The Chloé Eichelberger ’54 Chair in Business Education
Chloé Rhoads Eichelberger has been an innovator and savvy risk-taker throughout her life. A leading business entrepreneur, generous philanthropist, and tireless volunteer, she believes that “great things don’t just happen, but that one must make them happen.”
True to her words, Eichelberger recently created the first-ever endowed professorship at York College, the Chloé Eichelberger Chair in Business Education, to enhance the College’s ability to prepare future business leaders. She is a 1954 graduate of York Junior College and trustee emerita of the College.
“There is never a more appropriate time than the present to strengthen the College’s ongoing capacity to develop strong business leaders for the future,” said Eichelberger. “Through exposure to the most creative minds we can attract, my wish is that students will be inspired to pursue their passions, explore, dare to risk, follow their talents and set high goals for themselves.”
The Eichelberger Chair is awarded to a full-time faculty member who will “provide all interested students at the graduate and undergraduate level, majors and non-majors alike, with a supportive and challenging learning environment for the study and application of strong, ethical business practices, practices that have been the hallmark of Chloé Eichelberger’s own work.” He or she will “demonstrate a clear vision for, and credentials that support, developing the relationship between York College and the local business community.”
David Greisler, assistant professor of Management and director of the College’s MBA program, has been named the inaugural appointee to the Eichelberger Chair.
“Ms. Eichelberger has been an exemplary trustee and alumna of York College, maintaining interest and involvement and always ready to contribute her wisdom and resources to worthwhile endeavors,” said President George Waldner. “York is a stronger, better institution because of her commitment.”
Following graduation from William Penn High School in York, Eichelberger embarked on what would become a lifelong career in the textile industry, beginning as a laboratory technician at United Piece Dye Works in Middletown, Pa. She then furthered her education by completing an associate’s degree at York Junior College and a bachelor’s degree from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, now Philadelphia University.
In the early 1970s, when United Piece Dye Works was purchased by Pricel Industries of France, Eichelberger was chosen to serve as an emissary and visit the French company’s home operations. It was the beginning of her rapid ascent through a number of leadership positions at United, which culminated in her being named general manager and vice president in 1975.
Several years later, Eichelberger began working with a group of colleagues in a successful bid to purchase the company from its foreign owner. She eventually bought the Pennsylvania plant from the other members of the ownership group and became sole owner and president of the new company, Chloé Eichelberger Textiles, a major supplier of finely finished fabrics for men’s and women’s wear, as well as the home furnishings industry.
“In the early days with United Piece Dye Works,” Eichelberger said, “I was very fortunate to work with bosses who willingly shared their knowledge. In doing so, they gained my respect, and during ensuing years, they gave me respect. Later, as a business owner, I kept the premise of sharing knowledge, challenging employees, and acknowledging accomplishment as a cornerstone of my management style.”
Eichelberger’s business continued to thrive until 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became effective and the nature of the textile industry changed forever, according to Eichelberger. “After NAFTA, plants closed and workers were unemployed as the industry went to Mexico and offshore,” she said. “Today, much of the industry has relocated to China, with only a highly fragmented industry remaining in the United States.”
Having had extensive experience and long-term associations with her New York customers, Eichelberger was asked by several to continue supplying fabric to them as a consultant. With a new business opportunity in her sights, she closed her manufacturing facility in Middletown in 2001 and opened an office in downtown York. She now serves as a broker and technical consultant to the industry, offering customers recommendations on where to have their fabrics processed. She visits facilities, checks out their equipment, and often travels to the manufacturer to ensure the quality of the fabric during production.
“Ultimately, my job has always been and continues to be about providing a quality product to my customers,” Eichelberger said. “If I have to compromise quality, I don’t want to be in business anymore.”
Eichelberger’s business acumen has been widely recognized and is evidenced by her past memberships on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Susquehanna Bancshares, and the York Water Company. She continues to serve on the PA Chamber of Business and Industry Board. In 2009, she was inducted as a member of the Central Penn Business Journal’s Hall of Fame.
Her involvement in community and civic affairs has been extensive as well. She chairs the Board of Directors of Memorial Hospital in York and has been a principal supporter of Junior Achievement, Miss York County and Junior Miss of York County. Her charitable work has been noted through her receipt of the YWCA’s Women Who Make a Difference Award and the York Foundation’s Judy Simpson Award. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1996 and received an honorary doctorate from York College in 2009.
Gravely injured in an automobile accident in 1984, Eichelberger has endured years of rehabilitation and recovery. Perseverance and determination in both her personal and professional life have made Eichelberger a wonderful example for the students of York College.
“To others who meet challenges in their pursuit of excellence and happiness, I would offer a few simple thoughts,” she said. “Be sure you are pursuing a trade, profession or business you love. Learn to trust, and you will be trusted. Finally, treat your integrity as an irreplaceable asset. It will comfort you when nothing else can.”
In addition to serving as director of the MBA program, David Greisler teaches operations management and business strategy in both the undergraduate and graduate program at York College, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2002. Prior to that, he spent 22 years in the healthcare industry, including a 15-year tenure with WellSpan Health that concluded with him serving as chief operations officer of WellSpan Medical Group, a 235-physician multispecialty group practice.
“I consider it a privilege to be a member of the York College faculty,” Greisler said. “I value and enjoy connecting with students as well as interacting with colleagues.”
Greisler holds an undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree in health service administration from George Washington University, and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. In 1997, he was appointed Senior Academic Fellow at Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. As the primary author of more than 50 professional publications, he has presented his writings at both national and international conferences.
“Dave is a community leader, volunteer, and philanthropist,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Dominic DelliCarpini, Ph.D. “He brings all the right skills to this position. In the end, this is an acknowledgement of what those who know David well know about him: That he is at once a good businessman, a highly respected educator and a good man.”
Upon accepting the Chloé Eichelberger Chair, Greisler said, “Ms. Eichelberger embodies the purposes for which her generous donation is intended – business education. Consider that beyond her degree from Philadelphia University, she has successfully asserted herself in business becoming sole owner and president of Chloé Eichelberger Textiles. It was an international journey and wise business decisions that accomplished this.”