Perhaps the Third Time Will Be the Charm When Nancy Kunkle Retires

Nancy Kunkle is too busy for retirement. She stays active working at CCEDC and taking her kayak out on local waterways.

Nancy Kunkle is bad at retirement.  After long stints at QVC and Boeing, she first tried to retire from The Boeing Company but that didn’t stick.

She ended up at Shop NBC in Minnesota for several years, and took another stab at retirement but once again found herself back at work, this time at the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC).

Nancy joined the organization in 2015 as a project consultant for a Ramp it Up grant that provided programs and resources across Southeastern Pennsylvania’s six-county region to companies looking to reshore production and supply chains back to PA.

She then assumed duties as project manager for another CCEDC project, the Smart Energy Initiative (SEI) in which she helped connect business owners and leaders with training, resources, and informational programming related to all sectors of the energy industry.

Most recently, she assumed duties as Project Director, Innovation and Emerging Technologies, overseeing both the ideas x innovation network (i2n) and Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG).

Her background includes more than 30 years experience leading teams and programs with large matrix-based organizations, aerospace manufacturing/engineering, and multi-channel retail.  After starting her career at Battelle in Columbus, she spent 16 years with The Boeing Company where she held positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and program management.

Nancy also spent more than 15 years in the multi-channel retail industry with QVC and Shop NBC.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and engineering certification courses completed at the Chrysler Center at The University of Michigan.

Marybeth DiVincenzo, CCEDC’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer noted, “It is Nancy’s depth of experience and relationship building that has, in a very short period of time, enabled her to create new  opportunities and achieve early results for each of the initiatives she has directed. “

Weekend Edition sat down with Nancy to get to know her a little better.

Weekend Edition:  Where are you from originally?

Ramp it up – During a program on reshoring, Nancy Kunkle moderates the discussion with panelists Ralf Weiser of Aerzen USA Corporation, Tom Walser of CNC Manufacturing, and Don Rongione of Bollman Hat Company.
During a program on reshoring, Nancy Kunkle moderates the discussion with panelists Ralf Weiser of Aerzen USA Corporation, Tom Walser of CNC Manufacturing, and Don Rongione of Bollman Hat Company.

Nancy Kunkle: I’m from northern New Jersey – Berkley Heights but my father worked for GM so we moved around.  At various points, I lived in New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Florida and eventually settled in the Philadelphia area.

WE: How did you end up in Chester County?

NK: I earned my degree in physiological psychology from Ohio State and then Battelle sent me to the University of Michigan for engineering; shortly after that I came to Pennsylvania to work at Boeing in 1985 and within a year I bought my first house in Kennett Square.

WE: How did you get connected with CCEDC?

NK: I keep trying to retire but it somehow doesn’t seem to stick.  I left Boeing to be home more and joined QVC as Project Management/Customer Advocacy.  Years later, I returned back to Boeing for one last stretch before retirement, but shortly after that was asked to work at Shop NBC in Minnesota by several friends and colleagues that had left QVC to run the company.  I like living in Chester County and didn’t want to give that up so “commuted” for several years to Minneapolis from my home in West Chester; when I retired again from “Shop” I really just came home.

Though glad to be back with my family more, I had a need to keep learning, be engaged, and give back to community.  Around that time, I spoke with Ed Briener who was retiring from Schramm, Inc. and is on the CCEDC board.  He spoke highly of CCEDC, introduced me to the organization, and as I explored further, found the posting for the reshoring job which I thought would be a good fit.

WE: Why is Chester County a great place to live, work, and play?

NK:  There is abundant nature in Chester County with access to open spaces and preserved natural resources.  I particularly enjoy the Brandywine River and the multitude of nature trails.  Additionally, there is a strong sense of community in the towns and boroughs of Chester County.  You also can’t beat the easy access to Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C. for cultural activities and great universities.

WE: Is there a hidden gem that you enjoy in Chester County?

NK:  By far, my favorite place in terms of preserved space is Stroud’s Land Preserve off Creek Road.

WE: What do you enjoy most about CCEDC?

NK:  I enjoy working with a committed and dedicated group of people.  Everyone at CCEDC is focused on keeping Chester County a great place to live.  The board and leadership have built a positive culture for the organization and I’m so thankful that I learn something from them every day, and in some small way, be part of their mission.

WE: What might surprise us about you?

NK:  Given any chance, I would be out on a kayak in any body of water.

WE: What else do you do in your spare time/hobbies?

NK:  I enjoy gardening – flowers not vegetables and hiking.

WE:  Tell us about your family.

NK:  My husband, Steve, is an attorney at Kunkle and Sennett in Westtown and our son, John is enrolled in an accelerated BSN program at Rutgers.  We are fortunate that my in laws live close by in Chadds Ford, and I have an extended family of siblings, nieces, nephews, that come completed with dogs, horses all across the country.

WE:  How do you describe CCEDC to others?

NK:  I tell them that CCEDC is the “unsung hero” organization that ensures business in Chester County and the region have resources to prosper and grow, including infrastructure and workforce.  Everyone at CCEDC is working hard behind the scenes to power Chester County.

WE:  What is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

NK:  The Netherlands – I would live there for the same reasons I value Chester County – the community feel, friendly people, easy access to open space and access to culture.

WE:  What three traits best describe you?

NK:  Positive, curious, and grateful

WE:  If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what else could you see yourself doing?

NK:  Kayaking in the Netherlands and continuing to be no good at retirement.

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