A Harrisburg attorney is set to serve as the new president of the board of directors for the Carlisle Theatre.
McNees Wallace & Nurick attorney Jeffrey Esch McCombie was elected to the position Monday. He’ll serve a two-year term as president after spending the previous two years as a member of its board of directors.
McCombie is a member of the McNees Real Estate and Oil & Gas Practice Groups, where he focuses his practice on land-use matters and assists his clients in reaching favorable zoning and land development outcomes.
McCombie is a Hampden Township resident and graduate of Carlisle’s Dickinson School of Law.
Information on the Carlisle Theatre can be found on their website: http://carlisletheatre.org.
Q. You’ve recently been named president of the board of directors of the Carlisle Theatre. What was the process for your election?
A. It is a difficult time for non-profits, especially those in the performing arts. Due in large part to changes in the economy and our marketplace, our board takes a deliberate and analytical approach to all decisions that affect the theater. In this case, the board initially appointed a committee to nominate candidates. The committee met two or three times to discuss potential candidates and then brought their recommendation to the board for a decision. John Martin was named vice-president and, together, we hope to continue a process initiated over the summer that will move the theater forward while never forgetting our roots.
Q. What responsibilities come with this new president’s role?
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A. Most of the day-to-day responsibilities fall to Leslie Sterner, our theater manager, and her staff of part-time employees and volunteers. Sterner’s position is of paramount importance to the theater. However, while she drives the bus, we’d be nothing without our wonderful volunteers. Having great volunteers is essential to our non-profit. Although we greatly appreciate the help we have, we could use some additional support if any of your readers are interested. Our board is a working board. As president, I am part of the executive committee which decides larger issues that may arise week-to-week. In addition, the president guides our board and delegates responsibilities with respect to major decisions, but in the end, we cannot simply be policy setters – in fact, many of the great volunteers I referred to above are also members of our board.
Q. Do you have any personal goals you’d like to accomplish in this new role?
A. I’d like to ensure the financial stability of the theater. It is an older building, originally opening in 1939. It was the first building in Carlisle with central air. Maintaining such a building, while also putting on various shows, workshops, films and presentations for schools, is not inexpensive, that’s especially so with today’s technology. Accordingly, we intend to make certain changes that will reduce costs and increase revenue for the theater. In addition, we must continue to solicit support from the community.
In general, the Cumberland Valley and surrounding region is full of budding industries and businesses, and continues to see great success among our more established enterprises. Many of those wonderful, local businesses and individuals already support the theater financially, and it cannot continue to exist without such support. So a goal of mine is to expand our relationships with local individuals, businesses and institutions, both financially and by collaborating on projects and events.
Q. What are your thoughts on the Carlisle Theatre’s place in the community?
A. The theater’s community is both Carlisle and the greater Cumberland Valley and surrounding area. Our mission is to fulfill the cultural and artistic needs of the residents, businesses and institutions existing in our community. For many decades the theater has added value to our community’s vibrancy and diversity, and we intend to continue to do so for decades to come. In fact, we are working now to begin collaborating with local schools in an effort to bring more children to the theater – and the theater to more children. In addition, the theater is a place for adults and families alike to not only enjoy shows and films, but to take part in shows and films.
Q. Does your background in law help you at all moving forward in this new role?
A. I’m fortunate to work at McNees Wallace and Nurick, a firm that has been a part of the same community as the theater since the 1930s. It is appropriate, I think, that McNees and the theater both got their starts during the same decade. McNees takes a “clients first” approach, and understands that such an approach requires that we give back to the community. Accordingly, it is a priority of the firm that its attorneys and employees be involved with non-profits, be philanthropists, and take on pro bono projects. I received my law degree from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, so I believe the analytical skills I learned there and while working at McNees will greatly benefit the theater. In addition, McNees believes in project management, both as it relates to how our clients handle their business and as it relates to how we handle projects internally. The skills associated with being a strong project manager carry over easily into my role on the board.