Sandy Graffius was President of a small manufacturing company whose services included monuments, burial vaults and a casket-vault combination for infants.
Sandy’s husband ran the company until 1981 when he died unexpectedly of congenital heart problems. Final negotiations were taking place to purchase a monument company and with limited business experience, she finished the purchase of this company. In 1985, Sandy purchased a second Monument company and added it to the Reading location. In 1987, Sandy purchased a combined Burial Vault/Monument Company located 60 miles away.
When Sandy served on the Small Business Advisory Committee for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia it consisted of 24 members from Pennsylvania New Jersey and Delaware. She met regularly with small business owners throughout Berks County prior to the regional meetings. Current issues and concerns from the grass roots were fed back to the Federal Board. She was chosen as one of two representatives from the Philadelphia Board to go to Washington. There, two representatives from the other Advisory Boards joined her across the nation to meet with Paul Volker and the rest of the Washington Federal Reserve Board
The local Chamber of Commerce annually presents The Outstanding Small Business Person Annual Award. This yearly presentation is given for outstanding contribution to the Promotion of the Free Enterprise System in Berks County. In May 1990, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry presented Sandy with their Small Business Award.
The highest state honor Sandy received was being recognized with 49 other women as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business. This is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce; the Governor’s Commission for Women and the Business Journals of Pennsylvania. There were 275 applicants.
The highest national honor was the SBCA Small Business Person of the Years Award. This recognizes a nominee who has exhibited outstanding leadership and exceptional dedication and work in the SBCA involving legislative, administrative, or other activities.
Her latest project was working with two other people from Calvary United Methodist in Mohnton raising money to build a Hospital in India. The hospital is set up for 20 patients in overnight care, an x-ray, operating room and pharmacy. Free care is provided or charged on the ability to pay. The hospital opened in June 2004 and continues to serve the poor and needy of Puttur India.
In November 2003, Sandy was elected to the position of Controller of Berks County. She passed her business on to her daughter Kelly who has two daughters. A second daughter Kim and family live in Gettysburg and a third daughter Jane and family live in Palatine, Illinois.
Sandy is fortunate to have financial skills learned over the years running her family business and has been able to hire local business professionals for her department. She and her staff continue to speed up the financial reporting for the Commissioners and Departments. Future goals include depositing vendor payments directly into bank accounts, new computer programs, a streamlined tracking of all grant money coming into the County.