Business People on the Move: W. Atlee Burpee Co. names president

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Benjamin Lacson (left) and Linda J. La Vay.

W. Atlee Burpee Co., the Warminster home gardening company, has named Benjamin Lacson president of Burpee and its subsidiary companies. He joined the company in 2008 with 35 years of experience in all phases of the horticulture industry and became the company's senior executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2012.

Ametek Inc., Berwyn, a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices, has promoted Michael J. Pizzo to corporate vice president, planning and analysis. He replaces Thomas M. Montgomery, who was promoted to senior vice president and comptroller in February. Pizzo had been division vice president, finance, for the company's engineered materials, interconnects and packaging sectors.

UGI Energy Services, L.L.C., Wyomissing, a wholly owned subsidiary of UGI Corp., has hired Pamela A. Witmer as vice president of government affairs. She spent five years at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. During her time with the commission, Witmer served on the Advisory Council for the North American Energy Standards Board, as well the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council of the Federal Communications Commission. Witmer will represent the company's interests before public officials and regulatory agencies and provide strategic counsel to new and existing customer projects.

Linda J. La Vay has been named senior vice president and senior trust officer at Univest Bank & Trust Co., Souderton. She had been senior vice president, wealth management, at National Penn Investors Trust Co.

Christopher Cashman has joined Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy as a senior adviser. He had been executive vice president and president of commercial markets at Independence Blue Cross, where he served for 19 years. Before joining Independence, he held various roles including senior associate at S.R. Wojdak & Associates, first deputy director of commerce for the City of Philadelphia, vice president for project development at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., and senior manager at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. He currently serves on the boards of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, The Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the Girls Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation.

Jennifer Wesson has been hired as executive director of the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. She had been assistant director of the Delaware County Office of Housing and Community Development and also served as assistant coach of women's rowing at Temple University.

Mount Laurel-based Parker McCay has hired Tama B. Hughes as counsel in the corporate law practice group, based in the firm's Atlantic City office. She had been vice president and corporate counsel for Tropicana Casino & Resort and is a former deputy attorney general for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

Peco Energy Co., Philadelphia, has promoted Liz Murphy to senior vice president, regulatory and external affairs, from vice president of governmental and external affairs. Murphy also served as chief operating officer of the Delaware River Port Authority. Also, Brian Crowe has been named vice president, transmission and substations. He had been vice president of energy acquisition.

WSFS Financial Corp., the Wilmington parent of company of WSFS Bank, has hired Dominic C. Canuso as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He had been senior director of finance at Barclaycard US and prior to that director of finance and corporate planning, strategy, and analysis at Advanta Corp.

AmeriQuest Business Services, Cherry Hill, provider of financial process automation, procurement, and asset-management services, has named Robert Upton as vice president of financial services within AmeriQuest Transportation Services. He had been group remarketing sales manager at Enterprise Holdings.

Comstar Supply Inc., a Collegeville distributor of network products and services, has hired Dan Clifton as senior vice president of marketing. Clifton had been senior director of marketing at Soleo Communications.

Devine + Partners, a Center City communications firm, has hired Paige Knapp as an account coordinator. Knapp had interned at WXPN and Press Here Publicity.

Karen L. Houck has been named director of gynecologic oncology at Temple University Hospital, and associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Houck had been director of robotic surgery at University Hospital in Newark, N.J., and an associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

JLT Re, a London provider of insurance, reinsurance, employee benefits advice, and brokerage and associated services, has launched a new operation in North America - JLT Re Global Mortgage Solutions, based in Philadelphia. Steve Rance has been appointed executive vice president of this offering, which is part of JLT Re (North America) Inc. He had been head of JLT Lending Risk Solutions. He will be based in Philadelphia and London. Prior to joining the co pany in 2008, he was managing director for structured transactions at Genworth Mortgage Insurance and European managing director at Radian, a leading U.S. mortgage insurer.

TheVillage, a provider of trauma-informed care and child services in Rosemont, has named Joanne Wolf vice president for strategy and business development. Wolf, a licensed clinical social worker, has been the vice president for programs since 2010. Amy Brinkley has been promoted to government grant and proposal manager from senior director of residential. Cheryl Burkett has been promoted to senior director of community-based programs from director of foster care and adoption. Jane Shuster has been hired as the senior director for programs on the Rosemont campus. She had been vice president for programs at Grateful Senior Solutions.

SNJ Today, a Millville-based media company, featuring WSNJ-AM (1240 AM) and SNJ Today Comcast Channel 22, said Michelle Dawn Mooney has joined the SNJ Today News show as lead anchor. Mooney, a former NBC 40 news anchor, currently hosts the weekday radio show Middays With Michelle on WPG Talk Radio 104.1FM.

David P. Fitzgerald has been named president and director of strategic accounts for Wolfington Body Co., a national Exton bus dealership. He had been executive vice president since March 2001.

Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real estate investment services firm with offices throughout the United States and Canada, said it has relocated its Philadelphia office to Center City and opened a branch in Wynnewood. Brenton J. Baskin, regional manager of Marcus & Millichap's Philadelphia office, will lead both moves and serve as regional manager of the two offices.

PA Chamber of Business and Industry president and CEO Gene Barr has been selected to serve on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.  Barr will serve three, two-year terms. Barr, who joined the statewide business association  in 2003, served for more than eight years as vice president of government and public affairs prior to being elected president in October 2011. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation and represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions.

Michele Buck has been named executive vice president, chief operating officer of The Hershey Company, Hershey. She will continue to lead Hershey’s day-to-day North American operations and now will oversee Hershey’s operations in Central and South America. She had been president, North America of Hershey’s U.S. and Canadian businesses. She has also served as senior vice president, chief growth officer, and senior vice president, global chief marketing officer. Buck serves on the Board of Directors at New York Life, and as a Benefit Co-Chair for the Children’s Brain TumorFoundation.

Geneia, a Harrisburg analytic and technology focused on improving healthcare, has hired Fred Rahmanian as head of technology. Rahmanian had been principal data scientist at IBM Watson Health. He also held leadership roles at KPMG and Siemens Healthcare.  has been awarded patents for his work to improve patient data; two are granted and three are pending.  He has a master's degree in software engineering from the University of Maryland University College and continues to be a guest lecturer in Columbia's HIT certificate program.

Penn Foster, a Scranton-based provider of skills training for frontline workers and career and college candidates designed for the 21st Century learner, has hired John Shrader as general manager and executive vice president, workforce solutions. He had been vice president at SumTotal Systems,  provider of cloud-based strategic human capital management software.

Also, Bobby Babbrah has been named chief digital officer. He had been executive vice president and chief operating officer at Law Logix Group, a leading SaaS (software as a service) provider of compliance, human resource and legal software.

The Nicolson Law Group, Media, said it is opening a new California office to be led by David Halm. Halm is a graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, and the University of California, Los Angeles.David Halm, a lawyer with over 20-years experience representing Fortune 100, medium and small companies and individuals and participating in more than 25 trials, arbitrations and appeals will lead the office. A native of California, Mr. Halm is a graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

 


- Mike Zebe