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January 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Damien Cherico & Jon Byham


Damien ChericoDamien Cherico is new to Venango County, but comes from the neighboring town of Clarion. He moved to Franklin and started at Webco Industries in Oil City as a Plant Metallurgist in July 2018.

After graduating from Clarion High School, Damien studied at Penn State University’s Main Campus in State College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering.

Damien has enjoyed living in our area and appreciates the beauty here, and how nice the people are, especially his co-workers at Webco. He has been busy at work, but plans to get more involved in the community in the near future.

At Penn State, Damien was a member of the Glee Club and still enjoys singing. When growing up, his family would spend weekends at his grandparents’ house on the Clarion River and at his family’s summer house in Maryland, so he has always loved water activities, like sailing.

He enjoys a variety of other outdoor activities, too, and plans to explore more in the area. Besides being outside, another hobby of Damien’s is working on computers and playing video games.

In the future, Damien has goals to go back to school for an MBA or other master’s degree, continue working hard at Webco, meet more people, and eventually settle down and start a family here.

We look forward to getting to know Damien even more!

Jon ByhamJon Byham is a Venango County native and works for the City of Oil City as a police officer. He grew up in Cooperstown and Dempseytown and loves the small town feeling of living in an area where everyone knows everyone.

Upon graduating from Oil City High School in 2008, Jon began college at the University of Pittsburgh in Titusville. After two years there he chose to transfer to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). At IUP, Jon earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology.

Jon then decided to attend the IUP Municipal Police Academy, where he earned his Act 120 Certification in 2014. He has been working for the Oil City Police Department since April of 2015. Jon says he appreciates the opportunity he has to serve the community and enjoys working with people from many different backgrounds.

Jon’s future goals include advancing in his career (he hopes to become a lieutenant) and eventually opening a small business here in Venango County. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family (including 9-month-old daughter Charlotte), exercising, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

Among his favorite things to do in Venango County are kayaking, going out to eat, and seeing movies at the local movie theater. Jon is looking forward to becoming more involved in FLEX and meeting new people through the organization.

Jon hopes to see more businesses come to our area and keep the community on a path of growth.

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) January 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter. Find more young professional profiles here.

PA Chamber’s 28th Economic Survey


Despite record confidence, concerns over skills gap, healthcare and state tax structure continue to burden employees.

Employers are reporting record high confidence in the state’s business climate, and are making investments in their facilities and workers that reflect this optimism. However, a job skills gap was listed for the first time as the biggest hurdle facing their business, and ongoing concerns about the state’s tax structure and rising healthcare rates still create barriers to economic opportunity.  These indicators are among the responses from the PA Chamber’s 28th Annual Economic Survey, which was conducted in August 2018 by Susquehanna Polling and Research, a Harrisburg-based public opinion polling company.

According to the survey of 650 employers, job creators listed difficulties finding skilled and qualified employees to fill open positions as the biggest problems facing their companies.  This represents a stark increase over last year and has officially reached a record high as business owners’ overriding issue.

Perhaps most importantly, concern about finding qualified applicants now trumps other traditional pocketbook issues usually “top of mind” to employers, such as concern about taxes (down to 8%), health care insurance (down to 7%) and excessive mandates and regulations (at 6%).

To review the 28th Annual Economic Survey, visit the PA Chamber’s website link pachamber.org/assets/pdf/annual_economic_survey_2018.pdf

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

Social Media Tip: 6 Things to Check Before Hitting Publish


When posting on social media, you should be sure your content is ready to go out to the public. There are a few important things to check before hitting publish. These include:

Social Media TipProofread

Customers and other businesses may not take you seriously or may get annoyed if your posts are full of spelling or grammar errors. Look over your posts multiple times and use a grammar or spell check tool if needed.

Fact check

If you’re sharing facts such as dates, statistics, or quotes, do your research and make sure they are accurate.

Tag

The more you tag other businesses or people, the more your post will be seen. If you’re sharing a photo of a customer or helping promote another business, be sure to tag their profile or page if they have one.

Link

Whether it’s to your website, an article, or an event, include a link when possible. Links can catch a customer’s eye and get them interested in becoming more engaged, rather than scrolling past your post.

Test

Check all tags and links and make sure they work and send your followers to the right location. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a link and opening an “error” message or getting sent to the wrong page.

Review again

After going through all the checks, look over your post one more time. Better yet, read it out loud and have a friend or co-worker look at it, too.

It can be easy to have a typo or inaccurate information in your social media posts. To avoid confusing or frustrating your audience, follow these six steps before clicking publish!

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

The Happy Secret to Better Work


TED Talk Secret to Happy WorkWith the holiday and new year celebrations behind us, many of us are looking forward to a fresh start—ready to make resolutions and become better versions of our past selves. According to the Business Insider, 80% of our resolutions will fail by February. FLEX wants to help you stick to your goals and one thing that is sure to motivate you are TED Talks.

TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on important topics. We are going to be featuring one TED Talk a month for the first part of the year in hopes they will keep you on track and motivated to achieve whatever your goals for 2019 are.

First up is a talk by Shawn Achor, one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. The talk, titled “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” is a 12 minute discourse arguing that happiness inspires us to be more productive. He conveys that happiness isn’t the destination, but is actually a driving force behind success. It’s fast-paced and funny and will leave you feeling energized.

Find it here:  bit.ly/TedHappyWork

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