Diakon board names new President/CEO

Middletown, Pennsylvania (Monday October 5, 2020)

Updated Jan. 1, 2021:

Scott D. Habecker today became Diakon President/CEO.

The Diakon Board of Directors in early October named Habecker to the new role. Previously chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Habecker succeeded Mark T. Pile, who retired Dec. 31.

Original news release text follows: 

“We are extremely fortunate to have a highly qualified internal candidate who has a clear understanding of the mission and vision of Diakon,” Larry Delp, chair of the Diakon board, said. “His strong leadership skills coupled with outstanding financial and strategic abilities provide the organization with the opportunity to continue building on our strong foundation.”

A Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant, Habecker joined the organization in mid-2009 as vice president for planning and business development. He was named chief operating officer the end of 2012, acquiring the chief financial role in the spring of 2014.

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead such an exemplary organization in fulfilling its mission to serve people in need,” Habecker said. “I have an incredible amount of respect for the outstanding group of board members and Diakon team members with whom I have the pleasure of working every day. Without them and the residents, patients and clients we serve, I recognize this opportunity would never be possible.”

He extended “special appreciation to Mark Pile, who has provided me with endless opportunities and support that have helped to pave the way for this opportunity.”

“Scott’s financial acumen and strategic-planning ability will serve the organization extremely well,” Pile noted. “I fully expect Scott’s tenure to reflect an emphasis on sound growth in alignment with our heritage and mission.”

As chief operating and financial officer, Habecker has led or worked on numerous initiatives focused on strengthening the services of the Diakon family of organizations, now more than 150 years old. Among those, he:

  • Helped to create a strategic plan focused on enhancing quality outcomes across the organization, while also improving financial sustainability and efficiency.
  • Established a leadership team with broad capabilities and expertise to execute that strategic plan and its initiatives.
  • Achieved improvements in senior living cash flows of nearly $10 million annually during a five-year period while improving overall quality measurements on the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 5-Star system.
  • Helped to lead the 2014 creation of Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries, a “sister” organization to Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, offering services ranging from adoption and foster care to counseling and programming for adjudicated youths. The restructuring, which included the creation of a separate board of directors, resulted in years of positive cash flows, a significant change for that line of business.
  • Completed significant renovations and expansion projects across various senior living campuses, most recently multiple phases of independent living growth at Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Completed numerous financing transactions, including bond issues and refinancings, bank financings and other transactions to enhance growth initiatives and debt-service reductions.
  • Led efforts to determine and evaluate potential programmatic acquisitions and divestitures, including valuation, due-diligence coordination and quality analyses.
  • Coordinated the recent sale of Twining Village in Holland, Pennsylvania, to a private nursing-care group to allow increased focus on capital needs at the remaining Diakon senior living communities.

Before joining Diakon, Habecker spent nine years as chief financial officer for a multi-state, long-term care pharmacy business, during which he helped to complete five acquisitions and three de novo start-up pharmacies. Prior to that, he held successive roles as director of finance, assistant controller and corporate controller for Presbyterian Senior Living, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. He began his career in the Harrisburg office of Ernst & Young, an international accounting and auditing firm.

A graduate of Elizabethtown College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Habecker received a 2006 Central Penn Business Journal Forty under 40 Award; the annual award recognizes 40 regional business leaders for their commitment to business growth, professional excellence and their communities.

Habecker and his wife, Jenny, have two daughters, Serena and Aleesa. They live in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.

Habecker will be Diakon’s third President/CEO. Founded in 2000 as the result of the affiliation and later merger of Tressler Lutheran Services, based in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania region, and Lutheran Services Northeast, headquartered in Berks County, Diakon was initially led by the Rev. Dr. Daun E. McKee, whom Pile succeeded.

Diakon operates eight Continuing Care Retirement Communities in central and eastern Pennsylvania and western Maryland, four rental-subsidy housing communities, and a range of community-based services for children, youths and families including adoption, foster care, family reunification, behavioral health services, meals on wheels, senior community centers and numerous programs for youths at risk of not achieving their potential.