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DA 2019

2019 Distinguished Alumni Honorees



Bart BERKEY

 

Since graduating from Plum High School in 1985 as a varsity athlete with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Bart has spent most of his adult life learning from others by asking questions and observing. “Most People Don’t” watch others to see what makes them successful, nor do they incorporate these qualities into their own lives to enrich themselves.

 

Bart has been able to achieve happiness and success by applying the learnings of others into his own personal life, and by simply making the extra effort to “do” when others “don’t”. In 2014, Bart published his first book on his mantra, “Most People Don’t, And Why You Should” sharing real life stories designed to encourage others to act upon professional and personal improvement.

 

After graduating from Penn State University and playing for their Division I Men’s Volleyball Team, Bart climbed the business ranks quickly in the hospitality industry.

 

From years as a recruiter for Ritz-Carlton, selecting “the best of the best”, to leading part of a domestic global sales team for Marriott International Luxury Brands, Bart has made a tremendous impact on thousands of individuals. He was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Most Extra-ordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing” and continues to energize and inspire others through his leadership, writing, and speaking engagements.

 

Bart lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife (Terri) and two children (Max and Alexa). He dedicates this to his mother Ellie (still a Plum local) and his father, Bill Berkey, who let by example, had no regrets, and called Bart his "hero" at least once a day.

      



Chief Bob FARROW

 

Bob Farrow was just 15 when he was introduced to Unity Fire Department through an explorer program and found his passion. He became a Unity Jr. Firefighter spending time at the firehouse, working, learning, doing fundraisers, and came to realize service before self was his future.

 

Bob continued serving the residents of Plum Boro fighting fires until 1973, when the first ambulances arrived in the region. His vision of a life of service had renewed focus. He trained as an EMT at the Fire station, then, through a program at Columbia Hospital, he became a Paramedic.

 

Bob joined the inaugural class of Pittsburgh Paramedics in 1975 and moved through the ranks of every position in the agency - as Crew Chief, Field Supervisor, Division Chief, Deputy Chief, and retired in 2018 as Chief of the City of Pittsburgh EMS. As Chief, Bob managed a multimillion-dollar budget and led a force of 170 paramedics, 18 ambulances, 2 rescue trucks and 2 river rescue boats. Bob was successful in restarting the EMT program and became one of the first places in the state to implement the Narcan drug leave-behind program initiated by Gov. Wolf, saving many lives.

 

Beyond his duties to the residents of Pittsburgh, Bob was a leader representing the City locally, regionally, statewide and nationally. Bob was appointed as a team leader for the PA USAR Strike team which handled building collapses after the 911 tragedy. He focused on emergency planning, hazardous material responses, and was a leader on the G-20 planning team when Pittsburgh was host under President Obama. He served as the City’s Hazardous Material Team Chief for many years.

 

Bob is enjoying retirement with his wife, Renee, Plum Class of 1976, three children, Rob, Rachel and Ryan, son-in-law Andy, daughter-in-law, Lingling, and his 11-month-old grandson, Jack. 

 

 



Edward J. KACHURIK

 

A lifelong Pittsburgher and proud 1975 Plum alumnus, Edward J. Kachurik has been working with hot glass for more than 40 years. Combining the technical aspects of his studies at the Penland School in North Carolina and Penn State University with his innate artistic talent, Ed creates beautiful glass sculptures. He prides himself on his experimentation with precious met-als and chemicals to create custom colors, which are unique to his line. All of Ed’s artwork is masterfully hand-crafted, and each piece is personally signed, meaning no two pieces are ever alike.

 

Ed creates a variety of sculptures, including custom glass art pieces, awards, recognition gifts, and most recently, cremation sculptures for people and pets. His exclusive sculpture and exhibition work spans museums and galleries throughout the country, including Georgia, Texas, Illinois, California, Washington and many more.

 

Not only can Ed’s sculptures be seen in galleries, they can also be found in the homes and offices of distinguished leaders throughout the world. Ed has been commissioned to create awards sculptures for Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, the Pittsburgh International Airport, Trib Total Media, as well as former and current members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, among many others. Through his great attention to detail and desire to create stunning memories and keepsakes for his clients, many of his clients return year after year, creating long-term working relationships and more importantly, friends.

 

In addition to commissioned work, Ed has donated his time and talent to support non-profit organizations.

 

Ed resides in New Kensington, PA, with his wife, Carol. His work can be seen at www.kachurik.comFacebook: ed.kachurik and Kachurik Glass Art Studio.

 

 



Dr. Andrea MILLER

 

Dr. Andrea Miller grew up in Plum, always having a passion to help animals. As a child she would feed ducks in the park, visit a petting zoo any chance she could, and help reunite neighborhood families with their lost dog or cat. In high school, she worked at a local vet hospital, and she walked dogs at nearby shelter. These experiences allowed her to see first-hand the medical needs of pets. Her experience with animals led her to work hard in school and graduate with high honors from Plum High School in 1999.

 

She then received a Bachelor’s of Science from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio in 2003. Between graduating from BW and starting veterinary school at The Ohio State University, she worked in a lab animal setting, exploring future drug options for humans. While she found experiences in lab animal research and shelter volunteer work interesting, her true passion was caring for and treating small animals in private practice. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in June 2009. After graduation, she started working in small animal hospitals and decided in the fall of 2014 to open her own small animal hospital in Powell, Ohio, about thirty minutes north of Columbus. Liberty Pet Hospital opened in May of 2015, and fast forward almost four years later, she employs a part-time doctor and six employees. Running a small business and being a veterinarian can be challenging, but every day is different, and she enjoys the challenges it brings. Her main areas of interest are dentistry, surgery and behavior.

 




Andrea REDINGER

An energetic biology instructor, whose lesson for the day can be indicated by her earrings, and recent coordinator of gifted education, Andrea Redinger has been working with students at Greensburg Salem for over sixteen years. She was instrumental in founding the Pennsylvania Science Curriculum Council as a means for science instructors to collaborate and share effective methods of both science instruction and assessment. As Council President, she has helped to develop the organization which includes roughly 130 school districts in Pennsylvania with over 350 teachers, administrators, and local science community and business members, leading them in over 100 hours of professional development since 2010. Andrea possesses a passion for education and the desire to instill not only knowledge and experience into all those with whom she encounters, but also a passion and love for science that she possesses.  


She was recently recognized as a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest honor to be bestowed by the US Government for science teaching. In 2013, she was awarded the Recent Alumnus Achievement Award from St. Vincent College. Earlier in 2011, the National Association of Biology Teachers’ recognized her leadership skills and commitment to biology education within their organization awarding her with both the Neil Campbell Teaching Fellowship Award and the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for Pennsylvania, in 2005 on a more national level as the Outstanding New Biology Teacher for the United States. Andrea’s commitment to her community has led to Citations from both the Senate and House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.  


She graduated from Duquesne in 2002, as a Dean’s Teaching Fellow, receiving a Master of Science in Secondary Science Education and from Saint Vincent College in 2001 with highest honors receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Andrea knew early in her career it was her responsibility to share her knowledge with other teachers both new and old, a critical duty of a great teacher leader. She serves as both a cooperating teacher and an Adjunct Professor of Education for several local universities.       


Andrea’s enthusiasm has been referred to as “infectious” (pun-intended) and can be found with her husband David and three kids, Everett, Patty, and Samuel at the ball field, the basketball court, skiing or watching the new Star Wars. Andrea loves animals and houses 15 different species in her classroom!