Rhoads Energy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael DeBerdine, Solanco Class of 1983, will be the Distinguished Speaker during graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 11 at the Solanco High School football stadium. DeBerdine’s address to the Class of 2021 will include his belief in the importance of entering the workforce with a positive and determined attitude, and a few of his favorite memories of teachers, friends and activities at Solanco.
DeBerdine is the son of former Solanco teacher Faye DeBerdine, known affectionately by many as “Mrs. D,” who taught language arts at Swift and Smith and 6th grade block at Swift Middle School. Michael DeBerdine attended Quarryville Elementary and Swift Middle School, and in high school he excelled in wrestling, football and track, which earned him induction into the Solanco Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. “My friends were centered around sports teams. We had four great years and many of those friends are still close today,” DeBerdine said. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, Varsity Club, chorale, chorus, and student government.
Following high school, DeBerdine attended Franklin and Marshall College (1983-1987) where he played four years of varsity football while majoring in business administration, with a management focus. “I was so prepared for accounting in college; it was a breeze due to Solanco accounting teacher and wrestling coach Ivan Steele.”
After college graduation, DeBerdine launched two businesses before beginning his career at Rhoads Energy in 1989 as assistant controller. He rose through the company to become controller, general manager, then in 2000 was named CEO for Rhoads Energy, the position he holds today. “My present focus is strategic growth and culture development.”
During his address at graduation, DeBerdine will tell graduating seniors that the correct attitude is critically important to success in the workplace. “We believe if the attitude is right, we can train to the skill needed. When entering the workforce, focus on attitude, as it trumps skill every day.”
Under DeBerdine’s leadership, Rhoads has grown from 25 employees in 2003 to nearly 160 team members. The company serves six counties in southeastern Pennsylvania with propane, heating oil and natural gas. Rhoads Energy has 25 vehicles that have been updated to operate on propane (Autogas), and the company assists schools in switching buses to Autogas. “In addition to more efficient and less expensive operation, the environmental benefits of Autogas are significant in the reduction of climate change,” DeBerdine said.
DeBerdine has been married for nearly 30 years to Debra Grosh, a 1987 Solanco graduate. Their son Nate recently started at Rhoads as assistant controller, and daughters Brooke and Emma both attend and play field hockey for the University of Maryland.
Michael DeBerdine and his sister Jennifer DeBerdine Goldbach, Solanco Class of 1980 and director of sales and marketing at Rhoads Energy, make generous and important donations to the Solanco Education Foundation in support of students, teachers and enhanced educational opportunities in Solanco.
Graduation ceremonies for the Solanco Class of 2021 will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 11 at the Solanco High School football field.