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Dan Landesberg and Jana Kass of Geisinger – Why NEPA? image
May 26, 2020
Dan Landesberg and Jana Kass of Geisinger – Why NEPA?

“The more we can think of this whole area as a unified region with a few major population hubs, the stronger and better we’re going to be in the future.” -- Dan Landesberg

It’s been about six years now, and these NEPA transplants by-way-of Queens still often find themselves in awe of the many, many hiking opportunities just outside their door. Typically, if the sun’s out, so are they. And, rarely will you find this Back Mountain couple adventuring without their adorable Lily, a Black Lab/Pitbull/Collie rescue.

They met in New York just after college, tied the knot soon after and followed a long, fortuitous path to NEPA. Dan suits up as Geisinger’s Associate Vice President of Clinical Operations for the Northeast Region. Jana keeps it together as the same leading healthcare provider’s Nurse Informatician. For these somewhat NEPA newcomers, life is all about giving back to the community.

They’ll also tell you it’s about long, peaceful hikes, dog walks and New York pizza. And, like the venerable Meatloaf once caterwauled, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad.” We caught up with Dan and Jana for a chat back in early March at the Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre campus.


How long have the two of you lived in NEPA?

Dan: Just about 6 years now.


What brought you to NEPA?

Jana: By definition, it would be work. However, I would say, we could have taken jobs in other different areas. You know, me being a nurse and Dan working in administration, typically, other places have those jobs available. But definitely the hiking, the biking, both on and off-road…

Dan: And I think the cost of living is very attractive. Also, when we came here to tour, we ate at a bunch of the local restaurants, and we were like, “Man, this is really good.” And that’s from two people coming from Queens, which has, hands down, the best food in the world.

Jana: Yeah… We’re a little biased about that, but…

Dan: We also love the idea of being a part of a smaller community, too.


What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

Jana: We love to be outside. We love going out to restaurants for dinner. I love the fact that there’s an ice cream shop around the corner. Alright, it’s really like a mile, but we say right around the corner. And we get to walk with our dog. We know our neighbors. We have Frances Slocum just about 8 minutes from our house. Oh, and Ricketts Glen is my favorite.

Dan: That’s another thing… We love camping. We just love being outside, and there’s a lot more options for that here. You can see the stars at night. There’s fresh air. And, there’s always just so much to do. We’ve made great friends. We also love the arts and culture scene here. We saw a show at the Scranton Cultural Center a while ago. We go to the Kirby Center, the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre. We’ve attended quite a few concerts at Mohegan Sun. We definitely make the rounds here, and we love it.


Was there anything that surprised you about NEPA?

Dan: I think the biggest thing was, honestly, the number of people who welcomed us with open arms. In some communities, you might see two people coming in from a bigger city and you know how that could be sometimes. Right away, we just felt at home.

Jana: I felt immediately part of something.

Dan: And one thing that really helped us feel at home and part of something was Leadership Wilkes-Barre. I did the Core Program, and then we both did the Executive Program together. That was absolutely instrumental.

Jana: It was huge. I don’t think words can describe how important that was for us. Just having that opportunity to learn all about the area was amazing and so helpful.


What’s next for you?

Jana: I see myself at Geisinger. And I see us having a family here. I see us getting a lot more involved in community projects and just continuing to grow along with the community and the region.

Dan: I see our future being right here. We love the area. We feel a lot of purpose in what we do. We love working for Geisinger, and we feel that the work we do makes a difference. What else could you ask for? I see us both continuing to grow in our careers, and doing what we can to use the tools we have to continue giving back to the community.


Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

Jana: I hope we can help more people appreciate what we have here. There’s definitely a lot of positive energy about the area already. And that’s definitely something that I’d like to see more people experience.

Dan: Another thing we need to focus on here, between Geisinger, DiscoverNEPA, The Diamond City Partnership, the Wilkes-Barre Chamber and all the other important stakeholders, is that we have to continue to build on all the great work that’s been done downtown and throughout the region to date. I would love to hear from college graduates who studied outside the area that they feel a strong urge to come back, and from local grads that they feel so connected with our community that they want to stay. We’re definitely getting there and we have a strong foundation now. We have to continually ask ourselves — what goes into making this community more attractive for those young people coming out of school with some debt, and perhaps some family connection to the area? What are we doing to keep them here?



Dan: It’s a community that has a ton of love to give. There’s so much to do. There are great people. We have incredible healthcare. The cost of living is desirable. The eco-tourism is as good as anything you’re going to get on the east coast. You’re close to major cities. And, you’ve got a community full of people who are truly committed to making it better and stronger. I don’t know what else you could ask for.

Jana: Everything Dan said (laughs) and add in the fact that I love what I do. I love the people that I work with. I love coming home to see our dog that we rescued from Blue Chip Farm . We’re just grateful. We’ve been given so many opportunities here. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all of the opportunities for recreation. We’re fitness lovers. We really enjoy getting outside and taking Lilly for a walk. And this is the perfect place to do that.