All posts tagged venango county economic development authority

November 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Ivy Kuberry & Emily Lewis


Ivy Kuberry has returned to our area and we’re looking forward to getting to know her and having her involved!

Originally from Pleasantville, Ivy left for college and worked in state parks throughout the state. “My goal was to eventually come back to Venango County and work at Oil Creek State Park,” she told us. So when a position opened up at the park recently, she jumped at the opportunity and got the job!

Ivy is now an Environmental Education Specialist through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and works in Oil Creek, a beautiful state park right in our backyard.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Edinboro University and has a number of other certifications. She is certified as an Interpretive Guide from the National Association for Interpretation Leave, No Trace Trainer, Kayaking Instructor from the American Canoe Association Red Cross, lifeguard, and more. These allow her to offer fun and safe outdoor recreation programming.

Some of Ivy’s achievements she’s most proud of are completing a conservation-focused study abroad trip in South Africa and Botswana, presenting a college research project at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting, and creating new and exciting environmental and recreational programming at Oil Creek State Park. One of her main goals is to get more people out to enjoy all the park has to offer.

It’s to no surprise that some of Ivy’s favorite activities to do in her free time include hiking, camping, swimming, and biking. She also likes reading and spending time with family and friends, and can often be found at local businesses and events, including Trails to Ales, Karma Coffee, Applefest, Movies at Cranberry, and Oil Heritage Festival. Ivy is getting married to her fiancé Eric next fall and looks forward to starting a family soon.

“Venango County is breathtakingly beautiful and has a great amount of history. There is always more to see, do, and learn,” she told us. “The people of Venango County have always had a special place in my heart. People truly care about each other here, and it creates a feeling unlike what I have experienced anywhere else. Getting to work here is truly a blessing.”

We’re so glad you’re here, Ivy!

Emily Lewis is Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority, the lead economic development organization in the county created in early 2018. The Authority’s goal is to remove barriers to growth for businesses and create an inviting place where people want to live.

Helping our area succeed is a passion of Emily’s, especially since she is a Venango County native who grew up in Jackson Township (just outside Cooperstown) and attended Rocky Grove High School.

After high school, Emily studied at Slippery Rocky University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Business Administration and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

During college, Emily worked as a GIS intern and then a Planning intern at the County of Venango, which led to a full-time job with the Planning Commission upon graduation. Emily has always worked in Venango County, but lived in Cranberry Township near Pittsburgh for a brief time.

Professionally, one of Emily’s achievements includes heading the Cornplanter Square Building project in Oil City, which she describes as a “great building with good bones that means a lot to the community,” and she’s excited to play a part in bringing it back to life. She is also proud of the launch of eAcademy, a new program providing education and training on entrepreneurship to high school seniors, and being awarded a grant she wrote to create a sidewalk to connect Franklin and Sugarcreek.

A personal achievement of Emily’s includes climbing Mt Washburn during a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Emily and her husband Josh live in Franklin with their dog Bo, and enjoy hiking, especially at Two Mile Run County Park and spending time with family. Emily is also a huge fan of house plants and enjoys decorating, such as repurposing old furniture.

There are many reasons Emily is glad to live and work in Venango County. “The people are probably my favorite part,” she said. “I love the feeling of walking down the street and seeing everyone smiling at each other, and I feel like people are willing to try new things and take risks.”

Emily looks forward to continuing to grow the organization and seeing how she can be useful to the community. Thanks for all your hard work, Emily!


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

Venango County Economic Development Update by Emily Lewis


Emily Lewis is the Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority.

The Venango County Economic Development Authority has had an exciting start to the year. After a significant amount of behind the scenes work on the Oil City National Bank building, physical changes are beginning to take place at the facility.

Canfield Development of Pittsburgh was selected through a competitive bidding process to perform environmental abatement of the facility as well as interior demolition of obsolete utility systems, false walls, furniture and fixtures, etc.

Once this process is complete we will have a clean canvas to paint our new vision for the building, but don’t worry, we are working to preserve as much of the historic integrity of the structure as we can, keeping the original vaults in place and removing marble panels and original wood doors to store in a safe pace and re-use in the new design.

KLA roofing of Everett, PA was selected to replace the existing leaking roof. All of this work is expected to wrap up by October of this year and we are hoping to squeeze in the replacement of exterior doors and windows before the snow flies.

The building, constructed in 1926 is a solid structure that we believe can be renewed to its former glory, though banking operations are not in its future. Rather, we are working to develop a business innovation center in the upper floors of the building, providing a space for entrepreneurs and new businesses to foster there next big idea.

As for the first floor, we have been working with a private business owner to create a brew pub. This will serve as a gathering space for both the tenants of the building and the community.

In 2019 we will see the launch of the eAcademy at Venango and the addition of my very first staff member, an Entrepreneurship Program Manager. The eAcademy at Venango is an extension of the highly successful eAcademy program at Linden Pointe.

The original eAcademy was established in Hermitage, PA in 2014 and is a program that fosters and encourages an entrepreneurial mindset. In our program, high school seniors from 6 different school districts in the Venango area will spend half of their school day from September to May being trained in entrepreneurial and leadership curricula. Classes are 75% experience based learning and 25% lecture based learning.

There is no exact procedure that guarantees success in entrepreneurship education and training. Yet there is a common thread – that a mindset guides the decisions empowering entrepreneurs. We believe that anyone, not just those who want to start a business, can benefit from understanding and applying an entrepreneurial mindset to any situation that demands change in their life.

This program is designed to immerse students in learning about economic development, their local region, and the essential aspects of the unlimited opportunities a different way of thinking can provide. As students learn the academic knowledge, the startup methodology, and individual skill sets they will apply it all to the creation of a startup business with a working prototype.

Through a partnership with Clarion University the eAcademy will be housed at Clarion University Venango Campus and will be managed by the Entrepreneurship Program Manager. I am over the moon to bring this program to Venango County and give students in our area the opportunity to interact with our local businesses.

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