Following is the full list of winners announced at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Young Professionals Awards, which were given out Tuesday in Forty Fort.
Intern of the Year
Sarah Matarella, from the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship at Wilkes University
Matarella is a senior at Wilkes University with a communication studies major and a psychology minor. Matarella has had three internships at Socialocca, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce and the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship, and has maintained a 3.91 GPA throughout the 2018-2019 academic year.
Educator of the Year
Jeffrey Chiampi, from Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Chiampi is a lecturer of computer science and mathematics. He holds master’s degrees in business administration and software engineering. He teaches courses in computer science, game development, and information sciences and technology.
At Penn State, he coordinates the game development minor, advises students, is a member of the engineering faculty council, and is a founding member of the university’s board that oversees unmanned aerial vehicles.
His primary research interest is the application of virtual reality on engineering education.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Brian Stanchak, from The BDS Agency, LLC
Stanchak is founder and president of The BDS Agency, LLC, a sports agency that exclusively advises, markets, and represents college basketball coaches.
Founded in 2013 and based in Mountain Top, The BDS Agency has grown into a nationally respected industry leader.
Stanchak also is the founder and director of Head Coach Training Center, an annual conference held in Orlando, Florida, designed to teach basketball coaches strategies to obtain a first-time or new collegiate head coach position.
Small Business Owner of the Year
Ryan Hertel, from Socialocca
Hertel launched three businesses by the time he was 23.
Having been the co-owner of an entertainment booking/marketing management company for 3½ years, Hertel decided to simplify things and focus on another passion of his, DJing and producing music.
But now, the 26-year-old is the owner/operator of a creative media company, Socialocca that emerged organically through self-taught skills and interests.
Ryan also is the creative director of a social media growth service, Tree Frog, which he launched in 2017 alongside his business partner.
STEAM Professional of the Year
Dr. Jason Nataupsky, from Nataupsky Family Dentistry
Nataupsky is a third-generation family dentist in the Kingston practice which has served the region since 1945. His passion for his profession and the community it proudly serves was what brought Nataupsky back to the Wyoming Valley in 2013.
The positive impact and technology-driven approach to healthcare is what helps him continue his family’s tradition of comprehensive care in today’s world.
Nataupsky, his wife Kelsey and son Leo, live in the Back Mountain with their dog Bruce.
Young Professional Development Award
Coal Creative is a group of community-minded millennials who harness the power of storytelling, through video, web design, and social media, to enrich the businesses, nonprofits and organizations in this region and beyond.
In 2019, Coal Creative launched the “Creative Meetups” and NEPA Creative group to provide opportunity for creatives to connect within our region. The monthly “Creative Meetup” series was initially a callout to see if 10 to 15 creatives could sit around a table and problem solve the strengths and weaknesses facing the arts community.
When nearly 100 creatives gathered in the Think Center, it was apparent that this was something bigger.
Hero of the Year (3)
• U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Baron Drinks
Drinks is originally from New York City, but has lived all over the world. He has been in the
Air Force for nine years and has loved every minute of it.
He has two amazing boys, ages 6 and 7, as well as a wonderful wife that he has had the pleasure of being married to for seven years.
He has been the local Air Force Recruiter for a year, and considers it a pleasure to be able to change the lives of young men and women for the better.
• Justin Court, from the City of Scranton Fire Department
Court is a career firefighter for the Scranton Fire Department. Before becoming a career firefighter, he obtained his Eagle Scout rank and volunteered as a firefighter for several years.
Court graduated from Wyoming Valley West in 2010 and went on to receive an associate degree in fire science from Luzerne County Community College. He then went on to graduate from the HACC 55th Fire Academy.
• Sgt. Nicole Callender Seden, from the B Co 55th BSB and Tobyhanna Army Depot
Sedon is a combat veteran who has never wavered in her service to her country or community.
She has faithfully served in the Army National Guard since age 17, all the while raising her son Dakota on her own. She is loved and respect by her soldiers. She continues to serve both in the National Guard and as an Army Civilian at Tobyhanna Army Depot in the HR department.
Cultural Ambassador of the Year Award
Lorenzo Medico, from Medico Industries
After graduating from the University of Miami with concentrations in film, theater, and business, as well as numerous entertainment appearances across the country including the national tour of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Popstars” and “American Idol,” Lorenzo created his own record label which he sold to a subsidiary of Sony shortly thereafter.
He went on to perform in film, commercials and live shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
He now holds the title of creative director for Medico Industries and is heavily involved in the community.
His experience in orchestrating special events, as well as his passion for the arts has translated to helping the area in many ways.
Voluntary Leader of the Year Award
Amber Loomis, from Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Loomis is the Chief Advancement Officer at Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide diverse services to children, individuals, seniors, and families, empowering them to achieve their full potential.
Prior to coming joining FSA in 2016, you may remember Loomis’ face or voice from WVIA, where she worked in the membership department for six years.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success Luzerne County, the NEPA Rainbow Alliance, the Association of Fundraising Professionals-NEPA Chapter, and is an active Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Ambassador.
NEPA Influencer of the Year
Holly Pilcavage, from Coal Creative
Pilcavage is currently the director of operations and business development for Coal Creative. After receiving her master’s in higher education, she returned to Wilkes-Barre and has dedicated her daily life to creating a positive ripple effect throughout our region and beyond.
Pilcavage is one of the Avengers of Wilkes-Barre Connect, an active member of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Young Professionals Council, the Women’s Network, and the Strategic Planning Strike Force, and serves on the board of directors of Dress for Success Luzerne County, Empowerment Education, and Wilkes-Barre POWER.
Young Professionals Inspiration Award
Anthony Melf, Instructor/Career Navigator for EDSI Solutions at the PA CareerLink
“Anthony Melf is a force of nature: Passionate, dynamic and kind,” Chamber President and CEO Wico van Genderen said in a video played about Melf in connection with the award. “He embodies the ethos of what our young professionals are all about.”
CareerLink’s Christine Jensen said: “He genuinely cares about everyone who walks in our door and gives 110% each and every day.”