All posts tagged FLEX

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.

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.

Young Professionals in the Community


We very much appreciate the help of young professionals through FLEX committees and events, including the Bike ‘n Brew and Ice Cream Social during Oil Heritage Festival. We also love seeing our members out in the community involved with other organizations!

We often hear “we need more young people involved,” which can be frustrating, because we see young professionals out and about all the time. Some organizations where FLEX members volunteer and serve as board members include the Oil City Arts Council, Barrow-Civic Theatre, Venango County Humane Society, Oil City Main Street Program, United Way of Venango County, and the Oil City and Franklin Rotary Clubs.

As longtime volunteers begin to retire and move out of their positions, there are many opportunities for young people to fill their shoes and take leadership roles. While it can be hard work and sometimes intimidating, it just takes a willingness to step up and help organizations continue to run and serve our community.

Community involvement is a learning process and new volunteers aren’t expected to know everything immediately. It takes time to learn how meetings are run, events are planned, and volunteers work together, but don’t let that keep you from playing a part.

Are you a young professional looking to get more involved in the community? Or are you a seasoned professional interested in having more young people participate in your organization? Join us at the FLEX Mixer on August 22, where all professionals are invited to network with FLEX members (see more information). If you’d like to get more involved with FLEX, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our officers and committee chairs.

Thanks again to all the young professionals who volunteered at our recent events! See more photos on the back of the newsletter.

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

Why Being Respectful to Your Coworkers is Good for Business


Find this TED Talk by visiting http://bit.ly/2YOA0Ki

Our TED Talk recommendation this month is by Christine Porath, who provides insight into the importance of civility in the workplace, and the damaging and costly affects of incivility.

Christine defines incivility as “disrespect or rudeness,” and she emphasizes that “how you show up and treat people means everything.” She goes on to define civility, stating that: “Being truly civil means doing the small things, like smiling and saying hello in the hallway, listening fully when someone’s speaking to you.”

These definitions were followed by several examples of businesses functioning in incivility versus civility. One example told of how the CEO of Cambell’s Soup Company, Doug Conat, was able to turn the company around through encouragement of civility.

“It was all about these touch points, or these daily interactions he had with employees, whether in the hallway, in the cafeteria or in meetings,” said Doug, “and if he handled each touch point well, he’d make employees feel valued.”

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

July 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Brian Payne & Jessica Wilson


Brian Payne is one of our newest FLEX members. He is originally from Hadley, PA, and graduated from Edinboro University with bachelor’s degrees in Forensic Accounting and Financial Planning.

Brian now works as a CPA Tax Supervisor at McGill, Power, Bell & Associates in Franklin. He has acquired his CPA and CFE designations and takes great pride and enjoyment from his work and his career achievements. Future goals of his are to become a partner at McGill, Power, Bell, as well as to learn a foreign language (probably Russian).

One of the things he loves about working in Venango County is the small town environment. The way people treat each other with a welcoming kindness is one of the biggest reasons he enjoys living here. Brian enjoys the fun Chamber events where he can go to learn and network with other professionals.

Brian is also an avid Pirates fan, who will forever hope they win a World Series. His hobbies are yet another reason he enjoys Venango County. When he is not working, he can be found fishing and spending time with his girlfriend, Stephanie.

Some other parts of the Venango culture that Brian appreciates are tasting beers at Trails to Ales, seeing local live bands at Red Bandana Winery, and spending time with family.

Jessica Wilson has lived in Oil City since she was two years old. She was home schooled for most of her elementary and high school years and graduated high school in 2017. During high school, she played varsity volleyball at Oil City High School and worked at the Oil City YMCA as a lifeguard.

Jessica pursues a communication degree with a marketing minor at Geneva College. She is a long distance runner and gets to enjoy this hobby at school by participating in the cross country and track teams.

Some of her achievements include being on the dean’s list every semester at Geneva College and helping to found a communication production club. Through this club, she has also filmed campus wide promotional videos. Last year, she spent time working at The Derrick and The News-Herald as an advertising intern, where she helped to sell and design ads for the paper and various tabloids. She also works during the semester in the Geneva College PR and Marketing Services department.

When she is not running around Oil City or on the bike trail, Jessica enjoys reading, cooking, hiking at Oil Creek State Park, movies, and spending time with family and friends. This summer she can be found working at the Venango Chamber of Commerce.

One of her future goals is to “be just like my mom.” She also hopes to work in PR and Marketing helping companies further their mission statements and do what they do best. Jessica also hopes to travel more within the country and abroad, continue running, and have many adorable cats.

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