Profile: Marvin Mashner - Still having a ball

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Marvin Mashner
Marvin Mashner
Although he has been a mainstay at Penn State football games every fall for decades and has an office decked out with Nittany Lion paraphernalia, Marvin Mashner insists that the image of him as a football fanatic is overblown.

“I don't think I'm the die-hard fan people think I am,” the 64-year-old President and CEO of ACTS Retirement-Life Communities insists. “I know a guy who goes to the games in rain and snow and he belittles me when I don't go because of the weather.”

Even so, dedication is a huge part of Mashner's makeup, whether it's to his school (PSU Class of 1967), his wife, Marilyn (married 34 years), faith (son of a Baptist minister) or company (18 years at ACTS).

“Marvin is all about dedication and loyalty. He loves the senior living industry, he's dedicated to it, and he's loyal to his friends, his family, his university and his God. He can walk the talk,” says longtime friend Ken Baker, vice president at Rees Associates, an architectural firm near Atlanta. Baker said he and Mashner made an instant connection because both of their fathers were ministers and they share similar values.

Originally from Wisconsin, the Mashner family moved to Pennsylvania when Marvin was a senior in high school.

His initial interest was architecture, and he studied the field during his freshman year at Penn State. He eventually realized, however, that he was “an accountant at heart” and entered the PSU business program.

He earned his master's degree in business administration in 1969 and went to work at the Arthur Young accounting firm in Philadelphia. He joined American Medicorps within a few years and became vice president of finance for Roxborough Memorial Hospital in 1977. When Mashner became ACTS president in 1991, he gradually found that his involvement in long-term care suited his character.

“My father wanted me to go into the ministry,” he said. “With ACTS founded by a Philadelphia pastor, I am following instructions of the scriptures and the result is fulfilling the mission my dad had in mind for me.”

While ACTS has grown from 12 to 19 communities during Mashner's tenure, he modestly declines to take the credit. He prefers instead to recognize the efforts of his staff.

“It is the talented and sophisticated people here who have nurtured growth and development,” he says. “I am very proud of what they do.”

Active in long-term care affairs, Mashner serves on the board of directors for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, saying accreditation “proves you operate effectively. It's a rating that is important and provides assurance to people making the last big decision of their lives.”He said one of his proudest honors was to be selected as a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging, a seminal gathering of healthcare experts for the purpose of discussing the state of long-term care.
“I learned how many organizations are involved on a day-to-day basis in the care of the aging,” he said. “It gave me a renewed sense of appreciation for what we do.”