Coaches and Professional Mentors: SCPS Executives in Residence

The Executive-in-Residence program, within the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Elizabethtown College, enables graduate and undergraduate students to interact with and learn from retired or semi-retired senior executives who have reached a high level of success and expertise in their professional career. Through group and one-on-one meetings, in-class and online recorded presentations, live Q&A opportunities, and other learning opportunities, these seasoned executives share their insights and advice with the adult learners and the affiliated faculty of the SCPS.

Executives-in-Residence also advise the School of Continuing and Professional Studies on matters of curriculum and program development; and promote links among the School, the College and the business community.

Nevin D. Cooley, CPM

Nevin CooleyNevin D. Cooley, retired Chief Executive Officer for High Industries Inc. and High Real Estate Group LLC, was appointed as the first SCPS Executive-in-Residence. Mr. Cooley’s extensive professional background and leadership experience will enhance the School’s ever widening network of experts who are available to inform the programming and enhance the experience of the adult learners pursuing their degrees through the School’s various business and non-business degree programs. Mr. Cooley’s appointment coincides with the launch of the Master of Science in Strategic Leadership program. His input and counsel in this area is a great benefit to this new program.

Nevin D. Cooley began his career with High® in 1986. From its beginning in 1931 as a welding shop to its status today as a diverse and growing organization, High established a reputation for excellence in serving customers, quality in all products and services, personal and corporate integrity, and beauty in projects affecting the environment. Headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, High has operations in seven states consisting of multiple businesses with annual sales of $600 million and employing nearly 2,000 co-workers.

Spanning his 29 year career with High, Mr. Cooley held the positions of Vice President - Development and Acquisitions for High Associates Ltd., Vice President - Commercial Asset Management, Executive Assistant to the Chairman and President, Senior Vice President and President - High Real Estate Group LLC with responsibility for High Associates Ltd., High Construction Company, Greenfield Architects Ltd., High Hotels Ltd., and High Investors Ltd., as well as the numerous partnerships in which the High Family holds real estate assets, President and Chief Executive Officer of High Real Estate Group LLC. In 2012, Mr. Cooley was named Chief Executive Officer for all of the High companies including both High Industries Inc. and High Real Estate Group LLC. He also previously served as president of Penn Square Partners which developed the Lancaster County Convention Center complex and owns the Marriott franchise there.

From 1981 to 1986, Cooley was an administrator at Lancaster General Hospital, rising to the position of vice president. Before that, he worked at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Mr. Cooley serves on several boards including High industries Inc, High Real Estate Group LLC, and Elizabethtown College. He has served on numerous other boards in the past, including the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, the Lancaster City Alliance, Hospice of Lancaster County, Team Pennsylvania Foundation. Lancaster General Medical Group, Lancaster General Hospital, United Way of Lancaster County, Lancaster-York Heritage Region and Pennsylvania Dutch Council of the Boy Scouts ofAmerica.

Mr. Cooley holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Management from the University of Maryland and a Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan. He earned his Certified Property Manager designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management in 1992.

Mark D. Gainer

Mark D. Gainer

Mr. Gainer is retired President/CEO of Union Community Bank. In this role of Executive in Residence, he will bring his experience of working at a community financial institution and the knowledge he has gained working in many different roles within the bank. His leadership skills and well-rounded career will be extremely valuable to adult learners.

Mr. Gainer started his career with Union Community Bank (formerly Union National Mount Joy Bank) in 1973 as a part-time employee. Through the years he served as a bookkeeper, teller, security officer, consumer lender, commercial lender and also worked with human resources, budgeting and strategic planning. He rose through the ranks and became a Senior Vice President by 1983 and ultimately became President/CEO in 1999. Mr. Gainer also served as Chairman of the publicly traded company. He was dedicated to his service at the bank until his retirement in December 2015.

In the community, Mr. Gainer served as President of the Mount Joy Rotary Club and is currently an active member. He also served as President and Director of Main Street Mount Joy and Treasurer of Mount Joy Borough. He was also Director and Chairman of the Investment and Finance Committee for the Economic Development Company of Lancaster. Mr. Gainer also served as an Elder Board Chairman at his church.

Mr. Gainer holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University and graduated with honors from the American Banker's Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking.  

Susan Eckert

Susan Eckert

Ms. Eckert is a non-profit executive and a long-time advocate for children, education, and women’s issues.  She became President of the United Way of Lancaster County in 1987, after serving as Executive Director of the YWCA of Lancaster.  Prior to that, she worked in admissions at Vassar and Smith Colleges, and was a teacher of children with special needs.  As a member of the Executive-in-Residence team, Ms. Eckert brings a wealth of non-profit knowledge and experience to SCPS students. 

Ms. Eckert retired in January 2012 from the United Way of Lancaster County. During her tenure, more than 140 million dollars was raised to improve lives in Lancaster County, and three important collaborative efforts were established:  Success by Six, a focus on early care and education, the Coalition to End Homelessness, and the Partnership for Public Health, an effort to support the public health needs of Lancaster County.

Following her retirement, Ms. Eckert established The Eckert Group. Through her consulting practice, she works with the Partnership for Public Health’s effort to find local solutions to health problems and to improve the public health infrastructure of Lancaster County. Further, she has acted as an Interim Director of the Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation and the Lancaster Public Library. Ms. Eckert also works with Boards assisting with Strategic Planning. Most recently, she worked with CHI St Joseph’s Children’s Health and Linden Hall School for Girls.

Ms. Eckert received a B.A. from William Smith College, a M.Ed. from Boston College and an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Elizabethtown College in 2005.