Congratulations to Casey McVay, 2017 Young Professional of the Year!
FLEX Presents was held Friday, March 31, 2017, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Venango Museum in Oil City. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.
Learn more about the event here.
Please see more information about each nominee below. FLEX held a raffle at the event and a percentage of the proceeds went to the Young Professional of the Year’s chosen charity.
Charity of Choice: Venango County Humane Society
Rebecca is currently employed with Clarion County Community Bank at their Franklin location where she is their Real Estate Lending Director.
Rebecca enjoys donating her free time to help in the community. She is active in FLEX where she served as the secretary and treasurer from 2011 through 2013 and currently is serving on the Events & Fundraising committee. She has helped out with the Bike N’ Brew event and also helps out every year at the Oil Heritage Festival Ice Cream Social.
Rebecca serves on the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, where she is currently on the Finance and Executive committees. She has been on the board of directors of the Friends of Oil Creek State Park since 2015 and is on their Chicks in the Sticks (yearly outdoor event workshops for women) committee.
She has been a volunteer with the United Way since 2015, in which she has been a campaign volunteer, has served on the Community Impact Panel, and is a committee member for their Annual Big Basket Bingo Fundraiser. Rebecca has also helped the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce at Applefest, by volunteering in the pie tent.
Charity of Choice: Scenic Rivers YMCA Camp Coffman
Kurtis has been co-owner of ServiceMaster by Bell since 2014 and oversees daily operations of the business. He has numerous certifications in restoration and is currently a continuing Education Instructor through the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance.
When he is not at work, Kurtis volunteers his time with the Clarion County YMCA where he currently services as Vice President of the Board of Directors. He also is deeply involved with the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce where he writes articles for both the Chamber newsletter and the FLEX FYI newsletter. He is currently serving as the chair for the Marketing and Community Partnership committee of FLEX. He is also active in the planning of the Bike N’ Brew Festival held in Oil City.
In 2013, he was nominated for FLEX Presents Young Professional of the Year and in 2015 he was awarded the Volunteer of the Year by the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce. He also served as an elder for the Rehobeth Greenville Presbyterian Church and has been a volunteer camp counselor at a church summer camp.
Charity of Choice: Barrow Civic Theatre
Zach is currently the general manager at the Barrow Civic Theatre in Franklin. Zachary earned a B.S. Ed. in Music Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in voice, and Master of Arts degree in Choral Conducting from Indiana University of PA. He has studied voice with Dr. John
McLean, Mr. Milutin Lazich, Dr. Robert McIver, Ms. Mary Catherine Dykhouse and Ms. Sari Gruber. He has also received additional training in vocal technique, music education and choral conducting from The Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Zachary has taught vocal and general music to grades pre-school through 12, as well as post-baccalaureate and continuing education classes in music education. He remains an active Guest Conductor for choral festivals through the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.
Zach is a member of several state, regional and national professional music organizations, and has performed and presented at various state and national conferences. Zachary served as President of The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 3 from 2012-2014. He owns and operates
Covington Performing Arts Studio in Clarion and is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Clarion County Festival Choir which completed International Performance Tours of Italy in June 2012, Paris and London in July 2014, and will be performing in cities in Austria & Germany in 2018, including Innsbruck,
Salzburg, Vienna and Hamburg. His private students have included Miss America Scholarship Pageant winners, Broadway performers and University music scholarship recipients. Zachary is also an active baritone performer in the Western Pennsylvania region.
Zach is the Assistant Director of the Clarion Community Choir, and also regularly performs and directs musical theater productions in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Zachary is a certified judge through the Miss America Organization.
Charity of Choice: PPC Violence Free Network and Shelter
Rebekah currently works as a substitute teacher for Oil City, Rocky Grove, Cranberry and Titusville School Districts. When Rebekah isn’t working, she can be found helping out at her church, Utica Presbyterian Church, cleaning, decorating and helping anyway she can.
She is the Vice-President of the Parent Teacher Organization at Sandycreek Elementary. She handles the teacher luncheons and is in charge of getting donations for a new event, Christmas Wishes. Rebekah currently serves as President of the Franklin Junior Knights Wrestling. She keeps the program running and all the parents up-to-date.
Rebekah, along with her sister, organize a yearly event called “Everybody Wins Toy Sale.” They accept donations for gently used toys and clean them to be sold right before Christmas at yard sale prices and all proceeds are donated to a local charity. They also hold an early event for the people that need extra help around Christmas and they can receive the items free of charge.
Charity of Choice: Oil City School District Pay It Forward Clothes Closet
Angela is currently employed at Oil City Middle School as a reading specialist. As an alumna of Clarion University, Angela spent much of her time at the university involved in Student Senate where she served as both secretary and president. She was on the Venango Campus Advisory Board. She co-founded and served as president on both the interdenominational Christian Club and Eagle Ambassadors Organization. She was also vice-president of the ski club and a learning support tutor. While in college, Angela was a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Kappa Delata Pi, both National Honor Societies.
Angela organized her school to participate in the Scholastic Summer Reading Contest where the school placed first in the state and was the only school in Pennsylvania to place in the top 100. She started the Pay It Forward Clothes Closet at the middle school that accepts new and used clothing, shoes, winter gear, dresses, hygiene products and non-perishable food items for students in need where the students are asked to pay for the items through an act of kindness to others.
Angela serves on the Student Assistance Program (SAP) team, the Faculty Fund Committee and is treasurer of the Southside Home and School. She is a mentor teacher and program leader for GEMS (girls excelling in math and science) at the Oil City Middle School. She also volunteers her time as a tee-ball coach and is on the parent committee with the Oil City YMCA Gymnastics.
Charity of Choice: St. Elizabeth Center
Nicholas not only volunteers his time but is also a Board Member for the Franklin Civic Operetta Association (F.C.O.A) through the Barrow Civic Theatre. Nicholas also volunteers with the Community Playhouse in Oil City. He is a man of many talents at the theaters including but not limited to acting, costuming, and set building. Nicholas also helps with cleaning the warehouse facilities.
Nicholas sings and performs locally with a variety of organizations in addition to writing and performing original music in the Erie, Butler, and Slippery Rock communities. He is a director of short plays and volunteers as a sit-in ‘director’ at the St. Stephens School for their annual play. His passion and love for theater is spread throughout and shared with many!
Over the last three years, Nicholas created a successful rental business with the Barrow-Civic Theater. Renting costumes and set and prop pieces. This sometimes requires traveling up to an hour and half away.
When you can’t find Nicholas at one of our beloved theaters he busies himself with owning and running two antique shops. The first shop, The Printer’s Cabinet & Curiosities, was started in November of 2013 in Oil City. Nicholas travels extensively in and out of the country to bring quality merchandise back to his Oil City shoppe, constantly scouring the world to find unique and unusual items to share with all of us within his shoppe walls.
With the Oil City location being a success he was able and willing to open up a second location in September 2016 at Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, New York. Nicholas spends some of his time selling and promoting his businesses at a variety of markets anywhere from Pittsburgh to New York.
Nicholas also provides estate appraisals and estate clean outs locally and his love and passion for the antiques and oddities has sparked his interest in becoming a prospective new member for the Venango County Historical Society.
Charity of Choice: United Way of Venango County
Ashley is the administrative assistant at United Way of Venango County, where she assists with human resources, billing and pay roll, fundraising, donations, volunteers, and wherever else needed.
She has worked previously at Clarion University’s Venango Campus, American Red Cross (National and Allegheny Region Chapter), and Community Resources for Independents. Ashley has earned her certification in many first aid related areas, including Adult & Pediatric First Aid, CPR/AED, Basic Aid Training, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Babysitting, and Blood Bourne Pathogens.
Ashley received a certificate of completion for the Direct Care Staff Training course and Competency Test from the Adult Residential Licensing program through the PA Dept. of Public Welfare. She is also certified through the St. Benedicts Education Center in Reading Comprehension, Business Technology, Business Math, Pre-Employment, Customer Service, Business Communications, Employment Expectations, Mastering Career Success, and General Business Knowledge.
In the community, Ashley has volunteered with the NWPA Region American Red Cross, Franklin Little League Association, Franklin School District Wrestling Club, Community Services Food for Friends, and as a CPR volunteer instructor throughout the area. Before working for United Way, she also volunteered with the organization through the Reading Buddies program and was President of the Student United Way. In addition, Ashley sits on the Community Action Board (CAB) for Venango County Human Services.
Ashley is currently studying at Clarion University for her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a major in Management and plans to graduate in the spring of 2018.
Charity of Choice: United Way of Venango County
Alan earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in telecommunications and is the Global Talent Manager at Joy Global, Inc. At his position at Joy Global, he has managed a leadership program, facilitated employee training, and developed plans to enhance diversity and inclusion practices.
Before becoming Global Talent Manager, Alan served as a Human Resource Generalist at Joy Global, a position he was hired to after interning at the company. He has received training in both Joy Global Three-Dimensional Leadership and Foundations of Leadership, served on the Joy Global Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council Board, and attended the Joy Global JBS Operational Excellence Academy.
Outside of work, Alan is as a board member at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Venango County. He also serves as an Events and Fundraising Committee Co-Chair and Vice President/Secretary of FLEX. He is an active volunteer, in which he is involved with planning and executing many events and meetings.
Alan plans to graduate in May 2017 with his master’s degree in Business Administration from Gannon University.
Charity of Choice: Mustard Seed Missions of Venango County
Casey McVay represents Clarion University as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Venango Campus, serving as a knowledge base for prospective students and families throughout every stage of the enrollment process. Casey is the volunteer advisor for the campus’ student club SEED, for which she coordinates and manages campus programming, off-campus events, fundraising, and community services projects, as well as annual mission trips. This March, Casey will travel with SEED to Valdosta, GA, to complete Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge. Locally, this group volunteers their time to work on projects with Mustard Seed Missions, as well as many other community organizations.
Outside of the university, McVay is serving a second term as President of FLEX (Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs Exchange). Through FLEX, Casey helps connect young professionals to opportunities for professional development and volunteerism. She serves as a Board of Directors member of the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce and Franklin Civic Operetta Association, where she is the chair of the Off-Barrow (Little Theatre) Committee, and a volunteer for multiple productions each year. Outside the Barrow-Civic Theatre, Casey is also the production manager for the annual Oil Region V-Day event, a domestic and sexual violence awareness event.
Additionally, Casey volunteers for the Pennsylvania Association for College Admissions Counseling as a member of the Communication Committee, serving as an editor of the PACER, a quarterly newsletter. One fun project she is excited about sharing is the first annual A Fairy Enchanted Evening pediatric cancer fundraiser marked for this May in Franklin. She is the Finance Chair of the event.
Lastly, Casey will graduate this year with a master’s degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism and a certificate in Public Relations from Clarion University and currently holds a 4.0 GPA
Charity of Choice: Precious Paws Animal Rescue
Ritchie is someone who embodies FLEX’s entrepreneurial mission. He is the creator and owner of several small businesses, including Croakey Entertainment, offering a multitude of services for karaoke, live music, DJ services, Master of Ceremonies, lighting, sound and more.
He performs as “Ricci Hardt” across the nation and has worked with Specer Day, Hal Sparks of “I Love the 80’s,” Wild Horse Ranch Rescue, as well as famous musicians such as Wynona Judd, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton. He has recorded 6 albums, one of which is available online.
In addition, Ritchie runs his rental property business, Bungalow Property Rentals, renovating and managing rentals in Venango County. In the past 6 years, Ritchie has purchased and rehabbed 8 rental units, providing affordable living spaces for the community.
When it comes to community involvement, Ritchie’s resume is just as extensive. He is the founder of the Independent Artist Coalition (IAC), representing and cultivating extraordinary talent throughout Venango County. This organization recently raised money for the PPC Violence Free Network by donating all proceeds of the “Vagina Monologues” production.
In 2015, not only was he the founder and executor of the Franklin Comic Con, it was fully funded by his companies. The year 2017 has been a busy one for Ritchie. So far this year, he was a director for the Liberty Cabaret: Greatest Hits at the Barrow Civic Theatre and helped with the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce Be Here initiative, in which he wrote and composed an instrumental piece that was used in the campaign commercial.
Charity of Choice: Venango Area Riding for the Handicapped Association (VARHA)
Jessica works at the Sandy K Hovis State Farm office in Reno as an office representative and has her PA Property and Casualty License.
She is a mother of three and Co-President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at Sandycreek Elementary, where she runs meetings and helps to delegate responsibilities. Through the PTO, Jessica has worked on Christmas Wishes, a program helping those in need during Christmas.
One of Jessica’s biggest prides is the organization of the Womankind Dignity Project, which continues to grow each year. She works with local businesses to place bins around the area to collect donations of feminine products for women at shelters in the area.
Jessica recently joined FLEX and has been heavily involved since. She is on both the Events and Fundraising and Membership committees and is always willing to provide input or give her time to help the organization.
Jessica also volunteers her time helping with kids’ activities in the summer at the Vacationland Campground and helped at Franklin’s Light-Up Night with the DUI Memorial, a memorial trailer in partnership with PennDot, the DUI Association, and State Farm, for those who have lost their lives to a DUI in Pennsylvania.
Charity of Choice: ABC Life Center
Rachel Stiller is an Inventory Accountant for Borchers Americas, Inc in Franklin, Pennsylvania. She is an Oil City native and a graduate of Clarion University with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics.
In regards to community involvement, Rachel is passionate about volunteering and giving back in many ways. She is currently a member of FLEX, where she also serves as the Membership Committee Chair and rarely misses a meeting or event.
When Rachel is not volunteering with FLEX, she is helping young people grow in their faith as Catholics at Saint Patrick Parish where she volunteers as a Religious Education Teacher. She prepares lessons using a teacher’s manual and other resources and teaches 7th graders about their Catholic faith, morals and responsibility to be leaders and members of their community. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Rachel knows that she is dedicated to her career as well as her community.
Charity of Choice: Venango County Humane Society
Kyle attended Slippery Rock University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Special Education. He has a Level 3 Master Tutor certification from the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) and has completed 250 hours tutoring at Venango College and over 500 hours of private tutoring. He is currently a Learning Skills Specialist and Coordinator of the Academic Resource Center at Clarion University: Venango College, where he supervises student tutors, provides remedial instruction, conducts workshops, and mentors students who are at risk,or are on academic probation.
Kyle will be featured on the upcoming season of TLC’s Return to Amish show as a GED tutor. He recently started his own private tutoring business, called Tutoring by Kyle V., and tutors Grades K-12 and GED and SAT Prep. He has also spent time as a tutor/mentor for Good Hope Lutheran Church’s Stay and Play program, a CLEP and PRAXIS Test Center Administrator for Clarion University, an instructor for Venango College’s Kids in College Program for grades 6-8, and an Instructor for Venango College’s Paraprofessionals Certificate program.
He was previously involved in the Big Brothers Big Sister program and volunteered to help renovate playgrounds at Slippery Rock Area Elementary and Slippery Rock Park. In addition, he is an active member of the Titusville Lions Club. Whether he is at home or at work, his passion for education shines.
Charity of Choice: Community Services of Venango County
Kelsey attended Clarion University where she received an Associate of Science in Nursing and Slippery Rock University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Studies with an emphasis in Public Health. She was presented with the Outstanding Nursing Student Award at Clarion, Venango Campus and was one of the students nominated to represent Clarion University’s nursing program at the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) in 2016.
Kelsey currently works as a Registered Nurse at UPMC Northwest Hospital in Seneca, Pennsylvania. Not only is caring for patients her job, it’s also a passion for Kelsey. She uses her skills as a volunteer for Hospice in Venango County and was the previous Secretary of the Nursing Club on the Venango Campus.
Kelsey also lends her time and talent to the Barrow Civic Theatre in Franklin, PA. Kelsey has been described as someone always willing to volunteer, a shining star, and a great role model for other young professionals.
Such wonderful choices! We are fortunate to have such talented, civic minded leaders in our community. I don’t know how to choose one candidate over another!