Chamber Celebrates the Retirement of Virginia “Ginger” Goodrich

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce announces that Virginia “Ginger” Goodrich of Scranton will retire on December 31, 2023, after 58 years of employment with the organization. A retirement celebration in her honor will be held at the Scranton Country Club.

Goodrich, the longest-tenured employee in the organization’s history, joined the Chamber’s staff in 1965 as a secretary in the industrial development department. After a series of promotions, she has held the position of executive secretary to the president since 1979. In addition, she has served as board secretary for the Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company (SLIBCO), a Chamber affiliate organization, since 1994. 

“To say that Ginger is an icon of this organization is an understatement,” said Robert Durkin, president of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. ”She has played integral roles in support of the most important initiatives in Chamber history—and by extension, some of the most impactful projects in northeastern Pennsylvania history!”

The salutatorian of the class of 1964 at Dickson City High School, Goodrich continued her education at Lackawanna Junior College. In 1965, she graduated with honors and a diploma in the Executive Secretarial Course.

An avid learner, Goodrich completed the United States Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management certificate program for Chamber of Commerce Management in 1995 and the 12-week Dale Carnegie program in 2000.

“Little did I know when Hoyle Seeley, President of Lackawanna Junior College, sent me to interview at the Chamber of Commerce that it would become my “home” for over 58 years,” Goodrich said. “I will certainly miss it, but new experiences await.”

A lifelong supporter of the Girl Scouts, Goodrich served as a troop leader for 30 years. She has also held committee and board positions with Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and its predecessor, Girl Scouts Scranton Pocono Council. Goodrich served on the Board of the Anthracite Heritage Museum Associates for several years. She also volunteered for the Holiday Express at the Steamtown National Historic Site from 2001–2014.

Named “Volunteer of the Year” in 2013 for her work at the Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces, Goodrich received numerous awards from the Girl Scouts, including “Woman of Distinction” in 2001. She was featured in the Scranton Times-Tribune for “Northeast Woman” in 1992 and again in 2021, and she received a Certificate of Recognition—the Roseann Smith Alperin Award in 2008.

Goodrich is a member of the Dickson City Primitive Methodist Church and has volunteered her time for its adult Sunday school classes since 2002. She was also a member of the church’s Ladies Aid Society and has served as a member of the church’s board of trustees and the assistant Sunday school superintendent.

In honor of her contributions to the Girl Scouts and Camp Archbald, a tribute gift will be made in Goodrich’s honor to support revitalization efforts at Camp Archbald.

Keystone College Recognizes Austin Burke

Since the day he stepped on campus, Keystone College has been an integral part of Austin Burke’s life.

Austin, who retired in 2013 after a distinguished 40-year career as president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, has been involved with Keystone as a student, a proud alumnus, and, today, as an accomplished artist and art student.

“I have learned so much at Keystone that has helped me in all aspects of my life,” Austin said. “Most of all, I have met so many kind and talented people. It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful association.”

A native of nearby Archbald, Pa., Austin arrived at what was then Keystone Junior College in 1969, eager to continue his education after his service as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. After taking summer art classes from Keystone’s renowned professor Karl Neuroth, Austin enrolled as a full-time student. In 1970, he received his associate degree in general studies from Keystone and continued his education at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., obtaining a bachelor’s degree in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key. Upon graduating from Dickinson, he began his career in economic development.

After working for the Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Austin, at the age of the age of 29, joined the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and began a 40-year career as a key leader in the Scranton area’s economic renaissance from an older, industrial region into a metropolitan area respected for its progress and workforce excellence. For example, Austin played a major role in the development of the Montage Mountain area in Moosic, Lackawanna County, as an important employment, recreation, and residential center which is still one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s major assets.

“We believed in our city and we believed in our region as we still do today,” Austin said. “We knew that working together, we could grow our local companies and bring national companies with well-paying, family sustaining jobs to the Scranton area and that’s exactly what we were able to accomplish.”  

Austin’s professional accomplishments were recognized not only regionally but across the state as he served from 2010-2011 as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Community and Economic Development for Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

While business and economic development may have been his professional calling, Austin’s longtime love for art and creativity has come to the forefront in recent years. His oil and water-color paintings highlighting numerous scenes and landscapes throughout the Scranton and Harrisburg areas have gained widespread acclaim from artists and art-lovers alike. In fact, Austin’s works include several paintings of Keystone’s scenic campus which are featured in Keystone’s 150-year anniversary publication. A complete selection of Austin’s work is available at

“Over the years, I’ve really come to enjoy painting a great deal. I especially find it gratifying to paint those local scenes and landmarks which make our area so beautiful and so unique,” Austin said.

He also credits his classes at Keystone with helping him improve.  

“In addition to being really interesting and enjoyable, my art classes at Keystone have really helped me enhance and refine my work. I really look forward to coming to campus and being a part of the Keystone community,” he said.

Austin credits art professors such as Ward Roe, and retired professor Cliff Prokop, among others, for helping him refine his talents

“Austin is a really dedicated and talented artist,” Ward said. “It’s a pleasure to have him in my classes. The other students really gain something from his presence. It makes for a wonderful mix to have younger students and returning alumni learn from each other.”

Whether he’s in class or visiting with Keystone students, faculty, and staff members in the student restaurant, Austin is a proud Keystonian. In fact, Keystone honored Austin in 2013 by presenting him with a Doctorate of Humane Letters during commencement exercises. 

“Keystone is really a special place,” he said. “It’s a great school with a proud tradition that has produced so many graduates who have gone on to be leaders in our area and in the nation. Most of all, it’s a college where people are valued as individuals and care about each other. That’s really what makes Keystone special to me.”

Austin still resides in his native Archbald with his wife, Marianne. They are parents of three adult children: Austin, III and wife, Christine (their children are Ella, Austin IV, and PJ); son, Tim and wife, Krista; and daughter, Judy.  

Providence Engineering Executive Vice President, Mark Ritchie, P.E., Retires

After 37 years in the A/E/C industry, trusted and admired Professional Engineer, Mark Ritchie is retiring as Executive Vice President of Providence Engineering.

Mark has been around the A/E/C industry all his life. His father and grandfather both worked as bricklayers, so from an early age, Mark knew he wanted to be a part of the construction industry. But he also knew he did not like the strenuous physical work in the heat of the summer and cold of winter, so he decided to attend Penn State University and become an engineer.

After graduating in 1984, Mark’s career took him to Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and finally, Central Pennsylvania where he started his own engineering firm in 2000. Based in Carlisle, Ritchie Engineering provided structural design services for thousands of projects throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Mid-Atlantic region.

In January 2017, Ritchie Engineering merged with Providence, and thus, Providence Engineering opened our sixth office in Pennsylvania. Mark would go on to help open and lead the establishment of Providence’s seventh office in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

Mark’s retirement plans include playing more golf with his wife Lisa, spending time with his family, which now includes three grandsons, and remaining an active member of his church and the Carlisle community. 

Congratulations Mark!

Gunn-Mowery Announces Retirement of Gary Harshbarger, Senior VP

We are happy to announce the retirement of Gary Harshbarger, Senior Vice President after 30 years of employment at Gunn-Mowery and 52 years total in the insurance industry.

May 1, 2021 was officially Gary’s last day of employment with Gunn-Mowery, LLC – which was also his 74th Birthday! Gary is a legend in our industry and was an instrumental leader at Gunn-Mowery. He always made time to share his knowledge with our employees and clients. You could often hear him telling a fellow co-worker to “Read the policy! And then read it again and again!”

Gary originally started his career in the Insurance Industry with Aetna as a Commercial Insurance Representative and then became an Independent Agent in 1980. Gary joined the Gunn-Mowery team in 1992. Over the years he has managed the Personal Lines Department, Personal Lines Service Center, Commercial Lines Service Center, as well as aided in enhancing our Cyber Insurance presence. Gary was also one of our most well-known Producers. In addition, Gary taught several classes to employees who were seeking designations.

Gary earned multiple designations from the American Institute of Charted Property & Casualty Underwriters. He received designations of CPCU (Charted Property & Casualty Underwriter), ASLI (Associate in Surplus Lines), ARM (Associate in Risk Management, including Cyber Risk Management), API (Associate in Personal Insurance), AINS (Associate in General Insurance) and CRM (Cyber Risk Management).

For the last 25 years Gary was also a very active member of Le Tip of the West Shore. Gary is looking forward to spending his well deserved retirement hunting and enjoying the outdoors, as well as spending more time with his wife and their grandchildren.

We will miss you, Gary, and wish you the best in this next chapter! Thank you for your 30 years of service to the Upside and our clients!

Scranton Counseling Center Executive Announces Retirement Plans

For over two decades as President and CEO, Edward F. Heffron, Ed.D. has overseen the operations of the Scranton Counseling Center, the largest, fully integrated, comprehensive behavioral healthcare center in northeastern Pennsylvania. Dr. Heffron has announced his retirement from Scranton Counseling Center effective March 31st this year.

In addition to managing Scranton Counseling Center since 1999, Dr. Heffron has also managed a specialized 54-bed personal care home and a large, freestanding outpatient psychiatric private practice, both under the umbrella of the Counseling Center. Those responsibilities encompass a workforce of over 250 employees and generate almost $18 million in annual revenue.

The Center is completing a $15 million state-of-the-art adaptive reuse and renovation of a historically significant 3-building complex in South Scranton that will become the new Scranton Counseling Center campus for behavioral health services in late March. The new headquarters will allow all the Center’s programs and services to be fully integrated into the new facility with sufficient space for future growth. The campus will provide easy access on a bus route, on-site parking for employees, consumers and their families, off-street passenger drop-off and pickup, and a new facility thoughtfully and specifically designed to best meet the needs of both consumers and staff.

“The new headquarters for Scranton Counseling Center has been a 5-year project of love,” Dr. Heffron explained. “Once we get the new campus open and start providing services, we will combine behavioral health, physical health and a pharmacy at one convenient location for our clients. Our staff will have the latest and most modern workplace, and our consumers will benefit from the bright, modern layout and uplifting environment.”

Dr. Heffron added, “This headquarters project has been an additional focus of our board and management team for quite some time. Completing it is the capstone event of my career.”

In addition to those significant achievements during Dr. Heffron’s 21-year leadership of Scranton Counseling Center, he has also

  • Formed The Assertive Community Treatment Team operational 24/7 serving individuals with serious and persistent metal illness who are high users of mental health services
  • Established a licensed Substance Use Disorder Program serving adolescents and adults
  • Launched an Intercept Model/Early Diversion Program to divert non-serious criminal offenders with mental health and/or substance use disorder issues to treatment, rather than incarceration
  • Established state certified, Peer and Recovery Specialist Services to engage individuals in recovery from mental illness in the community, and assist consumers experiencing substance use disorder issues 24/7 through the Geisinger CMC ER
  • Expanded 24-hour crisis emergency services to Susquehanna County and northern Lackawanna County
  • Initiated innovative school-based and community behavioral health services to 21 school buildings in five school districts
  • Became the first regional behavioral health provider to integrate physical health with behavioral health services
  • Implemented the only Decision Support Center in Lackawanna County to enable individuals to attain a greater role in their treatment and medication regime in collaboration with their therapist and medication prescriber

An Executive Search Committee will commence a review of internal candidates and external applicants for the President/CEO position. During the transition, Sal Santoli, MS, a long-term manager with over four decades of service with the Center, will oversee the SCC’s operations as Interim CEO as of April 1st. He will coordinate the efforts of the current Center management team of Wendy Reed, LCSW, COO, and Jeff Novak, MBA, the CFO.

Scranton Counseling Center is a community based, private nonprofit behavioral health provider serving children, adolescents, adults and families with mental health and substance use disorder issues in Lackawanna, Susquehanna and surrounding counties.

The Center is northeast Pennsylvania’s largest integrated provider with over seven decades of quality accessible services for those in need.

The Wright Center’s Dr. Madhava S. Rao, Announces Retirement

After four decades of faithfully serving our community, renowned area cardiologist and medical educator Madhava S. Rao, M.D., has decided to embrace a well-deserved retirement. Throughout the span of his 40-plus year career, Dr. Rao has touched the hearts and improved the lives of countless patients and families through his practice of cardiology. And thanks to generations of cardiologists — serving patients regionally and nationally — who trained under Dr. Rao in The Wright Center’s Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program, his life-saving legacy of service will continue well into the future.

“We appreciate Dr. Rao’s legacy and his many amazing contributions over the decades to support delivery of our mission to improve the health and welfare of our community. We wish him and his family many blessings and great prosperity in his well-earned retirement,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health and President of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. “Dr Rao’s valued passion for education, cardiovascular expertise and healthcare system insight have been great influential assets to our regional practicing physicians and learners. His career contributions have benefitted our community in immeasurable ways.”

“Teaching made me a better doctor, because when you see that enthusiasm for learning, it makes you want to learn more, too,” Dr. Rao shared. “Even now, whenever I get asked to do consultations for my former student fellows, they always send me a note of appreciation. They’re great doctors, but when they come to me for a second opinion, it’s a validating confidence boost. It inspires me and feels good to continue to help them.”

Dr. Rao graduated from Mysore Medical College in India and completed his internal medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He then completed his cardiology fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and notably went on to earn board certifications in nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and clinical hypertension. A fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Rao has served the greater Scranton community since 1979, most recently serving as Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology for the Geisinger Heart and Vascular Center at Geisinger Community Medical Center.

Throughout his career, Dr. Rao held numerous leadership roles, including Chief of Cardiology at the former Community Medical Center in Scranton, where he also was a well respected president of the medical staff; valued chairman of the Mortality and Morbidity Committee; a vested board member of the Quality Committee; and a 10-year passionate member of both the Board of Directors and the Medical Executive Committee.

He has been integral to medical education in the area, starting in 1980 when he was a preceptor for internal medicine residents and students enrolled in the Scranton Temple Residency Program, which later became The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. He passionately supported the development of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Cardiology Fellowship and made numerous contributions to ensure it has thrived. For more than a decade, he has served as a key faculty leader and as the director of non-invasive cardiology for our fellowship. To date, 14 physician learners have graduated from this program, with nine more currently in training.

During his time with The Wright Center, Dr. Rao has been honored by the students, residents and fellows he has taught cardiology, who have voted him Teacher of the Year on numerous occasions.

“Throughout my years studying with him, Dr. Rao has been amazing,” said Dr. Neil Patel, a third-year Cardiovascular Disease Fellow at The Wright Center. “He has always been very passionate about teaching and the specialty of cardiology. as well as the profession of medicine in general. Everyone in our fellowship so far, myself and previous graduates included, are now board-certified in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, and we all credit those accomplishments to Dr Rao.”

“Dr. Rao has been a great mentor. His teaching skills, especially in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, have been exemplary,” agreed fellow third-year Cardiovascular Disease Fellow Dr. Guarav Patel.

“Dr. Rao has been a true inspiration not only to Wright Center cardiology fellows, primary care residents, and medical students, but he has also positively influenced the careers of many local practicing physicians, myself included. He’s been an exemplary doctor, teacher and mentor, and his years of service have been a blessing to our community. We will all surely miss him,” shared Dr. Jignesh Sheth, Chief Medical Officer and a practicing internal medicine and addiction medicine physician for The Wright Center for Community Health.

“Physician learners and our community alike benefited from Dr. Rao’s decades of practice and his many contributions toward training the next generation of cardiologists, as well as other specialty and primary care physicians. I have been privileged to be his colleague and wish him well,” said Dr. Samir B. Pancholy, Program Director for The Wright Center’s Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship.

“Teaching has been very rewarding, but the greatest satisfaction is knowing I did something good for the community,” Dr. Rao shared. “I have seen the commitment from Dr. Thomas-Hemak and The Wright Center to improve primary care and medical education in our community, especially when it comes to rural health, and I have appreciated the opportunity to be part of that.”

An acknowledgement celebration is planned for the future when a gathering to honor Dr. Rao will be COVID-19-safe.