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Michael DiMare of Geisinger Wyoming Valley -- Why NEPA? image
July 06, 2023
Michael DiMare of Geisinger Wyoming Valley -- Why NEPA?
Jonathan Davies

“I think I’ve said family about fifteen or twenty times during this interview, so I guess that’s really what it’s all about.”

Michael DiMare grew up in a modest two-story house in Queens, New York. He shared the second story with his small family – mom, dad, sister. His grandparents lived on the first level. And it didn’t matter how much you complained that you were busy watching the Jets, the Mets or the Knicks, there was no escaping Grandma’s massive pasta dinners every Sunday. Yeah. It was one of those quintessential Broadway-esque, Italian American upbringings.

While the pull of Manhattan was always a thing, young Mike drifted toward the beaches of Long Island and probably more so the Pocono Mountains. He spent most of his formative summers at his grandparent’s getaway home in NEPA. There, he fell in love with open spaces, fishing, riding bikes and clean, mountain air.

And that’s precisely what brought him back for college in 2002. He earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Misericordia University (and played a little soccer, too). By the time he was a senior, he had fallen in love again. This time with a local girl. The stars aligned. They did clinical rotations together. His fancy, final rotation in NYC fell through and there was little left to do but stay, get married, welcome a pair of boys and some dogs and call NEPA home (though it kinda’ seems like this was the plan all along).

We caught Geisinger’s Administrative Director on a lunch break at the new Geisinger Healthplex CenterPoint in Pittston. And while we could have easily spent the hour trashing the Mets, we had important questions to ask, like Why NEPA?


How long have you lived in NEPA?

So, I started at Misericordia in 2002 and I never left. Technically, I became a resident of Pennsylvania when I graduated college in 2007, but I’ve been here since 2002. So, just over 20 years, I guess.

What do you love about your town?

What I love about the Back Mountain is the close-knit community. You know, when you work for Geisinger, you’re constantly caring for your community. So, it’s not uncommon that I can walk around Dallas or go to the grocery store and run into somebody who has a connection to Geisinger in some way. And in this close-knit community, those same people I see at the grocery store are also there at the sport fields or the school. There always seems to be some kind of connection. And living in that kind of community actually inspired me to get on the Dallas School Board. I saw it as a good way to give back to the community – by having a positive impact on the school district where not only your own kids go to school, but so do your friend’s kids and your neighbor’s kids. That’s probably one of the great things about where we live in the Back Mountain or in NEPA in general. You have the ability to influence the community in a positive way. You can have an impact. And I think that’s a lot harder to do in bigger cities.

Of course, it’s also all about the beauty of this place. I have two dogs. We like to spend a lot of time on the Back Mountain Trail. We also spend so much of our time at sport fields in the region and they’re always surrounded by trees and there always seems to be some beautiful hiking trails nearby. It’s just a great place to live and raise a family.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Ok. So, it’s going to be Pazzo 315. I come from a strong Italian-American heritage, and their food is just always fantastic. It’s family-run. And there are tons of great restaurants here, but you can go to Pazzo whenever you want and the food is always excellent. It’s spot on. You always see familiar faces from other diners to the waitstaff. It’s just an enjoyable experience every time.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

For me, personally, my favorite thing to do, when I have the opportunity, is golfing. There are so many great golf courses here. They’re beautiful. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. You can get it all, too. You can go to somewhere like Stone Hedge where you’re in the mountains. You can go to the Poconos and play Woodloch. Or you can stay here in the valley and play one of the many beautiful country clubs. I have Huntsville right there in my backyard. It’s just gorgeous. Anytime I can, I try to get out and golf. It’s certainly more challenging with work and kids (laughs).

Aside from me personally, it’s really just about enjoying time spent with my wife and children. We enjoy participating in sports. I’m a volunteer coach for Back Mountain Soccer. We’re always involved in something whether its soccer, lacrosse, baseball, basketball. They pretty much play every sport they can (laughs).

And if it’s not golf or sports, I really enjoy taking my dogs for walks. We’re always hitting different trails here or there. I find it very relaxing and therapeutic to just get outside and walk.

What’s next for you?

I always tell people that I have two goals each day – stay married and keep my kids alive (laughs). That’s important. Those are the short-term goals, I guess. Seriously though, I want to be a really good dad and instill what was instilled in me from my parents and grandparents into my children. You know, respect, working hard…the concept that you get out exactly what you put into things has always been a part of who I am. It’s up to us to work hard and get a desired result. And if we don’t, it doesn’t mean we pout or cry, we just have to change the way we’re looking at it. I try to teach that to my boys. My hope is that between my wife and I, we raised two very respectable young men that will make something of themselves and put something into this world for the better.

And I guess, professionally, I don’t know. It’s a tough question. If you asked me this question three years ago, I would have never guessed that I’d be where I am now with Geisinger. They’ve offered me tremendous career growth and opportunity. I’ve taken advantage of their generous tuition assistance and earned multiple degrees while working here. That alone has afforded me so many opportunities within the organization. And my goal professionally is to just get better each day and earn more experience and to continue to grow. I’m honored to hold an administrative role within the organization and I look forward to the future with Geisinger. I think we’re becoming the biggest healthcare provider in the area. Our community continues to look to us to expand access and to provide the care that they need. It’s such a unique opportunity that we have as a healthcare provider to care for our neighbors that we’re going to see at the grocery store and school events and concerts. I am really looking forward to being a part of that and shaping the future for Geisinger Northeast.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I think NEPA has grown tremendously in the time that I’ve been here. I honestly think NEPA is a lot like Long Island just with a lot more mountains (laughs). We are definitely starting to see a lot more of these bigger companies settle in NEPA. And I think we’re starting to see individuals and families really recognize that they can live a tremendous life outside of the major cities. And people are looking for that. You can find entertainment. You can find good food. You can find affordable housing and well-paying jobs. And you can create a lifestyle here that is much harder to attain living in a big city. I don’t see that going away. In fact, I think it seems to only accelerate. Just look at all of these bigger companies that are planting roots here. They spend millions on market research, and they’re not going to relocate to or build in a place that’s not continuing to grow. As long as we’re still offering those quality-of-life components, I think the sky’s the limit for NEPA. I guess the hope is that, with all of the colleges and universities here, we can get the younger generations to see how good they have it here.


This has become my home. My children love it here. They’ve established themselves and built friendships here. My wife is from the area. And we’ve made it our home. I’m proud to call it that. And the thought of going somewhere else and trying to do this elsewhere – I think it would be very hard to find this fit. The connection to the community, the size, the outdoor space, the beauty of it – it would be difficult to find all of that somewhere else, and it’s not something I’m particularly interested in trying. Additionally, my wife’s family is still here. My parents and my sister still live in New York. We’re not far from each other. And we want our boys to be close to their grandparents. That’s important to us. This is our place and we’re proud to call it home.