Quick Takes

NEW CEO: Rick Pletz has been named the new chief executive officer of Acuity Specialty Hospital Ohio Valley, according to Mark Stepanik, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Acuity Healthcare.

Pletz will have operational oversight over both the 40-bed Acuity Specialty Hospital in Steubenville and the 32-bed Acuity Specialty Hospital in Bellaire. He most recently served as the regional director of operations and CEO at LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh.

“Rick brings a high level of expertise in the long-term, acute-care specialty hospital segment of the industry, and he has been successful in operating multiple hospitals. He started as CEO on Dec. 9,” said Stepanik.

“I am very excited to lead the teams at the Acuity Specialty Hospitals in the Ohio Valley and to be part of the Acuity Healthcare system. Acuity Healthcare is recognized throughout the industry as a company with high integrity, and for excellence in patient care services and outcomes,” said Pletz. “Acuity is well-known for valuing their employees, medical staff and partnerships in their communities. I look forward to being part of the growth in our local specialty hospital services for the highly complex and critically ill patients who require an extended hospital stay.”

His prior experience includes serving as CEO of LifeCare Hospital in Dayton, Kindred Hospital in Cleveland and Select Hospital of Philadelphia. He also served as director of respiratory care and pulmonary diagnostics at Albert Einstein Medical Center. He earned his undergraduate degree and MBA from Moravian College with concentration in management and economics.

He replaces Judy Weaver, who recently was named vice president of service innovation and support for Acuity Healthcare in Charlotte, N.C.

Quick Takes

JOINS: Aaron Richardson has joined the law firm of Blake, Hershey & Bednar, whose offices are located at 4110 Sunset Blvd. in Steubenville. He is a 2007 graduate of Edison High School. He graduated from the University of Akron in 2010 and earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Akron School of Law in 2013, and passed the Ohio Bar Exam.

His article, “Hite v. Falcon Partners: A Model Rule for Marcellus and Utica Shale States Precluding the Use of Delay Rental Payments to Extend the Primary Term in an Oil and Gas Lease,” was published in the fall 2013 issue of the Akron Law Review, and earned him the American Society of Legal Writers Award in 2013.

He is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Jefferson County Bar Association. He first joined the firm in May 2011 as a law clerk and will work in the areas of oil and gas law, criminal defense, personal injury, estates, real estate and business litigation.

NEW POST: Judy Weaver, CEO of Acuity Specialty Hospital Ohio Valley, has accepted a new position as vice president of service innovation and support for Acuity Healthcare in Charlotte, N.C.

“Ms. Weaver started in her new position Monday. A successor to lead our local Acuity Specialty Hospitals in Steubenville and Belmont will be named over the next week or so,” stated Kerry McLane, executive vice president at Acuity Healthcare.

“Judy did an excellent job as CEO for ASHOV over nearly eight years. She guided the growth of the Acuity Specialty Hospital from the initial 32-bed capability in Steubenville to its current 40-bed operational capacity,” said McLane. “She also expanded our 32-bed Acuity Specialty Hospital in Bellaire. We are proud to have the distinction of being the valley’s first longterm, acute-care hospital, and are Joint Commission accredited. Judy played a large role in that. She has been well respected in the Ohio Valley.”

“It is very gratifying knowing how much our team has accomplished together, and I look forward to the future growth opportunities planned for the Acuity Specialty Hospitals,” said Weaver. “These will be improvements that will further expand accessibility of specialty long-term hospital care services throughout the Tri-State Area.”

Weaver went on to say, “In addition to the significant contribution to patients, families and physicians served, the Acuity Specialty Hospitals have been key employers in the Ohio Valley. And, the Acuity Hospitals have had a significant impact to the communities’ tax base.”

Acuity Healthcare is a privately owned, long-term, acute-care hospital company founded in 2001, with headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Acuity owns and manages long-term, acute-care hospitals in Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and Arizona.

BONUSES ISSUED: The administration at Weirton Medical Center announced Thrusday that each of the facility’s 1,100 employees will get a $100 bonus as a thank-you for their hard work in 2013 and to help with their holiday expenses.

“This is the third bonus we’ve issued in the past year to our staff. We have added many new services as we’ve truly established ourselves as the premiere health facility in the Weirton-Pittsburgh Route 22/30 Corridor. This is a token of our appreciation for what they do so passionately every day,” said David Artman, director of operations at WMC.

“2014 holds many exciting new additions and announcements. Without our employees we wouldn’t be on this exciting path. With increased volumes, revenues and incomparable growth we wanted to reward each member of the WMC family who make it possible,” said Kelli McCoy, communications director.

Quick Takes

AWARD WINNER: JoAnn Stanley, a registered nurse, is the Weirton Medical Center Cameos of Caring Award Winner for 2013. She was honored recently at the Cameos of Caring Awards Gala at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The awards program was started by the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing to recognize exceptional work in the field of health care.

Stanley, a Burgettstown native and a graduate of the West Virginia Northern Community College School of Nursing, lives in Weirton and is a float pool nurse.

“I learn something new every day, it’s always changing,” said Stanley. She said her success can be attributed to good, solid teamwork. “With teamwork, everything falls into place. In an emergency, everyone pitches in and knows what to do. There are so many great nurses here at WMC that deserve this recognition,” she said.

Quick Takes

SELECTED: Global recognition was given to Renee Pearson of Weirton by Bank of America when she was selected to receive the Silver Award.

She received the Silver Award once before and two Bronze Awards from Bank of America.

Pearson was an original member of the Lending Processing Service of Bank of America in Pittsburgh.

She received her bachelor of business administration degree in marketing and management from Marshall University in 1993. She earned a master’s degree in integrated marketing and communication from West Virginia University in 2009.

She is the daughter of Chris Pearson of Weirton and the late Gerald Pearson.

RECOGNIZED: Yvonne Ackerman, an employee of Carroll Electric Cooperative Inc., has earned recognition as a professional communicator in a national program offered by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators, affiliated with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Ackerman met the requirements to become a certified cooperative communicator,” Larry Fenbers, Carroll Electric CEO/general manager, said.

Since 1985, when the program began, more than 300 electric cooperative communicators have attained CCC status in the program that is voluntary, according to Fenbers.

In order to achieve certification, she had to meet the program requirements and submit a portfolio of work samples in the field of mass communication and/or marketing communication for evaluation.

Her portfolio was judged by peers, communicators in the electric co-op industry who already have earned the designation.

Having passed that evaluation, Ackerman took a four-hour written exam administered by an educational consulting firm whose principals conduct similar examinations for many national organizations throughout the United States.

The CCC credential is offered in order to improve the practice of mass communication and marketing communication in the electric cooperative field, done through the establishment of professional development goals, identification of a body of knowledge and skills necessary to the practice of electric co-ops communication and recognition to those who have demonstrated a professional level of excellence, according to officials.

WORKSHOP: The Ohio State University Extension Agency in Carroll County is offering a workshop to help landowners understand the financial and tax implications of oil and gas leases/royalties.

The workshop titled “Financial & Tax Implications of Oil & Gas Leases/Royalties in Northeast Ohio” will feature David Marrison, OSU Extension associate professor, who will discuss the financial and tax implications of Utica and Marcellus shale leases.

The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 19 in the Carrollton High School cafeteria.

The registration fee for this program is $5 per person.

Registration fee is to help defray the cost of program handouts.

Pre-registration is requested due to handouts.

Payment will be collected at the door.

Details may be obtained by calling (330) 627-4310 or go to carroll.osu.edu.

(Send items for inclusion in Quick Takes, such as promotions, new hires, announcements for business events, honors, achievements and more, to newsroom@heraldstaronline.com.)

Quick Takes

PROMOTED: Gary Yashko, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nick Yashko Jr. of Wintersville, has been promoted to executive vice president of the Guernsey Bank.

Yashko, a 1988 graduate of Wintersville High School, will continue to serve as the Guernsey Bank’s general counsel, a position he has held since 2011.

He and his wife, Jennifer, reside with their three children in Powell.

The Guernsey Bank, headquartered in Worthington, is a state chartered commercial bank with approximately $125 million in assets.

NAMED: Leah Finney Curtis has been named director of agricultural law and a leader of the legal and local policy team for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation public policy department.

She and her team will provide Farm Bureau members with legal information and education, conduct legal engagement in selected cases and carry out the legal mission of the organization, according to officials.

She was raised on a family farm in Jefferson County, near Mount Pleasant, and joined the Farm Bureau in 2010 as director of legal education.

Curtis earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications, a master’s degree in public policy and her juris doctorate from Ohio State University. Prior to graduation, she interned at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the OSU Office of Legal Affairs and was a research assistant in the OSU agricultural and rural law program.

She and her husband, Ryan, reside in Canal Winchester.

“Legal issues are increasingly important to farmers’ ability to run their operations and contribute to society,” Adam Sharp, OFBF’s vice president of public policy, said. “We know Leah will do a great job looking out for our members’ interests.”

HONORED: Terasa Giovannucci, daughter of William and Karen Morris of Steubenville, has been named the March of Dimes Quality Nurse of the Year in Massachusetts.

She received the award on Oct. 7 at the Verve Crown Plaza Hotel in Natick, Mass.

A graduate of Catholic Central High School and St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind., she served 10 years in the Air Force, teaching nursing and working in maternity. She also taught nursing at Quincy College in Massachusetts.

She also served a tour in Iraq.

She is a the clinical nurse specialist, maternal newborn services, at Beverly Hospital, Beverly, Mass.

HONEYWELL HONOR: Paul Lauttamus accepted Honeywell’s 2013 Community Service Award for the work of Lauttamus Communications and Security in operating West Virginia’s inbound call center for 211 services. Anybody in West Virginia can call 211 toll-free, 24 hours a day and receive community service information, such as where to locate emergency shelters, food pantries or even how to obtain assistance in paying utility bills.

Lauttamus has operated the WV211 call center for the past 10 years and handles thousands of calls annually.

Robin Smith, executive director, said, “Lauttamus is so deserving of this national recognition. They have been a strategic partner of WV211 since its inception.”

Honeywell’s Community Service Award is given annually to recognize the giving spirit of companies in its dealer network. The contribution of WV211 service provided by Lauttamus is valued at more than $100,000 per year.