When buying Homeland equipment — from large purchases down to the right chair a resident needs to live and move comfortably — Kelly English makes one thing clear.
“I will never sacrifice quality to get a better price for something,” he said. “I’m never going to skimp on quality just to get a cheaper price.”
Kelly English joined Homeland in July 2023 in the dual role of Director of Emergency Preparedness and Purchasing. His career and degrees in law enforcement and homeland security prepared him for his crucial responsibilities in emergency preparedness. Still, he also takes his purchasing responsibilities seriously for their power to save money while upholding Homeland’s renowned quality and consistency in care.
English graduated from Penn State University, main campus, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He spent 20 years with the Harrisburg Police Department, retiring in July 2022. For 15 of those years, he was a detective handling the city’s bomb-detecting K9. The role familiarized him with the city’s institutions, including Homeland.
His immersion in homeland security training inspired him to earn a master’s degree in emergency management and homeland security, with a concentration in cybersecurity policy, from Arizona State University’s top-rated program. Upon retirement from policing, he started talking with Homeland about bringing his skills and passion here.
Since joining Homeland in July 2023, English has overseen upgrades that directly impact the lives and wallets of patients and their families. With his knowledge of emergency preparedness and security procedures, he procured systems that leverage the latest technology to ward off threats and protect residents, staff, and visitors of Homeland Center and Homeland at Home.
In purchasing, English has renegotiated contracts to enhance Homeland’s buying power and, by extension, save money for the families of residents. Recently renegotiating the contract for alternating pressure mattresses – a fundamental need to keep residents safe and healthy – he helped Homeland retain the same high-quality mattresses but brought down the monthly fees.
He also ensures that vendors share Homeland’s commitment to the residents and their quality of life. After joining Homeland, he scheduled one of his first meetings with a local medical device supplier who, he knew, could provide the necessary pieces at a moment’s notice.
“This is a 24/7 facility, and our residents can arrive at any time with a new condition that requires specialized equipment,” English said. “I need to know that 24 hours a day, I can get a hold of something no matter where it is. It goes back to never skimping on the quality of care for our residents, so I believe in creating relationships locally with businesses to ensure that the supply chain remains strong.”
The team at Homeland has welcomed him.
“It’s been great,” he said. “Everyone has been extremely welcoming. It is definitely a family atmosphere, which is nice. It’s very supportive. People have been very receptive to me and to what I can bring to the table. It’s a very, very good working environment.”
Outside of Homeland, English and his wife have two kids – a 15-year-old son who plays ice hockey including with the Hershey Jr. Bears and lacrosse, and a 17-year-old daughter who plays lacrosse and field hockey. The busy family lives on a 4-acre farm in the Hershey area. There, they raise pigs, sheep, chickens, and ducks.
The farm is his wife’s passion, but a team effort, caring for livestock – another 24/7 venture – and slaughtering and curing their charcuterie meats. About twice a year, they team with a pair of Ohio butchers who come to the farm and teach interested students, such as organic farmers, their traditional curing processes learned directly from elderly artisans throughout Europe.
English likes taking on challenges, embracing them with his role at Homeland.
“I definitely come to work every day with a passion to keep all of our residents and staff secure and try to make the next day better than the last,” he said. “There is a lot of support throughout central Pennsylvania for Homeland, and I want to be a good steward of that and help Homeland be around for many years to come.”