Needler to lead United Way fundraising campaign

Michael J. Needler Jr., president and chief executive officer of Fresh Encounter, Inc., is serving as the chair of this year’s United Way of Hancock County campaign.
Fresh Encounter, Inc. owns and operates 28 supermarkets in western Ohio and Indiana, including three Great Scot supermarkets in Hancock County. Needler has selected “We are in the Market for a Better Community” as this year’s theme.
“Since we have seen the work that United Way of Hancock County is doing, my family eagerly accepted the leadership role in this year’s fundraising efforts,” Needler said. He serves as a board member for Findlay Family YMCA, Ohio Grocers Association and the Food Marketing Institute and is on the government relations committee with the National Grocers Association.
The campaign team has been meeting since April and is preparing to kick off this year’s drive on Sept. 5.
Needler’s campaign team, which has been meeting since April, includes several corporate and community leaders.
Leading the corporate giving division is Chris Ostrander, president of Cooper Tire’s North American Tire Operations. Ostrander serves on the University of Findlay board of trustees, the Hancock County Performing Arts Center board, the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association board and is chairman of the board for Cooper’s joint venture manufacturing facility in El Salto, Mexico.
Chris Webb is serving as this year’s health division chair. He is the director of Occupational Health and Rehabilitation Services for Blanchard Valley Health System. He is a member of the Ohio Hospital Association’s Safety Council and serves as chairperson for the Occupational Health advisory board in collaboration with local employers. He serves on the Findlay Family YMCA’s board of directors and membership committee, has volunteered for the Feed-A-Child program, Habitat for Humanity, Arthritis Foundation and just participated in his third Pan Ohio Hope Ride, cycling 344 miles while helping the American Cancer Society raise nearly $800,000. Webb has also been the race director for the Flirt with Dirt 5K race, which benefits Christian Clearing House, for the past 5 years.
Kable Derrow, owner and dealer of Findlay Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, is this year’s commercial division chair. He relocated to Findlay after acquiring the dealership in 2013. He was a past volunteer for the Defiance Area YMCA.
Jerry Greer is heading the public division. Greer is a captain on the Findlay Fire Department. He is serving his second year as a chairman of Cancer Patient Services Chili Cook-Off. He organized Project Smoke Alarms for Everyone (S.A.F.E.) which ensures that every child in Findlay City Schools receives a working smoke alarm. He teaches fire safety to the community as part of the Downtown Fire Task Force and is a graduate of Hancock Leadership 2014.
Stephanie Weissling leads the mercantile division. She is the owner of Tangles Salon and Day Spa. She is past vice president and current president of Canterbury Swim and Tennis Club. She volunteers at Whittier Elementary School and has served on the visioning committee at St. Andrew’s Church. She is also on the advisory board for the Millstream Cosmetology program.
Chadwick Bain is serving as the professional services division chair. Bain is director of golf, membership and marketing at the Findlay Country Club. He is on the 2014 Northern Ohio PGA Awards Committee and was a 2010 Northern Ohio PGA board member.
David Cassidy will be leading the retiree/independent division. Cassidy has been a United Way volunteer since 1990. He also served on the board of the American Cancer Society and the Knights of Columbus. He is retired from Chrysler. Cassidy was selected to receive United Way’s Jeri Bjorling Memorial Distinguished Volunteer Award in 2012.
Mitch Welty, the Legacy Farmers Cooperative division grain manager, is leading the rural division. He serves on the Findlay Hancock County Chamber advisory board, Findlay Hancock County Convention and Visitors Bureau board, Hancock County Agricultural Society board and the Southeast Grain and Feed Association board. He is a 4-H volunteer club leader, a member of the Findlay Hancock County Agricultural committee and United Way’s Halt Hunger Initiative.
The education division chair is Wayne Ford. Most recently he has served as the business and community relations manager at Brown Mackie College. He is a business owner with Boxcrushers, Inc., a motivational speaking company. He is vice president of education for Sunrise Toastmasters of Findlay and has served as a board member with ADAMHS board and Cancer Patient Services, and has been a member of the Men’s Mentoring Men group with the Black Heritage Library. He has volunteered at the Mazza Museum and the City Mission.
The finance, insurance, and real estate division is chaired by Blair Lane, a commercial banker and vice president at the Union Bank Company. He serves as treasurer and board member for Habitat for Humanity, is a member of and treasurer for Kiwanis and sits on the Small Business Resource Center board. He is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church and a past member of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp.
Michael Needler Sr., chairman of Fresh Encounter, Inc., is serving as the Gaslight Society membership chair. He has held a variety of management positions including: labor relations/contract negotiation, real estate, finance, store operations, and marketing. He is a past chairman of the National Grocers Association and Food Marketing Institute. In 2004, Ohio Grocers Association inducted him into the Ohio Grocers Hall of Fame. Needler’s past volunteer positions include: elder and trustee at the First Presbyterian Church; board member of the Community Improvement Corporation; board member of the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation; board member at Hanover College; past president and member of the Findlay Skeet Club; member and past president of the Findlay Country Club; member of Downtown Advisory Board of the Findlay/Hancock County Chamber of Commerce; board member for the American Cancer Society, Findlay Rotary Club, Findlay Area Chamber of Commerce and Heidelberg College. He will be encouraging individuals to join the Gaslight Society by pledging at levels of $750 and above annually.
The United Way will host its annual campaign kickoff breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sept. 5 under a tent in the parking lot of Great Scot, 2021 Broad Ave. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required by visiting The breakfast is sponsored by Great Scot Community Markets, the Kirk Family of Companies and Fifth Third Bank.
Funds raised each year by the campaign cabinet team are used for grants to local nonprofit agencies that provide services to those in need in Hancock County. Funds are also used to support United Way’s Halt Hunger Initiative and other programs that improve people’s lives. Local companies are holding in-house United Way campaigns, often offering payroll deduction as a way to donate.
Local businesses or corporations interested in holding a fundraising campaign should contact Michael Momany, resource development director, at or at the United Way office, 419-423-1432.



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