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ELLIS Wayne County DA

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The subsidiary of the American Nurses Association recently awarded Sue Petula, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N., NEA-BC, the credential of Advanced Nurse Executive. Petula is presently an adviser to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and a Fellow within the Institute of Regulatory Excellence at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. She resides in Clarks Summit.


Melissa M. Wolf, a certified public accountant from Duryea, was named to the Nominations Committee of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants for a three-year term. Wolf was elected at PICPA’s 122nd annual meeting held in Philadelphia on June 3.

Wolf is a senior manager with the Wilkes-Barre firm, specializing in employee benefit plan audits and Form 5500. She serves on PICPA’s Committee on Professional Ethics, Employee Benefits Plan Committee and Employee Benefits Plan Conference Planning Subcommittee. She is also secretary/treasurer of the board of directors for Leadership Wilkes-Barre.


Joel Kankiewicz of Mountain Top joined the administrative department as an administrative assistant. With a background in retail, Kankiewicz previously functioned as a lead sales associate for Boscov’s Department Store in Hazle Twp., where he oversaw daily operations within his department and was responsible for creating work schedules and supervising associates. He is a graduate of St. Vincent College in Latrobe and holds a Bachelor of Arts in musical performance.


First Hospital’s first DAISY Award was presented to Joanne McDade, R.N., who works in the adult behavioral health unit at First Hospital, Kingston.

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital’s second quarter DAISY Award was presented to Kristal Ryncavage, R.N., who works in the critical care unit at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

The DAISY (which stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award was started by the DAISY Foundation, which formed in 2000, after J. Patrick Barnes, then 33, died of complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, an auto-immune disease. DAISY Award recipients are nominated by their peers, physicians, patients and families and other staff and administrators.


Army Lt. Col. Samuel D. Smith Sr. recently took command of DLA Distribution Tobyhanna.

A native of Indianapolis, Smith enlisted in the Army in 1999 as a construction engineer 62E, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. He received his commission in May 2001, upon graduation from Officer Candidate School.

Previous to taking command at Tobyhanna, Smith was a professor of military science at the University of Memphis Army Reserve Officer Training Corps — Tiger Battalion. Additionally, Smith served at DLA when he was assigned to DLA Troop Support-Pacific, Chief Korea Area Office, July 2015 to July 2017.


The bank has announced the following promotions:

George Czajkowski is appointed as assistant vice president. He came to the bank as facilities manager, overseeing the maintenance and renovations of existing offices as well as the construction of new ones.

William J. Fennie is appointed as assistant vice president. He serves as trust and investment officer and brings invaluable investment expertise not previously in-house for clients, and is responsible for leading investment strategies.

Kristin Grow, customer care center manager, is appointed as assistant vice president. In her role, she oversees a crucial client touchpoint, coaching a responsive and dedicated staff and delivering an extraordinary experience to our bankers and her clients. Grow was voted Outstanding Service Partner by other Fidelity Bankers in 2017.

Kathleen Timlin has been promoted to officer status. A 25-year veteran of the bank, she has demonstrated her commitment to the bank, and is an invaluable resource within the loan operations department.

Carey Garvey has been promoted to officer status. She has been a consumer loan specialist for 10 years, responsible for underwriting, processing and closing a large portion of all the bank’s consumer loans, exceeding expectations for their clients and bankers.

Kate Abraham is promoted to officer status. She is a mortgage loan underwriter, having served in the retail lending department for five previous years. Her work has been a driver in the bank’s status as No. 1 mortgage lender in Northeast Pennsylvania.


Attorney Terrence R. Nealon Jr. has been appointed as a member of the state Civil Procedural Rules Committee by order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

The Civil Procedural Rules Committee is the oldest of seven Supreme Court procedural rules committees in the state. As an appointed committee member, Nealon will assist the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the preparation, revision, publication and administration of the rules of civil procedure.

Nealon is active in the local legal community and has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the area of plaintiff personal injury litigation.

Attorney Michael J. Foley attended the Western Trial Lawyers Association’s continuing legal education seminar in Kihei, Hawaii, where he delivered a lecture entitled, “Offensive Use of Motion for Summary Judgment; a Tale of Three Cases.”

WTLA’s annual summer seminar draws trial lawyers from across the United States. Foley was the only lawyer from Pennsylvania to speak at the 2019 conference.

The firm serves personal injury clients throughout Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania with offices in Scranton and Stroudsburg.


Two fellowship-trained trauma surgeons and two family-medicine physicians from the health system have earned spots on the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s list of Top Physicians Under 40.

Akram Alashari, M.D., Brian Frank, M.D., Kristin Simmons, M.D., and Jason R. Woloski, M.D., were recognized among 42 physicians statewide for their service and expertise. This year’s field represents 19 medical specialties practiced by doctors living in 19 cities.

Alashari is a board-certified, fellowship-trained trauma surgeon who practices at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton and specializes in surgical critical care. His clinical interests are trauma, acute care surgery and health and wellness, which is also his research interest, and he speaks English and Arabic. Alashari is recognized for helping to create a culture of safety that fostered significant improvement in patient satisfaction scores and for being a leader committed to maintaining the highest standards in patient care.

Frank is a board-certified, fellowship-trained general surgeon who practices at GCMC and subspecializes in trauma and surgical critical care. His clinical interests are blunt trauma, multisystem trauma, critical care, shock and complex abdominal wall reconstruction. His research interests are trauma education/outreach and pain management, and he serves as a faculty member for the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Frank is recognized for his involvement in multiple performance/quality improvement initiatives in the system, and his advocacy for the Stop the Bleed public health campaign, which provides education on bleeding-control techniques.

Simmons is a board-certified physician who specializes in family medicine and practices at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre — Community Medicine. She is recognized for her leadership in the Geisinger system, serving as assistant program director for the Geisinger Kistler Family Medicine Residency Program in Wilkes-Barre, and dedicating herself to educating medical students and encouraging them to train and practice in Pennsylvania.

Woloski is a board-certified physician who specializes in family medicine and practices at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre — Community Medicine. His clinical interests are resident/medical student education, inpatient and outpatient medicine, primary care, advocacy/access to care, women’s health and behavioral medicine. His research interests are resident education, Alzheimer’s dementia and population health. He is recognized for being an active physician-leader. He serves on the boards of trustees for the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians and the Luzerne County Medical Society.


The organization announced that retired Rear Adm. Janet Donovan has been appointed as the new CEO. Donovan began her duties on Sept. 3.

Donovan is a retired Navy two-star rear admiral and former deputy commander in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy with more than 20 years of executive experience in strategy development, talent management and collaboration. She has completed numerous professional development and executive training courses in strategic planning, strategic communication and innovation, coalition-building, finance and accounting, cyber security, risk management and ethics.


Weber Gallagher partner Ryan R. McBride was recently appointed to the organization’s board of directors, which opened in 1883 and moved to its current building in 1993.

In his legal practice, McBride defends clients in general liability and professional liability matters. His clients include businesses, individuals, doctors and other professionals. McBride has defended surgeons and other specialists, as well as many health care professionals. He has represented publicly traded national retailers, travel stops, property management and trust companies, contractors, small businesses and private homeowners in premises liability defense.


The regional community leadership development organization recently unveiled several changes to its organizational structure as a result of its new three-year strategic plan.

Nicole Morristell, a resident of Dalton who has overseen the organization for the past 10 years, has been promoted from program director to executive director. Morristell’s enhanced role will allow her to devote additional attention to the organization’s fundraising, marketing, alumni engagement, governance, evaluation and new program development.

Dominick Mitchell, a resident of South Abington Twp., has been hired as program coordinator. In this role, Mitchell will handle the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of running both the 10-month Core program and the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program. His responsibilities also include the organization’s marketing objectives and volunteer cultivation and recruitment.


Frank Kelleher of Daytona Beach, Florida, formerly of Scranton, the vice president/chief sales officer of International Speedway Corp., was recently named a Young Professional of the Year by the Volusia/Flagler Business Report, in addition to “40 Under Forty” honors.

At ISC, Kelleher oversees the commercial side of the business across all 15 owned ISC businesses (racetracks plus MRN and Americrown). He serves on the board of directors at his alma mater, Marywood University. His family owns Kelleher Tire on West Market Street, Scranton. He and his wife, Lauren, have two children.


Sister Mary Persico, I.H.M., Ed.D., university president, recently announced six new trustees have been elected to the board of trustees. New board members include Sister Mary Elaine Anderson, I.H.M., Scranton; Michael E. Bugno, New York City; Flora Keating Karam, Waverly Twp.; Robert J. (Bobby) Lynett, Scranton; Sister Kathleen Lunsmann, I.H.M., Washington, D.C.; and Sister Kelly Quinn, I.H.M., Manhasset, New York.

In addition, the slate of board officers for 2019-20 includes: attorney Lisa A. Lori, Philadelphia, board chairwoman; Pia Ferrario, New York City, vice chairwoman; Susan Cognetti, Clarks Green, secretary, and James G. Gavin, M.S.W., Scranton, treasurer. Officers are elected for a three-year term.

New board members, 2019-20:

Anderson presently serves as director of formation for the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton. A licensed mental health counselor who is fluent in Spanish and English, Anderson has 20 years of experience living in Peru and implementing innovative programs that support the psychosocial development of children, adolescents and adults. She is a family support and parenting education specialist, as well as a registered dance movement therapist, and her areas of specialization include domestic violence, trauma and severe emotional and neurological disabilities.

Bugno, formerly of Clarks Summit, is an accomplished strategic global event and marketing leader, with more than 15 years of success in planning and executing corporate events for midsize and Fortune 200 companies. Presently, he is the director of corporate events for First Data in Atlanta and New York City, where he also served as the senior event manager. In 2004, he merited the Marywood Alumni Association Recent Graduate Award, and he previously served as a university trustee from 2006-2015. Additionally, he has been a co-chairman of sponsorships for Marywood University’s annual Community Leadership Celebration (2014-18).

Karam is a managing member of Dark Waters Project LLC, a real estate renovation and rental management company. She previously worked in retail sales and management, clothing manufacturing and customer service/account management. Karam’s community activities include past leadership roles as board chairwoman for Scranton Preparatory School, the Everhart Museum, First Night Scranton and Scranton Community Concerts, as well as past board member of Lackawanna Heritage Valley Partners, Women’s Resource Center, Keystone College, Marking the Millennium (Scranton Tomorrow) and the Lucan Center for the Arts.

Lynett is the owner/president of PA Signs LLC (Scranton) and Sekula Signs (DuBois), companies that design, procure permits, manufacture and install custom signs and monuments. He recently served as publisher for The Times-Tribune, CEO of Times-Shamrock Communications and managing director of Elk Lake Capital. Prior to his position as CEO, Lynett held positions as general manager of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre radio division, as well as assistant group publisher for Times-Shamrock’s Alternative Newspaper Division. He also served as the business development manager for the Downtown DC Business Improvement District, where he was responsible for recruiting and retaining businesses and industries in Washington, D.C., the third largest nonprofit business improvement district.

Lunsmann currently serves as the president of SOAR! (Support Our Aging Religious Inc.), Washington, D.C., an organization that raises funds to help congregations of Catholic sisters, priests and brothers care for their elderly members. She formerly served for 11 years as director of development for the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scranton). During her tenure, Lunsmann led a ($14 million campaign for the construction of a 120-bed residence for retired IHM Sisters. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and is a member of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals.

Quinn is the principal at Our Lady of Grace Montessori School (Manhasset, New York), and she has served in this role for 23 years. In addition to developing curriculum with teachers, she assesses teaching methods, monitors student achievement, and encourages and facilitates parental involvement, among other duties. She began her educational career at Our Lady of Grace, where she taught from 1986-1993, before teaching at schools in Scranton, including St. Clare School and Nativity of Our Lord School. Quinn has additional experience as an American Montessori Society field supervisor and as a trustee of Our Lady of Grace Montessori School and Center.

Lori, of Philadelphia, is a partner of Litigation Group, with Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg LLP. She represents national and international businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, and individuals in a full range of complex commercial litigation matters. Since beginning her service on the board of trustees in 2014, she has served as secretary of the board, and, for the past three years, as chairwoman. She has been a member of the Audit Committee, Financial Affairs Committee, Shared Governance Committee and the Executive Committee. She has been with her current firm since 2002 and was promoted to partner in 2007.

Ferrario, of New York City, now retired, served as the CEO of Victoria’s Secret Direct. She had previously served in a number of executive leadership roles at Victoria’s Secret, a subsidiary of LBrands. She also worked in leadership and management positions for Ups’N Downs, Enfield, Connecticut; J.C. Penney, Dallas, Texas; John Wanamaker, Philadelphia; and the Globe store, Scranton. Since her election to the board in 2014, Ferrario has served on the University Advancement Committee and the Committee on Trustees. She established the Angela and Pio Ferrario Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Marywood University, and she is the recipient of the Sisters of IHM Spirit Award.

Cognetti, of Clarks Green, serves as a paralegal and office manager at Cognetti & Cimini. Since beginning her service as a trustee in 2014, Cognetti has served as chair of the Committee on Trustees and as a member of the Enrollment Services and Student Success Committee and the Executive Committee. She has been the secretary of the board since 2016. Cognetti serves as Eucharistic minister at St. Gregory’s Parish, where she was also parish coordinator for First Penance and First Communion for more than 25 years.

Gavin, of Scranton, is the president and chief executive officer of Community Care Behavioral Health Organization. He has more than 40 years of training and experience in behavioral health care, from clinical service delivery through executive management. Since beginning his service on the board of trustees in 2009, Gavin has served as treasurer of the board and has been a member of the Financial Affairs Committee, which he chaired; the Audit Committee; the Committee on Trustees; and the Executive Committee. He is a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania.


Tammy Johnson was promoted to branch manager for the bank’s Montrose office.

Johnson has 25 years of combined experience in the financial services and insurance industries. She joined the bank in 2004 as a teller and advanced to positions of increasing management responsibility before pursuing opportunities in the insurance industry. In 2017, she returned to the bank as the assistant branch manager for the Montrose office.

She is the treasurer for the Tara Hills Property Owners Association and is an active member of the Montrose Area Chamber of Commerce.

David McHale has joined the bank as senior vice president and senior commercial banking relationship manager. McHale will maintain offices in the bank’s Kingston office and its Scranton Financial Center on Keyser Avenue.

McHale has more than 30 years of experience in commercial banking. Before joining the bank, he served as a senior vice president for Community Bank’s Commercial Banking Division in Wilkes-Barre.

A former resident of Dunmore, McHale now resides in Albrightsville. McHale currently serves on several committees for the Greater Scranton and Greater Wilkes-Barre chambers of commerce.


Travis Davis, NHA, MHA, has been named chairman for the institute’s 27th annual Cancer Survivors Day — Honoring, Remembering, Sharing.

Davis is the administrator of transitional rehab at Allied Services Integrated Health System. Before his current role, he was involved with the implementation and expansion of hospice services, in development of a community-based palliative care program, and focuses on strategic planning with senior-level management to build successful clinical programs across the continuum of care.

Cancer Survivors Day is a dual-location event set for Sept. 21 at McDade Park in Scranton and Sept. 28 at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre from 10 a.m.-noon.


More than 80 lawyers and judges from across the state have taken leadership roles as 2019-20 chairs of committees and sections of the association. Many of the association’s policies and positions prompting development of state laws and actions viewed as beneficial to the legal system, the courts and the public result from actions initiated by the leaders and members of these groups.

Local attorneys named are:

Jerry B. Chariton, of Chariton Schwager & Malak in Wilkes-Barre, was renamed chairman of the PBA Charitable Organizations Committee, which focuses on matters of concern to lawyers who are employed by or who represent charitable organizations.

Diana M. Collins, Pittston, was named chairwoman of the PBA Law-Related Education Committee, which is responsible for programs that educate young people about the rule of law, the history and workings of government and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Richard M. Goldberg, of Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn PC, Kingston, was renamed chairman of the PBA Judicial Campaign Advertising Committee, which promotes accurate, fair and dignified judicial campaign advertising among candidates seeking election to the commonwealth’s appellate courts by monitoring and reviewing complaints.

Jeffrey J. Malak, of Chariton Schwager & Malak, Wilkes-Barre, was renamed co-chairman of the PBA Shale Energy Law Committee, which communicates with fellow PBA members about shale energy legislation and regulations and facilitates education about shale energy for lawyers and the public.


Praveed Abraham was recently commissioned as a state game warden and assigned as the district game warden for northern Monroe County.

Abraham, originally from Yonkers, New York, is a 2007 graduate of Roosevelt High School and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Mercy College in 2009.

Adriel Douglass was recently commissioned as a state game warden and assigned as the district officer for northern Wayne County.

Douglass earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in natural resource conservation law enforcement from Finger Lakes Community College in 2012, and his Bachelor of Science degree in religious studies from Clarks Summit University in 2013.

Justin Faus was recently commissioned as a state game warden and assigned as the district game warden for southern Luzerne County.

Faus, originally from Bloomsburg, is a 2010 graduate of Central Columbia High School and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Bloomsburg University in 2014.

Patrick Sowers was recently commissioned as a state game warden and assigned as the district game warden for southern Pike County.

Sowers, originally from Montgomeryville, Montgomery County, is a 2010 graduate of North Penn High School in Lansdale and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in geology from West Virginia University in 2015.

They were all members of the 31st Cadet Class of the Game Commission’s Ross Leffler School of Conservation in Harrisburg. Cadets went through 51 weeks of intensive training before graduation. State game wardens are responsible for administering a wide variety of Game Commission programs within an assigned district of about 350 square miles.

Primary duties include law enforcement, responding to wildlife conflicts, conservation education and administration of the Hunter-Trapper Education program. Officers also are responsible for supervising and training part-time deputy game wardens.


The organization recently installed Robert Bresnahan as president for the 2019-20 term. He is the CEO of Kuharchik Construction, Exeter.


The university awarded six professors 2019 Faculty Development Summer Grants, which are intended to promote scholarship and curriculum development efforts by faculty members.

Shuhua Fan, Ph.D., professor of history, will research “The Knight Brothers in Newchwang: Foreign Life in Mid-19th Century Chinese Treaty Ports.” Fan joined the faculty at Scranton in 2009. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, China; a master’s degree from Jilin University, Changchun, China; and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Irene Goll, Ph.D., associate professor of management, marketing and entrepreneurship, will research “National Culture, Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Performance.” Goll joined the faculty at Scranton in 1988. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from Temple University.

Jason Graham, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, will research “Pattern Formation and Decision Making in Slime Mold.” Graham joined Scranton’s faculty in 2012. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Robert Smith, Ph.D., professor of biology, will research “Using Autonomous Recording Units to Survey Lackawanna State Park for Northern Saw-whet Owls and Spring Migrating Landbirds.” Smith joined the faculty at Scranton in 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Alma College, a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Katherine Stumpo, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, will work on “Development: Conference Presentation and Compilation of Analyzed Data into Two Separate Manuscripts.” Stumpo joined the faculty at Scranton in 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. from Texas A& University.

Argyrios Varonides, Ph.D., professor of physics and electrical engineering, will research “New Modeling for Improved Performance of Graphene/Oxide/Semiconductor Schottky Barrier Solar Cells.”

Varonides joined the faculty at Scranton in 1989. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Thessalonika, Greece, a master’s degree from Temple University and a Ph.D. from Drexel University.


The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of personal injury attorney Todd A. Johns as Four Years 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Client Satisfaction.

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Personal Injury attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the “10 Best” list must pass AIOPIA’s rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOPIA’s independent evaluation.


Jim Cesari, a Dickson City native and graduate of Penn State Scranton, joined as a software developer at the company’s Imagineering Research & Development Inc. facility in Glendale, California, where he works on the software for the animatronic attractions at Disney’s theme parks.

Cesari recently returned to Penn State Scranton as the featured speaker at this year’s Richard M. and Jean McNichols Walsh Endowed Lecture. Established by the Walsh family of Scranton, the talk brings top-tier professionals in the business and information sciences and technology fields to the campus.


Brendan R. Ellis has joined the office as an assistant district attorney. The appointment was effective July 8.

He obtained his J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law in 2012, where he received awards for excellence in criminal law, trial advocacy and pro bono service. In 2013, he joined Meagher Law Inc. in Honesdale and in 2016 was appointed by the Wayne County commissioners to serve as an assistant public defender. Ellis is a member of the Wayne County Drug Treatment Court team, has been recognized for commitments to pro bono service, and presently serves as vice president of the Wayne County Bar Association.

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