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Especially for Teens Event – Wednesday, September 18


Youth Alternatives, Adagio Health, and UPMC Northwest have teamed up to bring an “Especially for Teens (and their Families)” event to the community on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Cranberry Mall. 

Adagio Health hosted a teen night along with Youth Alternatives’ Health Resource Center this past March with some success.

“We wanted to expand the teen night to make it available to more participants in a larger venue,” according to Kathy Smerkar, Adagio Health Office Manager.  The three agencies planned the event to be similar to the successful, long standing “Especially for Women” model that UPMC Northwest and Adagio Health use for their annual health and wellness event each October as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Free services and screenings will include a distracted driving simulator from PennDOT, vision screening offered by the Venango County Blind Association, and blood type testing provided by UPMC Northwest.  (Parental signature will be required for blood type testing).

There will be over 15 agencies available with information geared towards teenagers and their family members.  Games, prizes, and giveaways will be some of the highlights, and a free gift will be given to the first 100 teens. A light supper of pizza, chips, cookies and drinks will be provided to participants.

Pre-registration is not required but highly encouraged to allow for an accurate food count.  To register, please call Adagio Health at (814) 676-1811.

“There is so much information in our community that is important for our teens and their families to know. We are bringing all of that together in one place to help teens and their families navigate the sometimes confusing world of being a teen,” says Corinne Carbaugh, Health Resource Center Coordinator at Youth Alternatives. “We are hoping that this will become a yearly event,” the committee commented.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s September 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

How Has FLEX Shaped You? Members Share Testimonials


FLEX is devoted to providing a setting where young people can build relationships and develop themselves professionally. Here are some testimonials from FLEX members who truly believe in the FLEX mission and have seen the effects in their own lives.

One of my top goals in joining FLEX was to get more involved in my community. Through volunteer, social, and professional development events, I have achieved that goal. Being a part of leadership has also helped me expand my skill set in planning and organizing events and networking. Plus, I’ve made a lot of new friends and it’s really fun!

Kat Thompson

FLEX has broadened my knowledge of Venango County and the opportunities in the area. We’ve hiked Two Mile, attended shows at the Barrow, and participated in a guided informational tour of Franklin. Through personal connections made at socials, I have been able to get involved with organizations and give back to my community through volunteering.

Laura Ordaz

Joining FLEX has introduced me to new people, different activities and events, and places I may not have explored. The members are extremely inviting and helpful. A recent FLEX event gave me the opportunity to speak with other professionals and led me to my first job interview since moving here! It’s a great way to get your name out there and open new doors.

Deborah Thompson

FLEX gave me the opportunity to create a social circle and flourish in Venango County, and when I decided I wanted to thrive elsewhere, it helped me, too. My employers at the job I landed were impressed with the marketing and leadership skills I learned through FLEX and asked that I utilize those talents at work.

Marissa Dechant

Since my participation in FLEX as a college intern at the Chamber, I have seen the group grow tremendously as I have also grown in my career. The personal connections and leadership experience I’ve gained have shaped me into the professional I am today.

Ashley Cowles

These are just some of the ways FLEX has had an impact in the lives of young professionals in our region. We encourage you to attend an upcoming event or reach out to a FLEX member to learn more about opportunities the group brings.

Learn more about FLEX at venangoflex.org

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) September 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Teachers “Cruise” to Local Businesses


Written by Heather Motter, English Teacher at Cranberry High School

In a perfect world every educator would be aware of what is happening in the business world and vice versa. The relationship between the educational and workforce communities has faced many challenges and changes over the years. Limited time and resources are two factors which have had the greatest impact on this relationship. Fortunately, we are seeing the leaders of these two communities take notice and implement programs to businesses and educators together.

In July, Joe Reinsel, a curriculum specialist from the Riverview Intermediate IU#6 coordinated a two day “Career Cruise”, with assistance from Venango Chamber President Susan Williams.

Educators from local districts, including Oil City, Titusville, East Clarion, Cranberry, and Valley Grove, were invited to visit Webco’s Oil City and Reno locations, Komatsu, Liberty Electronics, Oakwood Heights, and UPMC Northwest. We were not only welcomed but treated to an experience which will most certainly have lasting benefits.

The itinerary at each site was similar. We were greeted by company representatives, taken on informational tours, and given the opportunity to speak with employees about their educational backgrounds. Conversation included business advice for future graduates. We saw things we did not know existed in Venango County.

We experimented with a new virtual reality software being developed by Komatsu computer scientists for miner safety, witnessed engineers at Liberty Electronics building devices for our military helicopters to deflect missiles, and watched the innovative production process of tubing at Oil City’s Webco plant.  At both health care facilities we were amazed by the services and level of care available to patients. Did you know that UPMC Northwest’s stroke program was named an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and is the region’s only facility to earn that designation?

My takeaway from this valuable experience is that we have no lack of quality job opportunities in Venango County. As for preparing our students for those positions, we need to place a greater emphasis on soft skills. Every company offered their support and services to assist us in this effort. I can now confidently support the Chamber’s “Be Here” initiative and encourage students to consider a career in Venango County. I am extremely grateful to everyone who made this experience possible and look forward to a productive future with my new partners in education.

The Teacher in the Workplace (TIW) program provides the opportunity to connect the classroom to the workplace for K-12 educators in Pennsylvania. Through the TIW program, teachers, counselors, and administrators are provided experiences interacting directly with industry and business leaders to learn about industry trends, needs and opportunities to enhance their classroom instruction, student learning and career readiness. If your business is interested in being included in future tours and programs, please contact the Chamber.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s September 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

September 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Deborah Thompson & Randy Arnold


Deborah Thompson recently moved to the area with her family and is excited to find a career and get more involved here. She is from New Hampshire and loves where she grew up, but has always been drawn to Pennsylvania, as her parents grew up in Hydetown and Oil City.

Deb attended Edinboro University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Recreation Administration and graduated summa cum laude. She has also completed courses through the Life Office Management Association (LOMA).

For her career, Deb most recently worked as a Claims Associate for Loyal Christian Benefit Association (LCBA), a life insurance company. She is currently looking for a job in our area and would like something with structure and a predictable work schedule. She is open to many different career paths but hopes to use her strengths in communication, interpersonal skills, and leadership, and she has also been described as friendly, dedicated, and a versatile worker.

With her husband Eric (who was featured in our June FYI), Deb is raising two children—Carter (7) and Peyton (4). She also spends time exercising, participating in sports and lawn games, playing board games, and listening to music. In our area, some of her favorite amenities include the trails along the Allegheny River, Wanango, Clarks Donuts, and Hasson Pool.

“In the next 5 to 10 years, I hope to be in a place that my family and I can vacation yearly, the kids are in sports and whatever activity they desire and I have a stable career which I enjoy,” Deb told us.

We look forward to getting to know Deb more and to help her become connected in our region!

Although he lives just outside Venango County in Grove City, Randy Arnold works here and has become involved in our community.

At Pioneer Energy Products (PEPRO), located on Colbert Avenue in Oil City, Randy is employed as Senior Mechanical Engineer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Grove City College and is a Licensed Professional Engineer.

Randy grew up in Bradford County, but stayed in Western Pennsylvania after accepting a job at Joy Mining right out of college. He has had the opportunity to travel the world, in which he spent a semester in France and traveled nationally and internationally since college, including Australia, India, China, England, Zambia, Canada, and all around the continental U.S.

Randy is a graduate of the 2019 graduating class of Leadership Venango, where he spent nine months learning about our region and gaining leadership skills. Looking towards the future, he told us he would like to “see the products built in Western PA thrive by creating value in places all over the United States.” He appreciates the business opportunities in Venango County, which have provided his source of income for over 10 years and he believes our area is “primed very well for business.”

In any free time he has, Randy focuses on family—his wife, Joy, and two children, Hailey and Blake. He enjoys camping and going to local fairs with them, and occasional dates with Joy.

“I have always found great people to work with in Venango County,” he told us. “You can count on people to be down to earth, wholesome, and hard working.”

Thanks for your commitment to our region, Randy!

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) September 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Cranberry Festival – September 21


We’re looking forward to Cranberry Festival on Saturday, September 21, in Morrison Park, Seneca. The day includes children’s activities, food vendors, a craft show, a bake off, the “Backwoods Olympics,” and much more.

While plans are well under way, there is still time for you to get involved. If you would like to volunteer, individually or as a business or organization, there are opportunities for just an hour or all day. Not available on the 21st? We have things that need done in preparation and we would welcome your assistance.

We are also currently accepting items for the Cranberry Festival Basket Raffle. Donations can include full baskets, items, or gift certificates. Please contact the Venango Chamber at (814) 676-8521 or chamber@venangochamber.org if you’d like to get involved or make a donation.

The best way to show your support is to join us at the festival and bring the family!

Find the full festival schedule and a list of our sponsors here.