving older adults, a release noted. Future residents of communities created through this partnership will benefit from a HDC resident services coordinator as well as care navigators from Landis at Home, a Home Care agency affiliated with Litiz-based Landis Communities.

“We are proud to partner with Landis Quality Living,” said Dana Hanchin, HDC President and CEO. “By working together, we are able to leverage our individual strengths as experts and advocates to find creative solutions to fund and build more affordable housing for seniors in Pennsylvania.”

“HDC MidAtlantic has been a strong collaborative partner with us over the past 15 years as we explored and began offering affordable living at Mountain View Terrace in New Holland,” said Landis Communities President/CEO Larry Zook.

Based in Lancaster, HDC owns and/or manages over 3,400 apartments to those with lower incomes, focusing on seniors, families and individuals living with disabilities. It serves nearly 5,000 residents in 72 communities in urban, suburban, and rural areas across Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Women bring critical traits to health care leadership

The United States health care industry impacts people across the nation and around the world. Health care has evolved over the years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, due in part to the exponential technological advancements that have improved patient care, treatment follow-up and other important issues.  

Health care has been a male-dominated field without much room for women to advance in the past. Although the playing field continues to shift, women still struggle to break through to the higher levels of health care leadership. That power dynamic is particularly interesting because women tend to be the primary decision-makers when it comes to the health care, they and their family members receive.  

Some industries have seen significant growth among women in leadership positions, but the health care industry continues to move slowly. The number of women serving in executive roles in this industry has remained fairly low since 2015. Only 15.3% of health system CEOs were women in 2021, according to a study by JAMA Network Open. The same study found that only 15.8% of health insurance company CEOs were women. 

Research reports a variety of major traits that powerful successful female CEOs and top business leaders possess. Twelve of the traits include: Strength, entrepreneurial spirit, perseverance, adaptability, how to avoid bad advice, empathy, humility, persuasiveness, resilience, positivity, commitment to life-long learning and vision. 

Women health care executives perform well in multiple aspects of leadership that are critical to the health care industry.
For example, a 2021 study by McKinsey & Company and Leanin.org found that within 423 companies across the U.S. and Canada, women were better than men at: 

  • Providing emotional support to employees: 31% of women compared with 19% of men  
  • Considering the well-being of employees: 61% of women compared with 54% of men 
  • Helping employees navigate work-life challenges: 29% of women compared with 24% of men 
  • Intervening to prevent or deal with employee burnout: 21% of women compared with 16% of men  
  • Leading and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts: 11% of women compared with 7% of men

Here are six actions that highlight attributes successful women leaders bring to health care leadership positions.  


Mentorship is a relationship in which someone more experienced or knowledgeable helps guide someone less experienced or knowledgeable. This is very important because of the critical need to train the next generation of health care leadership.  

Women leaders believe they have an obligation to mentor and support others and especially women to aid in their professional development, to build confidence and to guide them through challenges. 

There is a very high demand today for strong leadership qualities in health care. One report indicates that 84% of organizations predict they will experience a shortage of skilled leaders in the next 5 years. So, mentoring and training are absolutely critical. 

Challenge the “we’ve always done it that way” mentality 

A great leader always will be thoughtful, deliberate and open to new ideas and new things such as testing a new process, idea or different approach. The leader is the major factor in whether or not an idea gets implemented and it depends upon the leader’s willingness to step outside their comfort zone.  

Women leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit are willing to take small risks and reinvent the rules and turn challenges into opportunities.  

Teach others 

A commitment to teach others is a fundamental component in health care and a key quality of a great leader. Great leaders have a responsibility to educate those that are following them and pass along knowledge to entire populations about important issues. 

A life of constant learning with personal and professional growth is another powerful trait of strong women leaders. They use what they learn to lead by example. 

Demonstrate humility 

The COVID-19 pandemic provided lots of opportunities to consider different ways of thinking and to realize that the knowledge base was changing and that new or better approaches were developing. 

Humility is often considered a characteristic female leadership trait. A great leader is humble and has the ability to recognize and encourage different points of view and then be able to accept and change direction. 

Create opportunities for others 

Recognize and accept how important it is to focus on the next generation of health care leaders. Women leaders recognize this because opportunities empower women more broadly in society and this can have a positive impact on others. 

A great leader must possess the ability to step out of the spotlight and let someone else take the lead so they can challenge themselves to grow and see what they can achieve. This will enable them to think about the path they want for their future through opportunities for them to build their foundation and achieve their personal goals. 

Inspire others 

Successful leaders inspire teams, boost productivity and help their organizations achieve their goals. Strong leadership is essential in health care because decision made at the top can and will have a profound impact on entire populations of other people. Women leaders believe they have a responsibility to pay it forward by empowering people, especially other women, to embrace opportunities and possibilities beyond the limits of their imagination.  


Women that exhibit these actions can lead health care organizations that are efficient, effective and equitable. 


Closing Thought 

“The first thing that came to my mind was an inclusive culture. And inclusive on a lot of different levels — not just from a diversity perspective, but also inclusive in decision-making and the feeling that you can come to work every day and do your very best for patients.” 

Cheryl Nester Wolfe, RN, CEO at Salem (Ore.) Health Hospitals & Clinics, on which changes are needed within the healthcare work environment to improve retention. 

Glenn Ebersole is a registered professional engineer and the Director of Business Development at JL Architects, a nationally licensed commercial architecture firm based in West Chester. He can be contacted by [email protected] or 717-575-8572. 



Ex-Armstrong Flooring leader Vermette gets CEO job in Ohio

Michel Vermette

Michel Vermette, the former CEO of Armstrong Flooring Inc., has been named CEO and chief financial officer of America’s Floor Source, based in Columbus, Ohio.

Vermette has over 30 years of operational and financial leadership in the building products industry, most recently as CEO and board member of Armstrong Flooring. While there, he led the sale of the company’s assets to three international consortiums.

Before joining Armstrong Flooring, he led numerous business units as president and operated in different chief financial officer roles across the globe for Mohawk Industries.

The founder of America’s Floor Source, Jason Goldberg, will be chairman and chief operating officer and very active in its operations.

America’s Floor Source, founded in 2000, serves the homebuilder, residential, multifamily, wholesale and commercial markets with five locations in Ohio and four other combined locations in Indiana and Kentucky. The company has been growing through acquisitions, having recently acquired Reliant Flooring Solutions, The Flooring Gallery and JP Flooring.

An article in Floor Covering News said Vermette is “charged with leading organic growth across the company’s five channels … as well as through acquisitions and product augmentation.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Harrisburg’s Hamilton Health Center makes leadership changes

Terese Delaplaine
Terese Delaplaine. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Hamilton Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Harrisburg, announces several new senior leadership hires.

In early 2022, former Hamilton President and CEO Jeannine Peterson transitioned into a consultant role after 22 years at the helm. Her successor is health care executive Terese Delaplaine, former chief compliance officer of Hamilton and a past CEO of a rural Federally Qualified Health Center.

The senior leadership team also includes Chief Medical Officer Bolanle Limann and new Chief Operating Officer Steve Ho, who replaces John R. Logan as he transitions into a new role. Prior to joining Hamilton, Ho was senior vice president of operations for Chai Urgent Care and held several high-ranking health care executive positions for FQHCs in the tri-state area.

The team also welcomed Frackson Sakala, a seasoned health care executive, as chief financial officer. Sakala joins Hamilton from Neighborhood Health of Alexandria, Virginia, where he was CFO. And Mary Elizabeth Bebe returns to Hamilton as the new chief clinical officer. Bebe previously served as chief nurse officer at HealthSouth in Lancaster and as a director of nursing for Pinnacle Health System (now UPMC).

Hamilton Board Chair Michael Harris stated in a release that the new senior leadership team is “poised to support the needs of our community in a post-COVID environment and thrive in an evolving world of value-based care.” Harris also said that the new team will be central to Hamilton’s plans to develop a satellite location in Steelton.

For over 50 years, Hamilton has served adults and children with a full array of affordable health care. It has over six locations and is one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in Pennsylvania.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

How workplace connections and emotional intelligence can impact your business


The Central Penn Business Journal recently spoke to Heather Zell, president and CEO of PrepTalk, a Hershey-based marketing consulting firm, and a certified emotional intelligence coach.

Zell spoke to the journal about her last year as an emotional intelligence coach, the future of her business and the importance of “soft skills” in the corporate world.

Now that you’re about a year in, what impact have you seen emotional intelligence coaching have on area executives?

You can have an incredibly high IQ, but without the emotional intelligence to be able to connect as a human with your team and your clients and your staff and even people in your personal life, you can’t move the needle forward.

I think we have seen more and more and more as people struggle with recruitment and retention and so many people are now able to work remotely wherever they go, they are not tied specifically to central Pennsylvania anymore, and it’s so very important that people are building relationships and making these human connections.

That’s where I come in. I’ve seen a great response in terms of how they can be more connected to their employee base and how this can help really move their companies forward.

Where do you hope this facet of PrepTalk goes from here?

One of my favorite things to do is to keynote, and I have a program I love to share with businesses on branding and storytelling.

Humans connect to your business by hearing stories about what you do and the people you serve. We’re all wired that way. Stories put us in a place and time.

Stories are so important and the way we tell our story and the way we convey our message by using our emotional intelligence is really what helps businesses put themselves on the map.

It helps you retain employees by talking to them and rewarding them, by making them know their work is impactful, by telling them a story about how what they did at work really impacted a customer of theirs, or in healthcare it really impacted a patient, and so my favorite thing to talk about is how EQ and stories can help in terms of branding and that human connection.

Why do you think it’s important for executives and business leaders to seek out further training, especially in areas — such as emotional intelligence — they may not have considered before?

Everyone often views these as the soft skills and sometimes not as important as the hard skills, but the soft skills are what really keeps everything moving.

I think what we’ve seen in terms of the workforce moving to a more remote workforce over the last couple of years, it’s more important now than ever to make sure you are making those connections with your team. I also think the mental health crisis has really come to a head, where we understand that has to be a really large part of how you take care of your workforce.

You can’t just be taking care of the person at work, you should also be taking care of the entire individual and that means supporting their mental health needs, giving them the time they need off to be with family, to address personal issues.

Having a safe place to be able to discuss these things with their employer and their colleagues are so very important, and emotional intelligence coaching helps leaders develop those skills that can help make sure they are offering their employees a safe and wonderful workspace to grow and learn from.

What do you do to keep your spirits up in the cold winter months?

My fiancé and I always like to plan at least one trip to warmer weather in the springtime, and sometimes this can boost your mood so much, just thinking about planning a trip, or sitting down with your family and saying what do we want to do or even planning your summer trip in the winter months.

Also what boost my mood is, I am obsessed with my bernedoodle Fletcher. You have to still get out there for walks, even in the winter.

Making sure you’re surrounded by friends and family and you’re still connecting to people and making plans, because I am so guilty of this — as soon as it starts to be freezing cold outside, I’m in my house, got the gas fireplace on, I’ve got Netflix on. But I’m really trying to make more of an effort to keep those spirits up and get out there.

About Heather Zell

Heather Zell has more than 20 years of experience in the communications and marketing field, starting as an intern at the Late Show with David Letterman.

She studied at Harrisburg Area Community College and Penn State Harrisburg. The Harrisburg resident enjoys sailing with her fiance and time with her best furry friend, Mr. Fletcher the Bernedoodle.


Keystone Human Services announces new CEO

Charles S. Sweeder
Charles S. Sweeder. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Harrisburg-based Keystone Human Services has named Charles S. Sweeder as the third president and CEO in the company’s history, succeeding Charles J. Hooker III, who retired Jan. 24.

KHS is a multi-national human services organization that operates in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, India and the Republic of Moldova, providing advocacy; services; and supports in early childhood education and family support, mental health, autism and intellectual, developmental, cognitive and physical disability.

“We build communities where everyone can thrive, direct their own lives, establish homes, find meaningful work, pursue education alongside their peers, and fill valued roles in the community,” a release said.

“I have worked with Chuck for two decades, and I am excited that he is the next president and CEO of KHS,” Hooker said. “The future of KHS is bright with his continued dedication to those we support, their families and our employees.”

Sweeder began with Keystone Human Services in 2003 as controller and continued his leadership within KHS as chief financial officer, vice president of finance and executive vice president. He served as president-elect for the majority of 2022.

“I am honored to be the next president and CEO of KHS,” Sweeder added. “I am grateful to Charlie and the KHS Board for their confidence and support during this transition,” said Chuck Sweeder. “KHS is a global leader because of our collective commitment to inclusion and supporting people to live full lives within the community.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Analytics-driven marketing agency opens in York

Exp1st, a marketing agency that uses analytics to drive results for businesses in the Harrisburg, York and Lancaster areas, recently opened in York.

While the company specializes in aligning small businesses for growth, it also offers marketing services such as website creation, logo design, search engine marketing, social media advertising and more.

“Marketing can no longer be viewed as a silo inside a business,” Exp1st President of Marketing John Gallo said in a release.

“Today, marketing leads the mutual give and take between all aspects of a business to create the best experience for customers. We use a unique methodology that blends design thinking techniques and growth strategies and ties it all to revenue and results. Our aim is to provide a complete view of our client’s brand and how it interacts with the market in all aspects and not just the marketing materials or advertisements it puts forth.”

For example, he said, Exp1st recently created a package for Holeshot Products, a Central Pennsylvania manufacturer of slot car accessories, which included branding and website design to help Holeshot expand its two new product lines.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Gannett Fleming Investment deal to help meet infrastructure demands 

Camp Hill-based Gannett Fleming said it received a strategic investment from a private equity firm to help it meet a growing demand for improved infrastructure. 

Gannett Fleming, an engineering and infrastructure solutions provider for the transportation, water, federal, power and energy markets, said the investment from New York-based OceanSound Partners will help it meet the backlog of work from government contracts. 

Gannett Fleming will continue to operate under the leadership of its existing management team, who will retain a significant ownership interest in the company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

“Our rich 107-year history is built on solving complex infrastructure challenges with innovation, reliability, and excellence. The Gannett Fleming team is excited to continue this journey into our second century with OceanSound at our side,” said Bob Scaer, CEO of Gannett Fleming. “With record backlog and accelerating demand due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, we are entering the OceanSound partnership from a position of strength.” 

Scaer said OceanSound has a proven track record of accelerating the growth of companies serving government agencies. 

“This partnership will help us attract and retain the best talent, make significant investments in emerging technologies, expand and deepen our geographic footprint, and support our employees so they remain at the top of their field.” he said. “Together with OceanSound, we expect to substantially increase our market share in our key service offerings while maintaining the time-tested culture and mission that our employees and clients value.” 

 Founded in 1915, Gannett Fleming employs over 2,800 engineers, scientists, technologists, and construction professionals charged with developing and maintaining sustainable and future-proof infrastructure. 

 “The need for sustainable infrastructure optimizing total lifecycle cost of ownership is becoming more urgent as climate change accelerates and decades of underinvestment in critical infrastructure accumulates,” said Joe Benavides, managing partner OceanSound. “Gannett Fleming has differentiated technology-enabled solutions spanning transportation, electrification, and water management that make them well-positioned to capitalize on growth of the infrastructure services market.” 

Benavides said, “We are confident that our approach to value creation can catalyze further growth at Gannett Fleming. Gannett Fleming is a storied franchise in the infrastructure consulting market, and we are thrilled to partner with its management and highly skilled employees to further enhance the company’s value proposition to its customers.” 

The transaction was unanimously approved by Gannett Fleming’s board of directors and existing employee stockholder base. Houlihan Lokey, Inc. acted as financial advisor and Holland & Knight LLP served as legal advisor to Gannett Fleming. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor to OceanSound.