President: Berks Alliance, Reading, Pennsylvania

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 9:36 am.

The Berks Alliance is a newly formed 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, supported by the leaders of many of the largest business and educational anchor institutions in the Greater Reading region of Berks County, Pennsylvania.  The Alliance was created to support initiatives that transform the community and impact the quality of life for all residents.  As the Berks Alliance begins its efforts to impact the community, the Board of Directors and community leaders have identified three core strategies on which to focus its attention:

  • Creation of a vibrant expanded downtowncorridor including clean and safe initiatives, street façade and lighting improvements and an expanded ambassador program;
  • Build a healthier, wealthier community by supporting efforts that increase educational attainment, provide a focus on healthy living and createan educated and preparedworkforce; and
  • Actively engage the community in the Alliance’s efforts and advocate for community improvement.

As part of the effort to launch the Alliance, the Board of Directors has embarked on a national search to recruit its first President.

Berks County is in the southeastern region of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has a population of over 410,000.  The county seat is the city of Reading, the fifth largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with a population of over 88,000.  Reading is an hour from Philadelphia, about 2 hours from New York City and from Baltimore and 3 hours from Washington DC.

Greater Reading and Berks County is a hub for transportation, education, healthcare, shopping and leisure activities. The area’s economy is diverse with major industry clusters including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and food manufacturing, business and financial services and healthcare.  Residents of Berks County benefit from affordable homes and short commute times. The area offers picturesque hiking trails and parks, nationally ranked bike trails, minor league hockey and baseball teams, golf courses, museums and galleries, symphony orchestra, Santander Arena & Performing Arts Center, shopping and street fairs.  Challenges in the community include lower levels of educational attainment and income along with areas of older housing stock that are investor owned rather than owner-occupied.

The President reports to the Chair of the Alliance’s 20+ member Board of Directors; this executive will determine the need for an Alliance staff and will be directly responsible for identifying, recruiting, training and mentoring that team.  On an interim basis, the Alliance President will receive staff support from the Reading Health System and the O’Pake Institute at Alvernia University.  The President has overall strategic and operational responsibility for Berks Alliance. This executive is responsible for facilitating overall community development in Berks County and the greater Reading region. Key roles beyond community development initiatives includes planning, resource development, fiscal management, community engagement and liaison with executives of Alliance member organizations; elected officials and their staffs; education officials; leaders and volunteers of other community nonprofit and private organizations; executives and volunteer leaders from regional economic and business organizations, main street improvement programs and other key partners; and community members at large.

The ideal candidate must have a proven track record of success and may come from a variety of backgrounds such as:  serving as the top executive within a progressive and comparably-sized community development organization, downtown development, workforce development program, significant business association, real estate company or economic development-focused organization; experience as a “#2” or other senior-level executive at a larger like enterprise as noted above; or an executive from a complex private or public sector entity.  Significant Board interaction and experience leading volunteers is strongly desired. A Bachelor’s in an appropriate field is required.  An advanced degree in is preferred.

Outstanding and challenging opportunity for an executive committed to impacting a medium-sized urban center and surrounding county.  The Alliance organization has the volunteer and financial support of the largest institutions in the area and will be viewed as an important community partner by the City and other municipalities, by the County, by the educational community and by other key economic and community development organizations.  Reading and Berks County face multiple challenges in the areas of downtown and neighborhood development, early childhood learning, adult educational attainment levels and subsequent workforce development issues, lower levels of income and the health of its citizens.  The Berks Alliance President will have a direct role in facing and seeking to improve each of these areas and more, thereby impacting the entire community now and for generations to come.

Contact:  If you are aware of an outstanding community development, economic development or business executive who meets these requirements, please contact Waverly Partners, the executive search firm retained by the Alliance’s Board on this search.

·         Email BerksAlliance@Waverly-Partners.com:

·         Eric Peterson, Managing Director & Principal, Cleveland, OH (440) 892-5961

·         Art DePompei, Managing Director, Cleveland, OH (330) 952-2062

Filed under: Executive Level by Margie DuBrow

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