Next Westmoreland Food Bank CEO knows big need ahead
Kris Douglas never fully understood what the Westmoreland County Food Bank did before joining its board of directors.
“Being on the board the last three years opened my eyes to what's happening with the less fortunate in the county,” Douglas said. “I really wasn't aware of the tremendous impact this organization can make on the community.”
Douglas, 36, of North Huntingdon is looking forward to making his mark as the new chief executive officer of the food bank.
He will replace outgoing CEO Marlene Kozak, who is retiring Dec. 31 after 12 years.
Douglas, a 1994 graduate of Norwin High School and a 1998 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in finance, has worked for the past five years as branch manager for First National Bank in South Greensburg.
He has a master's of business administration degree from Seton Hill University in Greensburg.
Douglas said when Kozak announced her plans to the board, he realized the job would be a good fit for him.
“I thought this would be something I'd really enjoy doing and something where I could make a positive impact on the community,” he said.
Douglas said he hopes to continue Kozak's work to expand the food bank's service to more people.
The organization serves nearly 15,000 people each month, though a study found at least 40,000 people in the county need assistance but are not receiving it.
“It's bittersweet to see (Kozak) leave, but I'm excited about the opportunity that lies ahead in taking it to the next level and continuing to expand,” he said.
Douglas and Kozak will work together starting Nov. 1 to ensure a smooth transition. Douglas will be “immersed in the food bank” by participating in food distributions and meeting with politicians and foundation leaders, Kozak said.
She said Douglas' financial background will be an asset for the food bank, which is getting a new leader who is young, energetic and smart.
“He's a very laid-back, easygoing kind of guy,” Kozak said. “We really work closely as a team. We support each other. Everybody wears a lot of different hats. I think he's the type of guy that will fit in really nicely here.”
Douglas knows the job won't be easy.
Cuts in federal and state funding to food banks have been made in recent years, and he knows there's little likelihood that those dollars will be restored soon.
He hopes to persuade local businesses to support the food bank through financial contributions or even volunteers.
“The way I look at it is, what's more essential than food?” Douglas said. “At the end of the day — food and shelter — these are the essences of survival. That's one of the things I want to drive home to the businesses and other organizations in the county.”
Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Judge: Former Latrobe man can proceed with civil rights action
- Police investigate Hempfield fight
- Podlucky mansion in Ligonier Township will go to sheriff’s sale
- Fuel cell company leaves New York to operate plant in Mt. Pleasant Township
- North Huntingdon man struck by car, killed near Yough High School
- Reinstated Delmont officer claims he’s isn’t being allowed to go back on patrol
- 40-year-old Latrobe woman used boy, 13, for sex, drugs, police say
- Crash closes part of Route 30 in Unity
- Greensburg’s century-old YMCA reopens after makeover
- Lawyer for wife killer seeks to cancel restitution hearing
- North Belle Vernon man on a mission to restore hometown park