Donald L. Heller is a versatile executive with over 40 years of experience in business and higher education. In January 2000 he joined Temple University as a faculty member in the School of Communication and Theater and was appointed as Executive in Residence in September 2000. In December 2000 he was appointed Director of the School’s Communication Major, a rapidly expanding Liberal Arts interdepartmental major. He served as the Interim Chair of the Theater Department during the 2002-2003 academic year. He was appointed Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering in October 2005 and Senior Vice Dean (previously Assistant Dean in the School of Communications and Theater (renamed Klein College of Media and Communication) in November 2009 and continues to serve as an adjunct faculty member in the Klein College of Media and Communication conducting Seminars for Communications Studies Majors and also a Media Studies and Production online course Communications in Organizations. He has also taught at Cabrini College.
During the past 15 years he provided interim management and consulting services to a variety of companies in the areas of business development, operations and financing. He also provided due diligence reviews for Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a State funded organization who provides funding to start up ventures. Prior to joining the university, he was involved in the entertainment and cable television industries. From 1993 through 2000, as a senior executive of Lenfest Communications the parent company of Suburban Cable, he worked on international assignments. Regular travel to Australia and France dealing with development of satellite and cable television in those countries was a primary responsibility.
He began his career with Arthur Andersen and Company, one of the former Big 8 public accounting firms, which led to a series of financial positions of increasing responsibility and diversity. Two of the companies he joined were former clients/associates while at Arthur Andersen.
Movement into senior management positions consisted of complete financial responsibility as Corporate Controller at the Spectrum arena in Philadelphia, which led to the position as Vice President Finance and Administration for PRISM, a regional Philadelphia’s premier cable channel. In 1984 he was appointed Vice President General Manager, a position he held for ten years prior to joining Lenfest Communications. While at PRISM he led the start up of a second cable channel Sportschannel Philadelphia. These entities were the programming model for today’s Comcast Sportsnet. Experience in mergers, acquisitions, new business development and start-up situations complement experience in mature businesses.
With a strong commitment to community involvement, Don has been appointed as a Trustee and Board Vice Chair at Delaware County Community College, serves as Vice Chairman and a twenty-five plus year Board Member of the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia (PAL). He serves as the Chairman of the PAL Scholarship Committee, its Foundation Board and serves on a number of other committees including Education. He served as a member of the Board of the YMCA, Hero Scholarship Fund and has worked with numerous charitable organizations. In November of 2001, 2005 and 2009 he was elected in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania general elections to the position of school board director for Springfield Township, Pennsylvania. In December 2003 he was appointed Board Treasurer, in 2004 Vice President and in 2005 President. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in June 2009. He has also served on local government and school advisory boards and as a member and officer of home and school associations.
Don is a native of Philadelphia and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Pennsylvania State University. He served four years in the United States Air Force. He was awarded a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) certificate in 1974.
Some Significant achievements:
- Managed PRISM for ten years with increasing operating profits each year.
- Operating profits were achieved by working within operating budget and increasing subscriber revenue, advertising revenue and subscriber growth.
- Managed the launch of a second channel into the market, Sportschannel Philadelphia, which at the time was the most successful launch of a regional cable service.
- Operated Sportschannel Philadelphia as a profitable business in its first year of operations.
- Responsible for the launch of Newschannel a regional news channel on the Suburban Cable television systems.
- Developed the concept and managed the consolidation of over twelve regional local origination television channels. These channels developed into a network on the Suburban systems and Comcast incorporated the network into CN8 on the Comcast systems after acquisition.
- Negotiated the acquisition of satellite pay television licenses for the entire continent of Australia, negotiated of joint venture partnership and served as liaison for the company as we launched service and reached over 100,000 customers within the first 18 months.
- Managed the successful defense of a $700 Million litigation in Australia.
- Revised and enhanced Communications Major Curriculum and managed net growth of program by over 200% in two years from 150 students to nearly 400 students.
- Teamed in the development and the successful submission of a Tuition Differential Plan for the college of Engineering.
- Teamed in the successful launch of tutv, Tempe’s University’s cable TV channel
- Developed submission of a Tuition Differential Plan for the School of Communications and Theater (renamed Klein College).
- Held leadership positions in the non-profit and public sector including vice-chair of the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Philadelphia and chair of Scholarship Committee, Treasurer, Vice President and President of local school board and Vice Chair of Trustee Board of Delaware County Community College.