All posts tagged young professional profile

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.

October 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Elise Switzer & Megan Decker

Originally a Venango County native, Elise Switzer moved away after college, but recently moved back and told us: “I am thrilled to be home.”

Elise is a Realtor at Shawgo Real Estate, and attended Mercyhurst University where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Art Therapy with a minor in Psychology.

In her career, Elise has earned many achievements. She was named employee of the month just two months after starting at her current job, has received five letters of professional recognition for completed projects, and received promotions within the first year at three different companies she has worked for.

Through her job as a Realtor, Elise has become connected with all that the county has to offer and has reacquainted herself with this region. She is fortunate to have the opportunity to meet many people and help them call this area home as well.

Elise enjoys the outdoors and art of any kind. She likes to kayak, hike, bike, and garden, and she pursues art with a focus on photography, painting, and ceramics. Elise appreciates the outdoor recreation opportunities, family friend festivals and community activities, arts, theatre, and good food available in Venango County, and the great friends she gets to share it all with. She is especially excited to enjoy her hometown with her husband, two sons, and their family and friends who live here.

A goal of Elise’s is to “make roots” here. “I am looking forward to becoming an integral part of the community by establishing myself as a Realtor here and finding avenues to get involved such as becoming a part of FLEX and other community organizations,” she told us.

Welcome back, Elise! We’re excited to have you in our community.

Megan Decker is originally from the North Hills of Pittsburgh and most recently in the Lancaster, PA, area, but has now chosen to call Venango County her home.

Megan works at Gardinier Funeral Home, where she is a Funeral Director. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Psychology from Edinboro University, as well as her associates degree in Mortuary Science from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS).

Professionally, she is excited to continue to grow in her career as a funeral director, and personally, she hopes to become more involved in our community and meet new people.

The outdoors are a passion of Megan’s, so Venango County is a great place for her to explore! She enjoys hiking, biking, and adventuring with her corgi, Otis.

Megan has also already started giving her time in our community, in which she volunteers for the Venango Area Riding for the Handicapped Association (VARHA).

“This is a beautiful area and full of life,” she said. “There are great places to eat in town and the bike trails are wonderful!” Megan also mentioned she appreciates the people and the atmosphere we have here.

We’re so glad you’re already starting to feel at home here, Megan!

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

June 2019 Young Professional Profile: Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson recently became a Venango County community member! Eric grew up in wine country in North East, PA, but he became the new General Manager at Wanango Country Club in March, bringing him to this area.

Eric earned his degree from Edinboro University in Comprehensive Business Administration. His two greatest achievements are his wonderful children, Carter (age 7) and Peyton (age 4). Also, finding happiness and being successful in a career that he truly loves and enjoys working in.

Eric’s short term goal is to finish his Class A golf professional certification for his PGA membership. His long term goal is to attain a Master Professional Designation with a focus in golf operations/club management, which less than half a percent of PGA members achieve.

Eric is new to Venango County, but is looking forward to getting to know all there is to do here. He enjoys going on the bike trail with his wife, Deb. Eric also enjoys spending time with his family, including taking them to their family cabin in Allegheny National Forest. Some of his hobbies include hunting, fishing, and golfing.

Eric loves learning about the rich history of Wanago and Venango County. He finds it very inviting and welcoming, and stated that “the people here are very nice and down to earth.” Eric also noted that there are so many Steelers fans here which is a great change from when he worked as a golf professional in New England with many Patriot fans.

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

October 2017 Young Professional Profiles: Holli Seppanen & Megan Whitman

Holli Seppanen

Holli Seppanen | Venango County Young ProfessionalHolli Seppanen grew up in beautiful place similar to Western PA called Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Business Administration Management from Lake Superior State University.

In February 2016, Holli moved to Clarion with her boyfriend, Andy, after he got a job through the Allegheny National Forest in Marienville. After working a few different places for about a year, Holli landed at the First National Bank of Emlenton as the Branch Manager and she feels she has made a great choice in joining Farmer’s team.

“I love how close knit the communities are. People truly care for one another and that’s not something you find everywhere,” said Holli when asked what she enjoys most about working in the area. “Pennsylvania is an entirely new experience for me and I appreciate how welcoming and helpful each individual I have met has been. On top of it all, it’s a beautiful place to work and enjoy life.”

Outside of her career, Holli is exploring the region, widening her network and group of friends, and planting roots in the community. She enjoys the recreation of the area, including running the trails, hiking at Freedom Falls, dining at places like The Allegheny Grille, or grilling outside with neighbors and friends. Above all, she loves to play with her puppy, Gunter, a 6-month-old Goldendoodle.

A unique fact about Holli is that she was a proud employee of Subway for many years and once was one of the top five fastest sandwich makers in the Midwest! You can check out the Subjammers Subway contest on YouTube by searching Subjammers Orlando 2012. She also ran her first half marathon in May with a time of 2 hours 6 minutes, and she plans to work towards a better time and even a full marathon in the near future.

We’ve enjoyed getting to know Holli and are excited to have her even more involved in FLEX and our community!

Megan Whitman

Megan Whitman | Venango County Young ProfessionalGrowing up just north of Venango County in Chapmanville, PA, Megan Whitman attended Maplewood High School and went on to college at the University of Pittsburgh. She married her high school sweetheart, Erin, and finished her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Devry University.

After Megan finished school and Erin returned from serving in the military, they moved back to our area, and currently reside in Oil City with their daughter, Lexus.

Megan recently began working in Administrative Services at Komatsu Mining Engineering and is excited for what her career at this new company has in store. “My plan professionally is to build a solid career here,” she said. “I’m not sure where this career path will lead within the company yet, but I do know it will be successful.”

Megan attributes a lot of her success to the many contacts she has made in the area through professional groups. She appreciates the opportunity to further her knowledge in her field and get to know others in the area, and has met many friends through work.

Most of Megan’s free time is spent coaching her daughter’s softball team, the 10U Venango Vipers, because the team plays year-round. Although it is time consuming, it is worth it because she gets to work with many talented, young girls in the Venango County area. Megan also enjoys running and hiking in Oil Creek State Park, especially because of the beautiful changes of seasons. She participated in the Oil Creek 50K last year and is currently training for the 100K in just a few short weeks. Her family also likes to kayak and fish at Two Mile Run County Park, during her favorite season—summer.

The small town feeling of our area is what made Megan return and remain here. She looks forward to continue making steps professionally, enjoying all our area has to offer, and raising her family here, and we’re glad she’s chosen to do so!


These profiles are included in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange (FLEX) newsletter each month. You can find all young professional profiles here.