Search Results for: FLEX

FLEX Member Highlight: Hannah Gamble

Looking for a great place to grab a cup of coffee or tea? FLEX member Hannah Gamble recently opened Iron Furnace Coffee, located on Liberty Street in Franklin!

At Iron Furnace, Hannah is roasting her own coffee beans, has a limited food menu that features local ingredients, and offers a variety of quality drinks made with both coffee and tea.

Hannah and her husband Josh moved back to the area in 2020 from Pittsburgh, where Hannah worked at a coffee company. She worked at Core Goods in Oil City for almost two years, before opening Iron Furnace this May.

“It was always my dream to have my own coffee shop and opening Iron Furnace has been challenging, but incredibly rewarding,” said Hannah. “Franklin and the entire community have been so welcoming and supportive and I look forward to the many years of running this business.”

Congratulations, Hannah, and thank you for investing in our region by opening a business!

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) July 2022 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

FLEX Feature: Venango Museum with Brandon Boocks

When is the last time you visited the Venango Museum? For many, it has been since going on a field trip in elementary school. We encourage you to stop in soon, and we’re excited to share about what’s happening there from Executive Director Brandon Boocks.

Tell us about the Venango Museum.
We are located on Oil City’s North Side in a Beaux-Arts architectural-styled building—originally a post office in 1905 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We collect, preserve, and exhibit artifacts and related materials relevant to the interests of Venango County residents and visitors. We currently have two exhibits. Our permanent exhibit called Oil: Black Gold or Black Magic? details how oil has made fortunes and transformed our everyday lives, global economics, politics, and the environment. We also have an exhibit area that is changed at least once a year. The current exhibit is called Our Pennzoil Story and details history of the Pennzoil Company’s roots in Venango County.

What is your role there?
I manage all aspects of the Museum. I oversee daily operations including administration duties, fundraising, and more. I work with the public on a daily basis, giving tours of exhibits and recommending other local spots for visitors to stop. I plan and host community events such as concerts, children’s programming, workshops, and tours of other historic sites. I oversee and grow our collection, which consists of items and materials related to Venango County as well as the early oil industry. I also oversee the development of the temporary exhibits.

What is your favorite part about working for the Museum?
The storytelling aspect has always been my favorite part. I enjoy hearing the many stories that make up the history of our region and shape who we are today. I also never know who is going to come through our doors and the stories they’ll tell. Whether it be a tourist, a visitor wanting to donate or loan items to our collection, or a resident reminiscing—they all have a story to tell.

What would surprise people about the Venango Museum?
Our collection contains strange and unexpected items that contribute to the story of our history. Kept in an offsite location is a letter from Abraham Lincoln, thanking a resident for her donation to Philadelphia Hospitals to aid in caring for sick and wounded Union soldiers in 1865. Currently on display is a recast of President Grant’s death mask, a likeness of his face made by taking a mold of his corpse to be used for creation of portraits. Grant visited the Oil Region during his presidency to learn the potential impact of the oil boom on the United States.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The Museum has existed in Venango County for 61 years. We are entirely supported by our community— residents bringing families and friends to visit, or people supporting our events and programs—and all of it is vital and helps to keep the Museum alive.

Learn more about the Museum at

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) July 2022 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

FLEX Feature: Electralloy with Quinn Mitchell

Our FLEX Feature articles have been a mix of nonprofit organizations and businesses, and we’re excited to introduce a local manufacturer this month!

Tell us about Electralloy.
We make specialty steel, nickel, and copper alloys for the aerospace, shipbuilding, energy production, and industrial products industries. The material starts as scrap and is melted in our electric arc furnace. The melt shop works to perfect the chemistry of the alloy by adding and reducing elements of interest. It then can either be remelted in our vacuum arc remelt (VAR) furnaces or electro slag remelt (ESR) furnaces, and forged/rolled to size in Braeburn, PA, or sent to our network of converters and then heat treated, tested, and machined to size at our Rouseville, Siverly, and Cherry Tree locations.

What is your role at Electralloy?
I’m the Chief Chemist and responsible for managing all aspects of the chemistry lab. We work with the melt shop to produce quick and accurate results throughout and after the melt. We use four types of methods—Xray, optical emission, combustion, and fusion. We just acquired a new x-ray machine and we are busy calibrating and running studies on its capabilities. Soon I will be creating and updating procedures on how to run the different grades of steel on the new machine.

What is your favorite part about working for this business?
Electralloy has been a steady source of employment for Venango County residents since the late 1960’s. It has even given me the ability to move home. I studied Food Science in the hope of running a creamery off my family’s farm. We (Mitch-Hill Dairy) just started bottling milk in January 2021, but it still is not enough to pay a salary. Therefore, my day job at Electralloy helps sustain that dream in hopes it can be profitable in the future. I am thankful Electralloy has given me a career. I started as a technician and worked my way to management. They have provided some training and I am learning new things about this industry every day.

What would surprise people about Electralloy?
I think our coolest customer is SpaceX! We make the metal that goes into the rocket engine nozzles for when they blast off and the steering mechanisms for the boosters that are landed on barges when they return to earth. Our favorite saying in the lab is: “Sometimes we make spaceships and sometimes we make spoons.” Spaceship making day is the most exciting.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Fun fact — we used to get and use scrap that came with armed guards, like foreign coins and firearms that were being recycled.

Also, we are environmentally conscious. As mentioned earlier, we use an electric furnace and that is the greenest form of energy to melt steel. Most other mills use natural gas, coal coke to power their furnaces. Our lab also tests the water quality once a week to make sure any runoff to the river is safe for the local wildlife.

Thank you, Quinn, for sharing about Electralloy! You can learn more about the business at

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) June 2022 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

FLEX Feature: Oil Region Library Association with Zoe Oakes

We’re back this month with our FLEX Feature article and this time we talked with Zoe Oakes, Branch Manager of the Franklin Public Library.

Tell us about the Oil Region Library Association.
The Oil Region Library Association (ORLA) is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2015 with the intention of taking over the governance of local public libraries. This partnership collectively brought together all public libraries in Venango County (Franklin, Oil City, and Cooperstown) under the governance of one organization for the first time ever.

What is your role at ORLA?
I serve as the Branch Manager of the Franklin Public Library, where I am in charge of stewardship of the building and the collection it holds. I help build partnerships with local businesses and organizations to help spread awareness of what is available to and in the community, beyond the walls of the library.

What is your favorite part about working with this organization?
I am proud to be a member of ORLA. I am passionate about helping patrons get the fullest use of their time at the library and promoting resources available when the physical libraries are closed. It is a pleasure to share in comradery between patrons and staff— sharing personal anecdotes, offering advice, and of course discussing the latest James Patterson novel!

What would surprise people about ORLA?
The libraries have traditional print material, but also an every expanding collection of “realia.” These are one-time-use, expensive, or risky items to offset costs to community members. Going to Two Mile Run Park? Check out a Metal Detector and GPS and go Geocaching! Doing household repairs or DIY? Check out a power drill and auto-leveling lase/stud finder. Want to meet friends in the virtual world for a Beat Saber competition? Check out an Oculus Quest 2.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The Franklin Public Library is celebrating 100 years of serving the public on Friday, June 17, 2022. The community is invited to help with the planning and implementation of the festivities. Please contact your local ORLA branch for additional information.

Thank you, Zoe, for sharing about the Oil Region Library Association and your role at the Franklin Public Library! You can learn more about ORLA at

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) May 2022 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.