Chet Zoltak: the human resources feel eight hours closer to home

As filed – without edits – for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Chet Zoltak has taken on another time committment after the workday and still can’t believe he’s at his Philadelpia home so much.

Zoltak, minted as president of the Philadelphia Human Resources Planning Society in November, spent 2005 commuting to a job as global leader of learning and talent development for the Timken Co., a friction management and power transmission manufacturer in Canton, Ohio.

“Two weeks there, one week here,” he said. “Sometimes I’d jump on a plane. Sometimes I’d drive… 7 1/2 hours.”

He took the position in late 2004 after operating his own consulting firm in the region, after being contacted by a headhunter.

“It was an opportunity to build a new function, which is something I love to do,” he said.

But midway through 2005 the commuting drained him and he and his wife wouldn’t move. So, it came as no surprise when, in January 2006, he took the position of corporate director of organization development for the AmerisourceBergen Corp., a pharmaceutical company in Valley Forge.

“I am developing key leaders,” he said. “It’s talent acquisition and management.”

The transition must be going well, if his being nominated and elected to lead Philadelphia’s 300-member affiliate of the national professional society for the human resources field is any indication.

“We are senior hr professionals in the area who get together,” Zoltak said. “They are charged with the same things i do.”

Zoltak plans to use his two-year term to bolster membership to add corporate sponsorship to develop better programing, he said.

“Which builds membership. It feeds itself,” Zoltak said. “It’s my mantra.”

He’s working on all those parts of the “three-legged stool.

”Most notable might be the programming, as the society offers bimonthly events to its members.The group hosts speakers, uses case studies or fits their own members into themes that are affecting the human resources community in the region.

“We’re always looking for great programs that will bring in new members and drive corporate sponors.”

It is about professional development.

“They’re out to build and develop the companies they work for,” he said. “And we do it through people.”

Currently, Zoltak is overseeing a membership survey, so they can even better serve their audience after the results come in by mid-May.

In October, the group is hosting an event open to all human resources professionals and corporate leadership.“We try to create an event that is beneficial to both the business side and the people side,” he said.

The event’s keynote speaker is Jim Kouzes, a well-known voice on leadership and leadership development.

“We try to bring in best practices,” he said. “The most progressive methods we can find.”

It’s extra work, but definitely less than an 8-hour commute, Zoltak said. He and his wife are Chestnut Hill empty-nesters now, so he might have had too much free time, and there are other benefits, too.

“It’s part of my own professional development.”

See similar profiles for the Philadelphia Business Journal here. See other examples of my reporting here.