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Meet the PFDA Staff

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PFDA Staff Directory

John W. Eirkson, CAE
Executive Director
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

John is a 1972 graduate of Adrian College in Michigan. He became the Executive Director of PFDA in 1982 and has served in that capacity for more than 30 years. Prior to joining PFDA, John was the Executive Director at the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association, Managing Director of the Washington State Funeral Directors Association, and Assistant Executive Director of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association.

He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) since 1972. John is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) since 1979, member and past board member of the Pennsylvania Society of Association Executives (PASAE), member and past chairman of the Council of Funeral Services Executives.

John was very involved in the recovery and identification process of the crash of U. S. Air Flight 427 near the Pittsburgh International Airport on September 8, 1994 and the crash of United Flight #93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Somerset County, on September 11, 2001.

He coordinated PFDA's partnering with the Hearts of Steel Bracelet project to raise funds to construct a permanent lasting memorial to honor the heroes of Flight 93 in Shanksville. This was done through the sale of Hearts of Steel bracelets.
Years of Service: 31

Kathleen K. Ryan, Esquire
General Counsel & Chief Operating Officer
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)
717-554-6393 (cell)

Kathleen K. Ryan, Esquire, is General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer for PFDA and Unichoice Cooperative Inc. Prior to joining PFDA, Ms. Ryan served as a senior prosecutor for the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, prosecuting for the State Board of Medicine and the State Board of Funeral Directors and other Boards as needed.

She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Williamsport Area Community College and
Magna Cum Laude from Bloomsburg University with majors in Political Science and Biology. Kathy clerked for the Honorable Clinton W. Smith, Court of Common Pleas, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, prior to going to law school

She is a 1992 graduate of Widener School of Law, Harrisburg Campus and did internships with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. In addition, Kathy has served as an Adjunct Professor at Widener Law School, teaching the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program and most recently served as an Adjunct Professor at Northampton Community College of Mortuary Science, teaching the law course. Kathy currently is a member of the Dauphin County and Pennsylvania Bar Associations.
Years of Service: 12

Theodore G. Nielsen
Director of Marketing and Membership Development for Unichoice
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)
Ted handles the marketing of Unichoice and works on assigned special projects.
Years of Service: 22

Jo Ann G. Borsic
Paralegal/Convention & Meetings Coordinator
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

Jo Ann is a graduate of Penn State University and the Philadelphia Institute of Paralegal Studies. She has served as the Paralegal backup for Kathy Ryan, and as the meetings and convention coordinator since 2003. She provides legal assistance to membership, is editor of The Reporter, tracks legislation and attends State Board meetings. Jo Ann also manages the continuing education seminars offered by the association. Prior to joining PFDA, she worked as an assistant to the general counsel at Hershey Foods Corporation and a legal assistant in the PA Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Prosecution Division, where she handled complaints involving funeral service licensees, health related boards, and real estate licensees.
Years of Service: 11

Susan A. Bertsch
Membership Coordinator
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

Sue is the Membership Coordinator managing all membership-related data. She processes new and renewing memberships, assists with membership recruitment and outreach campaigns, and helps to promote PFDA services, resources and benefits. She performs other duties as needed to support membership development.
Years of Service: 17

Ruth Ann Carrera
Trust Administrator
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

Ruth manages the preneed trust. She handles the day-to-day processing of trust claims and banking.
Years of Service: 30

Guoli Zhao
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

Guoli was born in Beijing, China. She obtained a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Renmin University in Beijing and a Master of Science Degree in Accountancy from the University of Akron. She has passed the CPA exam. Guoli joined PFDA more than 14 years ago and provides daily accounting services to the association and SecurChoiceTM members and patrons.
Years of Service: 14

Teri S. Morgan
Administrative Assistant
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

Teri processes the insurance trust claims and is the backup for Ruth. She inputs data on the PFDA website and works on numerous association activities assigned daily.
Years of Service: 24

Jessica Schaufert
Administrative Assistant
800-692-6068 (toll free)
717-545-7215 (office)

Jessica is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Communications and minored in Business Administration. She updates the PFDA website and runs the social media platforms. She also works on numerous different administrative tasks within the office.

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