Congratulations Stephanie Staub, the 2022 Young Professional of the Year!
Nominations were put forward by community members based on the young professionals’ contributions to the community through civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
All nominees were recognized at FLEX Presents on Friday, April 29, at DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin.Learn more about FLEX Presents
The 2022 nominees are:
Becky Deeter is an Account Specialist at AgChoice Farm Credit, where she has worked for three and a half years. In this position, she assists area loan officers in serving the rural community through financing opportunities. This includes helping many farmers, and rural homeowners in financing purchases such as homes, farms, equipment, livestock, and much more.
She was also instrumental with the origination of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which assisted farmers and business owners during the economic impacts of COVID.
In the community, Becky is heavily involved with 4-H. She was a member for 11 years in her youth, then became a volunteer with the Venango County 4-H program and has been for 10 years. She is a volunteer leader with the Canal Ag 4-H Club, a community club where members complete projects around animal science, sewing, gardening, and more.
Becky is also a volunteer leader with the Venango County 4-H Teen Council, consisting of 13-18 year-olds who plan and coordinate countywide events and programs for the community, such as a fishing derby, cornhole tournament, truck or treat, winter formal, stockings for veterans, and chili for the salvation army.
Personally, Becky is a fan of photography and enjoys capturing scenes from around her family’s farm. She does this to share with family and friends, but also to highlight different aspects of agriculture. At the 2022 Pennsylvania State Farm Show, she won the PA Cattlemen’s Association photo contest and will be featured in three magazines published throughout 2022. She looks forward to improving her photography skills and possibly starting a small business selling her prints.
Jessica Hilburn is the Executive Director at the Benson Memorial Library. In just two years, she has attained more than $200,000 in grant funding for Benson Memorial Library projects including funds for the replacement of the library’s windows to return to its historic facade.
In her position, she has also improved the accessibility of the library for patrons with disabilities through automatic doors and updated restrooms, and helped mobilize the fine-free library movement (and its successful implementation) in Crawford County in 2021.
Jessica has led the library through the COVID-19 pandemic without any staff layoffs and successfully pivoted library access through curbside service and eventual reopening. In addition, she helped with the process of bringing grant-funded fiber internet broadband connectivity to seven of nine libraries in Crawford County.
In the community, Jessica volunteers and currently serves as vice-president with Titusville Renaissance, Inc., where she helps coordinate programs such as the Titusville Area Placemaking initiative, National Trails Day, and economic engagement programs.
She created and administers the Titusville Community Calendar, a free promotional tool for Titusville-area businesses and organizations, and has donated time to perform web design for the new City of Titusville website. In addition, she was appointed to the Crawford County Planning Commission and serves on the Planning Initiatives and Agricultural & Environmental Concerns Committees.
Jessica was previously an intern for the Oil Region Alliance in Oil City and continues to volunteer with them as a judge for the historic preservation awards and frequent consult and partner for their heritage advisory work.
Other volunteer roles for Jessica include serving as a Titusville Literacy Council board member, Drake Well Oil Field Journal Publication Committee member, and Hydetown Borough volunteer and website administrator.
In 2021, Jessica graduated from Valdosta State University with a Masters in Library and Information Science. She is a writer, too, and published her first book Hidden History of Northwestern Pennsylvania in summer 2019, while also working as a contract writer for InformationToday Magazine.
Kieran Irwin is the owner of Bandit’s Gambit, a CBD and pet supply store in Seneca, PA.
Before opening his business in 2021, he worked for “Your CBD Store” as General Manager and doubled the sales in the first three months. After it closed, he purchased the inventory, applied for an EIN number, found an accountant and insurance agent, and opened his own store at the age of 24.
The store is named after his dog, Bandit, who he has nursed back to health since getting hit by a vehicle. Kieran has faced many challenges with financing Bandit’s surgeries and also having a burglary at his business, but he has continued to dedicate himself to the store to reach his goals, and has recently hired his sister to help.
He is often trying to expand his knowledge by taking seminars and has worked to continue to grow the store and the products they offer.
Kieran cares about the community and is very generous to others–giving items to raffles and collecting donations for organizations like the Venango County Humane Society. He has also volunteered with the Tri-County Humane Society.
In addition, Kieran has worked several places throughout the community before his current career, such as Sears, Verizon Wireless, and GNC, and was often promoted or setting records for sales.
Jennifer Mosher-Johnson is the high school broadcasting, newspaper, and English teacher for the Oil City School District. She has been involved with the school district in a variety of ways beyond her teaching duties.
In collaboration with The Derrick Newspaper, her newspaper class writes student articles for the school’s online newspaper and blog on The Derrick’s webpage.
She has worked to bring streaming of school events to the Oil City High School YouTube channels, such as sporting and musical events and graduation, connecting the community with the school during COVID-19. She also has held video production events via the broadcasting club.
Photography is a skill and passion of Jennifer’s as well. She takes photos for free at sporting events and for senior photos and often photographs various parks and hiking areas throughout Venango County to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle for her students.
She is also a previous Girls Assistant Basketball Coach at Oil City Senior High School.
Will Price has served as the Director of the United Way of Venango County since 2016. In his role, he has grown the organization in several ways. He created, organized, and implemented several new programs including Pa2-1-1 Northwest, Imagination Library, and Success by 6. Will has grown the United Way team, has raised over $600,000 in a single Annual Campaign, which is the largest campaign in Venango County history, and created and fostered partnerships with many community partners. Before becoming Director, Will served at the United Way as Executive Assistant for four years.
In addition to his role at the United Way, Will has worked as manager at his family’s business Deets’ Sugar House for 20 years, where he loves to interact with the customers and staff.
Will enjoys mentoring 4-H members with projects, and he is often outdoors running or spending time on his family’s farm, which has a variety of animals. He also helps with the making of maple syrup.
In the community, Will serves on the boards and committees of many organizations. He is on the Education Committee at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and serves as a committee member on the Children Task Force for Venango County.
Will is a board member of the Venango County Fair and Venango County Human Services Advisory Board, and former board member for both the Barrow-Civic Theatre and Clarion University Alumni Board, where he served as president.
With the United Way of Pa, Will serves as a board member and is currently the chair of the Membership Committee. He is also a current member of the Franklin Rotary Club.
Aaron Ritsig is a Government Contracting Specialist at the Northwest Commission Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), in Oil City, where he started in November 2021. In this position, he helps clients with government contracting efforts, through technical assistance, market research, bid reviews, and interpretation of government policies and procedures. He also assists the Program Manager with funding reporting and develops and presents trainings.
Before starting at the Northwest Commission, Aaron worked at ASRC Federal, a government services subsidiary in Boyers, PA, where he analyzed government background check items.
Aaron earned his bachelor’s degree in Technology Leadership in May 2021 through Clarion University and earned a 4.0 GPA. At the university, he gave a presentation on “Financial Modeling,” at the Night of Excellence alongside Clarion University faculty member Dr. Kreag Danvers. Aaron was also a member of the CU Serve Club and helped plan and attend the trip to New Orleans.
He is a member and volunteer for the FLEX Young Professionals, volunteer with the Franklin Civic Operetta Association and Oil Region Historical Society’s Cemetery Walk , and at-large member of the Worship Committee for Seneca United Methodist Church.
Andrew Ritsig is the Administrator and Bookkeeper for Bon Appetit, the food services provider at Grove City College. Since starting in this role in 2021, he has revamped several key financial documents and created new documents to streamline operations. Prior to this position, Andrew was the Administrative Specialist at the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce.
Andrew is very involved in the Franklin Civic Operetta Association. He has volunteered for several events, even during COVID shutdowns, including two Liberty Cabaret parking lot concerts, the recorded performance of “Anne of Green Gables,” the Red Eye Theatre Project, and co-hosting instructional videos on stage auditioning for the Barrow Theatre Institute. He just accepted his first directional job at the theatre, too, which will debut in 2022.
At Clarion University – Venango, where he graduated in 2019 with a degree in Technology Leadership, Andrew was a member of the CU Serve Club and helped fundraise for and participate in the service trip to New Orleans.
In addition, Andrew has volunteered with and attended FLEX events, has volunteered for the Oil Region Historical Society’s Cemetery Walk, and serves as an at-large member of the Seneca United Methodist Church’s Mission Committee, where he is also frequently the Worship Leader.
Ashley Smith works for the Venango County Planning Commission, where she started in 2017 as Land Use Planner and was promoted to Deputy Director in 2022. In addition to her job at the Planning Commission, in 2020 Ashley opened her own business, Zaccari Home Inspections LLC, and has achieved PA Certified Professional Inspector status by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and become a member of the InterNACHI Western PA and Young Professional Inspector Chapters.
Ashley serves on the board of directors for the Franklin Fine Arts Council, Franklin Historic Architectural Review Board, Northwest Hospital Foundation, and Franklin Meals on Wheels. She is also on the board for the Venango County Democratic Committee and was nominated as Vice Chairman in 2021.
In 2018, Ashley became an Ambassador for the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s Be Here initiative, and attended the training again in 2020. Ashley also graduated from Leadership Venango, the Venango Chamber’s leadership program, and in 2020 she served as the FLEX Young Professionals Events & Fundraising Committee Co-Chair. For Franklin High School, Ashley has served as the coach for the Marching Band Bandfront since 2017.
Ashley has received recognition for her commitment to the Venango County community. For the Oil Region Alliance Tourism Awards, she was voted “Best Local Business and Tourism Advocate,” and she was named a Hero during the Venango Chamber’s Community Heroes campaign in 2021.
Stephanie Staub works for the Oil City Area School District, where she is a K-4 STEM Teacher and Technology Integrator. She earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership in 2020 from the University of Kansas.
At the school, Stephanie has applied for and received numerous grants and has done multiple trainings, such as IU Professional Development on all STEM topics and a Professional Book Study. Other professional development Stephanie has done includes participating in Code.org seminars, Freedoms Foundation Summer Programs, and EVERFI Hockey Scholar Training.
She has attended the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C) for three years, and has presented at the event twice. Also, in 2022, Stephanie received NASA SPARX Teacher Recognition.
Stephanie is a member of the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), PBIS Team at Southside Schools, Teaching Next Generation Scientists Professional Learning Community (PLC), Intermediate Unit 6 Technology Integrators, and Pennsylvania Teachers Association (PSEA), and she is a judge for the Future Engineers program.
In addition to her teaching duties, Stephanie has held many positions for Oil City Athletics, including coaching, working the concession stand, and fundraising, and is currently working on an event called “Books and Bikes” at Oil Creek State Park, as part of Remake Learning Days. She also is a teacher for Kids in College, a summer STEM program for 3rd through 5th graders at Clarion University.
Outside of education, Stephanie has ventured into other jobs, including teaching yoga at Trailasana Yoga Studio; running Steph’s Silhouettes, a small self-run t-shirt and earring business; and opening Staub & Co. Succulents, a greenhouse business that travels to events and shows.
In the community, Stephanie has helped with Get on the Trails, a grant contest for local businesses, worked at a Webco Blood Drive, and founded and organized a 200 mile fundraiser to raise money for local organizations and families in need.
Megan Weber has worked at Komatsu Mining Corp. for 13 years, where she started at an MRP Controller, then a Provisioning Analyst, and was recently promoted to Service Planning Analyst.
In 2021, Megan was elected Clintonville Borough Mayor, where she has lived her whole life. Since getting involved in her community, she has started a free library, Stray Cat Spay & Neuter Project, Buy Nothing Group, and Community Page. She also serves on the Clintonville Community Day Planning Committee.
Megan is a member of the FLEX young professionals group, ambassador for the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s Be Here initiative, and currently a member of the 2022 class of Leadership Venango, the Chamber’s leadership program.
She is a member of the local MOPS Group, Zonta International, where she serves on the Nominating Committee, and also the Franklin Rotary Club and Franklin Elks Club.
Megan volunteers at the Grove City Pet Rescue and serves on the board of directors for both the Venango County Humane Society and Venango County Planning Commission. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association.
Devin Zagar is the owner of 7 Foot Productions and Marketing LLC, a business he started in 2021 to advance and showcase our region including local business, organizations, events and activities. He is passionate about being involved in the revitalization of our community.
He graduated recently with his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of Wooster, where he was a three-year resident assistant and four-year collegiate varsity athlete.
Devin is a participant of the Venango Leadership Class of 2022 and his group is creating a community podcast, which will be hosted by area youth and create an opportunity for them to engage leaders and professionals in the community and spread the word about the people, places, and things in our region.
He is a member of the FLEX young professionals group, where he participates in the Marketing & Community Partnerships Committee. He has also volunteered for Junior Achievement’s “JA In A Day,” where he taught two class sessions to fifth graders on the topic of “JA Our Nation.”
In addition, Devin is the co-host of the By Reason of Insanity Podcast, where they discuss and breakdown difficult or divisive socio-political issues to find a middle ground in an ever divisive world.