West Branch Human Resource Society Networks Professionals

Williamsport Sungazette
Derek Danneker

Though a business’ culture is certainly important, a common failing of a human resource worker in the areas of hiring, firing, and maintaining a company’s workforce is becoming insular and outdated.

West Branch Human Resource Society works to correct this by connecting HR professionals in our area to others, thereby bringing about the best practices possible through networking and seminars, said Diana Durrwachter, the society’s secretary on the board.

The society works to connect HR representatives and businesses to tools and resources to help companies stay relevant, she said.

“If you don’t stay connected to those things, you won’t know what’s available, and what’s being done,” she said. “We help keep your business on the cutting edge, because you always want to be one step ahead of your competitors.”

WBHR not only making use of ideas circulating in the area, but brings new knowledge to the area through monthly lectures on a variety of topics.

For example, with medical marijuana becoming legal in the state some employers are unsure how to proceed with potential employees who chose to use the substance. West Branch Human Resource Society will prove useful in dispensing that information as it becomes available in case law, said Durrwachter.

“We have motivational speakers, leadership conferences, and sometimes we have attorneys that’ll come in to teach seminars on everything from engagement to retention of talent management,” she said.

By looking at leaders like Amazon or Google, Durrwachter said the society observes how they’re breaking ground in their hiring practices and cultural initiatives.

“Their tips and tricks of the trade and new strategies that can be used to find your best and brightest candidates, and learning how to seek them out,” she said.

There is even a place for small businesses or non-profit organizations that don’t have any one person who handles human resource work.

“It’s for any business that is involved with hiring, firing, retention, or any sort of employee culture,” she said.

Employers have also faced the common struggle of holding on to the younger generations who have just entered the workforce, as they often leave in about three years.

“You can find great people all day, but if you can’t them on keep on, it doesn’t work,” said Durrwachter. “You want to be able to tap into that talent and, really usurp all of their great knowledge before they move on to their next greatest move.”

The end goal is to make business good places to work.

“If you have happy employees, everything naturally flows from that,” she said.

Brandy Moon, president of WBHRS, Human Resource Generalist for North Central Sight Services, Inc., a non-profit organization, said she has enjoyed her time with the society.

“My involvement with WBHRS and SHRM has enabled me to further develop both personally and professionally in a leadership role while increasing my education to better serve my workplace and community,” she said.

Soon the local human resource society will move into a new direction as Kaitlin Gordner moves into the presidency. She currently works as a human resource manager for the Shop Vac Corporation.

WBHRS is a direct affiliate to the national Society for Human Resource Management and share their membership base and information, as well as the state SHRM and other local chapters. Meeting fees include programming and refreshments. Programming cost per program is $17 for members and $30 for non-members.

Those interested may contact Gordner or Moon at info@westbranchhr.org.


Please contact our HR Generalist, Brandy Moon if you would like to know more about what WBHRS has to offer. brandym@ncsight.org 

NCSS Welcomes New Director of Development

I would like to introduce myself as the new Director of Development for North Central Sight Services. My name is Amy Alexander and I am a life long resident of Lycoming County.  I am a graduate of South Williamsport High School and The Pennsylvania State University.

As you may know, North Central Sight Services has long been known for providing excellent services and support for people with visual disabilities in Lycoming, Clinton, Centre, Tioga, Bradford, and Sullivan counties.

To make sure current client needs are being met and to reach new clients, I have been hired to head the Development team.  Along with our new CEO, Brian Patchett, I am committed to helping our organization enhance the depth and breadth of our services to a greater population.

In addition to childhood screenings, independence training, and transportation we are excited for our new Assistive Technology Center project.  With Assistive Technology we will be able to create employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired adding to their sense of independence and autonomy.  Given that 70% of people who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed in our area, this is an exciting chance to help a great number of people.

Our mission is to provide exceptional programs, services and employment to people who are blind and visually impaired as well as excellent education, prevention services and products to all customers.  I am passionate about this mission and the population we serve. 

Thank you for taking the time to allow me to tell you a bit about my new endeavor with North Central Sight Services.  I look forward to working with you and others to make a positive impact on the lives of visually impaired people in our community.



Amy Alexander, Development Director                                                                                                                              

NCSS Welcomes New President/CEO

North Central Sight Services, Inc. welcomes new President/ C.E.O

Williamsport PA July 9, 2019

Effective July 1, 2019, Brian Patchett has officially taken over as the new President/ C.E.O of North Central Sight Services, Inc. Patchett brings over 25 years of executive experience and leadership to the organization. Most recently, he was the CEO of Easter Seals, Nevada for 15 years.   

Patchett is focused on bringing growth to the agency and expanding the services NCSS provides beyond the six counties currently being served.

One of Patchett’s greatest passions is helping those who are blind or visually impaired receive the support and services they deserve by working with local, state and national elected officials and advocating for their rights. His main goal is to help those with disabilities achieve a more independent future.

“70% of working-age Americans who are blind are not employed. This statistic is heart wrenching. It is not that they don’t want to work, but a lot of times they aren’t even considered for a position because of their disability. We plan to change this statistic,” said Patchett.

Dan Velte, NCSS Board Chair said, “There is no better person to lead North Central Sight Services than Brian Patchett. Brian is a proven leader with excellent leadership skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. We are fortunate to have someone of Brian’s caliber and experience as we look to continue to meet the mission of the organization.”

Contact Information:

Brian Patchett, President/C.E.O.
(570) 323-9401 Ext. 126

Backyard Broadcasting- InTouch Interview with President/C.E.O Robert Garrett

InTouch, a public affairs show dedicated to the health and welfare for Susquehanna Valley residents is a weekly sit down interview with various community organizations looking to make a difference in the lives of others.

In this weeks episode, Freddi Hammer, News Director at Backyard Broadcasting interviews Robert Garrett, President and C.E.O of North Central Sight Services, Inc. and Lou Kolb, a local veteran broadcaster about their accomplished careers and the changes they have seen.

2019 Event Calendar



MarchRaise the Region– March 13-14, 2019 Online fundraiser
Dining in the Dark– March 30, 2019 at Le Jeune Chef at Pennsylvania College of Technology

AprilAnnual Celebration- April 25, 2019 at North Central Sight Service, Inc.
NIB/NAEPB National Symposium- April 29-May 2nd Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, VA

MayEmployee Appreciation Picnic– May 23, 2019 at Highland Lake Manor
Golf for Sight Golf Tournament– May 31, 2019 at Wynding Brook Golf Club

JuneSafety Luncheoncelebrating 5 years accident free! June 25, 2019 at North Central Sight Services, Inc.
UniqueSource Embrace Abilities Dinner– June 17, 2019 at Harrisburg Hershey Conference Center
Bob Garrett Retires June 30, 2019

JulyIndependence Day Holiday– Agency Closed- July 4th-5th, 2019

AugustLion’s Meet the New President Day 11am-1pm 5pm-7pm


October35th Annual Lions Appreciation Night– October 7, 2019 at Genetti Hotel
National White Cane Safety Day– October 15, 2019
NIB Conference – October 15-18th Arlington Virginia
PAB Fall Conference– October 22nd-24th, 2019- place TBD

NovemberThanksgiving Holiday– Agency Closed- November 28th-29th, 2019

DecemberGiving Tuesday– December 3, 2019
Plankenhorn Foundation Christmas Party– December 4, 2019 at Genetti Hotel
Shop for Sight Event– December 5, 2019 at Rust and Shine
Christmas Holiday– Agency Closed- December 23rd- January 1st

**If you have any questions about any of the events listed, please call 570-323-9401 or email ncss@ncsight.org**

Annual Report- 2018

As I look back at 2018, I am extremely proud of our successes. Financially, we turned a significant 2017 operations deficit into a respectable positive net income for the year. To accomplish this, it has taken several years of making calculated decisions that would not impact our Mission and still reduce our losses. Congratulations to all of our Associates for a job well done.

Our Industry Program was very healthy during the year. We added fifteen new products to the Federal Procurement List along with growing our document destruction business. New products and revenue translate to more employment hours. Congratulations to the Shredding Team for reaching the one-million pounds of shredded documents goal. Believe me, that is a lot of paper.

On the services side, we continued to work with our clients who are visually impaired to do everything possible to keep them living independently in their own homes. We grew our technology offerings for devices like Iris Vision and eSight, distributed refurbished iPhones, provided necessary training and introduced new technologies throughout the year.

As always, our Prevention Program continued to screen children and adults for symptoms that may indicate vision problems. That program, along with our Functional Vision Clinic and Remedial Eye Care program remained very active serving children and adults. I would encourage you to read our entire report to learn in more detail the other 2018 highlights.

For me, 2018 was the year I announced my retirement effective June 30, 2019. Our Board of Directors moved forward with a National search. In mid-February, we announced that Brian Patchett from Easter Seals of Nevada has accepted the President’s position and will officially take leadership of North Central Services, Inc. on July 1, 2019.

In closing, I am honored and humbled to have served North Central Sight Services, Inc. for my entire career. Overall, it has been an amazing ride. I know that upon my departure, our Agency has a very solid financial and program foundation. I couldn’t have done it without the outstanding support from our Board of Directors, all of our NCSS Associates and our community. I have indeed been blessed.

Now, as I move on to my next stage in life, I feel very positive about our direction and am confident that our current staff and Associates with Brian’s direction will continue to keep our Mission first and foremost in everything we do. Once again, thank you for giving me the opportunity that began on September 12, 1974 to be a part of this fine organization.

Robert B. Garrett
President and Chief Executive Officer

To receive a digital copy of the annual report please email your request to: ncss@ncsight.org

Annual Report- 2017

In many ways, 2017 was, to reference Charles Dickens classic “A Tale of Two Cities.” At the beginning of the year, we had sixty associates, a significant loss of Government revenue and sky rocketing health insurance costs. At the end of 2017, we had forty-nine associates, a fixed cost health insurance plan and significant cost savings implemented to be sure we could meet our mission. Between these two points, we experienced some very difficult times. In our sixty year history, we had never experienced quite as many challenging events. The good news is by the end of the year, we had made significant progress to right our fiscal ship.

I would like to thank our Board of Directors for their support and counsel during this very challenging time. Our staff who stayed focused on our mission. To our donors and groups who helped us by providing North Central Sight Services, Inc. with generous grants and United Way allocations we would not have been able to stay the course without your help.

Looking forward to 2018, we are very optimistic that the changes we have made and the service and business initiatives we have put in place will bear fruit.

Once again I want to acknowledge our board and associates or your unwavering commitment to our mission. I know that we have better times ahead of us.

Robert B. Garrett- President and Chief Executive Officer

To receive a digital copy of the annual report please email your request to: ncss@ncsight.org

Dining in the Dark 2019 “A Feast for Four Senses”

This unique dining experience allows participants to dine while blindfolded. Students at Le Jeune Chef work closely with the North Central Sight Services team to create an evening unlike any other. All guests are guided to their seats and served dinner completely blindfolded. This allows participants to understand in a very small way and for a short period of time what daily life can be like for someone who is blind or visually impaired.

Dining in the Dark brings the community together to support the mission of North Central Sight Services. All proceeds are returned to the community through rehabilitation services, prevention of blindness services, and employment for the blind and visually impaired. North Central Sight Services serves six counties and employs more than 30 blind and visually impaired associates.

This years event is sponsored by Jersey Shore State Bank and Marshall, Parker & Weber.

“Marshall, Parker & Weber is a proud sponsor of North Central Sight Services’ Dining in the Dark 2019 because NCSS provides excellent education, support and rehabilitation for the blind and visually impaired as well as employs 30 blind and visually impaired associates,” said Managing Principal Tammy A. Weber.  “The Dining in the Dark experience was very humbling to me and provided a small insight into the world of a visually impaired individual.”

Proceeds from this event benefit North Central Sight Services, Inc.

Click the link for the invitation and more details.

Seating for this event is limited! Reserve your seat/table today! Contact Sarah Gilmore at 570-323-9401 ext. 121 or events@ncsight.org

SKILCRAFT and the AbilityOne Program

Thank you for your support of our SKILCRAFT products. Every purchase creates jobs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Do you want to make a larger impact? Make an online donation and help us prevent blindness and provide services to individuals with vision loss. 

The AbilityOne Program, (formerly JWOD) provides employment opportunities for more than 47,000 Americans who are blind or have other severe disabilities. In 1938, the Wagner-O’Day Act was passed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1971, Congress amended this Act to include people with severe disabilities and to allow the Program to provide services to the Federal Government: The Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act.

The AbilityOne Program is an extraordinary socioeconomic program that provides Federal customers with a wide array of quality SKILCRAFT® products and services, while providing thousands of people with severe disabilities real jobs and increased independence. The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled operates as the U.S. AbilityOne Commission. For more information, visit AbilityOne.gov.

How to Order SKILCRAFT Products

Base Supply Centers
Base Supply Centers are located on military installations in the United States and abroad. The Base Supply Centers are retail stores that are managed by associated non-profit agencies in the AbilityOne Program.

Authorized AbilityOne Distributors
Authorized AbilityOne Distributors are approved by the Committee for Purchase. This channel is a network of wholesalers, office product dealers such as OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples, and independent small businesses. The list is maintained by the Committee for Purchase. You will be redirected to another website. SKILCRAFT® products are also available through the following:

State of Pennsylvania Personnel
Several product lines supplied by our agency are supported by a state contract through UniqueSource Products and Services, formerly Pennsylvania Industries for the Blind. Access the UniqueSource catalog.

North Central Sight Services Inc. Turns 60!

North Central Sight Services Inc., has officially launched its Diamond Anniversary year, announcing an exciting year that celebrates the values of the agency – employment, prevention, and independence. North Central Sight Services was established in 1957 as the Lycoming County Association for the Blind, which manufactured rubber door mats from recycled automobile tires, and performed subcontract work for local businesses. The agency has since evolved into a pillar of service in the local community, dedicating its efforts to the blind and visually impaired in six counties within North-Central Pennsylvania.

“Over the course of our rich 60-year history, North Central Sight Services has remained true to its mission – Provide exceptional programs, services and employment to the blind and visually impaired, as well as excellent education, prevention services and products to all customers,” says Robert Garrett, President and CEO of North Central Sight Services. “It is with great excitement that our team enters this Diamond year of celebration and reaffirms our solid commitment to the communities we serve.”

To kick-off the celebrations, a vignette series will be launched on social media using #NCSS60. These short-form retrospective videos will highlight how North Central Sight Services has impacted the community over the past sixty years. Ultimately these videos will be featured on the new ncsight.org, launching in August 2017. This new website will provide more resources for the community and be accessible to all viewers.

Annual events slated for 2017 will include some unique features to celebrate this Diamond Anniversary. Mark your calendars for the following signature events.

Dining in the Dark – This annual event will be held on March 18, 2017 at Le Jeune Chef on the campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology. Students at Le Jeune Chef work closely with the North Central Sight Services team to create an evening unlike any other. All guests are guided to their seats and served dinner completely blindfolded. This allows participants to understand in a very small way, and for a short period of time, what daily life can be like for someone who is blind or visually impaired.

Annual Celebration – North Central Sight Services is privileged to have such wonderful community supporters. Each year in April, NCSS honors those dedicated supporters and friends at a celebration and awards ceremony. This year a timeline display illustrating the evolution of NCSS will be featured for community members to enjoy.

Lions Journey for Sight 5K Walk – Join the NCSS team on May 7, 2017 to enjoy a day of friends and fun. Proceeds are returned to the community through rehabilitation services, prevention of blindness services, and employment for the blind and visually impaired.

Golf for Sight Tournament – This fundraiser brings local businesses together for an afternoon of fun and philanthropy. Teams engage in some friendly competition while supporting the mission and vision of North Central Sight Services. This year’s event will be played on Friday, June 2nd at the Wynding Brook Golf Club in Milton.

Garrett goes on to say, “It has been a wonderful and exciting opportunity for me to have been involved with NCSS since 1974. Over that time, I have experienced incredible change, growth and a culture dedicated to serve people who are blind.”

Updates and more detailed information on all of these activities can be found on ncsight.org. Also, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for updates throughout the year.

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