A Week In Business – September 8, 2023

A Week In Business – September 8, 2023
The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce recently partnered with the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce to host a “Fireside Chat” luncheon featuring Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen. Pictured above are Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Thompson, Van Hollen, Cardin and Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Chambers Submitted photo

Practitioner Retires


Nicki Akstinas

BERLIN – After five decades of dedicated and compassionate patient care, women’s health nurse practitioner

Nicki Akstinas has announced her retirement.

Akstinas has spent the last 12 years caring for women of Worcester County and the surrounding area with her colleagues at Atlantic General Women’s Health. September 29, 2023 will be her last day.

Patients can transfer their care to another provider within Atlantic General Women’s Health by calling the office at 443-728-1050. Women who plan to seek care outside of Atlantic General Health System can call Atlantic General Hospital’s Medical Records Department at 410-641-9616 to request their records.

Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines compassion and expertise with the latest in technology and services.


New Board Members

SALISBURY – Hudson Behavioral Health announced the election of three new members to its Board of Directors, including Tina Simmons, R.N., Meredith Mears, and Jordan Cropper.


Tina Simmons

Simmons serves as the director of population health at Atlantic General Hospital and


Meredith Mears

was involved with the opening of the Worcester County walk-in behavioral health crisis center. Mears, a commercial real estate agent and economic development specialist, has

assisted Hudson with growth and expansion opportunities over the last several years. Cropper is a teacher and pastor at Sonrise

Church in Berlin, Md., and he leads the Celebrate Recovery


Jordan Cropper

ministry, a program to help participants overcome hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

“At Hudson, we are committed to maintaining a diverse board of members with different

backgrounds that can help support our mission statement,” said Leslie Brown. “Tina, Meredith and Jordan are enthusiastic individuals with a passion for bettering their communities, and I know they’ll be an asset to our organization as we continue to grow.”

Returning board members include Toni Keiser, Cynthia MacDonald, Nate Passwaters, and Michael Trader, LCSW-C.





Vice President Named

SALISBURY – With more than a decade of experience in higher education administration, Aurora Edenhart-Pepe has been named Salisbury University’s new vice president of administration and finance.

Edenhart-Pepe comes to SU from Wake Forest University School of Law, where she has served as chief administrative officer. She begins her new role at SU on October 1.

“With a background in human resources and budgeting, Aurora has helped transform some of the nation’s best-known institutions,” said SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre. “The effects of her work can still be felt at Duke, Georgetown and Wake Forest universities, and we are excited that she chose to bring that expertise to Salisbury. We look forward to welcoming her to the Sea Gull family.”

At SU, Edenhart-Pepe will oversee the university’s overall budget, financial and administrative operations,


Aurora Edenhart-Pepe

including capital projects, facilities management, human resources, information technology, and campus safety and sustainability.

As a member of the seven-member President’s Cabinet, she also will play a major role in helping to make the decisions that guide the University and provide the best opportunities for its students and other stakeholders.

In addition, she will help SU transition to Workday enterprise resource planning software, a process that began more than a year ago in connection with other University System of Maryland institutions. This platform is expected to be a critical component for many of SU’s current systems, from student services to employee management.

At Wake Forest, Edenhart-Pepe has provided organizational and operational leadership during a time of major transformation, successfully leading all business administration, operations and finance for the law school through the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also worked with the dean to build an effective strategy that moved the school’s U.S. News & World Report ranking for “Best Colleges” from 41st to 22nd in its category.

Prior to joining Wake Forest, she held positions focused on human resources and organizational leadership at Georgetown University Law Center and Duke University’s Graduate School and Office of Information Technology.

“I have worked to enhance workplace culture and design and execute practical but impactful business processes and policies that increase the effectiveness and fairness of the institution,” she said. “I plan to continue this work at a place that welcomes excellence, capitalizes on hard working talent, and seeks to make meaningful contributions to the lives of students and the world. I look forward to this next step with SU.”


Director Announced

SALISBURY – The Salisbury Zoo’s new director brings nearly 40 years of experience in animal care to the position. And he’s not new to the Salisbury Zoo, either.

After a national search, Chuck Eicholz, who had served as the acting zoo director since former Director Leonora Dillon’s retirement at the end of June, was selected for the role. Prior to that, he had served as the zoo’s curator since January 2021.

As director, Eicholz will make sure the zoo is running efficiently and ensure compliance with animal care standards. Among his other duties will be increasing fundraising and growing the zoo’s pool of volunteers.

One major goal for Eicholz in his new position is to lead the Salisbury Zoo in regaining accreditation with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

“The park has a great history, and we just want to make sure it continues,” Eicholz said, also praising the zoo’s great team.

Eicholz started working in the animal care field in 1984, and in 1985, he became a trainer at SeaWorld working with killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, otters and walrus. He’s also worked at the National Aquarium, the Irvine Nature Center, and other small zoos. He used to run his own animal sanctuary, Misfits Animal Sanctuary.

Allen Swiger, director of the Arts, Business and Culture Department, of which the Salisbury Zoo is a part, is glad to have Eicholz in this role.

“I am optimistic about the Salisbury Zoo’s future with Chuck as our Zoo director,” Swiger said. “His unwavering perseverance, zoological knowledge and commitment to serving our community elevated him above all other candidates during our national search. I know he’ll do a great job.”