Good morning. Two heads are better than one -- and six heads are even better, as long as they're taking on a complex task. That's the gist of research published yesterday by the MIT Sloan School of Management. Teams outperformed individuals at completing complex tasks, according to the study. But simple tasks are best left to individuals, given the costs of teamwork in things like time. The study relied on tasks whose complexity was relatively easy to measure. Real-world managers don't always have the luxury of designing their own problems to solve. But it's a start.
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Growth-minded buyer absorbs Lancaster firm

A Lancaster County waste company is poised for expansion after its purchase by a Houston-based company.
  • Environmental Recovery Corp., based in Manheim Township, was sold to VLS Recovery Services, which is owned by Aurora Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm.
  • Environmental Recovery, or ERC, had been owned by Rock Island Capital. The private equity firm based in Illinois initially took a stake in the company in 2018. ERC went on the next year to buy a company calledMidwest Environmental.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But VLS plans to invest several million dollars into ERC and its facilities in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland and Wisconsin, said VLS spokesperson Keith Rensink. 
  • The end goal for VLS is to boost its production of a non-hazardous fuel that can be used in cement kilns, which otherwise burn coal, Rensink said.

How does that work: Both VLS and Environmental Recovery collect waste from industrial sources like factories.
  • VLS operates plants that convert the waste into fuel that is cleaner than the fossil-fuel alternatives for cement kilns, Rensink said.
  • As environmental rules tighten and consumers seek green products, more manufacturers are searching for better ways to discard or reuse waste.

What's changing: Not much. VLS plans to maintain ERC's office and staff in Lancaster County, Rensink said.
  • ERC CEO Ken Lefever also will continue to run the operation, though its name will change to VLS over the next three to six months "as we change over permits and such," Rensink said.

The background: ERC employs about 150 people overall, Rensink said.
  • As a result of the merger, VLS now employs about 750.
  • VLS was bought by Aurora Capital in 2017 and has grown since then through a string of acquisitions. ERC is its seventh takeover.


Have you identified Culture Ambassadors within your organization?
  • These are the individuals who embody your company mission, champion business initiatives, and hold to the business’ core values. Basically, they are the powerhouse employees you can trust. You can trust them with projects and people. 
Sometimes culture ambassadors show up at our doors. But more often, they are grown internally. So how do you grow Culture Ambassadors? Have intentional conversations with the people on your team, and find out:  
  • If they get life from their everyday tasks.
  • If they see opportunities to grow in their role.
  • If they know how their projects are connected to the overall mission.
For effective ways to grow culture ambassadors in your organization, contact Wakeen Narratives for a coaching call.

Quick takes

WHO'S HIRING: Dasher Services. The Harrisburg-based customer-contact company is looking for a COO after its former COO moved into a new executive role. The exec, Dave Wagner, was named Dasher's chief experience officer in August, according to Crystal Brown, chief culture and engagement officer at Dasher.
  • The chief experience officer oversees the company's strategy for boosting revenue, which covers sales-related activities and the client experience, she said.
  • The new position stems from the company's recent growth, including an 11% increase in its staff since 2020, Brown said.
The background: Dasher works with health systems, utilities and other companies to communicate with their customers in a range of mediums.


WHO'S PROMOTING: WellSpan Health. The regional health system based in York County has named its first-ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. The new chief, Kimberly Brister, had been WellSpan's senior director of talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion. The new role allows her to spend all her time on building a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, WellSpan said in a press release.
  • "Kim has been instrumental in strengthening and representing WellSpan’s position and response to issues of discrimination, bias and racism in our institutions and communities,” Roxanna Gapstur, WellSpan's CEO said in a statement.
  • The health system employs about 20,000 people in a footprint stretching from Franklin County in the west to Lancaster and Lebanon counties in the east.
  • Brister (shown below) joined WellSpan in 2019.


WHO'S PLANNING: Municipalities that would be affected if a new exit is added to Interstate 83 in north-central York County. The exit would fall between current exits 24 and 28, prompting efforts to reconfigure land use and zoning in Manchester, East Manchester and Conewago Townships, as well as Manchester borough. The new exit 26 would be roughly halfway between the existing exits.
What's next: The local municipalities are holding meetings next week to gather public feedback on the draft plan.
  • Conewago is scheduled for Monday, followed by East Manchester on Tuesday, Manchester Township on Wednesday and Manchester borough on Thursday.
  • A decision on whether to build exit 26 itself is still likely several years away.


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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

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