How To Cast Your Vote
Voting for the Celebration of Champions 2017 is complete. Winners will be announced October 19, 2017.
Community Heroes - Finalists
Greg Hamilton, 34, is a Pittsburgh Firefighter, a member of Steel City Boxing and a dedicated single-dad to an adventurous three-year-old son, Chase. Greg graduated from the City of Pittsburgh Firefighter Academy in February 2017 and has since been working for Truck 33 in downtown Pittsburgh. As a member of Steel City Boxing, Greg is instrumental in the nonprofit's mission- to encourage and support youth to engage in positive activities and relationships as an alternative to street life.
For the past eight years, Greg has also been a volunteer at Children’s Hospital where he visits sick children in his spare time. He is currently organizing a group of firefighters to visit Children's Hospital once a month and participate in activities with the kids. Greg is from Pittsburgh's North Side and currently resides in Spring Hill with his son, Chase.
Voting for the Celebration of Champions 2017 is complete. Winners will be announced October 19, 2017.
Patricia Knierim has been the Chair of the Northern Area Boys and Girls Club for many years. Patricia has served as a board member for more than 20 years and worked on various fundraisers as well.
Patricia has worked countless hours with other staff members at the Boys and Girls Club by organizing events and she has been instrumental in helping with one of their largest fundraisers- “The Annual Duck Race” that runs in September during Millvale Community Days.
Patricia has also chaired the Millvale Democratic Committee for over 24 years. Currently residing in Millvale, Patricia works at BNY Mellon in Pittsburgh as a supervisor in Treasury Services. She has two daughters and one granddaughter. Patricia's dedication to the cause of the Boys and Girls Club is outstanding and her support is appreciated by all.
Voting for the Celebration of Champions 2017 is complete. Winners will be announced October 19, 2017.
Sue Goetz has been working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western PA for 25 years. She started by volunteering with the Club Dance Program and fell in love with the organization and mission which is 'to inspire all children, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as healthy productive, caring, and responsible citizens.' Her favorite part of working the Club is to see the kids grow over the years. She has helped many children who arrive shy and withdrawn to come out of their shells and groomed them to become Junior Staffers who then work with the younger children. Sue has even suited up to play goalie for the Club hockey program to Club member's delight!
Sue's commitment to The Northern Area Club and Millvale community is unwavering and continues to grow over the years through partnerships she has forged with local organizations like the library, bowling alley, and local community held events. Sue continues to go above and beyond for the local community and the Club.
Education - Finalists
Amanda Kirby has been the Director of the Western Allegheny Community Library since 2011. Amanda previously held the position of Youth Services Department Head where she oversaw the development of programming and services for children ages 0-18 and their families. Amanda brought programs and services to the community, including a library outreach program to local preschools and daycares that cares for over 500 children a month, a Readers' Theater for children in 3rd - 8th grade and a designated Middle Grade section of the library with age appropriate materials and programming. Amanda developed several award-winning programs at Western Allegheny Community Library including Rolling & Strolling, an early literacy program that incorporates walking and Building Blocks, a program designed to introduce children to the joys of reading and encourage parents and caregivers to read aloud to their children every day.
One of the initiatives Amanda is most proud of is the Book Bus, mobile library. The Book Bus is a partnership between the Western Allegheny Community Library, West Allegheny School District and Monark Student Transportation. The Book Bus is designed to bring early literacy programs on the road and promote community literacy. The Bus visits early childhood centers on a monthly basis as well as weekly community stops.
Amanda is instrumental in ensuring that the library provides a diverse array of both formal and informal learning opportunities for patrons of all ages. The Western Allegheny Community Library offers a vast lineup of technology, STEM and literacy programs every month. The library was recently named a Silver Star Library from the Pennsylvania Library Association. Amanda has a B.A. in History from West Virginia University and Master of Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives with her husband, Jason and sons Jackson (4) and Liam (2) in Hampton Township.
Betsy Stein, Director of Educational Services for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, is a certified teacher with a BA in Elementary Education and an MS in Education, specializing in Integrating Technology into the Classroom. She has been with the Boys & Girls Clubs since 2008. As the Director of Educational Services, she develops and manages state and federally recognized after school education programs for students in grades K-12 across Allegheny County.
Mrs. Stein works with staff and other community partners to ensure youth receive quality out-of-school-time programming. The educational programs serve over 2,000 youth across Allegheny County and are aligned with state and national standards.
Christopher Cooley is the husband of Alison and the father of Michael (15) and Maria (13). Mr. Cooley has been teaching mathematics since 1997 and founded the 501c3 nonprofit, Serving Other Souls, Inc. (SOS) in 2011. Serving Other Souls is a servant-leadership group built to create leaders through service based initiatives. Members of SOS are typically middle school or junior high students. SOS has chapters in 2 public schools: Franklin Regional Middle School in Murrysville and O'block Jr. High in Plum. Mr. Cooley serves as the Executive Director of SOS that supports the teacher sponsors who run the chapters at FR and Plum. Mr. Cooley also leads a third SOS chapter of middle school and high school students as the Youth Minister at St. Bernadette's Catholic Parish in Monroeville.
In order to gain the empathy that will allow SOS members to connect to an ever-changing world, SOS members offer their time, talent, or treasure to SOS service projects that serve the needy. At all three of Chapters, Serving Other Souls holds annual core events that include: Thanksgiving Food Drive (typically feeds 150 families annually); Homeless Clothing Drive (typically clothes 100 homeless individuals annually); multiple trips to cook and serve meals to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House; and the Miles of Smiles 5K that raises funds for families suffering from various forms of cancer.
Since the inception of SOS, over 650 student-members have been trained in servant-leadership skills and over $300,000 has been awarded in money and goods through SOS events. SOS is working on creating even more chapters within other school districts in the region.
Chris has received numerous awards for his service to the community including: 2012 Hero of Hope Award from Murrysville Relay for Life; service award from Plum Mayor Hrivnak in 2013; SOS received a Meritorious Award from Mayor of Murrysville in 2014; 2013 Franklin Regional Excellence Award as teacher and SOS Director at FR Middle School; and in 2015 received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, which is widely considered the Nobel Prize of volunteerism and Mr. Cooley was one of the 5 finalists for the overall Jefferson Award for western PA.
Chris & Lauren Miladinovich
Lauren is ProspHire’s CEO and is responsible for the firm’s operations, strategy and business development. She is a senior PMP certified project manager with 11+ years of client service experience in oil and gas, pipeline permitting, process engineering, operations consulting and program/project management.
Outside of work, Lauren serves as a Board Member and Treasurer for the Women’s Energy Network. She also works closely with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania on their annual “Kiss a Pig” campaign and even has a Juliana pet pig named Nola, who is the star of the campaign. Lauren was recently honored with their 2017 Commitment to Youth Award and has degrees in Business Management and in Environmental Studies.
As ProspHire’s Co-Founder and VP of Consulting, Chris oversees client service for the 25-person firm. He has 16+ years’ experience leading large scale, complex business transformation programs at Deloitte and other companies, and is adept at building and cultivating strong teams of “can do” professionals. Chris is a strategic thinker and problem solver with a passion for leaving organizations better than he found them.
Beyond the boardroom, Chris serves on Duquesne University’s Information Systems Management Advisory Board. He is a Board Member for Off the Floor Pittsburgh, the Treasurer of the Condor Aero Club, Inc. and is an instrument-rated, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor. Chris is PMP certified and has degrees in both Information Systems Management and Marketing from Duquesne University.
Venus A. Hadeed
Venus A. Hadeed, MD, is a medical oncologist and hematologist. Dr. Hadeed treats all general oncology cases, including non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and advanced malignant melanoma.
Dr. Hadeed is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology. She received a medical degree at Damascus University School of Medicine, Damascus, Syria. Dr. Hadeed completed a residency in Internal medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Hadeed is a member of professional organizations including, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American College of Physicians, Allegheny County Medical Society, and the American Society of Hematology.
Kathy is an attorney and a mental health clinician in private practice who has a diverse background in the healthcare industry including research, insurance, compliance, and delivery of care and has worked with insurers, healthcare systems, social service agencies, and individuals.
Kathy is honored to be nominated and agrees that there is no better way to give back to the community than by supporting youth development. She is a former juvenile justice researcher and is a juvenile justice reform advocate. She also serves as a board member for the Wilkinsburg School District, the Boys & Girls of Western PA as well as the Wilkinsburg branch, and Community Data Roundtable.
Sports & Entertainment - Finalists
Charlie Mitchell If you’ve listened to Pittsburgh’s Country Y108 for any length of time, you’ve most likely heard Charlie Mitchell. Starting at WKVT in Brattleboro, Charlie's radio career now extends over four decades. The opportunity to join Y108 came in October 1992, and aside from a 3-year diversion into the advertising world from 2004-07, Charlie worked in various on-and-off-air roles and has performed every shift on the station.
Charlie and his wife Janet recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary and the past thirty of those years have been spent living on four acres in the Burgettstown area. Charlie and Janet have two sons and one granddaughter. Charlie supports the community be serving as part of the worship ministry at Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the Northside, where he has been singing in the choir since 1989. Charlie also serves as chairman of the local township sewer authority and feels privileged to be part of a team that ensures all customers are billed and treated fairly.
Kelly Dzanaj is the host of the afternoon drive home on 100.7 Star, weekdays from 2-7 p.m. She is a proud alumnus of Penn State University and graduated with a B.A. in Telecommunications. Kelly is a Pittsburgh native that enjoys everything about her great city. Her favorite part of her job is meeting the people who make Pittsburgh’s heart beat and talking to her audience daily. Every weekend, Kelly hosts the Sunday Morning Magazine Show which focuses on nonprofit events and community-driven initiatives. Kelly has interviewed hundreds of people behind our local nonprofits and has been instrumental in spreading the word about these organizations. Her passion for promoting the missions of Pittsburgh's many nonprofit organizations contributes to our city's impressive philanthropic spirit.
Every weekend, Kelly hosts the Sunday Morning Magazine Show which focuses on nonprofit events and community-driven initiatives. Kelly has interviewed hundreds of people behind our local nonprofits and has been instrumental in spreading the word about these organizations. Her passion for promoting the missions of Pittsburgh's many nonprofit organizations contributes to our city's impressive philanthropic spirit.
The Stickers, a local Western Pennsylvania band, have quickly become a solid name in the country music world. The band, known for their high-energy country rock shows and catchy songs, have taken country music fans by storm! The Stickers had two of their singles hit the top 40 on country radio. They have launched their talents across the US, earning a number of industry accolades and credentials along the way. The band has been featured on the ABC-TV primetime show “Nashville,” the NHL’s All Star Game, the 2016 and 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final Series on NBC, MSNBC, and NHL.com, NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and they will be included in the upcoming Warner Brothers and WWE Studios Movie, “Pure Country 3.”
The band’s success does not go unnoticed. Iconic music industry leader, Billboard, gave them a glowing review, followed by rave reviews from leaders across the music world. The official video for the band’s single ‘Countrified’, appeared on over 40 national outlets and was trending on CMT.com. The Stickers were featured on PBS in a music special from their hometown.
The Stickers have earned 3 Billboard song writing awards and are three-time Official CMA Fest featured artists. Keeping a busy touring schedule and supporting their music in markets across the U.S., they show no signs of slowing down. The Stickers have participated in many different fundraising benefit concerts for nonprofits, such as a concert for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Beaver County, the Y108 Soldier Salute, the Y018 Wine & Boots Bash, Annual Voices Carry for Auberle and many more. Through their charitable support, The Stickers bring joy music and love of community to the Pittsburgh area.
Tourism & Hospitality - Finalists
Joyce Kraemer is the Vice President of the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association (GPHA). She is responsible for managing all areas of membership, including growth and retention, event planning, coordinating community outreach events and organizing sponsorships and donations. Joyce is the face of the hospitality community for Western Pennsylvania.
Thanks to Joyce’s dedication to GPHA, she has grown the membership of the organization every year, resulting in an increased amount of people receiving scholarships from GPHA. These scholarships provide opportunities for future hospitality leaders and enable them to better afford their education. Joyce is extremely active in her community and has worked with the Education Partnership to raise funds and assist students in need of school supplies.
Joyce is an alumnus of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts. She currently resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband Alan and three boys, Alex, Jack and Ben.
Jacob is a Manager at Buttercup Woodlands Campground in the Outdoor Hospitality Industry for RV Parks and Campgrounds in Butler County. For two consecutive years, Jacob was awarded the Young Professionals Award for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. Jacob works hard at his job, associations, and with his local tourism.
This year Jacob won a grant from Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau to be used by the campground. The goal of the grant is to increase overnight stays in Butler County. Last year Jacob traveled to State College and won a scholarship to attend the National School of RV Parks and Campgrounds from the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association and won an award for Community Involvement in his park.
He and his park members and employees are very active in Community Involvement. Each year Jacob helps raise funds for the local Volunteer Fire Company as well as other deserving charities. His efforts have raised over $20,000 within the past four years.
Jacob has been the manager of Buttercup Woodlands Campground for four years. In February of this year, Jacob attended the Outdoor Hospitality Education Program that is accredited by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, where he earned in one week his Outdoor Hospitality Management Certificate. Jacob is also on the membership committee of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association.
Debbie Crum is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and brings over 20 years of experience and proven success in sales management, marketing and administration. In her most recent role, she spent 4 years as the sales leader for the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau. Because of her passion as a business “matchmaker”, Debbie is recognized for using her expansive network to cultivate relationships between local businesses and professionals.
Debbie is also a graduate of the Sandler Presidents Club program, the Growth Coach Strategic Mastery program, the Dale Carnegie Certificate Program, and Leadership Butler County. In addition to her personal achievements, Debbie is active in her community, supporting several local non-profits and serves as a board member for the Cranberry Township Community Chest and Executive Leadership Team for March of Dimes. Debbie loves working at the Bureau for the diverse and interesting people she meets and the opportunities to motivate and inspire communities to work together.
Gary A. Van Horn Jr.
Gary is currently the President of the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, the leading non-profit organization in Western Pennsylvania whose mission is to promote and advocate for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The organization produces events, advocates for the community, develops relationship with corporate partners and supports projects that help make Pittsburgh a vibrant and exciting city for everyone, in spite of our differences.
Pittsburgh Pride, which is produced by the Delta Foundation, is the 4th largest special event in Pittsburgh with an estimated economic impact of nearly $10 million dollars. As President, Gary has led the organization to its highest attendance in 2017 with approximately 175,000, including visitors from over 22 states and 2 international countries. The event has featured national entertainment including Jennifer Hudson, Kesha, Nick Jonas, Adam Lambert, and Melissa Etheridge, whose first and only Pride performance was in Pittsburgh.
In 2012, Gary was named Co-President of the International Association of Pride Organizers (InterPride), the organization that ties Prides together internationally. In 2014, the Delta Foundation was proud to host 250 delegates for its Annual General Meeting of InterPride in Pittsburgh, Pa. For many attendees, it was the first time they had ever been to Pittsburgh and they quickly learned why Pittsburgh is America’s Most Livable City. In his professional life, Gary is the Managing Partner of the Van Horn Group, which operates local pizza franchises, nightclubs and other endeavors. In 2005, Gary acquired Images Bar on Liberty Avenue and is proud to own a building and operate a business in the downtown business district. Gary is a recipient of the Harvey Milk Honor Medal, Pittsburgh Magazine/PUMP’s “40 Under 40” award, and the Diversity Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Diversity Council. In 2016, he received the Vision Towards Peace Counseling Services Forerunner Award and was also a named a Jefferson Award honoree, which recognizes volunteers in the Pittsburgh region. In 2014, the Delta Foundation was the first LGBT organization to receive the Esther L. Bush Community Partner of the Year Award by UPMC.