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Norwin grad to take helm at county food bank

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
Kris Douglas, 36, a graduate of Norwin High School, is taking the helm of the Westmoreland County Food Bank. Submitted photo

The Westmoreland County Food Bank board of directors named a North Huntingdon man as its new chief executive officer last week.

Kris Douglas, 36, plans to begin training with the current chief executive officer to take over the Delmont-based food bank's top administrative spot on Nov. 1, before taking office on Jan. 1.

Marlene Kozak, 66, who has served as the CEO for 12 years, plans to retire Dec. 31.

Prior to being named the food bank's CEO, Douglas spent three years as the vice president of its board and served as a member of the finance and facilities committees.

“I feel blessed to have been chosen for this position,” Douglas said. “It's the type of job I can wake up looking forward to and feel good about doing every day because I'll be able to make a positive impact.”

Douglas graduated from Norwin High School in 1994 and received a bachelor's degree in finance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1998. He received a master of business administration from Seton Hill University in Greensburg in 2009.

He is a branch manager for First National Bank in South Greensburg.

Jennifer Miller, development director for the Westmoreland County Food Bank, said the organization provides food for 47 pantries throughout the county, including three in the Norwin region, serving 15,000.

The food bank has dealt with several losses in funding over the past several years. Two years ago, the food bank received $103,000 in federal funding for food but received only $8,300 this year, Miller said.

It also experienced a $90,000 cut in state funding this year, Miller said.

“The state and federal funding has been cut over several years, and we're all coming to the realization it won't be restored anytime soon,” Douglas said. “In my position with the bank and as a financial adviser, I've always been about finding dollars, which is what will be my role at the food bank.”

Douglas said the food bank staff will have to continue looking for donations. He plans to begin meeting with leaders of community organizations, as well as state and local officials across the county to discuss the food bank's mission, goals and how they can help.

Kozak said she looks forward to working with Douglas in November, and she thinks he was a strong choice to take over her position.

“He's young and energetic, and it's a chance to bring some new blood into the organization,” Kozak said. “I've taken this as far as I can go, so now he'll be able to take over and move it ahead further.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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