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MyStory at Highmark Health: Fasy, Mary and…Headquarters

With our MyStory video series, we’re sharing an inside look at the lives, experiences and passions of people who are part of the Highmark Health community. These videos were created by the talented members of the Highmark Health video team: Richard “Zoot” Dwyer, Tanner Rose, and Josh Elsass.

More than 43,000 people work at Highmark Health, and many more work with us through vendors and other partnerships. But no one is defined solely by their job title. From the challenges they’ve faced to the dreams they’ve chased, the members of the Highmark Health family all have a story to tell.

Meet Fasy: Director of Foundation Development, AHN

Now director of foundation development with Allegheny Health Network (AHN), Fasy Greevy reflects on 13 years working with the Highmark Caring Place and shares his own story of hardship and loss as a Cambodian refugee.

[View MP4]

For this year in 2017, we're celebrating our 20 years of caring for the Caring Place. Ultimately, I think the mission is awesome. You know that the reality of things is that death impacts everyone. And sometime we take life for granted. And working for the Caring Place, you kind of appreciate things even more.

My name is Fasy Mam Greevy. I'm with Highmark Caring Foundation. My title is Community Relations Manager. I've been with the foundation for over 13 years. I work for the Highmark Caring Foundation and promote the Highmark Caring Place, a center for grieving children, adolescents, and their families. My team and I connect with the community to get the support — whether it's to get family referrals, volunteers, and community advocacy through donations and awareness mechanisms. There are four Caring Places in Pennsylvania, and one in Erie, one in Harrisburg —Lemoyne area — Warrendale, and then Pittsburgh.

I report to Terese Vorsheck, who is the director of the Caring Foundation. She is a genuine person that recognizes people's skill set and wants them to use their skill set to promote the Caring Place and make the program better.

You know what? Death impacts everyone. It will impact my family. If I die, what will there be to provide a support for them? What the Caring Place provides is a peer support group. That's our core business. So we allow families to be with each other — children connecting with other children, adults connecting with other children who knows what it's like to lose someone special — and be able to share their feelings, be vulnerable, and support each other at a tough time. We facilitate that.

You can see the impact of what we've done in this region, the Pittsburgh region, with the Tree of Growth. We have two sets of trees that's symbolic of what all the children and families who've came to the Caring Place, recognizing their courage, and ability to come to the Caring Place and talk about the loss of their loved one. Because at the end of the day, everyone needs this type of service. You can say that I could need this service, because not just losing both my biological father and my step-father, but I understand the importance of it, the value. It's priceless. And so it's easy for me to work for the Caring Place, because I believe in what the mission does.

I was born in Cambodia in the Vietcong War era. You had to survive. I never knew my father. The Vietcong came and took him and shot him in a rice field. My mom is a survivor. And she kept us alive through sneaking food in her hair while working in the field, 'cause if she would have got caught, she would have been shot.

You know, we had to transition and walk over to the refugee camp in Thailand. My brother is a year and a half younger than I am. He didn't have the strength to walk, and as we were traveling from Cambodia to Thailand, he got held a lot. I walked. Yeah, when you're walking so much, you're just numb. You had to pick me up, sit me down, 'cause my leg was so tired and I was so drained. I wasn't even allowed to make any noises because you didn't want the Vietcong to find you. They find you, they'd shoot you. So I had to shut my mouth and not cry or whine or whatever it is that as a kid you might do. And my mom kept us alive throughout the whole phase, during that time until we got sponsored by the Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg and a Cambodian family and came to America in 1980.

When I moved to the West Shore, my mom remarried my step-father, Robert Greevy. And he was an awesome man and provided a lot of doors for me to be in this position. To me, I have a great family. I have a wonderful, intelligent, caring wife. Her name is Jennifer, and I have an awesome son named Logan. So Logan is 7 1/2. Loves baseball, loves "Star Wars." He loves doing things, activities, and loves being with us.

I spend most of my time out in the community, on the phone a lot, and e-mailing to connect and create opportunities to meet and talk about the Caring Place and how we can partner. I connect with sport teams — whether it's the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pirates, the Erie Otters, the Harrisburg Senators, the BayHawks — we're always looking to find a way to use their popularity in the community and to showcase what the Caring Place does and our affiliation with Highmark. I love it 'cause I get a chance to get engaged with all the celebrities. Whether it's Merril Hoge, who's our chairman for the Caring Foundation, Hines Ward, and just my involvement with the Steelers and all these sport teams. I get to be involved with some cool celebrities.

I have a unique position. I love it, and it's never boring, and I love connecting with the different people.

Meet Mary: Senior Internal Communications Analyst, HM Health Solutions

Although she also had a 10-year career in modeling and earned a doctoral degree in business, HM Health Solutions senior internal communications analyst Mary Starusko says she has been part of the Highmark family all the way back to when her mother was an employee while carrying her.

[View MP4]

My mother was a stenographer, back in the days when we had stenographers, and when people say, how long have you been with Highmark, I'll tell them my age, and they'll look at me and they'll say I don't understand. I say, well, my mother was pregnant with me when she worked at Highmark, so it's pretty much become a family affair.

I'm Mary Starusko and I've been with Highmark for 25 years, loved every minute of it. I've been in communications nearly my whole career, and right now I'm a senior internal communications analyst at HM Health Solutions.

Every year HM Health Solutions selects a signature charity, so I take a very large role in that and seeing a plan throughout the full year. We use our technological expertise as well as our monetary contributions. This year we selected Variety — it's probably the most exciting thing I've ever worked on, especially because it's kids. And not only the children but when you see what you're doing for the parents, we've made a world of difference to them in their family life as well.

I'm the oldest of four children and I have two sisters. Evy works at Highmark. My sister Marguerite is an office manager at another company, and my brother John works for Port Authority.

Well, my grandfather Frank Mate was an artist all of his life, and so as I was a child growing up it was so fun because every Saturday and Sunday the easel would come up and my grandfather would begin to paint while he was watching the ballgame, and over the years many many many beautiful oil paintings and pastel works were created. I have quite a few of them in my home.

This is one of the paintings my grandfather did in 1970 and it has all the things that were in my grandmother's house, which kind of makes it special to look at. This one here was a gift to me on my 18th birthday. It is — the gentleman's name is Antoine, and it's done in pastels. As I walk around, I visit my paintings daily and they give me more joy — every day I find something new and different about them, and so his work throughout my house kind of is the foundation of my house.

I'm a creative person and I know I get that from my grandfather. I cannot paint. I wish I could, but mine came out in my writing. I would say my great passion lies with speech writing. I just love to interview people, and I try to tap into your passion. So whenever I finish a speech or whatever it is that I'm writing, it is like one of my grandfather's paintings. I feel like I should be signing the bottom of it as he had signed his paintings.

I was a photographic model for about ten years. The way that began was one evening I was meeting my cousin for dinner. We were chatting, and he said, do you model? And I said, no I don't. He said, well, here call this number, ask for this individual. It quickly started — the next week I did a full-page ad for then the department store Gimbels, which was a newspaper ad. And then I quickly became one of the models for Gimbels on a regular basis, so we would do Sunday supplements, things in the newspaper, sale catalogs, things of that nature. So it sort of built on itself and then I began to do some work for Kaufman's as well. It was anything that they were putting in the catalogue.

But my focus then became on my education. My doctoral degree is in business, and my major is healthcare services. I was really excited to get that degree, because I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my career at Highmark. It's the place I love working. In my 25 years I have made countless friends that will be my friends for life. So to me it's just one big family — it's a big happy family.

Meet the Highmark Building: Headquarters for 30 Years

From unifying the workforce in 1988 to winning two consecutive Green Workplace Challenge awards for sustainability, Fifth Avenue Place, a.k.a. the Highmark Building, has many good stories to tell as it celebrates its 30th year.

[View MP4]

[Mary Starusko speaking]
Jack Bogut, who used to be a radio announcer in Pittsburgh for KDKA, said when he came through those tunnels and he saw the beauty of that panoramic vision, and you see that spire, which is unlike anything else in that Pittsburgh landscape, that sold him on working in Pittsburgh. I think we stand out like a gem in the city.

[New speaker]
I'll tell ya — I'll go back before the building was even built. It was called the Jenkins Arcade.

[Karen Lyons speaking]
That's what I always remember, walking through here, I remember Parker's Buttons and Emphatics.

[Mark Fleisner speaking]
I used to come down and buy my father's hearing aid, on the third floor, which is where we're sitting.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
Jenkins Arcade was a structure that was located on the site of Fifth Avenue Place, where it exists currently today. The facility was imploded to make way for the new building.

The architect of record for the building was Hugh Stubbins. Pretty widely renowned architect.

[Tim Rohar speaking]
This one had a unique shape to it. It had what they call a layer cake shape to it, where it goes up and it gets smaller as it goes up and has the beautiful spire.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
The original building was slated to be significantly higher and have a lot more floors than it does right now. But the City of Pittsburgh took exception, and they were worried about what that would do to the view of the city, looking at the city from the Point. They went back to the drawing board, took the building down to 31 stories, but then built into the architecture the spire. Urban legend has it that the architect was upset with the City of Pittsburgh and said that the spire is his tribute for denying his original design. The spire itself, I believe, is 178 feet. It’s about 4 1/2 foot wide in diameter.

I did climb the spire. I was a lot younger and a lot more fit then, but it was unnerving when you got up to the top.

Previously, when the building was originally designed, it was lit by a number of very large, very bright floodlights.

[New speaker]
When the building opened in '88 and they turned the lights on, at the old Greater Pittsburgh Airport, this was the flight pattern.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
There were a number of claims filed by airline pilots. The up-lighting from our building was interfering with their cockpit lighting at night.

[John Norbut speaking]
So the FAA came down, and they said, "Hey, you got to turn some lights off."

[Dan Horosko speaking]
So a lot of those lights, shortly after the building opened, were disconnected.

The model behind me was the architect's rendering that was used to announce that Blue Cross was gonna be taking up occupancy. Previous to coming into Fifth Avenue Place, Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania was based out of the One Smithfield Street building, right at the end of the Smithfield Street Bridge.

[Mary Starusko speaking]
During those times, we were scattered in different buildings, and it made business a little more difficult to conduct, because you had to walk a block or so to get to meetings, or if you had an issue, they'd have to leave the building and come to another building.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
The move into Fifth Avenue Place gave us the opportunity to consolidate a lot of our operation all under one roof.

[Mary Starusko]
I think they really had the employees in mind.

[New speaker]
Moving into Fifth Avenue Place, everybody was one, and you were much closer. That helped us.

[Karen Lyons speaking]
I really had this feeling like, "I've made it," you know? You're in Fifth Avenue Place. You're at Highmark. So, it was really a good feeling. It was good. It was a happy feeling, really, just to move in here.

[Mary Starusko speaking]
I loved the lobby, because I love the hustle and bustle of the people. The stores certainly add to that.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
It was really nice having a building that if you had to pick up a gift for somebody, you just walked across a pedestrian walkway right into Joseph Horne's, and you could shop while you were at lunch.

[Tim Rohar speaking]
Well, I got to watch this building being built, I believe, 1988. I got to see it, and it is a beautiful building on the outside. The inside now, it's — a lot of it is 30 years old, and that's our goal here, is to do a renaissance of the inside of the building, like it was done 30 years ago with the outside.

[Dan Horosko]
What started as a consolidation of the workforce in 1986 and 87, it continues today. It's never really stopped.

[John Norbut speaking]
It was a master strategy going on for relocation of people — taking people into Highmark’s facility, both at Penn Avenue Place and Fifth Avenue Place.

[Tim Rohar speaking]
Now the goal as part of our renovations is to pull the offices to the inside of the building, put glass fronts on them so they can see out, but yet have the people being able to enjoy the view in a more collaborative space and friendly environment.

[John Norbut speaking]
If you ever walk around, we never have snow around our building, right? If you look outside, you'll see "don't dig" signs. I don't know if you've noticed them, but they're all around. It's a heated sidewalk. It's a total heated sidewalk with glycol.

In the corporate world, the City of Pittsburgh and our level of corporation, we've won the sustainability award two years in a row. It's absolutely fantastic. Phyllis Barber does an absolutely fantastic job.

[Phyllis Barber speaking]
Highmark has won the Green Workplace Challenge for the second year as the large employer category, and a lot of the efforts that Fifth Avenue Place has undertaken to conserve energy and water helped Highmark win that award.

The green roof started out with 20-some-thousand sedum plugs, and sedums are very drought-tolerant plants, and they absorb a lot of water when it rains.

[David Holmberg speaking]
You know, I think about the next generation and what we need to do to leave a legacy that's better than what we received. And for me, those are really important, because it's all about giving the next generation a better opportunity.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
One other way that we tried to enhance the building's appearance but try and save on electric consumption is the replacement of the exterior lighting with new LED systems. Originally, whenever they decided to start attempting to change the color of the spire, it was done so with large glass plates, and it was a very difficult task. Now you can walk up to a computer, press a button, and change it in a heartbeat.

[New speaker]
Breast cancer awareness is pink, heart month is red, hospice is purple, Veterans Day is red, white, and blue, Labor Day is red, white, and blue, July 4th is red, white, and blue, Christmas Day is green and red, Halloween is orange and a black, Light Up Night, it mimicked the fireworks display type of thing, and Hanukkah is blue and white.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
I mean, it's gonna save thousands of dollars, plus we're a focal point now of downtown Pittsburgh.

[Phyllis Barber speaking]
It's bright. It's a focal point. And I know it's LED, so I know it's not using a lot of energy, so I think it looks beautiful.

[Tim Rohar speaking]
This building being 30 years old, I think it's stood the test of time. It's still a beautiful building.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
Our building is a good building. It's a solid building. It spanks out there right now.

[Mary Starusko]
I'm always really proud of our building. It's a building I love working in.

[Karen Lyons speaking]
Fifth Avenue Place is still like — when I say that, I say it with pride.

[Dan Horosko speaking]
It's one of the first things that you see whenever you drive into the city of Pittsburgh from the airport corridor, and the city opens up in front of you, and right there in the center of it all is Fifth Avenue Place.

[David Holmberg speaking]
To me, we stand for the people of Pittsburgh. We've been here for almost 80 years. We've lived our lives with the people in this region, and so, being in this building is a privilege and an honor, and it sends a message of stability and strength, and that we are Pittsburgh.

[John Norbut]
And so, that's the story behind it, really.

Like what you see? There’s more where that came from.

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A national health and wellness organization as well as the second largest integrated delivery and financing system in America, Highmark Health and our diversified portfolio of businesses employ more than 43,000 talented people who proudly serve millions of Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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