The History of Leader Services
In 1963, Donald Mason, Jules Mason, and Frank P. Stancato, Sr. installed the first computer system in the business district of Hazleton, PA to support The Leader Store. The computer hardware and software allowed the store to produce and track monthly charge account statements and customer payments. To help support this system and make it cost effective for The Leader Store, services for “batch” processing of payroll and accounting data were offered to businesses in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
In 1968, LDP, Inc. was formed and became known as Leader Data Processing. A processing center was constructed in the Valmont Industrial Park in West Hazleton. As the capability of automated equipment grew, Leader expanded from payroll and accounting into customized software development services for clients in other fields such as banking, manufacturing (hard and soft goods) and engineering. Leader was in its infancy when it began working with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in Philadelphia, PA.
In 1970, Leader acquired Computer Data Corporation, an Allentown firm providing similar services in the Lehigh Valley. Operations between both locations were consolidated during the early 1970s into an expanded West Hazleton facility. In these early years, Leader was an IBM house, utilizing the IBM 360 technology. The computer room consisted of an IBM 360 computer, six 800/1600 bpi tape drives, eight 14 MB disk drives, a thousand-line-per-minute printer and a card sorter.
During the late 1970s, Leader again expanded its capabilities by including online and time sharing services. This provided Leader with its next platform for growth. Hewlett-Packard mid-range computers were chosen for their online and batch processing capabilities. Soon Leader began servicing clients both nationally and internationally. A concentration in providing services for member-based organizations, such as labor unions, saw our client base grow from Pennsylvania to sites across the country.
This pattern continued through the 1980s with Leader representing Hewlett-Packard as a computer reseller. In the late 1980s, with the introduction of local and wide area networks (LANs and WANs), Leader entered the interconnectivity field as a system integrator and supplier of vertical market software solutions.
In 1991, Leader acquired what became Leader Physician Services and began to provide custom billing services to medical practices. In 1992, this division was awarded a contract from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to obtain Medicaid reimbursements for school districts throughout the Commonwealth. This program became known as ACCESS. 1993 saw the addition of the state of Washington as our second ACCESS client.
During the next few years, Leader signed contracts with school districts in other states and is now working with more than 1,000 school districts and other local education agencies (LEAs) in California, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Washington for their Medicaid reimbursement and administrative claiming programs. The latter program allows LEAs to receive partial federal Medicaid reimbursement for performing health-related administrative outreach tasks that benefit children with disabilities.
Leader gained expertise in developing systems employing the latest in graphical user interface and internet technology. Leader’s latest offering is its web-based interactive suite of special education programs/services. Leader also provides custom programming for state education agencies.
The Mason family founded Leader and continues to own and operate the company to this day. Presently, C. Jeffrey Mason is President and CEO and C. Jeffrey Mason, Jr. is Secretary/Treasurer. As we move into the future, many of our employees have been with us for 20 or more years, with some having over 30 years of service.
Leader’s stability as a company and as an expert provider of information services is demonstrated by the fact that many of Leader’s clients have been with the company over 30 years. Leader’s focused line of products, services and technical abilities continues to afford both existing and new clients the right platform to efficiently and securely process critical data.