Search Results for: FLEX

FLEX Feature: Bridge Builders Community Foundations with Lauren Hart

We started our “FLEX Feature” series in January of this year to share about Venango County businesses and nonprofits through the eyes of young professionals who work there. We specifically wanted to feature organizations that do interesting and amazing things, but are not talked about enough or what they do is misunderstood.

This month we’re excited to hear from Lauren Hart of Bridge Builders Community Foundations, which is located in the Transit Building Annex in Oil City.

Tell us about Bridge Builders.
Bridge Builders Community Foundations is a grantmaking public charity that is dedicated to improving the lives of people in our community. We work with individuals, families, and businesses to set up funds that help the community. Those funds can be scholarships, donor advised funds, field of interest funds, and so many more. The funds created with the Community Foundation provide grants or scholarships to local nonprofits and students in need.

What is your role there?
I am the Director of Finance & Operations. I have been with the Community Foundation for almost nine years now. My main duties are to plan and complete tasks needed for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation. Some of my responsibilities include fiscal management, essential office functions, scholarship administration, technical support, and administrative support of the Foundation and supporting the President & CEO.

What is your favorite part about working at Bridge Builders?
One of my favorite parts about working for the Community Foundation is working with our generous donors. I look forward to getting to know them and assisting them with their philanthropic endeavors. I also really enjoy being a part of making our community a better place.

What is surprising about the organization?
There are many ways to give through the Community Foundation. Although cash gifts are most common, we are also able to accept donation of property, appreciated stock via securities, bequests, wills, and trusts as well as beneficiary designations through a person’s life insurance or IRA. Our most unique gift is a Mausoleum located in the Grove Hill Cemetery which we still own and maintenance.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Although we are a small staff of just three people, the Community Foundations’ footprint includes Venango, Clarion, and Forest Counties. Last year alone, we awarded over $550,000 in grants to local organizations and over $380,000 in scholarships to the students in our community.

Learn more about Bridge Builders Community Foundations at

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

Get Involved with FLEX!

While you can get involved with FLEX through volunteering and attending events, we invite you to get even more involved through a committee! FLEX has the following committees:

• Membership: Focuses on attracting & retaining young professionals. Also plans the FLEX Speaker Series.
• Events & Fundraising: Plans & executes FLEX events and socials.
• Marketing & Community Partnerships: Promotes the organization & coordinates volunteer activities.

The committees meet about once a month virtually to plan FLEX happenings and initiatives.

You can get involved with as much or as little as you’re able—attend every meeting and help with all the planning, or just spearhead one specific event.

Want to get involved? Contact us at

Thursday, November 10 • Trails to Ales II
Free headshots, food, drinks, trivia, networking & more!

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

FLEX Feature: Schake Industries with Kate Whitling

We hear the word “manufacturing” thrown around when talking about local industry, but what does that mean? For Schake Industries, it looks like producing silos and offering several other fabrication services. Learn more about the company from Project Manager Kate Whitling below.

Tell us about Schake Industries, Inc.
Schake Industries, Inc., located in Seneca, was founded in Oil City in 1997 focusing on industrial coatings, however over the years has developed successfully into a producer of spiral aluminum silos. These silos are most often installed in plastics manufacturing facilities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We celebrate 25 years in business in October.

What is your role at the company?
I am currently a project manager for Schake Industries. My main responsibilities include scheduling, customer relations, risk management, budgeting, and team management. Being a part of a small business also allows me to expand my skill set by having a hand in accounting, inventory control, and business development.

What is your favorite part about working at Schake Industries?
I enjoy seeing the development and growth the company has gone through over the last couple of years. My step father started the company and has worked hard to successfully grow it into what it is today. It’s truly a rewarding experience to have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps and continue making forward progress in growing this business.

What is surprising about the company?
Schake Industries also offers installation and servicing of our products. Our trained installation crews will follow silos as they are shipped out across the continental United States. These silos are mainly installed in plants that produce plastic products, such as bottles, containers, medical devices and more.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Schake Industries not only produces spiral aluminum silos, but also offers a variety of manufacturing and fabrication services as well. Our capabilities also include cutting, bending, breaking, painting, sandblasting and powder coating.

Learn more about Schake at

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

FLEX Feature: PennDOT with Saxon Daugherty

Last month, we learned about a construction company, and this month we’re excited to hear about the work done behind the scenes for transportation in PA.

Tell us about PennDOT.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and waterways. The agency is responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and 25,000 bridges, a system first established in 1911. PennDOT employs more than 11,000 workers and has 11 engineering districts spanning across all 67 counties in PA. Many employees work in design, construction, maintenance, materials testing, environmental review, safety, and traffic engineering. PennDOT also operates 14 Welcome Centers along the interstate highways near the state’s borders.

What is your role at the agency?
I am the District 1 Safety Press Officer responsible for the northwest region, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Warren, and Venango counties. I serve as the spokesperson for highway safety through various media outlets and public outreach initiatives. Some common topics I address include distracted driving, aggressive driving, impairment, bicycle and pedestrian safety, school bus safety, and more.

What is your favorite part about working for PennDOT?
Like many of my jobs before joining PennDOT in April 2021, I love being able to interact with the community and provide them with information that can keep them safe. Acting as the Safety Press Officer has opened my eyes to new data and trends. I challenge myself daily to come up with unique ways to share a message of safety with the general public and it’s that challenge that motivates me.

What is something surprising about your employer?
Many people don’t realize that PennDOT is utilizing drone technology to accomplish a variety of objectives. The drone program at PennDOT is still relatively new, but provides pilots the opportunity to fly missions at active construction projects to document progress and/or conduct inspections of structures such as bridges to find problem areas. Earlier this year, I became a certified drone pilot through the Federal Aviation Administration and have joined the drone team at PennDOT. It is something I didn’t anticipate becoming such a critical part of my job, but it has been a pleasant surprise and has quickly developed into one of my favorite duties.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
PennDOT is organized into five deputates, including Administration, Driver and Vehicle Services, Highway Administration, Multimodal Transportation, and Planning. Additionally, PennDOT has offices with responsibilities for legal, policy, legislative and communication issues.

Learn more about PennDOT at

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

FLEX Feature: IA Construction with Maggie Schwabenbauer

Most of us travel on paved roads each day, but do you know how much goes into creating these roads? FLEX Member Maggie Schwabenbauer shared some information with us on her employer IA Construction.

Tell us about IA Construction.
IA Construction Corporation is a paving company based out of Franklin. It is also a subsidiary of Barrett Industries which operates across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, and Barret is also a subsidiary of a national corporation called Colas Industries, based out of France. IA has five asphalt plants—four are located in PA and one is located in Corriganville, MD. We also operate four quarries throughout PA and NY.

What is your role at the company?
I am the Assistant Environmental Coordinator, which means I’m responsible for making sure all environmental permits are in compliance and our employees are following the restrictions outlined within our permits. As the environmental coordinator, I get to travel to all IA locations regularly to make sure all paperwork is in order and our employees do not need any extra support. I have also started taking on more roles in the Quality Control Department of our company. This has allowed me to learn more about the testing of our materials.

What is your favorite part about working for IA Construction?
I love the flexibility it gives me to travel throughout the state and the country. I also enjoy being a member of a small company where everyone is looking out for one another. IA Construction prides itself on keeping our employees safe and producing high quality materials that support our community, and I am very proud to be part of their team.

What is surprising about the business?
Something that I think people would be surprised to learn about IA Construction is all of the planning and coordination that goes into creating the roads we travel every day. There is a lot of thought that goes into constructing a roadway and many moving parts.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
If you are interested in learning more, you can visit the sites below:
You can also find us on Facebook ( and Linkedin (

Thank you for sharing, Maggie!

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