Client relationship, business operations managers named for Penn State Extension

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension has named client relationship managers and business operations managers to serve its 10 administrative areas across Pennsylvania. The appointments are part of recently announced changes to the organization's structure, product development and program delivery.

Previously, Penn State Extension was organized into 20 districts, each managed by a district director. The restructuring creates 10 multi-county areas, each of which will be overseen by a client relationship manager and a business operations manager. By dividing the duties of the former district directors, the individuals filling these new positions can concentrate solely on building customer relationships and providing program operational support, respectively.

Client relationship managers will work with county stakeholders, raising awareness of the breadth of extension products and services available to them, defining local issues and needs, and working to bring the full resources of the organization to bear on these issues.

Business operations managers will manage county extension offices, providing a network for program delivery. They will work to standardize systems and procedures across the organization, with an eye toward increasing efficiency and effectiveness.

Following are the 10 newly formed extension areas and their respective client relationship managers and business operations managers:

AREA 1 (Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Crawford, Erie)

  • Jon Laughner, client relationship manager. Laughner began his Penn State Extension career in 2004 as an economic development educator and most recently was district director for Crawford, Erie and Mercer counties.
  • Bryan Dickinson, business operations manager. Dickinson had been the 4-H extension educator in Lawrence County since May 1998.

AREA 2 (Warren, McKean, Potter, Forest, Elk, Cameron, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield)

  • Melissa Sankey, client relationship manager. A former 4-H extension educator, Sankey most recently was program manager for the Center for Professional Personnel Development at Penn State.
  • Anthony Siliano, business operations manager. Before joining Penn State Extension, Siliano was chief operating officer for Real Living Real Estate, a full-service real estate brokerage franchise.

AREA 3 (Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming)

  • Mark Madden, client relationship manager. Madden has worked as an educator for Penn State Extension since 1994, providing agronomy, water quality and energy-development programs.
  • Lana Adams, business operations manager. Before joining Penn State Extension, Adams worked in human resources and administrative positions for the state departments of Health and Agriculture.

AREA 4 (Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wayne, Carbon, Monroe, Pike)

  • Stephen Alessi, client relationship manager. Alessi spent the previous 11 years with Sherwin-Williams Co. in a variety of positions, including assistant manager, store manager and outside sales representative.
  • David Messersmith, business operations manager. As a member of Penn State Extension's Shale Energy Education Team, Messersmith delivered educational programs on Marcellus Shale and natural gas across Pennsylvania and beyond.

AREA 5 (Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Union, Snyder)

  • Maureen Casey, client relationship manager. Prior to joining Penn State Extension, Casey held marketing positions in the insurance industry and was client care coordinator with Metzger Animal Hospital.
  • Thomas Walker, business operations manager. Walker, an agriculture extension educator, most recently was Penn State Extension district director for Mifflin and Juniata counties.

AREA 6 (Armstrong, Greene, Fayette, Indiana, Washington, Westmoreland)

  • Thomas Beresnyak, client relationship manager. An associate principal at Duane Morris Government Strategies from 2006-2013, Beresnyak most recently managed government-affairs clients as an independent consultant and was marketing manager for a manufacturing startup.
  • Joseph Conklin, business operations manager. Conklin was a secondary teacher and worked in academic affairs at the University of Pittsburgh before joining Penn State Extension in 2013 as district director for Fayette, Greene and Washington counties.

AREA 7 (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Somerset)

  • Jeff Hackenberg, client relationship manager. Hackenberg has spent his entire career in sales, serving retail customers, contractors, manufacturers and, most recently, health care professionals and their patients as a pharmaceutical sales representative.
  • Stanley McKee, business operations manager. McKee was county extension director in Huntingdon County before serving as district director for Blair, Huntingdon and Fulton counties from 2012 to 2017.

AREA 8 (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry, York)

  • Samantha Robison, client relationship manager. Robison managed nine yogurt production lines for Schreiber Foods in Wisconsin and was director of training in the Member Services Division of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau before joining Penn State Extension.
  • Nina Redding, business operations manager. Before accepting this position, Redding served Penn State Extension as a family living educator, county extension director in Adams County, and district director for Adams, Franklin and York counties.

AREA 9 (Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Schuylkill)

  • Stephanie Shirk, client relationship manager. Prior to joining Penn State Extension, Shirk was a development specialist at Penn State Harrisburg and worked for organizations such as New Holland Agriculture, Fritz & Associates, and the Pennsylvania FFA Foundation.
  • Gregory Gnatt, business operations manager. After 30 years as a manager for IBM Global Services, Gnatt joined Penn State Extension in 2014 as district director for Berks and Schuylkill counties.

AREA 10 (Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton)

  • Jennifer Massaro, client relationship manager. After working at Knoll Inc. in East Greenville as an account manager, Massaro joined Penn State Extension in 2013 as a program assistant in Bucks County, working with the equine, rabbit and cavy 4-H clubs.
  • Andrea Tessier, business operations manager. Tessier spent seven years with Ohio State Extension and five years in Canada as a training specialist and instructional technologist. She joined Penn State Extension in 2014 as district director for Lehigh and Northampton counties.

The Penn State Extension offices in Philadelphia and Delaware counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and in Allegheny County in southwestern Pennsylvania are not part of the 10-area structure. They are administered through the Penn State Center Philadelphia and the Penn State Center Pittsburgh, respectively.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and county governments, Penn State Extension shares unbiased, research-based information with individuals, families, businesses and communities through nonformal educational programs designed to meet locally identified needs. More information about Penn State Extension's educational offerings can be found on the organization's website.

Media Contacts: 
Last Updated September 13, 2017