2018 Young Professional of the Year Nominees

FLEX Presents Transparent

Congratulations to Charlie Cotherman, our 2018 Young Professional of the Year!


Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange (FLEX) is excited to announce the nominees for this year’s young professional of the year. Nominees will be recognized and the winner will be awarded at the Annual FLEX Presents event, taking place on Friday, April 6, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served and cocktail attire is suggested.

To learn more about FLEX Presents, please visit

Nominations were put forward by community members based on the young professionals’ contributions to the community through civic engagement, entrepreneurship, leadership, and more. The 2018 nominees are:

Laura Anna

Laura Anna is a resident of Reno who works as a PTF Clerk at the Franklin Post Office and a Tax Preparer for Jackson Hewitt in Franklin. She earned a Master’s of Business Administration from Argosy University and a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science and Management from Duquesne.

Outside of her career, Anna is the treasurer for the Reno Volunteer Fire Department, where she also volunteers in administrative and food service capacities for the auxiliary. She teaches Sunday School for her church, youth ages 2-17 and is a co-leader of Girl Scouts Daisy/Brownie Troop #36965.

Anna has a passion for the outdoors and the environment, serving as treasurer for Friends of Oil Creek. She joined the Chicks in the Stix planning committee for this organization. She is also a member of the steering committee for Friends of Singing Hills, working to maintain the Singing Hills Camp property for the local youth.

Fun Fact: Anna is currently training to become a victim advocate serving domestic and sexual violence victims in the Venango County Area.

Charity Choice: Friends of Oil Creek

Charlie Cotherman

Charlie Cotherman grew up just across the Venango County line in the Village of Kossuth. He and his wife planted the Oil City Vineyard Church (OCV) in 2016, where he serves as pastor. He earned a Bachelor’s of Art in English and Secondary Education from Grove City College, a Master’s of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and most recently, a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from University of Virginia. He is under contract with InterVarsity Press Academic to publish a revised version of his dissertation in the fall of 2019, as well as a chapter for a book on church planting to be published by InterVarsity Press in conjunction with Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.

Cotherman has been a teacher since 2008, and outside of his work with OCV, he was a visiting professor for Pittsburgh Theological Seminary this past winter and has been appointed as an adjunct assistant professor of Christian history for the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary for the upcoming summer.

As part of OCV, he has been involved in numerous civic-minded efforts from mobilizing volunteers to adopt a block in Oil City, to hosting a Princess party for kids and an annual Sunday morning art gallery. OCV has been privileged to financially support local service organizations such as Community Services of Venango County, Mustard Seed Ministries, and Jamie’s Kids, and recently welcomed an Narcotics Anonymous (NA) group to share their space in the National Transit Building. OCV also offers support group for parents of special needs kids. The church averages about 100 people per Sunday.

Charlie said: “All told, we, a community of Christ followers who meet in rented space and call ourselves Oil City Vineyard, are becoming a family. In our first year we’ve learned a lot about each other. We’ve seen glimpses of the amazing talents and hearts that we each bear, and we’ve watched as God has gradually brought the people of His own choosing through our doors and into our lives. We serve a God who is on a mission to save the world (including us earthlings!) he created. Praise God! It’s not us, the Church, who has a mission in the world; rather, it’s the God of mission who has a Church in the world. We get to join Him. It is both a privilege and a responsibility. We are grateful that we get to be part of this mission in this corner of the world.”

Fun Facts: Cotherman has completed an extensive list of writing for the Exchange at and was published in the September issue of the National Association of Evangelicals magazine. He is also the father of three children under the age of 7.

Charity Choice: Mustard Seed Missions

Zachary Covington

Zachary Covington of Clarion is the Executive Director of the Barrow-Civic Theatre (BCT) in Franklin, where he executes the mission and vision of the Franklin Civic Operetta Association (FCOA). He implemented several new programs within the past three years at BCT including “Keeping it Real Cabaret Lounge,” a monthly event featuring headliners and open mic singers in the theatre’s smaller Off-Barrow venue, the Barrow Theatre Institute, with the assistance of the FCOA’s Education Committee, the Young Americans East Coast Music Outreach Tour, FCOA Season Sponsorship program, improvement to donor and patron management systems, and the establishment of Barrow Theatre Endowment through Bridge Builders Community Foundations.

Covington is dedicated to engaging the community in arts and culture. He has improved cross-promotion relationships with Franklin restaurants, started an Artist In Residence program at BCT through Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Erie Arts and Culture, and hosts several public and private arts and cultural events each year.

Outside of his career, Covington is the President-Elect and Youth Exchange Chairman for Franklin Rotary Club, committee member for Arts In Education with Erie Arts & Culture, Vice President/Secretary for FLEX (Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs Exchange) and has directed and performed in many productions over the years at the Barrow-Civic Theatre.

He coordinates a large, successful volunteer program at BCT, assists the FLEX Events/Fundraising Committee, volunteers at Franklin Rotary events and serves on grant review panels across Pennsylvania.

Fun Facts: Covington teaches voice and acting for the Barrow Theatre Institute, a new arts education program providing an array of artistic exploration opportunities to enrich and empower individuals of all ages through high-quality creative arts education.

Charity Choice: Barrow Theatre Endowment Fund through Bridge Builders Community Foundations

Ashley Cowles

Ashley Cowles is a native of the Venango area who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and minors in Marketing and Public Relations from Kent State University. She was a member of the university’s Honors College, Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Lambda Pi Eta communications honors society.

In her career as Program Manager for the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, Cowles is the creator and lead of the Be Here Initiative (, encouraging people to live, work and play in Venango County by not just existing, but being involved, invested and truly experiencing all the area has to offer. She also assists the Chamber and FLEX young professionals with events, membership and marketing.

Cowles is also the owner/blogger of The Small Town Foodie where she shares wellness content, recipes, gardening tips and more. Working on freelance communications work with Bridge Builders Community Foundations and Gibbons Business Solutions, as well as other small businesses and organizations, is something Cowles enjoys doing to bolster her career.

Outside of her work, Cowles volunteers for the Oil City Main Street Program as Chair of the Economic Vitality Committee and a member of the Steering Committee, for the Venango Area Community Gardens Committee by attending meetings and assisting efforts within the community, and for the Oil City Vineyard Church assisting with Sunday morning hospitality, fellowship, and children’s church. You can also catch Cowles volunteering and participating in many community events, such as the Paul Ritchey 5k, gift wrapping, food drives, women’s workshops and more.

Fun facts: Cowles studied abroad in Florence Italy during the spring 2015 semester, and her blog can be found at

Charity Choice: Venango Area Community Gardens

Nicholas Hess

Nicholas Hess is a native of Venango County who owns and operates The Printer’s Cabinet & Curiosities in Oil City. He earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in English Writing and Communications, as well as minors in Theatre and Italian. Hess studied abroad at the Florence University of the Arts, studying foreign literature, writing and the Italian language, while collaborating with others in the local community.

For his shop, Hess sources merchandise from surrounding states and Europe, offering a diverse range of unique antiques and curiosities to buyers locally and beyond. He creates one of a kind pieces of furniture and jewelry. You often see Hess collaborating with Stems Brooklyn and promoting his business and brand in numerous markets from Pittsburgh to New York City, where he is also a buyer and supplier of vintage clothing for several businesses. Hess dresses windows and decorates businesses in the Venango area, having won numerous awards for his shop from the Oil City Main Street Program. Finally, Hess offers a wide range of knowledge to the local community concerning commercial and residential estate appraisals.

Outside of being an entrepreneur, Hess is a Board of Directors member and Costume Warehouse Chair for the Franklin Civic Operetta Association at the Barrow-Civic Theatre. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Oil City Main Street Program, offering input and advice as a local businessman for the beautification and upkeep of Oil City and its surrounding areas.

Hess volunteers for a variety of schools and organizations in the community including the Heritage Society of Oil City, St. Stephen School as a sit-in consultant and assistant director for the annual play, costuming for the annual school musical for Rocky Grove and Franklin schools, and performing for an annual fundraiser benefiting the Bell Lettres Club and Barrow-Civic, as well as for Franklin’s Light Up Night.

Fun Facts: Hess has acted in, directed and costumed over 30 shows at the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin and acted for Community Playhouse Inc. in Oil City. He created a rental business with the BCT, renting to customers around the region and beyond, even a major movie company in 2017.

Charity Choice: St. Elizabeth Center

Joni Hulse

Joni Hulse is a resident of Mercer County and exercise specialist/group fitness instructor at Cool Springs Fitness, but no stranger to the Venango area as she serves many clients through her independent consultant position with Arbonne International, a 35-year old company providing pure, botanically based ingredients in scientifically tested products. She is also a volunteer at the Barrow-Civic Theatre (BCT). Hulse holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science from Mount Union College and a minor in health.

In an effort to quit the corporate lifestyle, and with expertise in the mind, body, and soul, Hulse created multiple innovative aerobic classes to serve residents of Mercer County, and she is contracted to bring a class to Venango area starting this April at BCT’s new Barrow Theatre Institute. She is also a life coach helping others better themselves and their bodies. She volunteers at her church.

Joni said: “I believe we live in a world that has an idea of what success and living should look like, but I have redefined what success means for me. I constantly face fears and focus on opportunities to feel, learn and be who I was created to be. I coach, instruct, lead, guide and counsel those that cross my path in the same way. Don’t pass up the things that make you feel just because you have no idea where it may go. You could be writing to a group of strangers about your accomplishments next year and walk away realizing what a difference a year of just embracing the unknowns has been.”

Fun Fact: Hulse studied abroad at the University of Salzburg in Austria working on a comparison of collegiate qualifications for entrance into exercise science programs, nutrition and diet, cardiac rehabilitation and quality of life during hospitalized rehabilitation through mind stimulation fine arts. She also challenges herself to compliment three people each day and says her purpose in life is to be an encourager.

Charity Choice: Youth Alternatives, Inc.

Bobbie Jones

Bobbie Jones of Franklin is the Human Resources Manager of Webco Industries, Inc. and a graduate of Clarion University with an Associate of Science in Legal Business Studies and Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Employment Studies and Labor Relations. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, Pittsburgh Human Resources Association and the Clarion and Venango County Human Resources Group.

Jones travelled to the Pittsburgh area for the past few years to build a human resources department at Nicklas Supply, Inc., but has since returned with expertise in supporting more than 200 employees for a 24-hour operation, with emphasizing quality, improvement, employee retention and development. Prior to her move, Jones worked for Kraus USA out of Clarion County and Pennsylvania CareerLink in Oil City.

Over the past three years, Jones has been active with the School and Industry Partnership group, United Way, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), HR and small business panels, local HR Groups, Franklin YMCA, FLEX, Community Foundation and other various opportunities. She and a team began the Jake Boyle Memorial Scholarship Fund and assists with an annual golf outing to raise funds supporting scholarships to graduating seniors who plan to enter college in STEM majors.

Jones has always cared deeply about civic engagement. Currently, she is a member of the Industry and Partnerships group, Board of Directors member for the United Way of Venango County and a member/usher for Saint Patrick’s Church.

Fun Facts: Jones received a 200 credit hour training for yoga certification in July 2017 and teaches Ashtanga and Beginners Yoga at Impel Pilates and Yoga Studio in Franklin. She is also passionate about ultra-trail running, making the Venango area a great home. She has participated in the OC100 races (50K and 100K) for the past three years. Jones also put together a Beer and Yoga fundraiser to benefit the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides books to children in Venango County on a monthly basis.

Charity Choice: Friends of Oil Creek State Park

Alan McBride

Alan McBride is a native of Venango County with a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications from Penn State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Gannon University who works as Global Talent Manager for Komatsu Mining Corp. He is an expert at advancing employee learning, leadership development and career path progressions in a global professional environment.

In his career, some of McBride’s responsibilities include administering company-wide employee engagement surveys and implementing targeted action plans, managing curated leadership program content for global emerging talent and potential successors and conducting meetings with managers and senior leadership regarding succession planning processes.

McBride is a Certified Diversity Professional through The National Diversity Council, and has attended several other leadership and inclusion trainings over the past four years. Prior to his role as Global Talent Manager, McBride was a HR Generalist with Komatsu. He has worked with the company since February 2012.

Outside of his career, McBride has spent the past three years serving in leadership for FLEX (Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs Exchange). He is the current Membership Committee Chair and was the Vice President/Secretary of FLEX in 2016 and 2017. McBride also is a Board of Directors member of the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Venango County.

Fun facts: Alan’s helping to start an organization for young professionals at three Komatsu NWPA locations. Alan is an avid music lover who attends multiple concerts every year. He loves the band The Killers, which he has seen 12 times! He also spends many weekends visiting his alma mater, Penn State, with his girlfriend.

Charity Choice: Venango County Humane Society

Hannah McCarthy

Hannah McCarthy is a native of Venango County who holds a CDA in Infant/Toddler Education and is a lead teacher at the Child Development Center. She is known to many for her civic engagement at the Barrow-Civic Theatre (BCT) in Franklin, and her talent as a trained dancer. McCarthy began her dance training in various styles ranging from ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary and more at an early age at the local Thomas School of Dance, as well as with the Youth Theatre program at BCT. She possess a wide-range of skills and talents, including singing, acting, producing and more.

McCarthy was most recently seen in the Franklin Civic Operetta Association’s production of Little Women as Jo March. Previously, McCarthy held the following roles: Daisy in Great Gatsby, Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast, Mrs. Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in You Can’t Take it With You, Flotsom in The Little Mermaid, Neleus in Mary Poppins, a dancer/chorus member in Nice Work If You Can Get It and narrator in Charlotte’s Web.

McCarthy has taken leadership roles at BCT as well. She is a dance instructor for the new Barrow Theatre Institute, choreographer of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, producer/choreographer of two Off-Barrow productions, Liberty Cabaret Returns: Greatest Hits! and Liberty Cabaret Goes to the Movies.

Outside of her work with CDC and BCT, Hannah is a member of the FLEX (Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs Exchange), an independent consultant for Arbonne and a volunteer for the ABC Life Center.

Fun Fact: McCarthy performed as a contestant in the recent Celebration of Talent competition with last year’s FLEX Presents Young Professional of the Year, Casey McVay, billed as the Dancin’ Divas.

Charity Choice: ABC Life Center

Will Price

Will Price of Oil City is the Executive Director of the United Way of Venango County. He earned an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and trained with United Way of World Wide.

In his position, he hires, supervises and trains new staff. He advances and regulates community impact goals, corresponds all publications with campaign materials and press releases. He also  leads agency meetings, board meetings, press conferences, community events and represents the organization in all capacities. He is an expert in fostering relationships across the county.

Prior to progressing to Executive Director, Price was the Administrative Assistant at United Way, and seamlessly transitioned into his current role, providing his own unique style of leadership and engaging customer service capabilities to serve those living in the region. Price’s leadership and encouragement of the organization has provided long-term vision and great reward, including an increase in monetary donations in its annual campaign.

He is a Board of Directors member of Clarion University Alumni Association, Venango County Housing Authority, and Venango County Human Services Advisory Board. He is also a BIG for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Venango County, member of Franklin Rotary, and serves on the Education Committee for the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce.

Fun Facts: Price is a past President and Treasurer of FLEX. When he attended Clarion University, he served on Student Senate, Campus Activities Board, Bowling Team, Adult Learners Club, and a member of the 50th Anniversary Committee for Venango Campus.

Charity Choice: United Way of Venango County

 Stephen Reinsel

Stephen Reinsel is an optometrist at Wagner Family Eyecare in Seneca who earned a Doctor of Optometry from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Visual Science from the same college and a bachelor’s degree from Gannon University.

Outside of his career in optometry, Reinsel serves as a Board of Directors member for the Oil City Rotary, chairing the Terri Lynn Nut Sale, the largest fundraiser every year for the organization. He also volunteers with the organization at the Teddy Bear Picnic, Applefest, Chili Cook-Off, and Spaghetti Dinner annually. Reinsel hosts glaucoma screenings at the UPMC Women’s Health and Nifty Sixty Health Fairs. He provides vision screenings for the Oil City School District at Hasson and Smedley schools. Reinsel’s an active member of FLEX (Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs Exchange) and assists in the planning and execution of the group’s annual Oil Heritage Festival Bike ‘n Brew event.

Reinsel is also an active member and President of the Northwest Optometric Association local chapter, a team organizer for the Bowl for Kids Sake event and 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

Fun Facts: He married his love, Jenny Lynn Tran, this past fall in Las Vegas. His hobbies include bowling at the Knights of Columbus in the Merchant’s League, craft beer brewing and traveling.

Charity Choice: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Venango County

 To learn more about FLEX Presents and to register for the event, please visit

One Comment

  • Bill Hennessy 6 years ago Reply

    Knowing 5 of these individuals personally, I don’t know how one would be able to vote for the best. In my opinion they are all winners.

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