Lisa Scheller is a trailblazer in the world of business and a successful reformer in public service, embracing both roles with a sense of humanity and purpose.
Scheller is the granddaughter of immigrants who in 1945, founded Silberline Manufacturing Co., one of the region’s premier manufacturers, making a key ingredient in paints and coatings. Lisa took over running the company, following her brother’s death, and is currently chairman and president. It is the only certified women-owned business of its kind in the world.
With global headquarters north of the Lehigh Valley, the company employs more than 160 people in manufacturing jobs right here in Pennsylvania and 500 people worldwide.
Silberline recently opened a new manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania making state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly, sustainable products for the coatings industry. Lisa knows first-hand how red tape and radical proposals like the Green New Deal stymie our local businesses and families.
In 2011, alarmed by a Lehigh County tax increase, Lisa ran on a reform message and was elected to the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, where she successfully led efforts to cut taxes every year, saving taxpayers over 41 million dollars. She served as board chair for two years.
Lisa gained a reputation as a fiscally conservative fighter who advocated for spending restraint, lower taxes, job creation, and an end to special-interest giveaways.
As a commissioner, reduced property taxes and streamlined government operations while keeping a close and skeptical eye on new spending.
“Four years in a row there was either a reduction in the millage rate, a rebate, or both. And it was always a fight,” she recalls.
Under Lisa’s leadership, the Board of Commissioners reasserted its control over contract negotiations with the county’s public sector unions, meaning it was no longer in the hands of a single county executive to shape contracts.
“It marked an important step toward making the government more accountable to the taxpayers who support it while reducing political pressure on the county’s negotiator.”
Lisa also led a drive for increased government transparency. She played an important role in opening Board of Commissioner committee meetings to the press and public – and she did it with bipartisan support. Lisa proved adept at creating consensus across party lines and did so during a time of deepening political division between Republicans and Democrats statewide and nationally.
Lisa is passionate about creating opportunities for others. She provided substantial support to many charitable causes, including educational and environmental organizations positively impacting our community and the world.
Most recently, Lisa was honored as “2021 Conservationist of the Year” by the Lehigh Valley Ducks Unlimited Chapter and the “Distinguished Citizen of the Year” by the Hawk Mountain Council of Boy Scouts of America.
Over the decades, Lisa has sponsored an array of scholarship programs. In 2019, she announced a scholarship enabling Lehigh County high school students to receive an associate’s degree from Lehigh Carbon Community College. In 2021, the Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Scheller Center announced that the center would be outfitted with a state of the art nurse’s simulation lab, the first in the area.
Lisa’s personal story is one of a young woman who reclaimed herself from the grip of drug and alcohol addiction. Her addiction, she says, brought her to the depths of personal despair – despair from which she climbed to become not only substance-free but a leader in efforts to bring the same healing to others. “What I discovered was that rock bottom is a solid foundation to build on,” she says.
In the face of the ravaging opioid epidemic, Lisa realized that she could help others by breaking her own anonymity. In 2018, after remaining clean and sober for 36 years anonymously, Lisa publicly shared her story to raise awareness that addiction can happen to anyone and that recovery is possible to anyone who embraces it.
That same year she founded the nonprofit, Hope & Coffee, a coffee shop and meeting place that seeks to bring persons recovering from alcohol and drug dependency back into the job market. The mission is to end the stigma of being in recovery. This Entrepreneur model, which takes no public money, is now being replicated in other cities and states.
Lisa is the mother of two grown children. She resides in Allentown. Her hobbies include exercise, hiking, and cycling throughout the region, and she enjoys cooking and photography.