Sixth Annual Knight of Distinguished Alumni

On May 25, 2023, members of the Norwin community and past graduates came together in celebration of the accomplishments of fifteen Distinguished Norwin Alumni and our graduating NAFA Scholarship recipient.

The Norwin Alumni & Friends Association, together with the Norwin School District Community Foundation would like to thank the community for their support and a wonderful evening, as well as Duncan Financial Group for sponsoring the event.

The 2023 Class of Distinguished Alumni

We are proud to announce that the following individuals have been selected for the 2023 Class of Distinguished Alumni.

Lori Burdell
Ms. Lori Burdell ‘80
Distinguished Alum in Public Service

At Norwin, Lori Burdell made a name for herself as a student-athlete. Her outstanding performance on the tennis court allowed her to become the first Norwin student to receive a four-year athletic scholarship to a Division I university, West Virginia University, where she quickly proved herself by holding the top singles and doubles positions on the team her freshman year. She would go on to be recognized as a college athlete of the month on multiple occasions as well as serving as the tennis team co-captain during her junior and senior years. She graduated from West Virginia University with a B.A. in Speech Communications.

At the University of Central Florida, she was the Division I men’s and women’s head tennis coach from 1988 to 1991. After leaving collegiate tennis, Burdell has worked in the tennis industry, serving the community for over 40 years. She has volunteered for Special Olympics Florida State Games, taught tennis at Walt Disney World Resorts, worked as a tennis pro at some of Florida’s top country clubs, including the Palma Ceia Country Club where she was the head tennis professional, and implemented the USTA Red/Orange/Green/Yellow Ball program (ROGY) for ages four and up. She has also published articles and racquet reviews for Tennis and other magazines. Burdell has worked alongside former ATP Sr. Tour pros, John McEnroe, Michael Chang, and Jim Courier, to name just a few top tennis players.

Burdell is a member of multiple professional organizations, is a USPTA Elite Professional Member, and served as a Wilson Gold advisory staff member. Recently, Lori has worked at the all-girls camp during the Billie Jean King Cup at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, promoting female athletes and meeting her idol, Billie Jean King.

Since 2020, Burdell has worked as the Training and Quality Assurance Manager for the USTA Florida Section where, among her other tasks, she is the co-project manager for USTA Florida’s Community Teaching pilot program. Lori’s main objective there is to help teach tennis professionals how to be a community coach and ensure they have the resources for success. Her curriculum ranges from entry-level compression balls for youth and adult beginners, wheelchair and adaptive tennis, and Love Serving Autism. She firmly believes that tennis is a sport for everyone, regardless of whether you’re able-bodied or in a wheelchair. Lori’s goal is to put a racquet in the hand of anyone with a heartbeat.

At Norwin, Burdell discovered a lifelong love of tennis. She has never once forgotten her alma mater and the influence it had on her life.

Lisa Casavant née Hopkins
Ms. Lisa Casavant née Hopkins ‘91
Distinguished Alum in Business

Lisa Casavant, née Hopkins, graduated from Norwin in 1991 and went on to receive a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University in 1995 and a Master of Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Delaware in 1997.

Casavant is known for her contagious enthusiasm, fearlessness in business, and being “the glue” in her organization. With a passion for helping people, she focused her engineering career on the development of medical devices and built a company with an unheard-of level of work-life balance and flexibility for employees, long before the pandemic made those benefits the norm.

While working at Bayer Healthcare, Casavant and a colleague noted a significant lack of consulting resources in regulatory affairs and quality engineering, especially for start-up medical device companies. These roles in medical device product development teams are critical to obtaining approvals from regulatory authorities like the FDA and in ensuring safe and effective products get to the patients who need them. They studied the market and developed a business plan to address this white space with a fast-growing engineering consulting firm. Despite many business and industry experts advising Lisa and her business partner, Maria, to keep their day jobs, they confidently launched RQM+ in 2008, in the middle of the Great Recession. The business was profitable in just two months.

RQM+ is now the world’s leading MedTech service provider, offering consulting, clinical trial, lab, and reimbursement services. Since 2008, Casavant and the RQM+ team have grown the company to over 600 employees across eight countries, with a valuation of $385 million in 2021. They’ve supported over 1,000 MedTech manufacturers with 5,000+ projects, helping to get new and improved products to patients worldwide.

Casavant is a member of the board of directors of RQM+ and of the Founders Council of Chartwell Investments private equity firm in New York City. Casavant is also a board member of Mission: Agape, a McKeesport-based non-profit founded by fellow Norwin alumni, Kelly (Sickels) Doyle (’91) and Mike Doyle (’92), focused on addressing food insecurity at its roots and giving children a safe and fulfilling after-school program.

Casavant and her family live in Irwin. She is enjoying real estate investing and growing her photography skills with her husband of 23 years and raising their amazing teenagers—a future software engineer and a future music teacher. Lisa looks forward to family entrepreneurial adventures in the coming years.

David J. Fauth
Mr. David J. Fauth ‘69
Distinguished Alum in Technology

David “Dave” Fauth and his four siblings—Preacher’s kids—all graduated from Norwin. He performed in the junior class play and lettered in baseball, and was a member of the 1969 region champs who reached the WPIAL semifinals. Dave then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and six varsity letters in cross country and baseball at Thiel College in 1973. He went on to the University of South Carolina, earning a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry.

In September 1978, he began work as a nuclear/radiochemist at the DuPont Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, SC, studying the long-term migration of radioactive species from shallow buried low-level nuclear waste. He later moved to manage plant laboratories in the chemical separation and tritium production facilities. In 1990, he transferred to the Westinghouse Nuclear Facility in West Valley, NY, serving as the Plant Analytical/Environmental Lab Manager.

He returned to the Savannah River Site in 1992 as the Lab Director of the Radiobioassay/Industrial Hygiene Lab. He serves on the Department of Energy Radiobioassay Lab Accreditation Board. In 2007, he returned to the National Lab organization to work in the field of nuclear forensics and helped the lab gain accreditation of their facilities that support FBI field investigations. He has authored a number of publications in the fields of environmental radiochemistry and health physics. He also served as secretary for National Environmental Lab Accreditation working group, writing quality assurance standards. In 2018, he was awarded the Radiochemistry Society Founders Award for scientific leadership and contributions to the science.

Retiring in 2011, he works with the Savannah River Site Retiree Association, helping retirees/spouses maintain their benefits and navigate Medicare among other retirement needs. He served in a number of roles for this 13,000-member group, including board chairman for four years. He also is a 25-year member of the South Carolina Basketball Officials Association and recently completed a two-year term as president of this 700-member organization. He has officiated several state championship games and the South Carolina-North Carolina All-Star game in 2017. He also serves as head judge for the regional science fair, assists with STEM education, and the Aiken County United Way.

He and his wife, Lynne, have raised two daughters: Laura, a teacher and basketball/softball coach in Stafford, Virginia, and Jennifer, a lieutenant colonel/battalion commander at Fort Bragg, NC. They have two grandchildren.

Kenneth C. Gongaware
Col. Kenneth C. Gongaware ‘67, US Army, Ret.
Distinguished Alum in Military Service

Kenneth Gongaware began working at a young age on his family’s dairy farm on Barnes Lake Road. He was the primary summer “hand” on the farm from 9th grade until he graduated from college. He learned that hard work could be fun and rewarding. Ken was a recipient of the John Phillip Sousa Award at Norwin.

Gongaware graduated with a degree in Physics from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania while also a Distinguished Military Graduate from the Reserve Officer Training program, thereby qualifying him for a Regular Army Commission. During his Army career, he earned an MS degree in Administration of Science and Technology from George Washington University and an MS degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.

His initial Army assignment was in the 82nd Airborne Division. As a parachutist platoon leader, his platoon deployed to Miami, Florida in the summer of 1972 for both the Democrat and Republican conventions to provide communications support to the 82nd performing riot control. His next assignment was to Korea where Gongaware commanded a small specialized communications detachment that serviced military units throughout the peninsula.

Upon leaving Korea, Gongaware married Connie Gray, a foreign language teacher at Norwin. Together, they arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where Ken served as a test engineer at the Proving Ground and then the Officer in Charge of the Command Center of Test and Evaluation Command. Their next assignment was in Germany where Gongaware was the Signal Officer for a Tank Battalion, and then a Signal Company Commander (205 soldiers). They opted to extend their stay in Germany for a fourth year so that Gongaware could serve as the Signal Battalion Operations Officer.

After graduating from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, they stayed for a follow-on assignment where Gongaware was a staff officer leading the design of future networked tactical command centers. They adopted their son, Stephen, immediately prior to their departure back to Germany. Gongaware served for two-and-a-half years as a Signal Battalion Executive Officer, also authoring two articles for the Army’s Communicator magazine.

They left Germany a second time for Gongaware to command the 9th Signal Battalion (610 soldiers) at Fort Lewis, Washington. Following Battalion Command, Gongaware was selected for the White House Communications agency, providing national security communications support to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, and the Secret Service. He was the chief of a directorate designing and procuring advanced technologies. He traveled in support of the President to Rome, Italy and Warsaw, Poland as well as to numerous locations around the US, especially throughout the campaign in 1992.

After graduating from the Senior War College at the National Defense University at Fort McNair, Washington, DC, Gongaware returned to Germany to serve as the European Command J6 Operations Chief where he directed communications support for US forces operations in Bosnia as well as for US forces providing humanitarian support to the Kurds in Iraq and in Rwanda following the massacres. He left Europe to command the 11th Signal Brigade (3250 soldiers) headquartered at Fort Huachuca, AZ with elements at Fort Gordon, GA, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Components of the Brigade deployed back to Kuwait in 1998 when Saddam Hussein built up forces on the border with Kuwait again. Gongaware’s final Army assignment was as the J6, Southern Command, Miami, Florida. He was the Director for all communications and IT support for US Forces in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Southern Command’s primary focus was counterdrug operations. Gongaware was heavily engaged working with the US Embassy in Panama negotiating what communications equipment would be left behind and turned over to Panama as the US Army was departing.

Upon Gongaware’s retirement from the Army in 2000, he moved back to Virginia where he became a Vice President for Mantech Security Corporation. He managed contracts with the State Department, designing, building, and operating IT network security capabilities for their worldwide networks. Gongaware left Mantech to become a senior Program Manager for Boeing. He managed several classified software products and software engineering contracts and programs throughout the US Intelligence community, including the National Reconnaissance Office, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Since Gongaware’s retirement from Boeing in 2010, he has volunteered at his church playing trumpet in the orchestra and as a lay counselor, working with men individually, and with Connie to work with married couples. He and Connie serve together teaching Couples Communication classes. He enjoys more time playing golf and playing with his three granddaughters in Virginia. He and Connie make regular trips to North Huntingdon to enjoy both of their families and to make improvements to his family home. Gongaware is a lifetime member of Norwin’s VFW Post 781 and was the speaker at Norwin’s Memorial Day Ceremony last year.

Jerry Grcevich
Mr. Jerry Grcevich ‘69
Distinguished Alum in Fine & Performing Arts

In 2005, Jerome “Jerry” Grcevich received the “National Endowment for Folk and Traditional Arts” award. He is a Master Artist of the Tamburitza Instruments, which are native instruments of Croatia. The tamburitza instruments are a family of instruments that include the tamburitza prim, tamburitza brač, tamburitza bugarija, tamburitza cello, and tamburitza bass.

Jerry learned to play these instruments from his father, Joseph Grcevich, his uncle Marko Grcevich, and both of his grandfathers. His grandfathers migrated to the United States from Croatia, bringing their traditions with them. From his early childhood, the joy of tamburitza music inspired the direction of Jerry’s life. He played with his father, uncle, and cousin, entertaining at countless cultural and social events. He was a member of the St. George Junior Tamburitzans of Cokeburg, Pennsylvania, directed by his father Joseph Grcevich. Highlights with this group included performances in the United States, Canada, and concert tours in Croatia (Yugoslavia) in 1969, 1972, 1974, 1976, and 1981.

In 1980, Jerry started his own tamburitza orchestra and has continued to play for many events, including folk festivals, weddings, parties, and numerous functions. He also continued to tour Croatia and Europe, performing with famous artists from Croatia. Throughout the years, he has performed for many recordings, television and radio appearances, as well as composed, arranged, and taught music. In 1990, Jerry Grcevich and Miroslav Škoro released Ne dirajte mi ravnicu, an album that reached number one in Croatia. In 1992, he recorded New Traditions, an album consisting of twelve of his original compositions. This album was released in both the United States and Croatia. He then recorded an album with the famous singer Zvonko Bogdan.

In 2004, Jerry performed at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center. During the next few years, he performed at many folk festivals and concerts in the United States and Croatia. Many albums were released by Jerry, including Late Night Tambura, which was also released in the United States and Croatia. Some of his most popular music videos include Jerry Grcevich—Čardaš, Jerry Grcevich—Let, and Jerry Grcevich—Mjesec. He performs at the Mark Milovats Annual Christmas Show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2019, Jerry was a special guest at the Anniversary Concert of Ne dirajte mi ravnicu with Miroslav Škoro in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2022, he performed as a special guest with the Panonska Tamburitza Orchestra in Valpovo, Croatia, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California.

Jerry continues to impress audiences at his performances, promoting his music and keeping tamburitza traditions alive.

Benjamin Katko
Mr. Benjamin Katko ‘05
Distinguished Alum in Business, Communications, & Public Service

From a young age, Ben knew he wanted to be on television and build a career as a journalist. After graduating from Norwin High School in 2005, Katko went on to study journalism at the P.I. Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University, graduating in 2009. It didn’t take long for Katko’s journalism career to get started when he got to WVU; two days after moving onto campus in 2005, he began an internship with WVU Television Productions where he spent long hours logging videotape of sporting events before advancing to other roles. His internship would include shooting highlights of major football and basketball events and leading a team that produced and executed in-arena shows during basketball games. During the summer of 2008, Katko worked as an intern with KDKA’s Sports and Special Programming Department in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At KDKA, Katko’s internship would expand to include a paid summer job as a staff member on the Nightly Sports call show. He also worked as an audio technician and producer, giving him a broader understanding of the different elements of television news and production.

After graduating from WVU in 2009, Katko has built a career as a reporter, anchor, and producer, telling stories at stations in Bridgeport, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Savannah, Georgia. Over the course of his career, he’s covered stories including visits from Presidents and government dignitaries, protests for police reform, huge sporting events, and stories from the people that make their communities unique. In his current role, he is a main anchor on the morning news show at his current station, WSAV (NBC) in Savannah, where he is part of the longest-tenured team in the Savannah morning market.

On top of that, Katko takes great pride in serving as a mentor to fellow journalists and makes it a priority to do so. Over the years, he’s been honored with an Emmy nomination, an Edward R. Murrow award for his storytelling, and a number of other smaller honors.

Separate from his work as a journalist, Katko enjoys helping lead his Savannah church as a deacon, where he volunteers and helps expand and lead the church into the next generation. Katko is also an avid powerlifter and weightlifter and trains regularly in his spare time to compete around the Southeastern United States.

In 2011, Katko married the love of his life, Belinda. They have one son named Henry born in 2016. Katko credits much of his success in his life to their love and support.

Katko also wants to thank his parents, Gary and Lori, brother Nick, and sister-in-law Katie for their love and support as well. Katko would also like to thank everyone involved in today’s event for their careful consideration of his nomination and selection to this prestigious honor.

David Medic
Dr. David Medic ‘67, DVM
Distinguished Alum in Medicine

Dr. David Medic was raised on Medic’s Farm, overlooking Shafton, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and several area communities. Weekends, summers, and holidays were filled with relatives, family friends, incredible food, and enjoyable times. After graduating from Norwin in 1967, he attended Penn State University Park for three years. During his second and third years, he lived and worked at PSU’s beef barns, and also worked at the horse barns and the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory as his class schedule permitted.

Medic was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University following his three years at Penn State. After completing his freshman year at Cornell, he returned to PSU for the graduation ceremony to obtain his B.S. Degree in Animal Science. He was proud and privileged to represent the College of Agriculture as Class Marshal for the event.

After obtaining his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1974, Medic joined a large animal practice in Bradford County, Pennsylvania for three years and then another large animal practice in Bedford County, Pennsylvania for one year. Striking out on his own in 1978, he started a solo large animal practice serving primarily dairy farms in Mercer County, PA, and has been living there ever since on his 75-acre farm.

Medic is a founding board member of the Mercer County 4-H Foundation and currently is its Chairman. He is a member of several agricultural and professional veterinary organizations. He has served on the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association’s (PVMA) Board of Trustees for about 15 years and has helped organize many local and state veterinary meetings, as well as extensively revised the PVMA’s Constitution and Bylaws. He was honored to receive the PVMA’s Veterinarian of the Year Award in 1994 and then, in 2011, received the PVMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Medic initiated, organized, and managed the NWPVMA Equine Symposium, which brought world-renowned equine veterinarians to Mercer County to educate horse owners, veterinarians, trainers, farriers, and anyone else interested in learning about all things equine. Over fifteen-hundred different individuals attended over the thirteen years that the Symposium was held. As a result of the Symposium’s popularity and continued success, $40,000 was able to be donated to aspiring young veterinary students and recent graduates that sought to have a career in equine veterinary medicine and surgery.

Medic’s daughter, Gwen, lives in Virginia with her husband Jessie and son Declan. Gwen is a Physical Therapist at the University of Virginia Hospital.

Amy L. Noblick
Ms. Amy L. Noblick ‘03
Distinguished Alum in Business & Public Service

Amy Noblick has always had a passion to succeed and willingness to serve the well-being of others. She was an AP student at Norwin High School, graduating in the top five percent of her 2003 graduating class. She was the Knight Krier Newspaper Editor and was very active in sports playing basketball, running cross country, and jumping for the track and field team.

Noblick went on to college and successfully graduated with high honors from Penn State University’s Schreyer Honors College with a dual major in Mathematics and Economics. While a college student, Amy was a group fitness instructor and volunteered for numerous committees supporting Homecoming and the Penn State 46-hour non-stop Dance Marathon (THON), which raises millions of dollars annually that directly benefits families of children battling cancer.

Noblick has shown great dedication in each of the companies where she has worked. She spent the first eight years of her career at American Textile Company (ATC) and the last seven years working for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Her outstanding performance was rewarded through frequent promotions and awards, including an employee of the year award at ATC.

Noblick was recently named a Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where she leads strategic operations and teams responsible for providing aggregation support for laboratory products, pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, and industrial companies depend on for their research and production of various therapies and life-saving treatments. Noblick’s team also supported the needs for hospitals and clinics that treated patients during the height of the pandemic.

Noblick enjoys volunteering and helping others. This includes time at the food bank and representing her employer at ChemFest events at the Carnegie Science Center, with the aim of teaching kids about science as it relates to Thermo Fisher Scientific’s products that are helping to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer.

In her free time, Noblick enjoys a variety of activities with her family and friends, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing. She is an avid fan of IndyCar and IMSA races, and enjoys playing dek hockey. Noblick loves to travel and has been fortunate enough to explore several breathtaking destinations around the world. Some of the most memorable experiences include making unforgettable memories with her family in Bethany Beach, Delaware, watching exciting sports car races in Indianapolis, Indiana and Watkins Glen, New York, strolling the charming streets of Paris and Venice, enjoying the stunning views of Lausanne, Switzerland, and hiking in Zermatt, Switzerland during a rare snowstorm in order to witness the spectacular Matterhorn. Her travels have also brought her to Munich, Germany where she raised a glass with both old and new friends during Oktoberfest.

Christopher D. Olson
Dr. Christopher D. Olson ‘69, D.O.
Distinguished Alum in Medicine

Christopher Olson resided on North Street in Circleville until he departed for college. His formal education began with Kindergarten on WQED, followed by attending Circleville’s Junior High School West, and finally, Norwin, where he graduated in 1969.

Despite being uncertain about his career path at the time, he decided to pursue marine biology. This eventually led Olson to transfer to Bucknell University, a choice made in part because the biology program was not premed-oriented. During his freshman year at Bucknell, a classmate convinced him to explore medicine in a summer externship at Monsour Hospital. It was a decision that would change Olson’s direction in life.

A year after graduating from Bucknell in 1973 with his BS in Biology, Olson was accepted into what is now known as Des Moines University. He interned at Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, before moving to Athens, Ohio, to join the faculty of the new osteopathic medical college at Ohio University, including as an associate professor at the end of his time at Ohio University. While there, he also completed a residency in family medicine at the Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. In 1987, Olson and his family relocated to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he joined the growing Family Practice Center. He became an owner of the practice and was involved in its expansion from two offices to over twenty prior to his retirement in 2014.

Early on, Olson’s senior partners encouraged him to become involved in various medical organizations. Olson would go on to serve as the President of Medical Staff at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, serving over twenty-five years as a medical advisor and board member for the Northcentral Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross, and over ten years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians honored Olson with the Raymond J. Saloom, D.O., F.A.C.G.P. Memorial Award in recognition of his accomplishments throughout his career.

Meanwhile, he and his wife raised two accomplished children who have become leaders in business and medicine. They also have four brilliant grandchildren who are their motivation for living and for relocating to New Hampshire. After his children had grown, Olson found time for golf and eventually skiing.

Fred S. Pollier
Mr. Fred S. Pollier ‘60
Distinguished Alum in Business

Fred S. Pollier’s academic background includes engineering and economics, a Master’s program in Business Administration, and the Penn State University Executive Management Program. After completing college in 1966, he finished the Management Training Program at a leading Department of Defense contractor and was assigned to supervise Armor Tank Foundry Programs.

Following that, he became a Project Engineer and then General Supervisor for Cooper Diesel Engine & Compressor Manufacturing. In 1968, he began his career in the Energy Business as a Quality Assurance Engineer and then Manager of Quality Assurance with Westinghouse Turbine and Generator Manufacturing. In 1976, he moved to Power Systems in Project Management of Domestic and International Fossil & Nuclear Energy, managing the Quality Assurance for Westinghouse Power Plant Projects. He then became the Manager of Environmental Waste to Energy Projects and Division Marketing Manager.

Pollier retired in 1997 as the Director of Marketing and Business Development & Strategic Planning for the Government & Environmental Company, reporting to the President of Westinghouse. After selecting an early Retirement Option, at age 54, he continued as the Westinghouse Executive Consultant for Marketing and Business Development. During this time, he participated in the Project Management for the building programs for three new Church Facilities.

Later, Pollier completed a two-year graphic design program and facilitated the publicity and public affairs efforts for Homeowner’s Associations and Churches. He also purchased and renovated a beachfront condominium, worked on several Habitat for Humanity home-building projects, and served as Director and President of the Homeowner’s Association.

Pollier volunteered at hospitals, nursing homes, and schools as a member of The Therapy Dogs Inc. program, participated in the Senior Olympics, and played on several tennis teams. He became a certified website designer and the developer & co-owner of a website design company. For six years, he served as the President of the Summit Christian School Board of Trustees and was on the Lee Memorial Health Systems Board of Directors as the Community Member Strategic Planning.

He also served as a Church Deacon on the Cabinet of Sanibel Community Church for Men’s Ministry and Children & Family Ministry. Fred was inducted into the Norwin High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012, and during his college years, he played Varsity Football and Baseball. He also played for the New York Yankees Professional Baseball Organization. Throughout his career, he received multiple Westinghouse Management Achievement awards.

Shannon Reiter née Hughes
Ms. Shannon Reiter née Hughes ‘94
Distinguished Alum in Public Service

Shannon Reiter, née Hughes, serves as President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a statewide community improvement nonprofit organization. Reiter started her career with the organization in 2004 when she joined the staff of PA CleanWays. In 2005, she took on the leadership role, and in 2010, led the organization’s merger with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. Under her leadership, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has secured millions of dollars of direct and in-kind support for local communities from both the private and public sectors and led the growth of numerous programs, including Pick-Up Pennsylvania, which has become the state’s signature grassroots community improvement program, and the creation of innovative programs such as Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania, a program dedicated to building civic leaders and community stewards.

Throughout her tenure, Reiter oversaw the development of various strategic plans, multiple organizational restructurings, and several research initiatives focusing on litter, illegal dumping, and related enforcement. Notable research includes “Illegal Dumping in Pennsylvania: A Decade of Discovery. Recommended Policies and Programs for Future Prevention and Enforcement” (2014), “Pennsylvania Litter Research Study” (2020), “The Cost of Litter & Illegal Dumping in Pennsylvania” (2020), and most recently, the “Pennsylvania and South Carolina Litter Enforcement Study” (2023). Through these efforts, sustained over two decades, Reiter and her team have elevated the need for policy and regulatory changes in support of universal access to convenient and affordable trash disposal and recycling, brought much-needed attention to the excessive costs of litter and illegal dumping in our communities, and successfully championed the regulatory changes needed to expand access to waste disposal in rural Pennsylvania. In 2020, Reiter provided direct support to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office in developing Pennsylvania’s first Litter Action Plan in 2021.

Reiter earned a master’s degree in public administration-nonprofit management from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in 2003 and has been working to improve communities throughout her career of over twenty-five years in the nonprofit sector. Reiter is an appointed member of the Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee and regularly volunteers with numerous organizations in her community. She lives in North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two children.

Charles 'Doug' Ruffolo
Mr. Charles 'Doug' Ruffolo ‘75
Distinguished Alum in Business & Philanthropy

After Charles D.A. Ruffolo met his Dutch wife, Herma, the American soldier exchanged his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the Netherlands in the Dutch province of Drenthe/Overijssel. He served and retired after 20 years from the military and is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, where he served as a Battalion Sergeant Major. He is a member of the US Army’s Sergeant Morales Club for being a dedicated professional whose leadership is characterized by true personal concern for the needs, development, and welfare of the soldier. He earned his MPA/MBA degree in his free time while in the military and fine-tuned his natural talent for linking (networking) common interests.

Ruffolo is an international speaker, author, publisher, and trainer who has spoken in many countries, presenting over 100 times each year and is the most requested American speaker in Europe.

Charles has hosted his dear friend Stedman Graham several times in Europe, twice Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of The United States, Sir Richard Branson (Virgin), General (ret) Wesley K. Clark (former NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe), Vice President Al Gore in Aruba, and Tom Houck, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal driver and assistant. He was instrumental in setting up the TV Station 24Kitchen in the Netherlands, which was sold to FOX International. He worked closely with the management of Six Flags to establish a roadmap that met their business objectives to position and brand their attraction park in the Dutch market. He also created The NetworKing Academy Online course, a first in the world. Charles served on the Advisory Board of the NFL European League.

The cardinal rule of networking is giving back. Ruffolo believes it’s so essential that in 1999, he founded the Giving Back Foundation, a non-profit committed to bringing critical resources to the youth who need them. The Giving Back Foundation helps high-school students whose career perspectives, due to their backgrounds, are not on the same level as their talent and ambition. These students, who may potentially be role models in Dutch society and have the ability to develop themselves best, are offered a group and mentor program to help them broaden their knowledge and experience. Giving Back only functions from private donations from companies and people who want to give back to society.

Charles has written three books on networking – Network Your Way to Success, Your Wake-Up Call, and It’s About Building Relationships Through Networking—and created a NetworKing card game called the “Ruffle Shuffle.” The books and card game are available in English, Dutch, and Chinese.

Charles and Herma have been married for forty-three years.

Kelley A. Skoloda née Murray
Ms. Kelley A. Skoloda née Murray ‘82
Distinguished Alum in Business & Communications

Kelley Skoloda, née Murray, M.B.A., is the Founder and CEO of KS Consulting & Capital LLC, where she works with her son, Jake, for clients across the country. Kelley was previously a partner at the global PR firm Ketchum and is the co-chair of the Investment Committee at the Next Act Fund, a Pittsburgh-based angel investing group comprised primarily of women that focuses on investing in female-led early-stage companies.

Working at Ketchum for over two decades, first as a Director of Business Development, an Associate Director of the Global Brand Marketing Practice, and then as a Partner and Director of the Global Brand Marketing Practice, Skoloda made her name as an expert in consumer brand marketing with a focus on marketing to women. In this role, Skoloda’s team pushed groundbreaking research that helped some of the world’s largest consumer brands connect with women and mothers. Skoloda would go on to find her greatest passion in building the Marketing to Women & Moms team at Ketchum, turning the practice into a top revenue-generating area for the firm before moving on from the firm to start KS Consulting & Capital in 2017.

In striking out on her own, Skoloda managed to build a unique marketing consultancy that specializes in marketing to women and mothers, the recruitment of women in professional trade associations, and more. At the same time, Skoloda has made a name for herself as a Pittsburgh-based angel investor, investing in female-led businesses. Since 2020, she has also served as a board member for the Angel Capital Association, the world’s largest organization of angel investors.

Her business book, Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women, was named a “must-read” by Publishers Weekly, while her second book, A Way Back to Health: 12 Lessons from a Cancer Survivor, was an Amazon #2 best-seller in the cancer category.

Named one of the “most influential women in business” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kelley has been quoted in HuffPo,,,, Adweek, C-SPAN, and others. Kelley has served on a variety of boards of directors, including the Excela Health System, Seton Hill University, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for UPMC’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. She has been a regular speaker at leading conferences, including the Consumer Electronics Show, BlogHer, and more.

Skoloda earned her MBA at the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business and her undergraduate business degree at Seton Hill University. Kelley and her family live in Greensburg with their three cats.

Dillon Stein
Dr. Dillon Stein ‘03, D.O.
Distinguished Alum in Medicine & Public Service

Dillon Stein, D.O., is the Director of the Division of Palliative Care at Butler Health System in Butler, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Norwin High School in 2003, he received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Alfred University, followed by his medical degree from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Subsequently, he moved back to Pittsburgh and completed an Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency at West Penn Allegheny Health System. After finishing his Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2016, he began practicing palliative care in Butler where he helped establish an inpatient consult service and began the only outpatient palliative care clinic in rural Butler County.

In addition to leading the Division of Palliative Care, he has been the Chair of the Department of Medicine for Butler Memorial Hospital and is a contributor on the health system’s Innovation Team.

He provides leadership and mentorship through the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Rural Special Interest Group. Dillon is a past Hearst AAHPM Leadership Scholarship Awardee and was selected to represent the early career perspective on the 2020 AAHPM COVID-19 Impact and Alignment Taskforce. Additionally, his beliefs in the benefits of gifting and gratitude led to a project involving the delivery of care packages to cultivate support and community with other hospice and palliative care programs. Thus far, he and his team have sent over 50 “palliative care packages” across the country.

Dillon is a passionate physician who strives to bring quality and compassionate palliative and end-of-life care to his community and rural settings. For his approach, he was named a “2023 Top Physician Under 40” through the Pennsylvania Medical Society and received national recognition by being awarded the “Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Early Career Physician Award” in 2022, which is presented to an early career physician that illustrates exemplary care for individuals and families at end-of-life. Dillon believes that patient care is driven by individualized medical care, connection, and relationships and hopes to inspire others to approach end-of-life care the same way in their communities.

Lastly, and most importantly, Dillon is a proud husband and father. He is married to his best friend and high school sweetheart, Bethanie (Willson) Stein, and they have three incredible children: Clara, eight, Beau, six, and Eliza, 18 months.

Kirk Youngstead
Mr. Kirk Youngstead ‘76
Distinguished Alum in Public Service

After graduating from Norwin in 1976, Kirk Youngstead immediately joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Korea for 13 months. At nineteen, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and completed his four-year commitment in 1980.

Upon returning home, Youngstead worked in coal mines until he was hired as a 911 dispatcher in 1984. In 1985, Irwin Police Chief Ben Perkins asked Youngstead if he wanted to be a police officer for Irwin Borough, and he accepted the part-time position. He attended the Police Academy in 1986 and was hired full-time by North Huntingdon Township police in September 1990, receiving the rank of PFC while working patrol assignments and eventually working as a shift supervisor for eight years.

In 1990, Youngstead joined the Office of Attorney General Drug Task Force to help with the troubling drug issues facing Westmoreland County. He became a supervisor for the Drug Task Force in 1995 and held that position until retiring in 2018. Youngstead had many assignments and duties while employed at North Huntingdon, including as a motorcycle patrol officer, narcotics detective, fire investigator, emergency response team operator, and seventeen years as a board member of FOP Lodge #39, serving as vice president for ten years.

Youngstead was instrumental in several functions of the police department involving the Norwin community, including being involved in the planning stages of the Norwin Lions Reality Tour and being one of the drug lecturers at the reality tour. He was also the developer and instructor in the original NHTPD Junior Police Academy, a speaker at the 9th grade orientation/Parent Drug Awareness Program held at Norwin High School, a speaker at many Norwin Civic Groups on Drug Awareness, and one of the original officers to form the NHTPD Township Parks Halloween Haunted Trail.

Youngstead retired from NHTPD in 2018 after 28 years of service and was immediately hired by the Office of the Attorney General as a narcotics agent in 2018. He was a member of the AG Special Operations Group as the armored vehicle driver. Youngstead retired from the Attorney General Office in 2022 and was immediately hired by the Bedford County District Attorney’s Office as the Narcotics Supervisor for Bedford County. He left Bedford County in January of 2023.

Throughout his career, Youngstead made roughly 800 undercover narcotic buys of illegal substances, including buys as recent as November 2022. He has participated in approximately 400 search warrants that included many of his own undercover buys, and he prepared and supervised many of these search warrants. He has testified in state grand jury investigations as a local officer and as a state agent and has worked and assisted in investigations/arrests that included various agencies such as the DEA, FBI, US Marshals, ATF, Pennsylvania State Police, and more.

Due to the nature of Youngstead’s work, much of his volunteering and commitment to his profession and the Norwin community has not been documented in the public forum. Only those who worked with him directly know the extent of the time and commitment he has made.

Maleah Phetsomphou
Ms. Maleah Phetsomphou ‘23
2023 NAFA Scholarship Recipient

Maleah Phetsomphou was born in Laguna Hills, California and moved to North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania at the age of five. As a child, Phetsomphou played for the Norwin Soccer Club, often visited the Norwin Public Library, and loved to play outside. Growing up, she became deeply involved in her community, which led her to love the people around her. She recognized the inherent goodness in humanity, especially in the women surrounding her.

In eighth grade, Maleah joined the Model United Nations Club where she learned that people of various nationalities, origins, and beliefs can inhabit this planet harmoniously. At the beginning of conferences, rooms were filled with disagreement and haughty attitudes, but soon, the day would be full of passed legislation that solved real-life problems around the world. In a world of political tension, Model UN was a beacon of hope for humanity.

Phetsomphou spent the next four years serving the community and making lifelong friends. She was a member of the Spanish Club, Student Council, Newspaper Staff, Model United Nations, Girls’ Soccer Team, and more. Every weekday, she woke up at 5am to attend a fifty-minute scripture study class for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before her regular school day. At her church, she served as Young Women Class President. She challenged herself with numerous AP and honors classes, with her favorite class being AP World History. She founded the Cultural Awareness Committee for Student Council and was a member of the Time Change Committee. Phetsomphou served as President of the Model United Nations Club in both her junior and senior years. Within the newspaper, she ran a podcast, The To-Knight Show, and was Chief Editor of the Knight Krier.

Phetsomphou will pursue her Bachelor’s in International Relations with a minor in Mandarin Chinese at Brigham Young University and plans to complete her 18-month mission for the Church. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she will pursue a Master’s in Multilateral Relations and join the United States Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. She hopes for the opportunity to help work towards easing tensions between the United States and China.