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News Briefs People on the Move

People on the Move: Feb. 24

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People on the Move is a rundown of recent hirings, promotions, appointments and other notable movements by professionals in the state. If you’re interested in submitting an entry, please contact news@delawarebusinesstimes.com.

Bhaskar Palekar, MD, was honored with the 2022 Physician Philanthropy Award in honor of his generosity. Throughout his career, Dr. Palekar has always been available for Foundation functions, including the patient referrals, presentations and talks, and membership in the 1916 Club. He was president of the Medical Staff and Chairman of the Board of Directors, alongside many other positions and accolades. joined Beebe Healthcare’s Medical Staff in July of 1977 and has made a lifelong impact on the healthcare system and community in his many years of service.

Dr. Palekar, center with plaque, with Paul C. Peet, MD, president of Beebe Medical Staff, Tom Protack, president, Beebe Medical Foundation, Michele Rollins, former Foundation Board Chair, David A. Tam, MD, president & CEO, Beebe Healthcare, Keith Warren, chief of staff, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long’s Office, and Kay Young, executive director of Development, Beebe Medical Foundation. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BEEBE

“It was my honor to celebrate the two loves of Dr. Palekar, medicine and humankind,” Tom Protack, president, Beebe Medical Foundation, said. “Dr. Palekar has done so much for Beebe and the community, with his contagious laugh, joy in his heart and sparkle in his eye.”

Dr. Palekar is widely known for “patient clubs.” Years ago, Dr Palekar started his “90’s Club,” in which he currently has more than 45 patients who have reached their 90th birthday, with over 150 inducted along the years. He also proudly started “Dr Palekar’s Centurion Club” and is currently celebrating 6 members who are over 100 years of age. They all look forward to receiving their induction certificate at their visit.

Whisman Giordano & Associates, LLC (WGA) announced Alex Lalani, CPA, has been promoted to the role of principal. Lalani has been with Whisman Giordano for a decade delivering tax, and consulting services to businesses and individuals. He has 15 years of experience and specializes in closely-held businesses, construction, estates and trusts, high-wealth individuals, and real estate.


Lalani is a husband, father of two, adjunct professor of taxation at a local college, and a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany. He is a leader and mentor within WGA, leading client experience and professional development efforts. Lalani was born in India and came to the United States as a child. He speaks multiple languages and, in his early working life, owned and operated multiple general merchandise retail stores across several states. Lalani is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants.

President and Managing Director Joseph V. Giordano, CPA, CGMA says about Lalani’s promotion, “Alex has been an essential member of our firm, and even more so, our family for a decade. He is a talented accountant who puts clients first and inspires confidence in the team. Alex is a true leader. His promotion to principal is a natural next step. We have every confidence in his continued success.”  Lalani shared “I truly appreciate the opportunities and the challenges that this promotion holds. Whisman Giordano is a special place, and I will continue to do my best to lead our team to grow and deliver top-quality service to our clients.

Mercantile Processing Inc. announced Ben Gray has joined the growing MPI team and will be serving as the chief operating officer. “Adding Ben to our leadership team has been a critical step in outfitting our company with someone who has the tremendous talent needed to strengthen our company. Even in the short time he has been with us, his impact on our employees has been instrumental in further enhancing our company culture” McMillan said.

Gray is a Sussex County native with deep roots in Southern Delaware. He comes to MPI with extensive leadership and business operations skills, having served twelve years in the hospitality sector, where he directly impacted the fiscal and people management of over 200 employees and $100 million in assets. At MPI, Gray will be responsible for scaling the company’s rapid growth by increasing operational efficiencies and enhancing the company culture. Gray has a heart for the growth and development of his home state and has a true passion for working with people. MPI is confident that Gray will be instrumental in their continued growth plan and in sustaining their reputation as the area’s most reputable merchant services provider.

Michael D. Kelly, CPA, Karly A. Laughlin, CPA, AEPand Jonathan A. Patterson, CPA, CVA have each been named a shareholder/director in their respective Practice Groups. Michael E. Mast, CPA, CFE was promoted to principal in the firm’s Government Practice Group.

Kelly started with BLS as a staff accountant and will celebrate his 15th work anniversary in 2023. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in Mathematics Education and a BS in Accounting and subsequently earned an MS in Taxation from Villanova University. Over the course of his career, he has become an expert in business entity services, including tax compliance and financial statements, trust and estate taxation, as well as a go-to resource for interpretation of tax code. Kelly enjoys analyzing financials and working with client controllers to advise on their business matters. One of his greatest strengths is the ability to research and interpret difficult topics, and he’s often asked to participate on internal task forces to develop the Firm’s position on new and complex matters.

Laughlin will celebrate her 14th work anniversary in 2023, having started as an Intern in the firm’s Tax & Small Business Department in 2009. Upon graduating from the University of Delaware with a BS in Accounting and Finance that same year, she joined BLS as a staff accountant. Laughlin is an Accredited Estate Planner® and leads the firm’s Estate & Trust section where she is known as an expert in consulting and providing tax compliance services for trusts and estates. One of her greatest strengths is helping clients develop and implement their estate plans. She also works closely with high net worth individuals and small businesses as their trusted advisor.

Patterson will celebrate his 15th work anniversary in 2023, having started as an Intern in the firm’s Tax & Small Business Department in 2008. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Accounting and transitioned to a Staff Accountant upon graduation. Jon has a well-rounded technical acumen, serving in leadership positions in both tax and audit practice groups, and for earning a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) credential. He subsequently received recognition by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts as a 40 Under Forty Honoree in 2021.

Mast will celebrate his 16th anniversary at BLS in 2023, having started as a Staff Accountant in 2007. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Accounting and quickly earned his Certified Public Accountant and Certified Forensic Examiner certifications. In 2015, when the firm began to build its Government practice group, Mast eagerly agreed to pivot his efforts to a dedicated attention to developing this specialized assurance service.

Samuel E. Lathem and James N. Hogan were sworn into the leadership posts of chairman and vice chairman at the Delaware River and Bay Authority bi-state agency’s monthly meeting. Lathem and Hogan were unanimously selected to serve in these leadership roles by their fellow Commissioners at the conclusion of last month’s meeting held on January 18, 2023. The leadership posts rotate between the States of Delaware and New Jersey every two years.

Chairman James N. Hogan (pictured left) congratulates Sam Lathem on his election as Commission Chairman and presents him with the meeting gavel. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DRBA


Marlette Holdings, Inc., a financial technology company, announced the addition of John L. Klinck Jr. to the board of directors.

Klinck is a senior executive with more than 30 years of extensive international operating experience in financial services and on public, private, and nonprofit boards. As a corporate board member, Jack is experienced in advising growth-oriented companies through complex M&A transactions and the IPO process and positioning innovative companies for success. He helped lead Cardlytics’ 2018 IPO and was one of the first directors of Xpansiv, the world’s premier carbon trading/renewable energy platform. Klinck also serves as a director of Notarize, a Boston-based tech company bringing digital transaction expertise to the financial services industry.

Rodel welcomes Anas Ben Addi, vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Delaware State University, and Brenda Wise, director of policy and communications at the Delaware Office of Management and Budget, to its board of directors.


In his role at DSU, Addi serves as the financial steward of the university’s resources. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the financial strategies, operating budgets, and system of financial reporting and controls that support the university’s education, research and strategic goals.


Prior to joining DSU, Addi has served as the director of the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) until 2021. He was appointed to his cabinet position by Governor Jack Markell in 2009 and re-appointed by Governor John carney in 2017.

During his time at DSHA, Anas has led the expansion of DSHA’s programs and services in homeownership, multifamily financing, and many special initiatives. He worked with other agencies to create the Statewide Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) which serves low-income Delawareans who require affordable housing and supportive services. Under his leadership, DSHA has also led efforts to revitalize Delaware’s downtowns through the Downtown Development District (DDD) Program, encouraging investment and redevelopment. He has also led the State efforts to offer Covid-19 Rental Assistance through the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP), which was the first Covid-19 rental assistance program launched in the nation.

Anas earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, from Ecole Nationale de Commerce et Gestion (National School of Management) in Morocco. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Wilmington University.


Wise is an attorney with experience in litigation, court administration and statewide policy implementation. She began her legal career as an employment defense attorney in Philadelphia specializing in discrimination claims where she initiated the firm’s plaintiffs practice. She later spent time in Washington, D.C. as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in the School of Continuing Studies teaching Torts and Administrative Law.

Upon returning to her home state, she created Delaware’s first DUI Treatment Court, its first Community Court and developed Delaware’s Best Practice Standards for Problem-Solving Courts and the Problem-Solving Courts Benchbook. She currently serves as the director of policy and communications for the Office of Management and Budget providing analysis and strategic guidance regarding legislation and statewide initiatives which have a fiscal impact to the State of Delaware.

She serves on the board of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League as the chair of the Governance Committee and president of the board of directors of I am B.E.A.U.T.Y. Charities, Inc.

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