Financial Backbone

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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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By Jon O’Connell

They stand as sentries to their cities and an economic lifeblood. The northeast region’s sprawling medical centers dominate the skylines and have become de facto borders for their downtowns.

Urban sprawl pushed populations away from city centers, but health systems pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into modernizing centrally located hospitals. That’s partly because a central location still serves the greatest number of people. It’s also because the health systems that now run them build on past investments.

“General’s been here over 100 years, the former Mercy Hospital and Moses Taylor — they’ve been there for decades,” said Commonwealth Health and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital CEO Cornelio Catena. “Because of the investment we’ve already made in these structures ... we just felt that it made sense for us at this time to invest in the facilities that we have.”

Specialty medical group Delta Medix, headquartered on Penn Avenue in downtown Scranton, is moving even deeper into the heart of the city in a bid to consolidate its services and improve access for patients.

Delta Medix, home base for 21 doctors, five nurse practitioners and 165 employees, plans to transplant to the rebounding Marketplace at Steamtown later this year.

New mall owner John Basalyga is building to suit, converting the 40,000-square-foot expanse in the former Bon Ton department store into a diagnosis and treatment hub. Plans include administrative offices, a general surgery suite and five specialty services.

“We’re very committed to downtown. We’ve been established in center city for over 50 years. So our goal was to try to find a suitable location in downtown,” said Delta Medix CEO Margo Opsasnick.

For now, at the group’s current Breast Care Center on Penn Avenue, nurses and technicians rub elbows at computer stations tucked in cramped corners and squeeze past each other in narrow hallways. About 12,000 women pass through the center each year for screenings and more in-depth diagnostic tests. The repurposed department store gives them breathing room and space to grow.

As housing preference among millennials, those around 20 to 36 years old, shifts to more “walkable” locales where they don’t need a car to get to work, hospitals and downtown providers take an increasingly important role.

Health care is one of the top job makers, with hospitals alone in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area employing nearly 9,000 people, according to state figures.

The health sector at large and social assistance programs employ more than 43,000 people in the region.

Both Commonwealth Health and Geisinger Health System, the region’s largest provider systems, have recently announced hiring campaigns, each looking to add about 150 nurses across all their facilities.

“I feel like we have a role to provide good jobs, and this community needs that,” said Dr. Anthony Aquilina, regional president for Geisinger Northeast, which includes hospitals in Scranton and Plains Twp.

As he sat in the lobby of Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, doctors and nurses in scrubs and lab coats hustled from the elevator to the lobby coffee shop and back. If he could, Aquilina said he’d hire 70 new nurses immediately.

Registered nurses on average earn about $65,000 a year in pay; nurses’ salaries typically start about $55,000 — just the kind of wage somebody needs to live in a higher-end downtown apartment.

“How many other jobs can claim that?” he said.

Statewide, hospital payrolls top $16.4 billion to more than 286,000 people, according to the Hospital & Healthcare Association of Pennsylvania’s 2016 economic impact report.

In-state industries that support hospitals employ an additional 339,200 people and pay $14.5 billion in salaries.

Nationally, hospitals employ nearly 5.6 million people and are the largest source of private-sector jobs, spending more than $387 billion on payroll each year, according to the American Hospital Association.

While health care as an industry plows ahead, a city’s revitalization must start with the health of its citizens, said Nancy Lawton-Kluck, chief philanthropy officer with the Geisinger Health System.

Earlier this year, Geisinger began a collaborative project called Springboard Healthy Scranton, with the region’s nonprofit network aspiring to make Scranton the “healthiest place to be in the country” by tackling physical, mental and financial health issues. Scranton is the proving ground. If it can be done here, it can be duplicated most anywhere, Geisinger contends.

This story first appeared in the Times-Tribune on

March 12.

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