Michael Baker International Names Penny Mercadante, EVP, CHRO and Darcie Zeliesko, VP, Talent Management for Renewed Focus on HR, Recruiting and University Relations

Firm Further Commits to Delivering Superior Client Solutions and Service by Attracting, Hiring, Developing and Retaining the Best Talent in the Industry

Location: Pittsburgh, Pa
Date: January 3, 2017

Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services, today announced that Penny Mercadante, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, and Darcie Zeliesko, Vice President of Talent Management, have joined the firm as part of the organization’s renewed strategic focus and investment in HR related to talent selection, development and retention and enhanced capabilities around recruiting and university relations.
In her new role, Ms. Mercadante will lead human resources, positioning it as a strategic business function that directs the global corporation’s ongoing transformation towards higher performance. Ms. Zeliesko will support strategic talent management, development and learning initiatives across the organization, including collaborating with business operations and other functions to create and implement a talent management infrastructure and strategies to further support organizational growth. Both women will be based in the firm’s Pittsburgh headquarters.
“Michael Baker continues to invest in HR and is committed to not only hiring, developing and retaining the best talent in the industry, but also to managing our talent as a critical resource that provides the best solutions and service to our clients,” said Kurt Bergman, CEO of Michael Baker International. “In 2016, Michael Baker hired more than 800 new team members and taught more than 380 training classes. Both Penny and Darcie will bring value to these efforts and others through their career-long expertise developing and implementing innovative and agile talent approaches. Their experience will further ensure We Make a Difference for our clients, colleagues and the communities we serve.”
Ms. Mercadante is a solutions-oriented leader with proven success building and leading multi-disciplinary HR teams within dynamic organizations. Her expertise spans 22 years and extends to talent acquisition, employee engagement, strategic and budget planning and analysis, enterprise-level culture change and coaching. Previously, Ms. Mercadante served as a Senior Consultant with LeadFirst, where she developed high-performance cultures, leaders and teams critical to business success. As Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for ServiceLink, she created a recruiting strategy that reduced time-to-hire by 40 percent through employment branding and social media and established an onboarding process that ensured retention of hires through training and improved assimilation into the company. For Pitt Ohio Express, as Vice President of Human Resources, she developed, budgeted, implemented and
collaborated across business units to align all aspects of human resources with the strategies of a multi-site operation.
“Michael Baker’s commitment to its team members is evident and I am inspired by the value the firm places on its human capital,” said Ms. Mercadante. “The company’s desire to invest in their people is exactly why I hoped to be a part of this organization. I look forward to integrating and partnering with the business functions to develop an aligned and solutions-oriented approach that supports the organization and engages employees to maximize their potential.”
Ms. Zeliesko brings two decades of experience in learning, development and talent management to her role at Michael Baker.  She has worked in many countries around the world, running a flagship leadership program in Europe, Asia and the U.S., and has worked across global teams to create customized coaching and training models.
Before joining Michael Baker, Ms. Zeliesko was Director of Learning and Development at Highmark Health in Pittsburgh where she led the development and execution of the talent management strategy and learning and talent processes across the enterprise. As the Senior Learning and Development Leader at American Eagle Outfitters, she developed and executed learning and development for the North American business. For Heinz World Headquarters, Ms. Zeliesko held the titles Global Leadership and Organizational Development Leader and Head of Training and Development for Heinz North America, responsible for Latin America and Middle East talent management and global development platforms. She also established the strategic direction for the development and implementation of learning and development initiatives across North America.
“Michael Baker is an excellent brand comprised of very talented people,” said Ms. Zeliesko. “The opportunity to continue the company’s work, for clients and team members, is very important to me. I look forward to contributing to that effort in progressive and innovative ways.”
Ms. Mercadante earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. She is certified as a Senior Certified Professional of the Society of Human Resources Management and a Senior Professional in Human Resources of the HR Certification Institute.

Ms. Zeliesko earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her certifications include: the University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flager Business School; Talent Management Institute; Pritchett Change Management; Development Dimensions International Facilitation and Talent Selection; Crucial Conversations, Situational Leadership and 360-degree Assessments through the Center for Creative Leadership; Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and ghSmart Topgrading Talent Selection. She recently served a three-year term as a Board Member for the non-profit Regional Learning Alliance in Pennsylvania, the region's premier Learning Center.
About Michael Baker International
Michael Baker International is a leading global provider of engineering and consulting services, which include planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life-cycle support services as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. The company provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions in support of U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients.  Michael Baker International has more than 6,000 employees in more than 90 locations across the U.S. and internationally. To learn more, visit www.mbakerintl.com.

Contact: Justin Falce