David W. Patti

David W. Patti

Advisory Board Chair

Dave Patti fulfills several roles at Customers Bank including responsibilities for external communications, marketing, government affairs, charitable giving, and economic development.
Dave joined Customers Bank after a 30-year career in Harrisburg operating at the highest levels of government, politics, and business leadership. For more than 14 years, Dave was the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council and one of its forerunners, Pennsylvanians for Effective Government. There Dave worked with the largest employers in the Commonwealth. Prior to PBC and PEG, he worked as an executive in an internet software firm. Dave served in the Ridge Administration as a Deputy Secretary of DCED and Chief Operating Officer of TeamPA. For nearly a decade, Dave was the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council — a trade association representing more than 80 percent of the chemical manufacturing and distribution capacity in the state. Previously, he served in the Senate of Pennsylvania as the Executive Director of the Local Government Committee, and as a policy analyst for economic development. He was also served as the Communications Director for the state Republican Party. Dave has served on a number of boards and commissions including the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, US EPA’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Education, the 2010 Pennsylvania Census Advisory Commission, the Board of the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, and as the Chairman of the Berks County Industrial Development Authority, Recently, Dave was appointed as the Chair of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, a role he held previously from 1993 to 1999. Dave is a lifelong resident of Berks County. He earned a BA in Political Science from Millersville State University and a MS in Public Policy & Public Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. He completed other academic work and professional training at The Pennsylvania State University, and the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Bala Peterson

Bala Peterson

Chair of the Board

Bala Peterson, chair of the board of BCTV, a nonprofit media provider in Berks County, and formerly the founder of Cast & Crew Digital, a technology consulting and marketing firm based in Reading PA. As the director of R&D for FENIX Group International, Peterson builds tools to help professionals keep contextual control of the life sciences landscape.
His experience as a computer scientist affords him the opportunity to tackle software development and other technical challenges. He served in previous technical and product development roles at Santander (formerly Sovereign) Bank and Comcast Interactive Media. Peterson holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Kutztown University, and a Master’s in project management from Boston University. Peterson was born in Nigeria, raised in the Netherlands, and currently resides in Reading PA.
Carson Baker

Carson Baker

Associate - Long Nyquist and Associates

Carson Baker is an associate at Long Nyquist and Associates, where he specializes government relation, public affairs, grassroots and issue campaigns as well as political campaigns. Carson got his start in politics working for the Finance Director for Tom Corbett for Governor. Then went on to serve as the Political Director for John Rafferty for Attorney General.
Carson currently lives in Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania with his fiancé Katie and their son Bryce. He is native of Northeastern Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Kutztown University and Lackawanna College.
Daniel Betancourt

Daniel Betancourt

President & Chief Executive Officer Community First Fund

Daniel Betancourt has been President and CEO of Community First Fund since 1999. He has over 25 years of experience in small business and community economic development lending. Dan is responsible for the overall success of Community First Fund and is focused on advancing their mission by building and maintaining vital relationships with corporate, government, and philanthropic partners in our targeted communities.
Under Dan’s leadership, Community First Fund has grown into a regional Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), attracting multi-million dollar investments and with more than $145 million under management. Dan currently serves on the board of directors for the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County (CAP), Lancaster CRIZ Authority, AAA Central Penn, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Partners for the Common Good. He also serves on the New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board for the Reinvestment Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Economic and Community Advisory Council. He previously provided leadership to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) as its Chair, to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh as a member of the Advisory Board and to the Millersville University Foundation and the School District of Lancaster as a member of their boards. In 2010, Dan was named as one of five Baldwin Fellows by the Lancaster County Community Foundation and used the fellowship to attend Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program. Dan has also been awarded Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, PA Latino Pride Award for Economic Development from the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, and recognized as one of the “Forty Under 40 Business Leaders” in Central Pennsylvania by the Central Penn Business Journal. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Millersville University.
Donna Oberlander

Rep. Donna Oberlander

PA State House of Representatives

PA State Rep. Donna Oberlander (63rd House District) is serving in her fifth term representing Clarion, Armstrong, and Forest Counties. She is in her second term as the House Republican Caucus Secretary, where she developed the Caucus’ Freshmen Training and Mentorship Program.
Donna currently serves as chairman of the House Gas and Oil Caucus and the House Diabetes Caucus and serves as the Caucus appointment to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. In 2015, Donna was awarded the “Pennsylvania Rural Educator of the Year” for her efforts as a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission which created a more level playing field for school funding in PA. She has excelled in advancing many legislative initiatives that are important for the future growth of our Commonwealth, including requiring the Department of General Services to establish and prioritize the use of Pennsylvania minority owned businesses; repealing the burdensome mandate for sprinkler systems in newly constructed residential housing under the UCC; and allowing Pennsylvania to opt out of abortion coverage through federal health care exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act. This session she is working with Pennsylvania’s agriculture community to remove the archaic requirement of requiring special permits for farm vehicles and to license Pennsylvania Milk Banks, to ensure safety for babies in need of this life saving nourishment. Donna is an active member of her local community and resides in Clarion with her husband, Derek, a United States Marine Corps veteran, and their two children, Tori and Tanner.
Jen Groover

Jen Groover

CEO / Entrepreneur

Jen Groover has been tagged by SUCCESS MAGAZINE as a “One-Woman Brand,” a “ Creativity and Innovation Guru” and a leading “Serial Entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur Magazine, a “Mindful Mogul” by Philly Happening and ranked #8 by SAP in the Top 51 Influencers of Hu-man Potential. Jen Groover’s name has become synonymous with innovation, entrepreneurship, evolution and human potential.
She was recently nominated as a UN delegate to the first ever Global Accelerator for the Global Entrepreneurs Council. She also made history at the NYSE, as a member of the first all-female group to ring the opening bell, made Forbes’ list of “50 Founders You Need to Follow on Twitter” and was nominated “TV Personality of The Year Award” in 2013 by Savor the Success. As a successful serial entrepreneur, author and thought leader in human potential, as well as a retired National Level Fitness Competitor, Jen Groover’s energy and multi-faceted, diverse wisdom and experiences have made her a highly sought after International speaker for over 20 years on topics ranging from: Optimizing Human Potential for increased Success and Happiness, Emotional Intelligence, Empowerment, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Branding Well-ness and Energy Management, Effective Communication Skills, through to Mindful Parenting. She has keynoted to audiences up to 35,000 people in stadiums, to leading intimate workshops for smaller groups, as well as online symposiums. Her clients have ranged anywhere from Fortune 500 Companies to top Universities, Business and Wellness Organizations, Chamber of Commerces, Women’s Groups, High Schools to Non-Profits. Jen has been a top business and lifestyle contributor and content creator for major television net-works such as ABC, CBS, CNBC, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business News, and the The CW. She and her products have also been featured on QVC. Jen also has regularly contrib-uted editorial pieces to several prominent business magazines and online resources including The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Positively Posi-tive, and The Story Exchange. Her products, brand and work have been featured in hundreds of media outlets including O! The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, People, US Weekly, SUCCESS and Entrepreneur. Her influence and leadership has aligned her with amazing brands, such as USANA Health Sciences, Avon, Verizon and SkyMall, for which Jen has had various roles as a spokeswoman and consultant for business development. She is also a leading business and performance coach from CEO’s, top business executives, Entrepreneurs to Professional and Olympic Athletes. Her success skyrocketed with the creation of the Butler Bag, the world’s first compartmentalized handbag, that became a multi-million dollar brand, and has not stopped since. Jen springboarded the Butler Bag’s success into an entire lifestyle brand, found at a variety of price points and well known retailers, which led to the creation of subsequent lifestyle brands, Leader Girlz, and Em-powered by Jen Groover. Leader Girlz teaches young girls the importance of empowerment through play, while the recently launched “Empowered by Jen Groover” brand, including her one-hour PBS special and forthcoming book, comprises a variety of consumer products that en-compass her quotes and inspire people to live life with passion and purpose. The success and momentum of Jen Groover’s empowerment movement has led to the vision and launch of the Empowered Economy Initiative, which encourages corporations and universities to combine efforts in order to educate and support small business owners and entrepreneurs in their communities, thereby stimulating the economy. Most recently, to support the Empowered Economy Initiative, Jen launched the innovative economic and innovation movement for entrepreneurs and small business owners Jumpstart Connect, a first of its kind pop-up shop where all the business services small business owners need, are curated under one roof. JumpStart Connect officially launched in Philadelphia in October, 2016, and is currently scaling to cities nationwide. The groundbreaking venture features a curated matchmaking model of business experts, global brands and entrepreneurs to creating an unique educational and resource driven experience to support small business growth and accelerate brands. This movement has been supported by brands like Comcast Business, UPS, Insperity and many more. She is also an advisor/partner for a new company called Thuzio, started by Tiki Barber and Mark Gerson, that has been noted as an disruptive business model blending sports management, sports entertainment and Influencer marketing and has become one of the leading Influencer platforms. Launching in 2018, Jen will be releasing three books - a relaunch of her best-selling What If? & Why Not?, with update resources, The Operators Manual for Life, and #Empowered (based on her PBS Special), with Make this Matter & CO Publishing. Jen’s passion for inspiring others to realize their greatest potential on all levels, which was originally realized in her first business right out of college in the fitness industry and as a National level fitness competitor, continues as the driving force behind her many successful brands. Jen’s diverse experiences and businesses span many different industries and she has no desire to slow down anytime soon. Jen continues to strive toward her ultimate goal, which is to innovate in every industry she is inspired to play in, while empowering others to achieve their goals. Jen is more than a multi-faceted, multi-talented individual - she is, undoubtedly, a force to be reckoned with. Jen believes in active participation and lives by the belief that “if you are going to complain about something you better be willing to inspire change.”
Joseph Grunenwald

Dr. Joseph P. Grunenwald

15th President of Clarion University

Dr. Joseph P. Grunenwald became the 15th President of Clarion University on July 1, 2003 and served until June 30, 2010. He brought to his duties a long and respected record of professional service to Clarion University as a professor of marketing and department chair, interim executive dean of the Venango Campus, director of continuing education, dean of the college of business administration, and provost and academic vice president. In each of his roles, Grunenwald worked to promote academic excellence and the highest quality in university programs and services.
Grunenwald has been a national Vice President of the American Marketing Association and has served in editorial positions for the Journal of Services Marketing, W. C. Brown Publishers, and Merrill Publishing Company. He has also served as a consultant for numerous regional businesses and non-profit organizations through the auspices of the PASBDC as well as independently. Within the State System of Higher Education, Grunenwald has been a member of the Commission of Presidents of the State System and has served on State System committees addressing such issues as articulation, social equity, labor negotiations, and budget allocation. He has also served as coordinator of the PA Center for Applied Nanotechnology. Locally, he has served on the boards of numerous economic development and community organizations, including the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation, for which he has served as president, Clarion County Chamber of Business and Industry, Clarion County Industrial Development Council, and the Clarion County Sawmill Center for the Arts. Grunenwald holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (1970) from Youngstown State University and master of business administration (1975) and doctor of business administration degrees (1981) from Kent State University.
Marilu Rodriguez

Marilu Rodriguez, ESQ.

Founder of RB Legal Counsel LLC

Marilu Rodriguez, ESQ., is native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Founded RB Legal Counsel LLC in the fall of 2011. Prior to starting her own law firm, Mrs. Rodríguez spent more than a decade in legal practice. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico, School of Law in 1997.
She worked in her native Puerto Rico as an attorney until 2001, when she enrolled in the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire (now known as UNH School of Law). There she completed her Masters degree (LLM) in Intellectual Property Law. She has held a number of high-profile jobs in the Greater Washington D.C. as a contract attorney for the US Department of Justice and in the Greater Philadelphia while working for Barrack Rodos & Bacine, assisting Senior Partners in securities litigation. From 2006 through 2010 she worked in Reading as In-House Corporate Counsel for EnerSys where she gained valuable experience in the areas of international intellectual property law, particularly in trademarks, licensing and management of IP portfolios. Mrs. Rodríguez has a passion for helping her fellow entrepreneurs in Berks County to grow their businesses, develop strategies to help protect their assets, manage risk, and understand their legal obligations.
Marta Gabriel

Marta Gabriel

Regional Manager – Lehigh Valley
United States Senator Pat Toomey

Marta serves as the Regional Manager – Lehigh Valley for United States Senator Pat Toomey, covering the Lehigh Valley, and Berks, Carbon, Lebanon, Monroe and Schuylkill Counties.
Prior to that she held the following positions: Executive Vice President – Operations & Easton Initiatives for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce; Manager of Community Relations and Philanthropy with Air Products in Allentown; and as Manager of Community Relations and External Affairs for Crayola in Easton. Marta holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communications from Moravian College. An Easton native, she currently resides in Palmer Township with her 19-year-old daughter, Camille. Marta is involved in the community, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Finance Committee of her church, Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, and volunteers with the weekly fundraising Church bingo and the annual Church festival.
Phil Condron

Phil Condron

President & CEO of Condron Media

Phil Condron is president & CEO of Condron Media, a full-service advertising, public relations and digital firm based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was educated locally at the Scranton Preparatory School, then The Bullis School in Silver Spring Maryland prior to entering the United States Naval Academy. After his Naval service he studied marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Phil managed broadcast stations in Northeastern Pennsylvania for almost 20 years and then served as Chief Operating Officer of the oldest and largest advertising firm in the area prior to launching his media company in 1994. The Agency has been honored as Small Business of the Year and also for Best Practices in Marketing and Communications by the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. He is, and has been, very active in the community. He served as President of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, board chair of the Lackawanna County United Way and as a member of the Commonwealth Financing Authority. He currently serves on the boards of 11 regional community and not-for-profit organizations. He is happily married to his first wife, and they have two adult children and four charming, brilliant and overachieving grandchildren.
Richard Sarfert

Richard Sarfert

Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer at Kish Bank

Ric oversees Kish’s commercial lenders, as well as the growth and quality of the Bank’s loan portfolio. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry focused on commercial lending and credit administration.
Ric earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Penn State and a master’s degree in business administration from Saint Joseph’s University. He also graduated from the Pennsylvania Bankers Association’s Mid-Atlantic School of Commercial Lending at Bucknell University and the Executive Leadership School. Prior to Kish, Ric served with Penn Liberty Bank, National Penn Bank, and CoreStates/Meridian Bank.
Russell C. Redding

Russell C. Redding

Secretary of Agriculture
PA Department of Agriculture

Governor Tom Wolf nominated Russell Redding to serve as the 26th Secretary of Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in January 2015, and was confirmed by the Senate on May 14, 2015. He is the former dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley University formerly Delaware Valley College. Redding was Secretary of Agriculture under Governor Rendell.
Redding has spent more than 20 years representing Pennsylvania agriculture as a public servant in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. A native Pennsylvanian, Redding grew up on his family’s dairy farm and now operates a general crop farm in Gettysburg with his family. Redding is a graduate of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Please welcome Secretary Redding.
Sam Denisco

Sam Denisco

VP of Government Affairs
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Sam Denisco serves as the vice president of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. As vice president, Denisco oversees the PA Chamber's lobbying, political, grassroots and communications operations. He specializes in the public policy areas of health care, tort and taxation.
Prior to joining the PA Chamber, Denisco served in executive capacities under the Ridge, Schweiker and Rendell administrations, most recently as the director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for the state Department of Revenue. Prior to that, he was director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for the Pennsylvania Department of State. Denisco serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and the United Way of Pennsylvania. Denisco graduated from the University of Scranton with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He received his Juris Doctorate and Fellowship in Law and Government from Widener University School of Law.
Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen

President - Excelsior Growth Fund

Steven Cohen is president of Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF), a prominent Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing small business financing and advisory services. Prior to joining EGF, Mr. Cohen was executive vice president and deputy commissioner at Empire State Development, where he led the Department of Small Business Services and Community Economic Development.
Under his leadership, the agency launched new access to capital and business advisory programs totaling over $200 million, leveraging $1 billion in private investment. Steve has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Steven Howsare

Steven Howsare

Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission
Executive Director

Steven Howsare began his position as SAP&DC Executive Director on February 3, 2014, following the retirement of Edward M. Silvetti. Prior to accepting the position of SAP&DC Executive Director, Mr. Howsare was in his third four-year term as a Bedford County Commissioner.
Prior to his election to public office, Mr. Howsare was employed as a Senior Account Manager for Bedford Reinforced Plastics, a local manufacturer. During this time he also sat as a member of the New Paris Borough Council for seven years and, for five of those seven years, as its President. As a county commissioner, Mr. Howsare was responsible for all financial, administrative and programmatic aspects of Bedford County government. In this capacity, he had overseen a number of major projects, including the renovation and construction of additions to the Bedford County Courthouse. Mr. Howsare had previously served as President of the Board of Directors of the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of PCOMP, a risk pool for workers compensation insurance for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and also on CCAP’s Assessment and Taxation Committee.
Tom Gombar

Tom Gombar

District Office Director – Senior Advisor
Pennsylvania Senate

Thomas J. Gombar resides in Exeter Township with his wife Sharon and three children. Mr. Gombar is a 1983 graduate of Reading Central Catholic High School. He attended the Berks Campus of the Pennsylvania State University, where he was a University Scholar. In 1988, Gombar graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Alvernia College. In 1993, he earned his Master’s of Public Administration Degree from Kutztown University, where he was inducted into the Rho Psi Chapter of the Pi Sigma Alpha political science national honor society.
Since 1987, Gombar has been employed by the Senate of Pennsylvania. He previously worked for Senator Michael A. O’Pake, serving as legislative assistant, district office manager and chief of staff. He currently serves as District Director and Senior Advisor for Senator Judith L. Schwank. In addition to his managerial duties, he has been responsible for the following policy/issue areas: banking, environment, transportation, higher education, local government, and economic development. During the past thirty-one years, Gombar has successfully worked with many business owners and entrepreneurs to help them access the resources they need to help their businesses grow, get their ventures off the ground, and navigate government bureaucracy. Over the past decade, he has also worked with local government officials and business and community leaders to secure more than $30 million in state grant funding to support local and regional economic and community development projects. Through that work, he has forged strong working relationships with government officials, business leaders, and community activists both in Berks County and statewide. Mr. Gombar has been active in a wide-range of community service activities. Previously, he served as a volunteer head coach with the Berks Catholic and Exeter Township Ice Hockey Clubs. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Antietam Valley Community Partnership. He is also an elected auditor for Exeter Township, Berks County. Previously, Mr. Gombar served two-terms on the Board of Trustees of the Exeter Community Library, including two years as treasurer. During his service on the Board of Trustees, he personally helped raised more than $1 million for the construction of a new library. In addition, he was a founding member of the Berks County Environmental Advisory Council, where he was instrumental in securing grant funding to install an environmental camera monitoring system. He was recently named to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center’s Advisory Board. In his spare time, Mr. Gombar enjoys spending time with his family, cheering the Philadelphia Flyers on to victory, and reading sports history and political commentary.

Vito G. Gallo

Assistant Vice-President for State Relations - Lehigh University

Julie Lane

Senior Vice President Business Banking Marketing Manager - PNC Bank

Russ Starke

CEO - Think Company